CA Curious

Innovation on Vacation

August 24, 2023

Have you ever wondered what our teachers are up to during their summer breaks? Each year, many CA faculty spend their well-deserved summer vacation on professional development opportunities that translate their interests into incredible learning opportunities for our students—in the classroom and beyond. 

Cary Academy offers two major grant programs to support the professional development of our faculty during the summer months: the Friday Fellowship and the Innovative Curriculum Grant.

So, what exactly did our tireless teachers work on this summer through these grant programs?

Kendall Bell, Heidi Maloy, and Charlotte Kelly, Upper School science teachers, received a collaborative fellowship to interweave DEI work into the chemistry curriculum, incorporating a broader range of scientific, cultural, and professional examples of who contributes to our understanding of chemical concepts, with the goal of giving all students the opportunity to see themselves doing chemistry.

Lauren Bullock, Middle School language arts and social studies teacher, received fellowship funding to participate in the Kundiman summer retreat for Asian American writers.   Participation in the retreat not only helped to sharpen Lauren’s own skills as a writer, but also enabled Lauren to foster connections to the writing world as the language arts team searches for more diverse voices to add to the Cary Academy literary canon and even invite onto campus.

Tamara Friend and Danae Shipp, Middle School science teachers, received a collaborative fellowship to research and develop a plan for creating a dedicated STEM space in the Middle School building.  Tamara and Danae attended the 2023 ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) conference with a focus on sessions and exhibitions related to Makerspace development, and also conducted site visits to local schools and public libraries with Makerspaces. They used the information they gathered to produce a layout and equipment acquisition plan for a pilot STEM space to be housed in a first-floor science classroom, with the goal of having the space outfitted and ready to use late in the first semester or early in the second semester of the 2023-24 school year.

David Kaufmann, Middle School math teacher, received a fellowship to participate in the 2023 ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) conference to learn more about supporting student learning through gamification, coding, and technology-enhanced projects that encourage both application and creative expression. David used the conference experience to design three new digital projects for his math classes.

Ty van de Zande, digital arts and coding teacher, received fellowship funding to undertake a visualization project using hand-made glass objects to model fundamental concepts and principles of computer science. Ty produced a set of models built from glass, photos of the glass models, photo documentation of the building process, and a write-up describing the models and how they represent the fundamental processes. Through the photography process, the glass models can be combined and arranged with other glass models to represent a real computer code program. 

Crystal Bozeman, Middle School learning specialist, and Katie Taylor, Middle School language arts teacher, received a collaborative grant to create a “Leaders in Literacy” program to support Middle School students in developing their literacy skills, especially reading and writing. The new program focuses on teaching the science of reading and writing and strategies that will work across texts, emphasizing hands-on activities that give students active and engaging ways to build their literacy skills.

Kara Caccuitto, Upper School English teacher, received grant funding to develop a new English elective for juniors and seniors on Magical Realism. The majority of anchor texts in the new course are of Latin American origin, giving students a chance to explore the art, history, and culture of this part of the world.  Students also have ample opportunities to demonstrate their understanding of the characteristics of magical realism through a variety of creative self-expression activities, including producing a podcast, compiling an electronic cookbook, and developing a poetry or song anthology.

Sam Krieg, Upper School Spanish teacher, received a grant to develop a new Spanish elective focused on Spanish for business use. The course provides opportunities for students to communicate with professionals from throughout the Spanish-speaking world representing a range of commercial endeavors, including hospitality, banking, agriculture, and education. Students also have the chance to learn about, and reflect on, the (in)equalities of business relationships at different levels and to explore the essential roles of immigrants in different commercial contexts.

Kristi Ramey, Upper School math teacher, received grant funding to create a new model for Calculus 1 that expands access to the course content by creating both a regular and an advanced pathway within the same class. Kristi’s work focused on creating appropriately differentiated assignments and assessments to meet the needs of both groups of students, as well as appropriate supplemental materials for those students opting to pursue the AP exam.

Erick Crepsac, Middle School math teacher, was selected to participate in the Teachers Across Borders Program in Southern Africa (TAB-SA). Erick was part of a team of American math and science teachers who traveled to South Africa during the summer to conduct curriculum-specific workshops with their South African colleagues from rural schools, sharing methodology, techniques, and pedagogy in STEM content areas.

