Jamestown Schools PROMISE Fund Helps Students & Programs

“Did the curriculum that we helped purchase for the JPS Summer LitCamp seem worthwhile?” asked Jamestown Schools PROMISE Fund Advisory Board Chair, Dr. Lillian Ney. “I know the day that I visited LitCamp, students seemed engaged and were really having fun learning about literacy.”

“We had such great reviews of the LitCamp from parents,” said Jeannie Larson, from Chautauqua Striders and the YMCA. “They loved that their children were engaged in literacy activities during the summer months when they wouldn’t necessarily be as involved at home. All of the kids that came to the program grew not only academically, but also socially. We had some really big victories with this summer literacy program.”

JPS Summer LitCamp Helped Improved Literacy Skills
Dr. Ney and fellow members of the Jamestown Schools PROMISE Fund Advisory Board recently received a report from the JPS LitCamp staff.  They wanted to learn more about the results of the program at Ring Elementary School to help students improve their literacy skills. The Jamestown Schools PROMISE Fund gave the LitCamp pilot program $3,834 for curriculum and materials.

JPS Director of Schools, Tina Sandstrom, shared with the group data on the program.

“The summer LitCamp program targeted students entering first through third grades who needed to improve their literacy skills. On average, the students made gains in five weeks that they typically would be expected to gain in a 10-week period of time during the school year. This acceleration of growth during the summer is noteworthy as summer break can oftentimes result in learning loss for some students. To have a group of readers make substantial gains over the summer in their reading is highly encouraging and cause for celebration. We saw very good growth in literacy for the students who participated in the intensive summer LitCamp in just five weeks.”

The Jamestown Schools PROMISE Fund Board was impressed with the initial results of the pilot program.

“Our Board thoughtfully reviewed the many needs of the district in an attempt to focus initially on what could make a measurable difference, and that our fundraising budget could afford,” said Dr. Lillian Ney, Jamestown Schools PROMISE Fund chair.  “One major focus is increasing the number of students reading at the third grade level at the end of the third grade – an extremely important marker of future success in many areas, including graduation rate. So the summer reading camp was a perfect fit.  The Board is very pleased that the district worked so hard on a short timetable to make this program possible, as well as successful, and we are very thankful for the wonderful collaboration between caring agencies and volunteers who made the program a success.”

The JPS Summer LitCamp program was just one of the many ways the PROMISE Fund is helping students and programs in the district. The Fund has donated to the JHS After Graduation Party, given money so that the JHS National Honor Society could send members to the first National Honor Society countywide banquet, and supplied $2,000 for the Jamestown High School Academies to be used for field trips and experiences.

JHS Academies Benefit from PROMISE Fund
JHS has six academies: Academy of Business, Management, Marketing and Technology, Academy of Communications, Performing Arts and Visual Arts, Academy of Natural Science and Resource Management, Academy of Pre-Engineering, Manufacturing and Technology, Academy of Pre-Law and Human Services, and Academy of Pre-Medicine and Health Science. As part of the Academy experience, students are exposed to career opportunities through speakers, field trips, and internships to help them investigate possible college and career paths they can take after graduation. Recently, JHS hosted an Academy Kick-Off Day with professional artist, Gary Peters, Jr. talking to Communications, Performing & Visual Arts students, which led to a chalk-drawing exhibit in front of the high school. The Academy of Pre-Law and Human Services took a field trip to the Robert H. Jackson Center to learn more about law and the history of the Jackson Center. The Pre-Medicine and Health Science Academy visited local medical facilities. Students in the Business, Management & Marketing Academy heard a talk from Christian Printup, Seneca Gaming Corporation senior executive director of entertainment and special events. In addition, the Pre-Engineering, Manufacturing and Industrial Technology Academy toured two local facilities (Blackstone and Dawson Metal) while the Natural Science and Resource Management Academy walked the Riverwalk and met with representatives of Roger Tory Peterson Institute to discuss current projects on the river. The money donated by the Jamestown Schools PROMISE Fund will allow more experiences and field trips like these for JHS students in the future.

“We are very appreciative of the PROMISE Fund donations to Jamestown High School and our students,” said JHS Principal Mike McElrath. “The donations will allow new experiences and activities for our students that may not have been possible without the donation.”

JHS Student Receives Funds to Attend National FBLA Conference
The Fund also helped JHS 2016 graduate, Erros Quinones, by gifting him $800 to help fund his trip to the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) National Leadership Conference in Atlanta, GA.  Mr. Quinones competed in the Impromtu Speaking category as one of two representatives from New York State. There were 101 other contestants from across the nation in this category. In addition to the PROMISE Fund donation, the JHS 100 Member Club and Jamestown Teacher’s Association also donated to make the trip possible.  Because he had graduated, Erros could not get any help from the district (including our FBLA Chapter).

“I am so thankful to the PROMISE Fund, the 100 Member Club, the JTA,” said Erros. “I wasn’t certain I would be able to go to Atlanta due to financial and other considerations and the donation came exactly at the right time to help me travel to the FBLA National Competition. It was so awesome that the community helped me out and it was such a great experience. Going to the National FBLA Competition showed me that I could go against the best of the best in the nation and, in spite of challenges, if you want something badly enough you can find a way to achieve your goal.”

Any donation made to the Jamestown Schools PROMISE Fund, through the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, is tax-deductible.  Donations to the Jamestown Schools PROMISE Fund may be made at www.promisefund.org