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.
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.