NPS Connects More Than 6,000 Students to Academic Enrichment Programs and Field Trips throughout the Summer

Students Participate in Programs in New Jersey, Massachusetts and China

Students at NPS Summer Plus Programs show off completed enrichment projects and work to finish others.


[NEWARK, NJ – August 24, 2017] – More than 6,000 Newark students participated in academic enrichment programs hosted by the Newark Public Schools this summer. In addition, the district worked with partner organizations to ensure students gained access to distinct opportunities outside of their schools, including a study abroad program in China; a summer fellows program at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts; a scholarship STEM program at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, and many other programs throughout New Jersey.

“This has been an extraordinary summer of engagement for Newark Public Schools students,” said Superintendent Christopher D. Cerf of NPS. “Not only has our Extended Learning Time and Summer Plus staff once again directed free, high quality programming for students to take advantage of throughout the city, our students also gained access to study-abroad and out-of-state programs that will have a lasting impact on their futures.”

NPS Academic Enrichment Programs

Students at NPS Summer Plus Programs show off completed enrichment projects and work to finish others.
Students at NPS Summer Plus Programs show off completed enrichment projects and work to finish others.

Newark Public Schools (NPS) and the Office of Expanded Learning Time’s (ELT) Summer Plus and summer learning programs built on previous years to offer an expanded range of programming directly to Newark children. Over 3,000 students participated in the district’s core academic enrichment program for K-8 Students, Summer Plus, which ran from July 10th to August 4th. This year the program included a component called English Plus, a program for English language learners, as well as a program focused specifically on improving literacy skills for rising 2nd grade students reading below grade level.

In addition, NPS offered classes for high school students at Central and Science Park High Schools that provided students with an opportunity to make up credits and take courses for enrichment. There was also a program called ‘Summer Chill’ available to high school students from 3-6pm each day to participate in a range of skill development and varying activities including science, television production, film, dance, mural design and a number of field trips.

“It was very important for us to expand the offerings we provided this summer for every age group and to create a myriad of programs that were fun, engaging and educational,” noted Sarah Cruz, Executive Direct of Expanded Learning Time at NPS. “Our goal is to make sure that all Newark children know that they can continue to learn and grow during the summer months.”

Scholarship Opportunities Outside of Newark

Students also took advantage of opportunities to learn and grow outside of Newark. Two Science Park High School students; senior Abdul-Basit Ajeigbe and 2017 graduate Ruby Chen were selected by United States Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), Newark Public Schools and the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) to participate in a highly competitive program abroad. The students were recipients of the 2017 Booker Scholar Award, named in honor of Senator Booker, which provided full scholarships for the program. Both students were selected based on academic merit and eagerness to learn how to navigate a new language, connect with people from different cultures and impact global issues.

Three students from Arts High School; clarinet player Shamar McPherson; bass player Joel Sanchez and saxophonist Jalin Shiver, attended a Five Week Summer Performance Program at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. The Arts High students joined students from 70 countries participating in the summer fellows program, which included studies in a number of musical focus areas, opportunities to work with visiting artists and perform concerts for their peers in state of the art facilities.

NPS also partnered with the Stevens Institute of Technology and PSEG to provide full scholarships to 15 students who were admitted to the Stevens Institute for Technology’s competitive Pre-College Summer Programs. The summer programs at Stevens span unique subjects such as computer science, pre-medical science, game design and entrepreneurship, and engage students in hands-on projects with Stevens’ industry expert faculty.

Enrichment Programs Provided by Newark Partner Organizations

Many other Newark programs brought students experiences that expanded learning far beyond classroom walls. The summer’s 21st Century Program, geared for middle schools, focused on college and career readiness and included field trips to seven college campuses, including Columbia University in New York. More than 500 students participated in the Explore Newark, initiative, sponsored in part by the Victoria Foundation, that brought students in contact with Newark artists and sites all around Newark that helped them learn about the city.

“One of our goals is to engage Newark school children in a way that raises their level of excitement around community and education, while also improving educational outcomes,” said Irene Cooper-Basch, Executive Officer of the Victoria Foundation. “Our partnership with NPS allows us to fulfill our mission while also empowering young people to be their very best as students and later as productive and engaged adults.”

Lastly, hundreds of students participate each year in Pre-College programs at local universities NJIT and Rutgers-Newark, and in programs sponsored by local institutions like the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, where students participate in the Alvin Ailey Dance Program.

Superintendent Cerf concluded, “We want to thank all of our partners for the great work they do for Newark students. With all of these programs, Newark is a happening place to be in the summertime.”

6,000 Newark Kids Participate in NPS Summer Programs