Student Connection Center

Student Connection Center Announcements

About Us

The Student Connection Center (SCC) provides support for both middle school and high school students. The goal of the SCC is to help students navigate their adolescent years, acquire essential life skills, improve their emotional health, and ultimately achieve their educational and life goals.
The SCC provides comprehensive support and prevention services for students and families, with a strong focus on emotional wellness and academic success. The program serves as a link between the schools, students and families and focuses on all issues related to student health and emotional well-being and offers school-wide programs that raise awareness of resources related to well-being. 
Services offered through the SCC, include:
  • Individual counseling
  • Small groups
  • Whole class lessons
  • Family counseling
  • Teacher support/strategies
  • Parent strategies/support
  • Learning support services
  • Recreational activities
The program is funded through the NJ School Based Youth Services Program (SBYSP) (Middle School) and a combination of District and grant programs.

Student Connection Center Information


All services provided by the School-Based Services program are free of charge and require a signed parental consent form. Services are confidential and are provided by professional, licensed/certified staff.

Youth Advisory Board (YAB)

The youth advisory board works to broaden the scope of youth leadership in the Student Connection Center and the Clayton School district.  Youth are involved through their input and ideas in policy issues, school-wide concerns as well as developing positive services and solutions. 

The board is composed of students in grades 6-8, who are referred by teachers for demonstrating respect, responsibility and integrity, in both social and academic areas. Students then meet once a month with the Youth Development Specialist, where they voice current concerns, provide input on activities and ideas for the school and provide feedback. 

As a member, students are expected to: 

  1. Promote public awareness of strengths and abilities of youth to empower their peers to create a better school community
  2. Actively engage youth in the planning, development, and implementation of activities
  3. Create a forum that serves as a liaison between the youth population and student services
  4. Develop healthy citizenry habits for the future of the community
  5. Attend monthly meetings
  6. To be a positive representative both in the school and community

S.U.R.E Mentors - Schools United for Respect and Equality

S.U.R.E mentors is a cross-age peer mentoring program which works to create positive outcomes for youth in highschool as well as middle school. Such programs are beneficial as they provide growth and learning opportunities for both mentors and mentees; capitalize on the importance of peer relationships; and help with transition points in participants’ lives. This pertains to both highschool students preparing for life as an adult and middle school students entering into the school. 

Mentors are selected from highschool applicants, through interviews and referrals, to become a part of the mentor program. Once selected, they receive training and information to help them take on the mentor role. They then meet with all 6th grade students during their gym period, during which time they work on topics focusing on academic, organization, social skills, self esteem and stress management.

Although research is limited, there are a number of key research findings which demonstrate how powerful and useful peer mentoring can be. 

“For mentees, these programs have shown a positive impact on: connectedness to school and peers; feelings of competency and self-efficacy; grades and academic achievement; and prosocial behavior and attitudes.

For mentors, there have been reported improvements in :connectedness to school; self-esteem; empathy and moral reasoning; intrapersonal communication and conflict resolution skills; and relationships with parents” (1).


Department Staff


Emily Martin

Coordinator, Student Connection Center
(856) 881-8701 x1012

Paige Gorgo

MS Youth Development Specialist
(856) 881-8701 x2410

Brian Kennedy

HS Social Emotional Learning Specialist
(856) 881-8701 x2422

Natalie Slaughter

MS Mental Health Counselor
(856) 881-8701 x2412

Zhabre Russell

HS Social Emotional Learning Specialist
(856) 881-8701 x2421
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