Marti Shirley, Mathematics Department - Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

Marti Shirley, Mathematics Department

Why did you choose to work at IMSA?

IMSA is my home. There is a sense of belonging and a freedom to express oneself unlike any other school I’ve known. Gifted and diverse, the student body approaches academic challenges with excitement and intensity that fills me with a renewed energy daily. The academy is more than a school, it is a community that encourages people to take risks and embrace challenge all while working towards the greater good. Empowered to follow my passions, my growth as a professional (and an individual) is inevitable. The possibilities of courses to teach or projects to pursue are limited only by time and imagination. What I feel is the embodiment of IMSA is best expressed by our former IMSA president, who I was in awe of as a student and even more so as an educator: Learning emerges from discovery, not directives; reflection, not rules; possibilities, not prescriptions; diversity, not dogma; creativity and curiosity, not conformity and certainty; and meaning, not mandates.  ~Stephanie Pace Marshall

How are you implementing the academy’s equity policy, doing your work (curriculum, instruction and assessment) through an equity lens?

As educators we all strive to promote equity, some of the ways I try to address this are:

  • Developing assignments to address equity, such as pay differences between genders, and allowing discussions in the classroom to ask questions, developing awareness.
  • Grading all student assignments blindly, to ensure as much objectivity in assessments.
  • Providing extra support wherever it is needed. Such as evening study sessions prior to exams, allowing access for SIR students, providing additional resources for challenging concepts and being available to work with students at times that are most optimal for their schedules.
Tell me something fun about you that might be interesting to others.

I sing and dance through the halls of IMSA quiet often.

What is Your Favorite Book?

Any Harry Potter book

What is Your Favorite Movie?

The Princess Bride