Carrie Orgera taught in the New York City public school system for six years in both elementary and middle school in Community School District 2 in Manhattan. She was a teacher leader in her school and focused her professional development and post-graduate studies in mathematics education. She completed a mathematics education program, Math In The City, at the City College of New York, after which she became a mathematics teacher leader in middle school.
In her role as mathematics teacher leader, Carrie participated in extensive professional development and engaged in Japanese Lesson Study within District 2 with Lucy West (formerly District 2’s Director of Mathematics), Yashida Mokota, and Clea Fernandez of Teachers College at Columbia University. She presented her work on Japanese Lesson Study at the California Mathematics Project (CMP) conference at the University of California in San Francisco and at the District 2 Principals Conference. The Japanese Lesson Study’s collaborative approach to professional development, with cycles of planning, practice, observation by colleagues, reflection, and refinement of the lesson fueled Carrie’s desire to help educators achieve higher levels of mathematical understanding and success through similar collaborative work, and it remains the foundation of her teaching philosophy.
Carrie started her own private mathematics tutoring business, Piece of Pi (pieceofpitutor.com), while raising three children. The business provides enrichment, tutoring, and test preparation to students in grades 2-7 from both public and private schools. Because of her classroom teaching and private tutoring, she is acutely aware of issues that arise in the classroom and with which students are struggling daily.
Carrie has worked with Metamorphosis on planning, delivery, and follow-up of the Calendar Days related to the Common Core State Standards to principals, coaches, and teachers at Teachers College. She uses the CCSS to guide and inform her teaching and coaching. She is currently consulting as a mathematics coach in NYC and NJ public schools.
It is Carrie’s belief that the journey to the answer is more fruitful than the answer itself. Rich content with problem solving and open dialogue are imperative to understanding the “big ideas” in mathematics. Carrie’s warm and accessible personality enables her to meet teachers “where they are” in their career and curriculum and help them develop a community of learners that engage in rich mathematical discourse.
Q: What are you most passionate about in education?
Training and teaching teachers. The stakes for teachers keep rising, the demands are greater, yet the quality of their education is diminishing. The coaching model, or modified lesson study, is the best way to train in-service teachers to address issues in real time with a balance of content and pedagogy. I fully believe in our model of PD!
Q: What do you love about Metamorphosis?
I love the collaboration among the team members. Everyone is smart and talented, but together we are brilliant. We have each other’s back and there is no moment that we are not learning from one other. The mutual respect and admiration is palpable anytime we are all together, as evidenced by the emotional closing circles we have at our staff meetings. It is an honor to work with such a team and I wish we had more time together as a whole group. Every moment is a learning moment because we are all learners and teachers no matter how long we have been doing this.
Q: What do you want to influence in education?
Equity. Every student deserves equal quality education regardless of socioeconomic status or geography. The idea that a whole groups instruction is only for the affluent or the abled, and that students should not be labeled “strugglers,” be pulled out of classes and treated as if they are unable to achieve. I want to help educators recognize that if the tasks we offer are rich enough, the differentiation should be imbedded and everyone can contribute to the whole group understanding.
I wanted to thank you once again for the presentation. The feedback from staff was extremely positive. I'm already getting emails and visiting with teachers who have implemented ideas and activities presented in the session.
- Bridget Lupia, Senior Field Supervisor, NYC Department of Education.
We just want to say once again, THANK YOU so much for all of your wonderful coaching and guidance through this learning community. We couldn't be more grateful for all of the effort and time you have put into us and into this event to make it as beneficial as it could be for all parties involved. It has helped us grow into better educators. We look forward to working with you more in the future. :)
- Tiffany Rivera, Third Grade Teacher
- Lisa Dolcimascolo, Third Grade Teacher
Carrie - What a great Staff Developer you are! You have fit seamlessly into TAOTS and I thank you for seeing the talent, commitment, and hard work in our teachers . Your support, guidance, and debrief notes have been so important in their growth.
- Maria Rogalle, Assistant Principal
“Carrie, I cannot thank you enough for choosing me to be a part of this learning community with you, I feel beyond thankful, motivated, and inspired. You seem to bring out the best in me and allow me to be who I am. It takes a strong person to work with someone without trying to change them but instead guide them. Having you by my side as a coach and partner today was amazing. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!"
- Amanda, Teacher, NYC
Thank you so much for all of your support and feedback! The process of planning with you and the Kindergarten team helped me analyze the lesson from so many different angles. The questions you asked me before the lesson helped me to refine the procedures so that they were each designed to work towards the goals of the lesson and helping students understand the “Big Idea.” Your expertise and coaching supported the development and facilitation of a lesson in which my students were highly engaged and able to use so many different strategies to compare numbers. We provided a forum for them to explain their mathematical thinking, and such wonderful ideas were expressed! Our debriefing period after the lesson was such a valuable component that allowed me to reflect on the lesson and think about possible ways to support students at all levels. Your questioning really made me think about the process and ways to continue to improve upon my preparation, planning, and teaching practices. I am really excited about working with you this year. Once again, thank you for all of your support! Sincerely,
It is pleasure to work with you. Without your suggestions, lessons wouldn‘t be that great. Before meeting with you, we were all struggling how to approach the subtraction unit. Now, it seems to be “a piece of cake.” and fun. Thanks to you!
I just wanted you to know that last period yesterday went fantastic!!! The kids were on task and talking math! They came up with some really great ideas. The math coach that visited me during the afternoon class was very impressed with what was happening in the room. Thank You!!!
- Jennifer, Teacher
Thank you so much for all the help you have given us! I have truly grown as a math educator and learned so many new ways to look at math. I used to shy away from math because it was never my best subject, but after working with you, you have helped me feel more comfortable.
- NYC Third Grade Teacher
“Thank you so much, Carrie, for all the insightful information and helpful feedback. We appreciated all that you did to guide our mathematical thinking and transfer it to our newfound understanding into the classroom and into our classroom teaching practices. I have a new found understanding of the investigations approach to teaching mathematics and having students explore the mathematical concepts before teaching it to them. It was a wonderful experience seeing what students know about the subject matter at hand before teaching into it. Thank you for all the insight.
- Gelena, Kindergarten Teacher, NYC