A ‘Spark’ of Innovation at Merit Prep

The spirit of iteration in innovation is alive and well at Merit Prep. Just this past September, Merit Prep, a Newark, NJ charter school operated by Matchbook Learning, launched Spark, a data integration tool created in-house. (See Next Gen Tools: Matchbook Learning’s “Spark” to learn more.) With the arrival of 2015, the pioneering team at Merit Prep kicked off the development of Spark 2.0. Matchbook Learning’s chief technology officer Al Motley shared the following overview of the new effort in a conversation with NGLC staffer Kristen Vogt.

Merit Welcomes Parents back for the New School Year: Still time to Enroll!

Merit Prep Is Open!

School at Merit Prep started this past week and we had our first Parent Night of the Year last week. New Merit Prep Principal Ms. Kimberly Wright-White addressed a packed auditorium with standing room only. 

New leadership, new staff, new logo, new interior, and the same commitment to meeting every student where they are and progressing them from there to eventually be accepted into a four year college. When learning is personalized to meet the unique needs and motivations of your child, your child’s potential is unleashed. 

Have you enrolled your child at Merit Prep but not he or she not started school yet? We’ve been trying to reach you. Merit Prep by our charter is allowed 320 students this year in grades 6 through 8. We still have a few seats left but our waiting list is over 200 students who want to attend Merit Prep! We have tried calling you, leaving voicemails and encouraging you to come bring your child to school. We need to release your seat if you not have either attended school this past week or returned our voicemail. 

Please call the school at 973-642-4400 to schedule a time to complete your registration and claim your seat! If we do not hear from you by August 29, 2014, we will have to release your seat to fairly meet the considerable demand of other parents wanting their children to attend Merit Prep. If your child is already in our school, there’s nothing else you need to do.

Interview with Kimberly Wright-White - Merit Prep Principal

As we embark on a new school year with an updated school model

that centers the entire school around the needs of each individual 

student we have the privilege of serving (or what the Matchbook 

Learning Model refers to as “student centered learning”), it would be

appropriate to hear directly from Merit Prep’s new School Principal 

who will lead Merit Prep, its teachers and students through this 

exciting time. Meet Kimberly Wright-White


Kim, what most excites you about being the Principal of Merit 


Being selected to lead a school that has a non-traditional approach 

to educating our future world leaders is extremely exciting for me 

because the possibilities are limitless. The ability to be one of 

the architects that shape the future of education is a very special 

opportunity. What we do to impact education today shapes how 

students learn tomorrow. 


What do you hope students will learn and discover about 

themselves as a result of being at Merit Prep? 

I hope that students will learn that they are the agents of change in 

society and that through individual and collective critical thinking, 

solutions to some of our most challenging problems can be found. I 

hope that they discover the power of knowledge and communication 

that engages all affected parties, while respecting varying points of 



What do you hope parents will learn and discover about their 

children as a result of being at Merit Prep? 

I hope that parents will learn and discover that we are providing their 

children with life skills that will impact their decision-making and 

empower them to walk with intellectual fearlessness. 


What do you hope to learn and discover about yourself in this 

next year? 

I hope to learn how to continue to stretch my thinking and embrace 

the next phase of my intellectual and emotional evolution. I also hope 

to discover how to build relationships at our school that will equip me 

to positively facilitate creating a nurturing school community at Merit 

Prep that supports every student who enters our doors.