Newark Charter School Fund Hosts Reception with Executive Director Michele Mason
[Newark, NJ – September 27, 2016] - The Newark Charter School Fund (NCSF), a non-profit organization that provides grants to support the quality, growth and sustainability of Newark’s public charter school sector, hosted a reception with NCSF Executive Director Michele Mason this morning at Panasonic Headquarters in Newark. The event was attended by a variety of education advocates and local community leaders, along with Newark Superintendent Christopher D. Cerf, who participated in the program.
“I am excited to be leading the Newark Charter School Fund during this momentous time when educators, parents, and community leaders are redefining the educational landscape across our city,” said Michele Mason, Executive Director of NCSF. “We are witnessing academic progress throughout Newark’s public schools, both district and charter, and I look forward to having the opportunity to work with Senator Ruiz, Mayor Baraka, Superintendent Cerf and education leaders throughout our great city to continue to improve educational outcomes for all of Newark’s children.”
Elected officials, business leaders, charter school and foundation leaders, and education advocates from across the city and state of New Jersey were brought together at the event. The reception highlighted the Fund’s commitment to fostering increased collaboration with Newark Public Schools and working in partnership with the broader Newark community in order to continue to produce substantive and transformational change for every child living in the city of Newark.
“Education is the great equalizer in our society; however, for those words to hold true, our children must first be provided with access to an excellent education,” said New Jersey State Senator M. Teresa Ruiz. “Michele is devoted in the fight for educational equity in our community and will continue to be a champion for Newark families as she leads the Newark Charter School Fund forward.”
Over the past several months, Executive Director Mason met with key stakeholders throughout the Newark community, including local leaders, educators and parents, allowing her to gather valuable feedback on their priorities and develop a better understanding of the significant progress the Fund has made over the past eight years and how it can continue to be a leader and partner to promote educational equity and excellence across the city. Moving forward, the Fund remains committed to four central themes: quality growth, access and equity, collaboration, and advocacy, while also spurring innovation.
“I look forward to working with Michele Mason in her role as a leader of the growing coalition dedicated to ensuring quality education for all of Newark’s children, whether in charter schools or our traditional public schools,” said Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka. “She is the right person at the right time to lead the Newark Charter School Fund."
Since its launch, NCSF has supported numerous efforts to foster collaboration between Newark’s district and charter schools. NCSF has been a significant partner in the citywide Newark Enrolls initiative, helping to bring the charter sector together to robustly participate in the program and support family engagement efforts.
“Collaboration across our city is vital for the success of our students and our community,” said Superintendent Christopher D. Cerf. “Newark leaders, educators, and families all embrace the idea of high-quality public schools, which is why partnerships are so powerful in our community. Michele understands that the success of our students depends on our ability to work together and I value the opportunity to work alongside her to make this a reality.”
The Newark charter sector ranks second out of 41 urban districts in reading and math impact, according to a Stanford University Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) 2015 study. Additionally, a 2015 study by the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) found that a majority of Newark charter school students are enrolled in schools that significantly outperform other schools throughout New Jersey with similar demographics. Data showed that more than 86 percent of Newark charter students are enrolled in schools that are considered to be “beating the odds” in math, and 76 percent that are “beating the odds” in reading. These studies further demonstrate that the Newark charter sector has made an undeniable impact on the quality of education in Newark and on the number of high-quality options available to the city’s families.
“On behalf of the Newark Charter School Fund board, I am thrilled to have Michele leading our organization forward as we continue to strengthen high-quality public school options for Newark families,” said Julia Bator, chair of the NCSF Board. “I am confident that Michele will build on the Fund’s progress, promoting the growth and stability of quality schools across this city in partnership with the district.”
“Today was a great opportunity for the Newark community to come together and begin an active dialogue on ways to work collectively to ensure all of Newark’s children and families have access to high-quality educational options,” Mason added.
Michele Mason began serving as the Executive Director of NCSF on April 25, 2016. She previously served as the deputy director of JerseyCAN, a nonprofit education research and advocacy organization that advocates for excellent education opportunities for all students, regardless of their zip code.
About the Newark Charter School Fund
Established in 2008, the Newark Charter School Fund (NCSF) 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 Newark’s public charter schools in order to provide all of Newark’s students with access to great schools in collaboration with district efforts to improve the quality of Newark public education.