Our Schools



NYC Outward Bound Schools operates a growing network of public schools in partnership with the NYC Department of Education. Our college-preparatory schools bring demanding academics, community and character to NYC public schools in all five boroughs, ensuring that all students, regardless of background, are challenged and supported to accomplish more than they ever thought possible.

Our schools utilize the EL Education school model, which is rooted in the principles and practices of Outward Bound, and support the development of student character and good citizenship while also fostering a culture of achievement. While each school is unique, all share common features including active, real-world learning that is often community- or service-based; a rigorous and interdisciplinary academic curriculum; longer class periods; membership in an advisory program called crew; and team-building adventures outside the classroom. All incoming students enjoy a three- to five-day backpacking orientation aimed at fostering group cohesion, communication skills, perseverance and the setting and meeting of goals.

Another hallmark of our schools is the breadth and quality of the professional development and other supports we provide to teachers and principals. Unlike teachers at most public schools, ours are continually supported through EL Education's renowned professional development program, which brings regional and national opportunities to every teacher and principal in our network as well as continual, on-site support. Principals are additionally engaged in sharing best practices with one another through our expanding Principal Leadership Program.

 “NYC Outward Bound is…defying the lie, defying the myth, defying the stereotypes about what children can and cannot do.”
—Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education

"NYC Outward Bound is doing what everyone talks about doing: insuring that zip code does not determine one's destiny... They said,'We have a different way.' And their way was right. It was a more holistic, more comprehensive approach that addressed the entire [child], and they have had truly extraordinary success."
-Governor Andrew M. Cuomo 

"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

“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

“When you walk through the NYC Outward Bound schools, you really do get the sense that these kids are working with very high expectations, that they really are being pushed and prepared for college in all the ways possible.”
—Adam Tucker, Senior Program Officer, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“Outward Bound’s involvement with the creation of new schools has had a direct impact of the success of our students. I appreciate your support as we build on our vision for public education: that all students will be given the tools they need to succeed in and out of the classroom.”
—Joel Klein, former Chancellor, NYC Department of Education

Recent News

  • image description
    Baldwin Principal Leading Voice on School Discipline Reform July 1, 2016

    What role can restorative justice play in ameliorating violence in our schools? This Atlantic article explores the question and includes quotes by Brady Smith, Principal of of our James Baldwin School, a leading voice on school discipline reform.

  • image description
    NY1 Profiles Exceptional Graduate from Brooklyn Collaborative June 30, 2016

    NY1's Exceptional Graduates series featured Lizbeth Lucero, 2016 valedictorian of our Brooklyn Collaborative school. Lucero is the daughter of Mexican immigrants, lived through Hurricane Sandy, and is headed off to Cornell on a full scholarship. Lucero also served as a featured speaker at our 2016 Gala.

  • image description
    WHEELS Students Name New Wasp Species June 22, 2016

    Students from our school WHEELS were recently invited to name a new species of wasp that is native to the Dominican Republic. Students, whose families hail predominately from the Dominican Republic, chose the name La Luz Brillante. When translated to English, this means The Bright Light.


Arne Duncan Addresses Our Students

Learn More
image description

NYTimes Columnist Lauds NYC Outward Bound School

NYTimes columnist David Brooks visited our Leaders High School to see community and character development in action. His conclusions are inspiring.

Stay Connected

Receive news on our schools, programs and upcoming events.

Principals' Panel on NY1

Our principals hosted a panel on public education policy at the Talking Transitions tent, where several spoke with Errol Louis on NY1's Road to City Hall coverage.