Wednesday, December 23, 2009

J.S. Jenks Open House

What can the school offer your child and family and how can YOU become involved in your neighborhood school.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thankful for Neighborhood Schools

I have found that sending my daughter to school can be difficult, confusing and basically scary at times. There is always angst and self doubt about decisions made. In addition, I struggle with juggling my own goals and professional life as I try to support my children in their lives. No wonder I am tired!

As the J.S. Jenks annual Thanksgiving feast approached I thought about what I am thankful for regarding the school.

I am thankful that….

1. My daughter is happy and learning new things each day
2. My daughter feels part of the school community
3. I am able to walk my kids to school many days
4. I can raise my children in an urban neighborhood†
5. There is a wonderful playground at the school

† to read a great commentary on urban neighborhood revitalization
Commentary: Undermining Chestnut Hill’s future
by Bob Previdi

Monday, October 12, 2009

Report Card: Focus on Math

Below are the scores for J.S. Jenks’ PSSA scores in reading and math.
We are in the 1st quartile in math for the 5th grade which is the top 20% of schools (only quartile stats for 5th grade were given). All grades are high in math and there were large gains in reading scores for the past 3 years (One area parents can definitely make an impact: Read to/with your kids!)


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Potential Jenks' Parents

There are many positive things happening in school! The feeling is reflected in both test scores and parent comments on the Great Schools website.

From the Philadelphia Inquirer September 4th, 2009:

Jenks ranked #2 in terms of positive gains for 5th grade math last year. That grade was also 89% proficient in math, a great distance from the average of 40-50% for Philly public schools.

A recent posting from Great

Posted September 27, 2009

Jenks teachers really care about the well-being of the students. They are commited to prepare the students to attend some of the best high schools in the city.

If you are a parent who is considering J. S. Jenks Elementary School please join our "potential parents listserv" and attend our on-going "Kindergarten Teas".

Potential Parents Listserv

Upcoming Teas:

Have a tour of the school: First Monday of any month at 10AM to join a group
tour of the school led by the principal, Ms. Lynskey.

Below are some directions on transfer forms and the process:

If you are interested in considering Jenks and are outside of the
Catchment Zone, you need to fill out a "Volunteer Transfer Form"
available from the Philadelphia School District site website:

The deadline to fill out a form is October 30th.

The principal from your local (catchment) school will need to sign
this form, and then a copy of the form needs to be given to Jenks (or
any other schools you may want to list) to keep on file. It is
recommended that you hand deliver the form to the Philadelphia
district office to ensure it actually gets there.

This form has to be on file at the school district in order for you to
be eligible for a transfer. Transfers are by lottery and many
families do not actually receive a transfer through the district.
However, the Jenks principal has a certain amount of discretion in
accepting transfers, so, as long as you have your transfer form in,
she can place you on a waiting list and potentially accept you to the
school even if the lottery transfer does not come through.

Here is a list of things that you should consider doing if you are
interested in a transfer:

1. Fill out the Voluntary Transfer Form
2. Arrange to meet with the J.S. Jenks principal, Ms. Lynskey (call
the main office; come for a tour on the 1st monday of the month,
3. Wait until you receive your notification about the transfer from
the district (usually in March or April). If you get in by lottery,
you are set. If not, go back and talk to Ms. Lynskey.

The Principal: Mary Lynsky is starting her 2nd year as principal, she is implementing new programs and continues to expand and support the great programs thatwere in place when she arrived last year.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Welcome Back

Wow! Already 2 weeks into the new year and it looks as if it will be as good a year as Kindergarten. Many changes and now we have spelling tests! More reading and again the 100 Book Challenge. All the specialist options are back, computers, music, art and PE. We start the day out on the playground this year, a change I was not looking forward to but it is fun. The kids get a chance to burn off a bit of energy before the start of the day.

We will be hosting a series of "Kindergarten Teas" this fall and spring for families that are interested in learning more about J.S. Jenks. Please note the change of place this year.

Monday, June 29, 2009

A Two Thumbs Up Year!

Our kindergarten year has ended and we had a great time. My daughter thrived, learned and became part of the Jenks' community.

I encourage parents to get involved and explore their local schools.

Next year the Kindergarten Teas will continue and I look forward to meeting more current and prospective J.S. Jenks' parents.

Please contact me with any questions.

