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Classroom of the Month: Meet third-grade teacher Latasha Jones

Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 8:20 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Meet Latasha Jones: a third-grade science and math teacher at Astoria Park Elementary School in Tallahassee. She’s worked there since 2018, passionately educating her students and showing them the wonders of STEM.

But the eager educator is often saddened by her students not having what they need.

One of the biggest things Latasha Jones wants for her third-grade students is for them to have individualized hands-on learning objects, known as ‘manipulatives.’

She says these educational blocks and shapes help kids learn math easier.

But, because of COVID-19, Jones has only one set of objects that she has to demonstrate to the class with, instead of each student getting the hands-on experience.

“The kids, they really don’t understand fully that I can’t touch it, but they know they need to touch it in order to fully understand it,” explained Jones.

Jones says if she had more manipulatives, students would be able to have their own without sharing.

She says because Astoria Park is a Title-I school, they try to avoid asking parents to buy things.

But that leaves Jones constantly heading to the stores, buying supplies with her own money.

“It is very heartbreaking. I think I cry to my mama maybe twice a week,” shared Jones.

Jones said she buys headphones a lot so her students can use computer programs without being distracted. Because she pays for them out-of-pocket, they have to be the least expensive ones.

“They do not last long. They literally last about three weeks at the most. Then the kids start saying, ‘Ms. Jones, I can only hear out this ear’ or ’Ms. Jones, it’s falling apart,’” explained Jones.

That’s when she knew she had to turn to DonorsChoose, a nonprofit organization that allows individuals to donate directly to public school classroom projects. Since their founding in 2005, they’ve helped fund over 1 million classroom projects. Jones hopes the donations will help with providing each student with better quality equipment and individualized learning tools.

“The smallest thing to a teacher, honestly counts. We can literally make the most out of anything that you give us,” said Jones.

If you’d like to help Ms. Jones, visit our website and click on “Community Classroom” at the top of the page. You can search for her name and find a link to donate.

If you’re a teacher who is signed up on DonorsChoose, please reach out to WCTV anchor Lanetra Bennett, and we can help you get what you need for your classroom. Her contact information can be found on our website.

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