A group of nine community organizations have formed a partnership with the Paterson school district to open 10 success centers throughout the city to assist high school students prepare for college.
Volunteers at the College Apprenticeship Program for Success (CAPS) centers will help students research schools and apply to colleges. Students will be helped with financial aid, scholarship applications, essay, and personal statement writing.
Students interested in trades will be provided career counseling and apprenticeship opportunities.
“Once we saw college success centers springing up in other cities across the country, we thought why not Paterson? Our kids need that help as well,” said Rosie Grant, executive director for the Paterson Education Fund, in launching the program at St. Luke Baptist Church on Monday morning.
The program has a $100,00 budget from various donors, said Grant. The school district is contributing $13,000 towards the program. Grant said the drop-in success centers will open in January.
The centers will be open from 3-6 p.m. Grant said the program expects to serve 500 students per year.
“We need to work together to create a college going culture for our kids in Paterson,” said Kenneth Clayton, pastor at the St. Luke Baptist Church. “We want to get more of our students earning college degrees and it really does take a village.”
10.4-percent of adults in the city have a bachelor’s degree or higher, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
A third of residents in the city are foreign born. And majority of native-born residents haven’t been to college.
“Sometimes parents don’t know what to do,” said Clayton. The computer lab at his church will be used as a success center site.
“We’re pleased to be able to partner in this way to bring more college opportunities to our students,” said school superintendent Eileen Shafer.
The school district has boosted its graduation rate to 88-percent, but has struggled to get more students into four-year colleges.
Parents and students can stop by Monday through Thursday, 3-5 p.m., at the Paterson Education Fund headquarters at 451 Van Houten Street, to register for the program.