Gov. Chris Christie Wednesday announced that Harlem Children's Zone and the city of Paterson will partner to launch a pilot program aimed at providing students what he described as a unique and comprehensive educational experience.
The announcement, made by the governor at the Trenton premiere of the film "Waiting For Superman," establishes a program modeled after the Harlem Children's Zone education effort. The program will be guided by the state Department of Education and is designed to serve as the foundation for future partnerships with the Harlem effort.
"Under Geoffrey Canada's leadership, the Harlem Children's Zone has become a national model of what can be accomplished when we move beyond the status quo and institutional impediments that protect failure at the expense of children," Christie said. "Over the coming weeks and months, we will work with Geoffrey and the Harlem Children's Zone to put in place a program in Paterson that will emulate the success of Harlem Children's Zone and give the children of Paterson a renewed sense of hope and opportunity."
The initiative in Paterson will attempt to use the Harlem Children Zone's model to form a strategic plan that will form partnerships with community organizations. By working together with the groups, the initiative will attempt to rebuild the community and its schools.
"Our efforts in Harlem have proved that a community that comes together and puts its young people first can create a radically different environment — one of progress and success — for children to be a part of," Canada said. "Governor Christie is taking great strides to reform educational models to make sure children are our very first priority. I'm proud to stand with the governor and community leaders to take another step in that direction and give the community of Paterson the educational foundation to succeed."
Harlem Children's Zone's core mission is positive education outcomes for every child through effective schools and community programs, with the final result of graduation from college. The U.S. Department of Education's "Promise Neighborhoods" initiative is premised upon the Harlem Children's Zone model and designed to ensure that school reform and neighborhood revitalization are interconnected. The Harlem Children's Zone utilizes an integrated approach to community renewal that focuses on comprehensive support for children from birth all the way through college.
— TOM HESTER SR., NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM