As one of the youngest staff members at Madison Junior High School, Savanna Lawrence ’17 has the edge when it comes to utilizing advanced technologies in the classroom. It has only been two years since Savanna graduated from Thomas College’s Education program, and she is already making a difference in her school community.
“I am trusted in my role to try new techniques and enrich my classroom through ideas and activities I learned while at Thomas,” said Savanna, who teaches 6th and 7th grade Social Studies. “For example, I have created many hands-on learning opportunities for students through inquiry-based projects, creating models, and working with large scale maps.”
Savanna has also painted the world map on her classroom wall, has begun a Theology Club, and uses Virtual Reality to enhance her students’ learning experiences.
Savanna says she’s be able to do this because of what she learned at Thomas College.
“The undergraduate Elementary Program was hands on and very compatible to what is happening in the field. During my time at Thomas, I was exposed to a great amount of educational innovation, researched-based strategies and methods, as well as many classroom experiences,” she said.
After Thomas, Savanna was able to go back to her hometown and teach in the middle school she attended growing up. Besides teaching, Savanna is also the community Softball coach and the high school Girls’ Varsity Soccer coach.
More recently, Savanna also added something else to her plate – she decided to return to Thomas College for her Master’s in Educational Leadership, taking classes part time while she works full time.
“I chose to come back for my Master’s because I want to continue to progress as a leader, within my community, both in the realm of public education and beyond. A Master’s in Educational Leadership will allow me to broaden my understanding of what it takes to be a leader of an organization, develop new skills, and continue lifelong learning.”
Savanna said she chose Thomas specifically for her Master’s because of her rich undergraduate experience there. She was excited to reconnect and work with her former Thomas professors, too.
So far, Savanna said graduate school is different than undergrad because most of the assignments are done off campus.
“Graduate school looks deeper into the methodology and theories of teaching to advance the quality of education in our local schools. The workload is similar, but the knowledge and assignments are more advanced.”
Although the enriched curriculum of Thomas College’s programming is important to Savanna, she also thinks the Thomas community is what helped her succeed and fall in love with the College.
“The community of educators and staff at Thomas is what makes it such a special school. Every professor, Dr. Biffle, Dr. Rybakova, Dog, and the others really did care about my life and my success. Non-educational staff, Lisa DP, Michael Sales, Steve “the omelet guy,” Jim Delorie, Rebecca Kane, and others I was involved with were also personable and wanted to connect with me on a personal level,” said Savanna. “Professor McQuiston even brought me a gift on my first day as a teacher at Madison Jr. High; she had taught here years prior and wanted to give me that extra boost on my first day.”
Overall, Savanna is proud to be associated with an institution that is as committed to education as she is.
“The growth of Thomas as a whole in the last few years really struck me as an innovative place, where the learning is meaningful and top-of-the-line,” she said.