School News - Jowonio School


School News - Jowonio School
School News
Volume 18, Issue 4
The Director’s Report
May 2015
Those of us in the education world have a calendar of June endings and September start-ups. We say goodbye to
the teachers who are moving on, as they finish school in Syracuse or decide to attend graduate school elsewhere
or move home or go on a grand adventure. We have been lucky to accompany many of our staff as they become
professionals and we are happy to support their growth. Every year brings new learning with the experiences of
each individual child and family and every team. We are so fortunate that our staff share a commitment to our
inclusive vision, and that we hire people who are learners. Each person has their own unique path forward, and our
goal is to provide the support they need...with the models of the lead teacher and other team members, the mentoring of the Support Teachers, the stimulation of our weekly inservice time, and the opportunity to be independent and create a learning environment that is a realization of their own vision. I am so grateful to all our staff
members who make such a special effort to connect with all their students. They love your children and appreciate their relationships with your family.
Jim Greenman suggests that we should “create a nest for children as they navigate the demands of growing up
and to make them believe that they can fly...” This is also what we hope to do for teachers, that they can create
an environment for children to thrive but also where they have ownership of the classroom and are happy with it.
When you tour Jowonio it is easy to see that each classroom has its own personality. That is a result of the decisions teachers have made about the set up of the physical space and the aesthetic arrangements in the room; a
rich and exciting curriculum; classroom routines, including how flexible they are and how responsive to children’s
interests; the expectations teachers have for children’s exploration and independence; and the dynamic relationships among the children, between the children and adults, and among the particular adults (teachers, therapists
and parents).
Loris Malaguzzi, one of the founders of the Reggio Emilia approach, says “A school with young children is an integral living organism, a place of shared lives and relationships among many adults and many children. School is construction in motion, continuously adjusting itself.” As we are starting to plan for the new year (September 2015)
we are thinking about all these elements, including the new children and families who will be joining us and the new
staff we are hiring. We also realize, as we say goodbye to those moving on, that every person has left an imprint
at Jowonio. We have learned from each other and take that with us into the future. I urge you to cherish the
adults who share your child’s world every day. Give them good feedback now; don’t wait until it is too late.
You never leave a place you love;
Part of it you take with you,
Leaving part of you behind.
Graduation Date
Join your child’s classroom for their graduation ceremonies. This occasion gives us a chance to
acknowledge each student’s growth and celebrate the friendships that have been made within the class.
The teachers have put thought into an event that will help our children and families remember their
time with us this year.
6/17: Dragonfly Room
6/18: Earth Room
6/19: Waterfall Room
6/19: Star Room
6/22: Treehouse Room
6/23: Koala Room
6/23: Ocean Room
6/25: Kangaroo Room
6/24: Sunflower Room
6/24: Bunny Room
Report card on Jowonio... Please let us know what you think
Every year we survey families about the experience they and their child
have had at Jowonio. We want your feedback in order to improve our program. In addition we hope to develop data about the outcomes that will
demonstrate our effectiveness. Please take a few minutes to complete the
2014-2015 Report Card. We will send home a hard copy to everyone; you
can also respond to it on a Survey Monkey format by typing in the link
Dates to Remember
4/28- Lions Club— Free Vision Screening
4/29 @ Jowonio
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Parent Teachers Conferences
Mother’s Day
Friends, Flowers and All That Jazz
- Stickley Show Room
Memorial Day Break—No School
Staff Appreciation Luncheon
Father’s Day
Last Day of School: Dismissal at
Jowonio Summer Session
Fall Enrollment
If your child is going to be enrolled at Jowonio for the 2015-2016 school year, be sure to return your
registration packet to Connie in the office as soon as possible after you receive it. In order for your
son or daughter to enter school, we must have a physical form, indicating that your child has had a
physical within 12 months of the September start date and that immunizations are current (unless you
have an approved exemption). So, if needed, make an appointment for a “well child” visit with your pediatrician or family physician over the summer. If we already have a current physical/immunization record on file, you do not have to send another copy in. Always make sure your records are up to date with
us. Call us at 445-4010 if you have questions regarding the forms.
Classroom Placements
As anyone touring Jowonio can see, each of our classrooms has a personality of its own. This unique
tone reflects the age, personalities and passions of the students; the way in which the curriculum, environment, and materials are organized; and the philosophy, interests and teaching styles of the adults.
Parents ask how we place children in a particular room. Here is how we think of it. There are a number
of factors we consider:
A match between a child’s learning style and the classroom approach;
Insuring diversity in each class re gender, race, age, first language, and needs;
Maintenance of relationships with adults and friendships with peers; and
Parent input/request.
Our goal is to have classrooms that balance the strengths and needs of all the children. We usually
maintain children in their same room unless a child is changing the length of day they are attending or
if parents request that their child be moved to a different room. Conversations with parents focus on
goals for their child and the kind of classroom structure that will be a good fit. We are not always able
to guarantee parents’ first choice, but we try to share information and be responsive to parental concerns. Our class lists are not finalized until the summer. If you have questions or comments, talk with
the teaching and/or office staff.
Hallway Etiquette
We know that transitions (dropping off and picking up) can be challenging with young children. We are
pleased that our students are usually glad to be here and reluctant to leave and that parents have developed friendships with each other. Our expectation is that parents are supervising their children at
the start and end of the day. It can be particularly crowded at pick-up time in the hallways outside
some of the classroom doors. When parents and children spend time talking and playing in this narrow
space, it can be difficult for our teachers to support our students needing help getting out to the buses. We ask that you leave the hallway area outside the classroom as quickly as you can. Now that the
weather is finally getting better, it is possible to socialize outside!
