Princeton forum seeks ways to close achievement gap

Role of after-school and summer programs to be examined.

   The role after-school and summer programs play in raising academic achievement levels is the focus of a community meeting 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 31 at Stuart Hall on the Princeton Theological Seminary campus.
   Sponsored by the Princeton After-School and Summer Partnership, the meeting will serve as an open forum for citizens concerned with inequality in educational attainment levels of local youth.
   Personal invitations have been sent out to public officials, public and private school administrators and educators, directors of local nonprofit organizations, churches, the library, community leaders, and other individuals with an interest in helping develop future collaborations to address the issue.
   "The Princeton After-School and Summer Partnership has been working together for approximately one year, conducting an assessment of the community and sharing ideas," said Kim McReynolds, Princeton Regional Schools program specialist. "The group consists of representatives from Princeton Regional Schools, Corner House Counseling Center, the Princeton YMCA, Princeton Young Achievers, YWCA Princeton, Princeton Recreation Department, Princeton Public Library, Spring Board, Princeton Area Community Foundation, Princeton Human Services Commission, Princeton-Blairstown Center, and Princeton Community House who have all come together under one common goal: to promote academic excellence and close the achievement gap in our community."
   According to Ms. McReynolds, the partnership is taking an in-depth look at coordinating and integrating educational, recreational and social-service resources to ensure that every child growing up in Princeton will be successful.
   The mission of the partnership is to close the academic achievement gap by coordinating Princeton’s educational, recreational and social service resources through comprehensive pre-K through 12th-grade programs for disadvantaged youth and families.
   "The problems we encounter in Princeton stem from the ability of people to access programs," said Gary DeBlasio, Corner House executive director. "Barriers are diverse and include income, language, even ethnicity and race. The partnership is focused on doing what we can to overcome these barriers and promote equity and excellence in education."
   For more information and to make a reservation to attend the meeting, contact one of the following by Jan. 21: Cynthia Mendez at (609) 688-2055; Hendricks Davis at (609) 258-3340; Kim McReynolds or Caroline Mitchell at (609) 806-4203.