2015-2016 Blackboard Award Honoree: Community Roots Charter School

View the Video of Allison and Sara
View the Video of Allison and Sara

Editor’s note: To read profiles of all 2015-2016 Blackboard Awards honorees, click HERE!

Community Roots Charter School
Principals: Allison Keil & Sara Stone
51 Saint Edwards Street, 3rd Floor, Brooklyn
Award: Outstanding School

Describe your school’s core educational philosophy.

Founded in 2006, Community Roots Charter School is a K-8 independent public school serving the diverse community of Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Our students learn by doing—with a focus on integrated studies, they engage in meaningful real-world contexts where they are taught to see the connections between school and world. Through a commitment to diversity and inclusion, Community Roots approaches education with compassion and rigor. Students and families develop a strong sense of community and self by embracing the founding six core values: Honor yourself and others; work together; work hard; help each other; try new things; and be reflective. Furthermore, Community Roots is an inclusive learning environment in which everyone learns together while recognizing that children have different learning profiles. Supported by co-teaching in each classroom, we model the importance of collaboration for our students, developing creative and considerate learners who become lifelong critical thinkers.

Allison Keil & Sara Stone. Photo by Sarah Torretta Klock.

Tell us about a few of the school’s achievements or distinguishing programs.

At Community Roots we are proud of all of our academics and community programming, especially our diversity work and afterschool enrichment. As we celebrate 10 years of Community Roots, we have worked hard to not only sustain our commitment to diversity, but also to continue to grow that work and our understanding of it. Our staff voluntarily formed the Diversity Working Group (DWG) that regularly meets as a school community to address bias-related issues in their own lives and in the students’ lives. Our faculty then work together to develop creative ways to integrate their findings in the classroom. In addition to a rigorous academic day, half of our students choose to partake in our free-of-charge afterschool programming. The two-hour extended day focuses on reading enrichment coupled with one hour of recreational activity ranging from sports, arts, music, and community service classes.

What’s new?

Last year we graduated our first cohort of eighth graders, some of whom have been with us since Kindergarten. Of the graduating class, 85 percent of students received an offer from their top three high school choices.

What do you love about your school?

It has been incredibly rewarding to be able to fulfill the needs of a diverse community through educating its youth. What has been equally rewarding is what the community has given back to us. We are incredibly thankful for the lessons our families continue to teach us as we work together to build a stronger school, stronger city, and stronger society.