Jamestown Community Center: growth, leadership, and collaboration
November 15, 2022
In the first of our community partner spotlight stories, ICCE had the chance to talk with Luis Bautista, Jamestown Community Center program manager at Longfellow Elementary School.
The goal of Jamestown Community Center is to “create healthier communities and to enrich the lives of our underserved youth and families” through academics, arts, sports, and “socio-emotional development” (jamestownsf.org). At Longfellow Elementary School this involves holding students to “a high level of responsibility and respect,” said Luis, working their way to growth and leadership through whichever activity reaches them best.
This adaptive, individualized approach is an essential component of Jamestown’s work, one which Luis has adopted from his first days on the team. He recalls working with two Longfellow Elementary students who had recurring problems with listening to their teachers. Talking with the students, he found a common ground: soccer. A soccer player himself, Luis offered after-school soccer lessons to the students as an incentive to listen to their teachers. Through this connection the students gradually made progress in the classroom. Luis has approached this and other instances at Longfellow Elementary with a growth mindset: “This is a situation to make a better outcome for the student,” he said.
Now at four years with Jamestown, Luis continues this growth-oriented approach. “I find it easier to test things first,” said Luis, a method which he imparts to the SF State students working with Jamestown. The process is to “test, get feedback, learn what works,” he said. Jamestown emphasizes this flexible approach because the roles of their staff, and of SF State student volunteers, vary based on the needs of the classroom. This variety, from conflict resolution to running a class, is especially relevant for Gators who aspire towards teaching careers.
Collaboration is a key aspect of Jamestown’s work. “We allow teachers to teach their own way,” said Luis: “… we have a team mentality. We’re not here to compete with each other, we’re here to learn and grow together.” This extends to the families at Longfellow Elementary, who Luis said offer continuous help and support.
What’s next for Jamestown? In addition to their upcoming Winter Showcase event, they will soon expand their offerings by collaborating with a reading specialist. With people like Luis as part of the Jamestown team, these are bound to be great for the growth of Longfellow Elementary students.
To learn more about Jamestown Community Center, go to www.jamestownsf.org.
To learn about service learning and internship opportunities with Jamestown, find them on SF State ULink at https://icce.sfsu.edu/sf-state-ulink.