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Children Have Fun while Learning New Skills at Project Launch Newton

Children in grades 4 - 8 enjoy physical activities, take fun field trips, get homework help and work together to build an imaginary city while participating in Project Launch Newton.

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Children participate in academic enrichment, creative pursuits, fitness and physical education, health and nutrition activities designed around a Science, Integration of Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) theme. Friendly competition in various sports, from ball games to hip hop, is part of the fun! Healthy snacks are integrated into lessons about nutrition. Games promote positive interaction and communication. Themed activities rotate through performing arts and culture, life sciences, product design and production, career awareness and exploration, business, the legal system, energy, conservation, and the 21st Century Afterschool Science Project.

The academic enrichment portion of Project Launch is being provided by certified Merriam and Halsted teachers through district NCLB grant funds. This allows the new 21st Century Community Learning Center grant funds to be shifted to support the other aspects of Project Launch. NCLB requires remediation and enrichment instruction that is geared to improve proficiency on state academic assessments. It applies directly to English language arts, mathematics, and science as these are the tested subjects. Therefore, our teachers will be providing basic skills instruction to students who are struggling to meet these standards and enrichment activities to those who are demonstrating proficiency. To the extent this instruction overlaps with classroom assignments in those subject areas, students will have opportunities to complete homework during this time. We will also be utilizing the snack period as additional time for students to do their homework. The academic enrichment portion of the program will include remediation, enrichment, homework and a nutritious snack, beginning at dismissal and ending at 3:50 p.m., followed by physical, STEM and other activities. We anticipate that most students will be able to get the majority of their homework completed during the hours of Project Launch.

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Volunteer mentors provide advice about career goals and offer access to real world experience. Fun, interactive learning experiences are gained from Mad Science and other sources. Through the program, students develop the 21st Century skills they will need to succeed in the workforce of the future.

Over the course of a year, children participate in building a MicroSociety, a creative learning environment called STEM City which simulates real-life society by incorporating lessons from business, civic organizations and government agencies using science, technology, engineering and math skills. The environment motivates children to learn by connecting the classroom to real life.

Cultural and arts activities are built into the program and children are encouraged to participate in the Halsted Middle School musical in the spring.

Certified staff provide daily tutoring, academic enrichment and homework assistance.

Fun, educational field trips help round out the curriculum, including trips to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, Buehler Challenger & Science Center, Adventure Aquarium, Longo Planetarium, Sterling Hill Mining Museum, and Lentini Farms. Summer activities will also include outings to local attractions, such as the town pool, community garden and local library.

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Parents can have fun, too! Monthly family dinners showcase student activities and provide access to case management and economic self-sufficiency services for the whole family. Planned activities include a Robotics Showcase, NJASK Information and Spring Reading Challenge, Fun Friday Carnival Day, Restaurant Night, and a Variety-Talent Show.

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This project was funded in its entirety with federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Title IV, Part B, 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) grant funds through a grant agreement with the New Jersey Department of Education.

To Contact Project Launch Newton, call Project Self-Sufficiency at 973-940-3500 or email pln@projectselfsufficiency.org.
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