Walk into Laura Laiche’s third-grade class at Slaughter Elementary in East Feliciana Parish and you’ll see every student actively engaged in learning. Laiche uses whole brain teaching, including visual cues and hand gestures, as students perch on stools around a table or on sensory objects like balls and beanbag chairs. During a weeklong “space mission,” students learn to identify text features in space-themed nonfiction passages and articles to collect clues, solve the puzzle and “save” an astronaut. Laiche brings in parents and community members for Young Authors’ Night, where students read aloud their stories about, for instance, being trapped inside snow globes. Her methods deliver excellent results: For 2018-19, 90% of Laiche’s students scored proficient for ELA on the LEAP 2025 state assessment, with 70% at Mastery and Advanced levels. The school was one of five finalists for the 2020 National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET) Founder’s Award.
In her student-led classroom, Laiche encourages students to take ownership of their learning as they become lifelong learners and avid readers and writers. Her standards are high; instruction is rigorous and differentiated. Students set their own learning targets and monitor progress toward those goals, with Laiche keeping track of each child’s mastery in her student tracking binder. She builds their self-esteem, ensures they have confidence in themselves and encourages their hopes for the future. Parents always know what their children are working on, and Laiche communicates with them regularly about their students’ progress, whether a pupil is excelling or struggling with a particular skill. She was the first teacher at Slaughter to connect with parents using the Class Dojo app, which, thanks to her, is now used throughout the building.
Laiche constantly researches innovative teaching strategies to incorporate into her classroom and share with colleagues. She has attended the Louisiana Department of Education’s Teacher Leader Summit and NIET’s National Conference and Summer Institute, always bringing back detailed reports to apply at Slaughter. As a mentor teacher in NIET’s TAP System for Teacher and Student Advancement, Laiche helps to develop school goals and the strategies to achieve them. She facilitates weekly cluster meetings, researches and field-tests teaching strategies, observes classrooms, provides feedback, and models teaching techniques and lessons to improve instruction and student outcomes. Laiche is working with other ELA content leaders to deliver training to all new teachers throughout East Feliciana Parish. After school, she provides additional reading instruction in a multisensory language program for dyslexic students.
Laiche earned a bachelor’s in business administration and a certificate in elementary education in 2011 from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
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