New Jersey Children’s Foundation and Newark Schools Join Together To Launch Newark Common AppNovember 3, 2022
Newark Education Advocates Roll Out Replacement For District’s Clunky Enrollment Platform To Honor Original Promises of SuperintendentNovember 4, 2022
This is a letter from Kyle Rosenkrans, Executive Director of New Jersey Children’s Foundation, to the Newark Board of Education and Roger Leon, Superintendent of Newark Public Schools.
Superintendent Roger Leon
Newark Board of Education
Dear Superintendent Leon,
Since its founding, the New Jersey Children’s Foundation has been a strong supporter and advocate of the Newark Enrolls system, and the principles and values underlying it. We have worked very hard with you and your office to facilitate the memorandum of understanding (MOU) signing process for a number of years, and have worked to keep schools committed to a collective system that makes enrolling in a school of their choice easy and accessible for all families.
In recent years however, the schools and families we work with have made it increasingly clear that they believe a simpler, more transparent, and equitable system of enrollment for Newark students is needed. Over the last few years some schools have exited the Newark Enrolls system, and others have suggested that they could follow suit. With this risk in mind, we engaged those schools and their families in a research and discovery process for what an alternative system could look like, and came up with a solution: a new platform called the Newark Common App.
Like other common enrollment systems, the Newark Common App will feature a centralized application, lottery, and waitlist. However, the new portal will provide Newark families and schools additional services such as: a state-of-the-art lottery system that is substantially equivalent to the current one but can also help student populations like English Language Learners, special education students, and homeless families access these schools; a quicker and easier user experience for families; new customer service approaches; policies that do not restrict accessibility; and a transparent data sharing and match system. We will also make great efforts to communicate with parents as to how they can navigate this change in the enrollment process, so as to avoid any confusion in the transition.
As of this writing, several Newark schools have agreed to use the Newark Common App this year and we therefore have the critical mass to launch this new initiative. So the time is now ripe for us to also invite the Newark Board of Education schools to join us in this venture, and we are extending the same invitation to all school systems in Newark. We are confident that this new platform can provide high quality service to your schools, and possibly at less cost than the current system. We understand that it may not be feasible to join this year but are more than willing to take whatever amount of time is necessary to make that collaboration a reality.
The city of Camden is a great example of this kind of collaboration–one where district, charter and renaissance schools participate in a third-party, non-profit-run enrollment system and we hope that one day Newark may reach the same outcome, with your partnership. We hope we can discuss this with you and your team in the near future.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Kyle Rosenkrans, Executive Director
New Jersey Children’s Foundation