Monday, March 12, 2012

Daylight Savings and my Daughters First PSSA

As I listened to WHYY this morning, I heard the phrase the "lethargy of daylight savings".

My daughter is nervous about her first PSSA exam cycle and we have been riding the anxiety wave for days. Aside from the kids hearing on the news about the cheating allegations or that test scores are used for teacher assessment, they now will not have their teacher in the testing room.  In addition, my daughter also worries about too many "erasure marks".  And finally, the "powers that be" scheduled these exams to begin the day after the clocks "spring forward".  I am tired and groggy, I can only imagine how the kids are feeling as parents all over the city are dragging them out of bed, trying to feed them and get them to school on time.

I implore the district or Harrisburg or whomever schedules these "high impact" exams to wear the hat of a third grader during the process.

I am sure my daughter will feel better after today, I believe the anticipation and "build up" is much worse than the exam. But to all of the adults trying to improve the district...can we think about the kids as well.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Positive Vibes

A few weeks ago was report card conferences with my children's teachers. What a fun afternoon it was.  The school holds a book fair during that week. The halls were filled with art and Black History Month reports (I even saw an article about my colleague at Temple (Kinesiology).  I left the school with a great feeling.

These are the days that make me feel good about our school choice. While the drama of the district and education in general nationwide swirls around us, I am convinced that my children are getting a great education and more importantly learning to be adaptable all while seeing their parents and others become involved in their local school.

The Kindergarten classes studied China and this was the result of their artwork.

Aside from my positive vibes about the school we have received some objective kudos as well.

1. Jenks has recently qualified as a Vanguard school, one of the leading schools in the district,based on academic performance, safety, staff and student attendance.  As this program was started under former Superintendent, Arlene Ackerman, we do not get anything but kudos for reaching this level of achievement.  However, it is still wonderful with only about 26 schools in the entire district qualifying for this distinction.  

2. We scored a 1 on the School Performance Index for 2011.

School Performance Index 2011
Elementary and Middle Schools
February 2012
ID Name Type Config 2011 SPI
627 Jenks, J.S. SDP ES/MS 1

Other Northwest Schools:

625 Henry SDP ES/MS 2
646 Hill‐Freedman SDP ES/MS 1
626 Houston SDP ES/MS 1
622 Emlen SDP ES/MS 2
641 Cook‐Wissahickon SDP ES/MS 1
638 Shawmont SDP ES/MS 3

3. Annual Report 2010

87.0% Proficiency in Math (up from 80.7% in 2009)
76.8% Proficiency in Math (up from 71.2% in 2009)
95.8% student attendance rate

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Help Jenks Complete Its Recyclebank Goals!

Help Jenks Complete Its Recyclebank Goals!

J.S. Jenks Elementary School in Chestnut Hill is one of a handful of Philadelphia schools that were awarded grants from Recyclebank late last year to improve its recycling program. 

Not only does the school want to streamline recycling indoors, but outdoors in the playground, too. If you've taken your children to the playground, you probably have noticed how many recycleables end up in the waste containers.  Sturdy outdoor recycling containers are not cheap and Jenks aims to use the grant to purchase them. 

Under the leadership of Amy Watson, school counselor, an eco club was formed and the club has been working hard to improve the recycling, including making arrangements with the Streets Dept so our collected materials are picked up, as well as educate the students and parents. 

To make this work, Jenks needs your Recyclebank points! 

The deadline is March 15th.

To learn more about our progress, please visit and scroll down to Jenks. To donate points, please click on the Jenks link and there will be a link to log in to Recyclebank to donate points. Every 250 points from you will net us $1 from Recyclebank for our project. Recyclebank will match the points so we potentially could get double our project budget! 

For more information, please contact Amy Watson at 215-248-6604. Thank you for helping to make Jenks a vital part of greening Chestnut Hill!