The New Jersey Department of Education has awarded a Certificate of Appreciation to the 21st Century Community Learning Center, an after-school and summer program serving the students of Soehl Middle School. 

The award recognizes the 21st Century program and Director Isabella Scocozza for completing five years of successful grants management. The program is funded through a grant from the New Jersey Department of Education for $425,000 a year, which covers the costs of staff and supplies, as well as a daily snack of a sandwich, juice and fruit for the students. Soehl just completed its 14th year in the program and its most recent five-year grant award.

“I am honored that our after-school program received the acknowledgement from the New Jersey Department of Education,” Scocozza said. “Our program at Soehl Middle School services over one-third of the entire student population and provides a variety of extended enrichment opportunities for both students and families.”

The after-school program runs until 6 p.m. each school day and includes an hour of tutoring and help with school work, an hour of enrichment in technology and other areas, and an hour of recreation. The program also offers monthly family events and class trips.

students at laptops around a table

21st Century Community Learning Center students learned coding and app development during a trip to Liberty Science Center in March. The program includes a focus on technology to prepare students for careers in the STEM fields.

In addition, the 21st Century program offers a summer STEM academy that provides enrichment programs and character education for about 60 students. The summer program runs four mornings a week for four weeks and is funded through the state’s 21st Century grant as well as an additional IDEA Supplemental Grant Award of $35,000.

“Congratulations to Miss Scocozza and the 21st Century program for this well-deserved honor from the Department of Education,” said Acting Superintendent Denise Cleary. “The program is such a positive influence on students throughout the school year and into the summer. It boosts student achievement and enhances the family atmosphere at Soehl Middle School in so many ways. We are thankful to have this program.”

Scocozza said the honor is a recognition for everyone who helps to support the program each year.

“This award represents the hard work and dedication of our staff and stakeholders in order to ensure a high-quality and well-rounded after-school program,” she said.