NEWARK, NJ - BRICK Education Network has expanded and now includes Marion P. Thomas Charter Schools, making it the third-largest charter management organization in the City of Newark. 

With the addition of Marion P. Thomas, BRICK will serve 2,768 students at Achieve Clinton Hill Charter School, MPTCS PAC Academy, MPTCS STEAM Academy, MPTCS High School of Culinary and Performing Arts, and the South Ward Children’s Alliance

The network, which uses both a startup and turnaround school model, will eventually grow to serve about 6,000 students. BRICK is opening a new school in Buffalo, New York and acquiring a school in the South Bronx. 

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Co-founded and run by Dominique Lee, a former Newark Public Schools teacher and Teacher for America alumnus, BRICK Education Network is the first and only black-operated charter management organization in the state of New Jersey. 

“We’re excited about a ‘for us, by us’ education,” said Tish Johnson, managing director of external relations and communications for BRICK. “We think that we’ve been able to crack the code on what it looks like to educate black and brown children, particularly those that come from underserved areas like Newark, Buffalo, and the South Bronx.”

Over 350 teachers, administrators and staff from BRICK and MPTCS will come together for the first time on Monday for a celebratory kickoff of the announcement and upcoming school year. 

BRICK started almost 10 years ago when tasked with transforming Avon Avenue, one of the lowest-performing schools in the district and state. Years later, Peshine joined the BRICK network. 

When BRICK returned these schools to NPS operation at the end of the contract, both were high-performing schools. Peshine Avenue School was ranked 2nd in ELA and 6th in Math on State Student Growth Percentiles out of all elementary schools in Newark. 

BRICK’s successful turnaround work has attracted the attention of the leaders of Marion P. Thomas Charter School, a chronically underperforming network in the city of Newark. 

MPTCS’s board of trustees asked BRICK to replicate its model in the four MPTCS schools in April 2018. BRICK and MPTCS have agreed to the charter management agreement and made the official announcement in time for the 2019-2020 school year. 

MPTCS, founded by members of one of Newark’s oldest churches, the New Hope Baptist, brings a 20-year history of educating Newark children.

“Being able to come together and now be the third-largest organization educating this population is a pivotal moment,” said Johnson. “It’s an amazing accomplishment to bring both of these black organizations together to have even more of an impact here in the city.”

The largest charter management operator in Newark is Uncommon Schools-North Star Academy with more than 6,000 students followed by KIPP:NJ. Earlier this year, Julie Jackson became the president of Uncommon Schools, making her one of the highest-ranking African-Americans in the nation among the largest charter school networks.