NPS Brings Community Based Organizations and Elected Officials Together to Kick Off Strategic Planning Process

Meeting provides community members with overview of engagement process, and training for facilitators

[January 14, 2016 – Newark, New Jersey] – Newark Public Schools (NPS), along with members of the Newark School Board, the Newark Municipal Council, and community based organizations, held a meeting last night to kick off the strategic planning engagement process. These open community forums are part of the broader strategic planning process that was announced in November of 2015, and is expected to run through June of 2016. The primary goals of the process are to engage the community in a dialogue about the future of the district, use that feedback to identify a path forward that will lead to improved educational outcomes for Newark students, and to outline how to make progress towards this goal while continuing to move towards local control.

“We are excited to work with our community partners to engage parents, students and educators about the best path forward for the district,” said Christopher D. Cerf, Superintendent of Newark Public Schools. “We want to hear directly from members of our community in these forums on what they believe are the best strategies to ensure a successful future for our school children.”

The district announced the dates they will be hosting community forums and provided training for members of those organizations who will act as facilitators throughout the process. The purpose of the community meetings is to discuss how the district can best plan for success in the years ahead. These engagement meetings are open to the public and will take place over the next several weeks in each ward across the city, culminating in a final meeting to share the feedback that was collected at these individual gatherings.

The district shared the following forum dates and community partners:

Date & Time Location CBO Partner Ward Council Partner
Thursday, January 21
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
East Ward: East Side High School
238 Van Buren Street
Newark, NJ 07105
Ironbound Community Corp(ICC) Office of Augusto Amador
Thursday, January 28
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
West Ward: West Side Campus
403 South Orange Avenue
Newark, NJ 07103
Newark Fairmont Promise Neighborhood(NFPN) Office of Joe McCallum
Wednesday, February 3
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
North Ward: Barringer High School
90 Parker Street
Newark, NJ 07104
La Casa de Don Pedro Office of Anibal Ramos, Jr.
Thursday, February 4
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Central Ward: Quitman Street Community School
21 Quitman Street
Newark, NJ 07103
United Way of Essex & West Hudson(UWEWH) Office of Gayle Chaneyfield-Jenkins
Wednesday, February 10
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
South Ward: Malcolm X Shabazz High School
80 Johnson Avenue
Newark, NJ 07108
Strong Healthy Communities Initiative Office of John S. James
Thursday, February 3
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
All Wards: Central High School
246 18th Avenue
Newark, NJ 07108
All All
“These forums will be a great opportunity for the larger Newark community to have a meaningful conversation about how to create a framework for long-term success for our school system,” said Margarita Muniz, Executive Director of the Office of Family and Community Engagement. “Our team is looking forward to an open exchange of ideas from all members of our community.”

Throughout the coming year, the district will continue to move forward with wide-ranging engagement efforts across Newark. In addition to the collaboration taking place through the engagement meeting facilitation, the district will work directly with the Newark School Board, and will be reaching out to various district and community stakeholders to solicit input through one-on-one and small group conversations.

Superintendent Chris Cerf speaks to community partners at a training on Wednesday, January 13. These partners will be leading open community forums in the coming weeks as part of the strategic planning process.

“We are excited work with the district to engage the community and hear their feedback.” said Councilwoman Gayle Chaneyfield Jenkins. “It is extremely important for the community to be involved, and we support the district’s efforts and actions, and are ready to collaborate with them to identify the direction the district should be headed, and what priorities will get us there.”

“The Newark community has a great desire engage in a conversation about what is best for their schools,” added Superintendent Cerf. “Our educators and community members are critical to the success of this process and we are optimistic these meetings will create an open and honest dialogue about how we can work together to improve our school system and lay the groundwork for our long-term success.”

Since joining the district in July 2015, Superintendent Cerf and the NPS staff have been actively engaged in conversations with the community about the district’s strengths and weaknesses. These forums will build on those conversations and formalize the feedback the district is receiving from the community. In addition to the in-person community meetings, a survey will be sent out to parents and community members in the coming weeks that will provide another medium for families, school staff and community members to give input.

For more information about the locations of the community engagement meetings, or any other details related to the Strategic Planning Process please visit: