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Teacher Spotlight: Andrea Carrington

Andrea Carrington is an 8th grade science teacher, 8th grade team lead, and Step Coach at Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women, where she has taught for the past five years. Ms. Carrington has worked in the education field for over 15 years, including work with nonprofit organizations in the education field such as the Children’s Defense Fund and the YMCA.

One of your colleagues said that your “creativity in the classroom encourages our students to not only learn, but to love science.” What kinds of things do you do to foster that love of science and learning in your students?

My classroom is my student’s playground. One day you can come in and everyone is engaged making their own synthetic gummy worms through experimentation to solve world hunger. Another day, we are standing in the school hallways/staircase between the basement and second floor foyer doing an egg drop experiment to display Newton’s Laws of Motion. And another day, my students are sitting on their favorite floor spot or swivel chairs completing their research projects. My priority is not only for my students to excel academically but to have fun in science. I am a very hands-on teacher and encourage my students to move and think creatively for themselves. I am a music lover and pride myself on having an eclectic playlist – the students joke about it all the time. I can go from Michael Jackson to smooth jazz at any moment. I am a firm believer that music (and food) bring people together. There is a lot of music in my classroom – whether it is completing our Smart Starts, a super competitive review game, or Starbucks study time.
Learning for me is all about connecting with your students and building upon what they know. I use their culture, experiences, and prior knowledge, and infuse it into their everyday learning. Science is everywhere – literally. So with that, we can make scientific connections to almost every aspect of our lives. Some of the real life conversations in my classroom are eye-opening and life changing. We get to understand each other on a deeper level and build a stronger community. My students participate in a lot of scientific inquiry, which teaches them how to think critically, process information, and make informed conclusions/decisions. I have high expectations for all of my students and hold them accountable for their learning. Ohhh – and we laugh…A LOT!

You are also the 8th grade team lead at your school. What does that role entail?

As the 8th grade team lead, I am responsible for creating a positive and engaging culture and climate for the 8th grade community (staff and students), planning 8th grade end of year activities, creating monthly incentives that students work to earn and holding them accountable for in school behaviors. I love being a team lead just as much as I love teaching. One of my favorite 8th grade events to plan is the 8th grade Step Up Ceremony. It is such a joyous event and seeing how happy students, families, and teachers are in that moment is rewarding. My students are one step closer to their life goals, and we played a part in that. I am passionate about exposing students to memorable opportunities that they may not experience on a daily basis. I work with my team to find creative experiences outside of Baltimore and even Maryland for our students to participate in. One of my favorite experiences with my students was the end of year 8th grade trip in 2019. We traveled to North Carolina for a weekend jam-packed with activities, one of which was white water rafting. WHEW – what a memorable weekend!