The man behind AH 202
April 20, 2016
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Few teachers at Cathedral Catholic High School are as in-demand as Mr. Frank Caro. At any given moment, his classroom is teeming with students, and not just those he currently teaches.
Although he is only in his second year at CCHS, Mr. Caro has already amassed a loyal following of students. This is a large reason why Advanced Placement Psychology, a class pioneered last year by Mr. Caro, has been so successful. It now is taught during six blocks, versus the four available last year.
After growing up in New York, Mr. Caro’s studies and career lead him to Washington, Oregon, and ultimately California. He was extremely excited about the opportunity to teach in “America’s Finest City,” and at CCHS.
“From the very first day, I knew that these students were different, and I was amazed,” Mr. Caro said. “There was a unique opportunity for a relationship between students [and I] to grow from the very start.”
Students have taken notice of Mr. Caro’s personal approach to teaching. They emphasize that Mr. Caro’s primary focus in his role as a teacher is the students themselves.
“He’s there for more than just classwork and teaching,” AP Psychology student Alexa Vadnais ‘16 said. “He does everything he can to ensure that we learn as much as we can. He’s incredibly supportive.”
According to Mr. Caro, his primary goal as a teacher is to facilitate a successful interaction between students and the educational material, finding unique ways to incite interest in the material. His approach to teaching stems from his education at the University of Washington, where he studied for both his undergraduate and graduate degrees in psychology.
“In college, I realized I wanted to teach at some point in my life,” Mr. Caro said. “I was a teaching assistant, but it made me incredibly nervous. I needed the freedom to run the class the way I wanted to. Once I got that, I became very passionate.”
This passion lead him from the University of Washington to Tigard High School in Tigard, Oregon. At Tigard, he taught psychology and social studies at the International Baccalaureate level, which is similar to AP.
In 2009, he was awarded Teacher of the Year for the Tigard-Tualatin school district. He taught at Tigard for ten years, where he was loved by students and faculty alike.
In 2011, Mr. Caro was honored with the prestigious Milken Family Foundation Educator Award, which is awarded to 40 people a year and is known as the “Oscar’s of teaching.”
According to the Milken Foundation’s biography, “Caro groups his lessons based on individual instruction, effectively meeting the diverse needs of his students.”
It is this award-winning strategy that has made Mr. Caro successful and popular at CCHS in his short time here.
“He really cares about us as people,” NHS Academic Officer Mimi Burbank ‘16 said, “whether that be your relationships, college search, family problems or mental health. It means a lot to be more than just a name and a grade to a teacher and advisor.”
A way Mr. Caro tailors content to students is through his use of “Anonymous Questions.” Through a link on his website, students can ask questions on topics ranging from effective study habits to more personal issues that they may be too shy to ask themselves in class. He stresses that he is always available for students, and he encourages them to either write in or talk to him if they are experiencing difficulty.
Mr. Caro also sponsors “AP Psych Movie Nights,” where students gather in the Lecture Hall and watch films that relate to the content they are learning, such as Inside Out or Her.
His outside-the-box approach to teaching is admired by his colleagues as well.
“From the traffic in and out of his office, you can tell he’s a great teacher,” Mr. Joe Kilroy said. “The kids flock to him. He’s a great guy and neighbor; I hope he is here for a very long time.”
Mr. Caro is very involved on campus and is the advisor to the CCHS chapter of the National Honors Society (NHS), which includes 300 students. With his leadership, the CCHS NHS has facilitated many service projects, including a tutoring partnership with Hage Elementary School.
He also serves on a variety of committees and is dedicated to making CCHS the best school it can be.
“I would love to teach a dual credit class at Cathedral eventually,” Mr. Caro said. “We’re currently working on a way to make CCHS the school that offers the most dual-credit courses in the county.”
While the dual-credit endeavor remains “in the works,” Mr. Caro plans on continuing teaching AP Psychology with the usual fervor.
“The thing I love most about Cathedral is that the students do these incredible little things, like saying “thank you” as they walk out the door,” Mr. Caro said.
“I think I should be saying thank you to the students instead.”