Thousands of students, parents, and teachers went to the Board of Education Parking lot for the 2022 “Back to School Extravaganza.” They were met with an eighties-themed staff of vendors filling the entire parking lot.
Denise Kreiss, the parent coordinator and homeless liaison for the entire school district and lead for the back-to-school Extravaganza explained that they hold this every year to prepare students for the school year.
“Our intention for this event is to allow parents an opportunity to receive community resources, health resources, and school resources. Every single school is represented at these events,” Kreiss said. “We are just tremendously excited to have this event because I believe that this sets the tone for how our year will go, and the fact that we have so many participants; it’s just a testimony of how much parents want to be engaged in their child’s success.”
There were vendors from organizations across Trenton that were devoted to helping students. Tamara Jarrett, Trenton Resident and Mother of three, was with her kids.
“I’m just checking it out. I’ve never been to the Extravaganza before. So I wanted to see what it was about… It brings the community together, we as a community can know what resources are out there. So that we don’t necessarily feel like we’re alone and we have support,” Jarrett said.
Tables handed out pamphlets about the redistricting in the Trenton Public School District and backpacks for students. “So it’s not just about getting a backpack, but it’s about actually getting support,” Kreiss said. “We pre-screened around 50 parents that signed up to have eye exams for their children. We have tons of literacy material being handed out.”
With in-person classes beginning, Micah Freeman, Supervisor of Nurses for Trenton Public Schools, explained that her staff is ready to take on the world. “We survived COVID, I know we’re still in a public health emergency, but we are making sure we take precautions with our safety and health…So you know, last year we probably were more nervous, but this year, we got this,” Freeman said.
Parents could talk with guidance counselors, teachers, and community leaders. This fair was a catch-all for parents like Mark Blake, a Trenton Father who recently moved to the city of Trenton.
“We went to this place for all young parents with babies, and we have a newborn,” Blake said. His wife, Daimonz Alexander, a Trenton mom, said they stop at every station to get information. “This is our first time out here. We just moved down here is very new to us. We just wanted to get a feel about how everything was out here. I like it so far,” Alexander said.
Overall, Trenton Public Schools are ready to take on the new year. Dr. Channing Conway, the Assistant Superintendent in charge of Elementary Schools, explained that it is essential to unite the city under the mission of educating Trenton Students.
“There’s a north Trenton, there’s a south Trenton, there’s a east Trenton, there’s a west Trenton, but to me, it’s just one Trenton. And it’s an opportunity to bring everybody together. We’re all here for one purpose, which is to educate the families and the students. And so it just solidifies us as a unit, as a learning community,” Conway said.