I am proud and excited to share recent accolades for the Barnegat Schools and community where I serve as Superintendent.
About a year and a half ago, we were met with serious challenges. The local municipal alliance folded. The township, for years had provided a municipal alliance which assisted in funding a variety of school programs. They helped offset the cost of Project Graduation which is a drug and alcohol free celebration for graduating seniors. The municipal alliance also helped offset the cost of mentor-mentee programs such as school breakfasts and incentives. The mentor-mentee program is instrumental in partnering students with staff members who may need additional supports. Most times these supports are not necessarily academic in nature and the time together gives students an opportunity to connect with someone at school, ultimately motivating them to be more excited about attending school and getting invested in school culture.
When the funding was gone, we were faced with serious challenges. Not only did the district need to determine how to fund certain programs, we had a population of families who needed supports that were no longer there. Seeing a need, I reached out to Barnabas Health. They have been our partner for two years and have helped fund many programs in our school district. I inquired what could be done to help offset the increased costs and if there were programs available. As luck would have it, if the district were interested in taking the lead on forming a local committee, we could apply for the drug free communities grant this spring.
I began researching what was necessary and brought the required twelve sectors together. Shortly after forming the Prevention and Wellness Coalition of Barnegat, we were recognized as a “Town of Excellence” for making significant strides in prevention both in our community and schools. For the full article, click here: https://thesandpaper.villagesoup.com/p/barnabas-institute-honors-barnegat-for-excellence/1711462
It was gratifying to have our efforts recognized but better yet are the opportunities receiving the drug free communities grant may provide for us. As we continue in our journey of prevention, it is exciting to know that small steps along the way, like forming a committee of dedicated, like-minded people, and being recognized for our efforts make the challenges worthwhile. I know as I go to my next meeting, I will go proudly and excitedly as we prepare for grant submission with hope for what it will mean to our students and families.
Stay tuned for the results of our submission and remember that you can accomplish anything if you plan, remain intentional and commit to goals one step at a time.