CALDWELL — The P16 education project — a partnership between the Caldwell School District, Caldwell YMCA and United Way — has been up and running for a little over a year, and educators say they’re thrilled with the results so far.
Posted: Saturday, October 6, 2012 12:05 am
CALDWELL — The P16 education project — a partnership between the Caldwell School District, Caldwell YMCA and United Way — has been up and running for a little over a year, and educators say they’re thrilled with the results so far.The program aims to guide and support students from preschool until “16th grade” — which could be anything from a university degree to vocational training to military service — so they can emerge from young adulthood prepared for successful, productive careers.
And that means three things, project director Al Obayuwana said: Preschool, out-of-school learning, and P16’s Career Aspiration Program, also known as CAP. Each component, he explained, helps give students the edge they need to succeed at every level of their education.
Caldwell educators are true pioneers for this kind of comprehensive approach to education, district superintendent Tim Rosandick said — he’s not aware of any other district that takes such an organized, structured approach to guiding students through their education.
And it’s something he said other districts may ultimately benefit from.
“We’re finding some success, and I think other school districts would have an interest in putting something like this in place in their communities,” Rosandick said.
At each level, Obayuwana said, family engagement is crucially important. After all, the best educational programs in the world can only do so much if parents aren’t actively engaged. And that’s one area, he said, where P16 achieved much.
“With our preschool conferences last year, we had 100 percent parent participation,” Obayuwana said. “The parents are a huge part, and have been really receptive to what we’re doing.”
And that parental participation continues through high school and beyond, he continued. At every level, P16 hosts family nights to facilitate family involvement and community building.
That’s crucial, Rosandick said, because it’s easier to build a child’s skills early than to address deficiencies later.
Out-of-school learning is also critically important, Obayuwana said. By the time they’re done with elementary school, students who spend their summers doing educational activities can be up to two years more advanced than those who don’t. The project aims to narrow that gap by encouraging activities such as museum visits, zoo outings and other extracurricular educational opportunities.
“What I like about that aspect of the program is that any parent can get their child involved in these out-of-school programs,” Rosandick said. “It’s not targeting exclusively just one group of our population.”
So what’s the next step? Keep working to increase awareness and reach out to funding sources, Obaywana said. The project has already attracted such benefactors as the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation, the Whittenberger Foundation and Crookham Co.
“Funding for these things is obviously critical to make them happen,” Rosandick said. “We’re just fortunate in Caldwell that those and others have helped bring the finances together.”