High School Math Teacher, Mrs. Lindsey Fanning, Builds a System of Support for her Students

Posted by PA Distance Learning on 7/6/20 7:00 AM

Mrs. Lindsey Fanning began teaching Geometry and Consumer Math to high schoolers at PA Distance in August 2016 with three years of teaching experience at her disposal. Born and raised in South Park Township in Allegheny County, PA, Mrs. Fanning grew up wanting to be a teacher.

“My junior year, I was on track to be in AP Calculus and started tutoring some of my classmates in math,” she said. “I was also on the swim team and began helping out and teaching kids how to swim.”

The combination of her inclination for math and her desire to teach kids led her to pursue a career to teach math. After her college graduation, she moved to West Virginia to teach math to middle schoolers. However, she wanted to move back home to teach and in her search, she heard good things about PA Distance.

“I heard about how amazing PA Distance was from a friend,” she said. “I was immediately interested.”

Since applying and being hired as a secondary math teacher, Mrs. Fanning has also been assigned the role as head of the PA Distance graduation committee. In this role, Mrs. Fanning plans and organizes the PA Distance high school graduation ceremony while coordinating with the staff, parents, and students. Most recently, she led the planning of PA Distance’s first virtual high school graduation ceremony.

Mrs. Fanning teaches Geometry to 10th graders at PA Distance where she covers various concepts including points, lines, and planes, logic and reasoning, angles, slopes, triangles, polygons, circles, volume, area, and more. In addition to Geometry, Mrs. Fanning teaches Consumer Math to 12th graders. In this class, students learn how to use math when it relates to everyday life like when shopping, buying a house, paying off a loan, or calculating a tip while out at a restaurant.

“Consumer Math is an intro to financial literacy and how to manage money,” she said. “It’s heavily focused on math skills like ratios and percentages.”

Beyond the academics, she also notes that the relationships that she builds with their students are paramount. “The teachers here don’t just grade papers and read off a slideshow,” she said. “We all care about each individual student and how to help them succeed. We sit down and we try to understand what their needs are to personalize it as much as we can.”

“We are constantly asking, what can I do to help?” she added.

Mrs. Fanning also spoke highly of the live learning aspect of PA Distance’s curriculum. The Live Learning Sessions (LLS) allow students to participate with their teachers and classmates, in real-time, in a way that they are comfortable. Students are given the chance to socialize with their peers and teachers to develop relationships and build trust.

“Our live learning experience gives us the opportunity to build relationships with our students,” she said. “I have students that I haven’t had in class for two or three years, or even graduates, who still reach out to me because we had built that foundation.”

To Mrs. Fanning, the best part about PA Distance is the support system in place for both students and staff.

“The best part is the people and the support. You ask for help here and anybody is willing to step in and help you,” she said. “That is not something I had in other roles.”

“Everyone wants to help everyone. This year, I’m a mentor for a new staff member with the guidance from Curriculum & Instruction Coach, Mrs. Contos.”

“We collaborate to help answer any questions that students or staff members may have. There is a really positive atmosphere at this school.”

Graduate Spotlight Kirstin DeGraeve

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