April 2018

Newark Clergy Take Part in NCLC’s Inaugural Interfaith College Seminar
By Chanel Donaldson
Photo courtesy of Berkeley College

Pictured from left to right: Earl Brown, Campus Operating Officer, Berkeley College, Newark; Rev. Dr. Mamie Bridgeforth, Chairperson, Division of Social Services, Essex County College; Angela Harrington, Vice President, Communications and External Relations, Berkeley College; Rev. Louise Scott-Rountree, Office of Clergy Affairs, City of Newark; David Schroeder, EdD, President, Pillar College; Barry Ford, Associate Director of Strategic Planning and Development, NCLC; Reginald Lewis, Executive Director, NCLC; Eva Skuka, MD, PhD, Dean, Berkeley College School of Health Studies; and Adrian Council, Publisher, The Positive Community Magazine.

On Thursday, April 26, 2018, the Newark City of Learning Collaborative (NCLC) gathered clergy members at Pillar College for the Inaugural Interfaith College Seminar: Exploring Newark’s College-Going Culture. The half-day seminar, which was co-sponsored by the City of Newark, The Positive Community Magazine, and Pillar College, introduced faith leaders from various Christian denominations and the Muslim community to the citywide mission of building Newark’s college-going culture.
Housed at Rutgers University-Newark’s Cornwall Center for Metropolitan Studies, NCLC is working to ensure that all Newark residents have the opportunity, information, and access to go to college, afford college, complete college, and ultimately obtain good jobs. During the Seminar, clergy received resources to bring back to their communities, including supports available for high school students and adult learners, as well as information for financing a college education. NCLC’s higher education partners NJIT, Berkeley College, Pillar College, Rutgers University-Newark, and Essex County College were among those present to provide resources and answer questions.
At the close of the Seminar, representatives from each house of worship took a pledge to serve as an NCLC ambassador, bringing tools for college success to their community and sharing the mission of NCLC widely. NCLC and its co-sponsors look forward to future events to further engage Newark’s interfaith community and continue to reach more Newark residents.
For More information about NCLC, visit


February 2018

Two Newark City of Learning collaborative partners enter agreement

Pictured from left to right: Dr. Tresmaine Grimes, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty, Bloomfield College; Dr. Richard Levao, President, Bloomfield College; Reginald Lewis, Executive Director, NCLC; Dr. David Schroeder, President, Pillar College; Dr. Amy Huber, Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs, Vice President of Student Engagement, and Title IX Coordinator, Pillar College

Two founding members of the Newark City of Learning Collaborative (NCLC) joined forces earlier this week to facilitate the matriculation process of students seeking a master in counseling, with specialization in marriage, couple, and family counseling. The agreement between Newark’s Pillar College, a Christian-based institution of higher learning offering accredited degrees at the associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s levels, and Bloomfield College, a comprehensive, liberal arts institution located in Bloomfield, New Jersey, brings NCLC closer to reaching its goal. Based at the Joseph C. Cornwall Center for Metropolitan Studies at Rutgers University– Newark, NCLC is a citywide post-secondary attainment initiative that seeks to increase the percentage of Newark residents who hold degrees, certificates, and other high quality credentials to 25% by the year 2025.

“The articulation agreement … is just the latest example of the ways in which both colleges are working to expand access to rich credentialing opportunities, for largely underserved students,” says Reginald Lewis, executive director of NCLC.

The collaborative arrangement allows Bloomfield students who have achieved a bachelor of arts with a major in one of the social or behavioral sciences to “fast-track” the admissions process if they have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale). As part of the agreement, Pillar is offering the following incentives:

· streamlined application process – including waiver of transcript processing fees

· enhanced financial aid – for those who matriculate within 24 months of graduating from Bloomfield College

· waiver of certain prerequisites

According to Pillar College President Dr. David Schroeder, “We are excited to establish our first partnership with Bloomfield College, offering its qualified candidates the ability to obtain an MA in Counseling in two years, as well as the potential to obtain their Licensed Associate Counselor (LAC) and Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) credentials. We hope this is just the first of many collaborative arrangements between the two schools which share not only geographic proximity, but a highly motivated student body that’s representative of New Jersey’s diverse population.”

