Newark’s ‘Teacher Academy’ will turn students into educators

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NEWARK, NJ – What some are calling “New Jersey’s most comprehensive teacher’s academy” took another step toward opening this week in Newark.

On Tuesday, stakeholders kicked off the planning phase for The Teacher Academy, an ambitious partnership that will be located at Newark’s largest high school, East Side, on Van Buren Street. The new academy — slated to open in 2020 — will provide local public school students with a “pipeline” to teaching careers, helping to build classroom diversity across New Jersey, supporters say.

Academy graduates will receive a replacement certificate and college credits upon completion, according to a news release from Newark city officials.

León explained the offer to WBGO:

“Any student teacher who actually starts their studies here in our school system, we will offer them a contract. So when they graduate from university and meet all the conditions necessary to accept the position, they will automatically not have to seek for any other employment in any other school district.”

According to city officials, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and Montclair State University will help design a curriculum to prepare students for a career in teaching. Additionally, the university will provide adjunct professors to mentor students, and internships for students will be available.

East Side High’s partner high schools are Newark’s University High Schools Media Studies Academy and Arts High Schools Arts Academy. Both academies will be housed at East Side High School.

Supporters and stakeholders gathered at East Side High School on Tuesday to celebrate the milestone. In attendance were Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, Newark Public Schools Superintendent Roger León, Montclair State University President Susan Cole, AFT President Randi Weingarten, and President of the Newark Teachers Union, John Abeigon.

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