Written by Martina Greene, Dean of Faculty


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CA Curious

Employee Appreciation Week

CA Curious

Where PomPoms Meet Professional Development

November 17, 2022

I certainly didn’t expect organizers waving pompoms enthusiastically in welcome or debating the merits of jellybeans versus chocolate with a complete stranger (shout out to Houston Kraft for this icebreaker) when Kevin Rokuskie first described the Association of Middle Level Educators Conference (AMLE).

As it turns out, there may have been nothing that could have prepared me for the sheer explosive energy of thousands of middle school teachers and faculty combined into one convention room, ready to connect and share their passion for educating the world’s preteens.

Held November 3 to November 5 at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in Orlando, AMLE featured a weekend jam-packed with moving keynote speakers, rotating “speed session” workshops, and illuminating presentations on everything from social emotional learning to community engagement to the very tools helping to keep our classrooms running.

Prior to our arrival Kevin and I had spent weeks preparing our presentation on last year’s brand-new virtual reality in Egypt activity, “History Made Real: Learning Ancient Civilizations and World Religions in Virtual Reality.” For 15 minutes at a time, we would explain to other educators and administrators how the collaboration between a sixth-grade Language Arts and World Cultures teacher and an Education and Technology Support Specialist resulted in a week of some of the highest student engagement all year using a combination of Z-Space, VR headsets, and MERGE Cube technology. To our delight, our table ended up becoming one of the most popular attractions during the speed sessions, resulting in meeting a university professor who was excited to learn from us how to implement VR into her post-secondary curriculum.

Our strategy for the rest of the conference was to divide and conquer, so while Kevin engaged in meaningful conversations with various vendors as well as attended sessions on advisory and social emotional learning, I found myself learning about social studies frameworks, how to better support our gender expansive students, techniques for total classroom participation, self-paced learning, how to support children with ADHD challenges (from a teacher who had been successfully navigating his own ADHD for decades), empowering youth with restorative justice practices, and many sessions on community partnerships.

Every day it continued to amaze me to see the degree of knowledge, care, and expertise with which these presenters talked about their curriculum and student support, and I left the conference filled to the brim with a desire to challenge myself in my teaching to new professional heights. Kevin describes professional development as a “vital tool at Cary Academy” that “only makes the community better.” I know that I speak for both of us when I say that I cannot wait to find ways to share my new knowledge with my colleagues and look forward to returning, maybe with my own pompoms this time!

Written by Lauren Bullock, Language Arts and World Cultures Teacher, Sixth Grade


CSA Kickoff

Remembering Robert Ingram

Changes ahead: 2022-23 academic calendar



Stats and Storytelling

February 10, 2021

Some of the newest, most eye-catching student art at CA isn’t in Berger Hall; it’s in a math classroom (no, that’s not a typo).

The windows of classroom 128 in the Center for Math and Science—the last classroom in the math wing—are lined with transparent vinyl “stained-glass” suncatchers. When struck by sunlight, colorful railroad cars, peacocks, butterflies, lightning bolts, food pyramids, and abstract hearts throw their colors around the room to magical effect.
Make no mistake—these aren’t just eye- (and sun-) catching artwork. Produced by Upper School Statculus students, they are the latest student-generated data visualizations to grace the Center for Math and Science—every element a deliberate choice to draw the viewer in, to convey a compelling story behind the numbers.

Led by Upper School math department chair Craig Lazarski, Upper School math teacher Kristi Ramey, and art and design teacher Cayce Lee, Statculus offers a deep dive into the connection between calculus and statistics, with a hefty dose of visual arts mixed in. In class, students engage with real-world data to conduct sophisticated analysis, tease out important conclusions, and depict them in compelling and beautiful visualizations.

Those beautiful suncatchers? They reflect student learning in sampling methodologies and complex data analysis. Each represents an opinion data set collected from peers and faculty and parsed using analytical tools that students learned from class. In an array of carefully calculated designs, they offer insights into our community’s preferences—from favorite colors to superhero movies, Hogwarts’ houses sorting to family relationships, sleep habits to dietary choices, and more.

“Your first impression may not be that these are numbers that you’re looking at, but once you think about what you’re seeing, it becomes what Kristi calls a ‘gut-punch’; it communicates something important in a powerful way,” says Lazarski.

