Mrs. Moore Joins College Advising Team

Mrs. Moore works with the upper school as our College Writing Advisor. With a masters in religion and literature from Yale Divinity School and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Florida, Mrs. Moore has helped many students get accepted into their dream colleges with remarkable college essays. Mrs. Moore loves having one-on-one conversations with her students, who, as a part of preparing for college, are required to reflect on their interests and their high school careers thus far. While helping her students write college essays, she advises them to be authentic.

“Figure out what you love and love it hard,” she said. “Find that thing that’s exciting to you and lean in.”

Mrs. Moore believes that the convergence of the mission of ACA (to form knowledgeable, virtuous citizens) and what colleges want to see, meet at students being “awake”. She strives to help her students become awake to their dignity and responsibility. In our achievement-based culture, Mrs. Moore reminds her students that the purpose of college is to become the best version of oneself, not to receive prestige and accolades. 

Before moving to Atlanta, Mrs. Moore grew up hiking, fishing, and enjoying the outdoors in Tellico Plains, a town of 900 people in East Tennessee. While Mrs. Moore appreciates her sense of independence from growing up in such a small town, her high school education left her wanting. Throughout all of high school, Mrs. Moore was only assigned one book to read so she spent most of her time in the public library, which did not contain any Shakespeare.

Mrs. Moore received her bachelor’s from Carson-Newman University and her masters from Yale Divinity School. After graduating from Yale, she worked for a cultural center in Connecticut called Grace Farms where she built a bookstore. She oversaw the curation of the books and the literary programs. Christian Wiman, Mrs. Moore’s advisor at Yale and the editor of Poetry magazine for many years, knew Mrs. Moore wanted to teach. He recommended her to the Florida MFA program where he had recently visited and met many students, including Mr. McClactchey. After Mrs. Moore graduated from the University of Florida with her MFA, she then taught for the University of Florida and worked for the University Press of Florida. When Mr. McClatchey applied to be the American Literature teacher at ACA, Mrs. Moore was asked to do a teaching demo for 6th grade. Loving the students so much, she cried afterward.

“I was so moved. I found the students so bright, and I loved our conversation, their curiosity and imagination, and how polite, serious, and funny they were. I loved 6th grade. It was awesome.”

Mrs. Moore then took the job as the 6th grade literature and composition teacher.

Two years later, Mrs. Moore joined the college advising department when she gave birth to her daughter Penelope. Mrs. Moore loves to write and work with older students while still spending time with her daughter.

The 8th Grade Report and Meeting: A Cherished Tradition at ACA

On any given spring-semester morning in the resource room, you are likely to find 7th and 8th grade teachers discussing the perfect epithet for an 8th grade student. This marks the third year of one of ACA’s most cherished traditions: The 8th Grade Report and Meeting. Beginning in January, members of the 7th & 8th grade teacher team – led by Ms. Younker, Middle School Dean – meet with parents and their students to review a printed “report” about each student that includes a custom epithet: a 2-3 word summary of the student’s best attributes. These are meant to mimic the heroic epithets in the The Iliad which students will read in 9th grade. On each report, teachers have collaborated to write a message identifying the student’s core strengths, and individual teachers write lengthy anecdotes about their favorite moments with and qualities of that student. At the meeting, teachers encourage students about who each one of them has been in middle school and who teachers imagine they can become in high school if they keep cultivating their talents and growing in virtue. 

February Freeze: A Community Success

In February, Atlanta Classical’s administration and health services team invited students and families to participate in the first annual February Freeze challenge to limit social media and technology use as a school community. The middle school team created a House competition around these challenges, and many students, their parents, and ACA’s leadership team committed to accepting the challenge. 

At the beginning of the month, the team surveyed middle and high school students to learn how social media impacted their lives. The survey revealed that 31% of 6th-12th graders rated the value of social media in their lives at either a 1 or 2 out of 10. 40% said they used technology 3+ hours per day, and most reflected that they wished they used it less. Some of the quotes from the survey included: 

  • “My phone is something I wish I could be freer from.” 
  • “Technology is the best and worst thing in my life.” 
  • “I find myself drawn to my phone and use it to escape reality.” 

As the month progressed, parents shared noticeable differences in their students as they limited technology:

  • “My student started practicing the drums again.”
  • “My student started reading again.”
  • “My student hosted a party with his friends, and everyone put their phones away. They had such great conversations!” 

Many parents also noted that their children went to bed without any complaints. Overall, the February Freeze challenge has been a game-changer for many families, and the school looks forward to its second rendition of the challenge next year!