NCLC Executive Director to Co-Chair Working Group for State’s New Higher Education Plan

NCLC Executive Director to Co-Chair Working Group for State’s New Higher Education Plan

Pictured from left to right: Donald A. Borden, President of Camden County College; Laura Overdeck, Founder of the Overdeck Family Foundation; Reginald Lewis Executive Director of NCLC; and Harvey Kesselman, President of Stockton University.


Executive Director of the Newark City of Learning Collaborative (NCLC) Reginald Lewis was named co-chair of one of five working groups to help the state implement its new higher education plan.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and Secretary of Higher Education Zakiya Smith Ellis unveiled the expansive statewide higher education plan at Rutgers University-Newark on March 26, 2019. Known as “Where Opportunity Meets Innovation: A Student-Centered Vision for New Jersey Higher Education,” the plan will ensure higher education meets student needs and galvanizes New Jersey’s innovation economy.

“My Administration has committed to growing New Jersey from the middle out and lifting communities from the bottom up. There’s no better way to achieve those goals than strengthening our state’s institutions of higher education. In a knowledge-based global economy, what New Jerseyans know will matter a lot more than who they know,” said Governor Murphy.

“New Jersey is the state of innovation. And higher education is where opportunity meets innovation,” said Secretary of Higher Education Zakiya Smith Ellis. “The plan we release today seeks to ensure that every student, no matter their life circumstances, has the opportunity to obtain a high quality education that prepares them for life after college.”

Lewis will co-chair the working group on Student Success along with Stockton University President Harvey Kesselman.

“I am truly honored to be part of such a historic moment for New Jersey. It has always been our firm belief at NCLC that every student should have the adequate preparation, information, and resources needed to succeed in college or another post-high school option. I am excited to bring the expertise of NCLC and its partners to this important statewide initiative,” said Lewis.

The other four working groups are focused on (1) Creating On-ramps to College, (2) Safe and Inclusive Learning Environments, (3) Research, Innovation, and Talent, and (4) Making College Affordable, which will be co-chaired by Rutgers University-Newark Chancellor Nancy Cantor.

For more information on the statewide higher education plan, visit

For more information on NCLC, visit

NCLC Partners with Abbott Leadership Institute, East Side High School to Prepare Newark Students for the SAT

NCLC Partners with Abbott Leadership Institute, East Side High School to Prepare Newark Students for the SAT

(Newark, NJ) The Newark City of Learning Collaborative (NCLC) is pleased to provide free SAT preparation for Newark high school students for the fourth consecutive year. Done in partnership with the Abbott Leadership Institute (ALI) and East Side High School, and with support from the Rutgers University–Newark Chancellor’s Office, this course offers an intensive eight-week preparation for the May 4, 2019 SAT exam.

Included in the course are 15 hours of instruction on test-taking strategies from experts at The Princeton Review, practice workbooks, in-person and online practice exams that simulate the real SAT, and an interactive online student portal with SAT, ACT, and other college resources. Valued at more than $1,000 per student, this type of rigorous preparation is often out of reach for low-income prospective college students.

Eliminating the cost barrier associated with SAT preparation could help to expand Newark students’ college-going options. A recent report released by NCLC and the Rutgers-Newark School of Public Affairs and Administration finds that after high school, fewer than 10 percent of Newark students attend highly or very competitive colleges, like Rutgers-New Brunswick or NJIT, and only 1 percent attend the most competitive colleges, like Harvard or NYU. Newark students are often staying close to home after high school and attending less selective institutions even if they are qualified for highly selective institutions, a phenomenon known as “undermatching.”

“The SAT is one of the most widely used measures for college admission, but when it comes down to it, a student’s score is really reflective of preparedness to take the exam,” said NCLC Executive Director Reginald Lewis. “By helping students prepare for the SAT and achieve higher scores, we’re actually helping to strengthen their applications and to increase college access.”

Beyond simply preparing students for the exam, the partnership with ALI ensures that students will have all the support they need to successfully transition to college. ALI works through its College Success Center to help students and families as they prepare to enter college and the workforce. In addition to collaborating with NCLC to coordinate the SAT Prep Course on the Rutgers-Newark campus, ALI is also providing ongoing support to students as they complete their applications, look for scholarships, and otherwise prepare for the transition to college.

“There is no better preparation for the SAT than The Princeton Review [model], but for many Newark families it is not affordable,” said ALI Director Kaleena Berryman. “Students in Newark are brilliant and capable. What they often lack is access to game-changing opportunities that will empower them to truly compete. We are proud to serve as a partner with NCLC in this initiative.”

In total, 100 high school juniors are participating in this year’s course, split between the Rutgers-Newark campus and East Side High School. Each site receives the same intensive resources from The Princeton Review.

“This opportunity and educational experience is a game changer for my students (and their families) as they ready themselves for the SAT exam. It is gratifying to partner with such an innovative and dedicated organization committed to the success of our amazing students,” said East Side High School Principal Michael West.

NCLC’s goal is to ensure that Newark students have the opportunity, information, and access to go to college, afford college, complete college, and ultimately obtain good jobs. Through SAT Prep and other initiatives that equip Newarkers to succeed, NCLC helps Newark build and sustain a college-going culture.

For more information about NCLC, visit

Nearly 500 students from grades 4-8 across the district participated in the Newark Board of Education/NJIT STEM Day

Nearly 500 students from grades 4-8 across the district participated in the Newark Board of Education/NJIT STEM Day

Superintendent Roger León, Deputy Superintendent Dr. Gerald Fitzhugh and Assistant Superintendent Dr. Shakirah Harrington were joined by more than 450 students and nearly 60 teachers for the 2019 NJIT Stem Day, held at NJIT on March 14th.

The Stem Day was led by Ivory Williams, Special Assistant of Science Teaching and Learning, and her staff; Bethany Davis, Demiana Awad and Melissa McLain of the Science Team. NJIT hosts were Jacqueline L. Cusack, Ed.D, Executive Director for The Center for Pre-College Programs, Division of Academic Support and Student Affairs and Levelle Burr-Alexander, PhD, Director of Special Projects at NJIT.



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