Launched in the Spring of 2011, the Roundtable convenes policy makers, parents, researchers, school practitioners, and members of the community to review data and reports designed to improve public schools. The Roundtable takes on a particular interest in identifying and supporting best practices known to yield positive achievement outcomes for students of color.
The Foundation commissions writers and researchers to produce policy papers on topics relevant to comprehensive school reform and efforts to close the achievement gap. Papers are reviewed and discussed by the roundtable participants during a half-day session facilitated by the Foundation. The aim is to reach consensus on strategies that enhance the quality of teaching and learning in traditional public schools.
On June 13, 2015, at the Bethany Baptist Church in Newark, the Foundation held its third citywide policy roundtable where stakeholders were engaged to learn about the challenges facing Black and Latino young men, as well as opportunities to more effectively respond to the needs of boys of color.
Building on the theme, “Encourage and Equip,” an audience of over 160 parents, school practitioners, youth service providers, and policymakers were allowed to examine evidence-based models and strategies proven to yield positive results with young men (e.g., improving reading proficiency, increasing high school completion rates, and college and career readiness). Equally critical, participants were provided the opportunity to weigh in on a positive dialogue highlighting the aspirations of young men, including examples of boys beating the odds and succeeding in spite of the lack of familial and/or school and social supports (see video below). Speakers and panelists included Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, Shawn Dove, CEO, National Campaign for Black Male Achievement; David Banks, CEO, Eagle Academy Foundation; Robert Clark, Executive Director of Youth Build Newark; and, Mark Comesanas, Principal of Fast Track Success Academy, Newark
Prior to the close of the program, the audience participated in a collective call to action by adopting three policy recommendations to include the following:
1) Develop an Early Warning System for at-risk students;
2) Provide adequate college guidance to all students;
3) Establish moratorium on excessive student disciplinary practices.
Rationale and Objectives:
•Charter Development and Expansion
•Early Childhood Education
•Extended Learning and Out of School Time
•Independent and Parochial
Two overarching recommendations concerning the access and use of data are detailed below.
Access to Data · There is consensus among all participating foundations about the need for the Newark Public Schools to make available a much greater amount of academic, fiscal, and demographic data regarding the progress of schools and students. Funders believe the availability of such data will have the potential to create a shared understanding across stakeholders on the needs and challenges of Newark students and help inform an assessment of improvement efforts to date.
Framework for Data Collection and Evaluation · Building on the Newark Arts Education Roundtable’s efforts to develop multiple measures to assess the impact of art programs on academic and social emotional achievement and other indicators, funders are calling for the adoption of an evaluation framework for education grantmaking encompassing all ten categories reviewed in this report. The framework would include requirements for the use of outcome data to assess the extent of change, and multiple methods and techniques to gauge impact.