The second-graders in Jessica Villanueva's class at Suisun Elementary School know how to maximize the impact of technology in their classroom. They use Google Slides to put together presentations and iMovie to create book trailers promoting their favorite stories. Along the way, students learn research skills, collaborate with their peers, and hone their public speaking skills as they present their work to the class, parents and community members.
Villanueva reinforces the Teach 4 Success strategies used throughout the high-need K-5 school, engaging students in academic conversations, checking in frequently to assess their understanding, facilitating student interactions, maintaining student engagement, and differentiating instruction. Her class activities include fun, hands-on problem-solving strategies that students will carry with them throughout their learning and in the real world.
Villanueva's background in special education helps her meet all learners' needs in her current general education classroom. She plans lessons so they are accessible to all learners and volunteers to take students with academic and behavioral challenges into her class, where they blossom and thrive. All of Villanueva's students show academic growth each year in reading, writing and mathematics. When the school piloted Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessments for English Language Arts (ELA) and math, Villanueva's students turned in some of the highest scores.
Highly respected by the school community, Villanueva serves on the Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS) team, leads the teachers in her grade level, and participates in the district's Units of Instruction Revising committee. She has participated in English Language Development (ELD) implementation teams, planned and presented professional development showcasing her renowned classroom management techniques, and supported the school's transition to a Trauma-Informed School.
A district mentor teacher who advises new teachers both at her grade level and in special education, Villanueva invites parents and community members into her classroom on a regular basis, where they read to students, provide administrative support and lead PTA events. Villanueva helps students run the school's CIA (Character In Action) store every Friday and has built partnerships with local restaurants, businesses and libraries. Parents request her for their children, and her students come back to visit her year after year.
Villanueva earned a Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) in elementary education and special education in 2007 from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
"I know I'm succeeding as an educator when I see my students take risks without fear of making mistakes. That's when I know they feel..." (read more)