VIDEO: Newark Non-Profits Join Hands To Battle Student Learning Loss

The research is clear: if school districts are serious about helping students recover from learning loss due to pandemic-interrupted schooling, the most important tool is high-dosage tutoring in math and reading. But schools can’t do it alone; community groups must step up. Need a role model for this endeavor? Look to Newark.

 In NJER TV’s newest episode, three representatives from three different non-profit sectors give us a blueprint of what happens when community groups collaborate in ways that really help kids.

Here, Newark Teachers Union President John Abeigon, Reverend Dr. David Jefferson, Sr. of the Metropolitan Baptist Church, and New Jersey Children’s Foundation (NJCF) Executive Director Kyle Rosenkrans explain the community-wide model they’ve created for students throughout Newark, regardless of what school they attend. “High-dosage tutoring,” Rosenkrans explains, provides an “inordinate advantage over any other intervention and strategy.”

Pastor Jefferson says Newark students are suffering from a 12-month gap between where they should be academically and where they are. Indeed, internal testing shows that only 6% of Newark district students in grades 3-7 are proficient in math and fewer than 10% are proficient in reading. The challenge, then, is to scale up programs like the pilot last winter between the Church, NJCF, and Greater Oaks Legacy Charter School Network that provided high-dosage tutoring to a group of 9th and 10th graders. 

How does this work? By all community groups—government, schools, non-profits, faith institutions, and parents— working together and “declaring a war,” as Abeigon says, on learning loss. Leaders must work with families not just in school but where they live and worship, working across the community and school structure.

Much of this innovative programming will be highlighted on Wednesday, June 29th at 7 pm,  during an live-streamed town hall moderated by Catherine Carrera of Chalkbeat. The event is sponsored by NJCF and the Metropolitan Baptist Church and called “Waging the War on Learning Loss: Getting All Hands On Deck.” More information is here.

“This is an opportunity,” says Pastor Jefferson. “If we all come together there is nothing we can’t do.”

Laura Waters

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