Jen Lavenberg Named Recipient of the Edgar H. Nichols Future Leader Instructorship Lower School technology integration and MakerSpace mentor Jen Lavenberg has been named the second faculty member to receive the Edgar H. Nichols Future Leader Instructorship, beginning in the 2016-2017 school year. Kindergarten teacher Maria Barton was the ﬁrst recipient. The instructorship, named in honor of Edgar H. Nichols, the co-founder of Browne & Nichols, in 1883, recognizes the special contributions that promising early and mid-career faculty make to the School community. Lavenberg has imparted a remarkable impact on the Lower School campus since her arrival as an academic technology specialist four years ago. She has been the architect of a signiﬁcant evolution in the approach to how technology can best be integrated into the Lower School curriculum—a shift that has yielded compelling results for students and teachers alike. Before Lavenberg’s arrival, technology had been taught as an isolated “special” at the Lower School. She has led the charge to systematically transform the role of the tech teacher from one who teaches isolated skills in a 45-minute block, to one who integrates technology into project-based learning throughout the Lower School’s classrooms.
curriculum. Lavenberg supported second graders in creating a map of the Lower School, which is now used by the Admission Office for visitors to the campus. This project included the integration of social studies, art, technology, and math. Connections were forged with MIT students, who brought a drone to campus to ﬁlm an aerial view. Another example is Lavenberg’s support of the student-initiated garden and birdhouse project, which reinforces the children’s interest in improving a corner of the playground. Lavenberg worked with the students to design the birdhouse for production on the laser cutter in the Lower School’s brand-new Thinker Lab. Lavenberg has emerged as an energetic leader of the faculty cohort around the Thinker Lab. She has facilitated meetings with teachers to introduce them to the many opportunities provided by the technology and materials available in the lab, and she posts inspirational videos and links to resources and maker conferences on a regular basis. In addition to curriculum integration, Lavenberg also provides expertise in the area of curriculum support—whether it’s supplying teachers with resources for struggling readers, researching quality math apps for students, or conducting online assessments.
Colleagues hail Lavenberg as a collaborator extraordinaire. She brings to the Lower School community a rare skill for both partnering with her colleagues and inspiring them. She regularly participates in curriculum meetings with teachers, working as a part of their team to make student learning experiences expand to embrace new technologies.
Above all, though, what Lavenberg brings to the Lower School learning community every day is a tireless enthusiasm, a deep love of learning, and a collaborative energy that encourages everyone around her. Even those who may be more hesitant to embrace the new technologies ﬁnd that Lavenberg’s gentle guidance and good humor inspires them to try.
The 2nd Grade mapping project is an example of how Lavenberg has played a leading role in integrating technology into the
Above: Lavenberg with second grade students in the Thinker Lab