No Place Like Jones

Updates for the Week of 11.8.21

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Principal Corner

Versión en español


Dear Ira B. Jones Families:

World Kindness Day is coming up - November 13, 2021. We plan to celebrate World Kindness Day at our school on Friday, November 12, 2021.

World Kindness Day is a global day that promotes the importance of being kind to each other, yourself, and the world. The purpose of this day celebrated on November 13, 2021, of each year is to help everyone understand that compassion for others is what binds us together. While kindness is more than a moment at Jones and is an expected value we each practice every day, we will use this day to learn, observe and celebrate kindness to ourselves and others.

Ideas and Simple Ways to be Kind

Being kind doesn't need to look or be extravagant. Sometimes the simplest things make the most significant difference! Here are a few simple ideas and ways to be helpful on World Kindness Day in the workplace, at school, with your loved ones, or even while out running errands. Look for opportunities while you go through your day to infuse kindness into someone's day. It'll change their day and yours for the better!

  • Smile when you walk by others
  • Write positive messages on post-it notes and leave them for people to find
  • Call a relative you haven't spoken to in a while
  • Tidy up around your house
  • Pick up trash you see on the ground outside and throw it in a garbage can
  • Hold the door open for someone
  • Compliment someone
  • Tell a family member or friend you love them
  • Give a surprise gift to someone you care about
  • Send a kind card or note to a friend
  • Surprise co-workers with home-baked cookies or treats
  • Plant a tree
  • Talk to someone new
  • Practice gratitude
  • Volunteer
  • Give someone a hug

At school:

  • Include others to play
  • Put a nice note on someone's desk
  • Help tidy up the classroom
  • Give someone a turn
  • Talk to someone who looks lonely
  • Give someone a compliment
  • Listen to someone and really pay attention
  • Share

I encourage you to use our school's website, our Facebook page, the district's Back to School Updates Website and follow us on Twitter @Principal_IBJ as sources of information.

As a school leader and a parent, I understand the necessity of healthy communication between families and the school. I welcome your questions, celebrations, or concerns at any time. You can reach me by calling the school (828-350-6700) or via email (

Thanks for your continued support,

Ruafika A. Cobb


Ira B. Jones Elementary School

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Dance Fit - PTO Fundraiser

Ira B Jones families!

We have officially started our Ira B Jones Dance Fit! Thank you to everyone who has already registered their students!

If you haven’t registered yet, you can do that by logging on to MYBOOSTER.COM and entering your family’s details.

Donations are OPEN! If your family is not in a position to financially support the school right now, you can still be involved by SHARING about our fundraiser with friends and extended family online. Sharing IS supporting!

You can donate and share on MYBOOSTER.COM.

Our Students Will Dance on Tuesday, November 9th!

Thank you for all your support of Ira B Jones Elementary!

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Upcoming Important Dates

November 1 - 9: PTO Booster-a-thon Fundraiser

November 9: Dance Fit Event!

November 11: Holiday, no school students or staff

November 17: Picture Retake Day

Monday, November 22nd, and Tuesday, November 23rd: Required Teacher Workdays for all ACS staff and "no days' for students.

New Additions to the Ira B. Jones Community!

Meet Kathleen Gragg

Kathleen - she goes by Kathy - is a new EC Teacher at our school.

Kathleen W. Gragg earned her B.S. in Special Education in 2006 from Western Carolina University and graduated in August 2021 with a Masters in Special Education with a concentration in Severe Disabilities. Kathleen was a recipient of the Road to Learning and Earning OSEP Federally-funded scholarship funded through Western Carolina University. Kathleen has been teaching with Asheville City schools for 16 years. She began her teaching career at Asheville Middle school. During five years in this position, Kathleen was awarded the ARC special education teacher of the year for her commitment and dedication to the families and students at Asheville Middle school. In 2011, Kathleen was asked to continue the efforts of inclusivity and effective transition planning at the high school level for students with disabilities. In 2017, Kathleen was awarded Asheville City Schools Exceptional Children teacher of the year. At the high school level, Kathleen’s taught students on the Occupational Course of Study diploma track as well as the Extended Content Curriculum. In September, Kathleen transferred to Jones Elementary to pursue her passion for students on the Autism spectrum.

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Meet Lucy Abell

Lucy Abell is a 1st Grade Academic Support Assistant at our school.

Lucy Abell is a graduate of Asheville High School and studied acting at UNC Greensboro. She moved back to Asheville as the pandemic began in 2020 and has been working with students in Mrs. Elinor Earle’s after school homework program Youthful HAND. She is an artist of many mediums, including fashion, production design, painting, songwriting/singing, and photography in addition to the theatrical arts. Lucy is delighted to join the Jones team as Mrs. Leppard’s 1st grade TA and excited to engage the kids with creativity and authenticity.

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Meet Margerat Alison Bellavia

Margert - she goes by Alison - is a new EC Instructional Assistant at our school.

