University Heights Charter School Announces State Intends to Revoke its Charter

The DOE did not issue a press release on its decision and could not be reached after hours for comment.

The school’s test scores in 2018-2019 were underperforming compared to Newark Public Schools and the state. But the school noted that the tests were taken before the arrival of a new administration and the implementation of certified teachers.

“The University Heights Charter School firmly believes that the Commissioner’s decision was misguided, unfair, based on inadequate data and inexcusably late, to the severe detriment of hundreds of children and staff,” the school said in its statement. 

Closing the school “will create an enrollment nightmare” and bring disorder to its 700 students, who will be required to enroll in district schools through Newark Enrolls, the statement said.

“The matching of the students to other schools is already closed and the sudden addition of students would either displace other children or result in over-crowded schools,” the school said in its statement.

University Heights, which was founded 16 years ago, has been plagued by academic troubles in recent years. The school was placed on probation in 2019 because it “failed to maintain a high-quality education and has declined in academic achievement.”

Its charter was renewed with a continued probation on February 3, 2020 for a period of five years through June 30, 2025. At the time, another underperforming charter school, M.E.T.S. was shuttered by the DOE.

In 2020, the school’s Board of Trustees hired new school leaders and “created numerous educational and social programs, including the return of music and art classes, free tutoring sessions for all students, a Before and After Care program, a new library, a summer reading program, and parent engagement workshops that are held on various occasions and have resulted in positive outreach, relationships and communication with the families and the entire community.” 

Among the many increased events for the students are award ceremonies, spelling bee contests and educational field trips, the school said. 

“Additions to the school district’s staff to support the students’ social emotional learning included attendance and school counselors, as well as and parent coordinators,” the school said.

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published this page in News and Politics 2022-06-03 03:04:13 -0700