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NEW JERSEY: In Newark Charter schools popular for elementary, district for high school

new-jersey-charter-schoolsIn the first round of the universal enrollment program, Newark parents preferred charter schools for their elementary students, but they favored the district high schools over charters for grades 9 through 12, according to new information from the district.

School officials notified parents earlier this month of the decisions in the universal enrollment program, a key piece of the controversial One Newark school reorganization plan. The universal enrollment program allowed parents to apply to district and charter schools via one application and to select up to eight choices for their children.

The results were uneven. About 45 percent of Newark applicants were matched to their first choice school,12 percent got their second choice, and another 18 percent received their third through eight choices.

But 26 percent of applicants did not get any of the schools they selected.

North Star Academy was the first choice of 1,824 applicants for pre-K through grade 8, followed by TEAM charter school, with 1,022 first choice rankings.

Ann Street School was the most popular district school, with 461 applicants selecting it as their first choice. Philip’s Academy Charter School and First Avenue, a district school, were the fourth and fifth most popular choices, with 414 and 398 applications, respectively.

Half of all elementary applications selected North Star Academy as one of the eight choices, while TEAM was chosen on 40 percent of the applications.

“I’m not surprised. They are the top two systems in Newark,” said Alexa Burrell, whose son is a fourth grader at TEAM. “There would be no need for charters if the districts were doing what they’re supposed to be doing.”

The district’s magnet high schools were overwhelmingly preferred over the charter schools. Science Park High School was ranked first the most – 816 times – followed by Technology, Arts, East Side, University and American History high schools. The top charter high school choice was North Star, selected first on 208 applications for high school, putting it in 7th place.

There were 8,619 applications overall for elementary school, including 3,781 for pre-K and kindergarten. Another 3,985 applications were submitted for grades 9 through 12.

Of those who did not get matched to any of their choices, the largest group, representing 1,699 students, were placed in their current school. Another 1,391 must reapply because they did not get any of their choices but they can’t return to their school next year.

Geraldine Holguin’s daughter, Yerlin, is in that category. The 8-year-old is in the third grade at Roseville, an elementary school that will become an early childhood learning center in September. Holguin chose 8 schools – seven district schools and North Star charter – but she didn’t get any.

In a letter, district officials said she must choose different options for the next round.

“They’re telling me I can’t put the same schools on my (new application),” Holguin said. “It’s really frustrating. What do I do with her? Am I supposed to keep her home or move out of Newark to put her in school?”

The second round, which opened Tuesday and will continue through June 6, will be much smaller. Those who didn’t get a match will be re-entered, and about 680 applicants from non-residents will be also included.

But the choice of schools will be reduced, too. Five of the city’s six magnet schools will not be available in the second round, and only the sixth grade of American History High School, the remaining magnet, will be available as a choice. Some of the charter schools may not be included in the next round, either, and if they are, their seats will be limited.

Source: NJ.com – by Peggy McGlone

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This entry was posted on May 30, 2014 by in Charter Schools, New Jersey, States.

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