What we do
NCSF makes grants to support the quality and sustainability of Newark’s public charter schools. Grants are made to charter schools directly and to nonprofit organizations that support the charter school sector in Newark. NCSF’s grant-making focuses on five program areas that are most urgent for the growth and sustainability of high-quality public charter schools in Newark: Human Capital, Aid to Mature Charter Schools, Charter School Incubation, Facilities Finance and Access, and Program Evaluation and Advocacy.
NCSF does not accept unsolicited grant applications. Instead, NCSF works closely with local nonprofit organizations, charter schools, foundations and stakeholders of various kinds to identity and develop grant prospects. NCSF actively seeks to partner with the Newark Public Schools and to fund work that encompasses both charter and district schools. Emerging practice and research shows that all public schools benefit from collaboration between district and charter schools. Read more about district and charter school collaboration.
Program Evaluation and Advocacy
NCSF is committed to ongoing, rigorous evaluation of every charter school in Newark. To ensure that they are helping all students succeed academically, NCSF funds data collection and program evaluation work in Newark’s charter school sector. NCSF is particularly interested in creating systems for the collection and warehousing of student-level data that will allow for longitudinal analysis of Newark charter schools performance over many years
Charter School Incubation
NCSF supports promising, startup charter schools during their application phase, planning year, and opening years. NCSF will only support startup charter school leadership teams and plans that show clear evidence of a rigorous academic program designed to prepare students for college and work.
Facilities Finance and Access
NCSF advocates for access by charter schools to under-used facilities and vacant land throughout the City of Newark. To the extent that its resources allow, NCSF also supports charter schools’ efforts to lease or acquire private land or buildings for school use.
Aid to Mature Charter Schools
In the 2010-11 school year, Newark had 15 charter schools. In 2011-12, three additional charter schools will open as well as two additional campuses of North Star. In the 2011-12 school year, 15 percent of Newark's school population will be enrolled in charters.To support these existing charter schools, NCSF makes targeted grants in response to their varying needs. To ensure that funds will have the highest student impact, NCSF is most interested in increasing the capacity of charter schools’ teachers, leadership teams and boards, and in supporting their core teaching and learning programs.
NCSF’s long term goal is to strengthen and sustain charter schools that deliver outstanding academic results for Newark’s students. Many charter schools in Newark already have a track record of enrolling children from low-income backgrounds and preparing them for advanced academic work.
In the case of under-performing charter schools, NCSF will provide support when there is a defined improvement plan and clear milestones for increasing student learning.
NCSF understands that charter school success can be measured and observed in a variety of student-related outcomes, both quatitative and qualitative. NCSF is particularly interested in how well charter schools do on two of these outcome measures, both of which can be observed empirically: first, retaining a high percentage of students and second, helping a high percentage of students reach proficiency on the New Jersey Assessment of Knowledge and Skills in both math and English.
Newark’s charter schools, like all public schools, strive to recruit and retain outstanding teachers. NCSF supports innovative approaches to help Newark charter schools successfully recruit, place, develop, and retain high-quality teachers.