History of JCLC

 
 

    Located in the small city of Jamestown and nestled in rural Chautauqua County in the western part of New York State, the Jamestown Community Learning Council (JCLC) initiative was created in 1990 in response to a comprehensive community needs assessment commissioned by the city council under the direction of the mayor. The results of the report identified educational achievement as a primary area of concern for the most vulnerable members of the Jamestown citizenry – namely its children. At the request of the city’s Strategic Planning Commission, key community members were assembled to form an educational task force that studied various models addressing similar needs in like communities across the nation in addition to seeking the advice from prominent educational consultants and experts.

    After a two-year period of extensive research, the task force reached the only conclusion possible. It is the earliest years of influence that set the measure of a child’s chances for educational success. Thus, the mission of the task force became clear and the community school model was identified as the vehicle to advance their vision…“To strengthen the capacity of families to nurture, support and provide for their child’s academic development, emotional growth and physical well-being by establishing effective relationships between home and school.”

    Driven by the newly adopted mission, JCLC forged a strategic partnership with Jamestown Public Schools and together they have developed and implemented a wide variety of parent/child intergenerational programming throughout their 26-year collaboration. Starting with modest funding from area foundations, the work of JCLC began with two-cornerstone initiatives…Jamestown’s first state-registered/school-based LINC childcare project and PACT Family Literacy at two elementary schools in the Jamestown district. Both programs were featured presentations at the National Community Education Association conferences in Atlanta, Georgia and Des Moines, Iowa respectively.

    Beginning as a small grass-roots community based organization, JCLC has grown into a well respected human service agency funded by a myriad of private and public funding sources obtained through numerous school and community partnerships. In the spring of 2000, the Jamestown School District commissioned JCLC to investigate home visiting programs and subsequently make a recommendation for an appropriate model which could be implemented as pilot projects in four of its six elementary schools.

    The research-based and internationally validated Parents As Teachers program was selected and four part-time parent educators were hired and trained to begin their work in the fall of 2000. Today, the Parents As Teachers program includes 16 parent educators and has been integrated into seven elementary schools including Jamestown, Frewsburg and Southwestern districts. In addition, there are also PAT programs located in four universal pre-kindergartens housed in community daycare and Headstart sites, a local community soup kitchen center and a teenage motherhood alternative education site. The effectiveness of PAT at these locations has been demonstrated by two independent evaluations that indicated greater levels of school readiness on kindergarten screening assessments for children whose families participated in the program. As an outcome focused agency, JCLC has grown considerably in the areas of funding, programming, staffing and public recognition demonstrated by an invitation to present at the Parents As Teachers National Conference in St. Louis, Missouri in the fall of 2016.

 

Jamestown Community Learning Council