This award highlights my personal commitment to creating the most innovative and motivating science instructional practices for young learners. It is a reflection of my students, their families, as well as my supportive colleagues who have inspired and encouraged me to grow as an educator. They’ve understood and supported my drive to find ways for every young learner to engage in innovative challenges, collaborative discoveries, and amazing adventures through the field of science.

Lori Durocher West Hartford, CT | K-6, Science, 2020

The official biography below was current at the time of the award.

Lori Durocher has been an educator for more than 30 years and has spent the last 25 years teaching in a full inclusion kindergarten program at Norfeldt Elementary School in West Hartford, CT. She previously taught at Bethany Community School for five years. Lori is a six-time West Hartford Foundation Grant Award recipient (four times for science), a district Seesaw ambassador, twice a finalist for Teacher of the Year, an active member of the Faculty Advisory Committee, Technology Committee, and works to write kindergarten curriculum in many areas. Lori works to incorporate science and engineering applications into all curricular areas. In this way, students see themselves as scientists and engineers not only during “science time” but also throughout the entire instructional day. Developing innovative science adventures that appeal to young children and opportunities through which students work collaboratively to theorize, construct, and test hypotheses are hallmarks of Lori’s teaching. By mentoring educators new to the field, working with university teacher education programs, presenting at early childhood education forums, and mentoring early childhood student teachers, Lori brings a unique perspective and renewed sense of energy and excitement to science instructional practices. She has made a commitment to stay in kindergarten at Norfeldt where students with intensive academic needs work alongside their peers in all subjects. It is a learning laboratory where all inquisitive minds collaborate to learn from one another. Lori earned a B.A., magna cum laude, in elementary education with a minor in psychology and an M.Ed., magna cum laude, in early childhood education from Southern CT State University. She is a certified pre-kindergarten through sixth grade educator.

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