NEWARK, NJ — Newark Public Schools cut the ribbon on another new specialized high school academy Wednesday at the North Ward’s Barringer High School, where students will now be able to opt for pre-college pathways in law and public safety. 

The Barringer High School Law and Public Safety Academy, one of the district’s three new academies designed to distinguish each comprehensive high school through individual premier programs, was unveiled by Superintendent Roger Leon, elected officials and the academy’s academic and industry partners. 

University High School, McCarter and English Law Firm, and Rutgers Law School are all part of the district’s effort to nurture Newark’s future generation of lawyers, law enforcement officials and cybersecurity experts. The three-tiered support of higher education, industry and magnet school partners hopes to help students balance their pursuit of knowledge with marketable skillsets. 

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“Rutgers Law School is a real model for valuing the stories that we all have and allowing you to flourish with your own voice and story,” said David Lopez, dean of Rutgers Law School. “It’s a community where we help each other, believe in each other and move each other forward. I’m very proud of this program.” 

Students enrolled in the academy can pursue one of four tracks, which include pre-law studies, public safety studies, a JROTC chapter and cybersecurity. The foundational coursework and specialized curriculum are designed to propel enrolled students toward industry certifications and internship opportunities. 

The district put nearly $375,000 toward facilities upgrades, instructional technology, curriculum and other resources for the Law and Public Safety Academy and the West Side High School Business and Finance Academy, which was also unveiled on Wednesday. In the past, the district offered career-specific programming throughout its schools, which was ineffective, according to Leon. 

Ahead of Clarity 2020, the district’s one-year strategic plan, Leon hopes that assigning specializations to each high school through the new academies will allow the programs to succeed. 

Newark city council member Anibal Ramos emphasized the academy’s potential in creating a pipeline for Newark public safety, which is struggling to recruit new officers. 

“There is an incredible need in our community for police, corrections and juvenile detention officers, and part of what we want to do here is to expose our young people to those possibilities,” he said.