The Murphy Administration has launched the New Jersey Partnership for Student Success (NJPSS), an initiative designed to harness volunteers and community organizations to help students, educators, and schools as they work to address learning loss and other challenges in the wake of the COVID-19 global pandemic.
With the goal of engaging up to 5,000 individuals, the NJPSS will be an effort to recruit, screen, train and support tutors, mentors, student success coaches, wraparound service coordinators, and postsecondary transition coaches. These individuals will work in coordination with educators, parents, and other stakeholders to accelerate student learning, empower educators, and strengthen community partnerships.
Over the next several months the Department of Education will expand the NJPSS initiative. The NJPSS website will serve as a central point of reference for district administrators, educators, and parents to access resources, professional development opportunities, and funding opportunities to bolster our educational system. For example, in the coming months, the Department will launch three key funding opportunities and guidance all geared towards academic recovery. These opportunities include a statewide high impact tutoring program supported by at least $10 million in federal funding from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief fund, two targeted early literacy professional development programs, including the $2 million Reading Acceleration Professional Integrated Development (RAPID) program allocated in the FY2023 state budget and a complementary $3 million ARP ESSER-funded program targeting upper elementary grades, and guidance in maximizing scheduling to address academic recovery.
“As schools across our state and the nation deal with the impact of COVID-19 on both students and educators, we must address the challenges facing our school community, including learning loss,” said Gov. Phil Murphy. “This initiative will create the opportunity for members of the broader community to get involved in supporting the social, emotional, and academic needs of students. I encourage interested individuals and organizations to learn more about how they can help ensure the success of our students by participating in the New Jersey Partnership for Student Success.”
“Accelerating student learning post pandemic is of the utmost importance to ensure students are recovering from the pandemic and achieving and exceeding educational goals,” said Dr. Angelica Allen-McMillan, Acting Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Education. “Our New Jersey Partnership for Student Success initiative will utilize the support of our community to help our students thrive. The Department will help coordinate NJPSS volunteers with schools in need to provide academic and wraparound services.”
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, approximately $4 billion in federal funding has been made available to New Jersey school districts to address the pandemic-related needs of students and staff. The Murphy Administration has devoted nearly $270 million of its set-aside federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding to academic recovery initiatives.
The NJPSS aims to provide additional adults in and out of the school setting to help fuel student learning and address challenges that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Department of Education will support parents, educators, and other stakeholders in fulfilling roles designed to improve academic performance, increase high-school graduation rates, and reduce chronic absenteeism.
The New Jersey initiative complements the National Partnership for Student Success, a recent coalition created at the federal level to support student well-being and academic recovery. The NJPSS follows President Biden’s call for more tutors and mentors in the 2022 State of the Union Address to help students recover from the pandemic and thrive.
“The New Jersey Department of State is pleased to join the New Jersey Department of Education and other agencies to provide a range of services to students who are recovering from academic and mental health challenges due to the pandemic,” said Secretary of State Tahesha Way, whose Department is pursuing a federal grant to enable similar volunteer efforts to address students’ needs. “The Office of Volunteerism within the Department of State will work with New Jersey’s dynamic volunteer centers and nonprofit agencies to recruit, train, and deploy volunteers to serve in classrooms, after school, and during summer sessions to support students of all ages throughout the state. Support is expected to include tutoring, mentorship, and preparation for graduation and careers.”
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