Link Community Charter School, a leader in middle school education, announced today that it will open an elementary school beginning with kindergarten in September 2021. Link was founded in 1969 as an independent school and converted to a public charter school in 2014. Serving students from Newark, Irvington, Orange, and East Orange, Link’s middle school focus has nurtured thousands of scholars and prepared them for competitive high schools across the city, state, and region. This more than 50-year legacy has provided outstanding student outcomes and a deep commitment to social justice and educational equity. With this expansion, Link is poised to use its middle school experience to launch elementary grade levels with a strong foundation for young scholars.
Link’s School Board Chair Brenda Daughtry expressed the entire board’s commitment to delivering the best educational program to its students, saying, “The school board and leadership have collectively sought to add the lower grades so we could start earlier in our work to prepare our scholars.” As a parent of a Link alumnus, she “recalls Link always feeling like home – a place where students are nurtured, and families are welcomed.”
The addition of kindergarten in September 2021 will be followed by adding grades 1 through 4 in subsequent years as students are promoted. The Kindergarten program will serve 50 students using a co-teaching model resulting in a low student-to-teacher ratio, which will provide robust connections and individualized support for its youngest scholars. The program will continue Link’s long-time commitment to a rigorous academic program, arts education, as well as personal enrichment and growth. In keeping with the middle school model, the Kindergarten program will offer an inclusive setting that will serve students with special needs and English language learners.
Maria Pilar Paradiso, Link’s Head of School, added, “The program will exude Link’s warm community and bring joyful learning to young scholars, nurturing their minds, bodies, and spirits. We are thrilled to open the doors to little ones! This expansion is the result of Link’s steadfast commitment to equity. We must start earlier to bridge the educational gaps that still exist for our communities of color. Every child deserves a quality education and a real opportunity to thrive!”
About Link Community Charter School: Link began its journey as Project Link, an independent school with 7th and 8th grades in the Central Ward in 1969 in the aftermath of the Newark rebellion. In 2014, the school converted to a public charter school and added two grade levels, creating a four-year middle school, after moving into the Lincoln Park neighborhood at 23 Pennsylvania Avenue. The NJ Department of Education approved Link’s recent request for amendment to its charter to add an elementary school to create a K-8 continuum.