This article originally ran in a special four-page section produced by the Newark Charter School Fund in Local Talk News.
At North Star Academy Charter School’s Elementary Campuses in Newark, mornings begin with an activity called Community Circle. Students assemble and form a procession to the beat of a djembe drum. Each class marches stoically to the circle, lead by scholars bearing class flags and banners displaying their grade level.
Once the students are seated, the ritual explodes into a “joyous chorus of class fight songs, motivational call and response and academic chants.” School principals dash around the circle asking students not only to answer questions, but to do so “loud and proud.”