Characteristics of effective early childhood teachers:
*Love of learning
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*Willingness to take risks *Pragmatism
*Sense of humor
*High energy
Board Notes
Melissa Hidek
In January, the Jowonio School Board welcomed several new members. Emily
Creasia-Worden, who is from Montana, recently married a Syracuse native.
She is a medical case manager at Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement
Program. Greg D’Amato, is also new to the Syracuse area, having relocated
from New Jersey to Baldwinsville 18 months ago. He has fallen into the swing
of things very quickly as his wife, Tara, grew up in Liverpool. They have two
daughters, Ruby and Isla. Ruby is in her first year at Jowonio. She is in the
Dragonfly room and loves it! Ann Marie Myers, a former Waterfall room parent, is Vice President with
BNY Mellon Global Client Service Delivery. She lives with her husband and two children in Baldwinsville,
NY. Shena Ashley is Assistant Professor of Public Administration and International Affairs at the
Maxwell School of Syracuse University and has expertise in nonprofit organizations and evaluation. Mei
Ouyang is the parent of a Jowonio student in the Bunny room. She is a licensed realtor and property
manager and has joined the Board’s finance committee.
The Board has been busy this year on a number of projects, including creating the school’s annual report, reviewing options for the second floor space vacated by Interfaith Works, and exploring ways to
diversify our funding so that Jowonio can continue to provide an excellent experience to all children and
families long into the future.
The Board has also been hard at work on Jowonio’s major annual fundraiser, Friends, Flowers and All
That Jazz, which will be held on Wednesday, May 13th at 5:30pm at the Stickley, Audi & Co.
Showroom at Towne Center in Fayetteville. We encourage all parents to take advantage of this year’s
Special Parent Ticket Rate of $25 per person. Tickets are available at the Front Desk.
If you haven’t been before, you should know that this is a fun event, with great food from a variety of
popular vendors, a cash bar, a silent auction, exciting raffles, and compelling speakers sharing their
Jowonio stories. The success of last year’s Friends Flowers event allowed Jowonio to make a modest
increase to all staff salaries. We hope that this year will be even more successful!
You can help in several ways. Here are a few of the opportunities:
Purchase tickets and attend the event.
Invite friends or family members to attend with you.
Contribute to your classroom’s raffle basket.
Place an ad in the program.
Make a donation to the raffle or auction.
If you are interested in volunteering for Friends, Flowers & All That Jazz,
please email your name & phone number to Sophia Meskos at
[email protected] We hope to see you all there!
Please call Jowonio with any questions you have @ 315-445-4010.
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The Jowonio School cordially invites you to the 10th Annual
Please join us for this special evening to support
the children, diversity and unique programs of the Jowonio School
Special Parent Rate $25 per person
Tickets Available at the Front Desk
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Stickley, Audi & Co. Showroom
Towne Center, Fayetteville
Savory Food Tastings
Silent Auction and Raffle
Featuring special guest speakers
Carolyn Audi Fischi
Jowonio Grad Aaron Druger
We look forward to a wonderful night
with friends and family
(tickets may be purchased by cash, credit or check)
to support Jowonio!
Business Attire
Cash Bar
Staff News
The longevity of our teachers, therapists and administrators is a special gift at Jowonio, and it impacts
on the high quality of our program. At the end of the school year we recognize those who are celebrating five year increments of their employment anniversaries this year! They include:
For Five Years (2010): Kristen Antonacci, Ali Beard, Tanya Czajak, Kim Ensher, Brett Grenert, Daniel
Halloran, Laura Kriedler, Cassie Mastellar, Amanda Partridge
For Ten Years (2005): Kim Doto
For Fifteen Years (2000): Terrell Baines, Jane Dagenais, Maddy LaPorta, Emily Vercelloni
For Twenty Years (1995): Evan Potter
For Twenty-five Years (1990): Karen Burns, Michelle Condon
For Thirty Years (1985): Niki Coller, Merry LaPorta
For Thirty-five Years (1980): Carol Spartano
For Forty Years (1975): Ellen Barnes
This spring has been unusual in terms of mid-year changes in
Ben Carkey and Terry Case, members of the Ocean Room team, have taken new positions…Ben as a
Service Coordinator at Liberty Post and Terry as a UPK Teacher at Sumner Headstart. Leah Jubelt
and Sarah Wansink have joined us to finish out the year.
Yvonne Martin, has left the Treehouse Room for her Adirondack retreat, while she plans her future
teaching career, possibly back in Texas. Matthew Bennett, who had worked with young adults with
disabilities, started on that team the last week of March.
In the Kangaroo Room, Ana Knoblock has been the lead teacher on Tuesday and Thursdays while she
worked the other three days as an Assistant. She has been hired in a charter school in the Albany
area where her boyfriend attends law school. Ellen Donovan, retired last June from the Syracuse
City School District (most recently at Ed Smith)) and joins us T/Th as the lead, sharing the week
with Joy Casey. Ellen worked at Jowonio many years ago and it’s lovely to have her back with us.
