Talk about getting into the Thanksgiving spirit! Last Wednesday Uncommon Schools, which runs New Jersey public charter schools in Camden and Newark, joined forces with the Woodland Community Development Group to donate 100 winter coats, 60 pairs of black shoes, and 30 Thanksgiving baskets to needy students who attend Camden Prep.
“We are grateful for the Woodland Community Development Corporation’s generosity in ensuring our children and families have the resources needed this winter and holiday season,” said Giana Solomon, Director of Regional & Community Initiatives. “This gives true meaning to the phrase ‘it takes a village.’”
Uncommon Schools founded Camden Prep in 2014 as a public “Renaissance School” under the NJ Urban Hope Act. Camden Prep is a free neighborhood school open to all Camden city residents in partnership with the Camden City School District. Uncommon currently operates Camden Prep Mt. Ephraim Elementary and Middle School, and Camden Prep Copewood Elementary School. An additional middle school and a high school will be opened in future years. Camden Prep will grow to eventually serve more than 2,000 Camden students in grades K through 12, approximately 20% of all K-12 students in the city.
Camden Prep currently serves grades K-7 at 1650 Copewood Street and is the highest performing renaissance or district school in the city. About 97% of Uncommon Schools Camden Prep students qualify for free or reduced price lunch.
When Camden Prep first opened, only 4 percent of students tested proficient in English language arts and only 3 percent were proficient in math. In September Camden Prep proudly announced that its students’ PARCC scores beat the state average for the first time in math, with 52 percent meeting or exceeding the bar for proficiency. And the children came close in English, at 49 percent, just a few points below the state average.
Camden Prep parents describe what receiving a helping hand means for their their family. “I love this school. Everyone is so supportive and this means so much to us,” said Noreen Owens, a parent of a four children that attend Camden Prep. “It shows that they aren’t just here to teach our kids but to also help us as parents. It really feels like we are a big family.”