August 28, 2021


 Faith-Based Partnership – “Newark Unites Tutoring Center” – to Address Dire Urgency Within City’s Public-School System

[Newark, New Jersey – August 18, 2021] With a series of recent data showcasing unprecedented learning loss within the Newark public school system, Newark’s Metropolitan Baptist ChurchGreat Oaks Legacy Charter School, and the New Jersey Children’s Foundation (NJCF) announced today that it would launch in September the “Newark Unites Tutoring Center” which will provide free tutoring and support to Newark’s 9th and 10th graders.

Over the summer, a series of alarming reports have surfaced showcasing how the pandemic has significantly disrupted students’ academic progress.  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.

Anchoring the new community Tutoring Center will be a city-wide expansion of Great Oaks Legacy Charter School’s high-dosage tutoring model.  The award-winning ten-year old Newark public school has gained national and state recognition during the pandemic for providing one of the most effective, research-based interventions to address learning loss.  To ensure all public-school students are aware of the free program, Metropolitan Baptist Church will lead engagement efforts for the Center and host the tutoring on its campus.  The Church’s involvement comes on the heels of a long history of community-based education initiatives in Newark, including their mentorship program with the Eagle Academy School for Boys, partnering with the Leaguers to host its own preschool program, and hosting summer “Freedom Schools” to support learning in Newark.   The initiative was made possible by a grant by the New Jersey Children’s Foundation.

Earlier this Summer, Metropolitan hosted a public forum entitled, “Where Do We Go from Here: COVID’s Impact on Education in Newark and the Lessons that Can Be Learned?” which launched an important dialog between the Newark community with some of the city’s top education leaders.   The need for tutoring was a central topic of the discussion and one of the top priorities for parents who attended the event.

“We all heard the voices of Newark loud and clear during our forum earlier this Summer,” stated Reverend Dr. David Jefferson, Sr., Esq., Metropolitan Baptist Church.   “Newarkers are feeling powerless to address what we are seeing in our public schools and going into a new school year there is little understanding to how the school district plans to combat learning loss.  Recent reports have even suggested that district leaders have attempted to hide valuable data from parents – this is unacceptable.  Unprecedented moments in our history require unprecedented actions.  We are acting and creating the Newark Unites Tutoring Center because there is no more time to wait.  Education is one of the founding principles of Metropolitan’s Family Based Ministry and as longtime activist within the Newark community, this is the first time in memory we have seen an initiative in Newark develop with such urgency and we are grateful for the support of our partners.  I am certain that the Center will do nothing less than change lives, not just right now, but for generations to come.”

“Tutoring works.  There is a real hunger for it right now in Newark and it is our moral responsibility to respond to this call to action with substance.  There is no one, single solution to addressing the historic and unprecedented learning loss we have seen in Newark over the last year and half, but we must do something and the Center can be a start,” stated Jared Taillefer, Executive Director, Great Oaks Legacy Charter School.  “For over ten years, tutoring has been our passion.  It is what we know and we have developed a unique and effective model that has brought valuable results to Newark families.  Being asked to serve the community we love is an honor, and with the help of Pastor Jefferson and NJCF we are proud to expand our tutoring program beyond our school campus.  Our tutors are ready, and we hope that in the coming weeks we can look to further develop this initiative.”

“One of the key answers to addressing learning loss is right here in Newark,” stated Kyle Rosenkrans, Executive Director of the New Jersey Children’s Foundation. “Great Oak Legacy Charter School is built on an innovative tutoring model that is not only proven by research, but has helped the school regularly send 80 to 90 percent of their graduates to college.  They have unique knowledge, experience, and staff to help deploy tutors to students who need it right now.  We are in an all hands-on-deck moment.  We need to bring more parents, activists, and organizations to the table to build solutions.  The Newark Unites Tutoring Center will utilize our city’s great strengths, fill a needed void, and ultimately do what is right for our kids.”

Specifically, the Newark Unites Tutoring Center will provide individualized support in Reading and Algebra and take place at Metropolitan Baptist Church at 149 Springfield Ave, Newark, NJ.  Metropolitan will also provide snacks, school materials, and security during the tutoring sessions.

The free tutoring program will be available to 9th and 10th graders from any Newark public school and will take place starting in September.  Those enrolled will be expected to attend each Saturday with their designated tutor.  Families interested in the service can sign up here or by going on the Great Oaks Website.  The program will select students on a first-come, first-serve basis.

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