Point of Origin

And that, of course, is precisely the point. The ability to work with, interrogate, and powerfully communicate data is particularly timely in a world awash in statistical claims.
“The misunderstanding that people can ‘lie’ with statistics is one of the key reasons everyone should take statistics,” offers Ramey. “It’s not that the statistics are lying; it’s that you don’t know how to interpret the data or that the data is being visually misrepresented.”

Created by Ramey and Lazarski as the product of a 2018 Curriculum Innovation Grant, Statculus was conceived to expand CA’s statistics offerings to better meet the needs of our academically diverse student body.

“We had a wide spectrum of skill levels in a single statistics class—from students who were taking collegiate-level Calculus 3 to those who had recently completed Algebra 2,” explains Lazarski. “Rather than repeat material for students who had already taken calculus and try to bring students who hadn’t up to speed, we decided to offer a more specialized statistics for those students already versed in calculus.”

The result—Statculus—is something akin to a graduate-level statistics course, uniquely tailored to their students’ skills. (It doesn’t hurt that both Ramey and Lazarski are currently pursuing graduate degrees in statistics at NC State University and regularly incorporate material they encounter into their classes).

However, they are quick to point out that mathematics is only one part of the statistics puzzle; communication of the data is equally important. “Statistics is all about communicating. It’s what distinguishes statistics from its calculus lineage,” explains Ramey.

Getting an eye for visual learning

That’s why, in recent years, Statculus has evolved to include a significant and crucial data visualization component, courtesy of a collaboration with Upper School art and design teacher Cayce Lee, and facilitated by yet another professional development opportunity—this one from the North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA).

The NCMA’s Fellowship for Collaborative Teaching pairs educators from various fields of study who are committed to using art to engage students in new ideas and deepen their problem-solving and critical thinking skills. On hearing of the opportunity, Lee immediately thought of partnering with Ramey, who had long expressed an interest in combining art and math in the classroom.

Selected for the fellowship, in the summer of 2019, Lee and Ramey joined ten fellow educators from across the state in a series of intensive seminars and workshops to design curricula that combined art with other disciplines in meaningful and engaging ways. As the first math-focused pair selected for the fellowship, Lee and Ramey broke new ground for the NCMA program, then in its fourth year, according to Jill Taylor, Director of School and Teacher Programs at NCMA.


For both, it was an eye-opening and fruitful experience, one that underscored not only the vital role of data visualization in statistics, but the importance of visual arts—of color and composition and narrative—in data visualization.

“With artful data visualization, statistics can achieve an emotional response from the audience,” offers Ramey. “Data visualization allows us to provide a point of view along with communicating data. Instead of ‘here’s a pie chart,’ it’s ‘oh my gosh, that was really impactful, and I now see it differently.’”

Clarity of vision

With the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting students’ opportunities to work together in large groups, Lazarski, Lee, and Ramey had to rethink the scope, scale, and purpose of this year’s Statculus data visualization project.

“Last year, we focused on developing students’ communication skills, and their grade was mostly derived from their presentations. Virtual and hybrid learning made that next to impossible, so this year, we leveraged a partner art project to provide that opportunity for them,” says Lazarski.

As the suncatcher project was conceived, students were granted control over the data they would collect and analyze, as well as the designs that their suncatcher would use to visualize their results. Students collected and analyzed the data outside of class and then used weekly Flex Days to collaborate and develop their data-driven artwork.

To prepare, Lee introduced students to artworks that incorporated data in thought-provoking ways, such as Timo Aho and Pekka Niittyvirta’s light-painted series on sea-level rise, Mike Knuepfel’s sculptural interpretation of keyboard letter usage, and Blake Fall-Conrony’s Minimum Wage Machine, which provides a tangible sense of how much work is required to earn so little.

It had an impact.

“Usually, when we ask students to take data and do something more with it, what results is a bigger bar graph,” smiles Lazarski. “But our students, inspired by what Cayce had shared, really ran with the suncatcher project. They put careful consideration into the questions they would ask and the best way to produce them as impactful visuals.”

“I have always thought that math is beautiful, but I was excited to present it beautifully!” reflects Shannon Jenkins ’21. “I think my favorite part of the project may have been measuring out the angles that my partner, Sanjana Chillarege, and I used. We had to constantly adapt our methods to make sure that our proportions were accurate.”

