Mashea Ashton Talks Newark, Cory Booker, and the Challenges of Launching Her Own School

This is a guest post by my friend and Colleague Maureen Kelleher. a senior writer and editor at Education Post where this piece first appeared. Her work has been published across the education world, from Education Week to the Center for American Progress. Mashea Ashton tells the truth, even when it’s hard. Almost three years ago, when she moved to Washington, D.C. to be closer to family, she initially rejected the idea of opening her own …

What I’ve Learned in 10 Years of Teaching at Newark’s KIPP Rise Academy

This is a guest post by Mark Joseph, a sixth-grade math teacher at KIPP Rise Academy in Newark, where he has taught for ten years. It was first published at Education Post. I am currently in my 12th year of teaching. I spent my first two years in The Bronx at P.S. 211 and have spent these past 10 years in Newark at Rise Academy. What follows is a series of recommendations to myself—the first, what …

New Community Advocacy Group Project Ready, Hosts “1,000 Newarkers Vote By Mail” Luncheon

I go to education-related events all the time but I’ve rarely been as inspired as I was Saturday in Newark. There, Shennell McCloud’s new community organization, Project Ready NJ, hosted a celebration of its successful first initiative: to get 1,000 Newarkers, mostly women of color, to register to vote by mail. Why? Because Shennell and her enthusiastic team believe voting is a critical issue of access and equity, as well as a key part of …

As Newark Changes, We Can’t Leave Our Children Behind

This is a guest post by A. Robert Gregory, Superintendent/CEO of the Marion P. Thomas Charter School network and fromer Interim Superintendent of Newark Public Schools. He’s part of the annual Future Chiefs leadership program by Chiefs for Change, a national nonprofit organization.  I remember it like yesterday, driving up Springfield Avenue from Metropolitan Baptist Church in Newark with my grandmother, Juanita Gregory, more than 30 years ago. She was a first-generation Newarker who loved and …

Just How Good Is Your Local School District? You Won’t Find Out By Browsing Ratings Sites. Spotlight on Princeton, Montclair, and Newark.

Over the weekend the Star-Ledger published a list of high schools with “surprisingly low scores” on school quality. Unlike the algorithms used by sites like the U.S. News and World Report ratings, which are limited to overall averages on tests like the SAT, New Jersey, like many other states, evaluates schools in a more granular manner (per federal education law), using a combination of student growth on standardized tests, graduation rates, and chronic absenteeism, the latter an indication …

I Want To Raise My Children In A World Where People of Color Are Empowered To Vote: Here’s How We Get It Done!

Shennell McCloud is the Executive Director of Project Ready, an organization which seeks to engage more Newark, NJ families in decision-making. She is the mother of a two-year-old and one-year-old and lives with her husband in Newark. While watching Stacey Abrams deliver a passionate, articulate, and fiery response to the State of the Union, all I could think was “how could this woman possibly lose the election for governor of her state?” The real reason …

“Without Braven, I Wouldn’t Be Where I Am Now.” A Partnership with Rutgers Helps First-Gen College Students “Achieve the American Dream.”

Here’s some warm news after the cold snap: Braven, a non-profit founded in 2013 with a mission to empower first-generation college students, particularly those of low-income and color, just issued a press release regarding its Newark program, which started in 2015: Braven-Newark today announced that Fellows who graduate from their university-embedded program at Rutgers University-Newark (RU-N) are outpacing their peers by 30 percentage points in strong economic opportunity attainment: six months after college graduation, 76 …

Why Young Men in Newark Make Me Infinitely Hopeful for the Future of Our City

This is a guest post by Antwann Brown who is in his second year working at KIPP NJ Rise Academy where he serves as the Assistant Dean of Students for 5th and 6thgrade. Before joining KIPP New Jersey, he worked at the Children’s Defense Fund where he focused on building language arts and literacy skills to underprivileged youth in Columbia, South Carolina. Brown has spent his life living in Irvington, NJ and is a graduate of …

A New Parent Advocacy Group Called “Project Ready” Launches in Newark: “It’s Time To Raise Our Voices,” says Leader Shennell McCloud

I first met Shennell McCloud, a tireless activist for the children and families of Newark, when she worked for KIPP New Jersey serving as Director of Recruitment and then as Director of Advocacy. We bonded personally over shared stories of our experiences with big-city public education (she in Newark, me in New York City) and having two children very close together. We’ve worked together professionally through her annual NJ Parent Summit and other Newark-based education-informed …

Just Picture These Scholars Tomorrow! KIPP Joins with District Schools To Celebrate Future Heroes

Yesterday KIPP Seek Academy students enjoyed a Halloween parade with children from two district schools, George Washington Carver Elementary and Bruce Street School. But this was not your typical Halloween celebration! Instead of ghosts and goblins, 1,100 children dressed in costumes that represented their hopes and dreams for the future. According to KIPP, spectators caught a glimpse of “our future police officers, doctors, teachers and even Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Astronaut Mae Jemison.” After the …