Kudos to Niki Cassaro, Lake Washington School District's "Staff Star" for April 2013
Niki Cassaro, the math teacher for Juanita High School's Cambridge Program, is a leader both in the classroom and as an advisor for the Juanita High School chapter of the National Honor Society. Niki enjoys teaching the rigorous math portion of the Cambridge Program (Pure Math I and Statistics), as well her Algebra I course.
"A favorite aspect of my job is watching students grow in to mathematicians - learning how math concepts are related to one another and how math functions in the world," said Niki. "I love how much confidence students acquire as they make connections throughout the year."
As the advisor for the Juanita High School Honor Society, Niki sees on a daily basis how great the Juanita community is.
"Our fundraisers make such a dramatic impact on both our school and community through the generosity of our students and community," said Niki. This year, the Honor Society raised over 3,000 pounds of food and about $1,800 for Hopelink in one week. They also donated almost $800 to UNICEF in a one-day fundraiser by collecting change so kids in other countries will have access to clean water and nutritious food.
"I am thrilled to be part of a student-led club, whose members not only value helping others, but also strive for academic excellence," said Niki.
"In addition to being an outstanding classroom teacher, she relishes providing her students with exciting new methods for learning and providing evidence of learning," said a co-worker who nominated Niki as a Staff Star. "Never at rest, she consistently explores new ways to engage her students and does so by integrating technology in meaningful ways."
"I hope I've also shown students that being purposeful in how we use technology is just as important as the technology we use," said Niki. "A few years ago, I began recording screencasts to teach content and to provide a continual resource for my students. To my surprise, these videos, posted on YouTube, have not only been watched by my students, but also by people throughout the United States and in more than 20 countries. This demonstrates that technology allows the classroom to extend beyond its physical boundaries and reach students anywhere and anytime. It also allows students to learn at their own pace and in their environment, and requires students to think and express themselves in novel ways."
Niki has taught at Juanita High School since March 2006. She earned her Bachelor's degree from the University of Washington and her Master's degree and teaching certificate from Seattle Pacific University.
The Cambridge Program started at Juanita High School in the fall 2010. Students can earn an Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE), an international diploma, through an advanced academic curriculum and assessment program written and administered by Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) of the University of Cambridge in England. AICE program courses and examinations are offered during grades 10, 11, and 12 in schools registered as CIE Centers. For information about the Cambridge Program, visit the Juanita High School website.