Golden Apple: Andrew Jones, East Side Elementary

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WDEF) – Andrew Jones knows that communication is key for exceptional education students. He just started at East Side Elementary last August, but kids in his class are already making great strides toward independent learning.

Jasmine Farrow is the Assistant Principal.

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She says, “Mr. Jones is fantastic. He joined our faculty this August, and he has revamped our special education, our multi handicapped classroom. He has just brought a positive and open spirit, and his students are doing amazing things and we cannot brag about him enough.”

Mr. Jones explains, “I got into the special world when I met my step brother who has down syndrome. Growing up, I had really no idea about special education and so, on that note, he inspired me to get into this field and to care for these kids. They just need a little extra push, support. Every student that I have has made some sort of progress in some capacity this year. We have kids who were never able to communicate on their own that are now communicating. Small things from finishing a task on their own when in the past they needed full support.”

Greg Wilkey is the Principal at East Side.

Mr. Wilkey says, “He (Andrew Jones) is absolutely dedicated to the children in his multihandicapped class. He is determined to get them out in the regular classroom settings so that the entire school knows them.”

Colleague Rachel Olivo says, “Mr. Jones is changing lives every day, with the kids he works with, he shows them complete an unconditional love every day. He teaches them how to grow in every single way that they can. He finds their strengths and pulls them out.”

 

Mr. Jones concludes, “I want them to be as independent as they possibly can; to be able to communicate to the best they are able to, and it all starts here at elementary, even younger. At this age, we start as early as we can. They learn all of these skills so that they can generalize later on down the road.