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Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona Visits Camden High School

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Student Shania Edmondson barely looked up from her presentation as U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and his entourage walked into a class at Camden High School’s Advanced Seminar.

Cardona took a seat in the front row, Edmondson and three other students shared the military with their classmates as an option after high school. Cardona praised Edmondson for staying focused and praised the “12+” program for helping Camden students understand life after high school.

“We want to see this across the country,” said Cardona. “Programs like this open doors.”

The district received a $370,000 grant from the Camden Education Foundation, a non-profit organization working to improve the city’s troubled public education system, to establish “PLUS” centers at Camden High School and East Side High School. received.

Based in Philadelphia, 12+ staffed a traditional high school in Camden and served grades 9-12. Program students determine their post-secondary goals, apply to college, and complete financial aid paperwork.

Cardona spent a few hours at Camden High Friday, the final stop on a week-long bus tour to mark the start of the school year. After giving her a quick tour of the sprawling $133 million complex, Cardona personally met with her group of students.

Five-day bus tours have recently become a staple of education secretaries. Earlier this week, Cardona visited Pennsylvania, stopping in Pittsburgh, Redding, Allentown and Philadelphia to discuss President Joe. Biden’s Debt Forgiveness and Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.

» Read more: Biden’s Student Loan Forgiveness: Who Qualifies, Income Limits, and How It Works?

At Camden, Cardona has promoted partnerships and programs to provide more mental health support and help students who have suffered learning losses since the school transitioned to distance learning during the pandemic. With about 5,800 schools in traditional schools, the Camden district is one of the last districts in New Jersey to fully reopen.

“Our children have suffered enough over the last two years,” Cardona said in a brief press conference. We want our students to have the opportunity to catch up, academically (and) the social and emotional support they need not only to survive, but to thrive post-pandemic.

Cardona also called on Biden for more volunteers to step up as mentors and tutors. AmeriCorps CEO Michael D. Smith joined him on Friday. 5,000 are deployed in New Jersey.

“We know teachers and schools need more money,” he said. “But they need us all.”

Cardona, accompanied by Camden school superintendent Katrina McCombs and local officials, avoided questions about Camden’s status as a state buyout district. It has been under state control since taking over the district due to poor performance.

“Ultimately, it’s important to give students options and enable them to achieve at every level,” he said.