Essex County News

Uncommon Schools Creating Pipeline of Teachers of Color in New Jersey

Summer Teaching Fellow Adeyemi Oseni is a North Star graduate who is heading into his senior year at Stockton University.

When Michelle Yaruqui arrived at Uncommon Schools’ North Star Academy in sixth grade she could barely write in English. She came to the United States from Ecuador with her family when she was five, and the school she’d attended through fifth grade hadn’t challenged her.

“We would only watch movies for class sometimes, or just sit around and talk,” she said. 

At North Star, the contrast was stark. Expectations were high, and at first she begged her mother to take her out. But her mother wouldn’t, and no matter how hard it was, “there was always a teacher you could turn to,” she said. 

Sign Up for E-News

Now, getting ready to head into her senior year at Middlebury College, not only is she grateful for that experience, she’s considering coming back to Newark to teach at North Star, recognizing the enormous influence her teachers had on her and wanting to make the same difference for others. 

Yaruqui is one of 155 rising college seniors who are trying out their teaching skills at Uncommon Schools this summer in various locations, including Newark. Uncommon Schools manages 52 schools in New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts and serves 18,000 students — about 5,000 of them in Newark. 

Every year, Uncommon Schools scours the country for students like Yaruqui who are bright, enthusiastic and committed to teaching in urban areas.  A growing percentage of these college students are graduates of Uncommon themselves.

More than 500 college students have already gone through the Uncommon Schools Summer Teaching Fellows program since 2010, and this year’s group was by far the largest at 155 fellows. Of last year’s group, more than half came back to Uncommon to teach as full time teachers after they graduated from college. 

The program is born out of the notion that students benefit from seeing themselves in the teachers at the front of the room. Nearly 80 percent of the Summer Teaching Fellows are college students of color, reflecting Uncommon’s commitment to teacher diversity. 

“The Summer Teaching Fellows program represents a bright spot on the landscape of teacher recruitment,” said Paula White, New Jersey state director of Democrats for Education Reform. 

“With an educator workforce in US public schools that is 82 percent white, teaching remains largely a racially homogenous profession,” said White, who is also the founder of a public charter school in the South Ward and former chief turnaround officer for the New Jersey Department of Education.

“It’s great to see a system of high-quality public schools in New Jersey that is actively working to change this reality,” White said.

At Uncommon, about 50 percent of teachers are people of color, more than double the national average of teachers of color in public school classrooms, and substantially higher than the percentage of public school teachers of color in U.S. urban areas.

According to a study of 100,000 black students by the Institute of Labor Economics released in April, having at least one black teacher in third through fifth grades reduced a black student’s probability of dropping out of school by 29 percent and significantly increased their chance of aspiring to attend a four-year college. For low-income black boys, the results were even greater — their chance of dropping out of school fell 39 percent.

Ixhon Allen, now a math major at Montclair State University and also a North Star graduate, spent the summer teaching math and learning how to become a better teacher. She is seriously considering coming back as a North Star math teacher after she graduates next year.

“Seven years ago I was in ninth grade learning Algebra II, so I let my students know that I understand just what they are going through,” Allen said.

The fellows received training for several weeks in May and June before getting a taste of the teaching profession in Summer Academy at Uncommon’s public college-prep charter schools in Newark, Brooklyn, Troy, Rochester and Boston. 

Adeyemi Oseni, a North Star graduate who is heading into his senior year at Stockton University, spent his time teaching first graders. During a math lesson, he tells the students not to get tricked by a word problem. Though he's only been teaching for a few years, he looks like he's been teaching for years because of the training he's received.

For Allen,Yaruqui and Oseni, the rigorous classes at North Star prepared them for success in college. That’s the drive they bring with them into their own classrooms now. 

“If I didn’t have the opportunity to take AP classes in high school, I wouldn’t have even considered attempting a math major,” Allen said.  “I’m glad that I was challenged in classes where it was safe to make a mistake.”

Her goal is to let her students know that their hard work now will pay off in the long run, just like it did for her.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Nutley Winter Snow Storm Bulletin No. 1 March 20, 2018

March 20, 2018

The following information, from the Township of Nutley Board of Commissioners, has been prepared to advise residents about preparedness and enforcement during the Winter Storm effective March 21, 2018

Recycling and Garbage pickups for WEDNESDAY, MARCH 21 have been suspended.

