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Achievers Early College Preparatory School’s charter petition for expansion was recently approved by the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE).
“On behalf of the Achievers Board of Directors and our scholars, parents and staff, we are thrilled that the State of New Jersey has shown confidence in our science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) early college program for the students of Trenton. Our school has persevered through the impacts of a global pandemic and the growth displayed on our 2022 NJSLA scores are a small testament to this,” said Board Chair Imebet Stewart.
Achievers opened its doors in 2018 with 70 sixth graders and has grown to serve 360 students from grades sixth through ninth. Last year, Achievers’ expansion petition was not granted. The school had only been in operation for four years and had one year of state testing from 2018 data to reflect students’ performance. The NJDOE cited academic scores based on the New Jersey Student Learning Assessments (NJSLA) as its reason for non-expansion at the time.
“We used several internal, vetted, reliable benchmarks throughout 2019-2022 to demonstrate that our students were learning. When a scholar was not logged in and that camera was off, we were on the phone calling them to join. When they logged off from one class and did not log into the other class, we were on the phone again with them and their parents. The fruit of this kind of persistence, and the in-person learning we did with our founding classes is a testament of our work and perseverance that is clearly evident on our 2022 Spring NJSLA scores,” said Co-Founder of Achievers Efe Odeleye.
Achievers’ academic program demonstrates a well understood trend in education: the longer a child is exposed to grade-level education, the more they grow. In 2018, students were 28 percent proficient in ELA. That number rose to 34.8% proficient in ELA in 2022, while the district attained 10.5% proficiency in ELA. In Math, Achievers students attained 9.6% compared to the district’s 6.4%.
“We still have room to grow. Like everyone, we are working through the impacts of the pandemic but we are thrilled that the Department of Education agreed that our families deserve continuity in a STEAM-focused environment that is getting results,” added Achievers Co-Founder and Executive Director, Osen Osagie “Getting students on these pathways early, reducing the financial burden of college by offering an opportunity to obtain an associate’s degree in applied sciences, helping students to find their focus, and making them college and career-ready with the help of industry and university partners—these are potentially game-changing opportunities we truly look forward to extending to all students and families in Trenton.”
“We appreciate the support from Mayor Gusciora, Assemblywoman Jackson-Reynolds, Assemblyman Verrilli, Senator Turner, and the Murphy Administration for support and confidence in enhancing our students’ academic achievements. We have always maintained that we are just one positive force among the myriad of good forces serving our scholars and families in Trenton,” emphasized Osagie.
Now that Achievers has its expansion, its Board of Directors, parent champions, and founding school leaders will begin activities including student enrollment, preparation of the initiation of facility, leadership and staff hiring, and generating support through community and family partnerships. Achievers Early College Preparatory School is a tuition-free, public charter school open to all students in Trenton, that will be able to serve 630 students in grades 6-12 over the next five years.
The guiding mission of Achievers Early College Preparatory School is to enable students to design a more equitable future for themselves by engaging in rewarding careers in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics while gaining early exposure to the world of work through internships and industry partner relationships. With its two and four year regional college partnerships, Achievers intends for students to matriculate in carefully curated community college courses in pathways that span engineering, digital media arts, computer science and biology.
(This is a press release.)