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New Jersey Department of Education Office of Student Support Services 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program and Out-of-School Time Resources
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MERCER COUNTY COLLEGE

Project Director: Janice Bacon
P.O. Box 17202
Trenton, NJ 08608
Phone: 609-570-3183
Fax: 609-570-3889
bacon@mccc.edu

County: Mercer

Serving School District: Trenton City School District

CCLC Sites:  Trenton Central High School Chambers
                        Trenton Central High School West
Partners: TD Bank

Serving Grade Level:  9th -12th

No. of Students to be Served:  150

No. of Adults to be Served:  80

Times of Service:  After-School: 3-6 p.m.; Summer 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m.

ABSTRACT:  Certain risk factors contribute to academic failure. Research by the Annie Casey Foundation suggests that the family's social and economic condition, parents' involvement with their children, the family's ability to secure health care, and a parental employment status all play a major role in how a family can secure the well-being and success of children. According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Annie Casey Foundation, six key risk factors strongly correlate with child outcomes: (1) child not living with two parents; (2) lack of family transportation; (3) parents or guardians who are illiterate and school dropouts; (4) lack of access to health care and medical insurance; (5) limited after-school programs to offset the risk factors; and (6) absence of steady, full-time employment in the family. Coping with any risk factor is a challenge, but when they are combined, they tend to be mutually reinforcing. As the number of risk factors increases, the greater the damaging impact of each. Children in the Trenton School District must overcome many of these risk factors. Our proposed Very Important People (VIP) was designed to unite the efforts of our school communities to improve the lives of high-risk families and students.

VIP will address the needs of 150 at-risk Trenton School District youth in grades 9-12, from 2 high schools, as well as of 80 these students' family members. Our program will welcome all races, genders, cultures, and ethnic groups but will target our highest risk students. VIP will fully address and comply with all NJDOE and statutory requirements, and incorporate the eight characteristics identified as generally present in high-quality after-school programs in the publication Working for Children and Families: Safe and Smart After-school Programs-1) Goal Setting, Strong Management, & Sustainability; 2) Quality After-school Staffing; 3) Attention to Health, Safety, and Nutrition Issues; 4) Enriching Learning Opportunities; 5) Linkages Between School Day and After-school Personnel; 6) Evaluation of Program Progress and Effectiveness; 7) Strong Involvement of Families; and 8) Effective Partnerships with Community-Based Organizations and Youth Groups. Program staff and evaluation will ensure that the program receives consistent, high-quality management.

Program impact will be evaluated via NJDOE Annual Progress Targets data, tests, graduation rates, promotion rates, surveys, and observations. A sustainability plan will reflect the commitment on the school district and partnerships to continue our program. The Trenton School District will capitalize on community partnerships with TD Bank to facilitate the continuation of these programs.