Archive for March, 2010

Camden County Training: Register now for 2 Professional Development Hours

Monday, March 29th, 2010

Training:  Quality Program Planning

Quality Programs offer activities that are fun, enriching and educational. This workshop will provide strategies for staff to develop activities and programming that are enriching, educational and age appropriate. You staff will learn some best practices for quality in school age programs. Participants will explore implementing best practices into programming and we will discuss and share ideas.

When: Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Where: Archway Programs, Upper School
185 Raymond Ave
Evesham, NJ 08053

Time: 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

This training is hosted by Lorin Powell, Camden County NJSACC Afterschool Ambassador

For More information about registration and/or payment please contact Jessica Heiberg at 908-789-0259, or email Jessica at jessicaheiberg@njsacc.org

Looking for additional Professional development Opportunities?

Check out what’s on the calendar…

CASP Afterschool Science Curriculum 4/9/2010

Ocean County 4/12/2010

Burlington County 4/14/2010

Afterschool CARES

Monday, March 29th, 2010

NJSACC Pilots Service Learning Initiative

Service Learning and Community Service provide an array of benefits for children who engage in activities that help others.
Afterschool programs are a great place for adults to guide children in getting involved in their community and being of service.

NJSACC, in partnership with the NJ  Department of Human Services, Division of Family Development provided training to programs interested in helping their student’s participant in Service Learning Opportunities through a pilot project called Afterschool CARESCARES stands for Community, Action, Responsibility, Experience and Service.  Afterschool Programs in 13 communities across New Jersey are participating in the Project that began in October 2009.

NJSACC provides assistance for the one year pilot project in which staff receives training and regular support with resources, program visits, phone and email assistance to achieve the goal of incorporating Community Service into the curriculum.

NJSACC’s Afterschool CARES Project is designed to train and support program Staff to provide children with resources to engage in Service Learning in their communities. According to the National Afterschool Association, Standards for Quality Care, high quality afterschool programs build links to the community.  Staff in these programs plan opportunities for children to get to know the larger community as well as community service options.

Outcomes for Children Participation in Service Learning

  1. Young people can find great satisfaction and wonderful learning opportunities in planning and participating in community service.
  2. Out-of-school time programs is a perfect setting for service-learning.
  3. Regular service projects are transformed into service-learning by emphasizing the academic and social skills involved in planning and performing projects and by engaging children and youth in reflection on their work.
  4. Promoting learning through active participation in service experiences;
  5. Providing structured time for students to reflect by thinking, discussing and writing about their service experience;
  6. Providing an opportunity for students to use skills and knowledge in real-life situations;
  7. Extending learning beyond the classroom and into the community; and
  8. Fostering a sense of caring for others.

Outcomes for Programs that Instruct Children using Service Learning

  1. The opportunity to expand their mission and reach without substantially increasing costs by engaging a cadre of competent, motivated young people.
  2. New energy, ideas, and enthusiasm as well as specialized skills that young people can bring to the organization.
  3. Increased public support and visibility in the community as young people become ambassadors for the agency in their schools, homes, and other networks.
  4. New partnerships and resources.
  5. A new generation of volunteers for their own organization or cause.

Afterschool CARES Program Highlight:

Jefferson Child Care and Education Center Center Building Community through Collection and Donation

Jefferson Child Care Center is located in Jefferson Township, Morris County.  The private non-profit operates afterschool programs in 4 elementary schools in Jefferson Township in addition to the Early childhood center.

Christine Murray, Executive Director along with Debbie Kastner, Program coordinator oversee both the preschool and afterschool programs. Debbie is the lead of the Afterschool CARES project.

Afterschool CARES got started when Debbie and her staff returned from the training about the CARES project and spoke with the children at Arthur Stanlick School about the meaning of Community Service.  In the discussion, the 55 children in grades 3, 4, and 5 shared their ideas about what types of service they would be interested in.  It was discovered that a staff member had a brother in the military and the children all agreed that they would like to do something for him.