Requirements for acceptance include:

· a formal application

· admission essay

· two letters of recommendation (waiver of a third letter, traditionally required)

· minimum grade point average of 3.0

“This agreement marks an exciting day for Bloomfield College students, “says Rich Levao, president of Bloomfield College. “Through this signed agreement, we’re making the process of transitioning to graduate school practically seamless, and in the process supporting our students’ desire to reach the pinnacle of their desired professions, ensuring a promising future ahead.”

Dr. Tracy M. Duncan, chair of Pillar’s master in counseling program, adds, “Bloomfield’s student body has much in common with Pillar’s demographic, especially our mission to support and nurture first-generation college students. The signed agreement supports academic, professional, and personal development by removing many of the barriers that are typically part of the graduate admissions process.”

For more information about the cooperative arrangement, contact NCLC at or 973-353-1750. 


December 2017

Newark, NJ: Improving the Lives of Inner City Youth

Steve Adubato sits down with community leaders in the greater Newark area who are working to improve the lives of inner-city youth by providing access to quality after school programs, improved educational opportunities, and job/college readiness initiatives. This panel also addresses the ways young people can get back on track after an adverse experience with the law with help from the community. Guests include Ryan Haygood, Esq., President and CEO of NJ Institute for Social Justice; Mekaelia Davis, Program Officer at Prudential Foundation; Traymanesha Moore-Lamy, Ph.D., Executive Director of Newark Thrives! and Reginald Lewis, Executive Director of Newark City of Learning Collaborative.
Secretary’s December 2017 Column

‘The Equity Imperative’: We Are All Important to New Jersey’s Future

By Rochelle Hendricks
Secretary of Higher Education

As 2017 draws to a close, it is time for us to reflect on the progress we have made and the challenges ahead of us. A few weeks ago, my office hosted an event entitled, “65 by ’25… Many Paths, One Future: The Equity Imperative,” at the Educational Testing Service (ETS) in Princeton. We heard an enlightening address from Dr. Michael T. Nettles, ETS senior vice president for research, and recognized four New Jersey programs for excellence and equity in education.

In New Jersey, we have announced a campaign to increase the number of working adults who have some level of education or training beyond high school. By 2025, our goal is to have 65 percent of our workforce attain a postsecondary credential – a steep increase from the current 50.2 percent.

While highlighting data in his recently released report, “Challenges and Opportunities in Achieving the National Postsecondary Degree Attainment Goals,” Dr. Nettles, as he always does, told it to us straight. We are a nation facing complex, systemic problems. He shared some disturbing, dismal data demonstrating how diverse populations have been adversely impacted, but also provided data about programs around the country that are achieving positive, dramatic results.

Will we achieve our goal?

It depends, Dr. Nettles said.

His study found that Asian Americans between the ages of 25 to 34 living in the United States already achieved the national attainment goal of 60 percent three years ago.

White female workers will achieve the national 60 percent goal by 2019. White men? Not until 2038.

Large swaths of our increasingly diverse population, however, are not projected to reach the 60 percent goal even if you look forward all the way to the year 2060.

Remember, this is for the national goal of 60 percent. Because New Jersey will need more highly skilled workers, our goal is five points higher than the national goal.

Will N.J. be ready? Will we meet our goals?

The answer depends on our resolve. We must be determined not to accept excuses for failure. It is imperative that we find ways to help all of our citizens.

In New Jersey, where we have an increasingly diverse population, we simply cannot accept that hundreds of thousands of workers, families and school children will be denied a prosperous future because we failed to act today.

Fortunately, there are trailblazers in New Jersey – exemplars and innovators who are leading the way in achieving outstanding results with the most vulnerable populations identified by Dr. Nettles. We honored four of them with our “Equity Trailblazer Award” at the Princeton event:

Gateway to College, Camden County College. Recognized as being the best in the nation, the Gateway to College program at Camden County College has given hundreds of students a second chance to succeed in life. In just four years, the Camden Gateway program has achieved impressive results in helping students gain their high school diploma and increase their readiness for college. Led by Dr. Irvin Sweeney, students have maintained their commitment to their studies, as shown by the data. From 2011 to 2014, the average attendance rate was over 94 percent. The persistence/retention rate was 85.6 percent, one of the highest in the nation, according to the Gateway to College National Network.

