SCHOOL'S MASTER PLAN VISION //  To provide J. S. Jenks with an interactive, educational, and environmentally friendly schoolyard that allows children to play, learn, socialize, and enhance their physical development.

 To view the schools master plan click here 

PROJECT SUPPORT //   The Big SandBox (TBS) is proud to support J. S. Jenks, its parents, students, staff and community as they reimagine their schoolyard.  Special thanks to the students of Iowa State University and Professor Bambi Yost, University of New Hampshire Stormwater Center, and Mt Airy USA. The Mt Airy Schools Coalition is part of the TBS #DIGPhilly campaign. #DIGPhilly is a 2015 winner of the Knight Cities Challenge, which seeks ideas to make cities more successful by helping them keep and attract talent, expand economic opportunity and create a culture of civic engagement.

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit Knight Foundation




J.S. Jenks is located in the northwest corner of the city of Philadelphia and sitting in the northeastern part of the Chestnut Hill neighborhood. The neighborhood of Chestnut Hill is one of Philadelphia’s most desirable neighborhoods. It has over 200 professional and sustaining members and is one of the most environmentally friendly residential and business corridors in the country.


The Big SandBox, Iowa State University, University of New Hampshire Stormwater Center and Mt Airy U.S.A. have partnered with six schools that comprise the Mt. Airy Schools Coalition: AB Day, Emlen, Henry, Houston, Jenks, and Lingelbach schools.  Each school is being provided a master plan,  a written report and set of schematic drawings that set forth the structure for future campus improvements.  Through these master plans, each school has articulated a vision that speaks to the desires of the school and surrounding community.


The second largest land holding in Philadelphia is a patchwork of weeds, crumbling concrete walks, and lonely basketball hoops astride a sea of cracked asphalt. City schoolyards—and their visual cues—reflect harshly on the personal character of their communities.


In an era of failing schools, economic injustice, poor childhood nutrition, and a national deficiency in environmental education, schoolyards can reverse economic decline, catalyze a neighborhood, and reinvigorate a city. Only two other cities in the United States have managed to fully rebuild their elementary schoolyards: Denver and Boston. Neither did so with an eye toward green infrastructure, Philadelphia will be first to transform schoolyards into multiple-use facilities that have such versatile and exponential impacts on neighborhoods and communities.