NEWARK, NJ — Students interested in sustainability science can now further benefit from Central High School's improved Environmental Studies Academy.
School officials on Tuesday announced a new partnership between Central High School, Kean University, PSEG and a magnet school, Science Park High School, to ensure students graduate from the existing Environmental Studies Academy with marketable skills, certifications and take advantage of internships available in Newark.
"When we invest in young people, we collectively help the world," said Sharnee Brown, Central High School principal.
The partnership will also broaden Central High School's dual enrollment program so students can walk away from the Environmental Studies Academy with college-earned credits.
"Environmental studies is necessary because we learn how the Earth works and also the cause and effect of environmental problems," said Miah Shepards, senior at Central High School. "It's clear the need for more sustainable daily actions, luckily we can start creating these habits today."
The day signified the sixth and final unveiling of comprehensive high school premier academies in Newark. The three-prong strategy partners a traditional high school with a magnet high school, a professional organization and a higher education partner committed to provide unique academic experiences respective to the premier academy.
Roger León, Newark Public Schools superintendent, said that while the city's selective magnet schools (designed for high achieving students) have been distinguishing themselves for years, the unveiled academies are intended to ensure excellence in all schools across the city.
"These academies that we are unveiling are in part the opportunities that will in fact change the realities for our students," León said.
For example, Barringer High School announced the Law and Public Safety Academy in a partnership with the magnet school University High School, higher education partner Rutgers School of Law and the professional organization, McCarter & English, LLP. Meanwhile, East Side High School announced the Teacher Academy, partnering with University High School as the magnet school, Montclair State University and the American Federation of Teachers.
"I am very excited to be a part of this partnership," said Daniela Shebitz, Kean University environmental science professor. "This is a huge step, not only for this high school, not only for Newark, not only for New Jersey, but really for the global community that we are a part of."
"There is no better time to be inspired to go into the environmental science field than now," Shebitz said. Kean University will work with Central High School to develop curricula to ensure courses are on par for a seamless transition into Kean University School of Environmental and Sustainability Sciences or wherever students decide to go.
Environmental science is not just talk, it's about the future, said proud partner Rick Thigpen, PSEG vice president for corporate citizenship. "We at public service have embraced this challenge in not only delivering electricity to your house, (but in) making sure we all learn how to consume less energy and generate electricity cleaner so our environment will be cleaner for the future."
Mayor Ras Baraka congratulated the superintendent for his work with the comprehensive high schools across the city.
"I think it’s the right thing to do," Baraka said of the academies. "It's a way to make sure that no matter where our kids are in high school they are attached to a very high level, engaging and challenging curriculum and the city of Newark is collectively wrapping themselves around these kids and making sure they are successful."