At tonight’s Jamestown Board of Education meeting, two creative programs received a well-deserved pat on the back from The New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA), through their program, the Champions of Change. NYSSBA Area 3 Director and Jamestown BOE member, Christine Schnars, presented colorful banners to JPS middle school music teachers, Marc Lentsch, Carrie Pawelski and Gina Wakefield and JHS Band Director, Meghan Murray for their Student “Taps” Performance Honoring Veterans and to Bush Elementary School fourth grade teacher, Cristin Hockenberry, and JPS Technology Integration Specialist, Jason Kathman, for their Parade Balloons Writing Initiative.
“It is a pleasure to be able to present these Champion for Change awards on behalf of the New York State School Boards Association and our Director, Robert Schneider, and President Fred Langstaff,” said Mrs. Schnars. “As Area 3 Director, I am pleased to be here representing the NYSSBA Board of Managers. The honorees are chosen by committee from many outstanding programs throughout the state and to be recognized is a great honor. It is an especially amazing accomplishment to have one program recognized and truly unprecedented that a district would have two programs chosen at once, and Jamestown did just that. During a very difficult year, our teachers continued to be creative and initiate exciting and meaningful lessons for their students. I am so very proud of their accomplishments and know that I share that pride with our entire Board of Education. Thank you all for being ‘Champions for Change.’”
The middle school band’s Student Taps Performance Honoring Veterans was part of this year’s Choose Your Own Adventure Performance Track for the band. Students learned Taps as a tribute to perform on Veteran’s Day as part of the “patriotic adventure.” JPS middle school students joined thousands of others from around the country in “Taps Across America” played outside their own houses. The JHS band sent trumpet players to play the National Anthem at the Veteran’s Day ceremony downtown and sent a player to the Veteran’s Day memorial services at the church and cemetery to play Taps.
The Bush Elementary School Parade Balloons Writing Initiative had students writing a persuasive essay for the Macy’s Parade committee explaining why their balloon should be included in the annual parade. Mrs. Hockenberry collaborated with Mr. Kathman, to have the kids create a photograph of their balloons, complete with a new background, using their iPads to go along with their essay to The idea of writing a persuasive essay to convince the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Committee to choose a new balloon comes from a former teaching teammate of Mrs. Hockenberry. Writing can be a topic that is challenging to get students excited about, however, by adding the technology component to the lesson, students were actively taking part in learning over multiple standards in one lesson over multiple days. The students loved this writing assignment, and the technology piece, because it pulled everything together making the topic very real to them and creating an innovative English Language Arts and technology connection.