California Educator

June/July 2021

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Mathematics Finalists KRISTIE DONAVAN Irvine Teachers Association Woodbridge High School A 13-year educator, Donavan has taught Math II, Enhanced Math II, Enhanced Math III, Advanced Placement Calculus BC, and Math Foundations. She previously worked as a teacher on special assignment, building relationships with secondary math teachers across the district and leading district math teams to create new math classes, implement integrated math courses, and reexamine high school grading practices. She also mentored teacher candidates and early career teachers. She is a National Board Certified Teacher and has presented at the California Mathematics Council and National Council of Teachers of Mathematics conference. "My vision for mathematics education is that all students feel capable and confident as problem solvers," says Donavan, whose video lesson had her students discovering the relationship between Cartesian graphs and their corresponding polar graphs. "I strive each day to make math engaging and accessible, to encourage students to per- severe through struggle, and to honor multiple ways of thinking so that every student feels like they have something valuable to contribute." MARIA GARCIA Wiseburn Faculty Association Richard Henry Dana Middle School Garcia, a 20-year educator, is an eighth grade algebra teacher and chairs the math department. She was a previous PAEMST state finalist in 2019. The video lesson she submitted helped students discover patterns in quadratics leading to conceptual understanding of completing the square. In addition to teaching, Garcia hosts Math Saturday events for parents and students. She created the Girls Who Code Club at her school, and has led the Mommy and Me coding event. She also launched the Hack-a-Challenge in which students in grades 5-12 came together to create a robot that could successfully clean beaches in the community. "[The PAEMST application] was a rigorous process that allowed me to revisit, reflect and refine my craft," Garcia says. " Through the reflection process, I found that my students' smiles and joy for learning are what fueled my constant desire to continue to learn and motivate others with the beautiful world of math. I hope that our future STEM students will be inspired to make our world a better place and see the beauty in all!" STEPHANIE PARIS United Teachers Los Angeles Granada Hills Charter High School The lesson that Paris, a six-year teacher, submitted for her Algebra I class explored exponential func- tions and examined patterns of growth and decay. As a master teacher fellow with Math for America, she has provided professional learning to teachers across the district and state. She mentored student teachers and helped teachers develop project-based learning units. She also co-taught classes with a science teacher, creating interdisciplinary projects that connected mathematics and science, specifically in algebra and physics. During 2020, she facilitated professional learning courses to help teachers create virtual math lessons and build community relationships during distance learning. "I still consider myself a fairly new teacher, so having my work recognized by others was an honor," says Paris. " The [PAEMST ] application pushed me to think deeply about my practice, and I became a better teacher by the end of it. One of my hopes for the future of STEM education is that it incorporates more compassion and empathy and becomes more interdisciplinary. STEM students are our future innovators and decision-makers, so it is important that they become empathetic, thriving learners." 49 J U N E / J U L Y 2 0 21

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