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Paterson expanding Full Service Community Schools program through partnership with Montclair State University

Paterson's full service community schools program expanding
Paterson's full service community schools program expanding 02:02

PATERSON, N.J. -- Soon, more New Jersey families will have a chance to access services from health care to academic support for free. 

It's thanks to a partnership between Paterson Public Schools and Montclair State University.

Ilonka Pimentel, a mother of three, explained how Paterson Public School No. 16, her 6-year-old's school, connected her to doctors to help with her hearing. 

"She's very grateful for the service we provide to her," Pimentel said through a translator. 

"In one day we were able to get a pediatrician to see the child and then schedule an audiologist," said Principal Nancy Tavarez. 

Public School No. 16 is a Full Service Community School, Tavarez said, offering free, wraparound services for families in need. 

"You have medical, you have dental, optical," said Tavarez. 

"If you don't have enough money this week for groceries, you go to a Full Service Community School and you're able to go to the food pantry to get groceries," said Superintendent Eileen F. Shafer. 

Last fall, about 2,000 students were able to access health care. The district has 10 Full Service Community Schools and plans to add another.

"Our goal is to remove any barriers that the student or family may be experiencing to being successful at school," said Jenna Goodreau, executive director of Full Service Community Schools for the Paterson district. 

A new location at Eastside High School is being assisted by Montclair State University and a $1 million grant from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. 

"Bring the expertise of our faculty and the energy and enthusiasm of our students who can work alongside community members to make things happen," said Joe Brennan, Montclair's VP communications & marketing. 

They're calling the initiative "One Square Mile," emphasizing it help students at Eastside High and the surrounding neighborhood. 

"Not only access to education, but to health care and things we may take for granted," said Mayor Andre Sayegh. 

Shafer said families will be able to start taking advantage of the program at Eastside High School in September. 

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