Finding Brave New World of District/Charter Collaboration in Rebirth of Newark Elementary School

Richard Whitmire:

Against all odds, a dowdy elementary school with bright blue doors located in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in one of America’s most beleaguered cities has become a beacon of hope — and not just for Newark.

Think of the North Star Academy Alexander Street school as the little charter school that could.

What has played out here has lessons learned for both Newark and New Jersey, but also for the rest of the nation: Buckle up for the next generation of education breakthroughs, where public charter schools and local school districts team up to produce win-wins for both sides.

More evidence of the power of that linkage emerged this week with freshly released test results from a summer school experiment where the Uncommon Schools charter network, which runs Alexander Street, collaborated on a catch-up literacy program aimed at struggling rising second-graders in traditional Newark schools. For now, it suffices to say: There were dramatic improvements (more details to come).