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Conkwright special education teacher helps children love learning

Conkwright special education teacher Jennifer Cooper has an important job, helping kindergarteners with special needs become learners.

Cooper has been working at Conkwright for three years, and in the district for 13 years. Before becoming a special education teacher, she worked as a kindergarten assistant.

“It’s rewarding to be able to help kids out,” she said. “To go into the classroom and if they’re struggling with something to be able to help them so they feel confident in themselves and successful.”

Much of Cooper’s job includes finding ways to adapt the school’s lesson plans to each individual student she works with, which can sometimes be more difficult than it sounds.

“I think just figuring out how to take the content they’re learning and being able to modify that to help them out can be challenging,” Cooper said. “Every student has the ability to learn, and every student can succeed but every student learns differently. Being able to individualize the instruction for each student is challenging.”

She said her favorite part of the job is seeing her students each morning, getting hugs from them and being able to talk to them.

While Cooper focuses on the special-needs students in Conkwright’s kindergarten classes, she said she and the other special ed teachers working with different grades often assist each other.

“Our special education team works well together,” she said. “We all know each other’s kids and we help each other out. So even though I’m just in kindergarten I know all the other students as well.”

She said this has allowed her the opportunity to watch students she taught in kindergarten progress on through their education, a rewarding experience.

“I love watching them grow from when they’re in kindergarten all the way up to middle and high school,” Cooper said.

At home, Cooper said she enjoys spending time with her two daughters and other family and friends. She also does Zumba and said she enjoys going to church on Sunday.