Archive for February, 2013

On the Ground in Afterschool: Woodbury Child Development Center

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

NJSACC: The Statewide Network for NJ’s Afterschool Communities provides regular support and technical assistance to out of school time programs that request it.  Last year, NJSACC served 129 programs serving NJ’s youth, a total of 130 hours.

I really enjoy Technical Assistance AKA TA and every person that works at NJSACC provides it on a daily basis to programs that call us and email us.  The topics requested range from how to better design space to information on creating policy manuals for staff and families.  We have built great relationships with providers with TA and I enjoy getting to see how the resources and support we provided impact on program quality.

This year, NJSACC was contracted by PSE&G Foundation to provide one year of TA to PSE&G Quality Afterschool Funding grantees.  The year has come to an end but what a year it has been!  Three programs participated in an intensive TA experience where NJSACC staff led the afterschool program staff on a path of self-assessment, problem solving and creating action plans for program improvement.

In April, the programs created teams of staff, family members and community members that conducted observations and surveys using Quality Standards for Afterschool.  In May, that information was compiled into an Action Plan for Program Improvement using team problem solving methods, a collective approach to improvement.  Then, from June to now, the programs implemented the changes and reaped the benefits of being so intentional about making the programs better.

We end the year knowing the programs have tools to use going forward to address concerns and that the program administration feels great about the work that they done.

On Friday, February 22, 2013, I was able to escort the PSE&G Foundation President Ellen Lambert and, Lisa Barile, Stakeholder Engagement Specialist  for PSE&G Corporate Social Responsibility on a visit to one of the TA Grantees, Woodbury Child Development Center in Gloucester County.  I was blown away when I walked into the room because I hadn’t visited the program in over 6 months.  The space was transformed.  There was a lovely presence of the children’s love and excitement about their program and the staff excitement to show it off.  The Exectuve Director, Phyllis Folk and NJSACC Consultant Dennis Groomes worked with the staff and children to transform the program.

We watched as the children moved through their newly designed space that included new books that were donated as a result of building community relationships, soft space purchased with grant funds, free play materials that were in great condition and age appropriate.  Walls that were previously bare were alive with youth artwork and writing projects.

The children were very excited to show off their newly learned skill of cinematography as they used digital video cameras to record an interview wth PSE&G Foundation president Ellen Lambert.  They showed her movies they had made and took her to the PSE&G Technology lab to give her a lesson on editing.

The kids were excited.  They were working in teams, using technology and problem solving as they worked to make short films.

It was a great visit to witness a program so dedicated to making the environment a place where youth learn new skills, and gives them to the tools to foster creativity.  The generous support of PSE&G Foundation made much of the changes at Woodbury CDC possible, but from my experience of daily TA, any program can use the Self-Study tools and process to make change that will impact on program quality.

This spring, I will get to visit the 2013 Quality Afterschool Funding Grantees and I look forward to sharing what I have learned from them.

On The Ground in Afterschool.

Sarah Cruz


About Sarah Cruz, Director of Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO):

Sarah has been working with children and for organizations serving children and families since 1996. Currently, she is the Director of Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO) for NJSACC.

Previously, Sarah was the Director of the Hanover Township School- Age Child Care Program (HTSACC), a program operated in a NJ Public School system. At HTSACC, Sarah facilitated the National Afterschool Association Accreditation of 3 public schools before and afterschool programs.

Sarah is a prolific trainer. Nationally, she serves as a National Association for Elementary School Principals (NAESP) Facilitator for the workshop “Aligning the Learning Day, Collaborating Strategies for Principals and Afterschool Program Leaders.

Sarah is a National Afterschool Matters Initiative Practitioner Fellow  and In 2001, Sarah wrote ‘Fantastic Finales,’ a compilation of activities for school age children. She attended Douglass College at Rutgers University and graduated with a BA in Urban Planning and a certificate in Professional Youth Work.

Sarah coordinates the activities of the NJSACC Afterschool Ambassadors, the NJSACC Afterschool CARES, Supporting Student Success and the PSE&G Energizing Afterschool Partnership.

Email Sarah here.

Twitter: @sarahNJSACC

Garden State Girls STEM Collaborative (GSGSC) Issues Exciting February Newsletter

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

Click  here to signup to receive future GSGSC newsletters!
Click here to read the GSGSC February Newsletter now! 