All Parks and ...

The Mountsier-Hardee Garden in Nutley Opens to the Public to Benefit the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days Program

NUTLEY, NJ - The Garden Conservancy is pleased to announce the first New Jersey Open Days private garden tour for 2018 in Nutley on Saturday, April 14.

Complete details on this event can be seen at this link: Mountsier Hardee Garden in Nutley Opens to the Public 

The Mountsier-Hardee Garden will host also host Nutley Family Service Bureau's annual ...

Upcoming Events


Tue, March 20, 5:30 PM

Nutley Parks and Recreation , nutley

Shrek Jr. Auditions and Callback Date Change

Arts & Entertainment


Tue, March 20, 7:00 PM

Montclair Public Library, Montclair

Martin Luther King, Newark, and the Cool Spring ...

Education Law & Justice Other


Wed, March 21, 6:00 PM

Montclair Public Library, Montclair

Understanding Liver Disease

Education Health & Wellness


Wed, March 21, 7:00 PM

Hospital Conference Room 2 (Ground Floor), Glen Ridge

Becoming a Parent

Health & Wellness


Thu, March 22, 6:00 PM

Mountainside Medical Center, Glen Ridge

Power Up your Grocery Cart

Food & Drink Health & Wellness


Fri, March 23, 6:30 PM

Parks and Recreation Department , Nutley

Nutley Crew Beefsteak/Tricky Tray

Food & Drink Sports


Fri, March 23, 7:00 PM

West Orange High School , West Orange

WOHS Band Council Presents: A Concert for the ...

Arts & Entertainment Education Health & Wellness

March 20 Weather Update for Nutley Schools

March 20, 2018

As we face the possibility of another Nor’Easter in our area, we wanted to provide you with our thoughts on a potential school closing at this time.

Weather reports predict that Wednesday afternoon will see the heaviest periods of snowfall. Based on this information, we currently anticipate that Wednesday, March 21 will be a single session/early dismissal day. In this ...

Nutley Public Schools' Robyn Powell named Nutley Jaycees’ Educator of the Year

Nutley Public Schools Coordinator K-12 Health Physical Education and Nursing Supervisor Robyn Powell was named to receive the Nutley Jaycees’ Distinguished Service Award as Educator of the Year. Five Nutley citizens will receive the Jaycees' 47th annual “Distinguished Service Awards" at a community banquet on Thursday April 12, 2018.

Robyn Powell, this year’s ...


Prism Capital Partners, ON3 to Host Suburban Revitalization Forum March 8 in Nutley

March 6, 2018

NUTLEY, NJ - Prism Capital Partners and On3 will present the second part of a Suburban Revitalization Forum on March 8 in the auditorium of Building 200 on the ON3 campus. Each forum will begin at 6:30 p.m. 

Part two of the series, March 8,will discuss ways redevelopment can be tailored to take advantage of the demographic, socio-economic and lifestyle changes and ...

Speaker Added to March 8 Suburban Revitalization Forum - Chris Porter

NUTLEY, NJ - A Suburban Revitalization Forum will be presented by Prism Capital Partners and ON3 on March 5 and 8 at 6:30 p.m. on the ON3 campus, in the auditorium of Building 200 on Metro Boulevard, 340 Kingsland Street, Nutley.

The two-part series will feature nationally recognized speakers who will examine trends in urban planning and future growth as New ...

Student-Led March for Our Lives to Take Place in Montclair, Mar. 24

March 20, 2018

MONTCLAIR, NJ - Montclair and surrounding-area students are planning to participate in a movement called 'March for Our Lives' taking place on Saturday, March 24. Part of a nationwide movement to pass common-sense gun legislation in America, the students plan on gathering in several places across the state of New Jersey, including Montclair, Maplewood, Paterson, Union and ...

Man Dies from South Orange House Fire on Sunday

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - A man has died from a house fire on Warwick Avenue in South Orange on Sunday afternoon, stated Thomas Fennelly, Essex County Chief Assistant Prosecutor.

The fire, which began about 2 p.m. was contained by about 5 p.m., and required mutual aid from fire departments in neighboring towns, according to firefighters at the scene.

Technology ‘Hub’ proposed for Hub City’s downtown, covering 12 acres

March 20, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK – State and city officials on Monday unveiled plans for a “hub” for research in the fields of technology and health care services to stretch over 12 acres.

