CAMDEN, NJ — Camden teachers, faculty and other volunteers spread the word this week about the district’s Fall Boost Program - in partnership with BellXcel. 

Chanel Petersen, senior manager of special projects with the division of school support, said the COVID-19 pandemic has forced schools to get more creative with their offerings in order to not only provide students a high standard of education but keep their minds and bodies active.

Among the five components of the seven-week initiative, which lasts through the end of October, are literacy, math, STEM, social-emotional wellness and physical fitness. 

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“It definitely helps to boost students’ self-esteem and keep them engaged while they’re learning online,” said Petersen. “We do that through virtual field trips to national museums and parks, so that they can explore from the comfort of their home." 

Petersen said so far families have been “thrilled” with the program, which also offers incentives for participating like bicycles, free technology devices and mystery prizes. Carnival-style Open Houses were held this week to let parents know there’s still time to sign up. At the events, Superintendent Katrina McCombs joined others in providing information on school resources. Food, including corn dogs, hamburgers, funnel cakes, was served - with a photo booths and prizes also on hand.  

“It’s important a child feels a sense of pride, we felt that during the motorcade when people came out to support them,” she said, noting that three motorcades were held to promote the program. 

Fall Boost provides students K-8 home materials like workbooks, decidable riders, magazines, books, and grade level curriculum, in addition to access to an online portal with more materials to learn from home, a guide to work on activities as a family and weekly virtual field trips. 

Petersen said the goal is to service 1,300 students through the program. To learn more visit

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