Aired Wednesday May 28th, 2008 at 8:00 pm
Golden Apple Award Recipient Denise Jones
An Enterprise Elementary third-grade teacher has been awarded one of six outstanding educator awards for the PTA's 2008 Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Education. The Utah PTA Golden Apple Awards 2008 premieres on KUED-Channel 7 Wednesday, May 28, at 8 p.m. This special program features the awards ceremony, in combination with on-site footage shot at Enterprise Elementary.
The PTA honored Denise Jones, selected from numerous teacher nominees from nearly every school in Utah. Jones's nominators, Kim Drake, PTSA (Parent Teacher Student Association) president, and William Johnson, Enterprise Elementary School Principal, describe her as the "go-to" teacher for the school and the PTA for all science-related activities.
Johnson says Jones is famous for the science component she incorporates into her classroom. "The students in her class do not learn merely by reading about concepts; they are given hands-on experience. When they study the life cycle of chickens, for example, she brings her own personal lamps and incubators, and the students thrill as they watch as the eggs are turned and heated, and eventually hatch. Many members of the school community (students, staff, parents) drop by to observe when the hatching begins."
He said her visually exciting classroom also abounds with student-constructed laughing Eskimo masks, mini-habitats, caterpillars/pupa/butterflies, and owl pellets to be dissected to see what the owl has eaten. "Her third-grade classroom is the epitome of hands-on experience," he notes.
Students in Jones's classroom keep daily journals which Jones reads and responds to in writing each day. To keep parents informed about their child's classroom progress, a weekly folder is sent home.
During the science fair season, Jones opens her classroom and the library and gives individual direction for students who want to do a science project but have little or no home support.
Jones extends her students' learning beyond the classroom. Working with the PTA as the Faculty Coordinator for "Red Ribbon Week," she helped children plant red tulip bulbs in the fall so that the tulips would bloom in the spring, and students could again review and reflect on the importance of saying "No!" to drugs. Her class conducts anti-littering projects that benefit the community. After collecting litter, students design junk sculptures.
Jones acquaints her class members with the operations of a community through visits to businesses and offices. Students visit the local post office to observe how mail is handled; the local fire house to try on the heavy-weight firemen's gear; and City Hall to discover where city bills are paid.
Jones arranges for her students to perform holiday entertainment at the local Senior Citizens' Center and plans an annual out-of-town field trip to Southern Utah University, where students visit the college farm. During this visit, the children feed the lambs and learn about agriculture.
Jones says she believes that parental involvement is vital to the success of children in the educational process. "When parents assist their children with homework assignments, listen to their children read aloud or read aloud to their children, they send the message that they value education as a crucial part of their children's lives."
Principal Johnson said Jones is a trained reading recovery advocate and works with a struggling student each day. PTA President Kim Drake says Jones is especially gifted with students who are having a difficult time educationally or behaviorally. "She seems to be able to instill in them the confidence and control they need to accomplish what is being asked of them, thereby increasing their self-esteem, along with their perception of what they can accomplish."
The Golden Apple Awards are funded in part by the Emma Eccles Jones Foundation, Utah Education Network, Educators Mutual Insurance Assoc., and the Utah Education Assoc.
The Utah PTA Golden Apple Awards 2008 premieres on KUED-Channel 7 Wednesday, May 28, at 8 p.m., repeating Sunday, June 1, at 6 p.m. Video clips and interviews with each award recipient can be seen on the KUED web site: http://www.kued.org/goldenapples
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