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Abram Stockton Jenks Academics Plus School
A.S. Jenks Academics Plus School (Jenks) is a high-need neighborhood public school located in South Philadelphia offering students an enriching academic and social experience in grades Kindergarten through fourth grade. Students range in age from five to ten years old. Currently Jenks serves a diverse population of 300 students, including approximately 54% Caucasian, 19% Asian/Pacific Islander, 13% African American, 5% Latino, and 9% other ethnicities. There are nine different languages spoken at the school with about 4% of the student body identified as English Language Learners. Approximately 90% of the students qualify for free or reduced lunch. Jenks is located on a uniquely shaped urban plot and the main building was reduced to just two stories by a fire seventy years ago. Jenks operates with limited physical space, inside and out, and strives to optimize its use of the space to allow each student the opportunity to develop his/her potential to its fullest.
Jenks' environmental goal is to maintain and enhance the green space surrounding the school. Our proposed Green Project is to purchase tree care tools and supplies and a small shed to be kept on-site to house the supplies and allow volunteer access during non-school hours. Tree care tools would including mulch, to minimize weed growth and preserve moisture, tree watering bags to provide efficient watering and optimize volunteer time, and enough hose to reach all 18 trees from the few potential water sources available. During the school year, students and staff will utilize the tools to care for the trees. Regular tree care and observation of tree growth and seasonal cycles will provide teachers with opportunities to reinforce and heighten current curriculum and allow the students to gain “real life” environmental knowledge, a deeper connection to their urban ecosystem, and take ownership of the trees. The trees will allow the classroom to come outside while linking the school grounds and the community. When school is not in session, Jenks will partner with the Lower Moyamensing Civic Association (LoMo) to provide consistent tree care. Jenks will also collaborate with LoMo and other community organizations on tree education, Tree Tender youth training for some students, and activities for an Arbor Day event to kick off spring tree care. Tree signs will provide ongoing education and awareness for the community and students. The Green Project also includes an allotment for dog waste stations. Curbside dog waste is a huge issue in the vicinity of the school and the perception that the new trees increase the dog waste problem has already been voiced. By providing local dog owners with waste stations adjacent to some trees, hopefully the entire area surrounding the school, and especially in the immediate vicinity of the trees, will be cleaner and more enjoyable for both students and neighbors. Our Green Project would include planters for the school's front entrance to add to and compliment the new surrounding greenery.