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New Roots Charter School awarded fourth charter team

On Thursday, March 17, 2022, the State University of New York awarded New Roots Charter School a charter renewal for a fourth charter term, which will run from July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2025. Established in 2008, the school is currently in its 13th year of operation. 

The charter renewal comes on the heels of the United States Department of Education (“USDE”) designating New Roots as a Green Ribbon School at the beginning of the 21-22 school year. The award recognizes schools that reduce environmental impact and costs; improve the health and wellness of schools, students, and staff; and, provide effective environmental and sustainability education. 

“We are thrilled to have earned the opportunity to commence a new charter term at this historic moment,” said Tina Nilsen-Hodges, who was lead applicant for the original school application and who has served as the school’s Principal and Superintendent since its inception. “The City of Ithaca’s bold initiative to establish a Green Jobs Corridor in upstate New York requires an acceleration of green workforce development initiatives in all sectors. New Roots is perfectly positioned to prepare our region’s youth to be part of this transformation, supporting local employers in expanding their capacity to take on these new opportunities and challenges.” 

“The project that the City of Ithaca and New Roots Charter School are undertaking has already become a leading example of a new type of partnership between academic and government institutions,” City of Ithaca Director of Sustainability Luis Aguirres-Torres said in a letter in support of the charter renewal dated January 6, 2022. “Our partnership with New Roots Charter School is of great importance for the City of Ithaca, if we are to achieve our goals. Its current emphasis on sustainability and environmental literacy, as well as on career and technical education, training through coursework, internships and apprenticeship programs, create the necessary career pathway for high school students wanting to pursue a college degree or wanting to join the workforce and obtain meaningful and fairly compensated employment.” 

This Spring, New Roots juniors and seniors are piloting the City’s green workforce development program, Roots of Success.  They will receive Environmental Literacy certification from the U.S. Department of Labor, a credential that regional employers will recognize as an asset. New Roots is a member of a new regional green workforce development consortium which, along with partners such as Tompkins Cortland Community College, will open up pathways for young people to bring their unique gifts and passions to the growing green economy in our region. 

Founding school leader Tina Nilsen-Hodges says that being part of the SUNY system is part of the school’s mission and vision.  “The promise of SUNY, the largest state college and university system in the world, is to be a visionary change agent, empowering New Yorkers to innovate and create a wellspring of knowledge and momentum that advances communities, New York, and the world,” said Nilsen-Hodges, lead applicant for the original school application who has served as the school’s Principal and Superintendent since its inception. “Our school’s mission is part of this forward-looking vision of service to our great state.  We are so proud to be part of the SUNY system, and honored to have another charter term to continue this good work on behalf of our students and community.”

In lieu of a press conference, school leaders are available for interviews with media representatives through the week of March 21. Interviews can be coordinated by contacting Michael Mazza at [email protected] or 607.882.9220 x207.

New Roots Charter School is a tuition-free public charter school serving grades 9-12 that is open to any young person who is eligible to attend high school in New York State.  Offering a private school education at a public school price, students prepare for lives of passion and purpose as they prepare to create and embrace new 21st century life opportunities through career and college preparation. Visit to learn more.