Welcome back to school and to the Newark Trust Newswire, a timely and informative weekly round-up of the most important local, regional and national education stories.  Creating a common conversation is just one way in which the Newark Trust for Education fulfills its mission to coordinate and focus ideas, people and resources on the importance of quality K-12 education in Newark’s public schools. Be sure to read the Newark Trust Newswire every week and stay in the know.




State Allows Newark to Measure Academic Achievements in New Ways

The Christie administration approved two significant changes last month as it moves toward returning the state-run Newark public schools to local control: 1) the return of incremental authority to the local community over certain personnel powers, and 2) the use of a whole new metric for determining academic achievement in the district, an equivalency waiver from the existing state-monitoring regulations known as Quality Single Accountability Continuum (QSAC).

School in Newark Starts with Bottled Water, 98% of Teachers in Place
The district’s 35,000 public school students were met with a nearly full staff, many in buildings which received upgrades over the summer. Bottled water is abundant in the 30 school buildings whose water sources tested high for lead levels this spring.

Newark Community Leaders Unveil Details of Three-Year Strategic Plan
Newark Public Schools, the Newark Board of Education, the City of Newark and community leaders have unveiled the details of a new strategic plan focused on improving district performance in order to provide better opportunities and outcomes for all students. The strategic plan focuses on four major priorities and 18 targeted strategies to improve the district’s performance.

'Street Academy' Seeks to Steer Young Adults from Violence to GEDs
Mayor Ras Baraka launches the Newark Street Academy, a program providing education and job training to 16- to 24-year-olds who are out of school and unemployed. The state grant-funded academy aims to help young people who have not succeeded in a traditional academic environment.


“ARTS ED NOW” Campaign Launches Today!
The NJ-based Arts Ed Now campaign launched today during national Arts Education Week.
Spurred by a coalition of groups, this is a multi-year campaign designed to increase participation in arts education in schools across New Jersey. Studies show that students who participate in arts education do better in school and in life. Unfortunately, not all NJ students have the same access to arts education and despite state education standards, many schools lag behind in offering all four disciplines of dance, music, theater and visual arts.

A New Program Will Give 100 New York City Schools Extra Mental Health Training 
The 100 Schools Project will connect community-based organizations to 10 middle and high schools in Brooklyn and the Bronx, helping to train teachers and other staff members to recognize signs of distress and funnel students into the right mental health, behavioral intervention or substance abuse programs. Unlike programs that install mental health clinics within schools themselves, the project will instead focus on training and educating existing school personnel.

Senate Leader Sweeney Touts Statewide Pre-K in Trenton
New Jersey State Senate President (and potential gubernatorial candidate) Steve Sweeney touts his plan to expand the state's pre-K system, citing the importance and benefits of quality early childhood education programs.

Christie Administration Announces the Launch of the New Jersey Tiered System of Supports
The Christie Administration announces that the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE), in collaboration with educators, higher education representatives and parents, has developed a set of resources for districts to facilitate implementation of the New Jersey Tiered System of Supports (NJTSS), a multi-tiered framework for delivering instruction, academic and behavioral supports and interventions, and enrichment in a coordinated manner. A grant from the Office of Special Education Programs, United States Department of Education, will fund intensive coaching in 60 districts to implement NJTSS for early reading over a five-year period.

Why New Vocational Education Isn't Reaching Classrooms
Many traditional vocational programs have been replaced with more cutting-edge career and technical education (CTE) programs in New York State. As these schools navigate the complicated and slow path to state certification, some question whether the process is worth the effort.

Public Schools Brace for Likely Reforms After Connecticut Court Decision
A Superior Court ruling in Connecticut takes the state to task over funding inequities between wealthy and poor districts and requires a new formula for state aid according to need that will help “impoverished, challenged and disabled children.”



A Silent Epidemic: The Mental Health Crisis in Our Schools
September is Suicide Prevention Month. According to the American Association of Suicidology, suicide is the third leading cause of death for youth aged 10 to 24.  

Nationally, the numbers are staggering and interventions lacking.  In a series of articles and infographics, NPR refers to this as “A Silent Epidemic.”

Here in New Jersey, awareness is a critical component of suicide prevention.  New Jersey Department of Children and Families Commissioner Allison Blake recently shared the following resources with educators and administrators:

Schools can also help reduce suicide and suicidal behaviors among youth by encouraging staff to enroll in AAS’ School Suicide Prevention Accreditation Program.

50 Years Ago, One Report Introduced Americans to the Black-White Achievement Gap. Here’s What We’ve Learned Since.
Released in 1966, the Coleman report introduced Americans to the existence of a black-white achievement gap and theorized about what caused it. Widely-hailed as one of the most influential education research reports ever released, the 50thanniversary of the document provides a rich context for examining its conclusions.

Bridging the Cultural Divide Between Teachers and Students
The divide between America’s increasingly diverse student population and its mostly white teaching force is particularly large in urban districts, which can impact student performance due to personal biases and cultural misunderstandings. The Chicago Teacher Education Pipeline at Illinois State University aims to address this issue through STEP-UP, an intensive fellowship which replaces conventional cultural competency training with immersion.

Obama Administration to Schools: Stop Using Police to Enforce Rules
In the wake of troubling interactions between school resource officers and students, the Obama administration announced that it will require local police agencies to follow a new rubric if they want to receive federal funding for these positions. Leaders hope that the Safe School-based Enforcement through Collaboration, Understanding, and Respect will guide school districts and police agencies nationwide in developing and evaluating their school resource officer programs, which are typically funded on the state or local level.