First Ever Virtual District Staff Convocation for Newark Schools

On September 1, 2020, Superintendent León and the Newark Board of Education hosted District Staff Convocation 2020.  The convocation is the annual celebration to the start of the school year where the Superintendent convenes all employees in one venue to share the state of the district, review multiple measures of data, celebrate accomplishments, set the tone for the new school year, and charge the staff.  As last school year ended in a historic way, so started this school year.  The District Staff Convocation 2020 was held virtually for all 6,300 employees.

Superintendent León charged the district “to continue to be flexible, exercise patience, build confidence, and demonstrate resilience” as we open this school year remotely.  He shared that last school year, prior to the emergence of the pandemic, attendance was the highest ever, student achievement was soaring, and record numbers of seniors were on track to graduate.  In spite of historic obstacles at the height of the pandemic, schools and homes joined forces unlike ever before.  Higher demands on students enrolled in advanced placement courses resulted in record participation numbers on AP exams, seniors in dual enrollment courses graduated with high school diplomas and associates degrees, and the Class of 2020 earned over $40 million in college scholarships resulting in the graduation rate reaching its highest level in Newark’s history.

Mayor Ras J. Baraka welcomed the teachers and staff to the start of this virtual school year and noted, “We are at a different moment, a different point in time in history.  We need you now, in this pandemic, to help encourage, inspire, to educate them, to advance them, to take care of their mental state of mind.”

“This is my 3rd Convocation, and it is a convocation like no other,” said Josephine C. Garcia, President of the Newark Board of Education.  She continued, “We know that out of adversity, comes opportunity.  We have the opportunity to improve on the great instruction that we have been providing over the past couple of years, we have the opportunity to strengthen relationships with our community partners, and we have the opportunity to be second to none!  Staff, you are seizing the moment, and together, we will continue to show everyone how it’s done, because we are NEWARK STRONG.”

During the last few months, the district created the NBOE Task Force for the Reopening of Schools who prepared an executive summary, established ingress and egress procedures, outlined intensive cleaning and sanitizing protocols, piloted in-person summer school at two locations, identified Pandemic Response Teams at each school, curated curriculum featuring social emotional learning, reviewed metrics for virtual learning to ensure rigorous instruction, continued to train staff to ensure efficient implementation, and began the return to in-person operations.

The first day of remote instruction for students is Tuesday, September 8, 2020.

For more information, please contact:

Newark Board of Education
Nancy Deering, Interim Executive Director