Advocate for out-of-catchment families to attend J. S. Jenks

Advocate for out-of-catchment families to attend J. S. Jenks

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Friends of J. S. Jenks started this petition to Assistant School Superintendent of Learning Network 6 - School District of Philadelphia Kim Newman

The Philadelphia School District Office of Student Placement is not suggesting that current students be removed from J. S. jenks, but that NEW out-of-catchment students will not be admitted to the school in the future.

Background info: All of the families at Jenks are members of our community and they are what make Jenks a strong school and a special place. Due to low catchment enrollment, families from throughout the Northwest have been able to make this school their home for many years regardless of race and socioeconomic background, making Jenks the diverse and vibrant school that it is.  According to the District’s own records, for the past several years, over half of the student population at Jenks has been from outside the catchment area (64% in 2016, 65% in 2017, 69% in 2018). Moreover, from the Catchment Retention Details report available on the SDP webpage, there are never enough youth in catchment to actually fill the school. Because of this, for many years, out-of-catchment families could register to attend Jenks either through the Voluntary Transfer Process, or through the Principal directly.
   However, this year, neither of these options has been available, leaving prospective parents confused and without options, and current families worried about the future of the school and their own futures. Current and prospective parents have listed the following concerns, to name a few, and the principal has not been able to provide a resolution.

If out-of-catchment students are not able to attend J.S. Jenks the following is possible:

1. With a loss of incoming students, class sizes will shrink and the school will lose teachers and programs that benefit all the students at the school. Current school families may then choose to remove their child.

2. Families who have invested in the school through volunteering with the parent organizations cannot enroll their child’s younger siblings in the school.  They now face splitting their energy between two schools, or leaving Jenks entirely. -- taking their energy with them, and separating their child from their friends and teachers.

3. Current in-catchment students are concerned their friends may leave the school.  Parents may remove their children because they cannot attain a spot for their younger child.  New children won’t be able to join the class.

4. Many families who can’t enroll at Jenks will not choose their neighborhood schools (in fact some are already enrolled in their neighborhood and seeking to leave their school because they feel it is a poor fit for their child). More likely these families will become even more disheartened with the district owing to the uncertainty in the process and will leave the city, or go to charter schools, private schools or Catholic schools (often adding incredible financial stress to their lives to do so).  

!! The district process as it stands is confusing, non-transparent, and simply does not work. The district has left no means for families to benefit from an excellent school option that should be open to them.  This is particularly difficult for families with siblings already at the school.  Please work with the school to figure out a process for this year that will benefit these families who want to contribute to our school, and please work with families moving forward to create a system of real school choice solutions for families in the school district.

What can you do? Your next steps...

Members of the Jenks community, including the Friends of Jenks and the Jenks HSA, are working together to advocate for the Jenks School community in light of recent changes in the process to accept new out-of- catchment students. Please join us in demonstrating your support for the full school community and it’s continued success by:
1. Signing the Petition of Support
2. Composing your own email expressing your concerns to Kim Newman, Assistant School Superintendent of Learning Network 6 (, using the information provided in the petition as well as your personal impact
3. Forward your email to
4. Attend the upcoming School Board Meeting on April 25 th at 5:00pm at 440 N. Broad Street. AND Wear your Jenks gear!
5. Let the Friends know by emailing

0 have signed. Let’s get to 500!
At 500 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!