“When we first were assigned the project, I was a little overwhelmed—I had no idea how to approach it,” says Samantha Lattanze ’21. “Working through the project step-by-step helped me enjoy the process and provided me with a new lens on math.”

For the teachers, too, it was a rewarding experience. “It’s been fantastic to see students in a different context than the art studio,” offers Lee. “Getting to revisit a key lesson I teach during the ninth-grade art and design class—that visual communication is the most universal form of communication—with real-world applications is particularly rewarding.”

Beyond the classroom

And it is perhaps that real-world application that best prepares Statculus students for what comes next—helping them to better grasp the material by getting truly-hands on, encouraging them to delve into areas of knowledge that they might not have sought to explore, all while honing communications skills that will serve them long after their time at CA.

“Almost every field is about collecting information and analyzing it in today’s world,” says Ramey. “Either you’ll have to interpret data analytics or interpret data yourself. Those communication skills are key in a world increasingly driven by data analysis.”

Lazarski agrees, “Every year, I get emails from young alumni who say, ‘I’m so glad that I took statistics at CA; I use it so much in college, and I wouldn’t have gotten so far without taking it in high school.’”

Across campus, CA students are taking note of the increased visibility of statistics thanks to the installation of Statculus students’ data visualization pieces. “Students in other classes have been intrigued by the suncatchers,” says Lazarski.

“After taking part in the surveys, they have been fascinated by how the results were presented and the notion that meaningful data could be visualized in a non-traditional way. And that you can have fun and make an impact in the process.”

Data Art

This year’s sun catcher project is not the first data visualization project to adorn the Center for Math and Science. Through Lee and Ramey’s NCMA fellowship, last year’s Statculus students were invited to visit the North Carolina Museum of Art and leverage the museum’s collection as data points for a data visualization project.


Breaking into teams, students analyzed the museum’s vast collections based on artists’ gender, nationality, media used, and composition. With data sets in hand, and in consultation with RTI researcher and data visualization expert Simon King via Zoom (before it was the cornerstone of meetings in 2020), students worked with Lazarski, Lee, and Ramey to design an art installation that would shed light on the strengths and shortcomings of the museum’s holdings while engaging viewers to learn more.

Inspired by Florence Nightingale’s pioneering data visualization work, Diagrams of the Causes of Mortality, which used a coxcomb—a more sophisticated form of a pie chart in which the slices are subdivided and vary in radius in proportion to the data set—and utilizing the cutting-edge tools of the CMS Makerspace and know-how of design, programming, and robotics teacher Betsy MacDonald, the students created three-dimensional coxcomb spheres that are suspended in the Center for Math and Science’s atrium lobby.

Each sphere—crafted from a Wiffle ball, wedges of plexiglass, and transparent vinyl appliques—is mounted on spindles that allow them to rotate. Putting the data in motion seeks to engage viewers, allowing them to see the relationships between the complex layers of data in greater detail.

Written by Dan Smith, Digital Content Producer and Social Media Manager

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Conrad Hall

Upper School

CA’s Conrad Hall recognized as ‘Outstanding Educator’ by University of Chicago

December 8, 2020

Upper School history teacher Conrad Hall has been recognized as a University of Chicago Outstanding Educator, thanks to a nomination by CA alumnus Jack Todd (’20).

Outstanding Educators, “leave an impression that is carried over a lifetime. An Outstanding Educator thinks carefully about their instruction, shares an infectious love for learning, and cares for their students both inside and outside of the classroom,” according to the University of Chicago’s description of the award.

Hall, who joined CA’s faculty in 1998, is known for sparking new passions for history, developing championship-winning cross country and track and field teams, and stewarding a tightly-knit community of running alumni.

Congratulations, Coach Hall!

Written by Dan Smith, Digital Content Producer and Social Media Manager


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Coach Hall

Magazine of CA

Personal Best

September 4, 2019

Ask most Cary Academy alumni to name a faculty figure who has changed the course of their lives and Conrad Hall’s name comes up time and time again. Whether sparking new passions for history, developing championship-winning cross country and track and field teams, or stewarding a tightly-knit community of running alumni, Hall has been instrumental in shaping the CA community.

