The 2022 SUMMER PLUS PROGRAMS was a success!
ASPIRA NJ continues to provide summer and extended learning opportunities in four schools, in partnership with the Newark Public Schools district
The 2022 Summer Plus program was here and ASPIRA Inc., of New Jersey in partnership with Newark Public Schools (NPS), was ready with fun, engaging activities for all youth.
ASPIRA Program Coordinators, Soledad "Maggie" Aguilar, Leticia Minaya, Luinis Sosa, along with NPS Site Coordinator Larry Sullivan, operate four sites in Newark, NJ - Elliott Street, McKinley, Park Elementary Schools, and the newest addition, Abington Avenue Elementary. ASPIRA and NPS have had a long storied history in working together to stop the dreaded "Summer Slide" - The two to three months when students lose critical reading, math, and other academic skills.
The Summer Plus Program combines academic and enrichment activities into a full-day summer learning experience. Summer Plus has been developed by the Newark Public School’s (NPS) curriculum experts to improve critical math and literacy skills and ensure that participants are well prepared to start school in September.
"More than ever, our kids need Summer Plus," stated Maggie. "The pandemic has really disrupted learning to the point where kids are still catching up in these three critical months. I'm happy that we can provide STEAM learning in a fun, engaging fashion."
The morning core academic classes are taught by NPS certified teachers and supported by NPS staff. NPS teachers and Community-Based organizations (CBOs) deliver the afternoon enrichment sessions, such as ASPIRA. Together, the NPS staff and ASPIRA offer themed, project-based learning that is linked to the morning class material. The program also provides much-needed, free childcare, meals, and supervision, while the students' parents are at work.
Luinis Sosa, or "Sosa" as he's affectionately called, is a long time veteran Site Coordinator of the program. He says that the program is not just about academics, but social skills. "These kids are playing and interacting with their classmates for the coming year. It's cool to see them bond and connect earlier, to give them a headstart socially as they go into their next grade levels."
Leticia Minaya, Program Coordinator at Abington shared that she has seen a difference in the kids when they learn in the summer. "The kids love the format and the hands-on style of learning. To be able to teach a subject, and break it down using art, science, literature and etc. to make the lesson accessible to everyone, has been helpful."
"It's reassuring to them to know that their kids are in a safe environment familiar to everyone," stated Sosa. "The Summer Plus program provides that extra assurance to families who care and love their most cherished asset - their children. They trust us and it is our top priority to serve these youth to the best of our capabilities."
NPS Site Coordinator, Larry Sullivan, a veteran teacher and long-time Program Coordinator for Summer Plus, discussed the importance of these programs and why they are needed, especially after the isolation brought forth by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"These programs are critical in reinvigorating kids to be social, have fun and enjoy engaging activities that bring them and their communities together. As a teacher and member of my community, I am proud to work with NPS and ASPIRA on such an amazing program."
CHECK OUT A FEW PICTURES FROM THE SCHOOLS
Abington Avenue Elementary School
Elliott Street Elementary School
McKinley Elementary School
Park Elementary School
ASPIRA's 2022 SUMMER PLUS STAFF
Program Coordinator - Elliott Elementary
Program Coordinator - Park Elementary
Program Coordinator - Abington Elementary
Program Coordinator - McKinley Elementary
Program Director - ASPIRA Inc., of NJ