Newark Public Schools Submits District Improvement Plan to NJDOE, Newark School Board and Newark Educational Success Board

NPS takes important first step towards State’s approval of local control by outlining plans to improve QSAC results

[Newark, NJ – November 4, 2015] – Newark Public Schools (NPS) submitted its’ District Improvement Plan (DIP) to the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) this past Friday, October 30, and shared its’ pledge to effectively implement the plan with the New Jersey State Board of Education. The plan outlines a set of strategies to improve the district’s Quality Single Accountability Continuum (QSAC) performance, the Department of Education’s monitoring and evaluation system for public school districts.

The strategies outlined in the DIP focus specifically on the areas of Governance, Personnel and Instruction/Program. The submission of the DIP triggers the beginning of a window where the district executes the plan in advance of an NJDOE visit that is likely to occur no later than the end of this school year.

“We know that there is great urgency about returning Newark to local control,” said Superintendent Christopher Cerf. “Improving performance on QSAC is a critical part of that process; it is imperative that the community know we are listening and are fully committed to doing everything within our power to advance NPS down this path.”

Prior to submission, the final plan was presented to both the Newark School Board and the Newark Educational Success Board (NESB). Both boards have identified the future implementation of the DIP, and the QSAC process more broadly, as a step on the path towards the State’s granting of local control. They affirmed that the extensive efforts and thoughtful plan put forward by NPS this fall has been a significant step forward in that journey.

“The NESB received a detailed presentation of the District Improvement Plan (DIP) from Superintendent Cerf and members of his staff with direct responsibilities for components of the plan. NESB members asked questions and received clarifying information. We are optimistic Commissioner Hespe will accept this plan. The district’s efforts and actions in this necessary process were positive. The NESB will continue to monitor the progress of the district at the Department of Education” said Mary Bennett, chairperson of the Newark Educational Success Board.

Ariagna Perello, chairperson of the school board, also shared her commitment to supporting this plan. “The district’s responsibility is to ensure that the DIP is implemented so that we pass QSAC. The board is committed to monitoring the district’s compliance with the process.”

One commitment made by NPS in the improvement plan is to undertake a strategic planning process. The district will work with the respective boards in the coming weeks to provide more detail on how the community will be involved in the development of those plans.

Superintendent Cerf added, “We are partnering with our board members and will be working with the larger Newark community to help us identify key priorities, show progress on QSAC, and ultimately, the return of local control. Our responsibility is to the children and families we serve in this city, and this is an opportunity to ensure that as we push for this transition we are doing everything we can to prepare students for a successful future.”

The state has 30 days to review and approve the DIP. The DIP then serves as a foundational document to measure progress in the areas of Governance, Personnel and Instruction/Program. In addition to the plan, the district will use the feedback it receives through the strategic planning process to make operational improvements prior to the NJDOE visiting the district for its interim assessment in the spring of 2016.

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The Newark School Board is comprised of nine members who are locally elected to the Board in three-year intervals. Representing different professional backgrounds and parts of the city, the members are charged with reviewing and voting on a wide range of NPS policies and actions that impact NPS students.

The Newark Educational Success Board is comprised of nine members — five appointed by the governor, four by the mayor – who have a focused goal to set the city on the path toward regaining control of its schools.