Academics

Featured Faculty

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Hina Pandey

For Hina Pandey the formula was simple, “I know I am passionate about science and science education because it has great potential to meet world needs involving hunger, the environment, medicine, and agriculture.” Yet even knowing that constant in her life, the variable of where she would share her passion had to be solved. That was solved by the hand of God. “I am a strong believer in God and believe he has a plan for me. Having a Catholic education background - one that had a tremendous effect on me - and then having the opportunity to work in Catholic education. I believe it has all been through the hand of God.”

Decorated with a Masters in Analytical and Medicinal Chemistry, a Masters in Environmental Chemistry, a California Teaching Credential, Computational Modeling and Simulation Training, and years of teaching experience, she found her home at Central Catholic nine years ago progressing to her current position as STEM Coordinator and the Science Chair. Central Catholic offers a small school environment where teachers truly care for students and not just the learning, a fact that Hina confirms. “I teach for students to develop self-confidence in their future, to become productive, happy citizens, and to possess an awareness of the wide scope of science.” With a high level of rigor and a strong integration of subject matter Hina Pandey’s classroom is abuzz with models, robotics projects, and findings from regular and extensive, open ended (for the purpose of scientific exploration) and guided labs.

But if the world of bubbling beakers and complicated equations sends you running, Hina reassures, “My expectations are clear and my students are well-informed. I establish a routine and there is a clear pattern of learning. It is most important that students feel secure and respected not only for who they are but where they are in their academic progress.” But when the classroom lights dim and Hina closes the door it’s not the equation she finds most compelling, it is the opportunity to guide students towards their future.

She recalls a student who did very well in the College Preparatory level courses, but Hina saw the dedication and commitment necessary for the girl to move on to the Honors level. “She didn't feel at the time that she could handle the pressure of the Honors schedule, but several years later while at the university I received an email from her sharing that she had challenged herself to the rigor of university honors science coursework and felt very well prepared. That’s what happens at Central Catholic - teachers make connections with students and help them connect with their future”.
What makes you passionate about teaching at Central Catholic High School?
"Teaching at Central Catholic is an opportunity to not only teach a rigorous curriculum but to develop the personality and character of the students, creating relationships and caring for students in a way that is not often seen in other academic environments."

What is important to you about student learning? 
"It is most important that the students feel secure, safe, and respected not only for who they are but where they are in academic acquisition - no matter where they are in mastery of the content they feel respected and supported. I instruct so students and parents see the wide scope of science and have an awareness of what it can do."

How do you feel you most influence a student’s learning and help them to flourish?
"My expectations are clear and students are well-informed. This is the first step…there is a clear pattern of understanding."

What makes your class special?  Why would a student benefit from your instruction?
"At Central Catholic teachers listen and create programs where a student can succeed. I do not believe in watering down the curriculum. I provide a rigorous curriculum that makes the students feel like they are learning something that will allow them to be capable of higher level skills and higher level work…to become happy, productive citizens."

What appeals to you about S.T.E.M.?
"What appeals to me most about STEM is that the solution does not come from one subject area….we are teaching students to use multiple levels of academic knowledge to do something very important - solve real world problems. STEM creates the environment for students to integrate information because that is a skill needed in the real world….involvement in STEM will create a student who is academically competitive with students throughout the world. Where a lecture might be of limited value my curriculum regularly includes research projects, modeling, and robotics…in my class we do hands on activities… by October we have already completed between 9 -10 labs per class. Some experiments are open-ended for scientific exploration, but some are guided because you want the students to comprehend certain outcomes."

As a parent, why do you think it is important for other parents to send their child to Central Catholic?
The small school environment allows you to feel more like a family and the teachers truly care for the student and not just the learning. Teachers listen and create programs where the child succeeds.  I teach for students to develop self confidence in their future - not to love me or even necessarily the subject area, but to have a respect for science and to become happy productive citizens. A student shared a story with me recently, comparing Central Catholic with another program. What she found was that teachers elsewhere did not care for the student. They taught well, but formed no connection.