At Cedarcrest-Southmoor Elementary School, fourth- grade teacher Laura Hill’s selfless, can-do attitude infuses her teaching in and out of the classroom. Not only did she start an after-school sports program for underprivileged kids, but she also raises funds for cancer research. Hill’s dedication to helping cancer patients doesn’t end there: She also cuts her hair every two years and donates it to Locks of Love, which turns it into wigs for cancer patients.
Through her school’s implementation of TAP™: The System for Teacher and Student Advancement, Hill continually analyzes data while encouraging students to take ownership of their learning environment as a TAP mentor teacher. She organized a social studies fair where the elementary projects garnered more raves than the middle- and high-school entries. She also launched a local Kids for Saving Earth Recycling Club, with donations benefiting St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. Additionally, Hill oversees test-prep workshops for parents and students. When test scores come in, she holds a formal banquet for kids and families, with prizes bequeathed by local businesses. In the summertime, she teaches Scientific Mysteries of Egypt at a Louisiana State University (LSU) program for high-achieving students.
Hill’s students continually thrive, even though the school’s population is highly mobile and faces socioeconomic hardships. One-hundred percent of her students pass the state assessments, and, furthermore, earned a value-added score of “5” for the past four years (the highest score possible, signifying “far above average” achievement growth compared to peers across the state), During her very first year of teaching, Hill took 18 students who had failed fourth grade—most were one-to-two grade levels behind—and the majority passed the state assessments.
Outside of the classroom, Hill presents at state math conferences and was filmed by the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET) for TAP training videos. A grade-level chair, she co-leads cluster meetings, coordinates a pre-service program at LSU, and is writing curriculum for an LSU summer academic program for science and math. New teachers regularly observe her classroom, and she presents to veteran teachers in a college course.
National Board Certified Teacher