Student at Newark School of Data Science & Information Technology Honored by National Nonprofit for Top Performance in College Courses

National Education Equity Lab Honor Society recognizes students from Title I high schools who have excelled in professor-led college courses from the nation’s top colleges

NEWARK, NJ (JANUARY 31, 2023) – The Newark Board of Education today announced that a student at the Newark School of Data Science & Information Technology has been named to the Honor Society of the National Educational Equity Lab (Ed Equity Lab), an education justice nonprofit that works to bridge the gap between high school and college for students from low-income communities. Honorees are scholars whose academic performance was in the top 20 percent of all scholars nationwide taking dual credit Ed Equity Lab courses, from schools including: Howard University, Stanford University, Princeton University, Wesleyan University, Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania, Georgetown University, Cornell University, Brown University, Spelman College, Barnard/Columbia University and Arizona State University.

“These scholars’ success in rigorous college courses reinforces the fact that talent is evenly distributed, opportunity is not. We aim to change that. Talented students from under-resourced high schools belong in the best matched schools for them, including our nation’s top universities,” said Leslie Cornfeld, Founder and CEO of the National Education Equity Lab. “Together with our high school and university partners, we’re empowering thousands of talented students around the country to show what they’re capable of, and to build the skills, credentials and the confidence to succeed in higher education and beyond.”

The Newark School of Data Science & Information Technology partnered with the National Education Equity Lab to offer a college-level dual enrollment Intro to Computer Science course through Stanford University. The scholar, tenth grader David Sawacha, will be honored at a virtual ceremony today featuring university professors, high school teachers, district leaders, National Ed Equity Lab board and CEO Leslie Cornfeld.

“We are extremely proud of David whose dedication and commitment exude excellence and demonstrates a model of focused determination of the students in Newark Public Schools,” stated Superintendent Roger Leόn. “Now everyone knows what we have known all along – our students can and do excel at the very highest levels.”

Former US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, an Ed Equity Lab board member, called this effort “game changing” for students. “Democratizing access to higher education in our nation has never been more critical. Efforts like this help us do just that.”


The Newark Public Schools is the largest school district in New Jersey and dates back to 1676.  The district currently enrolls over 38,000 students in 62 schools.  After more than two decades of state operation and upon return to local control in 2018, the district has opened 8 new schools under Superintendent León’s leadership with an additional portfolio of new options to be announced in the coming years.

The National Education Equity Lab is an education justice nonprofit that aims to democratize access to college by partnering with top colleges and universities to offer actual college credit-bearing courses in teacher-led Title 1 high school classrooms across the country. Participating students gain the opportunity to take actual college courses from top professors, with weekly live discussions led by university teaching fellows, co-taught by teachers at their high schools. Scholars earn widely transferable college credits and a transcript from the offering institution upon successful completion. Starting in 2019 with a single Harvard humanities course in 25 high schools, the Lab has now served more than 11,000 students in 90 cities across 32 states.