Lincoln Elementary School
Backstory and Context
Lincoln Elementary School in New Brunswick, New Jersey may not seem different than the average American elementary school to the untrained eye. Located on Bartlett Street, less than five minutes away from the College Avenue Student Center, countless students here at Rutgers walk past this building on a daily basis and don’t blink twice. Many don’t even immediately process that it’s a school. The school doesn’t have a playground, just a stark blacktop with a few basketball hoops. Yet what most don’t realize is that this school serves not as a monument of Latino and Caribbean repression, rather it serves as a monument to the hard work and dedication that the Latino community in New Brunswick puts into its school system.
New Brunswick is 53% Latino according to Datausa.io, and the median household income is drastically lower than the national median income ($38,413 compared to $57,652). This ratio exceeds that of Middlesex County, Newark, New Jersey itself and the United States as a whole. The poverty rate rose by nearly ten percent and the median income dropped by over twenty percent over a five year period. New Brunswick was also heavily impacted by the recession under the Bush administration and has not recovered as uniformly as other parts of the country. The issue is systematic and demonstrates the inequality that is prevalent in society. Though the most common country of origin is India, the Dominican Republic and Mexico are the second and third most common respectively. All of these statistics and more are vital in demonstrating the underlying factors contributing to the poverty of New Brunswick. They characterize a city of hard workers that do their best to provide their youth with a proper education.
Lincoln Elementary has is a school system that despite barely managing to accommodate its student body due to societal and economic constraints, perseveres and does its best to provide its student body with opportunities for the future. This is undeniably due to the devoted faculty that works at the school. Niche ranked both the academics and teaching of Lincoln Elementary School as an A-. Seventy-five percent of students are at least proficient in math and ninety percent are proficient in reading. This is all in spite of the fact that Niche rated New Brunswick a C for quality of living and at a C+ in diversity.
The school has also flourished thanks in part due to the sense of camaraderie the community fosters. On thanksgiving, the state troopers and PTO band together and provide turkeys for families of students that are unable to afford it themselves.Small acts of kindness like these are abundant and imbue the students of Lincoln Elementary with love and empathy for the people around them. Lincoln Elementary also teaches its students to to be proud of their roots, hosting a "Hispanic Heritage Celebration," for their students. Though this is a seemingly insignificant gesture, by doing this the school is sending the message that it's okay to be different. Our history isn't what holds us back, it's what keeps us strong, makes us special and empowers us. Lincoln Elementary goes the extra mile. It challenges the norm. It gives back to the community. That's why it succeeds.
If you are a Rutgers student, join the Big Buddy club, a club of students that volunteer at Lincoln Elementary during school hours. They serve as assistants to the teacher and typically help kids that are behind with reading or writing. They are also planning a "Rutgers Day" at Lincoln Elementary to encourage higher education to the student body.
Biryukov, Nikita. “Poverty up, Income down in New Brunswick.” MY CENTRAL JERSEY. Courier News and Home Tribune, December 16, 2016. https://www.mycentraljersey.com/story/news/local/middlesex-county/2016/12/16/housing-crisis-scars-new-brunswick/95525132/.
“Explore Lincoln Elementary School.” Niche. Niche.com Inc. Accessed October 8, 2019. https://www.niche.com/k12/lincoln-elementary-school-new-brunswick-nj/.
“Lincoln Elementary School.” Lincoln Elementary School - About Our School. Accessed November 19, 2019. http://ln.nbpschools.net/About-Our-School/index.html
“New Brunswick, NJ.” Data USA. Data USA. Accessed October 8, 2019. https://datausa.io/profile/geo/new-brunswick-nj/.
Tortorella, Erica.The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education; Paramus Vol. 19, Iss. 20, (Aug 3, 2009): 16-17. https://search.proquest.com/docview/219233147?accountid=13626&rfr_id=info%3Axri%2Fsid%3Aprimo
Winas, Dave; EA Today: a newspaper for members of the National Education Association; Washington Vol. 22, Iss. 1, (Sep 2003): 41.