A consortium headed by South Jersey Democratic power broker George Norcross has submitted a proposal for the state’s first renaissance school.
The shool, called the KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy, will be built in Camden, one of three cities statewide approved for the schools under the Urban Hope Act signed by the governor in January.
If approved, the school will eventually serve 2,840 Camden students in grades pre-K through 12 and provide guaranteed enrollment for children in the Lanning Square neighborhood. The first class of kindergarten students would begin in 2014. It will offer a college preparatory curriculum , with the goal of at least doubling the number of Camden students who attain a four-year college degree by 2030, according to an announcement from the group.
Joining Norcross in the proposal is the Cooper Foundation and TEAM Schools of New Jersey, which currently runs several charter schools in Newark serving 1,800 students in grades K through 12.
“The children of this city have suffered too long in a failing educational system, and spent too many days attending school in run-down, dangerous buildings,” said Norcross, III, who is chairman of the board of The Cooper Health System. “I’m confident that the KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy will help transform the Camden school system, enabling Camden’s children to receive the same level of education and in the same kind of state-of-the-art facilities as those found in some of the highest-achieving districts in the state.”
The proposal calls for extending both the school day and the year. Doctors and nurses from Cooper University Hospital and medical students from Cooper Medical School of Rowan University Hospital will act as mentors to the school’s students.
The Urban Hope Act authorized up to four of the so-called renaissance schools in each of the cities of Camden, Newark and Trenton.