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Sweeney Visits Herma Simmons Elementary School’s Child Connection Center

Clayton – Senate President Steve Sweeney visited Herma Simmons Elementary School today, a school that has developed and implemented a Child Connection Center and intervention program (CCC) in the Clayton School District. With support from the Pascale Sykes Foundation, the CCC created the Clayton Model, a trauma-informed intervention program, in order to promote student development and success.

“The Child Connection Center is an exceptional example of how we can support our students’ academics, general wellbeing and their social support system all at the same time,” said Senator Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). “Giving children social tools and tending to their emotional health has proven to improve their performance in the classroom and helps give kids a comprehensive foundation for future success. Sitting at a desk in class is only a small part of a child’s experience in school and this innovative program builds the soft skills our kids need to grow up strong, healthy and ultimately successful.”

In addition to Herma Simmons Elementary, the CCC has implemented this model in Central Early Childhood Center Deptford, Thomas E. Bowe Elementary, Saint Michael the Archangel Regional School and are hoping to pilot the program in other school districts throughout the state. Evaluation of the outcomes of the CCC’s Clayton Model intervention program in three elementary schools shows significant improvements in students’ social and emotional health, in their language arts and math grades, and a significant improvement in their caregivers’ support.

“We are very proud of our Clayton Model and the positive impact it has had on our students, parents, teachers and the community of Clayton,” said Mayor Thomas Bianco, Borough of Clayton. “Our program has had tremendous success in our school district, and I hope that with the Senate President’s help we can build on the work in Clayton and bring these benefits to townships across the state.”

“Our school district has worked hard to develop and craft the CCC into what we see today,” said Nikolaos Koutsogiannis, Superintendent of Clayton Public Schools. “Showing the Senate President our facilities and accomplishments is an important day for us because we hope that one day this program won’t merely be available for kids in Clayton, but for all students in New Jersey.”

The Clayton Model is structured to offer a network of supports, including individual student and group counseling, teacher resources and classroom strategies, and a range of caregiver and family supports and external referrals.