Ally Donofrio has left her position (working in Dragonfly and Kangaroo Rooms) to develop a fitness
program to serve youth with special needs. Agata Zietek, whose mother Ewa is a Bunny Room teacher, has taken her place.
The Earth Room has had rotating staff to cover a staff surgery and a maternity leave. Jackie Taylor, Kristin Longley and Monica Weber have supported the team during this time. As of the end of
March Jennifer Barr and Maria Gamba are back at work.
Christianne LaLonde, Speech Language Pathologist, went on maternity leave the end of February,
and Tracey Prokop has joined us to complete the school year prior to Christianne’s returning in the
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More Staff News
Since January we have had two new babies join our Jowonio family:
Felipe Diaz Gamba, born on January 21 to our Earth Room teacher Maria Gamba
Makayla Avery LaLonde, born to Christianne LaLonde, Speech Therapist, on February 23
Niki Coller has been accepted into the Graduate Program in Play Therapy at SUNY Oswego; she will
start this summer.
Lori Lawless and Jennifer Petrie, members of our Assistive Technology Team, were asked to write
an article based on their presentation at the national Closing the Gap conference; it will appear on
the on-line subscription newsletter Closing the Gap Solutions. The title is Assistive Technology
Evaluation and Implementation in a Preschool Classroom.
Summer School
Jowonio runs for 6 weeks from July 7 to August 14. Most of the staff are folks who have worked with
us during the school year. While we have a schedule similar to that of the school year, we take advantage of the good weather and our great space to be outdoors every day and have special events like
the Secret Garden Carnival. Children have to be registered with Connie to attend during the summer
Healthy Summer Check List
This summer when the days seem less busy is a good time to plan activities that will help your children
have a happy summer and prepare for a smooth return to school in the fall.
Make an appointment to have your child’s physical done.
Check to be sure each child’s immunizations are up-to-date.
Make an appointment at the dentist.
Spend time together in the kitchen and garden, eating healthy fruits and vegetables. Make regular
trips to the farmers’ market.
Encourage lots of outside play and exercise…take walks, ride bikes, play ball at the neighborhood
Take your children to the library and check out books they choose; join one of summer book clubs
at your neighborhood public library.
Talk with your children about staying healthy (re: eating, exercising, not smoking, etc.) and remember that your example is the most important teaching tool!
“An early childhood classroom might be compared to a flower garden. Each child is like an individual flower with its own
unique expression of beauty. In the garden, certain conditions must be met for each plant to grow and blossom. Some
plants may need more sun, others less. Some may need to be pruned, while others need extra fertilizer. Attending to
what each plant needs adds to the beauty of each individual flower. The healthy blossoming of each flower, in turn,
adds to the beauty of the whole.”
Ruth Wilson
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Kindergarten Transition
The move to a new school can be challenging for parents as well as children. There are tasks that will
smooth the way for both you and your son or daughter. While transitions are the natural order of
things, they bring with them anxiety about the unknown. Any way that we can reduce the surprises and
engage ourselves in the positives will help make the changes more manageable.
Visit the school (be alert to notices about a “visiting day” or “Kindergarten Orientation)
Over the summer use opportunities to play on the playground of the new school, practice the walk
or ride route from home to the new school, if possible meet the new teacher.
Take pictures of the new school and any of the people working there to make a book (Jowonio staff
can help with this)
Make a Social Story about going to the new school (again Jowonio teachers can help)
Be sure you have completed all the school paperwork and gotten copies there (e.g. physical forms
from your doctor, Jowonio reports if you want them passed on)
Listen to your child’s fears and suggest strategies for addressing them (e.g. “ask your teacher or
another student if you are not sure what to do”)
Give your child opportunities to talk about anything that worries him, and be positive and reassuring
(remember that there was a first day at Jowonio too)
Set up playdates with children going to the same school
Engage your child in getting things ready…buying a backpack, lunchbox or new school clothes if
needed (however, remember that for some kids the old and familiar may help them feel more secure), putting name labels on things
Get clothes ready for the first day and let your child have some say in what he wears…so that it is
comfortable (e.g. tags are cut out and any new clothes washed)
Use Jowonio memorabilia (e.g. photos) to talk about how much your son/daughter has grown and also
to reassure him/her that these relationships can continue, that you can come to the Jowonio playground, and visit the classrooms and teachers. You are always welcome back!
The Big Picture of Quality Programming
Jowonio has received acknowledgment of the quality of our program from a variety of sources.
Jowonio was named the Best Early Childhood Program for 2014 by the Syracuse New Times; this
was a result of votes by the community.
As a participant in the Quality Stars Rating System, Jowonio was evaluated on the basis of national
and state standards; we received 5 out of 5 stars.
Recently Jowonio’s full-day Universal Pre-K Program was assessed by a New York State Quality Assurance Reviewer; the protocol includes indicators of facility quality; curriculum; learning environment, materials, and supplies; family engagement and support; staffing; fiscal and program oversight; and screening and assessment. It is our understanding is that we received an appraisal as fully compliant with expectations for a high quality program.
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Jowonio History
Ellen Barnes
Jowonio began in 1969 as a collaborative effort of 10 families
who were seeking an alternative to the public schools for
their elementary aged children. Dr. Peter Knoblock, professor in
the School of Education at Syracuse University, was part of
this group and his
own sons attended
the school. Over the
first few years parents whose children had special needs approached the
school, and soon there were a number of students, with autism, behavior and communication needs, and physical challenges,
about 1/3 of the enrollment. In addition to 4 hired teachers,
graduate students in the special education department at SU
were working at Jowonio as interns. There was little in the professional literature at that time about educating such a wide
range of children together, so the teachers and parents were
creating the curriculum together.
Jowonio became a pioneer
and received a
federal model
grant to document the approach. In the 1980's New
York encouraged school districts to provide inclusive
programs for the school-aged students with special
needs and programs at Ed Smith and Salem Hyde in
the Syracuse District began. Jowonio then served primarily preschool and kindergarten children. We have
come a long way!
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Jowonio on Film
The School of Education at SUNY Cortland received a federal grant to support inclusive programming
and professional development for teachers; the title of the grant is Inclusion Matters: Partnering for
Authentic Change in Teaching. The project seeks to create a pathway to dual certification (Childhood
Education and Teaching Students with Disabilities) at SUNY Cortland; to embed evidence-based strategies related to inclusive education into coursework; to deepen community partnerships with the college; and to disseminate information and ideas about inclusion. The faculty there have approached us at
Jowonio about filming here to illustrate aspects of inclusion. The filming would be done by two professors in the communications department who teach film.
The SUNY Cortland professor on this grant is Dr. David Smukler, who taught at Jowonio a number of
years ago, whose children Micah and Sam are grads, and whose son Zeke helps us out in the office several days a week. David is working with our administrative staff and classroom teachers to plan what
will be filmed. We’ll keep parents in touch as this project moves along.
Library Story Hour with Ms. Tatiana
Over the cold winter months, the Kangaroo children had the opportunity for weekly field trips to a nearby public library to enjoy a rousing story-time with Ms. Tatiana – better known as “Ms.
T.” Ms. T. is a talented story-teller, delightedly sharing her
love of books, song, finger-plays and movement activities with
young children. Each week, Ms. T. presented a fresh array of
literacy and music experiences, beautifully pacing the sequence
of activities to hold the interest of a diverse group of children.
She captured all of our children’s attention, employing her voice,
facial expressions, gestures/sign language, and various props, as
well as providing many avenues for active participation on their
part. In the vein of the best teachers or performers, Ms. T. was always able to “read” her audience,
and make adjustments to her plan based on their engagement and feedback. When the children were
first learning the “routines” for participation in this new activity out in the community, with an unfamiliar adult, Ms. T. was
always patient, smiling and imperturbable in her presentation.
If you’re looking for an engaging story-time experience to
share with your children, check out Ms. Tatiana’s “Preschool
Story-time” at Soule Branch Library (101 Springfield Rd., Syracuse – across from LeMoyne College). You may call Ms. Tatiana
at Soule (435-5320), or check out upcoming events across the
Onondaga County Public Library system at – just
click on the “calendar and events” link for information.
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Youth & Adult short sleeve
t-shirts now available in
Jowonio Walk of Fame!
Every brick
has a story to tell!
Leave your mark on our new
front sidewalk to be installed
at the bus loop
Sections of the sidewalk
available for
also NEW this Spring…
Jowonio Teddy Bears!
All merchandise available daily in the
Friends of Jowonio office, 2nd floor or
contact [email protected]
to place an order
4x8 brick $50
8x8 brick $100
16x20 wall cap $200
For more information
or to place an order
Contact Kristen
445-4010 ext. 201
[email protected]
The Denny Family Play Perch
is almost ready for visitors!
Special thanks to SU Grad Student Steven O’Hara who
volunteered his time & talents along with his father putting
the finishing touches on Play Perch! We are so excited to see
everyone enjoying this wonderful outdoor classroom!
Jowonio Open
Monday, August 4, 2015
The Links at Erie Village
Captain & Crew Format, noon shotgun
Putting, Closest to the Pin & Longest Drive Contests
Silent Auction & Raffle
Includes 18 Holes of Golf with Cart, Lunch & Dinner
Sponsorship opportunities available
For information and pricing, contact [email protected]
Family Art Experience
This year Jowonio held a Family Art Experience so that children could have fun trying out a variety of
art materials with their families. Classroom teams did a wonderful job creating panels to highlight some
of the ways we embed art into the curriculum. Themes included Light and Shadow, Cars, Trucks and
Things That Move, Loose Parts, Exploring Color, Faces, Sensory and Painting, Weaving, The Gingerbread
Man and Toddler Art.
Ten activities were set up for children and families to explore. Parents were asked to follow their
child’s lead, letting the children decide what materials to use and how to use them. We hoped that this
experience would give parents the chance to see the interest, curiosity, discovery, joy and sense of
wonder that can happen when children (or any of us really) create something without someone else deciding how it should look. Embedding art into the curriculum provides a more meaningful experience. It
was wonderful seeing families having so much fun together!
Jowonio is beginning to embrace something that is called Process Art. When we talk about process art
we are looking at action, not the resulting products. With open-ended materials, children are free to
arrange, combine, experiment in their ways rather than being given a model to copy. Walter F. Drew and
Baji Rankin wrote an article entitled Promoting Creativity for Life Using Open-Ended Materials. “Using
open-ended materials promotes creativity. What is most important in the creative arts is that teachers, families, and children draw upon their inner resources, making possible direct and clear expression.
The goal of engaging in the creative arts is to communicate, think, and feel. The goal is to express
thought and feeling through movement, and to express visual perception and representation through
the process of play and creative art making. These forms of creative expression are important ways
that children and adults express themselves, learn, and grow.”
