Dear New Roots Families,

As a small, independent public charter high school, one of the ways that we are profoundly different than large institutions is that each and every one of us makes a significant difference.

In October, our Family Action Committee came out in force to demonstrate the power of parents to inspire and create opportunities for young people and our school community.  Last weekend, families held a bake sale on the porch of the Clinton House during Wizarding Weekend raised $755.00 in seed funding for our youth music festival, Rootstock!  And last Friday, parents lavished teachers with expressions of appreciation with delicious treats on our staff development day, generous gift initiated and organized by Laura Hufnagel.  Both events combined, approximately 30 families contributed.

Another idea generated during our first Family Action Committee meeting of the year in October is the Spaghetti Dinner happening on November 21.  New Roots Spaghetti Dinners are legendary -- mark your calendar! And stay tuned for more information.

Some have asked, does the Family Action Committee really make any significant difference?  The answer is a resounding YES -- your generous gifts of time, talent, treasure, and willingness to spread the good word about our school make all the difference in both resources and in goodwill, particularly at this time in our history. Our school has always faced its detractors, and this can be disheartening for students and teachers alike.  The powerful positive energy you generate through seemingly small acts of kindness and generosity makes all the difference to the morale and our grounding.  You put the icing on the cake!

As this first quarter comes to a close, I invite you to reach out with me for a conversation about any matter of interest.  It’s been an eventful start of the school year, full of evolution and change, both planned and unexpected.  And I look forward to seeing you at our next Family Action Committee meeting next Thursday, November 7, and to working alongside you to bring on all the good to come.



Tina Nilsen-Hodges

Growing Students for a Just and Sustainable Future

9th Grade Humanities

Danielle's 9th Grade Humanities class recently volunteered at the Etsy Street Garden, exploring the opportunities we all have to give back to our communities. On the excursion, they learned about permaculture with various plant species. They also weeded the garden, making way for other plants to flourish. They all had blast and said to Danielle they enjoyed "getting back to the land!"
What is the MAP assessment?  

MAP stands for measures of academic progress. It’s an online assessment that measures what your student already knows, and it also informs a student what needs to be learned next. MAP is an important way that students can monitor their growth, specifically in the areas of mathematics and reading. 

How does MAP work?

One of the most important benefits to the MAP being an online test is the assessment’s ability to make appropriate and necessary changes to the types of questions being asked in real time, and while the test is taking place. For example, if your student is taking the math portion of the test, and answers a question incorrectly, the next question will be slightly easier. Similarly, when a question is answered correctly, the following question is slightly more difficult. This is how the program arrives at a final measurement or range. Additionally, this also helps in lowering a student’s test anxiety. 

How does MAP help to empower students, families and educators?

Every time students take the MAP assessment, they receive valuable information about their academic development. This information can be used during parent-teacher-student conferences, student-teacher conferences, and annual meetings for students with disabilities. The data from these assessments also informs the instruction that a teacher gives in the classroom. 
Family Action Committee Gratitude

Our first Family Action Committee event of the year was a huge success. Caregivers, students, and a few staff members rallied together to raise $755.84 for Rootstock. For anyone new to the school, Rootstock is a one-day community celebration of youth musicians in the Finger Lakes region. We co-produced the inaugural event with Grassroots on May 18, 2019, and we're planning the 2nd annual celebration for May 16, 2020. We also partner with our youth entrepreneurship program, YEM (Youth Entrepreneurship Market), where we empower local youth to launch their businesses at several outdoor youth markets. 

The Family Action Committee is an opportunity for families to support and give back to a school that empowers our students on a weekly basis. Please join us for the second monthly Family Action Committee meeting from 5:30-6:30pm on Thursday, November 7th in the school lobby. We'll spend a few minutes celebrating our first event and start planning the Give Thanks Spaghetti Dinner that was proposed at our first meeting. Thanks for your support!
Soccer Team 2019 - 2020
Our soccer team had an exciting 2019-2020 season! Team sports open up opportunities for many life lessons like hard work, partnership, perseverance, team building, and the value of practice. This season our team continued to get better throughout the season with a hard-won victory in their last game. Equally, off the field, several students and Austin Brundza's family worked hard to fundraise for our team's awesome new jerseys. As a school community, we're grateful for the support of the Brundza family and the dedication of Coach Jhakeem. GO NEWTS!
Adventure Tree Climbing founder, Guy Mott, has rescheduled our FREE tree-climbing adventure exclusively for the New Roots community for Wednesday, November 6th from 3-5pm in Dewitt Park. Students, staff, and families are all invited. Several of our students and staff (photos below) had a blast climbing trees with Guy in Dewitt park earlier this year, which encouraged Guy to make this offer to us again. In addition to being a licensed and insured tree climbing guru, Guy is also an arborist and educator, making this a great opportunity to learn about trees while climbing to the top with his pro gear. Please RSVP so we know how much equipment Guy should bring to the park. Thanks!
"Project Embolden is a mentorship program between Ithaca College and New Roots created by the 2nd cohort of BOLD Scholars at Ithaca College. BOLD, a scholarship program for women in leadership, annually selects a cohort of women identified leaders in their junior year to work together into their senior year to create a transformation project. The senior BOLD Scholars at IC have created Project Embolden as an opportunity for intergenerational mentorship between the college and students at New Roots with a focus on college readiness, community, and overall student empowerment. 

Between now and December, the cohort will be offering opportunities for students at New Roots to learn more about the mentorship program through workshops, school visits, and a shadow day for students to come to classes at Ithaca College. If you are interested in learning more about the program and getting your child involved you can email, or visit our facebook:"
Newt's Night Q1

Last school year, we started a new tradition where we host a quarterly event for students at the school. The event is intended to reward students for their hard work throughout the previous quarter and give them extra incentive to get complete with their assignments before the end of the quarter so they are eligible to attend. Last year, the event was mostly run by members of the New Roots staff and this year, we're empowering students to take leadership roles in organizing the activities. Students who have stepped up in leadership roles this quarter are Jessamine Machester, Montana Kerr, Finn Tremblay, and Clanie Lashley. Similar to last year, caregivers are invited to chaperone, donate food/drinks, and donate supplies for the activities. 
School Calendars

Stay connected to school events and meetings through any of the following options:
  1. Google Calendar: We created a new public google calendar with school events, meetings, holidays, etc for the 2019-2020 school year. You can add the new calendar to your digital calendar by clicking on this link: NRCS EVENTS & MEETINGS CALENDAR 2019-2020
  2. Website Calendar: All school events and holidays are posted to our WEBSITE CALENDAR
  3. ParentSquare: our events calendar is synced with the calendar in ParentSquare for your convenience. You can add events to your calendar with one click through the ParentSquare app.
  4. Newt's News: You will receive monthly newsletters like this one with a "Save the Dates" section at the end of the newsletter (see below) reminding you of what's next.
Feel free to contact me (Michael Mazza) ( / 916.842.1842) with any questions.

November Calendar

11/6 Adventure Tree Climb 
(3 - 5pm @ Dewitt Park)
11/7 Family Action Committee Meeting 
(5:30 - 6:30pm @ New Roots)
11/11 Veteran's Day Recess
11/15 Newt's Night
(5:30 - 8:30pm @ New Roots)
11/19 Board of Trustees Meeting
(6 - 7:30pm @ New Roots)
Public meeting. Everyone is invited.
11/21 Give Thanks Spaghetti Dinner
(Time & Location TBD)
11/27 - 11/29 Thanksgiving Recess
Copyright © 2019 New Roots Charter School, All rights reserved.

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