We are looking forward to 1st grade. I will continue this blog next year but as a 1st grade parent.

Have a safe and healthy summer!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Music and Art at Jenks

From the J.S.Jenks Newsletter:

In September, we will accept
applications from our students
interested in entering
our Music and Art tracks of
study. These tracks will
serve to prepare the serious
minded student for entry
into a performing arts high
school and/or college.
The Life & Music of Hans Christian Anderson: June 3rd and 4th, 2009

What a special night. The production of The Life & Music of Hans Christian Anderson was spectacular. Children ranging from Kindergarten to 8th grade participated.

Thank you Ms. Williams for a special night and all your efforts with our kids.

Thanks also to the Music Director: Rebecca Pochettino and Suzanne Spencer (Student Teacher).

I am looking forward to next years performances.

First in Math:

We had lots of fun using First in Math, a web based math program that schools all over the nation utilize. It helped my daughter with money counting and telling time. I was also impressed that these kids will have no problems taking professional tests in the future since the are used to problem solving on the computer at such a young age.

J.S. Jenks did well nation-wide (25th) and in the state (14th) and we started in October this year. New codes come out in August so lets get ready for a fun First in Math 2009-10. (click on images to enlarge)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Thinking about J.S. Jenks? Join the Potential Parents List

Connect with incoming kindergarten parents! Learn about playdates with new students.

To join: Go to the google group "Potential Jenks Parents"
There is a link under "Jenks' Links" on this blog.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Open House Wednesday May 13th 5:00PM

Open House: J.S. Jenks
Wednesday May 13th, 5:00 - 6:00 PM.
Meet our teachers and principals, then, tour the school and learn about
the many reasons you should consider Jenks.
School Tours
First Monday of each month at 10:00. Please call Madeline Pendleton at
the Jenks office 215-248-6604 to arrange one.
Meet Parents
One of the best ways to know more about a school is to speak to parents of
students currently enrolled. Eden Kainer (,
267-323-2458) is happy to answer your questions and help you connect
with many of our friendly parents.

Sports, Music, Art, Spanish, and so much more!
Our students participate in Choir, Band, Orchestra
Students place in Science, Reading and Math Competitions
We offer Chess Club, Stock Market Club, Young Engineers,
Club International, Jr. Fire Patrol, Math 24, Hip Hop Dance,
Garden Club, Tech Club and Yearbook.
All students receive Spanish instruction. Our 8th grade
students receive daily instruction in Algebra One.
Students can try out for our basketball, volleyball, track, and
tennis teams.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Philadelphia Zoo

What a wonderful trip to the zoo! A beautiful sunny day. The kids were able to see lots of animals, eat lunch in the sun and learn and explore in the Tree House.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

School Reform Commission

This is an article about Kevin Peter (blog: Knowing Henry) and the seats available on the School Reform Commission.

Posted on Thu, Mar. 12, 2009

Ronnie Polaneczky: Why not a public-school parent for SRC slot?

By Ronnie Polaneczky
Philadelphia Daily News

Daily News Columnist

WHILE WE'VE been distracted by talk of a trash tax, swimming-pool closures and library shutdowns, four of the School Reform Commission's seats have quietly gone up for grabs.

The terms of Heidi Ramirez, Martin Bednarek and SRC chairwoman Sandra Dungee Glenn have expired. All have agreed to stay put for now, and have said that they'd like to be re-appointed.

The fourth commissioner, Jim Gallagher, has already left.

Kevin Peter is hoping one of those seats will be his, if he can convince the mayor or governor to appoint him.

So far, neither has invited him in for a sit-down. But I think they should - and not just because Kevin's a public-school parent (only one SRC member - Denise Armbrister - actually has kids in the city's public schools).

But because, extraordinarily, Kevin Peter has helped convince 75 middle-class families to choose Philadelphia public education for their children.

That's probably 75 more families than any SRC member has enticed into using a city school.

The development director at Community Legal Services, Kevin, 44, lives in Mount Airy with his wife, Nancy, and their son, Ben, whose education was on their minds back in 2002.

They were wondering where to enroll Ben for kindergarten and were curious about their neighborhood elementary school, C.W. Henry.

"A lot of people would either move to the suburbs when their kids were ready for school, or they'd do private school - even though they'd never even checked out Henry," says Kevin, who has also worked in community relations, philanthropy and fundraising for nonprofits.