To go along with this there is a theory of “loose parts” that was proposed by an architect in the 1970's
that is starting to influence more people in the field of education today. Loose parts are any materials
that have no specific directions and can be used and reused in a wide variety of ways. Loose parts have
the ability to become anything in the minds of children and that is what makes them a powerful tool of
exploration, play and learning. Providing these opportunities creates broader possibilities for expression than materials and activities that encourage a single way to proceed. We are exploring the possibilities in a variety of art forms. Children then often take these or similar materials into different areas
of the classroom to enhance their play. People who are designing playgrounds are now incorporating very
different looking loose parts to extend creative play.
“GE hires a lot of engineers. We want young people who can do more than add up a string of numbers
and write a coherent sentence. They must be able to solve problems, communicate ideas and be sensitive to the world around them. Participation in the arts is one of the best ways to develop these abilities.” Clifford V. Smith, President of the General Electric Foundation.
We believe that art is for everyone. We trust that, given the freedom to explore and experiment on
their own with guidance only in how specific tools may be used, children will become more engaged, more
willing to persevere, more confident and able to see possibilities in a variety of situations.
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What’s Happening at Jowonio...
Jowonio Annual Spring Follies
One of the most joyous experiences I have at Jowonio is the annual Spring Follies, where we get to see all our
students performing. The teachers and therapists choose a song the children love, and creatively design movement/dance that allows participation by everyone as they do in the classroom every day. I love this opportunity
to have our whole community together. We get to see the rainbow of our school…preschoolers with many gifts
and needs, from a variety of cultures, communicating in different ways, who have become comfortable engaging
with each other as friends. As they grow up, we hope they will be kind and tolerant and find in themselves an
openness and interest in others and joy in being together.
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Spring Follies
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Social Worker
Couples’ Night Out
Nine Jowonio couples shared a romantic evening out at the
Limestone Grill in Fayetteville for the fourth annual Couples’
Night Out in February. This evening provided these couples,
all parents of Jowonio students who have special needs, with
a romantic evening out of fine dining in the banquet room and
a much-needed chance to spend time together as a couple.
The couples met other Jowonio parents, shared stories about
their families and heard a moving presentation by Judy Miles,
a long time Jowonio teacher and her husband, Norman, who
kept the room in stitches. The endearing couple shared their experiences, challenges and joys as parents raising a son with autism, who is now an adult. Their presentation evoked tears and laughter from
everyone in the room.
This evening is one of many events the Family Support Team is able to provide through our grant from
the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD).
Parent Workshop Series: Feeding Challenging Preschoolers
For many parents, getting children to eat can be a challenge.
There are many reasons why children, especially preschool-aged,
physically cannot or refuse to eat many foods. A group of seven
Jowonio parents participated in a workshop series for 5 Thursday
evenings in February and March to explore this phenomenon. The
Family Support Team was thrilled to welcome back Amy Good, a
dynamic speaker and a Speech/Language Pathologist in Syracuse
for many years, to present this workshop to parents for a fourth
year, thanks to our grant from OPWDD.
The issue of feeding challenges appears to be growing every year for our Jowonio students. We feel
fortunate to be able to provide a workshop for parents to connect with other parents around this
shared issue and to gather new information to be used to further understand and address their child’s
needs. If there are specific concerns you have for your child regarding eating please contact your
child’s teachers or the Family Support team.
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Panera Bread
Thanks to Scott Floyd and Mark McKeon for continuing to pick up and deliver all of the wonderful
bread and baked goods that are donated to us every Monday from Panera in Fayetteville. And of
course, thanks always to Panera for generously providing this gift to us for the past 5 years!
Parents and caregivers: Panera bread is available to families every Monday during the regular school
year and summer session. If your child rides the bus to school and you would like a package sent home
for your family (the contents and amount vary each week), please contact your teacher or the Family
Support Office and we would be more than happy to send one home with your child each week.
Staff Appreciation Luncheon 6/17
Our annual Staff Appreciation Luncheon is scheduled for Wednesday, June
17, 2015. This is a lovely tradition that honors our staff. Every year
we have wonderful parents donate their time, energy and delicious food to
celebrate our staff. Thank you to all who have volunteered in the past.
Please look out for sign up sheets. We will need help with: set-up, donations and clean-up.
At this time of the school year, families, children and staff are preparing for transitions as children
complete this school year and prepare for next year. In my role here at Jowonio I coordinate our partnership with the Syracuse City School District (SCSD) Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK) program.
Jowonio receives funding from the school district for Syracuse City School District students in the
year before they enter Kindergarten (when they are 4 years old). This collaboration provides Jowonio
with curricular supports and funding which provides reduced or remitted tuition for students at
Families of present UPK students have received information about kindergarten registration as they
move on to public school in the fall. Children who are presently here and will turn four years old between December 2, 2014 and December 1, 2015 are eligible register for the UPK program for the 201516 school year at Jowonio. In addition to Jowonio’s registration packet, eligible families should have received registration information which is required for the UPK program. This program is open to available to all SCSD residents as long as we have openings in our classrooms.
While I work only part-time, I can help to facilitate the registration process, and answer any questions
you may have. Cynthia Johnson who works at the front desk assists me in this process and can help
navigate registration, and Amanda and Connie can also provide information.
