No Place Like Jones

Parent Updates for the Week of January 17, 2022

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Principal Corner

Versión en español


Dear Ira B. Jones Families:

I hope everyone is staying warm, healthy, safe, and enjoying the snow. My family and I got about 18" of snow where we live. We've tried to make the best out of being stuck at home by watching movies, reading a few books, and spending quality time together. I hope this time for you has proven to be productive as well.

Students return to school on Wednesday, January 19. Please send your student dressed in layers and a coat, hat, and gloves. If your child needs any of these items, please let us know.

If you don't already receive text, email, or phone communication from the school or the district, don't hesitate to contact Devin Browning, or Data Manager, at 828.350.6707 or so she can update your setting in our automated system. You can also check our school's website and Facebook page for updates.

Stay Safe,

Ruafika A. Cobb


Celebrating the Life & Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" Speech | History
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The Great Kindness Challenge

The world can use some extra kindness right now, and Ira B. Jones Elementary is going to deliver! Jones Elementary School students will participate in the 11th annual Great Kindness Challenge the week of January 24 - 28, 2022, and we enthusiastically invite our entire community to join in and cheer them on.

The Great Kindness Challenge, presented by the global nonprofit Kids for Peace, was launched with three Carlsbad, California schools in 2012 to address bullying and foster connection, inclusion, and compassion. The annual program has multiplied in enrollment each year, having grown to nearly 17 million students in 33,000 schools, reaching across all 50 states and 115 countries.

While the excitement of The Great Kindness Challenge is enormous, it is the simple acts of kindness that prove to be the biggest hit. Some of the items on the checklist are: wave at 25 people, help your teacher with a needed task, read a book to a younger student or sibling and safely sit with a new group of kids at lunch. Big or small, every act of kindness makes a difference.

When you notice a Jones student completing an activity from The Great Kindness Challenge Checklist or a random act of kindness, we would like you to document their efforts by taking a picture of them during their act of kindness. Please send your photos of your Jones student to We will display the images submitted on the monitor in the front office of Jones Elementary school and on our social media pages.

Thank you for supporting our Jones students in the Great Kindness Challenge. We look forward to seeing their kindness in action!

We are planning a spirit week! More details will follow soon.

Notes from the Counseling Corner with Ms. Courtney, School Counselor

Strategies That Teach and Build Empathy in Children

Students learn to feel and show empathy over time. Students around the age of eight or nine begin to develop the cognitive skills necessary to understand the concept of empathy. However, even five year olds are concerned about being treated well, and they want others to be treated well too. Empathy is skill students need extra help to develop. Adults can teach children to recognize and show empathy in situations throughout each day. A student who shows empathy is able to understand and appreciate the thoughts, feelings and experiences of someone else.

When students are learning and developing empathy, there are specific things you can say and activities you can do to help them enhance this skill. Here are several ways to develop empathy in your student:

Show empathy to your student when they are upset

Being sensitive to how your student feels can help them understand what it’s like for other people when someone shows empathy.

Model Empathy in The Moment

When your students show a lack of empathy in a social situation, model empathy for them. While one intervention may be to correct your student in the moment, demonstrating empathy on the spot can be a powerful learning tool. Demonstrate what empathy would look like in that moment and invite your student to join in with you.

Praise Empathetic Behavior

When your child performs an act of kindness, tell him what they did right while being specific as possible. “You were very generous to share your pretzels with that other child. I saw them smiling and I knew they were happy.

Raise Awareness of Nonverbal Cues

Try looking at pictures or watching TV shows on mute. You can help your student identify and label the emotions of the people they see. This is good practice for recognizing and identifying signs of different emotions in real life.

Be Ready to Change Tactics Slightly

If the “How would you feel….” strategy isn’t working, move the spotlight to yourself. Talking about how you felt can be a subtle, helpful change. It helps your student focus on another person’s feelings.

Use Role Play

Developing empathy shouldn’t be a chore for your student, there are ways to make developing a new skill fun. You can sit on a bench at the playground or at a shopping area. Try to guess the mood of people who walk by and explain what cues made you think a person was feeling happy, sad or mad. This type of game helps your student tune in to how expressions, body language, and tone of voice can explain how someone is feeling. Additionally, have your student put themself in the other person’s shoes and role play the situation.

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Friday, January 14 - Remote Learning Day

Friday, January 14th, was a remote learning day. Every student had a printed packet sent home with them if they were present on Thursday, January 13th. We also left some printed packets at our main entrance if your child was absent or did not get one. You may also contact your child's teacher to email a packet to you directly. Students have until January 24th to turn in their completed packet and be marked present for Friday, January 14th.

Don't hesitate to contact your child's teacher if you have questions.

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Upcoming Events

Middle-of-Year Reading Benchmarks: January 10 - 31. Teachers will work with students to assess their reading skills.
  • January 20th and 27th - Open House Tours 3:30 pm - 6:30 pm for enrolling families (2022-2023 school year) (TBD - be on the lookout for updates regarding tours)

  • Friday, January 14: End of Quarter 2/1st Semester

  • Monday, January 17: Holiday, no school

  • Tuesday, January 18: Optional Teacher Workday, no school for students

  • Tuesday, January 25: Report cards go home

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Please do not send their students to school if they have ANY of the symptoms. When a student has symptoms, we have to isolate them and call parents. We are also waiting on more tests, so it can sometimes be a long time for a child to be waiting alone. I realize students can develop symptoms at school, which is a different situation, but if you notice any symptoms at home, please do not send them to school. Communicate with Josh Rigsby, our COVID Coordinator, and he’ll be in touch about the next steps. You can reach him at or 828.713.4615.

Student attendance is not the only attendance affected by COVID. Our staff also follow the same protocols, and we often have staff out. This means other staff members fill in and help to help out. The difference between a typical one-day-only short-staff situation and COVID short-staff situation is that we often have multiple days in a row where we are short-staffed. I’m asking for your understanding and grace as we do our very best to keep kids safe, communicate with parents in a timely manner, and provide an excellent educational experience every day for our students.

Ira B. Jones Elementary School

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Ruafika A. Cobb

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