Newark Trust For Education's Take on Online Learning and the May 12th School Board Elections

Apr 11, 2020

The Newark Trust For Education is an independent non-profit organization
Credit Newark Trust For Education

The Newark Trust For Education is an independent non-profit dedicated to coordinating and focusing ideas, people, and resources on the efficient and effective delivery of a quality public education to all children in Newark; and to creating broad and shared accountability for student success across multiple stakeholders. 

Ronald Chaluisán joined the Newark Trust for Education in October 2016 as Executive Director. Prior to joining the Trust, Ron led the New Visions Charter High Schools Initiative, opening seven charter high schools serving high need students across New York City.

Chaluisán spoke with WBGO News Director Doug Doyle about how the coronavirus pandemic has created a new space for online learning and the upcoming school board elections.

During his career in the field of education, Ron has also led the creation, implementation and assessment of programs and has served as principal and educator for district schools.  

Ron Chaluisán is the Executive Director of the Newark Trust For Education
Credit Newark Trust For Education

Chaluisán talked about some of his ideas for helping create a positive and effective learning process at home.

"What we would it look like if we actually created a framework for families and their children to explore their cultures and actually create lessons and curricular units around those things that are important to their families, to their history, and then connect that to some of the topics that are students are currently required to learn.  That wouldn't necessarily require the the kind of video conferencing that we're talking about.  It would require the research skills, the talking skills, the interviewing skills, the connecting and relevance pieces that we so much talk about.  So it would be beneficial for the families and the kids that are learning, but it would be also beneficial for the long term for the district in that they could collect these and actually use this as a basis of kind of curricular integration.  So, thinking creatively about this new context, what the resources are that are available in this new context, home provides of whole series of resources that are not available in the classroom.  Our families have amazing strength.  They have great knowledge.  Our kids can actually interact with their families in a different way around their formal learning requirements.  If we actually structure it to build on those strengths, I think everyone at the end of the day can benefit."

Chaluisán addressed the importance of the upcoming school board elections that were pushed back to May 12.

"In general the school board election is such an important forum to get community voice into the decision making process for the education of our young people, so I was actually happy to hear that they had retooled the system so that residents could vote without really having to make the decision between their health and their citizenship responsibility.  I find everything at this moment in time somewhat of an interesting experiment.  We have this crisis that has caused us to take our actions, and so we have this mechanism for voting.  Voting in school board elections has been low for a long time, and I think there are a number of factors that have contributed to that.  So I'm interested to see what happens. We are certainly supporting all the get out the vote efforts.  It would be really interesting to me if we see an uptick in the number of residents that participated in the election this time.  And whether or not we can attribute mail-in quality of this or we can attribute it to the fact that we are now completely under local control.  It will be a good study."

Chaluisán stresses residents can find out much more about the school board elections at the Newark Trust For Education website.

Click above to hear the entire interview with Ron Chaluisán.