Karen L. Burns
Jowonio Coordinator for UPK
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Parent Thoughts on Leaving Jowonio
We want to thank Jowonio School and especially Ms. Ellen for giving us the opportunity to
have our daughter at such an amazing school. Our daughter was given a scholarship to at- The supported
tend the school which we would otherwise could not afford. It was such a kind and generous
support to our family. We feel every year is important, but the first few are where the
has helped...
foundation is set, and Jowonio is the right place to build that, thanks to the hard work and
dedication you all bring. The supportive environment has helped our daughter develop more
confidence and interest in learning. The caring teachers provided a variety of learning activities that helped our
daughter develop skills needed for future educational years."
"So again, thank you for the love, support and opportunity you have given us. May God bless you and your wonderful school. We will always hold the great experience in our heart! "
Habiye Belachew & Shewangizaw Yemaneab
Our family moved to Syracuse when our son Conell was one year old. Conell was born at 25
weeks gestation and spent 135 days in the NICU so we were just beginning to experience
being together as a family when we made the move from Texas to New York. We were
considerably nervous about life far from family and friends, especially with our small guy.
Early on Conell's speech therapist Linda Sheedy mentioned how wonderful Jowonio was
and that we had to go visit. Even though I come from a family of educators, some that
work in special needs education, I could never imagine a place like Jowonio being a reality.
...could never
image a place
like Jowonio...
Conell is intensely vivacious and while his boundless energy can frustrate even the most patient humans, he has
really thrived at Jowonio. We are so thankful for the teachers and staff at Jowonio and especially the good
folks in the Kangaroo and Ocean rooms for helping guide that energy and for helping us make the transition into
an inclusive kindergarten program. We will not always live in Syracuse and we will not always have access to great
communities for special education, but we are so thankful that our off-beat boy has this special time here where
everyday for Conell, as he says, is a "good day!"
Courtney and Joe O'Dell-Chaib
It wasn't long after the birth of my daughter that I began hearing of the magical place
called Jowonio. As a new mother of a child that would benefit from various therapies to
help her reach and meet her milestones, my search had begun.
...each child
was given the
to express
I remember researching all sorts of schools, asking questions and touring many. Addison
was 6 months old when I first called Jowonio to ask questions about their education model
and if inclusion was part of it. I liked what I heard and asked for a tour of both Jowonio
and Bernice Wright. I think they all thought I was a bit crazy as Addison was still only six months. After my
tours, and sitting in on a couple classes. I knew without a doubt Jowonio had it figured out!
I loved that each child was given the opportunity to express themselves, learn, and be creative through all learning domains. Best of all and the part that sealed the deal, was the fact that this was all done along side their
peers! Everyone is embraced and pushed, their strengths are supported where there may be gaps. The bar is set
high, attainable goals are made as the kids grow into STRONG, CONFIDENT, ACCEPTING children that see all
their classmates as friends.
Ally Donofrio
Mommy to Addison Donofrio
Page 18
Parent Thoughts on Leaving Jowonio
The experience we’ve had with Jowonio was nothing but the best. Everyone at Jowonio
focuses on developing the whole child and assisting every child at their appropriate lev- ...focus on deel. We have two children, their experiences occurred within the same classroom, yet their
veloping the
experiences were completely different. The needs of my children and the needs of the
whole child...
classes were completely different, yet the love of learning and socialization that occurred
both years will be unforgettable. My family is proud of the growth we had the opportunity to experience at Jowonio. We thank everyone for their concern and care shown to every member of our family, as Jowonio has become a part of ours.
Adam has spent the past two years at Jowonio. His first year he was here everyday and this past year he has
been attending Tuesday and Thursdays. The first year Adam did not want to go, but this year he is excited and
does not stop talking about what he did in school. He is becoming a confident young man. He has shown great
progress and has learned to care about the needs of his fellow classmates. Next year, Adam will be transitioning to Mott Road Elementary.
Daniel Felser
“The child supplies the power but the parents have to do the steering.”
---Benjamin Spock
Jowonio: An Oasis of learning in the desert of public education
...surpassed our
wildest expec- Our daughter was diagnosed with ASD in 2012 and from the time of a short early intervention she was place right into the loving, caring and competent hands of Jowonios staff.
Our daughter, Nadia, has flourished in ways well beyond what her mother and I thought
would ever be possible. The OT, PT and speech teams, the Classroom teachers and staff,
the administration and everyone involved with the mission at Jowonio have surpassed our wildest expectations.
The Bunny, dragonfly and Earth rooms…the dads night out-group, the social workers…exceptionally competent
and caring. Jowonio has not been just a treasure trove of learning for our daughter but an educator for us as
parents of a child with a disability as well. We have been blessed to have the opportunity to know Jowonio and in
turn feel a part of the Jowonio mission and family.
What started out as a fearful beginning for Nadias mother and I, as if wondering lost in a darkened forest with
no food, water or compass, has been transformed into a great adventure with all the tools
we need to climb the biggest of obstacles that lay ahead. Jowonio has not only given Nadia
confidence to do the Zip Line by herself, or to jump, or feel safe to be who she is around
her peers and adults, or to try new foods, but they have given her herself. Another gift
Jowonio has bestowed upon us is the ability to confront the ever changing and fluid landscape of public education by showing us that our voice will be heard for our daughter as long
as we use it and there are people there to help us use it!
