According to Conklin, the EDP serves 800 students in grades K – 8 and implements curriculum that directly correlates to the district’s strategic goals. Periodically she adds elements to the EDP curriculum that enhance students' learning.
As the supervisor of a staff of 50, Conklin works with site coordinators throughout the district on monthly calendars and themes. She also plans staff development and in-service training. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Supervision and Curriculum at Rider.
Conklin notes the Extended Day Program fills in the gap for children of working parents, including winter and spring break and summer programs. Special events include family nights such as Lights On Afterschool, Family Carnivals and Kids Night Out to raise money for the EDP Scholarship Fund.
The EDP also provides opportunities for community service projects for students and staff, including Race for the Cure, Ronald McDonald House and the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen.
A recent service project enabled Conklin to reconnect with her mentor and friend from her Mercer years, Athletic Trainer Lisa Camillone. Camillone’s daughter, Andrea, an MCCC sophomore and assistant in the after-school program at Grover Middle School, had been working with her mother to knit winter hats for those in need since last year. With Conklin’s support, Andrea enlisted her middle school students to help with the project by teaching them how to make the hats. By Christmas, they had added 30 hats to the Camillones’ 100.
“This was a first for our students,” Conklin said. “It’s an activity where they got to learn something new and do something for another child. We are so pleased that Andrea [Camillone] got us involved.”
Conklin knows the value of formative experiences. Her first introduction to MCCC was as a counselor and swim instructor for Camp College. While attending Mercer, she worked as a lifeguard and in the Fitness Center, where she first met Lisa Camillone.
Conklin views Camillone as a key mentor. “Before, while and after life at Mercer, Lisa gave me much insight on life, both personally and professionally. To this day, Lisa and I remain close. She is considered part of our family," Conklin said.
In many ways, Conklin’s profession mirrors Mercer’s mission to improve lives through education. “I am committed to the concept of community education, especially for youngsters,” she said.
Conklin currently serves as an ambassador for NJSACC, the statewide network for New Jersey’s Afterschool Communities, which promotes and supports the development, continuity and expansion of programming for children and youth during out-of-school time. She is a former NJSACC board member.