Faith-Based Partnership Helps Address Need for High Dosage Tutoring For Newark Students

Newark, New Jersey – Newark’s Metropolitan Baptist Church, Great Oaks Legacy Charter School, and the New Jersey Children’s Foundation (NJCF) announced today that a grant from Prudential Financial will guarantee the continuation of “Newark Unites Tutoring Center,” throughout the school year. Last Fall, after a series of reports showed widespread learning loss throughout the state, the faith-based initiative was launched as a pilot, providing free tutoring and support to 9th and 10th graders from Newark.  During the first half of the school year, the Newark Unites Tutoring Center, located at Metropolitan Baptist Church at 149 Springfield Ave, has provided individualized support in Reading and Algebra.

The free tutoring program remains available to 9th and 10th graders, with Metropolitan providing the Center with a brick and mortar headquarters, along with snacks, school materials, and security during the tutoring sessions.  Those enrolled are expected to attend each Saturday with their designated tutor.  Families interested in the service can sign up here or on the Great Oaks website.  The program selects students on a first-come, first-served basis.

“The Newark Unites Tutoring Center reflects the dedication and passion of all Newarkers,” stated Pastor David Jefferson of Metropolitan Baptist Church. “This school year, in swift and unprecedented fashion, parents, students, educators, along with faith, education, and funding institutions – must put bureaucracy and politics aside to join together to do what is right for our kids,” he added. “Prudential is part of the heart and soul of Newark and has remained committed to the lives of our City for years.  Their continued service, labor, and financial support have assisted generations of Newarkers and helped create some of the very best aspects of our City. We are so thankful to have received their contribution and be able to continue helping Newark families.”

“The faith-based partnership that created the Newark Unites Tutoring Center represents our local approach to global philanthropy,” stated Shané Harris, President of The Prudential Foundation. “We are pleased to support the Center as it provides another opportunity for Newark’s public-school students to thrive in our hometown.”

“We are always eager to partner and share what’s working for our students with the broader community. So we are incredibly grateful for Prudential’s help in for ensuring this critical initiative will continue throughout the school year,” said Jared Taillefer, founder and Executive Director of Great Oaks Legacy Charter Schools, which operates 7 charter schools throughout the city of Newark. “Our schools were built on a model that provides research-proven, high dosage tutoring from Americorps volunteers that help give every student in our buildings the advantage they need to get to college and have successful lives. At this time of great need, we want to share that resource with the broader community.”

“This is but one small example of how schools, faith-based institutions and philanthropy can partner to create “right now” solutions to our most pressing problems,” said Kyle Rosenkrans, Executive Director of the New Jersey Children’s Foundation, a charitable foundation based in Newark that is supporting the project and recipient of Prudential grant. “Newark is home to some of the best public schools in America and we’re focused on how they can share what’s working with more and more students across the city and help the entire system recover,” he added.

According to Spring 2021 test scores, only 9% of Newark students in grades 2-8 met state expectations in Math, and 11% of students met expectations in Reading.  To address this dramatic learning loss, the Center was created as pilot project to attempt to expand Great Oaks Legacy Charter School’s high-dosage tutoring program to help more students.  Since its inception, Metropolitan Baptist Church has hosted and led engagement efforts for the Center and was made possible by an initial grant from the New Jersey Children’s Foundation.