Gov. Phil Murphy, speaking at a meeting at Rutgers University, said the "Innovation and Technology Hub,” which is in the planning stages, would include construction of 2 million to 4 million ...

Floating Classroom Will Help Roxbury Kids Embrace 'Their' Lake Hopatcong

ROXBURY, NJ – There are plenty of kids living in Roxbury who’ve never been on Lake Hopatcong, says lake buff Marty Kane. He’s even confident many don’t realize their town borders the big lake.

That’s one of the reasons Kane, chairman of the Lake Hopatcong Foundation Board of Trustees, is bubbling with excitement about the upcoming launch of the ...

Avon Loses Its Last ‘Grand’ Hotel to the Claw of an Excavator

March 18, 2018

AVON-BY-THE-SEA, NJ — In less than two days, an Avon-by-the-Sea landmark that stood for 130 years was reduced to a huge pile of rubble. The Norwood Inn no longer stands on the corner of Norwood and Second Avenues — the last of the stately hotels that once graced the streets of Avon.

As onlookers gathered around the demolition site on March 15 and March 16, an excavator clawed its ...

Nutley Police Department Blotter March 3 - March 9, 2018

March 10, 2018

The Police Blotter is compiled each week by Det. Sgt. Anthony Montanari of the Crime Intelligence Public Information Division of the Nutley Police Department.

Please note:  All parties placed under arrest have been assigned a court date and remain innocent until proven guilty of those charges at their respective hearing

Anyone who has information about any crimes can send a (non ...

Pro Staff Institute announces partnership with Uber Health

NUTLEY, NJ - Pro Staff Institute is proud to announce their participation in Uber Health, a new transportation program designed to provide transportation to patients. Pro Staff Institute is the first physical therapy center in the nation to leverage Uber Health, and joins over other 100 health care organizations in the U.S., including hospitals, clinics, rehab centers and senior care ...

The Negative Effects Of Prolonged Sitting And Workplace Tips From Pro Staff Physical Therapy

In recent years, media outlets have described sitting as the new smoking. This may seem like a stretch, but once you break that statement down it carries some truth. Cigarettes were not thought to be the cause of lung cancer and other serious diseases until the 1950s. Like the cigarette industry in the 1920s, the effects of prolonged sitting throughout the workday has largely been ignored and ...

The Other Way NFSB Feeds Families

I remember how my teenage pride swelled the first time a friend confided in me for emotional support. Before long, my phone was clogged nightly as friends tapped my unearthed talent to lament breakups, or collapse under academic expectation. Because therapy was in the shadows then, and often thought of as a crutch for the “sick” or the “weak,” parents never sought ...

The Women Artists of Nutley Exhibit at the Nutley Public Library

 Enjoy an exhibit of new works by members of The Women Artists of Nutley in the gallery and display case of the Nutley Public Library during the months of March and April. Acrylic, gouache and watercolor paintings as well photography, pastels and drawings by these talented women will be featured.

Women’s History Month is celebrated in the United States in March every year. This art ...

Educational Leadership with Coach Tom Gargiulo

Learn some of the secrets of high-performing teachers and students with “Coach” Tom Gargiulo on Thursday, March 1st at 7:00 p.m. Motivate yourself and others with time-tested tips and strategies presented by Coach Tom in a lively and interactive manner. Mr. “G” is in his 28th year of teaching and coaching and teaches Physical Education at ...

Nutley United Soccer Club - Spring Season

The Nutley United Soccer Club is the travel division of the soccer program offered by the Nutley Parks & Recreation Department directed by Commissioner Mauro G. Tucci. Teams play in the very competitive Northern Counties Soccer Association against towns in Northern NJ and Lower NY State. The travel soccer program offers a high level of instruction by professional trainers and experienced ...

Registration for Spring Tennis Lessons Now Open

Commissioner Mauro G. Tucci announces Spring Tennis Lesson registration is now open!  The Nutley Department of Parks and Recreation offers a top quality tennis program, directed under the supervision of Barry Rubach, an accredited member of the U.S. Professional Tennis Association and former Collegiate Champion.  Classes range in age groups starting in 1st grade and continuing through ...

Commissioner Tucci Opens Registration For Toddler Sports Sampler

Commissioner Mauro G. Tucci and the Nutley Department of Parks and Recreation are pleased to open registration for Toddler Sports Sampler.  This program is for Nutley youngsters ages 3-5. Not quite sure sport your child loves most? Look no further!  This class allows kids to participate in a variety of sports that will help them in their decision of which sport they enjoy most. Each ...

