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JPS Outlines Goals For School Year

The Jamestown Public Schools Board of Education. P-J photo by Jordan W. Patterson

While successfully instituting a new learning center and a new summer literacy program, Jamestown Public Schools officials have set their eyes on the next set of goals.

Dr. Bret Apthorpe, JPS superintendent, presented to the Board of Education at Tuesday’s meeting the district’s successes and future goals.

Included in Jamestown’s accomplishments were creating the summer literacy program known as LEAP, or Learning Enrichment and Academic Progress; establishing the Success Academy housed in the former Rogers Elementary School; creating a capital outlay project and capital project reserve; reorganizing around accountability; updating board policies; and establishing a culture of transformational leadership.

The Success Academy and Summer LEAP were specific goals that Apthorpe announced at a March 2018 community forum at the Robert H. Jackson Center in his first year as superintendent.

“This summer witnessed almost 500 students in a summer literacy program, an all-day program all summer long. That’s something we should feel really good about,” he said to begin superintendent’s report. “In just a couple weeks the Success Academy located in the former Rogers Elementary will be opening.”

At the Roger Tory Peterson Institute Of Natural History more than a month ago, the superintendent and board members acknowledged the accomplishments of the previous year but quickly set the goals for the upcoming year, Apthorpe said.

Several goals were described as “ongoing” and carried over into the 2019-20 school year goals. Those goals include aligning programs with college and workforce requirements, creating a strategic plan to convert to a middle school model and developing a long-term financial plan that shows stability and predictability.

New for the 2019-20 set of goals include developing a formal action plan to improve student attendance and create a fact finding report on modernizing Jamestown High School to align with contemporary programming.

Apthorpe has been vocal about Jamestown’s chronic absenteeism problem impacting an estimated 1,700 students. He was optimistic that creating a formal plan will help reduce the ongoing issue of students missing school.

As for increasing student attendance, this goal even included studying esports, which typically refers to video games meaning electronic sports. Also, a conducting transportation pilot, modernizing facilities and programming, completing a cultural responsive evaluation and increasing participation among arts, clubs and sports were listed as initiatives to reach the overall goal of increasing attendance.

As for modernizing the high school, this will include the study of physical plant maintenance and academic programming. For academic programming, music and arts, the pool and athletics will be primary points of focus. A report from the JHS Modernization Committee, that will be created at the beginning of the school year, will be due June 30, 2020.

Other committees will be created to research esports, cultural responsiveness, transportation, secondary pathways to graduation and the implementation of a middle school model. Each committee has there own deadline to produce a report for the board throughout the school year.

“So we’ve got a lot going on,” Apthorpe said to the board and those in attendance at the Tuesday’s meeting.

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