Laura Tolman Selected Among 24 Norwood Nominees;
Teachers Honored for Classroom Innovation and Creativity
NORWOOD -- May 6, 2016 -- Preschool teacher Laura Tolman today was named Norwood Teacher of the Year, capping off a celebration held at the Norwood Masons building to honor 24 Norwood teachers for their classroom innovation and creativity.
The Norwood Teacher of the Year awards recognize teachers for the dedication and commitment to the education of Norwood students. This year marks the 10 year anniversary that the Orient Lodge of Masons has organized this program. Thirty-six nominations were entered, primarily by parents, on behalf of 24 Norwood teachers.
Tolman was nominated by a parent who wrote about Tolman’s ability to help her son, recently diagnosed with autism, adjust to preschool and gradually become engaged in classroom learning and activity. “We were a family that was reeling, with a new autism diagnosis having been recently delivered and a baby boy who was completely lost in his world. Laura was our new tour guide to the way life could be.”
The nomination continued, “I've never met another parent who doesn't think Laura is the glue that keeps their child together, constantly learning all while making amazing gains. She advocates tirelessly for every student in her class and never misses an opportunity to improve their learning environment.”
Kate Bush, one of the jurors for this year’s program, said of Tolman’s nomination: “This teacher taught a family how to start walking down the road of raising a child on the autism spectrum, devised a technique that coaxed a boy who would not hold anyone's hand to hold hers, and developed simple activities that taught students the skills necessary to function successfully in a social environment. She develops constructive and creative solutions to seemingly intractable problems and seems extraordinarily gifted in making the human connection with students and their families that creates an environment where learning is exciting for everyone.”
Tolman receives a $1,000 award in addition to an award plaque. The Willett Early Childhood Center will also receive a $1,000 charitable donation and a plaque for the school building. All nominees received a certificate and a $100 gift card for Sky Restaurant of Norwood.
The 24 Norwood teachers honored in the 2016 program are:
Earlier this year nominations were solicited from the community; each nomination attested to their nominee’s innovation and creativity, ability to inspire a love of learning in their students, and work on special projects and initiatives. A jury comprised primarily of educators not from Norwood schools reviewed each essay with nominee names redacted, scoring each on the above criteria to select a winner.
Originally conceived by the defunct Exchange Club of Norwood, Orient Lodge now proudly organizes the annual event. Previous Teacher of the Year Award winners include:
2015 - Lindsey Bell, Prescott Elementary
2014 - Dr. Michael Crowley, Norwood High School
2013 - Michael Finnerty, Prescott Elementary
2012 - Nora Glynn, Norwood High School
2011 - Scott Maffei, Oldham Elementary
2010 - Laurel (Oberg) Cawley, Prescott Elementary
2009 - Debbie (Saunders) Shook, Oldham Elementary
2008 - Kathryn (Donovan) Benson, Norwood High School
2007 - Sean Richardson, Balch Elementary
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