Archive for October, 2008

Conference Countdown-Today Last Day!

Friday, October 31st, 2008

 IMPORTANT!

Conference Countdown-LAST DAY to register for conference and hotel!

Do not be closed out!
The following workshops are closed:

 FRIDAY
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SATURDAY

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Call Jessica Heiberg @ 908.789.0259 to confirm that we received your registration !

Did you know that NJSACC is the Network for New Jersey’s Afterschool Communities ?

Where did Halloween come from?

Friday, October 31st, 2008

From the: The Writer’s Almanac

Today is Halloween.
Halloween’s origins date back about 2,000 years, to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. The Celts lived in the cold parts of Northern Europe — in Britain, Ireland, and the north of France — and so for them, the new year began on November 1st, the end of the fall harvest and the beginning of winter. The night before the new year, on October 31st, the division between the world of the living and the world of the dead dissolved, and the dead could come to earth again. This was partly bad and partly good — these spirits would damage crops and cause sickness, but they also helped the Celtic priests, the druids, to tell the future, to make predictions about the coming year. The druids built huge bonfires, and regular people put out their own fires in their homes and crowded together around these fires, where they burned sacrifices for the gods, told each other’s fortunes, and dressed in costumes — usually animal skins and heads. At the end of the celebration, they took a piece of the sacred bonfire and relit their own fires at home with this new flame, which was meant to help them stay warm through the long winter ahead.

First the Romans co-opted Samhain and combined it with their festivals, and then the Christians co-opted both the Celtic and Roman celebrations. In the ninth century, the pope decided that these pagan festivals needed to be replaced with a Christian holiday, so he just moved the holiday called All Saints’ Day from May 13 to November 1. All Saints’ Day was a time for Christians to honor all the saints and martyrs of their religion. The term for All Saints’ Day in Middle English was Alholowmesse, or All-hallowmass. This became All-hallows, and so the night before was referred to as All-hallows Eve, and finally, Halloween.

SAFE HALLOWEEN TIPS TO SHARE WITH YOUR PROGRAM!

Friday, October 31st, 2008


Swords, knives, and similar costume accessories should be short, soft, and flexible.Avoid trick-or-treating alone.

Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult

Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you.

Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them. Limit the amount of treats you eat.

Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see and others see you.

Always test make-up in a small area first. Remove it before bedtime to prevent skin and eye irritation.

Look both ways before crossing the street. Use established crosswalks wherever possible.

Lower your risk for serious eye injury by not wearing decorative contact lenses.

Only walk on sidewalks or on the far edge of the road facing traffic to stay safe.

Wear well-fitting masks, costumes, and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips, and falls.

Eat only factory-wrapped treats. Avoid eating homemade treats unless you know the cook well.

Enter homes only if you’re with a trusted adult. Otherwise, stay outside.

Never walk near lit candles or luminaries. Be sure to wear flame-resistant costumes.

From the CDC

A Guide to Assessing and Increasing School Engagement

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

 From Child Trends

A Guide to Assessing and Increasing School Engagement

Students who are disengaged from school are at risk for many poor outcomes beyond poor academic achievement.  They are at risk of skipping classes, sexual activity, substance use, and ultimately dropping out of school.  A new Child Trends brief, Assessing School Engagement: A Guide for Out-Of-School Time Program Practitioners, provides information on why school engagement matters, how out-of-school time programs can affect school engagement, and how to measure engagement.  The brief includes specific measures of school engagement from three surveys and a list of additional resources.

Click Here

Corzine backs education investments

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

Corzine backs education investments

By ALISON HERGET • Gannett New Jersey • October 29, 2008

EATONTOWN — It costs up to five times more per year to incarcerate someone as it does to educate him, Gov. Jon S. Corzine told hundreds of school professionals and community providers from across the state at a conference Tuesday.

Speaking to the well-researched link between safe, effective schools and delinquency prevention, the governor told educators they play a key role in keeping children engaged in school and off the streets, where they are more likely to commit crime and end up in jail.

“We need to do everything we can to stop this vicious cycle and make sure that we get into a virtuous perspective with what is happening with our youth,” he said.

The two-day seminar, “Blueprints for Safe Streets and Schools: the Governor’s Conference on Delinquency Prevention” follows an initiative launched by Corzine last year to reduce violent crime and create safer neighborhoods.

That plan called for preventing reincarceration of former prisoners by helping them become productive members of society, targeting gang involvement, increasing programs for at-risk children and coordinating delinquency prevention initiatives throughout the state.

During his conference speech at the Eatontown Sheraton, Corzine also linked the state’s investment in preschool expansion to delinquency prevention efforts.

While it costs $8,000 to $12,000 a year to educate a student in New Jersey, it costs $35,000 to $40,000 per year to incarcerate someone, Corzine said. But the reason for taking action on the issue spans beyond economics.

“It is the morally right thing to do,” he added.

Pedro Noguera, executive director of the Metropolitan Center for Urban Education and a professor at New York University, urged school professionals to think differently about helping students who act up in the classroom.

Implementing in-school suspension or community service as an alternative to out-of-school suspension is one way to keep children more engaged in school, he said.

Educators should also work harder to foster relationships between students and adults in schools.

“We have very clear evidence that the things we are doing to promote safety in our schools isn’t working,” he said.

“We need to start there. Because if we continue to do the same thing and expect different results, you know what that is? That’s the definition for insanity.”

James A. Wallace Jr., Monmouth County municipal alliance coordinator, said during a break that reform must also come from home, adding that “it’s up to parents to set rules and make sure kids abide by the rules that they set.”

Dennis Makarowski, from the Freehold Alliance to Prevent Alcohol and Drug Abuse, said schools and communities need to work together to help at-risk youth.

The alliance is developing a program with school professionals that would help seventh-graders who have a history of problems, such as drug or alcohol abuse, he said.

“You need to have a united front in dealing with these things,” he said.

Kevin Flynn, a student assistance counselor at Marlboro High School, said collaboration between professionals in each school will be key to implementing the take-home messages from the conference.

“Every school has problems, and every school has different problems,” Flynn said.

Instead of punishing a child who repeatedly misbehaves with out-of-school suspension where they are more likely to lose interest in school, education officials should consider asking themselves why the child is exhibiting that behavior and get him or her help, Noguera said.

“Who do we lock up?” he asked.

“We lock up the kids we don’t serve well in school.”