Staff Spotlight: Laurie Stock
Posted on 05/13/2024
Laurie Stock

Staff Spotlight: Laurie Stock

Laurie Stock has taught in East Hartford for 31 years and is currently the IB Coordinator and an Instructional Coach at O’Connell Elementary School. Having been a part of O’Connell’s IB programme since the start, she says she continues to learn and develop new strategies that she shares with her staff and other IB schools around the state and country.

“Laurie is, number one, an amazing education professional. And in her role here as the IB programme PYP coordinator and instructional coach, she makes a huge difference,” said O’Connell Principal Greg Fox. “She's here to focus on helping both students and staff. I know our teachers really enjoy her help with our IB units of study. You'll find her in the classrooms collaborating. You'll find her making sure that we can meet every student's needs here at O'Connell. She just does an amazing job.”

Fox added, “Laurie really cares. She is so invested in making sure that our students have what they need, and our teachers have what they need, that she always goes above and beyond. Most people work a normal day. I think Laurie's always working. She's always working on improving.”

Learn more about Laurie Stock in the Q&A below.

What was your journey to the IB Coordinator role?

Stock: I was fortunate that I student taught in East Hartford many years ago. This is my 31st year as a teacher in East Hartford. I started off working with the K-2 autism program for about 14.5 years. Then I taught 2nd grade for a few years, taught 4th grade for a few years, and then when we started investigating the IB program, I became very interested in that. I was part of the beginning stages of developing the program and looking for authorization. And shortly after we applied for IB authorization, I became the IB coordinator and instructional coach.

What was it like being a part of the IB programme and authorization process from the start?

Stock: It was really exciting. At the time I didn't know anything about IB, and so being able to learn about their philosophy, best practices, what would be helpful or beneficial to our community of learners, and then how to kind of make that all happen was a lot of fun.

Now the IB programme has been here for around 12 years. What does your role as IB Coordinator entail?

Stock: The biggest role of a coordinator is organization, organizing all the information, the documentation, making sure that we are implementing IB’s philosophy and standards authentically.

The most exciting part of this role really is that I'm able to work essentially, collaboratively with three different groups and help to meld all of those together, intertwine them, to really create something special here at O'Connell. So I work with district administration, district coaches, to share and learn about exciting things that are happening across the district. I get to work with my own community here in O'Connell, collaboratively with the grade level teachers. And then I also get to work with the IB community, all of the other coordinators globally, but really within the northeast to share practices that are working in our buildings. I get to learn strategies, resources, things that may help benefit our program and our students.

With all of that work behind the scenes, what is it like for you to see all of your work in action when you visit classrooms?

Stock: That is ultimately the best part of this job. For example, a group of us went to an IB workshop last fall, three teachers, as well as the other instructional coach and myself. We were able to gain incredible inquiry strategies that we then came back and collaboratively turned around to staff. Then to be able to see that, see students using those strategies, increasing their engagement level and ultimately increasing their achievement across all areas.

Another really exciting thing that I'm most proud of is that there are many schools within Connecticut and across the northeast that regularly reach out to come observe our program. Just this year alone we've had three schools in Connecticut reach out to us and one out of New York. The one out of New York, there were 30 participants that came: board members, administration, teachers, parents. They were just beginning this IB journey and wanted to see what does that mean for them, how did we handle some of the things that we needed to do when we started, and then how does that impact kids. Then hearing their feedback at the end, after they saw our kids and they saw our teachers, some of the lessons, some of the exciting things that were happening, that's the best part, because you're super proud of what you've created.

How does that feel to be this exemplar, especially since you were a part of the programme since its inception?

Stock: It is a great feeling to have started in the beginning, built something that it is a struggle in the beginning. It's not easy, it's different. It's figuring out how that's going to work for us, learning new strategies, learning new practices, writing curriculum, reflecting on it, making changes. As an educator, that is the greatest part of education, it's never ending. You're can always learn new things. You can always grow. You can always reflect and make changes that are better.

So to now see, you know, of course we can always get better, but to now have schools from the northeast calling us to come see what our program is like, it feels great. And kudos to everyone that has worked so tirelessly to make this happen, because we have made a great program for our kids.