Nancie Lawrence’s classroom is a safe space where every child is treated with dignity and respect. Lawrence is a reading specialist at Steere Farm Elementary in Pascoag, Rhode Island and was formerly a third-grade teacher at the school. She makes a point of knowing her students deeply so she can tailor her instruction to match their needs and support them toward individual learning goals. Lawrence is a master at helping students cultivate their voices and interact with each other, asking probing questions and ensuring all voices are heard. She often works with small groups, which she rearranges every few weeks as she adjusts based on formative and summative assessments. Lawrence challenges students to think deeply and work hard for results. Her goal: hold students to rigorous standards while creating a nurturing environment that makes them excited about reading, writing and learning. And her methods deliver. Her students’ overall average ELA proficiency rate on the 2019 Rhode Island Comprehensive Assessment System (RICAS) was 53%, compared with 33% for the state and 30% for the Burrillville district.
When she was a third-grade teacher, Lawrence worked with the principal and other lead teachers to facilitate professional development. When Steere Farm was implementing instructional rounds, Lawrence stepped up and used the third-grade team as a model, working with her peers to identify problems of practice and reflect on their own practices to make them better. Some colleagues were hesitant to embrace the program, but Lawrence won them over; the entire district now participates in instructional rounds. Lawrence has served on multiple curriculum committees for ELA and was an elementary science lead teacher. She worked on the Common Core Standards team to build content, scope and sequence, and to design assessments. Lawrence belongs to the International Literacy Association, Kappa Delta Pi and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. She mentors student teachers and high schoolers studying in the district’s education pathway. As a mentor teacher for Brown University, Lawrence evaluates and guides candidates through the beginning of their master’s in education studies.
Lawrence believes deeply in parent involvement. She is in regular communication with families. An active part of the Steere Farm family, Lawrence participates in many events and fundraisers, including the annual golf tournament, talent show, dances and basketball games.
Lawrence earned a bachelor’s in elementary and special education in 2006 and a master’s in education in reading in 2012 from Rhode Island College. She received National Board Certification in elementary literacy in 2013.
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