My wish is that all children could experience the quality of caring education offered at your
school. If that could happen our future in this country is assured to be a brighter and better one. Jowonio…Thank You so much!
William & Heidi Mitrus
Page 19
Parent Thoughts on Leaving Jowonio
When I (Amanda) started working at Jowonio eight years ago, I had no idea how important
this school would become in my life. I have had the unique opportunity to experience
Jowonio from not only the perspective of an employee, but also as a parent. I could not be
more grateful to be a part of this community, in either respect.
...grateful to be
a part of this
We have had two children at Jowonio, so we have been Jowonio parents for a total of six
years. Abbie spent a year in the Bunny Room and then two years in the Ocean Room and
Mareo spent a year in the Koala Room and then two years in the Ocean Room. We would like to thank all of the
teachers and therapists that have worked with our children, who have helped them gain the skills and confidence
that they needed to freely be themselves. There are too many people to name them all individually, but we appreciate every single one of them and what they have done for our children and our family.
We would like to give a special thank you to Beth Snyder, who worked with our children for a total of four years
and has played such an important role in their lives. She has always been there for us, and we consider her not
just our children’s teacher, but also a friend. We will be sad to see her retire this year, but wish her the best
in the next chapter of her life. Thank you, Jowonio, for welcoming us into your community.
Much Love,
The Higuchi Family
...Jowonio was a
most welcome
With open arms...
From the moment we walked through the doors of Jowonio, to meeting Delani 's teachers,
therapists, and caregivers we were welcomed with open hearts and open arms. After overcoming so many obstacles regarding our daughter's diagnosis and care, Jowonio was a most
welcome change. Delani feels so comfortable at Jowonio, as do her parents knowing she is
in a supportive, loved and safe environment. We are so thankful for the staff at Jowonio,
not only for all they have done for Delani, but for all they have done for our family. Their supportive and empathetic nature reassures us we are not alone on this journey. They have truly changed our lives and provided our
"Lani Bug" with opportunities she would not have had elsewhere. As we transition into kindergarten, our only
regret is that we will have to say goodbye. Thank you for welcoming us with open minds, open hearts, and open
The Thompson Family
I was apprehensive to send my four year old to school this year, however, he begged to go
and we were absolutely thrilled to find Jowonio. My son asks to go to school even on the
weekends and I know that he is in a wonderful, loving environment everyday! I appreciate
the energy, warmth and quaintness of Jowonio. I believe that this year at Jowonio has given my son a positive attitude and fondness for school that will help him as he enters elementary school!
...asks to go to
school even on
the weekend...
Christine & Merritt Harris
Society seems to be pushing children to grow faster, but their developmental tasks have remained
the same. No matter what lies ahead, children will always need to know that they are loved and
capable of loving. Anything that adults can do to help in this discovery will be our greatest gift to
the future.
---Fred Rogers
Page 20
This time of year we talk a lot about transitions with our children, as they move to new places and new
adventures, from the familiar to the unknown. Excitement, anxiety, resistance, and lots of unanswered
questions frequently emerge as we try to prepare the children, as best we can, for their new life away
from Jowonio. This year, after many years in the Ocean Room and at Jowonio, I find myself feeling all
these things as I getting ready to leave a place where I have spent a good portion of my adult life, and
move on to new things.
Throughout the years, I have had the privilege of working with some of the most talented, hard working, and inspirational classroom teachers, therapists, administrators and outside professionals in the
field. I have always been in awe of the patience of the front desk staff as they ward off whatever is
being thrown at them, from every direction, with a smile (even when I’ve jammed the copy machine 5
days in a row). I have learned so much from you all! At Jowonio, I have made friends that will stay
with me forever, and I will always remember fondly all the joy, and even the hard times we have
shared. Mostly, I will remember the laughs, and there certainly has been so many of these!
I have been honored to have been entrusted with the lives of so many children of former and current
Jowonio staff members (Kristen’s Joey, Julie’s Kira and Elise, Mike’s Sofia and Jackson, Brenda’s Megan, Colleen’s Georgia, Adrian’s Danny and Sophie, Amanda’s Abbie and Mareo, Joy’s Ana, Carol’s Josh,
Michelle’s Laura, Monica’s Auggie, Jen C.’s Jaiden and Kieran, Jenny C.’s Cassidi, Anita’s Ian, and Kate’s
Benji), and watching them grow into the wonderful people they have all become. Their successes are
evidence of their loving, caring families.
At Jowonio, I have witnessed first hand time and time again the resiliency of families as their hopes
and dreams are shattered, and they are able to pick up the pieces and make new hopes and dreams for
themselves and their children. I am in awe of their strength, determination, willingness to fight to
make something happen for their child and the wisdom in knowing when to stop fighting and try something new. I have always drawn strength from watching them do the seemingly undoable.
As the demands of outside sources put more and more demands on classroom teachers, we are sadly
beginning to see less and less commitment to inclusion in the public school system. I am so grateful
that my granddaughter, Samantha, had an opportunity to be a part of Jowonio as a frequent visitor and
as a student in both the Earth Room and Waterfall Room. Sam looks at the child in her neighborhood,
who many find challenging to play with, as a friend. She recognizes and asks questions about the differences, but never sees the differences as worthy of exclusion. That she learned from Jowonio.
Most of all, I will miss the wonderful children of Jowonio. Being with them has taught me to be more
patient, expect more, speak out when something is not right, be quiet when it doesn’t need to be said,
laugh more, skip things and go outside if it’s sunny, play a game if everyone’s grouchy and never give up.
