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Responding to a 2014 report from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the state Department of Education in 2015 was tasked with studying and making recommendations on later school start times for high school students.

Now, the state will begin to test out the effects on real high school students.

On Aug. 8, Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law a bill that establishes a four-year pilot program to implement later school start times for high school students in five districts and study the issues, benefits, and options.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, sleep deprivation among adolescents is a critical problem and has negative impacts on academics, health, safety and well-being.

Under the bill, the Commissioner of Education will select schools from North, Central and South Jersey in rural, suburban and urban districts to participate in the pilot.

Advocates of the pilot believe it will benefit students’ learning experiences to have school start later. A copy of the full report can be accessed here.

$10M in federal funds announced for N.J. Head Start

More than $10 million in federal funds has been allocated for Head Start programs in New Jersey, including a service provider in South Jersey.

Quality Care Resource and Referral Services was awarded $3,539,086. The program provides quality early childhood education and family support programs in Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem counties.

U.S. Sens. Bob Menendez and Cory Booker announced the award in August from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“All children, regardless of zip code, are entitled to high-quality, early childhood education that gives them the tools necessary to achieve their dreams,” Menendez said. “This federal funding will provide New Jersey students the opportunities to create, learn and grow in an ever-changing society.”

“Quality early education programs like Head Start are the key to cultivating the skills children need for future success,” Booker said. “In New Jersey, Head Start programs provide our youngest students with opportunities to create, learn, and explore. This federal funding will give students the tools they need to reach their full potential and succeed well into the future.”

Other awardees were the Center for Family Resources at $5.4 million and the Union Township Community Action Organization at $1.2 million.

New law to create Innovation District designation in college towns

Officials in the state are working to create the parameters of a new designation designed to promote development and public-private partnerships in college and university towns.

On Aug. 8, a bill to establish an Innovation District designation was signed into law. Under the legislation, the designation will fall within the New Jersey Commission on Science, Innovation and Technology. The Commission, in consultation with the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the Department of Community Affairs and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, will identify criteria for an Innovation District as having:

The presence of a higher education institution;

Accessibility to mass transportation facilities and services;

and a zoning or a redevelopment plan that permits mixed-use development.

The commission will be responsible for establishing an application form and procedure for designation of an Innovation District.

It will also adopt guidance and standards for municipalities to promote Innovation Districts as places for businesses to locate.

Oct. 4 golf tourney to benefit Atlantic Cape students

The Atlantic Cape Foundation is looking to raise money for scholarships at its annual golf tournament set for October in Cape May.

The 2019 Atlantic Cape Community College Scramble “Fore” Scholarships golf tournament is planned for Oct. 4 at the Cape May National Golf Club. Last year’s tournament raised more than $40,000.

Since its founding, the Atlantic Cape Foundation has raised more than $6 million for scholarships, operations and to enhance academic programs and the campus environment. Annually, the foundation provides nearly $600,000 for institutional scholarships, grants and emergency help.

The tournament will follow a scramble format, beginning with a shotgun-start at 11:30 a.m. Tickets are $150 per person and $500 per foursome and include a complimentary gift, lunch and awards dinner. Sponsorships are available.

Register online for tickets or sponsorships at

Contact: 609-272-7251

Twitter @clairelowe

Staff Writer

I began covering South Jersey in 2008 after graduating from Rowan University with a degree in journalism. I joined The Press in 2015. In 2013, I was awarded a NJPA award for feature writing as a reporter for The Current of Hamilton Township.

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