It Takes A Village

Jamestown Students, Community Groups Partner To Expand Educational Experience

Jamestown High School student, Geoffrey Tota, talks with Steven Olson with the Southern Chautauqua Federal Credit union who has partnered with JHS’ Academy of Business, Management, Marketing & Technology to open a satellite branch in the JHS library to serve as an internship site for JHS students to experience real-world job opportunities in the banking industry.

Helping Jamestown High School students discover more about the banking industry is part of a unique collaboration between the Southern Chautauqua Federal Credit Union and JHS’ Academy of Business, Management, Marketing and Technology to open a satellite office in the JHS library. The office will offer access to financial programs and education for students and staff and, more importantly, serve as an internship site for JHS students to experience real-world job opportunities in the banking industry and try out a potential career path.

“Southern Chautauqua FCU is thrilled to announce the expansion of our Student Based Branch at JHS! As part of the internship opportunity, students who work on-site in the School Based Branch will receive training in credit union operations, while learning specific job skills as they work alongside credit union professionals,” said Candace Peterson-White, Director of Community Development. “Our goal in establishing a Student-Based Branch is to assist students in becoming financially productive adults by providing them with financial education and jobs skills to enhance their employability. This innovative partnership with JHS allows us to utilize the joint resources of both organizations to enhance opportunities for students at no cost to the school system.”

Studies show that parent, family, and community involvement in education correlates with higher academic performance and school improvement. When an entire community works together to support learning, students tend to earn higher grades, attend school more regularly, stay in school longer, and enroll in higher-level programs. Researchers cite parent-family-community involvement as a key to addressing the school dropout crisis and note that strong school-family-community partnerships foster higher educational aspirations and more motivated students. The evidence holds true for students at all grade levels, regardless of the parent’s education, family income, or background.

JPS is constantly looking for ways to extend curriculum beyond the classroom by actively engaging community members and families. Kids today often ask, “Why am I learning this? I’ll never use this!” Jamestown Public Schools is finding ways to partner with local businesses and subject matter experts to connect curriculum to the outside world and design relevant learning experiences in and out of the classroom, such as JHS academy partnerships, or middle school Career Days, or local business members teaching Junior Achievement, and non-profit organizations, like Roger Tory Peterson Institute, visiting classrooms to enrich and extend curriculum.

JPS after school programs also welcome community involvement. Activities such as karate with Rocky’s Family Karate and Fitness at Jefferson Middle School and dance with Linda Nelson from Linda’s Studio of Dance at Washington Middle School are examples. Mrs. Nelson’s dance classes focus on teaching Modern Jazz that incorporates Hip Hop.

Jamestown High School student, Savannah, meets with her Chautauqua Striders mentor, Tammy Ackley. The Chautauqua Striders mentoring program offers community members who are 21 and over to make a difference in the life of a child by committing just 30 minutes of their time to the program each week, as school-based mentors. Volunteer mentors offer students the opportunity to view the world from a different perspective and enhance connections to the community.

“I was honored and completely on board to do this,” said Mrs. Nelson. “I have owned my studio for 29 years and to work with students that may not otherwise get the chance to take a dance lesson, or to bring my style of teaching to those that do, or having the chance to work with my enrolled students outside of our classroom is all fun and very rewarding. Getting involved in our community and schools, sharing our professions and talents with the children of our future is a great way to give back!”

If you have a special skill or talent you would like to share with students enrolled in Jamestown after school programs, please contact Amanda Gesing at 483-4313.

Jamestown Schools also taps into the wealth of experience and knowledge that resides within retirees and grandparents through the Lutheran Foster Grandparent Program. Twenty-three foster grandparents currently serve in our elementary schools. The idea is to establish a one-on-one relationship between the child and the Foster Grandparent to provide special support.

“My belief is that Foster Grandparents are the extra hands within the classrooms,” said Project Director, Debbie Basile. “They are a ‘constant adult’ in a child’s life and many times fulfill the grandparent role for children who may not have their own grandparents within the area. The one-on-one relationship promotes the child’s ability to learn. The community service benefits the foster grandparents as they are actively engaged enabling them to reap the health benefits credited to volunteer service.”

To learn more about becoming a Foster Grandparent, contact or call at 665-5354 for more information.

Chautauqua Striders Director of Mentoring and Advocacy, Jennifer Flanders, believes in the powerful, positive effects of mentoring. “One of the largest volunteer opportunities for community members within the agency is our mentoring program. Community members who are 21 and over can make a difference in the life of a child by committing just 30 minutes of their time to the program each week, as school-based mentors. Mentoring has measurable, positive effects on students. Within the Striders mentoring program, students who meet with their mentors on a regular basis are less likely to miss school or engage in risky behavior and are more likely to become connected with the school community and experience high levels of self esteem and self worth.” If you would like to learn more, contact Jennifer at 483-2203.

Jamestown Public Schools is committed to developing a shared vision of academic, personal, social and emotional success through promising partnerships that enhance opportunities for children, and unite home, school and community on behalf of our youth. Please visit your neighborhood schools to explore ways you can touch hearts and minds, and help to realize our vision.