Lower School

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Nicole Cook

Faculty Information
Location(s) Lower School
Title(s) Lower School Grade 2
Contact Information
School Email
School Phone
(828) 274-0758   x342
Degree(s) B.A., Mount Holyoke College 1993
Other Information

Nicole Cook is a second grade teacher in the Lower School and has been working at Carolina Day School since 2000. Nicole's stepson is in the Upper School and her son is in the Lower School. Nicole taught German and Spanish at a public high school for one year, worked with trainable mentally handicapped at that same school, and worked for a patent trademark and real-estate development attorneys. Nicole was also a lifeguard and swim instructor before joining CDS. She also presented a session on our Orton Gillingham based spelling program used in the Lower School for NCAIS in 2004.

Get to know Nicole Cook:
In what ways can you teach/engage children at CDS that you couldn't at other schools? “At CDS, I am encouraged to be creative and am provided with an environment to be spontaneous within a structured curriculum. This combination ensures that students acquire a combination of critical thinking and problem solving skills for the future. At CDS I am given the independence to be a strategic teacher, engaging all my skills and resources to apply them accurately to reach, inspire, and impact each child as an individual.”
What do you like most about your job at CDS? “I love that we work as partners with each family to make up a team of “educators.” This team seeks to develop the whole child, to see his potential, and to be inspired and confident to reach it. I know that the entire CDS community benefits from parent involvement inside and outside the classroom. Because parents are engaged in their children’s learning, we are able to know that when students go home at the end of the day, there is a strong support network awaiting them. I also like the strong relationships among teachers, spanning divisions. These positive relationships develop a strong teaching community and are important to me.”
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? “We foster courage and curiosity by modeling these characteristics in our daily routines and lessons. When the students see that you can learn from failure they lose the fear of it. They feel empowered to try something new and encourage one another during their learning journey.”
How would you describe your classroom? “My classroom is a safe place where students are free to be themselves and try new things. It is a community where students are supported by their teachers and classmates.”
What books and authors inspire you? “My curriculum and approach to education continues to be impacted by Tony Wagner’s The Global Achievement Gap. It helps teachers to consider the skills within each lesson that will help students become productive citizens. I know that the future of my students is greatly different than my path from school to career. I want to be sure that I’m working with students the best way possible to keep them motivated to excel. I am also influenced by Ed Hallowell’s books on ADD and Kelley King’s books on single gender classrooms called Writing the Playbook.”
What is your favorite quote about education, mentorship, children, and/or learning? “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” Confucius

How would you describe yourself and/or your approach to your job in 10 words or less?Passionate, calm, patient, disciplined, humorous, steady, focused, excellent with boy dynamics, clear communicator, joyful.”
Which classroom projects/events are you known for? “One of my class’ most memorable projects is our animal studies unit with African dwarf frogs.  These critters are unusual, fun to watch, and they teach students about the relationship between the animal and its habitat. I am also known for the movement activities used in math class. Movement helps the brain stay alert and helps both hemispheres work together. Kinesthetic learning helps students understand and work with new concepts.”
What personal passion brings balance to your life? “Yoga, playing soccer with my son, and being by water whether it is on a beach or on a river.”
Is there anything else we should know about you and your work? “I’ve regularly told my friends and family that I am passionate about learning and my students are too. This enthusiasm is like kinetic energy in the classroom.  This love of learning helps students to be curious and determined throughout their lives.”
How is CDS different from what you experienced as a child in school? “When I was in school, I remember being told I couldn’t or shouldn’t advance because I was too young. I remember many tasks for advancement were to be done alone. These two marked experiences are contrary to 21st century skills for ways of thinking, ways of working, tools for working, and skills for living in the world.”

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