Dan Chase

Dan Chase

Upper School Mathematics
Upper School
Dan Chase is a Mathematics teacher in the Upper School. He joined the CDS faculty in 2014. Dan grew up in Boone in western North Carolina, but he relocated to the NC School of Science and Mathematics in Durham, NC, for his final two years of high school. Dan attended UNC-Chapel Hill for undergraduate work and earned a master's degree in teaching from Western Carolina University. These wide-ranging educational experiences as a student and a teacher have provided a broad perspective of different school environments and the different challenges and opportunities they afford communities of educators and learners. Dan has facilitated a workshop at the 2012 NC Association of Independent Schools Biennial Teacher Conference about incorporating personal finance into the high school math curriculum through a unit-long adult life simulation. Dan has served as mathematics department chair at Carolina Day School and currently coaches the Math 'Cats, the CDS math team.
 
Get to know Dan Chase:
 
In what ways can you teach/engage children at CDS that you couldn't at other schools? “CDS encourages individual creativity and trusts that teachers know how to engage their students in meaningful ways. I feel supported to branch out and utilize some teaching methods that may stray from what students and parents may experience at a more traditionally minded school. The CDS philosophy of putting students first and using modern brain-based learning models is a breath of fresh air and really sets this school apart.”
 
What do you like most about your job at CDS? The positive perspective from every member of the faculty, administration, and staff is contagious. The desire of the adults to form real, personal, caring connections with the students makes a real difference within this community when it comes to the work of learning the skills and content within the various disciplines. There is joy and enthusiasm for creativity that exudes from every room in every division here.”
 
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? The investment in a growth mindset means that mistakes and temporary failures are not only tolerated but are accepted and expected as part of a true learning process. The caring philosophy among the students and faculty provides a social safety net so that every member of the community knows they are valued and supported in their struggles as well as their triumphs.” 
 
How would you describe your classroom? “A lively center for exploring connections among academic disciplines, considering abstract philosophical and epistemological structures, experiencing paradigm shifts, and lively debate.  In short, a place where geeking out is cool.”
 
What books and authors inspire you, your curriculum, and your classroom? “Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card) – It involves a gifted child thrust into an alien environment and how the adults responsible for his education present ever-increasing challenges. The book highlights the tension between the need to stretch young minds and the importance of fostering innocence and joy during childhood.”
 
What is your favorite quote about education, mentorship, children, and/or learning? “The universe is full beyond measure of elegant truths, of exquisite interrelationships, of the awesome machinery of nature... The cosmos is also within us. We're made of star-stuff. We are a way for the Cosmos to know itself.”  —Carl Sagan
 
How would you describe yourself and/or your approach to your job in 10 words or less? Training math ninjas to delight in their inner geek.”
  
What personal passion brings balance to your life? “Creating, cooking, and playing with my family, playing music, exercise.”
 
Is there anything else we should know about you and your work? I love breaking down barriers between disciplines and exploring how science and mathematics relate to human psychology, sociology, history, art and literature in our everyday experiences. I love quirky esoteric trivia and strange movies. I am a 5 in the Ennegram personality system.”
 
How is CDS different from what you experienced as a child in school? Why/how is what you see now valuable? My entire education through college was in North Carolina public schools. I had a wonderful experience and excellent teachers throughout. However, the classes at CDS are smaller, the students are on the whole more dedicated to the big picture and invested in their education as a means for personal growth, and the teachers more free to experiment and explore unique topics and teaching tools. My background gives me a real appreciation for the CDS philosophy and a desire to very intentionally design curricula and classes to meet these students on their level, and then provide them a set of tools to explore what lies beyond their current experience.”