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Heather Jones Named AAFCS 2019 National Teacher of the Year

By Sophy Mott posted 05-07-2019 09:56 AM


AAFCS Recognizes 2019 National Teacher of the Year for Program Teaching Youth Communication and Appropriate Use of Technology

Family & Consumer Sciences Prepares Students for College, Careers and Life

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Alexandria, Va. – Today the American Association of Family & Consumer Sciences (AAFCS) officially announced Heather Marand Jones, M.Ed., CFCS, Family & Consumer Sciences Teacher and Career & Technical Education Department Chair at Carl Sandburg Middle School in Alexandria, Virginia, as the AAFCS 2019 National Teacher of the Year.

Sponsored by Goodheart-Willcox Publisher, the Teacher of the Year award recognizes exemplary teachers who utilize cutting-edge methods, techniques, and activities to provide stimulus and visibility to family and consumer sciences (FCS) in elementary and secondary education. Jones will be honored at the AAFCS 110th Annual Conference & Expo in St. Louis, MO, on June 24 during the Opening General Session. Jones’ FCS program, "Perfect Platform: Using Family & Consumer Sciences to Teach Communication and Appropriate Use of Technology," focuses on the integration of 21st century skills, specifically communication and appropriate use of technology, as a means of mastering traditional FCS content. By focusing on the need to be able to communicate and effectively use technology, Ms. Jones’ FCS courses move students beyond the high-stakes testing environment and helps them develop skills for navigating college, careers, and life.

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. (Ironically, those conflicts were often borne of social media or texting use.) She grasped that a creative approach to teaching Family & Consumer Sciences at Carl Sandburg Middle School (CSMS) might help, and, thus, the CSMS FCCLA chapter led the school’s embrace of using social media to communicate and share messages with the community. In 2014, her students obtained permission for the creation of the school’s first Twitter account, @CSMS_FCCLA. As student social media use increased, Ms. Jones encouraged students use social media posts as parts of a written reflections.

In 2018, Ms. Jones and the Dominique Price, the CSMS Librarian, pushed students further while providing a safe space to channel their creativity, practice their written and spoken communication skills, and build technology skills. Jones and Price collaborated and received a $10,000 grant for audio-visual equipment and editing software to supplement students’ devices. Currently, approximately 150 FCS 7 students are currently working in collaborative groups to plan, write, film, and edit Public Service Announcements (PSAs) about FCS core content topics including but not limited to kitchen and food safety, food preparation, recycling, clothing care, health and wellness. By the end of the 2019 school year, almost 300 7th grade students will have been touched by this approach. The finished PSAs serve as authentic formative and summative assessments for the mastery of FCS content.

About the American Association of Family & Consumer Sciences (AAFCS) Based in the Washington, D.C., area, AAFCS was founded in 1909 as the American Home Economics Association and is the only association for family and consumer sciences students and professionals across multiple practice settings and content areas. For 110 years, AAFCS has focused its mission on providing leadership and support for professionals whose work assists individuals, families, and communities in making more informed decisions about their well-being, relationships, and resources to achieve optimal quality of life. Through research, experiential education, and technology, our members help people develop the essential knowledge and skills to lead better lives, be work and career ready, build strong families, and make meaningful contributions to our communities.

About Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) Family and consumer sciences or FCS is the field of study focused on the science and the art of living and working well in our complex world. The field represents many areas, including human development, personal and family finance, housing and interior design, food science, nutrition, and wellness, textiles and apparel, and consumer issues.