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Jowonio Day

Dear Jowonio Parents,
On Wednesday May 15, 2024, our school will start a new tradition in storytelling and learning.  Jowonio Day is a time for students and teachers dive into the rich history of this unique school and explore the meaning behind inclusive education during the school day. Plus, we’re encouraging all students, parents, and staff to proudly wear their Jowonio t-shirts as a symbol of unity and pride to Family Fun Night!
It was 1969…
Let’s journey back in time together as we uncover the fascinating story of Jowonio’s origins. Did you know that 55 years ago, Jowonio began as one classroom in an old synagogue building on S. Crouse Street? Led by Peter Knoblock (PhD) and a dedicated team of teachers, doctoral students, and volunteers, Jowonio started with a mission to redefine education through inclusivity.
Under the visionary leadership of Director Ellen Barnes, Jowonio flourished, expanding to six classrooms on Bassett Street by 1980. Today, our school boasts 11 vibrant classrooms, nurturing 156 students and led by 98 dedicated staff members. The name “Jowonio,” chosen by our very first class, reflects our commitment to setting minds free, creating a place where diversity is celebrated, and all are empowered to learn and grow.
What if every school was a Jowonio?
Inspired to imagine the possibilities of inclusive education, we ask: what if every school embraced the Jowonio model? What if children of all abilities learned and played together seamlessly, just like they do here?
On Jowonio Day, classrooms will participate in thought-provoking discussions, asking Jowonio kids questions like:- What are the best things about the friends in our classroom?- If you could work at Jowonio when you grow up, what would you do?- Why is it important for all our classmates to play together?
When Jowonio started, there was only us. Now inclusive education spans the globe. We hope for even bigger strides for equal educational access for the future.
Share your story
But our journey doesn’t end there. We invite families and students to connect and share their Jowonio stories. Your experiences are important to us. Reach out to Hanah at [email protected] to connect, reminisce, and inspire future families and students!
You can directly support our inclusive education mission and ensure it continues to thrive for future generations.

GIVE to the Jowonio School Agency Fund at the CNY Community Foundation. Donations directly support the educational programs and therapeutic interventions that make a difference in children’s lives and sustain our mission.

Together, let’s envision world where inclusive education is the norm and every child has the opportunity to thrive. Join us as we celebrate #JowonioKid, champion #Inclusion, and the very first Jowonio Day!
Warm regards,
Hanah Ehrenreich
Alum, Parent, former Board member

#JowonioDay #InclusiveEducation #DonateToday
A Sunflower kid reads the children’s picture book “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” while sitting on the Dragonfly bench in Jowonio’s front hallway. A pillow with the words: Jowonio 1970 sit beside her.


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