Kara Davis sets high standards for her students—and for herself. A fourth-grade teacher at Joe Mathias Elementary School in Rogers, Arkansas, Davis has a knack for helping students surpass their own expectations. During a recent project-based learning effort, Davis asked students to explore congestion problems in the school parking lot. The children turned their research skills on their parents, documenting the adults' less-than-disciplined parking and driving habits on campus. The students then honed their communication skills, presenting the parents with their findings and suggesting solutions to improve the flow of traffic.
Davis is equally committed to teaching her fellow teachers. She started a class for Mathias' first-year teachers to help them with school policies and procedures, lesson planning, and preparation for conferences and evaluations. Davis has led professional development for the district and is a go-to teacher for literacy issues. Known as a data-driven educator, Davis reads the latest research and is eager to try new concepts in her classroom. She has served on school and district curriculum committees, leads her grade-level team, and developed an app to track lunch and attendance. Davis also serves on Mathias' parent advisory committee and has facilitated kindergarten parent training. Dedicated to nurturing the next generation of educators, Davis is an ambassador for TEACH, a group that recruits students to the teaching profession.
A strong advocate for technology in the classroom, Davis organized and led a fundraising campaign to bring one-to-one computing to her students. She helped a kindergarten teacher at Mathias integrate Google Classroom into her curriculum; teachers across the district have visited the classroom to see the young students learning with technology in ways few had imagined. Davis' classroom serves as a district model for technology integration, and she is involved in a new initiative to revise the school's science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) curriculum. Assessment scores for Mathias, a high-need school where 83% of the students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch, rival the state averages, and students have shown significant growth in both literacy and writing.
Davis is National Board Certified. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in elementary and early childhood education in 2004 from Central Washington State University and a Master of Arts in educational theory and practice in 2016 from Arkansas State University.
"[In fifth grade] I decided that I didn't have a 'math brain.' And, no surprise, I found math more difficult from that point..." (read more)