Ensuring High-Quality Education for Newark's Students
Steve Adubato talks with Roger León, Superintendent, Newark Public Schools, about the Clarity 2020 plan, which was created to address the challenges within the district and provide strategic ways to ensure students are receiving a high-quality education.
"Welcome to state of affairs, I'm steve adubato coming to you from the NJTV Studio in Newark,that's the Agnes Varis NJTV Studio. We are pleased to be joined by our good friend Roger Leon, Superintendent of the Newark Public School. It's good to see you. Good morning. How tough is that job? It's the most incredible job that I've ever had in newark school. Challenging though, because… I know it's rewarding. We talked about this before but one of the biggest challenges we face today is... Well just establishing expectations. Everyone wants everything done immediately, which is understandable. So but everything needs to actually occur at a particular time so people have the right ideas. It's just necessarily organizing the system so that we address the needs at the most appropriate time. Roger, how many students are we talking about? We have 37,000 students in Newark schools and an increase of about 800 from their previous year. Why the increase? Well I think that people are understanding that the schools in newark are designed to address the needs of their students, regardless of how their students come to the schools... that we are actually impacting them in a very profound way. And people are finding that enrolling them in our schools will accomplish whatever are the future dreams of their children. So let's do this before we get into a range of specific issues about students' performance and other related issues... Let me also share that we have a collaboration within our public schools through a program... a leadership program we do called “Stand and Deliver” for newark public youth... Excuse me, newark youth, and the public schools are involved as well as a group of non-profits, to help those students reach their potential. That being said... Hey, I talked to you right before we got on camera… Renovating the schools themselves... huge issue? Absolutely. Our oldest school was built 10 years before Abraham Lincoln was president and so you know not only addressing their needs but actually the request that we actually have a building... new buildings all throughout the city in every single ward, is an issue that is pressing us today. Economics of that? Definitely. So you know we have bond issues that will explain it. That's borrowing? That's borrowing. Technically, right now, the school district, as it's moving from state control corporation to local controls... still the schools development authority is the actual agency that builds our schools so as we're transitioning... we're transitioning in every aspect of it. There's a lot of work that we will need to do and money that we will need to save to actually build our schools. Superintendent, you have in fact brought in props? Yes. You have this... this is called NPS? NPS..."