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Meet the CCSD Teacher: Jessica Mooney of Ball Ground ES STEM Academy

Meet the CCSD Teacher: Jessica Mooney of Ball Ground ES STEM Academy

We’re proud of our CCSD family’s dedicated teachers … and every week, you’ll get to know one of them better through a Q&A posted here. #CCSDfam



Jessica Mooney
Ball Ground ES STEM Academy 
Fourth-grade English language arts teacher 

What’s the most innovative idea that you’ve tried in your classroom? 
Last year I began a student goal setting initiative that was tied directly to student learning targets and success criteria.  Rather than just earning external rewards, students reflected on their success and areas of growth and then selected charms they added to their goal lanyards to represent their growth and achievements.  It was a great motivator and helped students become more accountable for their learning and growth. 
Who is the best teacher you ever had and what made him or her special?
The best teacher I ever had was my ninth-grade social studies teacher.  During the year, my family had some rough events happen and he knew I was struggling.  Rather than just leaving me behind, he would always take the time to check in on me, give me extra notes when I missed school and give me feedback on tests and quizzes to help me understand my mistakes or errors.  Other teachers didn’t do that during high school.  I may not have gotten through that year successfully without his support, feedback and encouragement. 
What can parents do to prepare their children for learning?
One of the biggest things parents can do to prepare their children for learning is to talk about learning and school in a positive way, even if their own learning experience wasn’t ideal.  As a teacher (and parent), I can say I truly want to work as a team with parents to help children succeed.  So, giving students the opportunity to start school with a positive mindset and create their own learning experience, with the support of amazing parents, is important.  Parents also need to be willing to allow their students to have some healthy struggle.  Struggle and challenging ourselves is where growth happens!  
What are the obstacles to getting all kids to achieve?
I genuinely feel like we are overcoming many obstacles that have been in the way of learning.  We differentiate to meet students where they are, we help students develop growth mindsets and we have more supports in place.  Often, the biggest obstacle can come down to perseverance.  Learning takes time and practice, regardless of the task (sports, art, dance, etc.).  When students believe they can do hard things, have supporters who believe in them, and a positive attitude, they can overcome most obstacles!