UWMOC is proud to announce our partnership with Toms River Regional Schools to pilot a pre-vocational initiative at High School South (HSS) as part of our work in Youth Career Pathways. Project SPEAR-IT (South’s Pre-Vocational Educational Alternatives Resource Institute) is based on a growing need and interest in public schools for authentic career and technical education (CTE) experiences.

The program especially helps at-risk students who often disqualify themselves from vocational programs before they even get to their sophomore and junior years. The initiative also promotes equity and individualization in both its programs and the supports it offers students, from onsite therapists to staff training in social emotional learning to girls coding field experiences.

“At Toms River South, our goal will always be to graduate students and supply them with the tools they need to be successful in life,” says HSS Principal Mike Citta. “We recognize that success can be measured in many different ways, and the path is not always the same.”

Project SPEAR-IT will not only create a model prevocational pathway, but will increase student commitment to their education, improve attendance, and decrease dropout rates. As part of the grant from UWMOC, HSS will remodel a space that is dedicated to the program, and facilitate at least 10 field experiences for students. The grand opening of the remodeled classroom will be announced this year, and we welcome the community’s involvement in celebrating this new and exciting initiative.


Students in Project SPEAR-IT worked hard to prepare the space in Toms River High School South that will host the program.