Carolina Panthers' Myles Hartsfield (#38) visited Link this week and shared the inspirational story with students of his journey to becoming a professional football player. Myles, a defensive back with an amazing record, related his passion for football and told of the obstacles he met along the way. He ultimately was drafted, as a free agent, into the NFL where he is on the starting lineup for the Panthers. He encouraged students to make positive friendships with like-minded people and not be pulled down by those who could stop them from achieving their goals. He also mentioned the importance of persevering, as he did, despite obstacles, no matter how devastating those obstacles might seem in the moment. As part of this presentation, Myles had students write down a goal, and then later, write down the friends and family members who could help them achieve their goals. He told them to fold it up and look back on it as they move through life. Thank you, Myles, for motivating Link’s scholars!
Linkers shine in two Black History Month performances
Friday, February 24th was a special day at Link. In the morning, our Lower House students, those in Kindergarten and Grade 1, presented their amazing Black History Month Showcase for families. They recited poems, sang songs, and performed an original play by one of the teachers. Our small scholars spent much time in rehearsal with their teachers, and it really showed – our little scholars were superb and thrilled everyone in the audience. Click here for a video of the program.
A group of Upper House students (grades 5 through8), under the direction of Mrs. Johnson, Link’s performing arts teaching artist, presented an awesome tribute to Black History Month as well, with their program titled “Black History Project: Freedom Quilts and The Underground Railroad.” Our budding actors and actresses present an original play by Mrs. Johnson, a mystery of missing “codes” as exhibited in the Freedom Quilts created as a communication tool for those escaping from slavery through The Underground Railroad. Ms. Rhyan McNeil, Link’s music teaching artist led a choir of students in songs to enhance the play. At the end of the performance, families were encouraged to design their own Freedom Quilt square and these were hung in the gym for all to see. Mrs. Krista Miller, Link’s art teacher, and Mrs. Gwen Howard, former Link art teacher facilitated this project. As Mrs. Johnson stated, “This show was an immersive experience, inclusive of the 3E’s: to Entertain, to Enlighten, and to Educate.” Click here for a video of the event.
What wonderful celebrations we experienced to close out Black History Month!
Here are some photos of the family quilt project mentioned above:
Celebrating the 100th Day of School!
Hooray! We hit the 100th Day of School!!! Linkers celebrated the day in many ways. Kindergarten and first graders cycled through a variety of stations, including making their 100th Day crowns, playing games involving 100, building with 100 Legos, making towers with 100 cups, and more! Fifth grade scholars created 100 Day tee shirts to wear and formed the number 100 on the street in front of the school. (The 5th grade staff also had special shirts for the day, too.) Team Malala, grade 6, posted 100 adjectives about the 100 days of learning on their door and created a wall of 100 memories. Our 7th graders brought in 100 (actually closer to 200!!!) cans of food to donate to the Apostle House in Newark. Fun, learning, and community service! Looking forward to the next 80 days! All hail, LCCS!
Link receives NJDOE charter renewal and approval to expand
Link Community Charter School (LCCS) is pleased to announce that the NJ Department of Education (NJDOE) has renewed the school’s charter through June 30, 2028. Renewal, which is required by the state every five years, is based on the school’s “academic performance, fiscal viability, and operational stability.” LCCS appreciates that the state regards Link positively as a strong educational institution, stating in the renewal letter to the school that LCCS is a “quality public school option for families.”
Along with renewing the school’s charter, the NJDOE granted LCCS’ request to add grades 3 and 4 to continue the growth we began in 2014. With this approval, LCCS is now cleared for full expansion, growing from 320 scholars in 5th to 8th to 450 scholars with a complete Kindergarten to 8th grade continuum.
This is LCCS’ third state-approved grade level expansion with the goal to serve more scholars more deeply. In 2014, the school successfully added a 5th and 6th grade program to its long-standing 7th and 8th grade middle school, and in 2021, launched its elementary school with Kindergarten, when it was approved to add Kindergarten through 2nd grade. LCCS has been intentionally adding one grade at a time to ensure a strong instructional program and recruit qualified and talented staff. The state has now granted LCCS the opportunity to complete its growth to a full K-8 educational program by the 2025-26 school year. “We understand that the earlier students enter LCCS, the greater their chance of success in school and acceptance to competitive high schools…all to lead our scholars to a brighter future,” shared Richard Marshall, chair of the LCCS Board of Trustees.
LCCS is grateful for the wonderful support of its stakeholders – the school board, staff, parents, and students – who engaged fully in this year’s renewal process during the state protocol visit to the school in October 2022, demonstrating to the NJDOE that LCCS is a vibrant and educationally sound school.
María Pilar Paradiso, head of school, was delighted to receive the news from the NJDOE and noted “the renewal and the expansion are testaments to the passion, talent, and hard work of our teachers and staff, and to our unwavering commitment to educational equity and social justice.”
Peer-to-Peer Community Service at Link
A group of Pingry students visited Link to work on a community service project with Linkers. They sorted boxes and boxes of excess books that had collected at the school over a period of years. They arranged the books by genre and other categories and then determined the distribution of the books – to Little Free Libraries in local towns, classrooms, recycling, etc. Link students enjoyed working (and having fun!) with their peers from the Pingry School, including two Link alumni who are currently attending Pingry – Marc G and Roland N.
K-1 Observe World Read Aloud Day
On February 1st our Kindergarten and 1st Grade celebrated World Read Aloud Day by dressing up as a favorite book character and participating in a number of special classroom activities. Classrooms were set up with stations in which students made bookmarks and crowns, wrote a story as a group, shared reading with a buddy (we paired Kindergartners with 1st Graders!), danced, and they had photos taken with a World Read Aloud sign. Founded by LitWorld in 2010, World Read Aloud Day (WRAD) honors the transformational power of reading aloud and the importance of literacy as a foundational human right.
Additionally, World Read Aloud Day is the K-1 launch into Black History Month when students will read, and will be introduced to, amazing books on the theme in our classroom collections and beyond!