Our Schools

  • 99% of our 2017 graduates were accepted to college.
  • 89% of our high school students graduate within 4 years.
  • 74% of our students are eligible for free/reduced lunch.


NYC Outward Bound Schools' mission is to use Outward Bound's educational approach to effect positive and lasting change in the lives of New York City's young people and their public schools. We bring this mission to life by bringing our Outward Bound's educational approach to students in a variety of ways:

  • Our Network Schools: Schools we operate in full partnership with the NYC Department of Education. All are built on the national EL Education whole school model, which is rooted in Outward Bound’s approach to teaching and learning. We provide our network schools with ongoing principal and teacher coaching and professional development; opportunities for students to participate in Outward Bound adventure and team building experiences, and support for students in getting to and through college.
  • Select Strategy Schools: Through our Select Strategies work, we bring key strategies that have proven to be effective in our network of schools to other New York City public schools. We partner with schools looking to strengthen their capacity to build positive culture and/or deliver demanding and engaging academics. We do this through two distinct Select Strategies: Crew and Select Strategies: Student-Engaged Assessment, working with school leadership to help determine which customized combination of supports will best address specific school needs.
  • Our Adventure & Team Building Programs : Programs for schools and other youth-serving organizations organized around the themes of team building, leadership and character development. Our programs are customized to meet client needs, take place in both urban and wilderness settings, and vary in length. Participating schools can include our Network Schools, our Select Strategy Schools, as well as non-member public and private schools.

Our Outward Bound educational approach challenges and supports students to do their best work, injects elements of adventure and discovery into schooling, grounds academic content in real world issues and concerns, provides regular opportunities for leadership and for demonstrations of learning, promotes teamwork as well as individual initiative, and places character and intellectual development on equal footing. Our approach puts students at the center of their own learning. And by being exposed to our approach, our students, regardless of their backgrounds or circumstances, discover that they can do far more than they ever thought possible, in the classroom, the workplace, and in other aspects of their lives. 

"Last week I visited [NYC Outward Bound's] Leaders School in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, which is a glowing example of community cohesion... Students are given tremendous responsibility, and are put in challenging social circumstances that call forth compassion, judgment, sensitivity and mercy... Most of all I was struck by their kindness toward one another. No student could remember any racial or ethnic conflict. Many upperclassmen serve as peer mentors to the underclassmen. There’s a palpable sense of being cared for. That’s in part because the school has a wide definition of student achievement."
-David Brooks, Columnist, NYTimes

"This Educational Leadership Award... really goes to NYC Outward Bound, which does truly extraordinary work in the field of education."
-Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

“What NYC Outward Bound does is create self-possession and a sense of ownership over what one does and over one’s path - which is the key to so much of what works in education and, I dare say, to what works in life.”
-Mayor Bill de Blasio 

“NYC Outward Bound, we think the world of you. We think you are outstanding: all the energy, all the work and the vision that you have - but more importantly, your partnership with the Department of Education will allow our students to grow and prosper and be successful adults."
-Former NYC Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott

"NYC Outward Bound is...defying the lie, defying the myth, defying the stereotypes about what children can and cannot do."
-Arne Duncan, Former U.S. Secretary of Education

Recent News

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    WHEELS teachers and students explore "oyster-tecture" during Intensives February 21, 2018

    This month, two WHEELS teachers co-hosted a week-long intensive that invited their students to see their neighborhood in a new light. The week focused on the challenge of designing an oyster reef for Sherman Creek down the street, to help protect from storms like Hurricane Sandy.

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    Text-to-Success: Promising Results February 13, 2018

    The Hechinger Report highlights promising results from third-party research of NYC Outward Bound School's To & Through College's Text-to-Success program.

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    For Gaynor McCown students, the world is their classroom February 11, 2018

    Don't count on finding all 437 students of the Gaynor McCown Expeditionary Learning School in their seats - or even in their New Springville building - on a given day. They could be participating in the annual College March toward higher education, attending the mayor's town hall meeting, visiting a museum or completing fieldwork in ecology at Freshkills Park.


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