Newark Mayor Cory Booker and Superintendent Cami Anderson today visited Bard High School Early College (BHSEC) Newark, one of four new high schools opened in the city thanks, in part, to start up funding from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
“Today is an historic day for our city as we cut the ribbon to officially open the Bard High School Early College Newark,” the mayor said. “I commend Newark Public Schools and Bard College for collaborating to create this new school model which will offer college and career readiness programs to more than 100 students this year. It’s imperative that we continue to expand high quality school options for Newark students and families in order to ensure Newark’s youth are competitive in the global workforce and are prepared for the 21st century economy.”
“At the high school level, in particular, it’s critical to provide diverse offerings that address the individual needs of our students.” Anderson said. “We are excited to welcome four new public high schools to the Newark community. Working closely with the Foundation for Newark’s Future, we look forward to celebrating continued shared successes to provide a quality education for all of Newark’s young people.”
Booker and Anderson were joined by Leon Botstein, President of Bard College, the college partner for the school, Eliana Pintor Marin, the chair of the Newark Public Schools Advisory Board and Greg Taylor, the executive director of the Foundation for Newark’s Future.
“Bard is delighted to open Bard High School Early College Newark, and we are truly grateful for the support Newark has shown throughout the process of establishing our third High School Early College,” Botstein said. “As a private liberal arts college we're extremely proud to play a role in the national effort to improve education and create new challenging opportunities within a public school system for students of high school age.”
Bard High School Early College Newark, located in the former Camden Middle School, 321 Bergen Street, is modeled after the two successful BHSEC schools in New York City. BHSEC Newark is a selective, tuition-free, public school that offers highly motivated students from all neighborhoods in Newark the opportunity to earn a high school diploma, as well as 60 college credits and an associate in arts (A.A.) degree from Bard College.
A consistent 95 percent of BHSEC graduates enroll in four-year colleges. Graduates are extremely well prepared for advanced course work, and they complete four-year college degrees at a much higher rate than the national average. BHSEC credits transfer to many public and private four-year, degree-granting colleges and universities.
BHSEC Newark expects to enroll 110 students in its freshman class and 30 in its Year 1 college class (the junior year of high school). It is staffed by 12 full time faculty members and lead by Raymond Peterson, who was the founding principal of the first BHSEC in New York.
“After eight months of hard work, it is incredibly exciting to see our new students working with their professors in our first week of intensive writing and thinking workshops – the traditional way that Bard starts its academic year,” Peterson said. “NPS worked very hard to make it possible for us to open our doors with professors that could teach both our high school and college classes, and we are very grateful to everyone there for the support they have given us, as well as to the Foundation for Newark's Future for providing the financial support necessary to implement our teaching intensive early college model in Newark."
Bard is one of four new high schools to open in Newark this year, under a program to expand the number of high-quality secondary school options for Newark children.
“I'm ecstatic that students in Newark have another excellent high school to choose from,” Pintor Marin said. “We have great high schools in Newark, but none that allow students to receive an associates’ degree along with a high school diploma.”
Bard received $225,000 from the Foundation for Newark’s Future, the charitable organization created to match the $100 million challenge grant made to Newark from Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook.
The start up funding from the Foundation for Newark’s Future was used to recruit students and faculty, design the curriculum and course of studies and prepare the building for the school year.
“Newark's students are eager to work hard to meet the exciting challenges that Bard High School Early College Newark will provide as they begin their journey to college,” Taylor said. “Bard is an important part of the Foundation for Newark's Future goal of making sure every Newark child has access to high quality school options that prepare them for college and careers.”