The first phase of the $100 million Facebook-funded makeover of Newark’s school system will reach far beyond classrooms and into living rooms, reports the Associated Press. Over the next eight weeks, city residents will be targeted with phone calls, home visits and focus groups as part of an effort to get parents more involved in the educational process and to find out what is working–and what isn’t–in the city’s troubled school system.

“We don’t want to give anyone any excuses for not participating in this process,” Shavar Jeffries, president of the Newark Public Schools Advisory Board, said Monday at a news conference. “There are no excuses.”

Mayor Cory Booker and city officials made the announcements Monday at the kickoff of the Partnership for Education in Newark, whose headquarters are housed in a converted furniture store in the city’s heart…

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staff and wire services reports