'Learners don't quit'

Cary Ashby • Sep 5, 2019 at 10:00 AM

The concept of active listening wasn’t working for Jim “Basketball” Jones

So he came up with the phrase “patient listening” because he said “active and listening usually aren’t friends.”

Jones, during a high-energy assembly Wednesday morning at Maplehurst Elementary, taught the students to wait for someone to finish talking, then figure out how they feel about what the person said and then “respond with effort and kindness.”

The assembly was the start of the PBIS (positive behavior intervention supports) program at the school.

“Our three main themes this year, which were kicked off by ‘Basketball’ Jones, were: Be safe, be a friend and be a learner. We will touch on those three main things throughout the year for our kids to learn about,” Principal Ken Moore said.

Jones “caught” preschool, kindergarten and first-grade students being kind and appreciative. He gave a new basketball to one child because he said “thank you.” Jones also awarded students and a teacher with “Basketball” Jones pens and pencils for being attentive, sitting up straight and behaving.

“Bring happiness to school on your face (and) in your heart,” he told the students. 

Another message Jones shared was the power of consistent practice and effort. To reinforce his life lessons, Jones broke up the messages in small parts and had the children repeat them.

“We all learn over time with practice — only if you stick with it,” Jones said. “If you’re going to do it, do it right.”

The Avon Lake resident shared the power of persistence, especially since the students might be doing challenging and difficult things during the school year.

“We won’t quit. Learners don’t quit; that’s how you learn,” said Jones, who led a Maplehurst assembly in September 2017.

Moore was asked what what he hoped the students learned during the assembly.

“Enjoy coming to school, enjoy being around each other and helping each other,” said the principal, who appreciated Jones’ message of putting in an effort. 

“In preschool, kindergarten and first grade, that’s what we want the kids to do — is to try new experiences and just to try things. One of the great quotes he had here was ‘friends include friends’ and that’s what we’re going to post in the school.”

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