What she’s paid to do: teach.
What she wants to do: nurture and motivate.
The stuffed birds that line the walls of her science classroom speak to her relationship with students, a mama bird minding the nest.
Hunter Kinney, 17, president of the Southwestern High School Raptor Rehabilitation Program, knows first-hand about the nurturing.
“Carter shows us how to nurture the birds through her own care for us,” he said.
And the motivation?
Hunter said taking care of the birds is a part of him now.
“I’ve learned so much about myself,” he said.
Francis serves as adviser for the Raptor program, which takes in injured birds of prey and nurses them back to health, hopefully for release into the wild.
The signs of her value to students hang on her office door: “Thank You” cards and printouts of emails from students.
She even teaches alongside a former student now, Kyle Curry.
And the birds cared for in the program now have favorite students, Francis says.
For example, April Norfleet, a junior and member of the Conservation Club, works directly with Typo, a Great Horned Owl, one of the most aggressive birds kept in the education center, but who seems to favor April.
Each Thursday afternoon, students in the club gather to clean cages and bring out the birds to help them practice perching. Hunter Kinney does a large portion of the directing while Francis watches over, not stepping in too far, and only when needed.
And sometimes, Francis' students fall from the nest. Not a problem.
Failure can make the best teaching tool sometimes, she says.
“I let students try on their own, so they can problem solve,” Francis says. “When they do, they are always more proud than if I would have showed them exactly what to do.”
Patriot, a 3-year-old bald eagle, lives at the Raptor Rehabilitation Center at Southwestern High School in Somerset. The program cares for injured birds in hopes of releasing them into the wild.
A Screech Owl rests on the finger of a student at the Raptor Rehabilitation Center at Southwestern High School in Somerset.
Part of the the Raptor Rehabilitation Center program at Southwestern High School in Somerset involves injured birds, but the facility also houses for educational purposes birds of prey.
Some of the birds at the Raptor Rehabilitation Center at Southwestern High School in Somerset get a bit ruffled when students handle them.
Hunter Kinney, 17, cradles Patriot, a 3-year-old bald eagle, before taking him out to perch. Patriot lives in an outdoor facility built by a Somerset Girl Scout troop and donated to the Conservation Club.
Francis Carter, the adviser for the Conservation Club at Southwestern High School helps students during "Envirothon," an annual, themed academic competition. Students counted more than a dozen times -- to prepare for one portion of the competition -- the number of steps in a 66-foot span.
Southwestern High School student Hunter Kinney works with Patriot, a 3-year-old bald eagle, in the school's Raptor Rehabilitation Center.
Francis Carter and Hunter Kinney feed Patriot, a 3-year-old bald eagle at the Raptor Rehabilitation Center at Southwestern High School in Somerset. Hunter is Francis' lab assistant in her science classes and president of the Conservation Club at Southwestern.
Patriot, a 3-year-old bald eagle, eats "steak tartar" from the hand of Hunter Kinney, Southwestern High School student and president of the conservation club. The students who participate in the Raptor Rehabilitation Center feed the birds every Thursday after school.
Hunter Kinney, 17, and Patriot, a 3-year-old bald eagle, pose for a portrait at the Raptor Rehabilitation Center at Southwestern High School in Somerset.