Transformative Outcomes. Expanded Horizons.
Ithaca’s grassroots regional public high school, New Roots, is a national leader in a growing green schools movement, educating for a sustainable future in ways that have powerful and practical benefits for youth who want lives of passion, purpose, and economic opportunity.
- A horticulture major and women’s rugby team player on the Dean’s List at Cornell.
- A woman diesel mechanic. An Evergreen College student and future teacher studying child labor laws in Nepal.
- A photographer who shoots equestrian sports.
- An inspired local cook with a passion for farm to table.
- A computer scientist who chose a small college with an innovative, project-based curriculum, now headed to Yale for doctoral studies.
- A student at the nation’s top entrepreneurial college invited to direct a play by the college’s theater department.
- A doctoral student in Earth Systems Science studying mathematical modeling and climate change.
- A horse trainer with a BA in Animal Science.
- A slam poet on scholarship studying sociology.
- An aspiring environmental engineer researching how bacteria can transform toxins into beneficial substances in wastewater treatment plants.
What do these young people have in common? They are alumni of New Roots Charter School!
An Education for a Just and Sustainable Future:
The Time is NOW!
Young people want to make a difference; New Roots puts the power of possibility and optimism in their hands at a time when their future is wide open, empowering a new generation of citizens and leaders with vision, who are invested in and responsible for their communities and the natural world that sustains them.
The New Roots approach draws on research-based best practices in education to design high school curriculum for a new century, where success is driven by entrepreneurial thinking, working in teams to envision new innovations and bring them to fruition.
We prepare a diverse student body to embrace the opportunities of citizenship, work, and life-long learning in the 21st century. Our interdisciplinary academic program features hands-on, community-based learning that supports students in solving real-world problems. Students earn a Regents diploma and demonstrate readiness for higher education by earning college credit and creating a graduation portfolio that demonstrates that they have met or exceeded all 28 New York State Learning Standards. Our school community is a model of secondary education that integrates best practices in sustainability education with those proven to support educational equity.
New Roots Charter School empowers young people as citizens and entrepreneurs that create just, democratic communities, and thriving green economies that restore the natural world that sustains us. Excelling in both traditional and innovative curriculum areas, our students learn actively, think critically, and solve problems creatively and collaboratively, developing the knowledge and skills to redesign our communities for social, economic, and ecological sustainability. We support all students in defining and realizing their goals and aspirations, and in recognizing their ability to take leadership in improving the lives of their families and community. We put the best available tools and the power of informed optimism-in the hands of tomorrow’s leaders.
Program and Curriculum Highlights and Why They Matter
- Our cross-disciplinary, experience-based curriculum teaches the complex network of human and natural systems, laying the foundation for visionary thinking and innovative, hands-on solutions for a sustainable future.
- On our “extended campus” of Ithaca’s urban spaces and its surrounding farms and natural lands, students apply academic learning to projects that meet community needs, such as restoring wetlands, doing climate-related research, bringing solar panels to low-income neighborhoods, and creating small green business enterprises.
- Redefining “community service,” our budding social entrepreneurs learn the impact of their contributions to a more sustainable and healthy future for all. Relevant, real-world learning opens up a world of new possibilities.
Working in teams to create real solutions, students develop interpersonal skills that are essential to success in college and the contemporary workplace.
- 2021 Green Ribbon distinction by New York State Education Department, nominated for National Green Ribbon Award with US Department of Education
- 2019 Best of Green Schools Award: Transformation from Green Schools National Network
- 2018 New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) awarded 4-year grant for student-led Cayuga Wetlands Restoration Project
- GSNN Catalyst Network, the ten top schools recognized by the Green Schools National Network as national leaders in education for a sustainable future
- #1 Youth Project for 2017 People’s Choice Signs of Sustainability Award
- The first school in the nation to be certified as a Human Rights Friendly School by the Dorothy Cotton Institute (DCI) and Human Rights Educators USA
- 2012 Top Green High School award from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
About Our Authorizer
Our authorizer, the State University of New York, is recognized as a national leader in best practices
for charter school authorizers.
- The Institute was recognized as having the “Best Application Process” for approving new charter schools by the National Association of Charter School Authorizers.
- The U.S. Department of Education featured the Institute’s policies and practices for new school approval, school oversight and charter renewal in the report, “Fostering Innovation and Excellence.”
- The new application approval rate is 18% for first-time applicants and 34% overall.
- Approximately 9% of SUNY authorized charter schools were not renewed for failing to meet accountability standards.
Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT IS A CHARTER SCHOOL?
IS NEW ROOTS RIGHT FOR MY STUDENT?
Each charter school has a unique mission and vision. To make the best decision for your student, we encourage you to explore your options and select the school that best meets your student’s unique learning style.
At New Roots Charter School, we offer an interdisciplinary academic program featuring hands-on, community-based learning that supports students in learning 21st century skills. All students earn college credit while in high school through our concurrent enrollment classes.
We invite you to contact us to set up a tour of New Roots to find out if our sustainably minded program is right for your student.
HOW IS NEW ROOTS UNIQUE AMONG SCHOOLS?
WHAT IS THE FOOD PROGRAM AT NEW ROOTS?
We are very proud of our FREE Farm to School breakfast and lunch featuring healthy “teen comfort food” for ALL enrolled students!
We’re part of an innovative initiative across the country connecting school lunch programs & hands on learning with local farms. Understanding the impact of healthy nutrition on a student’s ability to think creatively and contribute powerfully at school is an important part of the New Roots experience. Our Farm to School meal team strives to serve a variety of local whole foods daily. We do not use processed, packaged, or pre-made foods, and are committed to keeping sugar, additives, and preservatives out of our food.
DO STUDENTS HAVE COMMUNITY SERVICE OPPORTUNITIES AT NEW ROOTS?
WHAT IS THE VALUE OF ATTENDING A SMALL SCHOOL?
WHAT ARE THE NEW ROOTS FACILITIES LIKE?
Our main campus is in the heart of downtown Ithaca. We have been in the historic Clinton House since our doors opened in 2009. We recently expanded to occupy the entire first and second floors! Some of our new spaces include a music studio in the historic Mural Lounge, a yoga studio, and an a new art room with abundant natural light. All renovations were mindful of the historic character of our unique school building.
Our downtown Ithaca campus provides us with many great spaces to support our school program while enhancing the community-based education that New Roots is known for. We cook and serve lunch in the beautiful social hall of the Greek Orthodox Church, hold community meetings in the auditorium of the Community School for Music and Art, and use facilities such as the gym at Southside Community Center, City Health Club, and Ahisma Yoga Studio for diverse physical education activities. Students have many opportunities to walk out of the Clinton House and engage the wider community and its facilities through our programs, which enhances the school’s collegiate feel.
HOW IS A NEW ROOTS EDUCATION FUNDED?
WHAT IS THE SCHOOL’S SCHEDULE?
DOES NEW ROOTS PROVIDE TRANSPORTATION FOR STUDENTS?
HOW IS NEW ROOTS GOVERNED?
WHAT IS THE NEW ROOTS APPROACH?
We prepare our diverse student body to be citizens and entrepreneurs that create just, democratic communities, and thriving green economies that restore the natural world that sustains us, ready to meet the challenges of citizenship, work, and life-long learning in the 21st century. We put innovative tools and the power of informed optimism in the hands of tomorrow’s leaders.
Excelling in both traditional and innovative curriculum areas, our students earn actively, think critically, and solve problems creatively and collaboratively developing the knowledge and skills to redesign our communities for social, economic, and ecological sustainability. Our interdisciplinary academic program features hands-on, community-based learning that supports students in solving real-world problems.