“Telling the Stories of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community”

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“Telling the Stories of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community”

VIEWS: 1960 November 4, 2020

Accelerated Learning Academy Teacher Honored for World Teachers’ Day

By Chris Picciuolo

For World Teachers’ Day on Monday, October 5, Salt River Schools Accelerated Learning Academy social studies teacher John Paul “JP” Jones was honored for his exemplary work by Salt River Schools partner and fast-food restaurant Whataburger.

Accelerated Learning Academy principal Jama Nacke said that the team was asked by the Human Resources department to think about the person who exemplifies the highest dedication to teaching the students, and who has gone above and beyond during the pandemic.

“So, after thinking about that, and knowing what all JP has done for the school, I wrote up an application describing some of the things he has done for the families of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community,” said Nacke.

“He’s literally available 24/7. You know, as teenagers do, they work at all hours of the day. It could be at 3 a.m. He has volunteered on the weekends and picked up and delivered computers for the students. As a staff member, he really goes above and beyond.”

Jones was asked to meet with school staff at the restaurant on a day during fall break, and he was caught off-guard when he rode in on his bike.

“It was quite a surprise, to be honest with you, because I was told by my principal that we were having some meeting to plan out the future with the Education Department. All of the sudden we’re sitting there, starting this meeting, and there are balloons,” Jones said.

When asked if he plans on sharing his recognition with staff, Jones chuckled, “Unfortunately, we can’t hang out together [due to the pandemic], but I could buy everyone Whataburger because they gave me a $250 gift card.” He also received a couple of Whataburger blankets, a $250 Visa gift card and a couple of Yeti tumblers.

“It’s nice to have awards like this, for sure. As with most teachers, that’s [winning an award] not what we’re in this for. It’s always nice to be recognized, but then I start thinking about all of my other teammates and it’s definitely a team effort. The recognition could have been given to any one of us.”

The Accelerated Learning Academy is an alternative charter school that serves students age 16-21. Ninety-eight percent of ALA students are members of the SRPMIC.