November 2, 2013

09:30am:   Newark’s Business Administrator, Julian Neals, Esq. welcomed by Executive Director Celia King.  As Business Administrator, Neals’ role is to manage the operations and finances of the city.  Some points he discussed were the intersection of government resources and community cooperation and collaboration.  Here in Newark, Neals said, “we have an airport, seaport, and massive transportation system, a resource that the entire state utilizes, so it’s important to support the infrastructure that supports the entire state.”

Additionally, Neals shared that we need to look into best practices in other cities.  Chicago, for example, has a very clean downtown.  “While we and Chicago have a Department of Public Works, it is also the cooperation of the community that keeps the downtown area clean.”  In all, Neals stated that community cooperation and collaboration will be beneficial to the greater good of Newark and other like cities.

10:00am:   Walter Fields Orders Attendees to Dream Big and Be a Passionate Advocate.  Opening Keynote Speaker Walter Fields, Jr. comes on.  Mr. Fields, Founder of North Star News speaks with passion about the need to go beyond economic resources but to look into enhancing and improving human capital.  “It doesn’t matter how many buildings you build or stadiums you construct, but what matters is how you rebuild people.” He went on to share that the revitalization of a community will not happen without the investment of our community and without being passionate and sometimes offending.  “Sometimes we have to be put in uncomfortable positions to make change,” he said.

Fields went on to look deeper into the human capital and focus more on children and uplifting them.  “I don’t think you can call yourself great at anything if you have not developed or nurtured the children,” for they are the pillars of our future economy and community.

10:30am:  Professor Eubanks provides Three Steps to Successful Attendance at Summit.  Professor Robin Eubanks of Rutgers University comes on to provide a guideline for attendees of the summit:  “Learn, Act, and Change!”

11:00am:  Panelists Discuss Families and Parents playing a Strong Role in Education:    Panelists included Ross Danis of the Newark Education Trust Fund, Walter Fields of North Star News, Dr. Junius Williams, Director of Abbott Leadership Institute and Karen Thomas, Founder of the Marion P. Thomas Charter School.  The question addressed were how can communities establish a stronger communication infrastructure to build relationships and bridges between parents, teachers, and the community in general.

Attendees included actual Newark parents, businessmen, students, and parent coordinators who each provided quality. Dr. Junius shared pieces of what his Saturday morning leadership institute provides to enhance parental involvement and Dr. Karen Thomas, shared that we must incorporate what is sometimes the missing ingredient in PTAs(Parent-Teacher Associations) and that is teachers.  In all, creating a sense of empowerment  through encouragement, motivation and love of community is the stepping stone to the improvement of family-teacher-community relations.