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July 1, 2023 marks the 36th anniversary of NYC Outward Bound Schools’ founding. From humble beginnings, we have grown through three decades to become a thriving educational nonprofit — this year, partnering with 77 public schools across all five boroughs of NYC. We invite you to take a look at some of our highlights from the 2022-23 school year.

Social, Emotional & Academic Development (SEAD)

After several years marked by COVID-related uncertainty, we are proud to have launched our new 3-year strategic plan this June. Doubling down on our organizational strengths, this plan sets our course to become the NYC model for integrating social, emotional and academic learning, providing relevant, experiential learning, centering student agency, and building equitable communities of belonging by 2026.

More on SEAD

Video: Learn more about our SEAD work by watching this video, which highlights the transference of skills from the outdoors into the classroom at Brooklyn Collaborative, a NYC Outward Bound School in Carroll Gardens.

Crew Initiative

Fifty NYC public schools received our Crew Initiative coaching and support this year, thanks to a second year of City Council partnership and NYC Department of Education funding, along with support from private funders like The New York Community Trust. Schools that are part of Crew Initiative work ​with NYC Outward Bound Schools to build the capacity to successfully embed a Crew program — our signature advisory structure — and culture in their school communities​.


Read our Case Studies

Crew Initiative Data Dive

Crew Initiative had a positive impact on students’ sense of belonging, based on student perception surveys administered at the beginning, middle and end of the school year.

This year, our partners saw a:



in students who feel like their teachers know them well.



in students who feel like their classmates care about them.



in students who feel like their classes helped them get ready for their academic futures.

Continuous Improvement

For 36 years, NYC Outward Bound Schools has supported educators to help create and improve conditions in schools for students to feel a sense of community and belonging, and deeply engage them in learning that is relevant to their futures. As part of our organization’s commitment to continuous improvement, we have started to capture proven practices into what we call Change Packages. This first set of Change Packages are comprehensive toolkits designed around particular changes that schools are looking to make in their culture or structures by leveraging Crew.

In May, we released our first change package centered on Increasing Student Voice. We will be releasing others, including Change Packages on Adult/Staff Crew and Crew Advisor Development, as part of our strategy to reach more schools and share our expertise more widely.

More on Continuous Improvement
  • Aurora Kushner, Director of Impact and Continuous Improvement & Jessica Bardy, Director of Strategic Partnerships, presented at 2023 Carnegie Foundation Summit on Improvement in Education.

Adventure & Team Building

This school year marked the first since before the pandemic for our outdoor, in-person youth programming to return in full capacity. This included restarting our signature 3-day, 2-night Crew Basecamp program at Sharpe Reservation in Fishkill, NY, providing a robust outdoor climbing season on our back wall, and running local Community and Crew Connect team building programs throughout the city at school within and beyond our network. Also, for the first, we ran a full winter season of programming including indoor climbing at local gyms in Long Island City.

More on Adventure & Team Building

Photo Gallery: Click on the photo above to scroll through a gallery of photos from Crew Basecamp 2022-23.

Crew Basecamp Data Dive

Crew Basecamp had a positive impact on students’ sense of belonging, based on student perception surveys administered at the beginning and end of the program.

Students who feel they have supportive relationships in Crew.

  • Before Program 39% 39%
  • After Program 89% 89%

Students who feel like they can collaborate to solve problems with their Crew.

  • Before Program 35% 35%
  • After Program 86% 86%

Across our Schools

Across NYC Outward Bound schools, students spent the year building belonging and critical social-emotional skills in Crew, digging into engaging, real world issues through project-based learning, and exercising their agency and leadership as they explored their passions and planned their futures.

Highlights include:

Video: Watch highlights from May’s annual Crew Olympics in Prospect Park — a friendly competition of Crews from across our network of schools in celebration of the end of the year.

Teachers, Leaders & Advocates

Our work would not be possible without the skill and dedication of our educators, school leaders, administration, staff and board, and without the support of public officials who believe in and advocate for our work. This year at our 2023 Gala, we honored Hon. Adrienne E. Adams, Speaker of the NYC Council, and LaRue R. Gibson, Jr., Managing Director and Partner, LRG Wealth Advisors, and longtime board member, for their commitments to public education.

We also want to recognize and thank Tom Rochowicz for his years of service as principal of WHEELS. Tom is now the Deputy Superintendent with NYC Public Schools and will continue to work with the majority of our Network Schools in a new capacity.

More on Teachers, Leaders & Advocates:

Video: Watch a panel discussion with our 2023 Gala honorees and CEO Vanessa Rodriguez.

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