What We Do
Close Achievement Gaps
High school students, especially low income and minority students, struggle on state and international achievement tests and fall short of college entrance requirements in reading and math.
Concerned for the lack of formal language skills of young people who visited and interviewed for jobs at the founders’ respective companies and aware that communications skills play a major role in achieving academic and career success, the New Jersey Orators (NJO) founders established the first Orators chapter.
NJO’s culturally sensitive, interactive and fun oratorical program closes the achievement gap and helps all students develop college and career-ready skills.
In a national study in 2016, Manhattan Institute found NJO students “demonstrate most significant educational outcomes and self-esteem/ resilience scores when compared to their similar peer group.”
They also found that NJO students:
- Significantly outperformed their comparison groups on multiple education measures.
- Tend to take more honor courses, worked harder in school, and were better able to concentrate on schoolwork.
College & Career Readiness
College and careers now require the same level of skills. Productivity, the foundation of American competitiveness, depends on a skilled workforce at every level.
But too many of our high school graduates do not have adequate reading and math skills for college or the workplace. Assigned to non-credit remedial courses, 90% leave college without a degree.
In addition to teaching public speaking and reading literacy skills, we host two educational conferences that focus on providing students with information and strategies pertaining to obtaining a post-secondary education. Experts in their fields teach college readiness and financial literacy skills to students and their parents of all economic levels, including economically disadvantaged youth.
New Jersey Orators prepares students for college by hosting annually its Beyond High School Educational Conferences. These fall and spring educational conferences involve collaboration with high schools across the state, college admissions, counseling and student services representatives from state and national colleges and universities. They deliver college readiness, college and financial planning workshops to middle and high school students. In addition they host these informational conferences free to low -income students.
How students perform in two key areas, reading and math, may affect how they see the world and how they make decisions in that world. Standardized testing in New Jersey has revealed that African-Americans and other minority “at-risk” youth…are not scoring competitively in language skills. Sixty-eight percent of New Jersey high school students met or exceeded literacy expectations.
Reading proficiently by the end of third grade determines whether or not a child will graduate from high school, according to a study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. These achievement gaps limit students’ higher education and career options.
New Jersey Orators (NJO)’s programming serves as a resource to close the gap between achievement and expectations. The overall goal of the Close Reading Literacy Workshops is to help youth develop and demonstrate critical thinking skills.
Close Reading Literacy Skills Workshops were designed to train youth to understand the general content of a text even when they don’t understand every word or concept. Coaches train students to identify techniques that writers use to get their ideas and feelings across and to explain how they work. Students develop the ability to judge whether techniques the writer used succeeded or failed in communicating that objective.
Funding from our partners like the Fred J. Brotherton Foundation and NJ Office of Faith-Based Initiatives made the development and delivery of three Regional Close Reading Literacy Workshops possible for at least 60 students and their parents.
Along with our outcomes-based methodology, we include ongoing continuous improvement training and support for our coaches.