Alison comes to Jones from Asheville Middle School, where she was a Sign Language Facilitator, and then an Instructional Assistant in the Adaptive Curriculum class. She has worked with individuals who have Developmental Disabilities since 1997. Her experience includes having worked with all age groups, including preschool age children, elementary school, middle school, high school students, as well as adults in group homes. Along the way, Alison fell in love with American Sign Language and the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community. After many years of trying to juggle going back to school with raising a family, working full-time and caring for elderly parents, she obtained an Associate’s Degree in Interpreter Education from Blue Ridge Community College. She also has completed the Early Childhood Credentials course at A-B Tech, has received specialized training from the TEACCH program for working with individuals who have autism, and was a licensed CNA for some time. In all her years of experience and learning, one piece of advice from her Early Childhood classes has proven to be a guiding principle for Alison’s dealings with students: “Catch them being good.” She tries to keep a mindset of always looking for the positive in the students she has the privilege of working with, and finds that is a never-ending source of joy. Alison and her husband of forty-five years have two grown children and six grandchildren. They share a love of music, and both play musical instruments. Alison played viola in the Asheville Symphony for several years, from the late seventies, to the early nineties. She also taught in what was then called the “Strings in the Schools Program,” and taught private lessons for students on the violin, viola and piano. A serious shoulder injury limited her ability to play, but not her love of music. When she and her husband are not enjoying their family, they are active with their volunteer work, and they love hiking and canoeing.

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Pre-pandemic picture, showing students my name sign in ASL

Meet Edith McDowell

Edith - she goes by Edie - is a new 5th Grade Teacher at our school.

Edie McDowell, a native North Carolinian, is thrilled to join the Ira B. Jones community as 5th grade teacher for the 2021-22 school year.

Over two decades of educational leadership experiences have afforded her invaluable training in innovative, experiential education. Within the past decade, she has helped establish four local alternative schools, most recently serving as Director Mountain Discovery Charter School, a K-8 Expeditionary Learning school located near the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Swain Co, NC. It is Edie’s conviction that rigorous project and inquiry-based learning opportunities serve as a catalyst for discovery and genius when learners are empowered to follow their dreams and are taught how to set realistic measurable goals with high standards for achievement, culture, and quality work. Edie is committed to helping students become lifelong learners with the capacity to practice inquiry, conduct authentic research, analyze data, synthesize their results, and effectively communicate their conclusions, both critically and creatively in the context of making our world a sustainable and better place.

Edie attended Mars Hill University for her BA in English, graduated Cum Laude, and continued with graduate studies in English and Experiential Education at Wake Forest University.

Edie loves working with teachers to collaboratively design regional place-based learning experiences that involve students in doing the work of real scientists, historians, writers, illustrators, mathematicians, and inventors! She is grateful to live in a state that encompasses both the ancient and beautiful Southern Appalachians of western NC and the coastal shores of eastern NC.

Edie is inspired by adventures on the trail closeby, just as well as by learning expeditions farther afield and around the world. Her hobbies include photography, long-distance running and hiking, art, writing, reading, crafts research and revival, dance, and botanical illustration. Edie has two daughters, Eleanor Gwyneth and Emma Claire, both attending college this year. She also has a woolly Siberian Husky named Huxley, and a Maine Coon cat named Artemis.

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A Message from Our ACS Communication Director

In partnership with Buncombe County Health and Human Services, a vaccination clinic with Pfizer pediatric doses for 5-11 year olds will be held at Asheville Middle School, located at 211 S French Broad Avenue in Downtown Asheville, on Saturday, November 13th. In addition to pediatric doses, all three vaccines will be available if other family members need a first dose, second dose or booster.

Similar to previous COVID-19 clinics, the November 13th clinic will take place in Asheville Middle’s gym from 9:00 AM until 4:00 PM.

The no-cost clinic is open to all North Carolinians ages 5 and up, and no appointment will be necessary. However, if you need your second dose or booster, please bring your vaccination card so it can be documented appropriately.

As you may have seen as part of the district's Community Update shared each Thursday, there's a new face to the Ira B. Jones campus. Josh Rigsby is our school's COVID Coordinator, and they're here support to our school in navigating the complex world of COVID exposure, quarantine and close contact guidelines. Therefore, if you have any COVID-19 related questions, please feel free to reach out to them at (828)713-4615 or by email at

A Message from Ms. Boone, Our Art Teacher

Dear Ira B. Jones Families,
In the next few weeks, we will be making some folk art. We would love some donations from the following list

Olive oil
Coconut oil
Solid Veggie oil (Crisco Vegetable Oil)
Sodium hydroxide (sold at Lowes in plumbing section)
Essential oils
Gel food coloring
Rock salt
Dead Sea salt
Kosher coats salt
Regular table salt
Small ziplock bags
Clean Jars with lids (recycled or new)

Thank you in advance,
Ms. T. Boone