Alonzo A. Crim Open Campus High School, Atlanta, GA: Margaret Manns-Jones, who teaches early childhood at Alonzo A. Crim Open Campus High School under principal Dr. Angelisa Cummings in Atlanta, GA, is a busy educator and a happy one. From the time she was a student teacher, she has cherished a single ambition—to help every child she teaches. And she’s doing just that through her Education Program and Family-Ties Day Center, which provides hot meals and care for children of teen parents. The center also helps students with referrals to housing and other agencies.
Manns-Jones encourages her students to reach beyond the high school diploma and think about the world and their place in it. She regularly invites speakers into the classroom to give her students insights into practical life skills such as health and nutrition and budgeting time and money. She models the behavior she wants her students to follow by taking an extra step or two to help others.
Margaret Manns-Jones helps teen parents and their children get on track through the early childhood program
That quality is clear in the operation of the Day Center, which allows teen parents to stay in school. “We accept babies at three months, but if I see that we can help a student meet his or her goals, I’ll accept a younger child,” she said. This year, Jones and fellow instructors Kathy Kemp and Patricia Williams applied for and received a $100,000 grant from AARP to help defray the operating costs of the center, which she runs with the help of three assistants and students from her education classes. “The teen parents assist, of course, but many other students volunteer as well,” said Jones. She loves to see the babies and their young parents grow. “I have been blessed to witness so many success stories.” She watches with pride as teens, some of whom are homeless when they come to the school, overcome their challenges and succeed.
Jones encourages involvement in Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA). Through this club students perform community service and become responsible citizens. “My students actually accomplish more than FCCLA requires,” said Jones. And that’s not surprising with this busy, happy educator as a role model.