More than a Grade Card
Students deserve, expect and need certain things from their educational experience, which we at Newark City Schools work hard to provide. It is our job to provide a safe, welcoming environment to help Newark children learn.
These objectives are accomplished in a variety of ways. We work hard to hire great teachers and to help them become even better teachers. We work with community partners to connect students and their families to much-needed resources. We want students to eat healthy meals every day and to have the opportunity to join activities and clubs they are interested in.
At the state level, Newark City Schools — and every other district in Ohio — is evaluated on a handful of ever-changing criteria. While we have been successful in helping students to grow academically from one year to the next, the changing requirements make it difficult to focus on preparing students for their futures while also fulfilling state requirements.
That’s why we focus on the whole child. We offer so much more than is reported in state data. These offerings are apparent in this issue of The Paw Print and in our buildings on a daily basis.
Students need to start off their day with a good meal. It’s why we have implemented a free breakfast program district-wide. This improves their ability to learn, reduces health aide visits and helps get students to school on time.
Elsewhere in this issue, you can read about flexible classrooms. Students who are in a comfortable environment — whether it is sitting at a desk, standing or laying on a mat — can concentrate more on their school work. Flexible classrooms are in a few spots around the district, and it is exciting to see the different ways that teachers are reaching their students.
We also have many shining examples of Newark High School alumni who are making contributions in their city, and who are using the things they learned in Newark in their college and careers.
Datus Puryear, a 2007 graduate, leveraged his experience in choir and the school musical into a career of modeling and acting. In this issue, he credits his former teachers with helping to inspire him.
Another Newark High School graduate, Aliece Hinton, is in her second year of law school at Howard University. Aliece is driven to be successful and wants to make a difference in the Newark community. She will have an internship in the US Attorney General’s Office next summer.
Our graduates are leaving school prepared for their futures, whatever they hold. They are staying in our community — bankers, lawyers, doctors, electrical workers, plumbers, mechanics, teachers — and spread across the country.
This is what excites me as the Superintendent of this great school district. We are making a difference in students’ lives every day, even if that difference isn’t always measured.
That’s why it continues to be a great time to be a Cat!
By Superintendent Doug Ute
Why Teachers Come to School
Datus Puryear, Class of 2007
Datus Puryear discovered a love for musical theater during his senior year at Newark High School. He’d long been involved in the choir program, and planned to major in Music Education in college, but his turn as the Beast in Beauty and the Beast gave him a passion for acting that persists nearly 10 years later.
“A friend of mine suggested that I audition for it,” Puryear said. “Right after that is when I started to figure out, what is this acting thing? I felt like it kind of capped off my time at Newark High.”
Puryear is a 2007 graduate of Newark High School. He was involved with basketball and football, but his biggest passion was choir, singing with a barbershop quartet and the swing choir in high school.
Puryear credited his teachers at then-Lincoln Middle School and NHS for instilling the passion in him. He named Kathy Orner, now retired, and Kim and Mike Wigglesworth as being major influences in his life.
“If it wasn’t for (them), I know I wouldn’t be the person that I am,” he said. “Those people put something in me that I can’t quite define. They’re like family to me.”
After graduating, Puryear attended Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio, as a music education major. He switched to theater because he grew to like acting so much.
He has turned his passion into a career. Puryear has acted in musicals in Cincinnati and New York City, as well as travelling shows. He’s a model who has appeared in a number of TV and print commercials.
“I’ve been very, very blessed to be a full-time actor here in New York City since I graduated college,” he said. “I never looked at myself as a model. If you want to make a living, you have to kind of have your hand in all these pots.”
Most recently, Puryear has appeared in print ads for Pepsi, Budweiser and Samsung. He’s also been on Good Morning America modeling clothing. Recently, he auditioned for a part in the FX series Atlanta, and hopes to break into television acting.
“That’s the next direction that I’m going toward,” Puryear said. “It’s so humbling to be able to do what you love to do with any kind of consistency in this city.”
Puryear is also recently married and is supporting his wife as she prepares to make her Broadway debut next year. The couple has had a couple of chances to work together, including in a Burlington Coat Factory ad.
While he doesn’t make it to Newark as often as he would like, Puryear said he had the chance to tour the renovated high school recently and looks forward to taking in a game at White Field when he’s able to.
He fondly remembers his time in high school, and credits many of his experiences with preparing him for his varied career — including his first trip out of the country that the choir took during his senior year.
“When you get to travel, you get to see other places, it broadens your perspective,” he said.
By Community Outreach Coordinator Seth Roy