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Partner with NYC Outward Bound Schools to build community and improve school culture.

​Crew Initiative is a joint public/private partnership funded by the City and private grants. Schools that are part of Crew Initiative work ​with NYC Outward Bound Schools to build the capacity to successfully embed a Crew program and culture in their school communities​.

What is Crew?

Crew is a signature advisory program in each NYC Outward Bound school. Crew is both a structure that encourages social, emotional and academic development among students, and it is also a school-wide culture and mindset. The spirit of “Crew, not passengers” — a phrase coined by Outward Bound founder Kurt Hahn — demonstrates that we are stronger together than we are individually, that we look out for one another. Crew leads to more vibrant, engaged and connected school communities where every student feels a sense of belonging and agency.


What does Crew Initiative look like?

Crew Initiative schools:

  • Work with NYC Outward Bound to assess their needs in the areas of social-emotional learning and community-building
  • Develop a data-driven plan to determine what success looks like at their school
  • Receive one-on-one training from a dedicated NYC Outward Bound Schools Crew Coach to meet goals that align with the success plan
  • Join a collective of schools that have similar needs and are in similar places in their Crew implementation process
  • Engage in cohort-based activities with other partner schools both virtually and in-person to help model what Crew looks and feels like
Crew Coach Shannon Gilmore leads an activity for the Crew Guides.

Our goal is to make sure that each student in our school has somebody looking out for them and advocating for them. The Crew Leader is the person that’s responsible for the social-emotional support of this child. Crew is the front line of lateness, it is the front line of absenteeism, it is the front line of academics.

Beth Hert

Founding Principal, Corona Arts & Sciences Academy, a Crew Initiative School

Hear from schools who have worked with us:

Watch a video about Crew Initiative:

Read Case Studies:

Crew: Establishing Belonging & Pride in a New School Community

As a brand new middle school, MS 419, a Crew Initiative school in Northern Corona, Queens, is using Crew structures and routines to make the school community a place where all students feel they belong.

Crew: Infusing Joy and Inclusion Into School Culture

NYC Lab School for Collaborative Studies is a high school in Chelsea that is utilizing Crew, or "Family Circle" to help students better feel a sense of belonging in the school community.

Crew: A Responsive Solution to a Transfer School’s Needs

South Brooklyn Community High School is a transfer school in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Read more about how integrating Crew has helped them empower students to set goals.

Is Crew Initiative right for your school?

Here’s what we’re looking for in our applicants.

The Bandwidth/Resource Allocation

  • The willingness and capacity to take on a partnership with NYC Outward Bound Schools.
  • The schedule, staffing and space to support approximately 100 minutes per week of Crew time per student.
    • We work with schools that have existing advisory programs and with schools that don’t. We tailor our partnerships to meet schools where they are.
  • A staff member with the availability and support to lead this work and serve as Crew Guide.
    • This person will:
      • Train one-on-one with an NYC Outward Bound Schools coach to lead implementation of the Crew program.
      • Attend all cohort-wide convenings (which are scheduled periodically through the year).
      • Work with leadership and colleagues to help Crew come alive at their own school.

The Buy-In

  • A school-wide commitment to the “Crew not passengers” ethos, which prioritizes caring for one another, supporting one another and working toward a common goal.
  • The need and desire for growth in the areas of social-emotional learning and community-building.
  • Staff who believe that supporting positive social-emotional outcomes is equally as important as supporting positive academic outcomes, and that the two are intertwined.
  • Shared leadership structures in place (teachers who are used to learning and collaborating together).

The application for our 2023-24 Crew Initiative cohort is now closed.

Crew In the News:

Educator's View: How Outward Bound Schools Support Student Wellness — & Learning

Advisory Program Expanded to 5 Staten Island Schools



The New York Community Trust Awards Grant to Continue Crew Initiative

If you have questions, contact:

Christian Narvaez, Director of Crew
[email protected]
Mobile: (646) 338-3276

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