NEWARK, N.J.—National and local education leaders today took the first step toward creating a pipeline to educate, train and prepare future teachers, and to diversify the teacher workforce with the launch of Newark Public Schools Teacher Education Academy. The launch of the academy was led by the Newark Board of Education and Superintendent Roger León, Mayor Ras J. Baraka, President of Montclair State University Dr. Susan A. Cole and American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten. John Abeigon, president of the Newark Teachers Union, legislators, educators and students also participated in the launch of what will be New Jersey’s largest school district’s first teacher academy.
Superintendent León said: “When I became superintendent, I made a commitment to transform educational opportunities for our students and to identify partners who shared our passion to expand our community of student scholars. Today represents the beginning of a new chapter for our schools, as we launch this, the first in a series of high school academies that will connect Newark public school students to promising futures, starting with the Newark Teacher Education Academy. Together, we are preparing our students to be the best teachers in Newark, in New Jersey and anywhere in America.” He added, “Thank you to President Cole of Montclair State University, President Weingarten from the American Federation of Teachers, Mayor Baraka and everyone here for being our partners to transform Newark public high schools and create pipelines of progress.”
The Teacher Education Academy will be located at Newark’s East Side High School. The launch begins the planning phase for the academy, which is expected to open in 2020.
Additional high school academies will be announced over the coming months.
Mayor Baraka said: “As a 22-year educator in the Newark Public Schools system, I know how critical it is to teach, mentor and inspire effectively in the classroom. Teachers do more than merely correct tests and read students’ essays. By their every word in the classroom, they create future generations of scientists, entrepreneurs, doctors, engineers and leaders who will create the strong Newark we want to see. So we must place future teachers in our classrooms who are prepared for this immense challenge and can educate and inspire our children through example. I welcome the Teacher Education Academy to Newark and urge any student who has felt the call to commit to this great profession to attend the academy.”
Montclair State University will help design a curriculum to prepare students for a career in teaching. In addition, the university will provide adjunct professors to teach students. Internships for students will be available as well. The Teacher Education Academy will be housed at East Side High School, the city’s largest high school with more than 2,000 students. Partner high schools to East Side are Newark’s University High School’s Media Studies Academy and Arts High School’s Arts Academy. Both academies also will be housed at East Side High School. Graduates of the Teacher Education Academy will receive a substitute certificate and college credits upon completion.
Dr. Cole said: “Montclair State University has been deeply engaged in working with the Newark Public Schools for many decades in a number of school and curricular reform efforts, bringing millions of dollars in federal grants to support the preparation of the highest-quality teachers for Newark schools, and in the education of committed and talented school leaders, including Superintendent Roger León. This new collaboration, a Teacher Education Academy in East Side High School and University High School, will take another important step forward, providing Newark with an academically rigorous and innovative pathway to grow its own future teachers.”
The Teacher Education Academy will prepare Newark public school students for careers in education and create a pipeline of diversity in education to reflect the state of New Jersey and the nation. The academy will also create an environment that makes a teaching career in education a destination for high school and college-bound students.
AFT President Randi Weingarten said: “Today, we take an important step in Newark with the broader education community in New Jersey to grow the educator workforce and diversify the pipeline of people entering the profession through a new grow-our-own program. We are excited to collaborate on this program, which addresses the critical challenge of diversifying the teacher workforce in our classrooms and providing educators with the tools they need to stay in the profession and to succeed. The teaching academy at East Side High School can be the center of a virtuous cycle that prepares Newark’s youth to excel in a high-quality teacher preparation program and return to their community to teach—equipped with the skills and the will to make every public school worthy of the next generation of students. This partnership is what real collaboration looks like: all parties on board reflecting the leadership and diversity of the community, and all committed to moving a powerful vision and a plan that puts schools at the heart of their communities.”
“On behalf of the members of the Newark Board of Education,” said Chairperson Josephine C. Garcia, “thank you to Montclair State University, the American Federation of Teachers and Mayor Baraka for their commitment to our students and our district. We look forward to launching this and the other high school academies.”