Newark Trust for Education Launched to Ensure Quality Education in Newark
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The Newark Trust for Education, an independent, permanent non-profit local education fund focused on ensuring a quality education for all Newark children, today announced its launch and unveiled a list of 11 initiatives and programs that are working in Newark schools.
Ross Danis, the former associate dean of education at Drew University's graduate school and the newly appointed executive director of the Newark Trust for Education, said the organization will be different from all other groups in Newark focused on reforming education in the city.
"We have seen in other cities such as New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., and Paterson, the difference that a local education fund has made in improving the quality of public schools," said Price, who is also the director of the Institute on Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience at Rutgers-Newark. "We have high expectations that the Newark Trust for Education will do the same for public schools in Newark."
Shavar Jeffries, the president of the Newark Public Schools Advisory Board, said the district supports the work of the Newark Trust for Education.
"It is going to take more than big ideas to educate our children," Jeffries said. "Our schools will look to organizations like the Newark Trust for Education to build a bridge between theory and reality, and between policy and practice. Supporting the district, other non-profits, and community leaders and policymakers, the Newark Trust for Education can help turn big ideas into great schools."
The Newark Trust for Education's board comprises leaders of Newark's education, community, business and philanthropic communities. The organization's startup funding comes from the Prudential Foundation, the Victoria Foundation and the Schumann Fund for New Jersey.
In the last few months, Newark has been the focus of national attention because of a $100 million matching fund donation from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. But Danis noted the donation is not the only effort to improve education in Newark.
"In addition to significant taxpayer dollars, well-intentioned groups for years have poured money and resources into Newark schools," Danis said. "While many of these programs are individually effective, children will benefit from coordinated efforts. We see our role as working in partnership with the district to ensure resources are focused on instruction. We also intend to assist funders, service providers, and university partners to allocate services and resources for maximum impact."
As part of its mission, the Newark Trust for Education identified 11 programs and initiatives succeeding in Newark. One program is the Children's Literacy Initiative, a Philadelphia-based non-profit organization that has been successfully training primary grade teachers in Newark in how to improve reading and literacy skills for more than a decade.
The Newark Trust for Education highlighted the Children's Literacy Initiative today at the Mt. Vernon School, whose language arts teachers have been trained through the program.
"There is a great need and role for the Trust," said Caryn Henning, a regional manager for the Children's Literacy Initiative. "The Newark Public Schools district will now have a strong partner to help communicate to the community at-large which programs need and deserve support and scaling up. The Trust will also be able to provide the District access to the whole Local Education Fund Network where they can hear from other Districts, and share their own experiences, in what really works."
Other initiatives and programs on The Trust's "Top 11 in 2011" list are: universal preschool, Brick Academy, the Global Village School Zone, the YE2S Center, MET Schools, the charter school movement, the Newark Montclair Urban Teacher Residency Program (NMUTR), the New Jersey Center for Teaching and Learning's Progressive Science Initiative, Teach for America, and the Newark Schools Research Collaborative.
"The New Year is filled with the promise of reform, as the spotlight is on Brick City due to the commendable efforts of Mayor Booker, and the generosity of Mark Zuckerberg and other funders," Danis said. "As we embark on this New Year, we resolve to build on what is already working, coordinate efforts and align resources in order to achieve the goal of a quality education for all Newark's children."
Danis, who has more than 30 years of experience as an educator in New Jersey, said he is aware the Newark Trust for Education has its work cut out.
"Newark is facing a crisis in education," Danis said. "There is no single magic bullet to improve education in the city. There are many visionaries; what we need are mechanics who know how to get the job done. We intend to roll up our sleeves to help remove roadblocks to lasting reform."
For more information about the Newark Trust for Education, visit newarktrust.org.