Skip directly to content

Sue Schwartz

English Teacher

I am excited to begin my 7th year as a teacher at New Roots Charter School!  I grew up in Ithaca, New York and have spent my professional life working with youth in Ithaca and the surrounding areas. As a teen, I was deeply influenced by the years I spent volunteering at Loaves and Fishes, a local soup kitchen.  I was also an avid reader and creative writer who looked to literature and creative writing as tools for self-exploration, a practice that I have carried on throughout my adult life.  Upon graduating from Ithaca High School, my desire to understand broader issues of social justice led me to spend five months volunteering as an English teacher in Nepal, one year studying international development in Zimbabwe, and then to earn my bachelor's degree in Anthropology at Bard College.  When I returned to Ithaca, I spent the next nine years helping local teens explore their passions and improve their community by arranging career internships and organizing service learning programs at a not-for-profit youth organization called The Learning Web.  My love of literature and writing, my enthusiasm for providing young people with hands-on community-based learning opportunities and my devotion to helping young people succeed inspired me to become an English Language Arts teacher. I earned my Master of Arts in Teaching Adolescents degree at Ithaca College. 

As an English Language Arts teacher, my goal is to help students become masterful writers, readers, and critical thinkers so that they can lead lives of personal fulfillment and become effective and engaged citizens in our world.  I have always felt that reading literature and writing are not merely solo events; both provide us with the means to grow as individuals and allow us to participate in community life.  New Roots provides the ideal combination of academic scholarship and hands-on community-based learning, and I look forward to helping our students use reading and writing to better understand themselves, the world, and their experiences serving and exploring in our greater community. 


Classes Teaching

College Academic Writing and Literature

English 12 is a year-long Senior Year English course at New Roots Charter School.  Students will receive both New Roots Charter School English credits and 3 college credits from TC3.  In this course, students will read a wide variety of texts and learn various strategies for understanding, critiquing, and analyzing texts.  Students will explore writing processes; comprehending, interpreting, analyzing, arguing, synthesizing; planning, drafting, organizing, revising, and editing; responding to critical feedback; collaborating.  Students will have extensive writing practice with attention to both mechanics and argument.  Students will develop research skills: evaluation and analysis of sources and correct documentation.


Academic Writing and Literature

English 11/12 Academic Writing and Literature: This joint 11th and 12th grade English class focuses on preparing students for college level writing. Students will read great works of literature and strengthen their voices and skills as writers. Students will increase their abilities in composing articulate and sophisticated writing pieces and hone public speaking skills.  Course assignments include analytic research essays, biographical essays, original pieces of fiction, writing and delivering speeches, and reading and writing poetry.


Creative Writing

In this course students can expect to learn to write in a variety of genres and styles.  Using the authors we read as our guides, we will do a combination of generative writing (i.e. writing just to get words and ideas down on paper so students can work with them again later), structured writing assignments and, of course, revision.  As we refine our work, we’ll be writing poetry, fiction and personal essays, though students are, for the most part, welcome to take all writing prompts and techniques in any genre or direction they choose.  Finally, we’ll spend a little of our time working together to create “literary events” at our school, such as Young Writers Night, performances at showcases and assemblies, displays of writing, and promoting our literary journal. 


College and Career Success Seminar level 2, 3, and 4

The College and Career Success Seminar ensures that all students have strong, successful academic years AND equips students for success in college and other future endeavors.  Topics include planning for the future, college readiness, time-management, setting goals, making decisions, financial literacy, and stress management.   In CCSS3 and CCSS 4, students will research colleges and careers that are right for them, and be supported through the collage application process.   CCSS 4 will support graduating seniors in the development of their Senior Graduation Portfolios, while students in CCSS 2 will compile work for their New Roots Passage Portfolios, which will allow them to take upper school (11th and 12th grade) classes.  CCSS 2 and CCSS 3 will include preparation for the ACT exam