I don’t think there is enough space in the Town Times for me to elaborate on why Strong School is so fortunate to have a technology and innovation teacher like Carolyn LaRosa. It’s not their fault. That’s just how good this new teacher is.
I use the term “new” loosely here. Carolyn was teaching and working with robotics in Regional School District 17 before she came to RSD13, and in that role she just happened to be selected as teacher of the year. This gifted educator has the exuberance of a new teacher, but the expertise that comes with a great deal of experience. It’s hard to top that.
Some of us knew we wanted to be teachers early on, and Carolyn is one of those people. In college, she initially set out for a career in elementary education. Then she met an advisor who encouraged her to take a technology class. That was followed by woodshop, then design, and before she knew it, Ms. LaRosa had enough credits to get a degree teaching technology.
Carolyn didn’t stop there; she completed that certification in elementary education, and added middle school math to the list. Not too shabby.
What does Carolyn like the most about Strong? She admires Strong for its student-centered philosophy and its innovative spirit. Complement that with the teachers in her hallway who are always willing to lend a helping hand. She shared how lucky she is to have them, but having met Carolyn, I can add that they are just as lucky to have her.
Young people are also fortunate to work with this educator. When I asked Carolyn what she wants for her students, she shared the following advice for those in her classroom: think outside the box, don’t be afraid to fail, remember that ideas sometimes become reality, help someone else find a solution, and, best of all: keep going.
In a world in which we can Google the answer to almost anything, we need more encouragement like that.
Carolyn has goals for herself as well. She wants to put her own spin on the technology program and keep students interested in asking questions. Based on her clear love of what she does, I don’t think that will be a problem.
When I asked Carolyn to talk about some of the feedback she received regarding her work with students, she shared one example, but I have a feeling that there are many more.
That example came from a student who voiced his enjoyment of an activity with, “I haven’t had this much fun in a long time.” The same can probably be said by those who had the opportunity to visit the technology workshop for Strong’s open house. Carolyn challenged parents to create a design that would allow them to step through a piece of paper. Talk about engagement for everyone.
Steve Jobs is credited as having said, “Innovation is the only way to win.”
Thanks to the good work of people like Carolyn LaRosa, we can anticipate certain victory for the students at Strong School.