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Valley art teacher working to keep students inspired at home

Posted at 4:57 AM, Nov 20, 2020

PHOENIX — A teacher in the Paradise Valley Unified School District is doing all she can to help her students stay engaged when they go home again to learn.

Charlie Jones has spent 30 years teaching almost every subject. She is an art teacher now at Palomino Intermediate School near 29th Street and Greenway Road in Phoenix. For Jones, getting to work with these kids is a dream come true.

Coming out of quarantine this fall, she watched these students use paint, oils, markers, and chalk to express themselves freely in a safe zone.

“Art gives them an outlet to relax and connect. I’ve seen them work together and show each other respect as they encourage one another to create," Jones said, noting that some of these kids face unthinkable challenges at home. She’s seen them flourish since they’ve been back at school this fall which makes going home again heartbreaking.

“They are inspired to come to school. They show up early and stay late. They have so much pride in this art space. It’s a place that they helped to create. They love to be here! We all do!”

But COVID-19 is changing things up again. On Monday, her students will be back to online learning. The news is really tough to swallow for all of them who simply find joy here.

To make this work, Jones is figuring out a way she can to keep her students inspired through art away from the classroom.

She posted her mission to keep kids engaged at DonorsChoose.org. Now, the online fundraising platform for teachers is offering to match donations dollar-for-dollar for the next seven days.

“I figure putting together art supplies in 400 separate Ziploc bags won’t be easy but nothing good ever is. These kids are worth it. And I’m determined to make sure they know it!”

Want to help? Go to DonorsChoose.org and search for "Art The Fuel that Enriches the Quality of Life." Use the code “LIFTOFF” to get a dollar-for-dollar match.