The time has come for our classrooms and labs to reflect the level of intellectual engagement we practice at Newark Academy. Through a thoughtful and inclusive strategic and master planning process, we have created a vision for tomorrow that will dramatically enhance the NA experience for our students and teachers. Already, students are taking advantage of advances enabled by the exceptional new Upper School Academic Center. Revitalized outdoor athletic facilities have transformed the sports experience for both student athletes and fans. To fully realize our entire vision, we must build a dedicated Middle School facility targeted to the needs of sixth- through eighth-grade students and a modern auditorium where talented students can realize their creative potential.
We have strengthened our Middle School academic program into a center of excellence and innovation, with students, faculty, and facilities that are worthy of a best-in-class designation. Over the last five years, we have increased direct learning opportunities, built up our interdisciplinary framework, developed grade-based teacher teams, and given students a primary role in evaluating their learning.
Now it’s time to construct a dedicated facility specifically designed for the needs of sixth- through eighth-grade students. Connected to the McGraw Arts Center, the two-story building will combine classrooms, science labs, a multipurpose common space, and a faculty office area. Spaces are designed to accommodate modest enrollment growth as a means of increasing diversity, expanding extracurricular and athletic offerings, and improving the class schedule, all while maintaining small class sizes. The new building will enhance the singularity of our Middle School yet preserve the one-school feel of Newark Academy.
Rose Auditorium represents the heart of Newark Academy, serving not only as the gathering place for our entire school community at Morning Meeting but also as the venue where our stellar performing arts students truly shine. Built in 1964, however, the auditorium lacks space for the entire school to sit during Morning Meeting and other special assemblies. Further, the auditorium’s stage, lighting, acoustics, and back-stage spaces cannot be updated to meet modern technology requirements. Now is the time to build a facility that meets the standard of excellence our talented students and faculty require.
We have revitalized our entire outdoor athletic experience, both for student athletes and for fans. Our teams will benefit from new artificial turf fields and the totally resurfaced track. Lighting has opened the door to the excitement of night games. Spectators are filling the stands, drawn by improved seating and a dedicated concession and restroom building that allow fans to cheer on our teams in comfort. The challenge and joy of athletic competition is spreading throughout our entire school community, thanks to outstanding athletic facilities that allow our talented athletes to reach for new goals.
The Upper School Academic Center marks a milestone for Newark Academy as the first new academic building since the 1964 move to the Livingston campus. The 18,500-square-foot, LEED-certified building features 13 classrooms plus several more intimate spaces for independent or small-group learning. The latest in wireless, interactive technology makes it easy for faculty to create and adapt presentations for each class. New office spaces honor our commitment to faculty members—how they interact with each other and with their students. Filled with natural light, the octagonally shaped Kaltenbacher Hall provides a beautiful multipurpose space for an array of events, from International Baccalaureate essay presentations to alumni reunion dinners. This exceptional Academic Center has enabled a quantum change in the delivery of a Newark Academy education.
Endowment is the lifeblood of our school and the key to our future. Our endowment needs to be significantly larger if we are going to continue to attract the best faculty and the brightest students. Through the growth of our endowment we can ensure that every student—regardless of their family’s financial capacity—can take advantage of the entire NA experience. We seek to increase the size of our endowment to $30 million through outright gifts and planned giving.
We’re proud of our heritage and loyal to the city Newark Academy first called home. Unfortunately, robust financial aid offers were luring many of Newark’s brightest students to out-of-state boarding schools, lessening the likelihood that they would return home as adults to be leaders in Essex County. In 2011, we established the Newark Scholars Program, offering full Newark Academy scholarships to highly qualified, highly motivated students from the City of Newark. A generous alumnus funded the program’s first five years, but $5 million is needed to fully endow this life-changing program. Remarkable young men and women already are expressing their ability, tenacity, passion, and leadership as Newark Scholars, demonstrating how valuable a fully endowed program will be to Newark Academy, and to the larger community.
A more substantial endowment will also allow us to do more for the passionate teachers whose inspirational work with students lays the groundwork for their success in college and beyond. An increased endowment will bolster our financial strength, enabling us to continue to compensate our faculty members well and offer educational and professional development benefits—the kind that attract and retain the nation’s best teachers.
With a larger endowment—ours stands at approximately $25 million—we will be able to fund, in perpetuity, many of the programs we care about most. An endowment is a pool of invested funds which generates investment income. This income is used to fulfill needs and turn dreams into realities. As economic uncertainty continues, the number of students whose parents can afford to pay full tuition dwindles. The families of bright, talented students are increasingly seeking financial assistance.
Just imagine if the income from our endowment allowed us the financial freedom to attract and admit the most promising students from virtually any ethnic, racial, or economic background. We would be able to shape the most diverse student body in northern New Jersey and offer unlimited learning opportunities for deserving students.
At Newark Academy, we are crystal clear about what matters. We help deserving students who need financial assistance. We support our faculty. We commit resources to attracting and maintaining a diverse student body. We are both proactive and innovative—implementing programs and ideas that will give our students a better, more transformative experience. These values are mandates of our mission, traditions as old as the school.
Fiscal prudence is in our collective DNA, and we have avoided going into long-term debt, even when making big moves or launching new initiatives. Opportunities such as the Immersion program, the Faculty Housing program, and the Newark Scholars program, however, require increasing resources. The key to fiscal strength going forward, and to sustaining and advancing a distinctive and transformative NA experience, is a robust endowment.