Trust's Committee of Advocates Convenes Forum on QSAC
The Quality Single Accountability Continuum, or QSAC as it is better known, has become a hot topic of debate in the last year for those involved in education in Newark.
In an effort to shed light on the issues surrounding the debate, the Newark Trust for Education's Committee of Advocates convened a panel discussion with some of the leading experts on QSAC, including those involved in a lawsuit against the state.
Trust Convenes Stakeholders to Learn More About First All-Girls School in Newark
The college-prep school, which would serve girls in grades six through 12, would be overseen by the district in conjunction with the Young Women's Leadership Network, which runs similar schools in East Harlem, Brooklyn, two in Queens and is opening its fifth New York City school this fall in the Bronx.
Anne Tisch, founder and president of the Young Women's Leadership Network, told the more than three dozen stakeholders gathered at the Newark Historical Society July 18 that it was important for the community to embrace the idea of the school, which is slated to open in the fall of 2013 with 80 students in the sixth grade.
Closing the Gap: Achievement vs. Creativity
Our children are growing up in a complicated, rapidly changing, and dangerous world. While we discuss whether or not there is a difference between “college” and “career” ready, and what knowledge and skills are needed to be considered prepared for either or both, the problems of the world await.
Our children will need to have a level of creativity that was not required to be successful working on a farm or in a factory. They will need a level of critical thinking that was not necessary before the manipulation of ideas became a fully funded science.
Our children will need a level of analytical reasoning that was not necessary to survive when there were clear answers to clear problems, or when the “good guys” were relatively easy to distinguish from the “bad guys.” If we are mindful of the skills and dispositions necessary for our children to thrive in the world in which they will live, successfully transforming low performing urban schools will propel the students they graduate far beyond the preparation level of the self satisfied, high performing suburban schools that continue to measure success against narrow, mid 20th century standards. What a surprising and righteous turn of events that would be.
Like so many non-profits with a mission that is larger than their capacity, we recently held a staff retreat to clarify the Trust’s 2012-2013 priorities. In full retreat mode, we selected an “offsite” location to help us stay focused on the “big picture” and not be distracted by the to do lists on our desks. We did not go and fly to Las Vegas to drink oversized margaritas in the name of “teambuilding.” We did not even call Harry to book a room and lunch at the Newark Club. We chose a place where we could be surrounded by the only real focus of our work, the reasons why we are here—We went to a school.
On April 20th the Trust’s staff met in a side storage room that also doubles as a classroom at the Discovery Charter Schools on Washington Street in downtown Newark. Discovery was launched by long-time, Newark Public School teacher Ms. Barbara Weiland and Dr. Irene Hall in the second round of charter approvals back in 1999. When you are inside of Discovery Charter School it is hard to imagine these two women existing outside of this space. Barbara Wieland moves between explaining the philosophy of the school to us and her perch—a chair with arms, placed on a rise overlooking the large big room that is the school. There, with a microphone in one hand and a mug of tea in the other, she orchestrates extraordinary learning experiences day in and day out. Her partner, Dr. Hall, seems to just appear in different parts of the school (or room) teaching, working with students, talking to visitors, or arranging for a tour. I get a sense that nothing happens here—not a move—that is not noticed by either one, or both of them.
Granted, it is a quirky place. It is not your usual kids in rows, raise you hands, bell ringing, go to math class then science, kind of school.