Springing into Summer: Our May 2023 FA Newsletter
Greeting from Chief Academic Officer Natasia Cooper
FA Chief Academic Officer Natasia Cooper joined our learning community in 2016 as PS Principal, and has been CAO since July 2022. As this school year comes to a close, Ms. Cooper shares exciting plans for end-of-year celebrations and what to expect in 2023-24.
End-of-Year Events Celebrate Our Scholars
Congratulations to scholars K-12 for all the effort and academic growth this year! To celebrate, FA will be hosting field day events along with our traditional end-of-year ceremonies for scholars transitioning to a new school or graduating.
“This is such a special time for our learning community,” said CEO Sheria McRae. “Whether your scholar is crossing that bridge from Kindergarten to First Grade, or receiving their Collegiate diploma, we celebrate their hard work and all they have achieved.”
The Class of 2023 includes more than 70 scholars living in Trenton. Graduating seniors have been accepted into colleges or universities including New Jersey Institute of Technology, Rutgers University, Rider University, Stockton University, Rowan College at Burlington County and Mercer County Community College, among others.
Senior Signing Day will be Friday June 9, starting with a Class of 2023 breakfast at 9:30 a.m. at Collegiate Info Commons followed by a schoolwide event at 11 a.m. in FA Collegiate Athletic Center where graduating seniors announce their "next steps" alongside family and friends. The Class of 2023 is FA’s 10th graduating class. Thank you to our Contributing Sponsor, NJM Insurance.
Class of 2023 Graduation will be Friday June 16, beginning at 11 a.m. at Trenton Thunder Ballpark and live streamed on the FA Youtube channel. This years’ commencement speaker is Jennica Carmona, founder of Sí Se Puede Productions, LLC, a theater and film production company whose mission is to produce artistic projects that raise awareness of social justice issues.
FA Middle School
Eighth Grade Recommitment Ceremony will be Tuesday June 13 at 6 p.m. at the New Jersey State Museum and live streamed on the FA Youtube channel. This ceremony is our time to recognize scholars as they recommit themselves to persevere and pursue excellence in high school – and beyond.
FA Intermediate School
Fifth Grade Moving Up Ceremony will be Thursday June 15 at 10:30 a.m. in the gym at 363 W. State Street. Scholars will receive special Intermediate School recognitions and celebrate their advancement to Middle School in the fall.
FA Primary School
Second Grade Moving Up Ceremony will be Thursday June 15 at 8:30 a.m. in the gym at 363 W. State Street.
First Grade Ceremony will be June 13 at 9:30 a.m. in the gym at 363 W. State Street.
Kindergarten Bridge Crossing Ceremony will be Wednesday June 14 at 9:30 a.m. in the gym at 363 W. State Street.
Thank YOU, FAmilies!
On behalf of FA faculty and staff, Mrs. McRae thanked FAmilies for supporting scholars along the way.
“We could not be here without you – so we celebrate YOU as well as your scholars,” she said. “Getting scholars to school on time, making sure they are ready to learn, helping with homework and cheering them on makes a difference. Thank you for partnering with us to reach this end-of-year milestone.”
FA Competes in African American History Bowl
FA Collegiate will compete for the first time in the Mercer County African American History Bowl to be held Saturday June 3, as the kick-off event to a countywide Juneteenth celebration.
The History Bowl pits several high school teams in a competition to demonstrate the most knowledge regarding African American history based on a series of quiz questions. Teams choose questions worth points and score with correct responses.
FA’s team, coached by Collegiate Dean of Culture Francisca Deleon, includes Jedidah Worrell, Hobbes Chukumba, Nehemiah Robinson, Tauri Garner, Melvina Toogbabu, and alternate Aundrea Grizzle.
Teammates have been studying and strategizing for weeks, preparing to answer questions about Arts, History, Politics, Military, Science, and African Civilization.
The 2023 African American History Bowl, sponsored by the African American Cultural Collaborative of Mercer County, begins at Noon Saturday June 3 at the New Jersey State Museum, 205 W. State Street. Doors open at 11 a.m. and admission is free – so come cheer on our team!See more Juneteenth Festivities at www.taacf.com.
Introducing FA Elementary School
Foundation Academies is excited to announce the merger of Primary and Intermediate schools into FA Elementary School – our first “new” school since 2014.