Joining CA in 1998—the school’s early days—Hall was initially drawn by the opportunity to meaningfully pursue his tandem passions of teaching and coaching. It is his approach to both—the very embodiment of CA’s core values of discovery, excellence, collaboration, and community— that has made the partnership a natural and impactful long-term fit.

“To be able to share my love of both history and running—to have the opportunity to shape CA’s history curriculum, as well as its track and field and cross country programs from the very beginning, to develop them, to build that community—it was, and continues to be, exciting work,” offers Hall.

For Hall, teaching and coaching have always been different sides of the same coin, each offering unique chances to shape student trajectories, build character, and foster community.

A high school track star—Hall has five NCISAA individual event championships, three state cross country championships, four state track and field championships, and numerous local running records under his belt— he credits the “immensely positive and important” role that his own high school coaches played with helping him successfully navigate the waters of high school and beyond. “My high school math teacher and track coach has been a powerful role model, mentor, and guide throughout my time in high school and beyond, even to the present day,” Hall explains.

It was those powerful coaching experiences that led Hall to teaching. While double-majoring in history and political science at Duke University and captaining the track and cross country teams, he found himself increasingly drawn to secondary education. He ultimately pursued a Master of Arts in Teaching, motivated by the chance to positively shape his students’ lives in much the same way his mentors had his.

“I had experienced first-hand the positive impact that a good coach can have and the benefit of being part of a team,” Hall explains. “I realized how both teaching and coaching could allow me to help people learn and grow. I knew that it was what I wanted to do.”

At the heart of Hall’s approach is an effort to strike a productive balance between guiding students and allowing them the freedom to chart their own paths. A philosophy of finding a healthy balance—between academics, community, family, individual success, shared goals, joy, and adversity—figures prominently. “I hope to be a role model by living that balance, to show that it’s okay to pursue your goals and seek out success, but that you need to take care of yourself mentally, physically, and personally, along the way.”

For Hall, his commitment to his craft extends beyond test results, records, and titles to something much larger: “Both in the classroom and with my teams, helping my students and athletes learn and grow, to be stronger, more confident, more capable, and more caring people—that is what I am passionate about, that is what I look forward to every day.”

In the classroom, that means making history relevant to his students in ways that help them grow and relate to their community and the world. “History is replete with individual examples of courage and striving,” Hall explains. “Whether reflecting humanity at its best or worst, it provides compelling insights into who we are as human beings, and how we deal with the complex challenges of life.”

Hall uses those observations to connect with his students and student athletes alike, applying the lens of the past to help them glean insights into, not only current events, but challenges they might by facing in their own lives, whether at home, in the classroom, on the track or trail, in their community, or the broader world.

On the coaching side, Hall builds his teams around a no-cut concept that emphasizes a balance between individual growth and group successes. It is a philosophy that has set the tone for a program that has amassed a combined seven NCISAA State Championships, 21 State Runners-Up, and 26 TISAC Conference Championships and crafted a tight-knit community of runners whose bonds remain active across graduating classes, even years after commencement.

“Everyone likes to win, but it’s about so much more than that,” explains Hall. “There might be a few hundred people in a race, but only one person can win. Running is a sport that embraces a supportive growth mindset.” Some of the best members of the cross country and track and field teams are not the fastest runners, according to Hall. Instead, they are those that add intangibly to the team’s sense of camaraderie, through their pursuit of personal growth and strident support of their teammates and even rival runners.

“I wasn’t the best runner on the team,” notes alum Connor Riser ’12, “but I never felt unimportant or had a performance held against me. To that end: we were State runners-up all four years I ran for CA; three years after I graduated, the team won their first championship, and Coach Hall made sure I felt included in that celebration.”

For Hall and many of his athletes and alumni, running isn’t just an after-school activity; it’s a joyful, transformative experience that imparts lessons—about teamwork, leadership, community, and personal growth—to broader parts of their lives beyond the track. Those lessons and the friendships born on the cross country and track teams have made for a community whose closeness surprises even Hall, as many have remained close friends and even business partners.

“Conrad’s passion is contagious; it built this community,” says Bryan Fisher ’03, who briefly returned to CA as an assistant coach after college, before starting his own business. “His vision for the program and challenging us to set our own goals, to recognize our limits, and choose our priorities was inspiring. He was my first mentor.”

