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MWMS' Carver combines love of teaching, science to earn honors

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By Mallory Bilger

MOUNT WASHINGTON — For the second time in two years Mount Washington Middle School has proudly produced Bullitt County’s Middle School Teacher of the Year.

This year seventh grade science teacher Stephanie Carver is the honor’s recipient.

Carver was recognized for doing a job that doesn’t really feel much like work to her at all.

“Every day I get to combine my love for science with my love for teaching,” she said.

Carver, a Bullitt County native, has 22 years of middle grades teaching experience. Carver attended the University of Louisville where she received her undergraduate and graduate degrees.

She said her mother inspired her career choice and her father’s chiropractic work helped develop her love for science.

“When I was little I wanted to be a detective or something cool. But my mother was a tutor. I watched her and it inspired me,” she said. “My father was a chiropractor. It was fascinating.”

A lot has changed since Carver entered the classroom 22 years ago, but she said the fundamentals of teaching remain the same.

In each class she emphasizes to students that respect is one of the key ingredients for classroom success. “I’ve learned how to have a class where everybody’s ideas are accepted and respect is paramount,” she said.

Carver helps emphasize correct classroom participation by utilizing the CHAMPS method: C stands for the correct use of conversation; H stands for knowing how to get help in class; A stands for the type of activity in which students are engaged; M is for the type of movement that is allowed throughout the classroom; P is for participation and S is for success — the result if students apply the rest of the CHAMPS acronym.

“I spend the first week (of class) embedding champs into their lessons,” she said.

MWMS Principal Denise Allen said Carver is a shining example of a great teacher.

“She is a team player. She is here so much of the time after hours.”

Allen said students don’t get bored in Carver’s class.

“They love her,” she said.

Carver is extensively trained in curriculum and learning techniques. She said it’s important for a teacher to recognize that students do not all learn alike. Because of that, she teaches different learning and study techniques for auditory, visual and kinesthetic learners.

“I’m a big advocate of teaching to the learning styles of my students,” she said.

Carver said she doesn’t get tired of teaching because he profession is so rewarding. She anticipates the moments “when the light goes on and they get it.”

Carver said she has been truly successful as a teacher when a student struggling with a tough concept makes progress.

“It’s when they don’t give up,” she said.

Student Keanu Addington said Carver is always willing to go the extra mile for her students.

“She just helps us out,” he said.

Student Lauren Despain said she benefited from Carver’s different teaching techniques.

“She’ll give us a test to determine what type of learners we are,” Despain said.

Carver said in her 22 years of teaching she still feels that there are still tasks to master. 

“I would like to be able to take my curriculum to the next level. To create more real-life situations for the kids. Real life applications,” she said.

But there are a few goals that are almost impossible for any teacher to attain.

“I can only do so much in this classroom . . . and that bothers me. I wish I could go beyond the classroom.”

Carver said being Bullitt County’s Middle School Teacher of the Year is humbling because she knows there are many great teachers in her school and throughout the district.

“It just felt really good to know that someone thought of me enough to recognize me.”

Allen said she is confident that Carver has what it takes to win Kentucky’s Middle School Teacher of the Year.

“We honestly believe that she has a good chance of winning the state,” Allen said.

Carver is the mother of two teenagers, Austin and Jessica. She is married to her husband, Richard, and the family resides in Bullitt County.