Newark High School Students Celebrate Over 850 College Acceptances

The graduating class comes together to sing the school chant for the last time. Class of 2019 earned over 850 college acceptances combined
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A crowd of families, students, and teachers erupted in cheers and applause as 81 graduating seniors entered the school gym at Great Oaks Legacy Charter High School.

Students filled in their seats row-by-row, with smiles and grins on their faces as they high-fived each other, waved to a sea of loved ones and struck poses like they were welcoming paparazzi.

One parent jumped to her feet and loudly cheered as her daughter walked to the stage to announce the college she will attend this fall.

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These 2 Groups Are Giving Newark $920K to Promote Opportunity Zones

By REBECCA PANICO
May 21, 2019
TAPinto Newark

Rockefeller Foundation President Rajiv Shah speaks during the Forbes Opportunity Zones Summit at the Newark Museum.

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NEWARK, NJ - Newark is the first spot where Prudential Financial and The Rockefeller Foundation are hoping to show the nation that Opportunity Zones aren't just another big tax giveaway that will push out longtime residents. 

The two groups are giving Newark a $920,000 two-year grant to help attract investors to Opportunity Zones, designated economically depressed areas where private investors get tax incentives. Part of the funds will pay for a chief Opportunity Zone officer for the city to help prioritize transactions that will have the most impact.

Rajiv Shah - who heads the philanthropic foundation created in 1913 by the oil giant, John D. Rockefeller - shared the news today during the Forbes Opportunity Zones Summit at the Newark Museum. Newark will be the first of five other soon-to-be-announced cities to receive a cut of the total $5.5 million grant. 

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Oprah shows up to N.J. school, surprises students with $500,000 gift

Updated May 18, 2019

The blessings keep coming to West Side High School in Newark, where its principal, Akbar Cook, is removing barriers to education and making national news for how he cares about his kids.

Remember when Ellen DeGeneres had him on her talk show twice? She gave him $50,000 each time for his “Lights On” program that keeps kids off the street from 6 p.m. to midnight.

Well, Oprah Winfrey wants the lights to stay on for a long time, too. In a surprise visit Friday evening, Winfrey dropped in to say she is giving $500,000 to West Side’s summer initiative, which is also held during the school year on Friday nights.

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Broad Street Renamed to Mayor Kenneth A. Gibson Boulevard

Camille Gibson, the late Kenneth Gibson's wife, stands next to Mayor Ras Baraka (far right) holding a new street sign bearing her husband's name.
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NEWARK, NJ - The late Kenneth Gibson, Newark's first black mayor, once said, "Wherever American cities are going, Newark will get there first."

So it’s only fitting that Broad Street, one of the city’s main thoroughfares that has seen drastic changes in recent decades, was renamed today to Mayor Kenneth A. Gibson Boulevard. Right off the road, you can find Newark Symphony Hall, City Hall, Prudential’s headquarters, Military Park and new developments in the making.

The road has been known as Broad Street for hundreds of years in a city that is one of the oldest in the United States. Mayor Ras Baraka pointed out the thoroughfare was dubbed Broad Street at a time when slavery still existed.

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Newark Schools in All 5 Wards Suffering Water Damage

Newark School District is one of the oldest school systems in New Jersey, with many of its buildings over 100 years old. Scheduled repairs at Malcolm X Shabazz High School would cost over $7 million.
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NEWARK, NJ - Water entering through faulty roofs is causing damage to city schools in all five wards, a comprehensive walkthrough of Newark Public Schools facilities reveal.

“Where we see the most damage and see it in classrooms is where (water) infiltration has occurred,” said Mary Bennet, member of the facilities review team for NPS Clarity 2020. “That is a major issue across the district and it is also one of the bigger ticket items to repair.”

Superintendent Roger León called upon Bennet and Dr. Ray Lindgren, two Newark natives, and longtime educators, to complete a thorough facilities review identifying any deficiencies and critical issues. The duo presented their report last week along during the NPS Clarity 2020 report to the superintendent.

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Legionnaires’ outbreak ‘separate and completely’ different from city’s water woes, Newark mayor says

Posted May 8, 2019

The recent Legionnaires’ disease outbreak at a senior citizen building in Newark is “separate and completely” independent from the city’s troubles with its drinking water, Mayor Ras Baraka said Tuesday adding that the city continues to investigate the source of the bacteria that sickened three individuals.

“It is not given to people through drinking water, not given to people through taking baths. Those are two separate and completely different issues,” Baraka said of the disease during a press conference regarding the city’s effort to remediate elevated lead levels in the drinking water.

“Legionnaires would not be a problem as it relates to the water source, it would be a problem that occurred in a specific building once it gets into the water system in that building,” Baraka added.

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Baraka Rebukes State Attorney General for Stance on Civilian Review of Police Misconduct

Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose stands with Mayor Ras Baraka and state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal during a press conference in January.
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NEWARK, NJ - Mayor Ras Baraka today rebuked the state Attorney General for saying Newark "exceeded its authority" when it created a Civilian Complaint Review Board to investigate local police misconduct.

“If Newark’s Civilian Review Board violates the Attorney General’s guidelines – and we don’t believe that it does – it is time for those guidelines to be updated to permit the kind of civilian investigation of police misconduct that takes place in New York and other cities," Baraka said in a statement. 

Attorney General Gurbir Grewal filed a brief in an ongoing lawsuit between the city and Newark’s Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 12 over the board’s power. In 2016, the 11-member board with subpoena power was created by the city to recommend discipline for police.

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City’s big fix to lead water crisis is here. But it could take another 6 months to work.

Posted May 7, 2019

Newark’s major fix to its lead water crisis finally began Tuesday, as city officials released a new mix of chemicals in its distribution system to better protect its residents — and those of nearby towns — against elevated levels of lead contaminant.

But the changes likely won’t have a significant effect on the system for another six months or up to a year, officials said.

“We’re not out of the woods yet,” said Kareem Adeem, Acting Director of Newark’s Water and Sewer Department, while speaking with Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine McCabe at press conference. “It’s going to take a while for it to optimize.”

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Charter schools say district sent them fewer students -- denying them the funding that comes with them

This story was originally published by Chalkbeat, a nonprofit news organization covering public education. Sign up for their newsletters here: chalkbeat.org/newsletter

The fate of a system that allows Newark families to use a single application to apply to most traditional and charter schools in the city is in question after several charter operators accused the district of misusing the system to lower their enrollments.

A group of seven charter operators sent Superintendent Roger León a letter last week saying the district sent them “significantly fewer students” than they had requested, in the process denying the schools the funding attached to those students. Through a spokesperson, León said the district simply assigned the schools the maximum number of students allowed by their state-approved charters.

The dispute centers on Newark’s citywide enrollment system, now in its sixth year, which enables families to use a single application to apply to more than 70 schools run by the district and participating charter school operators. Designed to standardize and streamline admissions across schools, the system relies on a computer program controlled by the district.

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Social Justice Activist Leads New Education Foundation in Newark

Kyle Rosenkrans is the founder and CEO of New Jersey Children's Foundation. The organization wants to invest in people, programs, and partnerships that will improve public education systems.
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NEWARK, NJ - Growing up in Sussex County, Kyle Rosenkrans always knew he was going to college because of his mother.

She attended college for one semester but returned home to find a job when the family couldn’t afford the tuition. She wanted a different life for her son, one she decided education could provide, and used what she learned to help her son.

With support from his mother throughout the process, Rosenkrans became the first in his family to graduate from college. Now he’s taking on her push to help others by leveraging lessons learned in Newark to improve K-12 public school systems in New Jersey so all students have a chance to do the same.

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