Newark Public Schools Recognizes Importance of Afterschool Programs at “LIGHTS ON!” Event

District is dedicated to providing programs that gives young people access to positive activities, role models

[Newark, NJ – November 5, 2015] – Newark Public Schools (NPS) participated in a national celebration of afterschool programs yesterday called “Lights On!” to highlight the positive impact afterschool programming is having on Newark’s young people. Nearly 100 people attended Lights On!, which was hosted by the Office of Expanded Learning Time and NJSACC: the New Jersey Statewide Afterschool Network at the Dr. Marion A. Bolden Student Center in Newark.

“Afterschool programs give our children an opportunity to participate in so many meaningful activities they may not have exposure to otherwise,” said Christopher D. Cerf, Superintendent of NPS, who met with families at the event. “We must make sure our educators have the resources they need to continue reaching our children outside not just in the classroom, but outside the classroom as well.”

Yesterday’s event also served as an open house for current and prospective students in grades 7-12 as well as their family members to educate them about the offerings that are available at the Student Center, including: Intro to Coding, Art, TV Production/Film, Teen Talk, Arts Power, Sewing/Fashion, Chess, African Dance, Poet’s Workshop and SAT prep.

“As a city, our goal should be to ensure that every child has access to high quality out-school-time opportunities like these”said Ras J. Baraka, Mayor of the City of Newark. “After school programs are vital to developing the interests and talents of our students. Technology, art, and academic enrichment programs enhance their skills as well as provide exposure to the many opportunities that await them beyond high school.”

Over 7,000 students throughout the district participate in the Office of Expanded Learning Time’s afterschool activities. Programs like Newark Excel – which gives children in grades 3-5 access to different clubs and enrichment activities outside of school – and Reach – which is in partnership with Rutgers University – have been positive additions to students’ lives. In addition to managing programming, the Office of Expanded Learning offers all participants nutritionally balanced meals to ensure students are maintaining a healthy diet.

Earlier this year, NPS asked students to participate in a video contest to share their stories about how afterschool programs have impacted their lives. Over 100 students across nine schools submitted videos. All participants received prizes and their videos were featured on the Afterschool Alliance Lights On Afterschool website.

Parents who are interested in enrolling their children in afterschool activities can visit or call 973-412-1910 for more information.