Newark Academy’s enduring purpose has been empowering academic achievement and instilling intellectual energy into its students since 1774. Today, Newark Academy is reimagining the educational rigor for which it’s known. By engaging sixth through twelfth graders in transformational learning experiences, they become accomplished scholars instilled with a passion for learning.
The recent and temporary transition to online learning during the coronavirus pandemic is the latest example of how NA ensures that every student is engaged in a meaningful educational experience. From advisor groups to the school newspaper; athletics to choral group, life at NA continued as close to normal as possible. “During the shutdown, our faculty forged ahead, responding with creativity,” Keith Fischer, Director of Admission and Enrollment Management, says.
Plans for the 2020 school year are focused on two possible scenarios–a full return to campus which adheres to public health precautions or a “hybrid” model of onsite and at-home learning. In either case, NA’s small class size gives the school an advantage. “In a perfect world, we will have everyone back on campus,” Fischer says. “If a hybrid model is needed, we will continue to be the innovative school our students know and love.”
Newark Academy is the first school in New Jersey to offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) course of study and diploma. IB courses offer students a (globally accepted) alternative to advanced learning courses. The school also offers some Advanced Placement (AP) courses.
“Newark Academy is a global school,” Fischer says. “In addition to our students coming from more than 90 local communities, we have a number of international students as well.”
One example of NA’s commitment to global education is its Immersion Experiences. Every Upper School student participates in a language, cultural, service or wilderness immersive experience, fostering a deeper understanding of other cultures as well as self-exploration. While current restrictions may impact students’ ability to travel, NA will continue to create experiences that broaden students’ horizons.
Learning By Doing
Rather than focus on memorization of facts and figures, NA students learn how to think, consider complex issues and put thought into action. This emphasis on experiential learning takes center stage during June Term, a two-week period when Upper School students take a deep dive into subjects ranging from rocketry and app development to language construction.
In the Middle School, hands-on learning occurs through classroom projects like stock market investing, building roller coasters, debate, play writing and film production. Students complete the year with fun-filled Capstone Experiences that promote communication, teamwork and self-reflection.
Student opinions are also valued in decision-making processes at NA. Students take on leadership roles on the Honor Council, the Equity & Inclusion Team, and the Curriculum Committee, to name a few. The Student Voice proposal process, which empowers School Council members to make formal presentations to NA’s Head of School on behalf of the student body, has resulted in new policies on consecutive assessment limits and the addition of a frozen yogurt machine in the dining hall.
Newark Academy strives to be a welcoming community, where everyone’s known and feels a genuine sense of belonging. That sense of belonging begins with each of our students bringing his or her own unique identity to NA. Slightly more than half of students identify as a person of color and 17 percent of students identify as being part of one or more typically under-represented minority groups. “We are diverse by design,” says Fischer. “We know that being able to build relationships and share ideas with others is one of the essential abilities needed for success.”
Newark Academy students also have diverse interests. A high-performing athlete can take part in the winter musical and a student who loves computer programming can earn a spot in the school’s nationally-recognized jazz band, Fischer notes “Diversity of all kinds benefits the individuals and enriches our entire community,” he adds.
91 South Orange Ave., Livingston