TEAM Academy is the largest charter school network in New Jersey and is part of the Knowledge is Power (KIPP) network, which serves 50,000 students in 141 schools across the country. It consists of seven high-performing schools in Newark, which currently serve over 2,200 students—86% of whom are eligible for free- and reduced-price lunch. TEAM plans to expand to 10 schools in Newark by 2017.
This project supports TEAM’s expansion by rehabilitating a 104,000-square-foot vacant school building in Newark to house TEAM’s third elementary and middle school. Reinvestment Fund participated in the bridge loan, which was led by Boston Community Loan Fund. The loan bridged federal historic tax credit equity that was part of the $36.3 million project. The historic, former public school was built in 1924, and closed in 2010. When renovated, the building will serve 540 elementary school and 400 middle school students.
TEAM’s academic model strives to build character among its students by setting high expectations. On average, students begin their TEAM career as fifth graders already two years below grade level in reading and math. By the time they complete the seventh grade, they close the gap according to multiple standardized measures and achieve proficiency levels on par with their New Jersey peers. In a city where only 12% of adults have college degrees, over 80% of students who have graduated from TEAM’s 8th grade have matriculated to college.