Newark City of Learning Collaborative (NCLC). The NCLC is a citywide postsecondary network, committed to increasing the percentage of city residents with postsecondary degrees, certificates and quality credentials from the current 17 percent to 25 percent by 2025. The collaborative is composed of over 60 organizations, including higher education institutions, the City of Newark, the Newark Workforce Investment Board, the Newark Housing Authority, the private sector, philanthropic organizations and community-based organizations. Three months ago, the NCLC hired Reginald Lewis to join the NCLC as its Executive Director and lead this vital collective impact project toward realizing its ambitious agenda. NCLC is one of the signature initiatives at Rutgers University – Newark.

The Garden State Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (GS LSAMP). Led by Dr. Alexander Gates, GS LSAMP has been successfully encouraging students to achieve in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). Rutgers University–Newark has received a $3.5 million grant to continue its efforts in leading a statewide program to increase minority representation in STEM.

The grant, awarded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), will fund the Garden State Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Phase II (GS-LSAMP II) from July 2014 through June 2019. GS-LSAMP II will expand upon the success of its precursor, GS-LSAMP, which exceeded its goal of doubling the number of minority students who earn their bachelor’s degrees in STEM. Approximately 2,000 students have completed the program since its inception in 2009.

The Rowan Work & Learn Consortium. Rowan College at Gloucester County (RCGC) and Rowan University, in partnership with state and county agencies, has formed the Rowan Work & Learn Consortium. The Consortium will make earning degrees and certificates more flexible, affordable and attainable for students. At the center of the consortium is a stackable credential program that allows students to earn credit for prior work experiences and educational achievements. Michael Plagianakos accepted our award for Dr. Frederick Keating, president of Rowan College at Gloucester County (RCGC) and Dr. Ali Houshmand president of Rowan University.

My thanks to Dr. Nettles for his excellent report and stimulating keynote address and to the exemplary program panelists for their outstanding presentations.

During this season of hope and peace, we are reminded that each of us can contribute to making the future better and brighter for all of us.





November 2017

Newark City of Learning Collaborative Honored with “Equity Trailblazer Award” by the NJ Secretary of Higher Education
By Chanel Donaldson

Pictured from left to right: Rochelle Hendricks, New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education; Craig Stanley, Center for Pre-College Programs, NJIT; Reginald Lewis, NCLC; Chanel Donaldson, NCLC; Monica Ward, America Needs You NJ; Anthony Jones, NCLC/Newark Public Schools

Stakeholders from around the state joined the New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education, Rochelle Hendricks, on Monday, November 20, 2017 in Princeton for “65 by 25: Many Paths, One Future – The Equity Imperative,” during which the Newark City of Learning Collaborative (NCLC) received one of four Equity Trailblazer Awards. Presented “in recognition of innovative, exemplary efforts toward achieving New Jersey’s attainment goal,” awards were also presented to the Garden State LSAMP (Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation) housed at Rutgers University-Newark, Gateway to College at Camden County College, and the Rowan College at Gloucester County Work and Learn Consortium.
The Equity Imperative event was hosted by the Secretary of Higher Education in partnership with Aaron R. Fichtner, Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, and New Jersey Department of Education Commissioner Kimberley Harrington, as a part of the state’s 65 by 25 campaign which officially launched in September 2017. With a goal of raising the percentage of New Jersey residents that have a post-secondary credential from the current 50 percent to 65 percent by 2025, the initiative is “helping to ensure an innovative, competitive, inclusive and prosperous future” for New Jersey and promoting collaboration between colleges and universities, businesses, and government officials.
In line with the mission and goals of the state, NCLC, which is housed on the Rutgers University-Newark campus, was launched in 2015 to help Newark become a more economically vibrant city by increasing the number of residents that have education or training beyond high school to 25 percent by 2025. Also like the state-wide initiative, NCLC works with a cross-section of stakeholders from higher education, K-12 schools, corporations, city government, foundations, and non-profit organizations to expand Newark’s college-going culture and develop clear pathways for residents to earn degrees or other credentials.
In attendance to accept the Equity Trailblazer Award on behalf of NCLC was Executive Director Reginald Lewis, who said during his remarks, “In just a few short years, we’ve managed to mobilize an entire city to begin to change a mindset in earnest about what’s possible: that many more residents can aspire to attain college and other post-secondary credentials…which gives us hope that 25 by 2025 remains in reach.”