The Garden State Girls STEM Collaborative is the New Jersey initiative of the National Girls Collaborative Project, a program focused on providing high quality STEM activities to girls. Our primary goal is to strengthen the capacity of girl-serving STEM programs to effectively reach and serve underrepresented girls in STEM by sharing promising practice research and program models, outcomes, products and by connecting   formal and informal educators, business and industry in order to maximize the resources that can positively influence our girls. Contact Mike MacEwan for more information how you can become involved.

In their latest issue, the Garden State Girls STEP Collaborative Project spotlights:

  • Montclair March Mathness: Empowering Girls Through Math! March 3 – 16, 2013
  • RSVP: 100 Women Leaders in STEM TownHall Conference Call 3/6/13
  • Newark Museum Position Announcement
  • Design It! Afterschool Engineering Program – Now enrolling afterschool sites
  • Save The Date! ELO/Summer Learning Symposium 4/24/13
  • L’Oreal USA Launches STEM ‘For Girls In Science’ Website and Contest
  • STEM Should Be a Natural Extension of Literacy Education, says National Math and Science Initiative

You can stop this in your program! Stop Bullying Now!

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

WBGO is Now Accepting Applications for the Kids Jazz Concert Series NEW Spring 2013 Transportation Fund

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

WBGO is Now Accepting Applications for the Kids Jazz Concert Series NEW Spring 2013 Transportation Fund An Opportunity for Essex County Youth Groups to Travel to and Attend the Award-Winning Jazz Concert Series for Young People Completely Free

Click here to download the application form (pdf)

Beginning February 18 through February 28, WBGO (88.3 FM and will accept applications for the Kids Jazz Concert Series NEW Transportation Fund. The Fund aims to alleviate barriers of access between youth residing within Essex County, NJ and the free concerts of the WBGO Kids Jazz Concert Series, specifically transportation. For the application form and more information contact Victoria Marie Fernandez at WBGO at: or 973-624-8880 ext. 248.

Any groups of Essex County, NJ youth ages 4-18 who want to enjoy cultural events in their community are invited to apply. Groups can be affiliated with non-profit organizations, churches, community associations, public or private entities; or be informal in nature. The Transportation Fund will cover the travel expenses for the groups to attend the Kids Jazz Concert Series including bus or van rentals. The fund has been made possible by a generous grant from the Agnes Varis Trust- supporting affordable access to the arts, education, and healthcare.

The WBGO Kids Jazz Concert Series is a free, weekly, Saturday afternoon concert series throughout the month of April bringing jazz culture and performance to venues throughout Essex County New Jersey. These interactive, hour-long programs give young people the opportunity to celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month by learning about the distinct musical and cultural qualities of jazz, and how it positively impacts our world.

Top jazz and blues artists produce special programs specifically tailored for youth that include: audience participation, Q&A sessions with the artists, and prize drawings. Adults must be accompanied by a child and everyone goes home with a special gift.

One of several WBGO youth initiatives, the Kids Jazz Concert Series, along with WBGO’s student jazz ensemble live broadcasts, were cited with the My Source Community Impact Award for Engagement by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

“Our Kids Jazz Concert Series is directly related to WBGO’s core mission to promote the legacy of jazz,” states WBGO President and CEO, Cephas Bowles. “These kids represent the next generation in jazz audiences and performers – they are the future of jazz.”

The Kids Jazz Concert Series takes place twice a year in the spring and fall. This season features a dynamic mix of artists and jazz styles.

All concerts are held in handicapped accessible venues on Saturdays and begin at 12:30 P.M April
6th through May 4th, 2013.

Click here to download the application form (pdf)

Register for Sustainable Jersey’s Webinar Series ‘Energy Tracking and Management Tools: Part II’ 2/27/13

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Click here to register!


Rising energy costs and societal concerns over the environment and the need for energy independence are motivating schools to re-evaluate the way they track, manage, and teach about energy.

Sustainable Jersey is hosting two webinars highlighting tools schools can use to conveniently track and manage their energy consumption and also use school facilities as learning laboratories to teach students about conservation.

Webinar Features:

  • Overviews of the Schools for Energy Efficiency (SEE), See the Light (STL), and School Dude energy tracking and management tools
  • Approaches to engaging students and staff in conserving energy, tracking success, and creating learning opportunities
  • Case studies presented by NJ school administrators that have implemented these programs and approaches

Presenters Include:

  • Tony O’Donnell, Sustainable Jersey
  • Connie Corielle, Franklin Township
  • School District
  • Gary Markowitz, Kilojolts Consulting
  • Group
  • Joshua Loveland, Neptune School
  • District
  • Brad Hunter,

Click here to register!