Kathy Jones: Whatever it takes to engage her students
Updated: Apr 14
Kathy Jones of Hanford Community Day School always wanted to teach, but her plans were initially to teach music. However, after a couple of years in college, she met the man who would eventually be her husband, and her plans changed. The two of them were self-employed for many years when eventually Kathy realized self-employment wasn’t what she wanted. After going back to school at Chapman University, Kathy got to do what she always wanted: teach.
Now doing what she was meant to do, Kathy Jones is still constantly learning. “I went to a lot of personal conferences that I felt I needed,” said Kathy, “because the kids are changing. They’re more ‘techy’ and wanted more involvement.” With an emphasis on personal learning, Kathy orients her classroom to engage the interests of her students.
She is in a unique position at her community day school. “I’m teaching kids from 9th grade through 12th. I have to use visual [learning]; I have to use kinesthetic. I have to do everything I can think of to try to reach them.” For many kids at Hanford Community Day School, they’ve had more than one previous expulsion and are behind where they need to be in the math classroom. Kathy is driven and focuses on giving her students the tools they need to do grade-level work. “I don’t care what it takes,” said Kathy with a laugh. “I’ll probably do it. I use everything I can think of or get from other teachers.”
Though community day school is a non-traditional setup, Kathy functions well in it and meets the needs of her students. She has quite a positive outlook on it all. “We’re blessed,” she said. “If these kids were in a normal classroom, they either disrupted it badly or were able to hide. My largest classroom is seven or eight, so they can’t hide.” In these small classrooms, Kathy starts with a warmup where everyone is engaged at the board. She sees who is struggling and where the problem is, so she can immediately work with students who need help.
Kathy takes her job seriously and is aware of the challenges. “Education is in a tough spot,” she said. “We need help,” is how she succinctly summed it all up. “It’s not just our facility, but it’s everybody everywhere.” Despite the challenges, Kathy speaks very highly of her experience at Hanford Community Day School and is singularly focused on getting her students caught up to be successful.
Photos courtesy of Kathy Jones