It’s official! Link is a charter school! While the school had been approved in February, there was a final preparedness review and visit by the NJ Department of Education in June.Then on July 15th, Head of School Maria Pilar Paradiso received notification from the Charter School division of the DOE that Link has been granted a charter. This comes after a year and a half of intensive planning for and development of a program and administrative structure that would comply with all state requirements fora public charter school. Link is excited to have passed this milestone in its 45 year history, and is ready to continue the legacy of Link as LINK COMMUNITY CHARTER SCHOOL!
Over 140 students entered the Link Summer Academy this past week. The Academy runs for the month of July, and includes all students who will be new to Link in the new school year…5th and 7th graders, as well as a handful of 8th graders. The purpose for the program is to acclimate students to Link’s culture; to help them feel comfortable in their new school meeting students coming from schools all over Newark, East Orange, Orange and Irvington; and to provide them with inspiration for a successful school year Students are assessed, too, so staff can make certain that plans to help each child succeed are in place.
Besides classes in math, literature, composition and study skills, students hear from motivational speakers and take field trips to museums and parks.
Parents visit twice during the month, too, for the Link Parent University, when they learn more about the school their children will be attending. They are offered workshops in PowerSchool (gradebook), the school’s discipline policy, the school culture, home to school communications, nutrition, and much more. And Brother Jerome is on hand to teach African Dance to all!
What an awesome day! Our Linkers had the opportunity to meet over 70 professionals during the school’s annual Career Day last month. Students were inspired by our wonderful guests’ stories of their jobs and career paths, mentored by a group of terrific role models, and informed and entertained by several phenomenal keynote speakers. Again, volunteer Dr. Michele Scott organized the day, attracting a number of exceptional professionals to meet with our students.
We were excited to have as speakers, two Link alumni – Ashaki Larkin’94 and Nicole Singletary ’92. Additionally students heard from Elnardo Webster, former Pittsburgh Steeler and now an attorney; Keicey Castle, assistant director of EOP at NJIT; Willie Cole, African American artist and Tobias Truvillion, actor.
During the course of the day, students attended interactive panel discussion about a wide variety of fields: construction, transportation, law, business, medicine and health related areas, education, the arts, communications, IT, architecture, and much more. They also had a mentoring session – guests meeting with students in small groups, talking about the importance of image and making good decisions.
Link’s mission is to prepare students for high school and beyond, to become resourceful and responsible citizens of the world. Our goal in Career Day is to expose students to many accomplished professionals from a variety of career fields, so they can see what the future could hold for them. We thank Dr. Scott and our guests for supporting Link and our students in our mission.
The School Board of Link Community Charter School will hold an open meeting on Wednesday, March 26, 2014 at 7 pm at the school, 23 Pennsylvania Avenue, Newark.
Congratulations to Link students who have participated in a number of community service projects during the past several months. In line with the school’s mission to help students develop into “responsible and resourceful citizens who give back to others,” students had opportunities to help others in a variety of ways. In the fall, they collected funds for The G.I. Go Fund, a non-profit that assists veterans of the armed services transition back into civilian life. At Thanksgiving time, the Student Government Association (SGA)ran a food drive, and a tremendous amount of packaged and canned goods was delivered to the food bank at St. John’s Methodist Church in Newark. Before Winter Break, students brought in new toys which were transported to Galilee Baptist Church in Newark. Church members presented the gifts to children in the community. Last month the SGA held a Coat Drive, collecting a large number of new and gently used coats and jackets for distribution at Wynona’s House, a Newark based non-profit that provides support to children of abuse. We are proud of our students enthusiasm for community outreach and their (and their families’) generosity. Way to go, Linkers!
The photo to the left is of students with the gifts they bought for the toy drive in December. Yes, they are in PJs! This photo was taken on the last day of the toy drive – a fun spirit day before Winter Break – pajamas, hot chocolate and cookies, and on to Winter Break!
As Link makes the transition to become a public charter school, staff is working diligently to ensure that the school’s curriculum meets the Common Core State Standards and New Jersey Core Content Standards. Through a series of professional development days and staff meetings, teachers have become familiar with the standards and have begun to review the school’s curriculum and make changes as needed, to be ready for the 2014-2015 school year.