That got the ball rolling and the next thing they knew, Corporal Aaron Alonso, a Lake Hopatcong resident, stationed in North Carolina, was on leave and visited the afterschool program with pictures, medals, combat gear, describing to the children about military life boot camp and his world travels.  The children listened intently and were most interested in the Boot Camp experience.

Corporal told the children about the things that the servicemen and women could use in the field and the children decided that collecting those things would be their CARES project.

They started by making collection bins and posters to put into the program.  Debbie sent information about the project home to families, listing the items that were being collected.  She connected with a local church that was also collecting goods for service people in a program called Operation Shoebox.  Operation Shoebox began in 2003 in an effort to send support, snacks and much needed personal care items to our troops deployed outside of the USA.  The church agreed to accept the items collected by the children and ship them with the items collected by the church.  Jefferson Child Care was able to donate $50 to help with the cost of postage.

Nearly every child in the program brought in something to give. Jefferson Child Care staff learned from the Operation Shoebox about the need for small toys like Beanie Babies and they were able to fill a large box with the Beanie Babies the children brought in.

Something that took shape out of the collection of beanie babies was making Hacky sacks.  The children at Stanlick School had been learning knitting and crocheting and learned to knit Hacky Sacks, balls made of knitted yarn.  Inside the ball, a small piece of hosiery with rice is sewed in to give the ball weight.  Hacky sacks are used in a game of juggling, keeping the ball in the air alone or in a group, using any body part except your hands. The Jefferson Child Care children are excited about being able to send toys to another country.

What came from the project is the sense of accomplishment and helping others as well as an interest in other parts of the world.  Children experience writing skills by making cards and letters to send with their donations and the Jefferson Child Care staff found the projects activities to be valuable in rounding out program offering and building a sense of community.  The children really enjoyed having the Corporal visit and seeing a person that they could connect to the project and this inspired the children to pitch in.  The project has sparked many ideas for community service, but Jefferson Child Care is going to stick with this project to the end of the year because the children are so interested in it.


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Senate committee OKs child nutrition bill

Friday, March 26th, 2010

Education Daily
March 26, 2010

Senate committee OKs child nutrition bill

Before it was even assigned a number, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act sailed through the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee on March 24 and appears to be on a fast track to the full body for consideration.

“This agreement could not come at a better time as we march toward the committee’s consideration of the [Child Nutrition Act] reauthorization,” said bill sponsor and Committee Chairwoman Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark. “This historic opportunity to create national school nutrition standards is a monumental step forward in improving the health and well-being of our children.”

The bipartisan bill contains several important proposals for schools and districts, including funding to establish Farm-to-School Programs and to improve the nutritional quality of school meals, as well as direct certification allowing more students to receive free school meals.

Introduced just last week, the 187-page bill also contains several key items designed to reduce childhood hunger and obesity and to modernize and streamline existing child nutrition programs.

The bill will most likely be looked upon favorably by President Obama, who, along with first lady Michelle Obama, has called elimination of childhood hunger and obesity a national priority.

Pertinent to education stakeholders are bill proposals that would:
· Provide $4.5 billion dollars over 10 years for investments in and improvements to child food programs.
· Expand the Afterschool Meal Program to all 50 states.
· Automatically enroll for free school meals children who are in foster care.
· Reduce paperwork for all child food programs.
· Provide children meals in day care settings.
· Implement local school wellness policies.

Particularly interesting is a provision in the legislation that would establish demonstration projects to expand the direct certification process, through which school districts use information from state welfare or food stamp offices to certify children to receive free meals.

Specifically, children enrolled in Medicaid in select congressional districts would be directly certified, while benchmarks and incentive bonuses for states to improve their direct certification methods would be established, according to the bill.

In addition, the legislation includes provisions that provide the agriculture secretary authority to establish national nutrition standards for all foods served in schools, while also allocating mandatory funding for schools to institute Farm-to-School Programs.

The bill would also modernize and improve the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children by implementing an electronic benefit transfer, and would extend WIC’s current six-month certification period to a one-year certification period. Many schools and districts refer the parents and guardians of at-risk or homeless students to this program.

