Mr. Joseph Walsh
John F. Kennedy Primary School is a child-centered K-4 school with high standards and expectations for educational excellence, citizenship, responsibility, kindness, and respect. There is a subtle spirit that can be sensed when entering our school; that spirit is our warm, caring, dedication to all of the children we have the privilege to serve. We are committed to providing a balanced, challenging and comprehensive education that empowers every student to achieve his or her full potential as a lifelong learner and contributing member of society.
Our skilled, professional staff has a strong commitment to the delivery of instruction based upon best practices in teaching and learning. Our teachers work and plan together, creating an instructional program that is highly conducive to student learning and staff professional growth. By closely tying professional development to school learning goals, all staff members are encouraged to make meaningful contributions to classroom performance, creating a culture of active leaders and learners within our school. This focus on continuous improvement ensures that our instructional and support staff members are current and knowledgeable in delivering research based instruction which emphasizes problem solving, the construction of knowledge, and differentiated teaching strategies to meet the learning needs of individual students. In addition, staff members across our grade levels have attended professional development seminars in The Responsive Classroom approach to teaching and learning which emphasizes the development of a positive, respectful, caring, learning community that promotes the development of both academic and social competencies.
The collaborative culture that we enjoy serves to improve our school’s capacity to help all students learn and achieve. Toward this end, we provide several co-teaching classrooms. Co-teaching classrooms represent the collaboration between one general and one special education teacher or E.S.L. teacher for the express purpose of educating, teaching, and maintaining full responsibility for all students who are assigned to their classrooms. With our student-centered approach to teaching and learning and the use of effective instructional models, all students have the opportunity to achieve to their potential and experience success.
Our integrated and comprehensive curriculum addresses the educational and cultural needs of a diverse student population. It is multi-faceted and challenging with cross-curricular connections in literacy, mathematics, science, social studies, art, music, library, technology, character education, and physical education. Additional special school programs include: Response to Intervention, Speech, and E.S.L. programs.
We provide a comprehensive literacy program through Good Habits, Great Readers and Being a Writer, which includes read alouds, shared reading, guided reading, independent reading, modeled writing, shared writing, guided writing, independent writing, and explicit word study instruction for spelling and phonics. Our literacy instruction is informed by research related to how children learn best and recognizes each child as an individual learner within a community of readers and writers. Our students are actively engaged each day in a purposeful instructional process of becoming fluent and competent readers, writers, and thinkers.
In addition, our students work in partnership with our parents to take the “Million Minute Reading Challenge”, in which students are challenged to read 1,000,000 minutes outside of school by the end of the school year. The “Million Minute Reading Challenge” is a single-minded mission of the school community, involving not only the students, but also parents, PTO members, teachers, and staff as well.
Other key components of the program include: a custom designed logo, which is displayed throughout our school, including a banner on the front of the school; a display case in the main lobby and custom made signs hanging from the ceiling; weekly reading logs to track progress; announcements made every Friday, highlighting the top readers at each grade level, most improved readers, as well as the top reading classroom in each grade and a “Golden Book Award” displayed outside the top reading classroom’s door each week. Our school celebrates with a "Million Minute Celebration", which includes an awards ceremony to present Kindles to the top readers, medals to the most improved readers and recognizes all of our students for their accomplishments.
Our research-based mathematics program is Math in Focus, which provides a variety of learning materials and instructional approaches. The program builds conceptual understanding within a concrete/pictorial/abstract model. The program focuses on the application of knowledge acquired, real-world problem solving, the communication of mathematical ideas and provides balanced, differentiated instruction to meet the individual learning needs of our students.
Our collective goal is to establish a life-long love of learning and provide a purposeful, productive learning environment where children can explore, create, learn and grow both academically and socially. An undeviating focus on student learning and our students' well-being, development, and achievement are the compelling motivators within our professional learning community.