As Newark’s enrollment season starts, bilingual students get a boost

Welcome to Chalkbeat Newark's weekly newsletter. Today we have news about changes to school enrollment and teacher pay. Enjoy!

— Patrick Wall, senior reporter

The big story

Students who are still learning English will get a boost when they apply to schools this year.

For the first time, the city’s school-enrollment system will give preference to English learners when they apply to schools where they’re underrepresented among applicants. That could help them snag seats at popular schools.

The tweak to the system, called “Newark Enrolls,” is meant to ensure that all schools are serving their fair share of high-needs students. The system already gives a similar admissions advantage to low-income students and those with disabilities.

The big question is whether this change will reduce the segregation of English learners in Newark schools. Today, some schools serve large numbers of students who are still learning English, while others serve none at all.

Read all about the change here.

What to watch

What else is happening around Newark schools.

How will enrollment work under the new administration?

  • What to know: Enrollment for next school year begins today, but the district has not yet posted online a new guidebook with up-to-date information about the schools that families can choose from.
  • The enrollment period continues through Feb. 15, so families presumably will have plenty of time to research their options before applying to up to eight schools in the city’s online enrollment system.
  • But the missing guidebook does raise questions about how prepared the new administration is to administer the system, called “Newark Enrolls.”
  • While Superintendent Roger León has voiced support for the system, he ousted the head of the district’s enrollment office when he took over in July.
  • Some observers at the time questioned whether the leadership shakeup would disrupt this year’s enrollment process.
  • One big question: Is the missing guidebook just a minor glitch or a sign of challenges ahead?

Newark news & events

Local education reporting and upcoming events.

Teacher pay…

  • Newark Public Schools is ending a program that gave $20,000 bonuses to teachers who completed an approved graduate program. Instead, the district is restoring a pay scale where teachers with advanced degrees earn more. Chalkbeat

Civics 101…

  • A new course will teach Newark high schoolers how to be “citizen problem solvers.” Chalkbeat

Obstacles ahead…

  • Newark’s new superintendent is facing several fines and investigations that began under his predecessors. TAPinto Newark

Future leaders…

  • Two KIPP New Jersey charter school alumni were selected for a yearlong fellowship meant to develop future leaders. KIPP NJ

NPS events…

  • City schools are celebrating “Computer Science Education Week” and “Inclusive Schools Week.”
  • Superintendent León will address parents at a conference on Wednesday. Newark Public Schools
  • Families who are applying to schools for next year can learn about their options at a school fair on Saturday. Newark Public Schools

News from Trenton & beyond

Reporting on statewide education issues that matter for Newark.

Teacher pay — part 2…

  • Here are the top-paid teachers in New Jersey. Newark Patch

Teacher diversity…

  • The national teacher force has become slightly more diverse, but remains overwhelmingly white. Chalkbeat

Student attendance…

  • When students are surrounded by familiar faces in class they are more likely to show up to school. Chalkbeat

Charter school struggles…

  • The story of how a Detroit charter school was set up to fail. Chalkbeat

Extra credit

Want to showcase your school or an upcoming education event? Send me photos and details.

Student Spotlight: 

Maria Sotelo Quinones, East Side High School

Maria is a recent immigrant from Colombia who attends Newark’s East Side High School. She is part of a new program at the school that lets students who are still learning English take college-level classes. In her first year in America, she has earned A’s in nearly every class.

“When I came from Colombia in January of 2018, my mother told the school how good of a student I was in Colombia.  They told me about the early-college bilingual program they were going to start with bilingual students.  We knew that it was a really great opportunity, especially because of my immigration position here in this country. I have always worked really hard to get good grades and I continue to put in a lot of effort.  This program has helped me with my English and develop the skills needed to be a successful college student.”