Rafael Hernandez Elementary School is located in the North Ward of the City of Newark. It houses approximately 725 students in grades Pre-K through Grade 8, including six self-contained special education classes, two Resource Rooms, and three Bilingual Classes. The building conforms to 504 building codes and welcomes those students as well as staff members who need this access. Rafael Hernandez School was one of the Newark Public Schools awarded by the Pediatric/Adult Asthma Coalition of New Jersey and the NJ Arts Education Survey conducted in the spring of 2006 used to categorize arts education in the public schools in NJ, singled out Rafael Hernandez as an elementary school with an exemplary program of arts education offerings.

Fifty instructional staff and forty-three non-instructional staff serve the student population by integrating the multiple intelligence concepts into the daily routines of the school. Implementation of the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards along with the alignment of the No Child Left Behind is the common focal point of our school. These standards’ testing data, and the district’s educational plan mandates are the cornerstone of all instruction.

At Rafael Hernandez School we have a three major content area coaches who provide on-going in-house staff development to implement the components of balanced literacy, mathematics and science. All three Coaches support the implementation of the NJCCS in reading, writing, math and technology as part of our focus aligned to the district and school’s Educational Plan. With the assistance of consultants and the Literacy coaches, we continue to build a community where everyone is able to maximize their learning opportunities. We acknowledge the importance of the creative and cognitive abilities each child brings to school. As a part of the Striving Reader’s federal grant program, students in grades 6-8 scoring below proficiency levels attend READ 180 computer based literacy classes for 90 minutes each day

Our Performing Arts Program promotes growth, development and diversity through the Visual, Fine Arts. We have expanded the courses offered for the Performing Arts concept through Music, Technology, and Audio Visual components. The administration, staff and parents continue to develop ways to provide students with the Performing Arts as the vehicle for academic and emotional maturity. We continue to develop curriculum strands which encompass the Performing Arts and the careers that support the world of performing artists partnering with NJPAC and WBGO jazz radio. We consistently provide opportunities for children to experience success in self-directed, developmentally appropriate curriculums; cognizant of the giftedness they bring to the endeavor.

Teachers and support staff are provided with the opportunities and with the resources necessary to create and nurture an environment that promotes children’s academic growth. The staff works collaboratively to differentiate instruction through designed learning centers where learner-directed activities promoting the Core Curriculum Content Standards and teach students how to apply learning. The on-going staff development focuses on the implementation of educational activities which will allow our students to maximize their critical thinking abilities.

Technology plays an integral part in our educational plan. We have a Technology Teacher Coach that works with the teachers and their students in the classroom and the computer lab. There are multiple networked computers in all classrooms allowing for students to do research, use the Internet and enrich from infusing technology into our curriculum.

Rafael Hernandez School has a partnership with ASPIRA, La Casa de Don Pedro, Save Latin American Organization, The Broadway House and the Boys and Girls Club, to bridge the gap between the school’s effort and the needs of the community. The SLC is presently partnering with organizations that will assist in our educational endeavors that include Kean, Rutgers and Montclair State Universities. We continue to strive to build community at Rafael Hernandez School. The knowledge that we are all interdependent and respectful of ourselves, others and our environment, are the driving force that creates the school of our vision.