Education

Newark's BRICK Peshine and BRICK Avon schools soar to the top of the district

4790b8c4c87cbffa85e5_Lee.jpg
BRICK Peshine and Avon, which Lee describes as “hybrid” schools—both are partnerships between Lee and Newark Public Schools—were founded by Lee and serve close to 1500 kids in the South Ward. Credits: BRICK
4790b8c4c87cbffa85e5_Lee.jpg

Newark, NJ – BRICK Academy announced Tuesday that students attending BRICK Peshine and BRICK Avon schools achieved record-setting scores in math and English/Language Arts in 2016-2017 Student Growth Percentiles (SGP), beating out most of Newark's 60 district and charter schools.

Conducted by the New Jersey Department of Education each year, the SGP measures growth for individual public school students and determines how each school has improved in state test performance from one year to the next.

New Jersey measures growth for an individual student by comparing the change in his or her achievement on the state standardized assessment to the scores of students in the state who had similar historical test results the previous year. This comparative change is reported on a 1 to 99 scale. 

Sign Up for E-News

BRICK Peshine’s score of 63 in ELA ranked the school in second place out of all Newark district and charter schools in grades K-8, while BRICK Avon’s ELA score of 54 ranked the school in the top 20 out of all district and charter schools. 

In 2015-2016, BRICK Peshine ranked 19th and BRICK Avon ranked 54th.

BRICK Peshine’s score of 61.5 in math ranked the school at number six out of all district and charter schools, while BRICK Avon’s score of 51 placed it in the top 20. 

In 2015-2016, BRICK Peshine ranked 19th and BRICK Avon ranked 53rd.

“Historically, the South Ward public schools underperformed their charter and public peers,” BRICK Founder and CEO Dominique Lee said. “Now you have a South Ward school being ranked at the top. It’s a huge, huge lift for the community. It shows that our kids can perform as long as you surround the school with their needs."

BRICK Peshine and Avon schools were founded in 2011 and 2012 and are part of BRICK Academy, an umbrella organization made up of the two schools, Achieve Charter School and the South Ward Children's Alliance.  

BRICK Peshine and Avon schools serve close to 1,500 kids in the South Ward.

BRICK Academy was designed in collaboration with the Newark School District and the City of Newark to serve the most vulnerable population, where the majority of children are growing up in extreme generational poverty.

More than 50 percent of BRICK students live in households that earn less than $11,500 per year and more than 95 percent of the student body qualify for free or reduced lunch.

In addition, BRICK students have been exposed to adverse experiences such as violence, sexual abuse, poverty and homelessness at higher rates than the general population.

To address these issues, BRICK established a national model to address and counter the effects these experiences have on cognitive and social development.

“Living in the cycle of adversity causes over-exposure to toxic stress and hinders brain development, leaving children in constant flight, fight or fright mode," Lee said. "For generations, Newarkers have been witness to a significant achievement gap and school-to-prison pipeline. Seven years ago, BRICK Schools were specifically designed to ensure every at-risk child would be provided with hope and opportunity."

Lee believes that investing in children at each stage of their lives will lead to college, career and a successful future and notes that the infusion of community school supports and a focus on instructional quality has culminated in a state SGP report that shows a significant learning shift for BRICK students. 

The school has formed strategic partnerships with a variety of entities and agencies including Newark Public Schools; the Newark Trust for Education; the South Ward Children AllianceRobert Wood Johnson FoundationGreater Newark Health Care CoalitionRutgers University Behavioral Care (UBHC); and the Children's Hospital of New Jersey at Newark Beth Israel, which all provide a specialized and integrated intervention system that allows staff to proactively identify the needs of every student and match them with tailored supports and resources. 

The South Ward Children’s Alliance (SWCA) provides services for children and families from birth through college and career and was founded by Lee in order to establish a two-generation model--a cradle-to-career educational pipeline that gives young people and their parents access to a quality of life that ensures academic and lifelong success.

The SWCA strategically partners with social service agencies to help provide access to housing, health services and financial assistance and to help stabilize its most vulnerable families.

“We’re designated as a community school and it’s really about providing community support,” Lee said. “We are providing support to families so they can support learning at home. On the instructional front, we were able to put laser-light focus on instruction.”

Best practices gleaned from schools like Uncommon Schools North Star Academy and Relay Graduate School of Education, increased daily teacher preparation and planning times and investment in the emotional development of students have all helped in moving the school forward.

