Jason Lanoie was recognized recently for
his work in the STEM program at Windham Middle School. STEM stands for science,
technology, engineering and math and at WMS has taken the place of industrial
technology. Over the years, Lanoie has added a lot of science and technology to
the program. “It was built to try to be a stronger class,” Lanoie said.
After 11 years at WMS he received the
Maine STEM Teacher of the Year Award from the Perloff Foundation, which works
closely with STEM teachers from all over Maine. “Windham is one of the top,”
said Lanoie. David and Sandy Perloff have visited his classroom two or three
times a year for the past six or seven years, he said. They interact with the
students and take pictures of them working with the equipment and designing
projects. Mr. Perloff will often times come with ideas from other labs and
classrooms and ask how he can help Lanoie implement it.
The award was mailed to Lanoie at school
and he thought perhaps it was a book about STEM, but when he opened it he was
surprised. The Perloff’s had emailed him saying there was a package arriving
soon, he didn’t expect the award.
“It completely took me by surprise. It’s
a complete honor,” Lanoie said. “They wanted to start to recognize the teachers
who have done so much for STEM.”
“The award is great. They thanked me up
and down for what I’d done for my children,” he said. One girl in seventh grade
has decided that she wants to be an engineer after taking Lanoie’s class. She
signed up for STEM for next year, too. “If I get the students, it makes me feel
like I’ve done my job,” he said. “The most important thing is to engage my
students. What they will learn will actually benefit them. Not necessarily
today, but there will be a time,” Lanoie said.
The Perloff Foundation donates money to
the STEM program to keep the class going and the learning happening. “David
wants to make sure his passion gets passed down to the students,” said Lanoie.
“Sandy loves interacting with the students,” he added.
“This is a true testament to the work
you have done with providing WMS students a stellar program,” Superintendent
Sandy Prince said in a letter to Lanoie. “Unquestionably, you have been
instrumental with building this strong partnership and I thank you for such. Your
willingness to go the extra mile on behalf of your students is highly regarded
by the wider school community.”
With the use of the 3D printers and
other innovative projects, Lanoie, who is following in his father’s footsteps
as a teacher in industrial technology, never wants to stop looking for
“Jason has been at the forefront of new
technologies within the STEM program.
His work and dedication to his program and students has allowed the
school to gain access to resources that are cutting edge and only dreamed of in
other districts. This access to current
technologies for our students allows them to use tools like 3D printers to
solve problems and create,” said WMS principal Drew Patin.
Lanoie’s teaching partner, Joe Boudreau,
just finished his first year at WMS. They work together to teach the students
what they are best at often switching classrooms to play to their strengths.
“I’ve had to go in front of the board to
save our program two or three times. We have to do something to make this
important,” Lanoie said. He has become adept at grant writing with his first
grant was given eight Lego robotics kits to use in the classroom. “It’s a long process. I have to prove it’s
for the students and how many students will use them.”
“This access also opens students' minds
to technologies used in current workplace environments. Jason's accomplishment brings recognition to
an area of schools we need to expand and a style of teaching we also need to expand
in order to better meet the needs of our learners. I am looking forward to seeing the work of
his students this coming school year!” said Patin.
Lanoie is looking forward to a long
career in the STEM lab. “I want to be interacting with the students. That’s
where my passion is. Someday I’ll be hanging up my badge. I hope when I walk
out the door, I can be proud of myself and what I’ve done,” he said.
Lanoie will leave the award in the lab
for everyone to see. He said that the students recognized that it was an