New Jersey’s largest school district will create a special enterprise zone for education in September, bringing together seven low-performing schools for an ambitious program of education and social services provided through a coalition of colleges and community groups led by New York University.
The Newark schools — Central High School and six elementary and middle schools — will be part of a Global Village School Zone stretching across a poor, crime-ridden swath of the city known as the Central Ward. The zone is modeled after the Harlem Children’s Zone, a successful network of charter schools and social service programs, and represents the latest in a growing number of partnerships between urban school districts and colleges.
While the Newark zone will remain part of the city’s long-troubled school system, which has been under state control since 1995, its schools will be largely freed from district regulations and will be allowed to operate like independent charter schools. Decisions about daily operations and policies will be turned over to committees of principals, teachers, parents, college educators and community leaders, and the schools will be allowed to modify their curriculum to address the needs of students.