Determined to separate truth about the school from myth, the Peters held meetings in their home, where Henry parents and staff answered questions from local non-Henry parents. Along with a handful of other families, the Peters chose Henry, which they found to be a dynamic, inviting place.

They've since become rabid Henry and public-school advocates, continuing their monthly gatherings for parents curious about local education options.

Kevin has co-chaired a committee that worked with six public schools in Chestnut Hill and Mount Airy to rally support and resources for the schools.

And his blog, "Knowing Henry," has become a must-read for prospective Henry parents wanting honest information about the benefits and drawbacks of public education.

As a result of these efforts, 75 families have chosen Henry.

This is huge.

Studies show that schools with 50 percent or more of children from middle-class families are 24 times more likely to outperform schools with students from mostly poor families.

That's because middle-class parents' involvement profoundly impacts a school's environment, explains Richard Kahlenberg, author of All Together Now: Creating Middle Class Schools Through Public School Choice.

They're four times more likely than low-income families to belong to PTAs. They tend to set high academic standards for their kids, so their kids tend to work hard - which adds to classroom rigor.

And their kids tend to have fewer behavioral problems than low-income kids.

So, schools that are economically well-integrated become places where teachers spend more time instructing, less time disciplining. So, they stay put longer- contributing to school stability.

"This isn't elitist or anecdotal," says Kahlenberg. "It's based on solid research," which also shows that low-income students perform better alongside peers who are middle-class.

Kevin admits that he's not an "A-list" candidate for an SRC appointment - SRC members have had deep business, finance, education or political connections - but he notes that those connections haven't put the district in the black, designed a sustainable fiscal program or turned the district into an efficient, successful organization.

"So, maybe the A-listers and their A-list networks aren't bringing the right things to the table," says Kevin (whose resumé is on Mayor Nutter's desk).

What he has proven that he can bring, he says, are parents with resources, networks and motivation to work with schools and administrators to improve the education experience for all kids.

"How many SRC members have brought their peers into the schools?" he asks. "When was the last time any SRC member encouraged Philadelphians to consider sending their children to their neighborhood school?"

The way that he has, successfully, at least 75 times?

Like I said, I think the guy deserves a sit-down. *

E-mail or call 215-854-2217. For recent columns: Read Ronnie's blog at ronnieblog.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Fhew I am tired… but spring is springing at Jenks

What a great winter for the kindergarten.

They have been busy reading and journaling. The morning journal sessions are wonderful to experience. It is fun to hang out and read their sentences…very interesting and entertaining.

They have also been very involved in charitable causes….a jump-a-thon for the American Heart Association, a math-a-thon for St. Judes, collecting pennies for schools in Afganistan.

They have had assemblies on topics including Fire Safety and the 76ers’ Read to Achieve. There was Career Day and Literacy Week which brought authors, illustrators and grandparents to the school.

The kids exchanged valentines and celebrated Dr. Suess’s Birthday. They are able to buy pretzels on Tuesday’s and Friday’s and the Market Place (Weaver’s Way) comes on Thursdays. Many families enjoyed Jenks’ Day at the Chestnut Grill, coming again on April 21st.

A very busy winter….. now as the kids start to shed their jackets you can see them begin to look and act like first graders.

And coming soon…..Pi Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Fire Fighter Honor Assembly, Spring Scholastic Book Fair and the first day of Spring.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Writers Rock: Email me.

After reading the comments, I realized that I did not have my contact information on this blog. My email is now on my profile. If you are interested in this blog and/or Jenks. Email me.

Parent Involvement at Jenks is Wonderful

I just wanted to mention that the parents and families of Jenks make it a special place to be. Below is not an exhaustive list of parents that I have had the pleasure of meeting during the time before we chose Jenks and during our first year at the school. I will probably add to it as my brain cells start to fire.

Home and School Association: Board Members

Eden Kainer and Laverne Bess

Stephanie McKissic

Tynnetta O. McCain

Below is a list of the parents that I have had the pleasure of meeting while at Jenks.

Barbara Thomson (Previdi)

Bob Previdi

Karen Aves

Jenny Norland (who keeps us all up to date by changing the sign in front of Jenks)

Brian Rudnick: (Jenks blog)

Supreme Dow: (The Men of Jenks)