FA Elementary will open this fall in our existing location, led by our Primary School principal team of Kheri Freeman and Brittany Greco. Some scholars may shift to a new floor, but everyone will stay at 363 W State Street.
Scholars are playing an important role in the planning – they will vote to decide the new school emblem!
Uniting our early grades into a K-5 Foundation Academies Elementary School will provide our youngest scholars with a more streamlined and consistent learning experience, said Chief Academic Officer Natasia Cooper.
The new structure also will allow us to reallocate some resources and provide new learning opportunities and spaces, such as a media center.
FA STEM Scholar Celebrated at Trenton Thunder Ballpark
According to the Governor’s STEM Scholars website, New Jersey boasts the biggest concentration of scientists and engineers per square mile in the world. And one of them is a junior at FA Collegiate.
Hobbes Chukumba, FA Class of 2024, is one of just 128 students across the state selected as a STEM Scholar for 2022-23.
Interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) since middle school, Hobbes is a member of Honors Council, National Honors Society and Student Government. He aspires to attend MIT and is launching a STEM club at Collegiate to provide more opportunities for classmates to explore STEM research and careers.
A passionate musician – Hobbes plays bass, flute, piano, ukulele and is learning trumpet and violin – he wants to develop a prosthetic to enable injured people to regain the ability to play musical instruments.
“What I want to do is help make life easier for people,” he said. “I want to help people really enjoy their lives.”
Join us Thursday June 1 at Trenton Thunder stadium when Hobbes throws out a first pitch on Opening Day under the new Foundation Academies billboard at the ballpark!
FAmily Fun Night
Shout out to the FACT parent volunteers who hosted our Old School v New School Family Fun Night! Families and scholars came out May 3 to the Collegiate athletic center for games, dancing, haircuts, make-overs, prizes and more! Check out all the fun with our video.
We appreciate our community partners Transformation Church, Barbers Inc, New Religion Barbers, Jada Douglas, & DJ Jamar Sanderson.
Earlier this year, FACT organized a uniform give-back. Volunteers collected gently used FA uniforms for deans to distribute when needed. Help plan more great FAmily events by contacting FACT organizer, FA parent and Board of Trustees Member Antonio Bellamy.
FA CEO Speaks Out for Education Equity
CEO Sheria McRae called for equitable state funding of public schools during a recent interview with WHYY reporter Kenneth Burns about the gap in per-pupil funding and lack of funding for charter school facilities.
“It should not be our reality that we are doing more with less,” Mrs. McRae noted. “What are we saying about the value of public charter schools when we are not putting equitable funding toward the buildings where (children) are learning? What message are we sending to them and their families?” See interview clip.
Foundation Academies serves the same community as traditional public schools but receives about $5,000 less per pupil. As a charter school, FA also does not receive any state to meet facilities or transportation needs.
Mrs. McRae spoke out as part of the #SameKidsSameNeeds campaign by the New Jersey Public Charter Schools Association. You can join the fight for education equity here.
The WHYY interview is the most recent example of Mrs. McRae’s advocacy on behalf of our scholars and families. Last month, Mrs. McRae was featured in Real Woman Magazine (page 50) and spoke in-depth about how FA equips and empowers our scholars with Kamau Kujichagulia on his podcast.
In March, Mrs. McRae was honored by the Princeton Area YWCA with a Tribute to Women award, where she urged attendees to continue their own purpose-driven work, and join FA in dismantling injustice through quality education.
Support Our Scholars
Support our Summer Reading Book Fair
Help us send all scholars K-12 home for the summer with new books of their choice to help prevent learning loss and promote lifelong literacy.
Just $18 will fund an order of three books for a scholar. A donation of $540 kicks off summer reading for an entire class!
Support Scholars To and Through
The Scholarship Committee selection process is underway for the next cohort of Friends of Foundation Academies Round Table Scholars, a program that awards 4-year scholarships to graduating seniors pursuing postgraduate studies. This year, with your support, we plan to grow the program to award five members of the Class of 2023. In addition to these scholarships, the Friends provides persistence grants and awards in support of graduates pursuing vocations and careers spanning the public interest.
We cannot use school funds to support our alumni. The Knight Fund provides scholarships, awards, and emergency support to our graduates as they continue their path to purpose.
Happy FA FriYay
Don’t miss our #FriYay videos posted weekly on FA social media. Our 2022-23 video gallery features scholars, teachers and families K-12. Here's a sample...