One Newark Enrolls to Provide Strongest Universal Enrollment Plan in the United States
Announcement Culminates Months of Collaboration Between NPS, the Newark Community and Newark Charters[December 10, 2013 – Newark, New Jersey] Newark Public Schools (NPS) and sixteen of Newark’s twenty-one charters announced today an historic agreement creating a citywide enrollment system that includes 80.3% of charter seats. This new system will provide all Newark families the ability to access the city’s best district and charter schools.
One Newark vision:All students in Newark are in excellent schools in thriving communities and are on the path to excel in college and 21st century careers. Over the last few months, One Newark initiatives – like Universal Enrollment — have brought together leaders, community advocates, educators, local clergy, and friends across public charter and district schools. Together, we’ve made a promise to Newark families: we must embrace a bold, unified, city-wide plan to build and support 100 excellent schools and ensure equitable access for all students.
One Newark Enrolls will create the strongest universal enrollment system in the nation, specifically creating a preference structure that ensures high need students gain access to high performing schools, while also prioritizing equity, transparency, and access for all students in the City. Today’s announcement culminates months of collaboration between NPS and Newark charters to create a new,customized enrollment process that will improve the experience for families. Specifically,NPS officials conducted nearly 50 one-on-one meetings with charters, sought feedback from Newark’s School Advisory Board and city community leaders,attended board meetings at 10 charter schools, and co-hosted monthly town halls in partnership with the Newark Charter School Fund. NPS also organized various informational calls, forums and meetings to learn from other cities that embarked on a similar path, including New Orleans, Denver and now Washington, D.C. These engagement efforts are continuing as NPS – serving in the role of system administrator – transitions to implementation.
This new enrollment structure will provide all families:
- A single, fair, user-friendly application that will break down barriers so all families have the opportunity to apply to high quality schools of their choice.
- The ability to rank schools that they believe will best serve their own children.
- Clear and consistent information about all participating schools in Newark through events, marketing materials, and open houses on a shared citywide timeline.
- A centralized way to voice concerns and receive support to ensure their children secure enrollment in a school that meets their needs
Under One Newark Enrolls,every student will have the ability to change schools, though those who are content with their current school will remain there. The system will focus on grades where students enter or change schools: Pre-K, Kindergarten, Grade 5 and Grade 8. In addition to all of Newark Public Schools, the following charters have agreed to participate: TEAM Charter School, Uncommon/North Star Academy, Merit Preparatory Charter School of Newark, Visions Academy Charter High School, Newark Prep Charter School, Newark Legacy Charter School, Lady Liberty Academy Charter School, Great Oaks Charter School, People’s Preparatory Charter School, Greater Newark Charter School, University Heights Charter School, Roseville Community Charter School, Philip’s Academy, Paulo Freire, Marion P. Thomas Charter School, and Newark Educators’ Community Charter School.
“At its core this amazing achievement represents a very simply goal – to ensure that all students in Newark can attend an excellent school,” stated Newark Public Schools Superintendent Cami Anderson. “Together, public and charter school leaders have agreed to something quite profound – to move beyond individual priorities and achieve a true coalition to fight for equity and excellence for all of Newark’s families.”
“The collaboration across district and charter schools to create a universal enrollment plan for city students is an essential priority of One Newark,” stated the CEO of Newark Charter Fund Mashea Ashton. “We congratulate and thank the 16 public charter schools that have signed on to universal enrollment – reaffirming their commitment to transparency, equity, and access. We look forward to supporting collaboration between the entire public charter school sector and the district to address the questions that remain and continue to shape a universal enrollment plan. Through universal enrollment, we’re making sure public charters chools are a part of the solution to provide every student in Newark access to a quality public school.”
“TEAM Schools is thrilled to participate in the Universal Enrollment System, as it will increase opportunities and choices for all kids in Newark, regardless of their zip code or a family’s economic circumstances,” stated Founder and CEO of TEAM Schools, Ryan Hill. “All families deserve to be able to choose the school their children attend, and this both opens new doors and streamlines the enrollment process to make abetter, fairer, and easier process for everyone. TEAM has long been committed to serving the kids who need us most, and this will further our efforts – and the efforts of all schools in Newark – to do so.”
“The Universal Enrollment proposed by the Newark Public Schools Superintendent’s office is a major step towards equity, convenience, and equal access,” stated Ronald Slaughter, pastor of Saint James AME Church, which runs Visions. “The most significant contribution of the Universal Enrollment Program is in the area of equity. This program for the first time will level the field of education in the city of Newark. Children with disabilities will no longer be overlooked but will receive the same quality education as others. Schools will no longer have the option of taking what they want and leaving others to suffer. Universal Enrollment ensures that every student is a “priority” and every student is entitled to maximize their God given potential. Universal Enrollment will change the landscape of education in the city of Newark.”
“We are looking forward to helping to make sure Newark families have choices and equal access to schools,” said Paul Bambrick-Santoyo, Managing Director of Uncommon Schools Newark, which is composed of nine North Star Academy schools serving over 2,600 students in Kindergarten through 12th grade. “We are grateful for Superintendent Anderson’s leadership in running a thoughtful and comprehensive process to develop an enrollment system that is fair, transparent, reliable, and provides priority for Newark’s highest need students.”
“We are investing a great deal of time and energy in ensuring that all our charter partners are fully aware and informed of everything it takes to implement this system and make it a great experience for Newark students,” said Gabrielle Wyatt, Executive Director of Strategy – Office of Strategy and Innovation at Newark Public School District. “This means every detail counts, and we are relying on our charter partners’ experience and feedback to continuously improve the execution, and therefore family experience in real-time. I think we all, as partners,are committed to making this successful because it means greater access to excellent schools for all kids, and at the end of the day, that’s what we all really care about.”
With the adoption of OneNewark Enrolls, NPS will now provide charters with ongoing operational support through the creation of user manuals and toolkits, informational materials, trainings, office hour phone conferences, and webinars for those charters that have opted in, as well as training for those charters that have not opted into the system to ensure that their students who will have to use this system also have a positive enrollment experience.
Stage I –
One Newark Enrolls: Now – Mid January
- Parents will determine whether their student needs a new school and learn about the participating schools, attend School Fairs, visit schools during a normal school day, and talk to their child about new school options.
Stage II –
One Newark Enrolls: Beginning January 11, 2014
Apply for Enrollment
- Parents will choose up to 8 schools that they would like their child to attend and ranking schools accordingly. They will fill out the common application at home or complete and submit an application at any participating school.
Stage III –
One Newark Enrolls: April 2014
Receive Your School Match
- Parents will receive a letter matching their child to one school in April 2014. All students are expected to attend their matched school for the 2014-2015 school year.