Sandburg teacher wins national award

Heather Jones

Carl Sandburg Middle School teacher Heather Jones was named the 2019 National Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher of the Year earlier this month.

The American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (AAFCS) selected Jones for the award, citing her methods for using technology to help teach students to be better communicators.

“Five years ago, Ms. Jones realized that students were struggling with using technology while also having difficulty passing the 8th grade English Standard of Learning Assessments and handling social conflicts,” the AAFCS said in its announcement. “She grasped that a creative approach … [and] led the school’s embrace of using social media to communicate and share messages with the community.”

Jones has taught Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) at Sandburg since 2012, where she is the FCS and Career and Technical Education department chair. She also serves as a mentor to a first-year teacher, advises the school’s FCCLA chapter, Real Food for Kids culinary teams, and Crafty Cooks after-school club, according to an FCPS press release.

“[Jones] is credited for doubling student enrollment in [Sandburg’s] FCS Department,” Pegi Wright, president of the Virginia Affiliate of AAFCS, said in the FCPS press release. “With 18 percent of her students having special needs and another 38 percent receiving free and reduced lunch, her success stems from technological expertise and subject matter knowledge that afford teaching the curriculum in a variety of ways to meet the needs of each student.”

Jones and her students participated in the Real Food for Kids’s annual Culinary Challenge, where the students received the Gold Star Award for their Black Bean Burger with Mock Guac and Kale Apple Salad.

“She seamlessly integrates sewing and culinary activities, while incorporating 21st-century skills into her instructional practices,” Sandburg principal Darwin Barker said in the press release. “Heather works to raise the awareness about career and technical education competencies, preparing students for a promising future.”