I’ll miss you all!
Page 21
Thank You
We have all learned and grown so much over the course of the school year. We would like to
take this opportunity to thank the families for sharing their amazing and inspiring children with
us. We appreciate family support, donations, and involvement. We will miss the kiddos headed
off to kindergarten; please come visit! Thanks for a wonderful school year.
A special thank you goes out to all the Earth Room Families. You make it possible to do the
things we do! You greet us with smiles and enthusiasm each day and you support our efforts
with your own time and resources. We have thoroughly enjoyed this year and we thank all of
you for sharing your beautiful children with us. We will certainly miss them all! Be sure to
come back and visit us!
The Star Room would like to thank our wonderful families for sharing their amazing children.
We appreciate all the parent involvement and availability when we need you. We will miss those
transitioning on to Kindergarten and welcome those returning! Thank you for a great year.
The Dragonfly Room teachers would like to thank the Dragonfly parents for their help this
year. Thank you for coming on field trips and for participating in our classroom activities, Thank
you for sharing your delightful children with us. It has been a pleasure to be a part of their
young lives.
The Kangaroo community sends big hugs and “thank-you-s” to Ana Knoblock, for sharing her
many gifts with us this year! Ana’s high energy and enthusiasm, her sense of humor and fun, as
well as her winning ways with kids will all be missed. We wish her well in her new job, teaching
at Troy Prep Charter School, in the Albany area.
Kangaroos also feel so lucky, and grateful, to have Ellen Donovan join us for the rest of this
year. Ellen returns to Jowonio (her roots!) after teaching for many years in the Syracuse City
School District. Ellen’s keen eye, insights into how our kids “tick,” and calm leadership are valued gifts. Welcome, Ellen!
The Ocean Room teachers would like to thank all our families for entrusting us with their entertaining, creative children. We love them all, and will miss those who will be leaving us this
summer and fall. Many thanks to all the families who have helped us with field trips this year,
and to Kristen Antonacci who always supports the Ocean Room in so many ways.
Page 22
Thank You
The Bunny Room teachers would like to say thank you to all of our parents for sharing your children with us. We want to thank our college students—Natalie and Audrey— for all your help.
And, we want to extend our sincere thanks to Tara Barfoot for her wonderful music on Fridays.
The Waterfall Teachers would like to thank all of our families for sharing their amazing children with us this year! We wish all of those moving on the best of luck, and look forward to seeing those returning in the fall. "Make new friends but keep the old; one is silver and the other
Sunflowers would like to thank all our families for the gift of your children and for all the ways
each family has contributed to make this year a remarkable one. Thanks to all our families who
have donated materials & time to support our classroom. Also, thanks to all our families who
have chaperoned fieldtrips to farms, and other fun fieldtrips. A big thank you to our families
who have come into present, demonstrate or discuss their family traditions. You have helped to
make our classroom what it is today.
The Koala teachers would like to thank all of our families for sharing and entrusting your precious children with us. They have made such progress this year and it has been wonderful
watching them grow. We want to thank all of our families for everything they’ve donated. A
special thank you to Rory Lawrence for organizing the classroom parties as well as the parents
that supported them. It has been a fantastic year!
To our incredible families at BHNS, We appreciate all you do! Thanks for volunteering in the
classroom and for the school, joining us on field trips, and for your many other thoughtful
gifts. Most of all, thank you for sharing your amazing children with us!
The Bernice Wright Jowonio teachers would like to thank all of our families for sharing your
children with us this year. We have enjoyed getting to know all our wonderful families and we
want to thank you for your continued support!
Page 23
If you teach children what you know,
they may remember enough to follow in
your footsteps, but if you teach children how to learn, they can go anywhere.
3049 East Genesee Street
Syracuse, NY 13224
Phone: 315-445-4010
Fax: 315-445-4060
E-mail: [email protected]
Our mission is to provide model inclusive programs for young children,
where diversity is celebrated and all are free to learn and grow.
Jowonio is dedicated to:
Creating innovative educational setting where children of all abilities are
full participants, encouraged to reach their potential.
Offering a wide range of therapeutic and family support services.
Providing training and development for teachers, therapists and parents
in collaboration with educational institutions and community agencies.
Advocating for the inclusion of all children in schools and in society.
I had the pleasure of interning here at the Jowonio School for my senior year internship. I attend Syracuse University for Social Work and Child and Family Studies. I was fortunate enough to work under both
Emily Vercelloni and Melissa Hyman on the Family Support Team. From the two of them alone, I have acquired an abundance of knowledge and I greatly appreciate them for taking me under their wing and instilling their wisdom and experience upon me.
Jowonio not only defines what diversity is, but embraces it in every way possible.
When I discuss this internship, the first thing that comes to mind is the assortment of families that embody the term diversity from every standpoint. Disability does not discriminate and affects those regardless of gender, age, race, culture, socioeconomic class, education level, and employment status, etc.
Due to the level of tolerance that has been established at Jowonio, a warm sense of community emerges.
It is evident by the interactions of each the parents, teachers, office staff, therapists, members of administration, and the building and ground keepers. They each come to work with the desire to support our
special children based on their unique identities. As a result, Jowonio illustrates the existence of a diverse and accepting world where differences are celebrated, but also embraced.
Breanna Turner