SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – After expanding the Latchkey program to all the district’s elementary schools this year, registration has tripled, according to Assistant Superintendent of Schools Nicole Pormilli.
Up until this year, the program only took place at Roosevelt School and Grant School, with children from other schools bussed to one of those two locations. But this year students can stay at their own school, which eliminates bussing.
“Students are thrilled to be in their own building,” said Pormilli, who is managing the expansion. “It’s been so successful we’ve had to hire more staff.” That success even forced the district to temporarily close enrollment. “We expect to reopen enrollment October 1,” she said.
In addition to expanding the locations, Pormilli said the district is also adding new programs for the students, including a crafts program headed by a staff member who circulates among the buildings. She also hopes to bring in shows for the students and add more games.
Latchkey students typically arrive at the school as early as 7:00 a.m. and the stay in the before-care program until the first school bell. After-care begins at the end of the school day and runs until 6:00 p.m. In between these times, students do homework, have snack time, and have time to play in the gym and outside. Games are available, as well as materials for drawing and other crafts.
Pormilli credited her staff with the program’s growth. “We have a fantastic staff,” she said.