Ca r t e r D o n ova n Lower School Math: 1979-2016
In fourth grade, her colleague Bill Hritz reported, “Carter always makes math learning engaging, but her activities and games are always based on solidifying skills and understanding concepts.” One unit in the third grade math program that the kids loved is the business unit. The students would design and create a product to sell and then were required to convince the “bankers” to approve and fund their proposals. In May, the bankers, Ms. Penny Pincher, Ms. Stella Steal-a-dolla’, and Ms. Moneybags—the last of whom bears a surprising resemblance to Carter—arrived on campus. They met with the third grade entrepreneurs and scoured the plans, offering sound advice. The future entrepreneurs enjoyed the ‘real world’ experience. These students and alumni/ae may know Carter as the teacher with the infectious laugh, but I know her as a professional, dedicated in every way to the education of each student. She had individual folders for each child, with work leveled to just their capabilities; not too easy, but pleasantly challenging. Every day, Carter would grade their papers and ﬁnd just exactly what they needed for the next day. In her instructional time, she clearly explained the foundational concepts and inspired the children to strive to higher understanding of the concepts—all the while making the math lots of fun! It was a regular occurrence for Carter to arrive at school and have the students in her room, secretly decorating her white board with ﬂowers, hearts, and sayings like “I y you,” “I love math,” and “You’re the best.” One wrote, “- + y = Carter x 10.” What I really want to say is that Carter is an experienced, solid educator! If you asked her favorite area of math to teach, she’d probably say that teaching logic is the most satisfying for her students; that’s when, with just the right logic puzzle, students have the “Ah-ha” moment and then ask for more. Besides teaching the academic subject of math, Carter herself says that her high-quality relationships with her students are her most treasured memory of her years of teaching. She truly is an unusual, dedicated teacher.