Mercer Street Friends has launched the Community School movement in Trenton and is partnering with the Trenton Board of Education to implement this strategy into the district’s schools and change the approach to educating students.
A community school is a public school that combines best educational practices with expanded learning opportunities for students and families (after school, weekends, and summer) and provides health, mental health and social services to promote the well-being of students and families and to ensure that children are physically, emotionally and socially prepared to learn.
The first school to adopt the model is the Luis Munoz Rivera Community Middle School. Mercer Street Friends is fully integrated and embedded at the school and is bringing a multitude of services and programs for students and families that address non-academic barriers to learning.
“A school should be the hub of the community, a place where ALL stakeholders feel welcome and safe. It is my hope that with our partnership with Mercer Street Friends, Rivera Middle School will become such a school. ALL stakeholders should be provided opportunities for learning, engagement, and socialization. Once these opportunities become the norm, not just during but also outside of traditional school hours, we will begin to fulfill the goal of Rivera/Mercer Street Friends Community School.”
—Bernadette Trapp, Principal
Among the support services provided at the school by Mercer Street Friends are:
- Individual and group mental health counseling
- Truancy and absenteeism prevention interventions
- Coordination and expansion of after-school programs
- Weekend meal packs for students facing food shortages at home
- Weekly distribution of fresh produce for students and families
- Wellness fairs that include vision, health, and dental screenings
- Free tax preparation
- Parental Stress Reduction program and parent support groups
- Free computers and links to the internet through the Trenton Digital Initiative.
- English as a Second Language (ESL) classes
- Financial literacy
For more information, contact Anniesha Walker, Community School Coordinator, at 609-656-5204.