Welcome to this week's education news round-up.


Campaign Central
The election for the NPS Advisory Board is fast approaching and the deadline for voter registration is tomorrow – March 29th. To help navigate the registration and voting process, the Trust created a simple and easy to follow voter guide, which provides you with important information.  Please view it here.
Don't miss the opportunity to hear candidates address questions about our schools and their plans for the future.  Register now for our free Candidates Forum on April 5th from 6 to 8 PM.  


Will the State Pay $20M to Get the Lead Out of Newark’s Water Infrastructure?
Supporting the Mayor’s call for an overhaul of Newark’s water system, Assemblywoman Grace Spencer proposed a bill to redistribute $20 million from the State’s Clean Energy fund, to update the city’s water supply infrastructure. 

 In response to the crisis, a number of students at Weequahic High School staged a silent protest to raise awareness about the situation. Read more here.

For information on where to get children tested, please visit the district’s website or learn more here.

Education Takes Center Stage at Senate Budget Hearing
In response to the Governor’s proposed budget for FY 2015, educators, community members, and parents from across the state testified at the Senate Budget and Appropriations committee hearing, calling for additional funding and resources for New Jersey’s schools.

My Brother’s Keeper Newark Connects City Boys with Connected Devices 
Through funding from local and regional foundations, My Brother’s Keeper Newark recently announced its Connect Newark program, an initiative that aims to provide Newark youth and families with greater access to the Internet, thereby creating more educational and job opportunities for young men.

A Whole New Meaning For The Black Hoodie
St. Benedict’s Prep was recently featured on 60 Minutes. The segment highlighted the ways in which the school has successfully created a supportive and disciplined atmosphere for young men of color.

Mayor Baraka's Education Forum         
In partnership with local community-based organizations, the City of Newark will host an Education Forum tonight, March 28th from 6:00p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at Central High School.


When is 2016 PARCC Testing in New Jersey?

New dates for 2016 PARCC testing have been announced.  Across the state, the test will be administered to students in grades 3 – 8 from April 4 to May 13, and for high school students, between April 11 – May 20. High-school students with blocking schedule will be tested from April 25 to June 3.

 As in the previous year, current high school students do not have to take PARCC in order to graduate.

Considering Opting Out of PARCC? Make Sure You Get Your Lawn Sign
Only in its second year, the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exams continue to face organized community opposition, most notably from the New Jersey Kids and Families and Save Our Schools NJ. 

In light of the 2016 testing, which will begin next week,NJ Kids and Families printed and distributed 1,000 lawn signs “Our Family Refuses PARCC while Save Our Schools NJ will continue its grassroots campaign against the administration of statewide-standardized tests.

More Voices Join Call for Statewide Testing of Drinking Water in Schools 
The New Jersey School Boards Association and the New Jersey Association of School Administrator are backing two new bills, which call for statewide testing for lead in school drinking water.

Legislature’s Resolution Prompts Demand To Fully Fund Abbott Districts
The State Assembly and Senate passed a joint resolution that rejected the Governor’s proposed changes to the School Funding Reform Act (SFRA). Those opposed to the changes argue that such changes would reduce funding available for disadvantaged students across New Jersey.

Applications for New Farm School Award and Recognitions Program Available
Accepting applications until June 1, the Jersey Fresh Farm to School Recognition and Award Program will recognize schools that are working with farmers and their communities to increase student’s access to healthy and fresh, fruits and vegetables.



Music Mogul Diddy Has a New Job: Charter School Founder
Growing voices in education philanthropy now include Sean "Diddy" Combs with his announcement of the opening Capital Preparatory Harlem Charter School this fall for grades 6-12.  Learn more about the school here: http://wearecapitalprep.org/

Some Cities are Making Great Strides in Educating Low-Income Students 
A new report from Education Cities that compares the achievement gaps in 42 states and major cities around the country, found that only two in 10 low-income students from big cities go to schools where they perform at the same level as students from more affluent neighborhoods.

Read the full report here.

How to Graduate More Black Students
Education Trust has published a recent report which takes a look at the graduation rates for African American students at four-year, public institutions across the country. Despite a widening and persistent gap, the report shares best practices learned from a number of institutions that have been successful in meeting the needs of all students.

Toxic Stress and Trauma Endanger Children
The recent and tragic death of Jamyla Bolden, a fourth grader from Ferguson, MO, has brought added attention to the impact that toxic stress and continual exposure to traumatic events can have on a child's brain development.

Teen's Google Doodle Honors Black Heritage
Akilah Johnson, a 10th grade student from D.C’s Eastern Senior High School, was one of 53 winners selected from 100,000 submissions for “Doodle 4 Google,” a k-12 young artist competition. As her prize, Akilah will be awarded with a $30,000 college scholarship, while her school will receive a $50,000 education-technology grant.

When asked of her inspiration for her doodle, which weaves her childhood experiences and personality to celebrate African- American heritage, she replied with a quote, “Be the type of person that not only turns heads but moves souls.”