“What is most important for every parent in Newark is that our paradigm-changing education model that specifically addresses the special needs of our city is working," Lee said. “It’s not an and/or—you can only work on external issues or education. You kind of have to make it a two-generation strategy. This work cannot be done alone.”

“Every student in Newark deserves a high-quality education,” Newark Trust for Education Executive Director Ronald Chaluisan said. “Circumstances of birth should not preclude one from accessing rigorous learning opportunities. While there is still more work to be done, our student assessment scores show that the intentional and strategic work of our district has made strides and is delivering needed improvement in student achievement for the families of Newark.”

 Chaluisan noted community collaboration as the schools’ anchor, as well as the creation of the right learning environment and attention to classroom instruction as contributing to the schools' success.

“The BRICK team ​is​ ​a​ ​great example of the innovative spirit​ ​needed for continuous​ school improvement,” he said. “Their steadfast resolve that the students of the South Ward are not only capable but can thrive is testament to the results seen in their test scores.”

BRICK Academy also provides a wide variety of support, trainings, and coaching to parents and caregivers. The schools regularly host parent education workshops, connect with community leaders and hold door-to-door outreach campaigns.

Lee said he felt a sense of pride and relief when the SGP results were revealed.

“It was excitement and it was also a relief,” he said. “Some people expressed doubt but this proves the two-generation model works. It’s the continued evolution of innovation but we’re not done yet. Everyone can learn from each other on this. We are so proud of the hard work of our teachers, parents and community.”

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Newark

He Grew Up In James Baxter Terrace. Today, He Ushers in a Newark Condo Complex

July 19, 2018

NEWARK, NJ - Hassan Keith grew up in the city’s James Baxter Terrace public housing, and now he's come back to unveil a 24-unit condominium complex on Clinton Avenue he helped build. 

Keith teamed up with the NFL's Mike Adams to form the Mid-Atlantic Investment Alliance development company along with two others. Today, they cut the ribbon on the new Lofts at ...

Mothers Mobilize in Newark to Protest Trump Family Separation Policy

June 22, 2018

NEWARK, NJ - A group of New Jersey mothers took time to come to Newark with the kind of loved ones recently taken from other mothers: their children.

"It's unconscionable that our government is stealing children from their parents and locking them up in cages," said Christina Liu, a Montclair mom holding her baby daughter, commenting on President Donald Trump's recent ...

Market Street Patrol Building May Be Named After Late Undersheriff

June 28, 2018

NEWARK, NJ — The death of Essex County Undersheriff Kevin Ryan on June 20 was a "devastating loss" for the department and for the county’s sheriff, Armando Fontoura.

“He was like a son to me. He was always the first one on the scene. He was always there to help. It’s just devastating. There is not much more I can say," Fontoura said in a ...

Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey Opens Camp DeWitt Conference Center and Activity Building

July 2, 2018

HILLSBOROUGH, N.J. – If you don’t know by now, Girl Scouts is much more than cookies, crafts, and summer camp.

In fact, the Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey say they should host your next professional business conference, special event, or any other big celebration in which you are looking to seriously impress.

Look no further than Camp DeWitt in Hillsborough, the site of ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_8fd7ffdcf0e8abaaca95_lincolnpark

Fri, July 27, 10:00 AM

Lincoln Park, Newark

Lincoln Park Music Festival Sustainable Health ...

Carousel_image_705db43167d2ae62207f_arjc_2018moviesunderthestars_tap1200x800

Thu, August 16, 5:00 PM

Branch Brook Park, Newark

Movies Under the Stars

To Our Current and Future Representatives

July 17, 2018

To Our Current and Future Representatives - Wherever They May Be:

We can never forget we are a nation of immigrants. 

We cannot fall prey to fear, ignorance and anger when we  have been historically driven by freedom and justice. 

We must have the courage and will to fight hate, bigotry and prejudice. 

We must not wake up to what we hoped was a bad dream and ...

A Statewide Solution on Disposable Bags Aids the Fight Against Litter

June 29, 2018

The New Jersey Clean Communities Council (NJCCC) just released the results of a year-long visual litter study that shows that nearly 10 percent of all litter on our roadways and highways is in the form of plastic and paper bags.

There is no doubt that these bags are of significant and ongoing environmental concern, creating an even more difficult job for our clean communities volunteers across ...