New Jersey Children’s Foundation And Newark Schools Join Together To Launch Newark Common App 

New State-of-the-Art Enrollment Portal will Better Serve Newark Families by Providing a Seamless and Transparent Process That Promotes Equity and Access

[Newark, New Jersey – November 3, 2022] The New Jersey Children’s Foundation (NJCF) joined together with school leaders from across Newark to announce today the launch of Newark Common App, a new school application and enrollment portal that will be available to all families interested in attending some of the city’s highest-performing schools.

“Today, we honor the needs of Newark’s families who deserve an enrollment process that embodies our shared values of equity and access,” stated Kyle Rosenkrans, founder and executive director of the New Jersey Children’s Foundation.  “After years of challenges, families deserve an upgrade, and the Newark Common App is a straightforward, family-first process that will be easy for families to navigate and select the school that works best for their child.”

NJCF worked with the firm Avela to design and provide the technology for the new application system. Avela is a leading expert on school enrollment, and was founded and directed by Joshua D. Angrist, the 2021 Nobel Prize Winner in Economics.  The new enrollment system can currently be found at and the application will open to Newark families on December 1.

All district, charter, private and parochial Newark schools have been invited to participate in the Newark Common App. Schools committed to the new application system include a mix of schools exiting the district’s current enrollment system, Newark Enrolls, and other schools not currently participating but willing to come back to a common lottery approach to enrollment.  (See attached for a complete list of currently committed schools). Together, the participating schools expected for the first year include more than 80% of the city’s charter school sector.  The goal of the initiative is to grow and add more participating schools of every kind over time.

Like previous enrollment platforms, the Newark Common App will feature a centralized application, lottery, and waitlist for families to enroll at participating schools. However, the new portal will provide families and schools with a shorter, more seamless and transparent process that promotes equity and access. For example, the lottery will prioritize homeless and displaced students, in addition to including preferences for special education students, English-language learners, and those that qualify for free lunch that will help those student populations access participating schools. It will also issue regular public reports with analytics about outcomes from the platform. The Newark Common App will also be simple for families to use and reliable for schools that participate—eliminating unnecessary documentation requirements prior to application and other barriers experienced by families under the Newark Enrolls system.

“People’s Prep has always believed in the power and benefit of an equitable, transparent, and family friendly common enrollment process,” said Keith Robinson, executive director of People’s Preparatory Charter School. “The students and families of Newark have always deserved that, so we’re excited and proud to be a part of making that happen through the Newark Common App.”

Development of the Newark Common App included feedback from local parents and school leaders who indicated that the current enrollment system was in dire need of improvement. A multi-tiered research effort revealed a myriad of challenges with the current enrollment system. Among those challenges were the unilateral decision to close family support centers, new onerous residency documentation requirements that resulted in a 34% drop in applications, delays in matches without prior notification, and matching errors resulting in students not getting their legally required residency priority.  As a result, Newark’s families faced barriers and a lack of support to access the schools of their choice.

In March, NJCF announced the launch of My Schools Newark, a new online research tool and mobile-friendly service-oriented website created to provide parents with a centralized resource for needed information on every school in Newark. Today’s launch of Newark Common App represents the next step in NJCF’s efforts to provide families with the resources they need to find the best school option for their children.

“Finding the best school for my child is my top priority, and that starts by being able to easily find and enroll in that school.” said Jasmine Morrison, founder of the Newark-based parent group, Unapologetic Parents whose group counts thousands of followers.  “The Newark Common App will make it easier for me and my members to select the schools we want and is exactly what we’ve been waiting for after years of struggle with the old system.”

To anchor the launch of the Newark Common App, a multi-platform, multilingual marketing campaign will launch in November ahead of the new enrollment period.  The campaign will aim to reach and educate Newark families proactively and will include strong local advertising on platforms such as social media, digital display, print, along with bus exterior wraps, light rail interiors, and station billboards throughout the city.  In addition, in the coming weeks, NJCF and school leaders will continue conducting community outreach events to educate families and schools about the new system.

“We look forward to reaching out to the Newark community to share with them the exciting opportunity they have to participate in this new system built for them,” said Sarah Yan, executive director in residence at NJCF who led the development of Newark Common App.

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Schools Participating in Newark Common App

Achieve Community Charter School

  • Achieve Community Charter School

Great Oaks Legacy Charter School

  • Great Oaks Legacy Downtown Elementary School
  • Great Oaks Legacy Downtown Middle School
  • Great Oaks Legacy Fairmount Heights Elementary School
  • Great Oaks Legacy Fairmount Heights Middle School
  • Great Oaks Legacy Charter High School
  • Great Oaks Legacy Legacy Elementary School
  • Great Oaks Legacy Legacy Middle School

KIPP Newark Public Schools

  • KIPP BOLD Academy
  • KIPP Justice Academy
  • KIPP Lab High School
  • KIPP Life Academy
  • KIPP Newark Collegiate Academy
  • KIPP Newark Community Prep
  • KIPP Purpose Academy
  • KIPP Rise Academy
  • KIPP Seek Academy
  • KIPP SPARK Academy
  • KIPP TEAM Academy
  • KIPP THRIVE Academy
  • KIPP Truth Academy
  • KIPP Upper Roseville Academy

Marion P. Thomas Charter School

  • Marion P. Thomas High School of Culinary & Performing Arts
  • Marion P. Thomas Performing Arts & Culinary Academy
  • Marion P. Thomas STEAM Academy

North Star Academy

  • NSA Alexander Street Elementary
  • NSA Central Avenue Middle
  • NSA Clinton Hill Middle
  • NSA Downtown Middle
  • NSA Fairmount Elementary
  • NSA Liberty Elementary
  • NSA Lincoln Park Elementary
  • NSA Lincoln Park High School
  • NSA Lincoln Park Middle School
  • NSA Vailsburg Elementary
  • NSA Vailsburg Middle
  • NSA Washington Park High School
  • NSA West Side Park Elementary
  • NSA West Side Park Middle

People’s Preparatory Charter School

  • People’s Preparatory Charter School

Philip’s Academy Charter School

  • Philip’s Academy Charter School
  • Philip’s Academy Charter School Hill St