Upper School

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Karla Weidner

Faculty Information
Location(s) Upper School, Middle School
Title(s) Upper School Science/ Grade 8 Science
Other Information

Karla Weidner has been working at Carolina Day School since 2006. Karla's daughter graduated from CDS in 2012, and a son who graduated in 2015. With a doctorate in microbiology, Karla was a college professor for almost 15 years before arriving at CDS. She taught at Furman University for five years and at Western Carolina University for almost 10 years.  

Get to know Karla Weidner:
In what ways can you teach/engage children at CDS that you couldn't at other schools?  “Our curriculum at CDS is much more skill-oriented than content-oriented. I don’t feel the pressure to “cover” material that might be on a standardized test, allowing me to delve deeper into topics that may come up during the course of an investigation or discussion in class. Our small class sizes give everyone an opportunity to participate, and I feel I really get to know my students as learners and can play to their individual strengths.”
What do you like most about your job at CDS?  I love the freedom to try new things, the ability to adjust my teaching to the interests and needs of my students, and the opportunity to work with such well-qualified, devoted, and supportive faculty and administrators. I have never worked in such a collaborative environment, and it helps make me a much better teacher.”
In your opinion, how does the CDS community inspire students to be courageous and curious, wonder about things that they don’t understand, try new things, and develop individual passions?  I think the faculty at CDS model that behavior both in and out of the classroom all the time. We are always willing to try something new, whether it’s a new lesson or learning a new skill. The incorporation of some of the latest technology in the classroom is a perfect example. It is commonplace for us to introduce a new program or app to students and let them figure it out rather than having us teach them how to use it. Students see that sometimes the best way to learn is to just dive in, and as a teacher I’ve learned to let that happen.”
How would you describe your classroom? My classroom is a place where students move, experience things hands-on, observe, ask questions, and work together to solve problems. Students are engaged, challenged, and learn to appreciate their impact on the world.”
What books and authors inspire you? “The book Last Child in the Woods really confirmed my strong belief that kids need to have the opportunity to experience nature.  Fortunately we live in an area where this is easy to accomplish. I have observed first-hand the impact that the connection with nature can have on kids. Having a connection to something larger than yourself can have tremendous influence on how you live your life. I grab every opportunity I can to get kids outdoors, whether it’s a hiking field trip, a biodiversity study of the creek on CDS property, or a tree identification project of trees in the schoolyard.”  

What is your favorite quote about education, mentorship, children, and/or learning?  One of my favorite quotes comes from Eleanor Roosevelt, “Do one thing everyday that scares you.” To me this means that in order to find success, you need to take risks. You need to put yourself out there and be willing to fail. We know that students learn more from failure than they do from success. And I try to model that in my personal life and in my classroom.”
How would you describe yourself and/or your approach to your job in 10 words or less?  I consider myself a lifelong learner, and I learn from my students every day.”  
What classroom projects/events are you known for? “I think I might be best known for the “Fish Kill” project in 6th grade science. In this project students study a real-world problem, a fish kill, and try to figure out who or what is killing this fish.  Students have an opportunity to research, investigate, analyze samples, and draw conclusions. Along the way they learn about their personal impact on the environment, and how environmental issues are not always black and white, part of a “gray area” (which is coincidentally the name of the region we study).”
What personal passion brings balance to your life? “I love to travel and try new things. Seeing other parts of the world and how others live helps me to keep perspective and helps me focus on what is important to me.”  
Is there anything else we should know about you and your work? My departure from my former life as a university professor felt a little like jumping off a cliff. I love the creativity I have in my job now and feel I have a much bigger impact on students than I ever did as a professor. I feel like I make a difference every day.”
How is CDS different from what you experienced as a child in school? “There are often moments when I think to myself, “I would have loved doing this!”  School days at CDS are filled with opportunities for collaboration, creativity, and problem solving. So much of my education was spent memorizing information and spitting it back out on a test. Since so much information is available at our fingertips with the help of technology these days, teachers can let go of the need to memorize such details.  Students can focus on the critical thinking and sometimes teamwork that is required to solve problems. We are teaching them skills that will make them successful in the real world.”  

Contact Information
School Email
School Phone
(828) 274-0758   x137
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