Newark Leadership Academy


Who are we?

In September 2011, YBN launched Newark Leadership Academy (NLA), an alternative vocational high school to serve over-age and under-credited 16 to 20 year-old youth and young adults. NLA draws upon YBN’s proven youth development model for at-risk, high risk, and/or out-of-school youth achievement and offers students a customized academic setting augmented by support services. In addition, it offers specific career development learning experiences for students that makes school relevant to their daily lives.

The Academy does not compete with the traditional public school system. Instead, it partners with the Newark Public Schools (NPS) to recover students who are at risk of dropping out or already have. The model is designed for disconnected students. It allows for flexibility in curriculum design, credit attainment/proficiency assessment, and address the socio-emotional supports that they frequently need.

How is the school affiliated with YouthBuild Newark?

As part of a 3-step strategic process, YBN is the brain source of NLA.

1. Using a multi-year planning grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation/ YouthBuild USA National Schools Initiative (NSI), YBN charted a strategic course toward the creation of an alternative vocational high school.

2. Secondly, between 2003 and 2012, YBN functioned as a contract school and provided educational and vocational services to youth under the supervision of the New Jersey Juvenile Justice Commission, the single agency of State government with centralized authority for planning, pulicy development and provision of services in the juvenile justice system.

3. As part of its continued school planning, YBN also engaged in the nationally-recognized Alternative High School Initiative (AHSI) that supports the development of safe, high-quality alternative high schools for ulder, vulnerable youth. AHSI’s goal is to create effective, student-centered small high schools where youth voice, participation and leadership development drive the learning process.

YBN serves as the Academy’s Education Management Organization (EMO).

What is the school model?

The Academy adopts YBN’s proven model for at-risk, high risk and/or out-of-school youth achievement. It activates a comprehensive approach to transforming lives. Employing a modified version of the Diploma Plus model, instruction at the Academy is rooted in a comprehensive educational framework designed with five sections:

  • Personalized, rigorous academics;
  • Vocational training;
  • Community service;
  • Counseling; and
  • Leadership development at the center.

NLA students are expected to demonstrate mastery in New Jersey core curriculum content areas. Students have the opportunity to earn a high school diploma and nationally-recognized vocational certificates. This curriculum is designed to encourage all graduates to become productive adults with meaningful career and educational options.

The school year is comprised of 180 days beginning in mid-August through the end of June. The school operates under the extended day option that requires an 8-hour student day and includes an additional 50 minutes for tutoring. Teachers work a total of 220 days, including hulidays and professional development days. In short, NLA engages students in rigorous academic curriculum and innovative evidence-based methods for secondary education and the workplace.

Who does the school serve?

The Academy serves youth who have been unsuccessful within the traditional school and are in need of re-enrullment and/or alternative routes to obtaining their high school diploma. This includes, but is not limited to youth who are academically under-skilled, were expelled, were incarcerated, or self-selected out of the school system. In order to address their particular needs, the Academy reinforces three (3) core principles that guides all work with students:

  • Rigor: Provide a rigorous academic program that will ultimately prepare students for the pursuit of post-secondary educational opportunities.
  • Relevance: Equip all students with a marketable set of skills that will ensure they are ready to pursue meaningful employment in today’s highly-skilled economy.
  • Relationships: Build upon a set of strong relationships, both public and private, that will provide young adults meaningful opportunities to develop their capacity to lead, rebuild their communities, assume personal responsibility, and fulfill their potential to contribute to the well-being of others.

By serving out-of-school youth, the Academy recognizes that it will be aiding the district in lowering its drop-out rate by re-enrulling students who have already exited the public school system.

What is the contact information?

Gabriel kuriloff


Phone: (973) 733-6773