Parents, officials say One Newark enrollment 'better' on day 2

By Jessica Mazzola | NJ Advance Media, for
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on August 22, 2014

Parents at open enrollment in Newark.


NEWARK — Parents at Newark Vocational gave mixed reviews of Day Two of One Newark's open enrollment support center today, with many saying that the procedures in place were more organized, but that they were unhappy that their children’s registrations were not finalized.

Keeya Little, who could not get in yesterday to register her 5th grade daughter, said the process at the support center was a bit better today.

“It’s definitely more under control. It moved pretty fast. Yesterday, it was chaos out here.”

Though she was able to enroll her daughter, Little said she was confused as to why the registration process is not yet finished.

“We still have to go to their schools on the first day to register her, so I don’t really see what we had to do here. But, I do feel confident that my daughter will have a school to go to, so I feel good about that.”

Another parent, Marienette, who declined to give her last name, said school officials acted “efficiently” when enrolling her son.

“They treated us with care and patience,” she said. “It seems like they are trying to redeem themselves from yesterday.”

Mora Etienne, who just moved to Newark from NYC, said he was disappointed by attempting to enroll his daughter, a rising 9th grader, into Newark Early College.

“We are on the waiting list for the school,” he said after coming out of Newark Vocational today.

“And now we have to go to the school to register. I just think they could do this better. As a parent, you are expecting one thing from sending your child to school, and I thought this would be better. It makes me very anxious not to know exactly where my daughter will be when she starts school.”

School and government officials in Newark who have been arguing over Superintendent Cami Anderson's One Newark school initiative mostly agreed with parents today, saying that the enrollment process seems better, but that there is more work to be done to run enrollment more efficiently.

Mayor Ras Baraka, who has vocally opposed the plan, said he felt, "today because of our presence and the news and everyone else that it’s a little more orderly today. And I want to congratulate them for being orderly today. But the deep problems still remain."

Anderson said the center had not been expecting so many parents yesterday, and reacted today by bringing in additional staff.

"We defnitely awknowledge that our sytems were overloaded yesterday becaue we had an unancitpated number of folks arrive," she said.

"We were setup to do a test launch Thursday and Friday and just our systems were overloaded by the number of people."

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