Dalton High School Nurse Bliss Jones is Dale Cook Award Winner
In her role as a school nurse, Bliss Jones is used to caring for sick students. She is not used to measuring the distance between individuals to determine a close contact of someone who may have been exposed to a serious illness. But Jones, who is the school nurse at Dalton High School, not only handled hundreds of contact tracing situations at the school related to COVID-19 over the last year, she also took on the responsibilities as the district's COVID-19 coordinator. For her outstanding work in helping the school and the district through the global pandemic, Jones was named the 2021 Dale Cook Support Educator of the Year in Dalton Public Schools.
The award, given only for the second time, was created by the family of former Dalton educator Dale Cook and the Dalton Education Foundation in 2020 as a way to recognize those support staff members who have made significant contributions for the educational opportunities of children in Dalton Public Schools. This award recognizes staff members who operate in behind-the-scenes roles that help the district run smoothly. A support staff member is defined as a non-certificated, non-classroom position at either the school or district level.
Jones received four nominations for the award. A long-time teacher at Dalton High School said in her nomination of Jones that, "Nurse Bliss has gone above and beyond what anyone would expect to help our students, faculty, and staff stay healthy and informed."
She noted the endless hours that Jones spent researching and disseminating information to staff, contact tracing, having to make uncomfortable and unwanted announcements to students and staff regarding quarantines, helping everyone to understand our situation, and keeping staff and students as healthy as humanly possible.
But what really stood out was Jones' attitude. "Ms. Jones did all of this with the most respectful and kind demeanor possible. She has been a comfort to us all in this most stressful of years and well deserving of this award."
Nominees were judged based on their interactions with co-workers, their impact on the district, their work ethic and overall attitude. Winners receive a commemorative plaque and a check for $500.
Another nominator highlighted how Jones persevered through the constant challenges. "I am not sure how she came to work every day knowing that she would probably have to deal with disappointed, scared, and angry students and families, but she kept showing up and she did it with a smile and a positive attitude. I think Bliss truly exemplifies what DPS is all about. All it takes is a quick scan of the daily news and social media to know that DPS is blessed and lucky to have her in this position. It is my sincere belief that she is one of the main reasons that we were able to safely return, and stay, face-to-face."
Another nomination noted that Jones took on the role of COVID coordinator without hesitation. "She serves DPS with pride, passion and skill every single day. She has been working around the clock to make sure that all of our schools were prepared for this unprecedented year. She loves her students and staff, and she cares for them with compassion. She has been there to answer countless questions, relieve concerns and sort out confusions this school year. The entire district and every student have benefited from her organization and leadership"