Even the most casual observer on issues of public affairs would agree that there is no shortage of bad news these days about the state of public education. Even the recent editorial in the Chestnut Hill Local (“Hoping for the Neighborhood School”) leaves one with the feeling of inevitable negativity about urban public school options, resigned to sighing and handwringing, and demoralized about the possibility of affecting change. It’s time to change the headlines.

How about “Bolstered by Public/Private Partnerships, Neighborhood School Experiences Renaissance”? Or “Real Estate Values Climb as Families Clamor for Spots at Local Elementary School”? Or “Business District Capitalizes on Increased Foot Traffic Near Community School”? The Friends of J.S. Jenks, a newly created not-for-profit organization dedicated to supporting Chestnut Hill’s public elementary school, believes that these could be our headlines.

The Friends of J.S. Jenks is an independent fundraising organization consisting of parents, teachers, administrators and community members dedicated to supporting the John Story Jenks Elementary School. Our mission is to enhance the educational and enrichment opportunities for students at J.S. Jenks and ensure long-range financial flexibility for the school so it can develop its programs and infrastructure. We seek to forge new partnerships between the school and the cultural, business, and academic institutions of Chestnut Hill and the greater Northwest Philadelphia.

The Friends of J.S. Jenks believes that our mission is one that can be embraced by a wide swath of our community, even by those who may not have any personal connection to the school. We all benefit by having a high quality public school in our community to attract young families and businesses, and add to the vitality of our neighborhood.

We are inviting you, our friends and neighbors, to support the Friends of J.S. Jenks by attending our inaugural event, a fundraiser to benefit the school’s music and arts program, on Saturday, June 9, from 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. at The Church of S t. Martin-in-the-Fields, 8000 St. Martin’s Lane, in Chestnut Hill.

Enjoy hors d’oeuvres and refreshments amidst live music from area musicians; including a performance by J.S. Jenks music students. A silent auction of goods and services from an array of local businesses, as well as raffle prizes, will be available throughout the event.

All proceeds will help support the music and arts programs at J.S. Jenks School, and all donations will be tax deductible. For more information about the event or how you can get involved, please visit www.friendsofjsjenks.org, or www.facebook.com/friendsofjsjenks or email us at info@friendsofjsjenks.org.

This is a critical time for Philadelphia’s public schools. The Friends of J.S. Jenks knows it cannot solve all the challenges facing our school and the school district. However, we believe that our community wants to do more than collective sighing and handwringing. When empowered with opportunity, we believe our community can and will come together to support this gem of a school and its students.


Haviva Goldman, President

Tony Sorrentino, Vice President

Renee Warnick, Treasurer

Vanessa Yingling, Secretary


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