The Abram Jenks School has dedicated teachers and staff, engaging class assignments and programs where students are supported to reach academic excellence.
Located at 2501 S. 13th St., Jenks is a K-5 school whose vision is to strive for excellence and celebrate diversity.
“Jenks is a culturally rich school,” said Abram Jenks principal Siouda Douglas. “There are generations here, many of the staff here, their own children attended Jenks. We just had a teacher who retired, and her mother and sister attended Jenks.
“Forty percent of our students actually live in the neighborhood, and 60% of our students are outside of our catchment area,” Douglas said. “They want to come here because they know no matter how challenged their students, or their children might be academically or behaviorally, we’re going to do everything that we can to be supportive.”
Increasing students’ reading stamina is just one of the academic goals for this school year.
“We’re really pushing the students with their writing and reading stamina,” Douglas said. “We’re going back to the basics with sustained silent reading for grades K-5 until we build reading stamina for up to 45 minutes. The students also have to write about what they have read.
“The pandemic has played a big part in some of the changes that we see in the students, but we’re not using that as an excuse anymore,” she said. “We have to get back on track and we’re doing that by going back to the basics.”
Recapturing the school’s culture is another priority for Jenks this year.
“We’re getting back to some of the things we used to do like having different events, dances and fundraisers,” Douglas said. “We celebrate all cultures in our school every month. We really do recruit parents to the school to give us ideas about how to celebrate their culture.
“We teach students about cultural awareness, sensitivity and inclusion; we’ve been doing that for a number of years,” she said. “We’re definitely trying to get back to the old traditions to celebrate everyone’s culture but in a way that parents are welcomed into the building to volunteer and students are having fun.
“We also have a very positive school culture and climate with very few incidents. We’re teaching them to be responsible and respectful. We teach them and show them how to track their own data. It’s not just about teaching them, but we’re showing them how they can strive to improve and look for growth,” she added.
For extracurricular activities, Jenks has a plethora of after school programs including robotics, scrabble, drama and math and science clubs. The school also has a program called “Caught Being Great” where students can earn points through Class Dojo for citizenship.
“We didn’t want the program to be based just around behavior, we wanted it to be around citizenship and promote students for improving themselves in general,” Douglas said.
“For example, if a student is participating more this week than they usually have, they’ll get points for ‘Caught Being Great.’ After they accumulate so many points on Class Dojo, those points are redeemable for prizes,” she said.
“On Fridays, I’ll come around with a cart of tangible items that are worth whatever many points that a student might redeem. They have to buy these gadgets, which may be squishy toys, poppets, jewelry and games,” she added.
Douglas said she wants students to leave Jenks being a good citizen.
“When I talk about being a good citizen it’s if someone falls, help them up, if someone drops something, pick it up and pass it to them, just having good manners,” Douglas said.
“We give out a Citizenship Award every quarter in every classroom,” she said. “It’s all about instilling those characteristics in our students and having them take what they learned as they move forward in life.”
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