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Part of Western Governors University

October 8, 2020

Student Success

WGU grad creates innovative classroom spaces.

“Not all kids learn the same way.” 

This knowledge has driven Cathy Carini to do more, go further, and push herself so she can help each and every child excel in the classroom. Cathy is a first-grade teacher at Grant Center for the Expressive Arts—an innovative school in the Tacoma School District.

Cathy and her school have a teaching philosophy centered on multiple intelligences. The understanding that kids need unique experiences to propel their learning is key to her teaching method.

“As teachers and craft makers we need to be able to reach every single student,” she said.

Cathy heard from a colleague about the educational leadership master’s degree from WGU. She was intrigued by the idea of pursuing her own education so she could continue to make a difference for students. She decided to look into WGU and found it would be a great fit. She could continue teaching full-time while getting her degree. Because of WGU’s unique educational model, she could do her courses any time she wanted. And she could go through the courses as quickly as she could master the material, helping her graduate faster.

“The next thing I knew, I was getting myself set up for the enrollment interview and I thought ‘Oh, I’m in it now!’” she laughed.

Cathy found that her master’s degree courses helped her dig deeper into education and really understand why things are done a certain way. It helped her take a closer look at unique learning styles and differences, giving her more insight into her own teaching. At the end of the day, it helped reinforce her understanding and prepared her for even better interactions with students.

As part of her educational leadership internship, Cathy joined the planning and construction team overseeing a school’s new building design. Cathy has been able to take the things she has learned about inclusive education and unique learning strategies to help her make impactful suggestions and decisions as part of this team. 

Cathy has found a passion in making sure their new building is a place where the entire staff believes that kids can learn and thrive. Every single detail of the classroom designs, the playground, and the other areas is crucial for helping all different kinds of students succeed. She firmly believes that if every staff member believes in the innovative strategy of the building, the teaching practices, and the students, then they will all succeed together. 

“That’s the kind of school I want. I want everybody to be a part of that building.”

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