The Jaffe Briefing - March 20, 2018


NEW BRUNSWICK - The governor has targeted The Hub City as the new hub for innovation and technology. Gov. Phil Murphy was in town yesterday to meet with city, business and Rutgers officials to chat about how all the ongoing downtown investment will be a magnet for scientific and technological innovation, TAPInto New Brunswick reports. The ...

An Open Letter to Steven Rogers, and Anyone Else Misguided About NHS’s Participation in the National School Walkout

March 19, 2018

To Commissioner Steven Rogers, and whomever else it may concern,

My name is Gabrielle Mackiewicz, and I am a 15-year-old sophomore at Nutley High School. On Wednesday, March 14, 2018, I took part in the National School Walkout at 10:00 a.m., and I have seen a lot of your ideas about the event on several different social media platforms. I am writing this to address some of these concerns.

The Price We Pay for School Security

In light of recent events with the Parkland school shooting, I understand the concern of parents when it comes to school safety.  Especially, when you end up having an incident from a high school kid in your own town posting threatening videos the next day. The BOE, police officers, and other administrators all handled the incident promptly and took the proper steps in calming jittered ...

Ten Ways to Be Productive on a Snow Day

March 7, 2018

Another Nor’Easter has smacked us in the face today.  After so many of us lost power for what seemed to be an eternity, it’s a good time to make up for lost productivity and work on the famous Stephen Covey Quadrant 2 Activities.  What are they you may ask?  Those are the activities that are Important, yet not urgent (well some of them can be).  In other ...

Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center Presents:Ron Guidry Book Signing, Apr. 3

March 19, 2018

Ron Guidry, known as "Gator" and "Louisiana Lightning" to his teammates, quickly rose in 1977 to become the ace of the Yankees' stellar pitching staff, helping the team regarded as one of the most famous and controversial in Yankees history to win two World Series championships. 

Join us on Tuesday, April 3 for a signing of Guidry's new ...

4th Wall Announces Auditions for FUN HOME

4th Wall Theatre, a non-union NJ theatre company, will hold open auditions for all roles in the final production of its 2017-18 season, FUN HOME, with music by Jeanine Tesori, book and lyrics by Lisa Kron, and based on the graphic novel by Alison Bechdel. 4th Wall’s production will be directed by Kate Swan with music direction by Markus Grae-Hauck. The show will be presented at ...

Junior League of Montclair-Newark, Inc 50/50 Raffle

MONTCLAIR, NJ - The Junior League of Montclair-Newark, Inc. (JLMN) has provided support and service to women and children in Bloomfield, The Caldwells, Cedar Grove, Essex Fells, Glen Ridge, Irvington, Montclair, Newark and Verona for more than 95 years.

Our trained, enthusiastic members are committed to promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women, and improving the community ...

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (Random House, 1965)


In Cold Blood is, quite simply, the grand-daddy of true crime writing, dubbed by Capote, himself, as the first non-fiction novel (although Norman Mailer argued the point when he published The Executioner's Song in 1979.) The conditions under which I read In Cold Blood for the first time were pretty weird, which was another ...

Ian Hockley Visits New Jersey to Introduce Program to Empower Youth

This week I am taking a departure from book reviewing to share an important program that has been introduced to New Jersey this week by Mr. Ian Hockley, founder of the Dylan's Wings of Change Foundation. On December 14, 2012, Hockley's five year old son, an autistic child named Dylan, was gunned down in his classroom in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Dylan, a shy and adorable ...

Lilli DeJong by Janet Benton

Lilli De Jong by Janet Benton (Doubleday, 2017)


“It's said that every woman's painful labor is God's punishment. Eve ate an apple, and God pours wrath on every mother. So the Bible tells it.” (p.320)

The story of Eve and the serpent in the Garden of Eden, which is the Biblical explanation for the extreme pains of childbirth, casts women in the role of ...


- Mar 14, 2018
Past Deputy Grand Marshall of St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Merchant Marine veteran James J.
Read more
Nov 23, 1963 - Mar 12, 2018
Jeffrey Roy Imhoff passed away on March 12, 2018. He was a lifelong resident of Nutley, graduating ...
Read more