Support

The bill has garnered support from groups such as the American Academy of Pediatrics , the American Beverage Association , the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network , the American Diabetes Association , the American Heart Association , The Coca Cola Co. , Mars Inc. , the National PTA , Nestlé , and PepsiCo , which contributed to the bill’s provision on setting national school nutrition standards that are consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans for all foods sold on school campuses throughout the school day.

In the House, Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., chairman of the Education and Labor Committee , has pledged to work with Lincoln to get the bill passed and signed by the president. Likewise, several Republicans in the House and Senate are on board with the bill.

Concern

But there’s worry about the bill, too. Anne L. Bryant, executive director of the National School Boards Association , said in a statement that officials at the local and state level already have taken a number of “innovative steps” to improve school nutrition programs. Specifically, NSBA wants Congress to:
· Refrain from imposing additional regulations or mandates on schools outside the federally subsidized National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs and adequately reimburse school districts for the cost of those services.
· Support school districts, local communities and states that assume greater responsibility for health and nutrition through incentives and grants that enable them to further expand their local commitment.
· Ensure that adequate resources are available for school nutrition programs; meals and administration; equipment and facility improvements; training for staff, educators, and other stakeholders; nutrition education; and support of local initiatives.

Congress should “recognize local school district authority and the variance among local circumstances in laws or policies that address child nutrition,” Bryant said.

Kim Riley covers NCLB and special education issues for LRP Publications.

New Jersey to Receive More Than $66 Million to Turn Around Its Persistently Lowest Achieving Schools

Friday, March 26th, 2010

New Jersey to Receive More Than $66 Million to Turn Around Its Persistently Lowest Achieving Schools

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today announced that New Jersey will receive more than $66 million to turn around its persistently lowest achieving schools through the School Improvement Grants (SIG) program. These funds are part of the $3.5 billion that will be made available to states this spring from money set aside in the 2009 budget and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

“When a school continues to perform in the bottom five percent of the state and isn’t showing signs of growth or has graduation rates below 60 percent, something dramatic needs to be done,” said Duncan. “Turning around our worst performing schools is difficult for everyone but it is critical that we show the courage to do the right thing by kids.”

The $66,672,258 made available to New Jersey is being distributed by formula to the state and will then be competed out by the state to school districts. In order for a school district to apply for these funds, it must have a state-identified “persistently lowest achieving” or a Tier III school — a school that has failed to meet annual yearly progress for two years and is not identified as a persistently lowest achieving school.

However, Tier III schools can only receive funds once all of the state’s persistently lowest achieving schools have received funds. New Jersey’s application, which includes its list of persistently lowest achieving schools, as defined by the state, can be found here: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/sif/summary/index.html.

School districts will apply to the state for the funds this spring. When school districts apply, they must indicate that they will implement one of the following four models in their persistently lowest achieving schools:

  • TURNAROUND MODEL: Replace the principal, screen existing school staff, and rehire no more than half the teachers; adopt a new governance structure; and improve the school through curriculum reform, professional development, extending learning time, and other strategies.
  • RESTART MODEL: Convert a school or close it and re-open it as a charter school or under an education management organization.
  • SCHOOL CLOSURE: Close the school and send the students to higher-achieving schools in the district.
  • TRANSFORMATION MODEL: Replace the principal and improve the school through comprehensive curriculum reform, professional development, extending learning time, and other strategies.

Once schools receive SIG funds, they will be able to begin to spend them immediately to turn around schools this fall. States may apply to the Education Department for a waiver to allow them to spend funds over a three-year period. An additional $545,633,000 has been provided for SIG in 2010 and will be awarded to states to fund additional schools in the 2011-12 school year. The department has also made a request for an additional $900 million for the program in the 2011 budget.

ALERT: NJ After 3 Programs That Have Closed!

Friday, March 26th, 2010

If your agency operated a site funded by NJ After 3 , and the program has closed due to funding cuts.

PLEASE NOTE:

You are required by the New Jersey Office of Licensing (OOL) to notify the OOL immediately that your program has closed.

Please  send a letter via FAX to : 609.826.3972 to notify OOL of closing.