Acknowledging the many partnerships that make the work of NCLC possible, Mr. Lewis highlighted the main take away for the event: collaboration is key to help make New Jersey a stronger and more equitable state.

For more information on NCLC, please visit For more information on 65 by 25, please visit
Building Newark’s college-going culture
Published November 7, 2017 | Reginald Lewis

“We have smart children in Newark. We just need a few more resources and the belief that we can all succeed.” 
With those words, Kim Boerrigter, 2017 graduate of Malcom X. Shabazz High School, Harvard University Class of 2021, summed up both Newark’s potential and the challenges the city must overcome so that her success becomes the rule, not the exception.
Recent progress provides hope. In just a few years, the Newark Public Schools’ high school graduation rate rose to 73% from 53%. And more graduates are being accepted to college: 75% of the class of 2017 gained admission to a two- or four-year institution, including Kim and six of her classmates who entered Ivy League institutions this fall.  
Still, more work is needed for Newark to approach New Jersey’s statewide graduation rate of 90%. This is the mission of the Newark City of Learning Collaborative (NCLC), which works with the school system, businesses, community organizations, and other partners to build the citywide college-going culture that is crucial to more students enjoying success.
A college-going culture means an environment where every child, regardless of neighborhood, zip code, or high school, is expected to come to school, do well in school, and adequately prepare to succeed at the college level.
The Newark Public Schools and NCLC work together in a range of activities aimed at reaching this goal:

  • College Talk – daily conversations in schools to help students  understand what’s required to stay on track to graduate and on a path that leads to college
  • Expectations – all students are expected to achieve at a high level, with explicit goals for preparation clearly laid out for students and parents 
  • Key Resources – up-to-date information about colleges and other post-high school options, like high-quality certification programs, are easily available to all students

A newly created NCLC/NPS position, the Higher Education Liaison, is solely focused on providing students, parents, guidance counselors, teachers, and administrators information and resources related to college that many promising students never obtained before. The partnership with NPS has led to the sponsorship of an annual district-wide college fair, where students and families meet representatives from colleges from around the country. The fair also helps raise awareness and encourage aspirations toward college. The second annual fair, which took place last month, enabled hundreds of students from around the city, including district, charter, county vocational, and parochial, to explore their options beyond high school.
The College Fair is just one way NCLC and NPS provide students and families information needed to make informed decisions about applying to college, financial assistance, and securing a degree or high-quality credential. This past summer, Rutgers University-Newark and eight other colleges joined NCLC in hosting a series of college knowledge workshops around the city, “Secrets to College Admissions,” designed to demystify what can appear as a challenging admissions and financial aid process, particularly the completion of the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Newark’s FAFSA completion rate of 47% underscores the difficulties faced by many families in taking advantage of this resource.
Early college planning is essential for overcoming barriers to college enrollment and completion. Research confirms that having college plans by 10th grade increases the likelihood of attending college by 21%, compared to plans developed during the senior year. Recognizing this, NCLC’s College Pathway Initiative engages students early, while supporting their academic and social-emotional needs. Two-hundred 10th graders, along with young people who have dropped out of school and want to reengage, participate in the initiative.
As promising as these efforts are, establishing a college-going culture in Newark will not happen overnight. Building on progress to date will require the involvement of everyone in the community.  With more of our students graduating from high school and ultimately securing a degree or credential, more Newark residents will be able to get good jobs, support their families, and build a future in a thriving city.
September 2017

“Secrets to College Admissions” is Expanding Newark’s College-Going Culture

This summer, the Newark City of Learning Collaborative (NCLC) hosted “Secrets to College Admissions: What You Wish They Told You about College!” a five-session series of college knowledge workshops held in local library branches in each ward of the city. The series was co-sponsored by the Newark Public Library, the City of Newark, Newark Public Schools, and all of NCLC’s higher education partners: Essex County College, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Pillar College, Bloomfield College, Rutgers University-Newark, Berkeley College, Felician University, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, and Montclair State University. 

