Project LINC Celebrates 25 Years Of Serving Lincoln Students

Lincoln Elementary School first graders practice for their Patriotic Concert in honor of Veteran’s Day.

Lincoln Elementary School first graders practice for their Patriotic Concert in honor of Veteran’s Day.

Lincoln Elementary School is proud to have Project LINC

(Learning Is Never Complete), an afterschool program, serving their students for 25 years. The program runs every day from 3-5:30 p.m. LINC is a NYS Office of Children & Families registered program that serves kindergarten through fourth grade students. Jamestown Community Learning Council (JCLC) runs Project LINC.

“The program was designed to provide the missing ‘linc’ for children between those vulnerable after school hours until parents conclude their workday,” said Rosary Kolivas, Executive Director of JCLC. “LINC has the distinction of being Jamestown’s first, school-based after school program, which eliminated transportation hassles getting children to off-site childcare.”

LINC features a variety of daily activities such as the computer lab, arts and crafts, gym time, general recreation games and outdoor play. Special events and opportunities have included community service projects, talent shows, karate lessons, holiday celebrations and many festivities that parents are invited to attend. In addition, homework help and group tutoring are featured daily.

“I like coming to the after school program,” said Lincoln Elementary School fourth-grade student Lucas Arnone. “It’s a good chance to see my friends that I don’t normally see and I can get my homework done here so I don’t have to stress about it at home. Everyone is really nice and there are a lot of different things to do. I like computer lab because I can do cool math games.”

Lincoln kindergarten 5 senses: Lincoln Elementary School kindergartner, Riley Godwin, shows off her family “homework” project.

Lincoln kindergarten 5 senses: Lincoln Elementary School kindergartner, Riley Godwin, shows off her family “homework” project.

Project LINC’s Director Cheryl Stone, has been with the program for the entire 25 years. With years of experience as a home daycare provider and as a very involved Lincoln School PTA parent, Mrs. Stone was a natural fit for the position.

“Watching her in action over the years as she nurtures students, responds to families and my admiration of her relationships with her own staff and Lincoln colleagues are all constant reminders of one of the best staffing decisions I have ever made,” said Mrs. Kolivas.

In addition to Mrs. Stone, all of the LINC staff is adept at all aspects of operating a quality school-age childcare program. Communication and rapport among the JCLC Project LINC staff and Lincoln Elementary School staff is paramount to an effective school-based childcare program as well as significant relationships with the parents who have entrusted their children in the care of the Project LINC program.

“My goal for the program is for parents to know that they children are safe and well taken care of during the after school hours,” said Mrs. Stone. “We have such a wonderful relationship with Lincoln principal, Mrs. Russo, and all the teachers and staff. Together, we collaborate to make the children’s after school experience positive. I also see the parents every day so we are truly a ‘linc’ between the school day and after school. I try to treat every child as my own and every parent with respect. I would like to thank Rosary, Brenda Dominey who has worked at LINC as the assistant coordinator for 24 years, my husband, Mitch, and my sons, Scott & Matthew, for always being by my side and my biggest supporters.”

LINCOLN TEACHERS LEARN WHAT STUDENTS KNOW, UNDERSTAND & DO

Lincoln Elementary School students, Carter Rizzuto, Kendall Hughes and Bryce Stone work on their homework during the after school program with Project LINC Director Cheryl Stone.

Lincoln Elementary School students, Carter Rizzuto, Kendall Hughes and Bryce Stone work on their homework during the after school program with Project LINC Director Cheryl Stone.

Lincoln Elementary School teachers went “back to school” to learn more about differentiated learning. Teachers took a seven-session, online course as a group to better understand how to differentiate their teaching to best help their students.

“It is important to know that children learn differently and at different rates,” said Lincoln Elementary School teacher Rhonda Ricker who, along with Erin Mank, Britta Livengood and Britany Emley, facilitated the course at Lincoln School. “We need to be flexible in how students learn best and prepare them to learn the next step by differentiating the tasks, materials and assessments. Students can learn at their own pace and master material because it is presented at their rate and style. Students who rarely feel success can find they are reaching targets when you differentiate their learning.”

The course was originally offered kindergarten to 12th grade by the JPS instructional service team last spring. The Lincoln teachers met seven times with the district instructors, then the Lincoln team took the course back to their school to teach to their teachers. Twenty teachers at Lincoln participated in the course. The teachers used Google Classroom to post course assignments, then “the students” posted their work. Using Google Classrooms allowed the work to be seen by every teacher, allowing a sharing of ideas and thoughts throughout the course.

The work in the course centered around the KUDs – what you want your students to KNOW, UNDERSTAND and DO, which also guides the school’s professional learning communities. Teachers look at what they want students to learn or know, how will they get them to learn the material, and what they will do when they have learned it or, not learned it.

