School Redesign: JS Jenks

John Story Jenks Academy of the Arts and Sciences

Grades: K-8
Enrollment: 450
Location: Northwest Philadelphia, 8301 Germantown Ave, 19118
Proposal Synopsis: Enhancing teacher collaboration and improving use of resources through a “shared classroom” model. Combating summer learning loss through a blended technology- and excursion-based summer learning experience.

Vision: Jenks will engage students where their strengths and talents lie so that they may experience success and build confidence to take on new challenges.  Jenks will remove the walls and bells from learning by offering experiences outside of the classroom and school day to develop the habit of seeking learning opportunity everywhere.  Jenks will encourage students to seek to learn out of passion, not requirement.  Students will be self-driven to discover, hungry to explore, and confident to take risks.

The Design Year: The design team at Jenks used the design year to develop the school’s innovative Ignite platform – an online portal designed to facilitate learning beyond the school day and school year.  The Ignite platform will be used to coordinate summer learning activities through STEM-based excursions, online learning, and literacy-based activities focused around students’ various summer experiences. Additionally, the team at Jenks built numerous partnerships with community and professional organizations to support the school’s vision of providing all students with engaging learning opportunities outside of the school walls. Furthermore, Jenks worked with staff to prepare for the implementation of the school’s shared classroom instructional model across additional grade levels in the fall. The team at Jenks has also worked to creatively alter the school’s daily and yearly schedule in order to facilitate the Ignite Summer learning program, as well as to create opportunities for more extra-curricular enrichment opportunities for students.

Years One and Two of Implementation: Jenks has continued to build partnerships with local organizations and businesses to support its “beyond the walls and bells” vision for learning. Additionally, based on feedback from the “soft launch” of the Ignite program, the school has revamped the Ignite platform along with the content and programming housed within it. Staff have participated in professional development and ongoing support on the transition to the shared classroom model. Now in its third year of implementation, the school also continues to work with families to further develop the school’s family and community engagement efforts.