That closeness is on display each fall, as CA alums who graduated 10, 15, and nearly 20 years ago return for the annual cross country alumni meet. “Starting at CA, even before we had a graduating class, I always talked with my runners about how cool it would be to have an alumni meet,” explains Hall. “As soon as we actually had alumni, we had an alumni meet.”

For Hall and his runners, the alumni meet is a low-key, low-stress fun time for alumni to get-together. It also gives the varsity team a chance to connect with their CA predecessors, who help to mentor a new generation of Charger runners while renewing their bonds to the school. “It’s almost like a second Homecoming for this group, and it makes them feel very connected,” remarks Hall.

For those who can’t make it to the alumni meet, Hall serves as the point of connection for many alumni. He maintains living histories and running logs for the cross country and track and field teams, highlighting historical milestones and apprising the programs’ alumni of the current teams’ achievements. Fisher explains it simply: “Conrad is our point of connection. Even if we didn’t go to school together, we have the shared experience of being coached by Conrad Hall.”

For Hall, the opportunity to inspire growth, year after year, in new groups of students and runners—now stretching across generations—is what keeps him moving forward. “Every student has the ability to become the best person they can be. We should do everything we can today to be the best we can, then wake up tomorrow and be better. I’m hoping to help them on that journey.

Meet the Match

Beyond spurring him to teach and coach, Hall’s education also inspired a passionate advocacy for need-based financial aid. “Without need-based aid, I would not have had access to the education I was fortunate enough to receive. I don’t know where I would be without it, but I know I would not be here,” offers Hall.

Three years ago, Hall was able to advance his fervent belief, not only in expanding access to need-based aid but also endorsing a healthy balance between self, community, joy, and hard work, with the foundation of the Coach Conrad Hall Endowment. Established through a gift from his parents in 2018, the endowment provides need-based financial aid for a CA scholar-athlete dedicated to embodying excellence while finding a balance between school, home, and sport.

This year, inspired by the impact that Coach Hall has had on their lives and the broader Cary Academy community, cross country alumni Joel Blondy ’07 and Rachael Blondy ’10, along with their mother Mary, have created a matching challenge—Meet the Match—in support of the Coach Conrad Hall Endowment Fund. “I would not be the person I am today without him… he was always there to inspire and challenge us,” offers Joel Blondy.

In turn, Mary, Rachael, and Joel are now challenging the Cary Academy alumni community to honor Coach Hall and his commitment to need-based financial aid. The Blondys will match, dollar for dollar, each gift made to the endowment by alumni through June 30, 2020, up to $50,000.

When asked about the challenge, Hall remarked, “I am just absolutely humbled by it. Knowing that it is being built by alumni who have been through the program, that they value the impact it has had on their lives, even to this day, and feel compelled to give back—it makes it all the more meaningful.”

“I think everybody should be rooting for Coach Hall because he’s always rooting for everybody else,” says Bryan Fisher ’03. “A lot of people, including myself, give him credit for helping them become successful people. I’m sure there’s a lot of alumni who want to give back.”

If Conrad Hall inspired you, the Blondys invite you rise to the challenge and #MeetTheMatch. More information online at bit.ly/meetthematch.

Written by Dan Smith, Digital Content Producer and Social Media Manager

CA Curious

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Spring art performances schedule


CA Curious

Summer Off or Summer On?

May 16, 2019

We typically think of teachers as being off during the summer, but several Cary Academy faculty each year choose to devote at least part of their well-deserved summer vacation time to professional growth activities.

Cary Academy offers two major summer grant programs for teachers, the Friday Fellowship and the Innovative Curriculum Grant.  The Friday Fellowship program was launched in 2002 in honor of Mr. William C. Friday, President Emeritus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a founding member of the Cary Academy Board of Directors.  The Innovative Curriculum Grant was introduced in 2017 to support projects tied specifically to the school’s strategic goals.  These programs together are an important part of our school’s ongoing R&D effort, with the Friday Fellowship focused on the “R” (research/professional learning) and the Innovative Curriculum Grant focused on the “D” (development/curriculum creation and implementation).

So what exactly will our tireless teachers be working on this summer through these grant programs?  Here’s a brief snapshot of their planned endeavors:

Under the Friday Fellowship Program… 

Naomi Barlaz, Upper School History Teacher, will attend the Independent Schools Experiential Education Network (ISEEN) Summer Institute as a member of the History, English, and Language cohort.    Participation in this institute will help Naomi to develop curricula within a more experiential model for the Soviet Russia and Global Democracies courses in World History.

