New Jersey Department of Education Office of Student Support Services 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program and Out-of-School Time Resources
PROJECT SELF SUFFICIENCY
Project Director: Claire Willets
127 Mill Street
Newton, NJ 07860
Phone: 973:940-3500 Ext. 122
Serving School District: Newton Public School District
CCLC Sites: Merriam Avenue School (MAS), Halsted Middle School (HMS)
Partners: Newton Public School District
Serving Grade Level: 4th -8th
No. of Students to be Served: 151
No. of Adults to be Served: 151
Times of Service: After school 2:30PM - 5:30PM at MAS; Summer Program hours 9:00AM - 1:00PM
After school 2:40PM - 5:40PM at HMS; Summer Program hours 9:00AM - 1:00PM
ABSTRACT: Project Self-Sufficiency, Inc. (PSS), a 501(c)(3) non-profit, community-based organization (CBO) dedicated to improving the lives of low-income families residing in and around Sussex County, NJ, in collaboration with the Newton Public Schools Board of Education and other local partners, proposes to develop, implement and evaluate a 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) Grant Program to be known as the Learning Abilities-Utilizing New Community Helpers (LAUNCH) Project. The LAUNCH Project will operate at two Newton School District schools: The Merriam Avenue School which serves grades pre-K through five; and the Halsted Middle School, which serves grades six, seven and eight. These schools qualify for the 21st CCLC grant because more than 30 percent of their students eligible for free lunches. In addition, the Newton Public Schools are located within Sussex County, which is designated for a funding set-aside by the NJ Department of Education.
PSS requests $425,000 in project funding and together with its partners will contribute an additional $128,000 to provide academic remediation, academic enrichment, positive youth development, cultural and arts, health, nutrition, fitness and physical activity, and parental involvement. Activities will be designed around a Science, Integration of Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) theme, but will incorporate civic engagement, career awareness and development, and visual and performing arts activities within the overall curriculum. Action research will guide the program's local evaluation, which will drive the 21st CCLC Program's accountability and continuous quality improvement (CQI) efforts. The 21st CCLC Program will operate for three hours per day, Monday through Friday, after school during the school year, and will operate a summer program for four hours per day, Monday through Friday, for four weeks.
The proposed PSS/Newton 21st CCLC Project is a unique collaboration between a community-based organization and a public school district both of which view this program as an opportunity to break down the walls that have separated educational and family services over the years. Though it seems obvious that no two organizations-a school district dedicated to education and a CBO dedicated to promoting family stability and independence-have a greater mutual stake in creating integrated educational and family support services, very separate funding streams have kept basic educational, family support and case management, family coping skills, domestic violence, and even basic nutrition programs siloed, to the detriment of the children, the families and the community. In fact, approximately 70 percent of PSS' clients are families with children in the Newton schools.
The PSS/Newton 21st CCLC Program Sites Plan includes the following goals: 1) To provide high-quality, evidence-based educational and enrichment programming that will enable participants to improve their academic achievement, promote positive behavior and foster appropriate social interaction with peers and adults; 2) to implement activities that promote parental involvement, including opportunities to improve literacy and related educational development for the families of participating youth; and 3) to measure participants' progress and program effectiveness through a comprehensive local evaluation and full collaboration with any NJDOE evaluation or performance monitoring activities.
Within the context of the proposed program's STEM theme, PSS plans to implement activities that will include academic remediation, academic enrichment based on experiential learning, cultural and artistic exploration, social and emotional development activities in the service of Positive Youth Development, health, nutrition, fitness and constructive physical activity, and parental involvement, including case management, English for Spanish-speaking parents and parenting skills training.
Dr. Donato Stelluto, Ph.D., Managing Director of School Board Services, LLC, has been contracted as the Project evaluator. Dr. Stelluto has served and is currently serving as the evaluator on other 21st CCLC projects. Dr. Stelluto, along with parents, students, educational service providers and other stakeholders, has been involved with the design of the PSS Project since its inception, and has helped ensure that the evaluation plan adheres to the principles of Action Research. The evaluation plan is presented in detail in the Activity Plan section of the application.