Newark's Science Park High School might have Obama to speak at commencement
The White House and U.S. Department of Education named Newark's Science Park High School as one of the six finalists for the 2011 "Race to the Top High School Commencement Challenge."
President Obama would deliver the commencement address in June if the 887-student magnet school in the city's University Heights section is selected as the top school when the competition ends.
The competition goes something like this. Each school's students will work with The Get Schooled Foundation to create a video highlighting how the school best fulfills the Challenge's criteria. The six videos, along with portions of each school's written application, will be featured on the White House web site in the coming weeks and the public will have an opportunity to vote for the three schools they think best meet the competition's goal. President Barrack Obama, himself, will select a national winner from the three finalists.
President Obama's goal is to have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020 and the Commencement Challenge invited the nation's public high schools to submit applications that demonstrate their commitment to preparing students for college and a career.
Hundred of applications were received and were judged based on the school's performance, essay questions and supplemental data. Science Park and other five high schools were selected for their creativity in engaging and supporting students, academic results, and progress in preparing students to graduate college and career ready.
The competing Schools are Science Park High School; Bridgeport, Washington High School; Wayne Early Middle College High School, Goldsboro, N.C.; Booker T. Washington High School, Memphis, Tenn,; Pittsburgh School for Creative and Performing Arts, and High Tech High International, San Diego.
"I want to congratulate the six finalists for all they've done to prepare their students for college and careers, and I want to thank all of the schools that applied," Obama said Friday. "I look forward to meeting the students and teachers of the winning school at their commencement", he added.
"I am humbled by the hundreds of extraordinary applications we received this year and more importantly, the tremendous work our nation's public high schools are doing to ensure that our students are graduating ready to go on to college and careers," U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said. "The challenge continues to be a wonderful opportunity to share stories of success from our nation's public high schools and put a spotlight on the touch and exceptional work they do every day," he added.
Science Park High School opened in 1974 at 262 Norfolk Street. The school focuses on mathematics, the sciences, the humanities, and the arts. With 54 classroom teachers, the ration of students to teachers is 15. During the 2009-2010 school year, Science Park was awarded the Blue Ribbon School Award for Excellence by the U.S. Department of Education.
Great job Science Park! Let's lift up the flag of New Jersey!