Project Launch Newton is a free out-of-school time enrichment program offered in the Merriam Avenue Elementary School and the Halsted Middle School to children in grades 4 – 8 who reside in the Newton, New Jersey, school district.
Project Launch Newton is a unique collaboration between Project Self-Sufficiency and the Newton School District. 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.
- Merriam Avenue Elementary School, Monday – Friday, from 2:30 – 5:45 p.m.;
- Halsted Middle School, Monday – Friday, from 2:30 – 5:30 p.m.;
- Four-Week Summer program, Monday – Friday, from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Each program day begins with 40 minutes of academic instruction followed by a nutritious snack. The goals of the program include:
- Improving students' academic achievement by providing high quality after school activities;
- Increasing positive student behavior by infusing social, emotional and character development into the program;
- Engaging adult family members of participating students through an array of parental involvement activities;
- Building partnerships and collaborative relationships to ensure participants' access to all available resources.
Over the course of a year, children participate in building a STEM City, a creative learning environment which simulates real-life society by incorporating lessons from business, civic organizations and government agencies. Volunteers from the community are invited to assist with discussions of career opportunities and demonstrations using science, technology, engineering and math skills. The environment motivates children to learn by connecting the classroom to real life. Local professionals from a multitude of STEM fields serve as expert consultants, volunteering their time to help students to understand the relationship between their efforts in school and their future careers.
The focus of Project Launch Newton changes over the course of the year, and encompasses science projects, new product invention and business building, arts and culture, life sciences, community service, and participation in the musical at Halsted Middle School. Daily tutoring, homework assistance, fitness activities and lessons about nutrition are offered all year long. Projects connect learning with business, the legal system, energy, and conservation while integrating classroom skills and encouraging youth to develop the 21st century skills they will need to succeed in the workforce of the future. Participants are able to take advantage of a variety of field 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.
Project Launch Newton supports the entire family. A full-time social worker ensures that parents can access the supportive services required to participate in their child's education:
- Classes in English as Second Language;
- Parenting skills:
- Support groups;
- Food pantry;
- Career training;
- Holiday assistance.
Monthly Family Fun Nights allow parents and children to gather for dinner and a presentation about the month's activities. Participation in Project Launch Newton is available to children in grades 4 - 8 who reside in the Newton, New Jersey, school district. Transportation by bus is available to students to designated bus stops at the close of the program day.