Inspired by Rutgers University-Newark’s “Road Map to College,” each session covered tips, tricks, and resources to help Newarkers understand how to apply to and finance college. The series kicked off in the South Ward at the Weequahic Branch on July 18, 2017. Through August 8, 2017, the session moved to different neighborhood branches in each ward and was presented by a team of admissions and financial aid representatives from one of the sponsoring colleges.

The final culminating celebration took place on August 16, 2017, at the Main Newark Public Library located in the heart of Newark’s downtown. Attendees from the previous sessions were invited back to the culminating celebration which included a deep dive into financial aid by Rutgers University-Newark called “Debunking Myths about Financial Aid,” part of a wellness series created to demystify the perceived idea that college is not affordable. The session was immediately followed by a mini-college fair with all sponsoring colleges on hand to share their specific resources.Inspired by Rutgers University-Newark’s “Road Map to College,” each session covered tips, tricks, and resources to help Newarkers understand how to apply to and finance college. The series kicked off in the South Ward at the Weequahic Branch on July 18, 2017. Through August 8, 2017, the session moved to different neighborhood branches in each ward and was presented by a team of admissions and financial aid representatives from one of the sponsoring colleges. 

NCLC is an ambitious effort to help Newark become a more economically vibrant city by increasing the number of residents that have education or training beyond high school. Working with a cross-section of partners throughout the city, NCLC aims to increase Newark’s post-secondary attainment rate from the current 18.1 percent to 25 percent by 2025.

“We’re working to expand the college-going culture throughout the city,” says NCLC Executive Director Reginald Lewis. “We want to make sure that every resident in Newark receives the information and knowledge needed to make informed decisions about choosing a college.”

Secrets to College Admissions was created to support the expansion of Newark’s college-going culture. The series was intentionally crafted to be as accessible and inclusive as possible, by bringing resources to residents where they live. One session, held in the East Ward at the Van Buren Branch, was presented in both English and Spanish. 

“Our libraries are a critical community resource, accessible to anyone throughout the city at our Main Library and seven branches. We understand the critical importance of partnering with other institutions to help make college more accessible to all Newarkers and we are proud to play a part in this important initiative,” says Newark Public Library Director Jeffrey Trzeciak.

Approximately 120 Newark youth, parents, and prospective college students participated in the summer series, gaining valuable insight on how to apply to any college, as well as the tools and resources needed to help them finance a college education. Attendees were able to ask questions related to their specific needs and many walked away with resources they didn’t even know existed.

“The Secrets to College Admissions series is a great opportunity for Newark residents to get an ‘inside look’ at admissions and financial aid,” stated Dr. David Williams, Director of Admissions at Rutgers University-Newark. “The program’s design affords us an opportunity to have a real conversation about admissions and financial aid that ‘demystifies’ what can be a challenging process.  In the end, it seems that our attendees really benefit from the session, and that they have a little more relief and less stress about how to move forward in the college search process.” 

Natalia Morisseau, Director of the Office of Financial Aid at Rutgers University-Newark said, “What we have consistently learned is that the financial aid process is not an easy one. The overall goal of ‘Debunking Myths’ is to foster an interactive and open dialogue with families and students about the importance of completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in a timely manner, which continues to be one of the most powerful and instrumental steps in aligning students with the best financial opportunities for college success.”

NCLC looks to continue to build on the success of the Secrets to College Admissions series, providing as much college knowledge as possible to Newark residents in a way that is easily accessible.  Conversations are currently underway to ensure that Secrets to College Admissions touches all of Newark’s high school aged population, as well as their parents, and any Newark resident interested in starting or continuing their college education.

Kei-Sygh Thomas, a Newark native and current student at Drew University who shared a few words of encouragement with attendees at the series’ culminating event, encapsulated the importance of Secrets to College Admissions perfectly when she said, "Sometimes students feel like college is out of their reach because they don't know how to navigate the process, especially financial aid. The process is overwhelming and low-income students in particular psych themselves out because they do not have the knowledge or do not have the means to pay for school. A college success series like the one hosted by NCLC is significant in promoting college access and knowledge to help students and assure them that higher education is a feasible and attainable goal."

For more information on NCLC, please visit

For more information on upcoming Rutgers University-Newark Debunking Myths sessions, please visit
August 2017

Taking Aim at College Completion in Newark

Arts and education join to support students

How can cities encourage more low-income students to pursue and attain postsecondary degrees? 

