Children in the Jamestown School District perform well -- despite the many economic challenges of the district.
Lonnie Palmer, a representative of the New York State Association of Small City School Districts and a member of the Center for School Improvement Planning team, offered that analysis of district financial and academic challenges during a meeting of the Jamestown School Board on Tuesday night.
The planning team, which assembled the district report card, was established to help districts signed on to the State Contract for Excellence incentives -- requiring improvements in several areas, including reduced class sizes and after-school programs.
Though Jamestown has several areas in need of improvement, Palmer said, it should not be considered a Contract for Excellence district. Among those areas in need of improvement: language arts test results and Hispanic and special-education student performance.
"Jamestown is not far below average among the comparable districts in Hispanic students, but the problem is that Jamestown is at the top of the charts in just about every area," he said.
"I wouldn't be here if Jamestown didn't believe in finding out where the problems are and putting them out front so they can solve them," Palmer added.
Jamestown School Superintendent Ray Fashano said Palmer's report validates district efforts at making improvements and is a map to reap further results.
"I've always said, if a student comes to Jamestown and they are motivated, they have more opportunities in our school system then anywhere I can think of," he said.
Palmer also said that even with limited funding from the state, Jamestown has done extremely well.
"Considering that for 30 years, Jamestown has been underfunded by the state, and the folks here have stayed behind the district, the staff has worked hard, and they're outperforming what you predict," he said. "That's pretty amazing."