Laura Gustafson isn’t a teacher who just “sits” still! She is a mover and a shaker that you may find dressed up, singing, dancing, reading aloud and connecting with her students. She is also sure to give each and every student a ‘shout out’ and is tuned in so each student knows that they matter.
Laura always seeks out what is best for her students. In 2019, she was featured in SouthCoast Today  for successfully implementing flexible seating in her classroom. This included seating options such as yoga balls, bean bag chairs and scoop rockers. After incorporating yoga with her students back in 2016, Gustafson found an improvement in her students’ well-being by making these changes, coupled with mindfulness in her classroom.
When faced with the unexpected challenge of remote learning last spring, Laura found new and innovative ways to connect with her class. Putting her students’ learning first, she recorded a read aloud EVERY night of the ENTIRE spring for her students for viewing online. She also drove by each student’s house just to brighten their days. At the end of the 2019-2020 school year, she met her next grade class on Google Meet. “I have witnessed Mrs.Gustafson take a strong lead within the Hoyle school by supporting technology implementation and learning for the entire school community”, said Nicole Medeiros, a parent of one of Laura’s students. “This was my first time meeting Mrs. Gustafson. Over the summer she met with her new class a few times to build a classroom community knowing this year would be different,” she said.
In the midst of pivoting to remote learning in response to the pandemic, Laura also earned her Google Level 1 certification in order to assist her fellow staff, becoming an “unofficial” techie to support others at her school. In this endeavor, she ran scheduled training sessions for her colleagues to support remote and hybrid learning, while finding the right balance in pedagogy, academic rigor, and digital tools. “I feel she is teaching my son how to be an avid tech-savvy remote learner and that these skills are embedded in the background of the current day curriculum,” Medeiros said.
Outside of her day job, Laura volunteers for MassCUE as a member of the Communications Committee. In her short time in this role, Laura has implemented our successful Tech Tip Tuesdays , a social media campaign to provide educators with quick tips for technology in the classroom. She is truly a team player and is always willing to share her innovative ideas with others. MassCUE is pleased to recognize Laura Gustafson as our Featured Educator for March, 2021.
Laura Gustafson is a second grade teacher at the Mark Hoyle Elementary School in Swansea MA. Follower her on Twitter @GusGottaTeach