New Jersey Department of Education Office of Student Support Services 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program and Out-of-School Time Resources
RUTGERS UNIVERSITY - CAMDEN
Project Director: Vanessa Atkins
Office of Sponsored Research
311 N. Fifth Street
Camden, NJ 08102
Phone: (856) 225-6754
Servicing School District: Camden
CLC Sites: Rafael Cordero Molina Elementary School, Cooper's Poynt Middle School, Rutgers-
Arthur Ashe Summer Enrichment Program (Rutgers-Camden campus)
Partners: Arthur Ashe Youth Tennis and Education, New Jersey Academy for Aquatic Sciences, The Young People's Project, Rutgers-Camden Center for the Arts, Rutgers-Camden School of Nursing, Camden City Public Schools, Rutgers-Camden School of Law
Serving Grade Level: 4-8
No. of Students to be served: 320
No. of Adults to be Served: 60
Times of Services: After School: 3:00-6:00PM; Summer 9:00AM-3:00PM
The Rutgers North Camden Schools Partnership 21st Century Community Learning Center will mobilize the resources of a major public research university to serve the children and families of one of New Jersey's most distressed neighborhoods. We will serve students now while creating pathways to Rutgers University that will benefit North Camden youth and the City of Camden for decades. All three schools in North Camden are identified by the NJDOE as "priority schools," falling in the bottom 5% of all Title I schools. The neighborhood in which these schools are located is overwhelmingly African-American and Latino and is among the poorest areas in the state, with more than one third of households having annual incomes under $10,000. As a public, land-grant university, Rutgers-Camden is committed to serving the residents of New Jersey by bringing our intellectual resources and human capital where they can produce change. Because North Camden is adjacent to our campus, Rutgers-Camden has made a special commitment to this neighborhood. In 2010 the Office of Civic Engagement at Rutgers-Camden, in collaboration with the Camden City Public Schools, launched a partnership to support the schools in North Camden. We began an after-school program serving approximately 100 elementary and middle school students in North Camden. Students attend four days a week from 3pm-5:30pm with Rutgers-Camden students acting as what we call "Education Ambassadors." We propose to build on this program to develop a 21st Century Community Learning Center for North Camden. The Rutgers North Camden Schools Partnership 21st CCLC program will meet five days a week from 3pm - 6pm, include a summer program, and serve 320 students in grades 4-8 from Cooper's Poynt, Pyne Poynt, Molina, and Holy Name Schools. The program will hire staff and finalize program content in September 2012, with activities beginning October 2012 and lasting the duration of the school year (June 2013). A 6-week summer program will be held on the Rutgers-Camden campus July-August 2013. The after-school and summer programs will run from 2012-2017.
Our program will be organized around an inquiry-based STEM theme, which meets a key need. Our partner schools show dramatic gaps in STEM learning. At Cooper's Poynt School, just 17.8% of 8th graders scored proficient or better in mathematics, compared with 44.5% in the District Factor Group, the closest comparison. At Pyne Poynt, 22.4% were proficient or better in mathematics in 2008-09, the last year for which data are reported, compared with 45.9% in the DFG. And at Molina, just 21.9% of fifth graders were proficient or better in mathematics, compared with 60.2% in the DFG. While the gaps in science learning are not quite as great, North Camden students are still about 20 percentage points behind their peer schools in science proficiency. STEM also takes advantage of Rutgers-Camden's strength in scientific fields and allows us to address issues faced by North Camden students every day--health, air and water quality, addiction--in ways that will empower them with knowledge.
The aim of the Rutgers North Camden Schools Partnership 21st CCLC program is to create a vibrant learning environment in one of New Jersey's most distressed neighborhoods. Our 21st Century Community Learning Center will be distinguished by (1) our integration of innovative STEM and inquiry-based learning approaches; (2) the highly collaborative nature of our program design, drawing on the expertise and capacity of Rutgers-Camden academic departments, centers, and institutes, as well as partner organizations from Camden and the Delaware Valley region; and (3) our capacity to integrate Rutgers undergraduate and graduate students alongside professional staff, creating the opportunity for meaningful near-peer role models and mentoring relationships. Working with partners and collaborators such as the Odyssey of the Mind, the Algebra Project/Young People's Project, the New Jersey Academy of Aquatic Sciences, Arthur Ashe Tennis and Education, the Rutgers-Camden Center for the Arts, the Rutgers School of Nursing-Camden, and the Rutgers School of Law-Camden, we will provide comprehensive remediation and enrichment in exciting after-school and summer learning environments. We will build on our successful parent and family engagement strategies to extend and deepen our impact. Because we will be serving the students of all three public schools in North Camden, along with the only non-public school in the neighborhood, the Rutgers North Camden Schools Partnership 21st Century Community Learning Center will contribute not only to the education of young people but also to the transformation of the educational culture in North Camden.