Teachers also looked at different types of assessments – pre-assessment, formative assessment and summative assessment. Pre-assessment is given to gauge what the students know about the topic. It is given frequently and quickly and does not cover large amounts of curriculum. Formative assessments can be daily and are used to make new groups to target students’ needs. Formative assessments can be use of whiteboards in the classroom, exit tickets, teacher observation or quick quizzes. Summative assessments cover all of the material over a period of time. They can include unit tests, state tests, NWEA, but can also be projects, videos, posters, and journals to show what the student has learned.

Lincoln Elementary School teachers, Cassie Stronz, Lynn Mayer and Heidi Maggio work as teams to place types of assessments into groups: pre-assessment, formative (ongoing) and summative during their Differentiated Learning Class as fellow teacher Rhonda Ricker looks on.

Lincoln Elementary School teachers, Cassie Stronz, Lynn Mayer and Heidi Maggio work as teams to place types of assessments into groups: pre-assessment, formative (ongoing) and summative during their Differentiated Learning Class as fellow teacher Rhonda Ricker looks on.

“The course was very beneficial,” said Mrs. Ricker. “Using what we learned in the course, there are more frequent check-ins on progress with students, rather than waiting until an end of unit exam when they needed re-teaching earlier in the curriculum. Also, for students that have a strong background in a topic, a pre-assessment can show that and those students can have their learning extended. Differentiation meets the needs of all learners.”

LINCOLN KINDERGARTEN FAMILY “HOMEWORK” BENEFITS STUDENTS

Puppets, posters, farm animals and dressing up like nursery rhyme characters such as, Jack and Jill and Little Miss Muffet and her spider, are just some of the creative ways Lincoln Elementary School kindergarten families created “homework projects” around what their children are learning in the classroom.

Kindergartner’s listening and learning units consists of a series of read-alouds organized by topics such as: the five senses, nursery rhymes and fables, and farm and farm animals, many of which are informational in nature. The goal of listening and learning in kindergarten is to help students acquire language competence through listening, specifically building a rich vocabulary, and broad knowledge in history and science by being exposed to carefully selected, sequenced, and coherent read-alouds.

At the end of each unit, Lincoln kindergartner’s families receive a letter from their teacher detailing what they have learned and some suggestions of ways they can complete their “homework.” Using these examples and their imaginations, families and their children create a culminating project. When the project is brought in, each student presents their creative endeavor and their peers act as an audience and ask questions. It is a great way to build competence and use the vocabulary that they have been learning everyday.

“We piloted the homework projects last year and they were so successful that we knew it needed to continue,” said Lincoln School kindergarten teacher Molly Anderson. “It gets families really engaged in their child’s education and they really get to see what their children are learning. Listening and speaking is a large part of a kindergartner’s education and these projects are a wonderful compliment to their regular studies. I am constantly amazed at the creative and imaginative projects that the students and their families come up with and they just all seem to have so much fun doing them.”

LINCOLN FIRST-GRADERS PATRIOTISM SHINES THROUGH MUSIC

The sounds of Lincoln Elementary School first graders will fill the air on Election Day. The students, under the instruction of music teacher Catherine South, will perform a Patriotic Concert to honor veterans for both fellow students and their families.

The students have been preparing music in honor of their country and Veteran’s Day. Song selections such as Grand Old Flag, Vote!, Proud of our Veterans, This Land is Your Land and the Pledge of Allegiance using sign language are just some of the music, along with poems, that the students will perform.

“I am very proud of the student’s hard work in preparation for this concert,” said Mrs. South. “The first grade teachers, Erin Mank, Kathleen Rambacher, Julie Schrader and Elizabeth Dresher, have collaborated with me to work on poetry readings in their classrooms and also talk about the importance of Veteran’s Day and why we honor the soldiers that serve us.”

First graders are also learning about symbolism in their listening and learning units in English Language Arts so Mrs. South has talked about the symbols of America such as the flag. Through this concert experience, first graders are learn about proper enunciation while performing, stage presence, dynamics and memorizing multiple pieces of music.

“I am excited because I want to sing in front of everyone in the audience,” said first grader Brennen Carraher.

Mrs. South talks about the genre of folk songs, what a folk song is and how some of the songs they will be singing are beloved folk songs. She also stresses the meaning of the songs they will be singing and their importance to veterans and patriotism.

“I learned the veteran song and I’m proud of our veterans,” said first-grader Alaric Richards.

The first-graders are just being introduced to music notation and how to read music. Mrs. South also stresses singing voice versus speaking voice and how to keep a steady beat.

“The experience of being on stage and working as a team to put on a entire concert builds self-confidence,” said Mrs. South. “There is a pride of performing. The parents get so excited to see their children in a concert and it builds a sense of community with families and the school.”

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