Community Schools Program Launched

Mayor Jeffrey Jones attended the fall festival that was part of the community schools launch.
Schools Superintendent Donnie W. Evans cuts ribbon for new community school program.

PATERSON, NJ - The city's school district on October 30 held a ribbon-cutting at PS #5 to commemorate the launch of Paterson's new full service community schools project.

As part of a U.S.Department of Education program, community schools are designed to offer various social, educational, recreational and medical services at school buildings.

This year, the community schools project will kick off at PS # 5, and next year New Roberto Clemente and the Napier School of Technology will join the program, said Paterson schools spokeswoman Terry Corallo.


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At P.S. #5, the first phase of this initiative has been to establish activities after normal school hours for students in grades kindergarten through 8. It's part of the NJ After 3 program and includes soccer, dance, sewing, chess, robotics club, and STEM (Science, Technology, Science and Math) program.

As the school year progresses, school officials said, programs involving standardized testing, supplemental education and early intervention will be added to the offerings.

There are roughly 225 students participating, with more than 100 others on a waiting list. 

In addition to students at PS #5, those attending include about 28 kindergarten students who attend Dale Avenue  and 20 eighth graders from Don Bosco Tech.

As part of the NJ After 3 program at PS #5, parents are asked to attend meetings regularly where they learn homework tips, literacy skills, and issues from the school that need their support, according to Corallo.  Also, there are guest speakers who address topics ranging from Parent Leadership, Navigating the Systems, Financial Literacy, and Being a Parent of a Special Needs Child.  Education officials see this is a way of strengthening the PS #5 Home School Council.

The city school district is working with Passaic County Community College to provide certificate and enrichment classes for adult members of the community surrounding PS #5.  These programs will begin shortly.

Also, plans for various medical services are in the works, officials said. 

Currently, a “master schedule” is being created.  This will present a listing of all of the programs and availability and will be posted publically as soon as it is formalized.

The community schools project got a major boost on October 5 when Rep. Bill PascrellJr. (D-NJ-8) announced that the federal government would be providing a five-year, $2,330,555 grant for the program.

Under the program, the school district is working in partnership with with several community groups,  including the NJCDC, the Paterson YMCA, Paterson Education Fund, St. Paul’s Community Development Center, Catholic Family & Community Services, Paterson Public Library, Clinical Outreach Services LLC, and the Children’s Aid Society.

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