NCSF Celebrates 10 Years of Promoting High-Quality Education for All City Students
[Newark, NJ—March 7, 2018] — Educators, students, government officials, philanthropists and other local leaders gathered last night to mark the Newark Charter School Fund’s (NCSF) first decade of service. The “Back to the Future!” themed event celebrated an accomplishment-filled past and challenged the charter school community to dream bigger and act bolder for the future of Newark’s students and families.
About 200 persons at the Newark Museum heard Mayor Ras Baraka, State Sen. Teresa Ruiz and other distinguished speakers reflect on the state of educational reform in Newark and the role NSCF has been playing since it was created to address the serious demand for high-quality school options.
Mayor Baraka said, “Focusing on young people is always the best option. I want to congratulate the Newark Charter School Fund on 10 years of success. “
Senator Ruiz added, “It’s not about the adults in the room, it’s about that one child; that one student. It’s about where they are today and where we can take them in the future.”
Keynote speaker Kinyette Henderson shared her inspiring experience from charter school student to teacher. She remembers, as a charter student, “Attending charter school wasn’t just a daily obligation for me. It was four years full of valuable moments. Valuable opportunities. Valuable individuals and valuable lessons.” As a charter teacher, she closed, “I am honored to be a part of this story…. There is no greater way to see a change than being that change.”
The event doubled as the seventh annual signing of the Newark Charter Schools Compact, a statement of common values and commitment by Newark’s charter schools to the city
Interim Newark Interim School Superintendent Robert Gregory noted, “The Newark Charter School Fund has been a collaborative partner of the district in achieving key goals: raising student achievement, increasing equitable access to schools, ensuring funding through residency verification, and improving instruction by sharing best practices. We look forward to continuing to work together to ensure all children in Newark get the education they deserve.”
Established in 2008, the Newark Charter School Fund is a non-profit organization that makes grants to support the quality, growth, and sustainability of Newark’s public charter school sector. The Fund’s mission is to improve education quality and options so that all Newark students can attend great schools in collaboration with the district’s efforts on behalf of public education in the city.
Today, public charter schools across New Jersey provide families from diverse racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds excellent educational opportunities. About 33% of Newark youngsters attend 19 public charters on 46 campuses in the city.
“It’s been 10 years since the founding of the Newark Charter School Fund, and what a remarkable decade it has been,” said Michele Mason, Executive Director of NCSF, summarized the purpose of the event. Once a set of individual pioneers seeking to provide better options for children, we are now a united movement creating collective impact—and catalyzing systemic change. Student achievement has grown, not only in charters, but across the city. Throughout, we have remained steadfastly committed to the values of quality, access, collaboration, and equity. We all know that our work is not finished until every child has a quality educational option. But our collective progress to date gives me confidence that in the next 10 years this goal can be achieved. So, let’s celebrate our progress so far—and look ‘back to the future.’”
Attendees also viewed a video retrospective on NCSF’s founding, accomplishments, and impact over the past 10 years. It highlighted key grantees, successful advocacy work, and the importance of universal enrollment in promoting excellence and opportunity.