Robert Coven, Upper School History Teacher, will attendRe-Designing Education to Shape a Better World, an international symposium to be held in Florence, Italy.  Participation in this invitation-only symposium will allow Robert to join colleagues from around the world in a 3-day design challenge in which participants will work together to imagine, design and create concepts for education systems of the future.

Freya Kridle, Upper School Spanish Teacher, will participate in a private program of language and cultural immersion to be arranged with the Lingo Language Academy in Mérida, Mexico.  This experience will give Freya a chance to refine her fluency in Spanish while also providing opportunities to take videos and conduct interviews on a variety of topics for use with her Spanish students.

Under the Innovative Curriculum Grant program… 

Rachel Atay, Matt Greenwolfe and Charlotte Kelly, Upper School Physics Teachers, intend to refine the new physics course in Waves, Light and Electricity.    They will work together to streamline the core curriculum, as well as to develop new POGIL (Process-Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning) experiences and robust extension activities aimed at meeting the needs of both the beginning and the more advanced students taking the class.

Andrew Chiaraviglio and Jane Panhorst, Middle School Science Teachers, will develop three new modules for Science 8 to expand and enrich the Physical Science and Water units.    The new modules will integrate three types of technology:  Geographic Information Systems software (GIS), augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), and coding.  Plans are for students to use GIS to create layered dynamic data maps of Cary Academy and surrounding land, AR/VR technology to create immersive presentations of a field trip to the SAS pond, and coding in connection with the design, build, and maintenance of a miniature aquaponics system set-up.

Lucy Dawson, Matt Koerner, Allison McCoppin and Leslie Williams, 7th Grade Teachers, and Maggie Grant, Service Learning Director, intend to transform the current Change the World unit from a three-week research project into a signature seventh-grade experience.  The team of teachers will expand the unit to run across three trimesters and broaden the focus to include not only language arts and math, but also environmental science, engineering, and service learning components.

Katie Levinthal, Matthew-Ripley Moffitt, Danae Shipp and Katie Taylor, 6th Grade Teachers, will use interdisciplinary project-based learning, with a robust, gradeless feedback/reflection component, to connect and promote mastery of core skills in 6th grade.  The team plans to develop a grading and assessment philosophy tied to 6th grade standards/competencies and create a week-long experience for students at the start of the school year focused on “habits of mind.”

Trish Yu, Upper School Chinese Teacher, will develop an Advanced trimester elective course in the Philosophy of Chinese Calligraphy.   The course will be composed of six units highlighting the methods and philosophy of Chinese calligraphy and their historical and cultural significance.  Trish also plans to make use of Tilt Brush by Google, a virtual reality tool that allows students to paint in 3-D space.

Congratulations to all of our summer grant recipients as they turn a summer off into a summer on!

Written by Martina Greene, Dean of Faculty

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Summer School



Brandon Carter receives 2019 Leadership in Teaching Award

May 15, 2019

Brandon CarterUpper School Associate Director of College Counseling Brandon Carter is the recipient of the 2019 Curran Family Foundation Leadership in Teaching Award.  The award was presented at Monday evening’s Honor a Teacher ceremony sponsored by the Cary Chamber of Commerce.  Kara Caccuitto, Laura Price, and Matthew Ripley-Moffitt were also nominated for the award. Congratulations to all four of these teachers for the well-deserved recognition!

The Curran Family Foundation is committed to positively impacting the lives of children and young adults in the communities of the Triangle, NC Region. In order to focus limited resources to make the greatest impact, the Foundation leverages financial and human resources with nonprofit organizations and community projects that are aligned with the Foundation mission and reside within the Triangle, NC Region.

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US German teacher wins teaching award

September 12, 2018

Herzlichen glückwunsch, Frau Burgbacher!

Wendy Burgbacher, Upper School German teacher and World Language Department Chair, has been awarded the NC-AATG Klett-Langenscheidt Teacher Award. The award recognizes a NC teacher for outstanding effort and achievement in the teaching of German, as exemplified by excellent student performance on the National German Exam.

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CA Curious

Beyond the Walls

Changes ahead: 2022-23 academic calendar


Pi Day provides infinite delight