Newark charter schools share a common vision for serving students, families, educators, and our city at the highest level in the midst of a historic pandemic. The decision to reopen schools for any in-person learning is a difficult one, and one that may be impacted by factors outside of the control of any individual charter school or traditional school district. While state guidance may change over time in response to the evolving pandemic, it seems clear that schools will reopen for in-person learning at some point this school year, and they will also have to educate students remotely this school year.
The question schools face is how to reopen safely while providing high quality instruction both in school buildings and through remote options. This compact seeks to go beyond individual school plans and assert the collective commitment of Newark charter schools to our students, families, staff, and the entire Newark community.
Driven by our missions to ensure all students have the opportunity to succeed academically and beyond, we will meet and exceed safety standards, provide engaging and rigorous instruction, and ensure that student and family needs are met. While there will be diverse approaches across schools that are sensitive to the needs of each school community, we share a common set of priorities.
In our current context of unprecedented uncertainty, school systems must be prepared to respond rapidly to changing guidance and public health circumstances. Staying within the parameters set by the Governor and New Jersey Department of Education, we will use public health data to drive decision-making. Through these shifts, the priorities and principles in this compact will guide our approach to serving families, educators and staff, and our broader communities. We also understand that our ability to meet the following goals are also subject to numerous variables, such as adequate funding and staff availability.
Under this compact we commit to the following goals in accordance with each school’s reopening plan:
Prioritizing health and safety for students, staff, and families above all.
- Implementing health, safety, and sanitation protocols above and beyond state mandated guidance including:
- Grouping students into cohorts to minimize exposure
- Arranging classrooms to promote safety (e.g. desks face the same direction, space desks as far apart as possible) and requiring masks throughout the day except for meal times
- Scheduled hand washing and sanitizing throughout the day
- Ensuring all students and staff have access to masks and other PPE
- Training educators and staff on all health and safety protocols
- Closely cooperating with local health officials to respond immediately to potential or known COVID-19 cases
- Vetting reopening plans and procedures with medical professionals.
- Responding immediately to the newest public health guidance and developments about COVID-19 to ensure the highest level of safety possible.
Providing equitable access to high quality instruction to all of our students, including those who are learning virtually.
- Delivering high quality instruction to all students, ensuring students receive the Special Education and English Language Learning services they are entitled to, offering individual support from educators, and creating opportunities for engagement with peers for all students, even those attending fully remotely.
- Ensuring that no child is kept from fully participating in remote instruction because of technology issues by doing everything possible to guarantee that every student is provided with the device and internet access they need.
Ensuring effective two-way communication on reopening plans and ongoing guidance to our school community.
- Communicating reopening plans, ongoing guidance, and new information promptly, transparently, through multiple methods, and in multiple languages when needed.
- Engaging all families and staff in ongoing formal and informal opportunities to provide feedback and ask questions, and responding to all questions and concerns raised as information becomes available.
- Consistently re-evaluating all procedures and protocols based on community input and needs.
Meeting student and family needs in the classroom and beyond.
- Committing to bridging the digital divide for our students by doing everything in our power to ensure that all students have access to the technology needed to engage in remote learning by connecting families with one-to-one devices and internet access when needed.
- Supporting the social-emotional needs of students in the current climate by implementing additional services and changes to instruction.
- Providing access to meals and connections to other resources and services to ensure students’ basic needs are met and support their families.
- Creating opportunities for students to receive extra academic support when they need it.
Newark Charter School 2020-2021 Reopening & Remote Learning Signatories
- BRICK Education Network
- Discovery Charter School
- Great Oaks Legacy Charter School
- KIPP New Jersey
- LEAD Charter School
- Link Community Charter School
- Newark Educators Community Charter School
- North Star Academy
- People’s Prep Charter School
- Philip’s Academy Charter School
- Robert Treat Academy Charter School
- Roseville Community Charter School
- University Heights Charter School