Newark, New Jersey, offers one example. That’s where Kresge works with Rutgers University to combine arts and education in a college access program that supports high school students – and benefits the entire community.

Giana Cook is building college readiness in Newark's PAS program.

Together, Kresge’s Education and Arts & Culture programs provided a $422,000 four-year grant in 2016 to support the Pathways to Achievement and Success (PAS) program, part of the Newark City of Learning Collaborative. 

The program provides educational support and mentoring to about 150 sophomores in Newark to help them apply to and eventually complete degrees at two- or four-year colleges. Students also attend workshops at the recently renovated Hahn’s building, a 50,000-square-foot arts space that houses local artists and creative services, including video production and 3-D printing studios.

Nancy Cantor, chancellor of Rutgers University-Newark, says the signature of the PAS program is its emphasis on using creative arts to energize and engage students, who are given the opportunity to participate in activities such as filmmaking or 3-D modeling while also completing SAT prep and academic enrichment.

Students engage in creative arts as part of Newark's PAS program.

“It’s a real melding of creative voice and education attainment,” Cantor says.

This aligns with Kresge’s mission to increase postsecondary access and success for underrepresented students, says William F.L. Moses, managing director of Kresge’s Education Program. It also provides a physical, economic and educational anchor institution for the community and serves as a model for other universities and programs.

New Jersey is among states with the highest college attainment rates. But in Newark, one of the nation's poorest cities, college attainment is just 17 percent.

“In this knowledge economy, educational opportunity is the key to economic mobility, so it’s important not just for students, but also for their families and neighborhoods,” Cantor says.

Giana Cook, a fellow in the program and a sophomore at Paulo Freire Charter School, applied because it offered an opportunity to prepare for college and further her goal of becoming an advocacy lawyer. She says she has enjoyed the photography and 3-D printing workshops, but also values the lessons in college readiness.

“The instructors stress hard work and consistency,” she says. “I know those are key attributes and tools I’m going to need when I get into law school and when I go to college. They prepare you for the real world.”
June 2017

5 Trends that Newark leaders say show schools are turning a corner

By Jessica Mazzola | NJ Advance Media for




Lucia Couto Receives Full Scholarship to Harvard University

Lucia Couto says academic excellence was stressed every day in her home growing up in Newark and attending First Avenue School. Neither Lucia’s mother nor father had an opportunity to attend college and wanted to make sure their children attended college, and had an opportunity to excel, in a way that escaped them. Lucia’s sisters, a teacher at Hawkins Street School and a registered nurse, are putting their support behind her as she begins to plan for her college years at Harvard University, where she has received a full scholarship. Lucia is the Valedictorian of her class at Arts High School. She is a leader and a standout in her focus area of dance. In addition, she is an athlete, a peer leader, and a member of the National Honor Society and Pathways to College. According to her principal, Mr. Pedro, you will find Lucia at the head of almost any activity or organization.

Lucia’s focus at Arts High School is dance. She loves singing and dancing; primarily Modern, West African, Afro Cuban, Ballroom and some Ballet. She said attending Arts has provided an extraordinary opportunity for access to Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, which she loves!

Lucia said, “I don’t believe in excuses, which is why I take advantage of opportunities afforded to me.” She continued “one of my greatest passions is to reach back and not be afraid to dream and to follow my dreams, regardless of where they come from. Don’t let what people’s opinions about where you come from make you think in a certain way. I love Newark and I am proud to say I live here. I will prove to anyone that I deserve to be at Harvard as much as anyone else. A lot of good things and people come from Newark,” Lucia added.

Lucia has always been fascinated by Albert Einstein and will major in Medical Physics at Harvard.
April 2017

NCLC College Fair Connects Newark Students to Higher Education Opportunities

By Carla Capizzi

The Newark City of Learning Collaborative (NCLC), in partnership with the Newark Public Schools (NPS), hosted the first annual District-Wide College Fair for NPS high school students and their parents at the Rutgers University-Newark Golden Dome Athletic Center earlier this month.

