History of Chad

IN THE LATE 1960's, the Black Youth Organization (BYO) convened a number of community leaders to discuss the creation of a school for  Newark’s African-American children. BYO wanted to provide the City’s students of color more meaningful educational opportunities.

IN 1969, BYO HELD A PILOT SCHOOL PROGRAM—The Chad  Summer Experience—  to test the idea. It would be Afro-centric in nature  and serve as an alternative to the troubled Newark schools. Three individuals were instrumental in its creation: Leon Moore, Betty James, and Clifton Carter.  

IN 1970, BYO ESTABLISHED THE CHAD SCHOOL, an independent, co-ed,  non-sectarian elementary school with an enrollment  of 77 children. It  was named for the African nation that gained its  independence from  French colonial rule in 1960. The School’s logo—“The  Heart of  Africa”—displayed the country in the center of the continent. The  founders wanted to create “… a symbol of hope for children in the  heart  of Newark, where children prove that with a good education and  pride  in roots, they can achieve and succeed.” Core components included: Starting Early: Early Childhood/Pre-K programs, High Expectations, Rigorous Curriculum, and Strong Parental Involvement.

The School’s facilities were initially located in five converted   adjacent homes beginning with a row house at 78 Clinton Avenue. In 1985, the former St. Antoninus School at 308 South Ninth Street was acquired from the Catholic Archdiocese and eventually opened as the new Chad School in 1986, replacing the buildings on Clinton Avenue. The South 9th Street Building provided instruction for grades Pre-K-8. 

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IN 1991, THE FOUNDATION WAS ESTABLISHED to serve as the  fund raising arm of BYO. Its first priority was to  raise funds for a  high school. That objective  was  met  in 1992  when   the  Chad   Science  Academy  opened  in  the  former  St. Ann School   on  South 7th  Street,  serving grades 9 – 12. The high  school  placed   heavy   emphasis  on  technology,  science,  and  mathematics   instruction  to   create  a  pipeline  for  students  choosing  careers   in what is now  commonly referred to as the STEM fields (Science,  Technology, Engineering, Mathematics).

EVIDENCE OF SUCCESS: The  Schools were successful in many academic competitions: in a 1999 6th  Grade statewide math competition among 297 schools, Chad  placed  first—out performing Princeton, Livingston, and Upper Saddle  River. Many  Chad elementary students  received  a  solid academic foundation, enabling them to attend such prestigious New Jersey high schools as Immaculate Conception, Kent Place, Marylawn of the Oranges,  Morristown-Beard, Newark Academy, Seton Hall Preparatory   School, and Wardlaw Hartridge. Chad  graduates gained admission to many outstanding colleges  and  universities: Boston University, Columbia, Cornell University, Harvard, Hampton University, Howard, Morehouse, New York University, Princeton, Spelman, Virginia Polytechnic, and Wellesley. 

The Chad Schools educated thousands of students from Newark and surrounding communities over the course  of  thirty-five  years before closing  in 2005.