More than 600 NPS students, ranging from grades 9 through 12, from high schools throughout the city, had the opportunity to interact with college admissions representatives from around the country. Nearly 40 colleges and universities participated, including Centenary College, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Montclair State University, Morgan State University, Pennsylvania State University, Clark Atlanta University, Harvard University, Princeton University, the United States Naval Academy, University of Pittsburgh, and several community colleges and vocational programs. Several branches of the United States Armed Forces and Wells Fargo Bank also participated.

Throughout the day, students from 9th to 12th grade were able to meet face-to-face with various college representatives to ask questions about each program.

NCLC is an ambitious effort to help Newark become a more economically vibrant city by increasing the number of residents that have education or training beyond high school. Working with a cross-section of 60 partners throughout the city, NCLC aims to increase Newark’s post-secondary attainment rate from the current 18.1 percent to 25 percent by 2025. 

“We’re working to expand the college-going culture throughout the city,” says NCLC Executive Director Reginald Lewis. “We want to make sure that every student in Newark receives the information and knowledge needed to make informed decisions about choosing a college.”

“College and career readiness opportunities allow our students, who have a multitude of interests and wide-range of goals, to be proactive and plan a meaningful future for themselves,” said Christopher D. Cerf, superintendent of Newark Public Schools. “Thanks to the strong partnerships that have developed between NPS, the Newark City of Learning Collaborative and others, students across our city are able to explore the many collegiate and professional opportunities that are available in order to successfully compete in a 21st century global economy.”

“It is exhilarating that hundreds of high school students engaged in gathering information, conversing with university representatives, and taking a very proactive part in determining their own futures.  These students will go to college, and hopefully many of them will go to college in Newark,” stated Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, whose office co-sponsored the fair. “We also expect that many of them will return to Newark after college with additional skills and knowledge to help improve our city.

“I wish to thank NCLC, the Newark Public Schools, the Newark Municipal Council and the five Newark-based colleges that co-sponsored this successful college fair for Newark students,” said Baraka. The college sponsors were the five NCLC higher education partners: Essex County College, Pillar College, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Bloomfield College, and Rutgers University-Newark.

Photo by Brian Ray

Harvard Bound for This Newark Public High School Senior

Malcolm X Shabazz High School Senior, Kim Boerrigter, has always strived to achieve the very best according to school officials.

Kim has received an award for perfect attendance every year since starting school, and when asked about motivation in achieving excellence, Kim states, “My mom is my motivation. She’s always believed in me, has instilled within me great values and insists that I consistently stand up for my beliefs.”

As valedictorian of Malcolm X Shabazz’s Class of 2017, Kim has been accepted into fifteen colleges. However, the proudest moment for Kim and her mom was her acceptance and receipt of a full scholarship to the prestigious Harvard University.

With a passion for Science, Kim says that while attending Malcolm X Shabazz High School it has allowed her to broaden her logical scope.

As a member of the Aquatic Biochemistry Team and working closely with club advisor, Mr. Patrick Murray, Kim has been able to broaden her scientific knowledge.

“Mr. Murray has always reinforced and assisted me in facilitating my research. His support in this process has been remarkable" Kim said.

For Kim, education means, furthering her happiness and spreading the message that she’s going to be “a scientist who is a woman of color.”

As a scholar athlete, Kim is the captain of the Cross Country track team, as well as the Indoor/Outdoor Track team.

She is also a member of the Aquatic Biochemistry Team and the National Honor Society.

In her spare time she enjoys playing basketball and reading. Her favorite author is Edgar Allan Poe. “I like his style. It’s gloomy in a beautiful way.” Kim’s favorite poem by Poe is "The Raven".

When asked about what it means to be a product of the City of Newark and Malcolm X Shabazz High School, Kim states, “Individuals make assumptions about Newark. I feel that because I’ve emerged from a particular zip code that I have to prove myself more than my counterparts.”

Kim also believes that the majority of the skepticism stems from those who’ve never been to the inner city. “We have smart children here in Newark. We just need a few more resources and the belief that we can all succeed. Being a Shabazz Bulldog has supported me and given me a tremendous amount of confidence. I’ve always wanted to attend Shabazz. Coming from "Brick City" has prepared me to face any obstacle set before me.”

From all of us here on the RLS Metro Weekend Crew, hats off and good luck to 2017 Shabazz High School's Valedictorian Ms. Kim Boerrigter.