Laurie York's enthusiasm is certainly contagious as she shares the successes of her fourth grade classroom. These accomplishments have resulted in her nomination of 2017-18 Educator of the Year Award for the California League of Schools – Region 2. Only three candidates in the Region 2 area, which spans from Butte County all the way up to north of Redding, were honored.
York was also chosen as North State CUE's Tech Leader of the Year for 2018.
Spending the last 13 years teaching fourth grade in the same classroom, York has definitely made her classroom a fun place to visit as she shows off the hundreds of books lining the walls of the classroom.
Her love for acquiring free books began in 2007 when she posted author Brian P. Cleary on her old classroom website. Two years ago the author sent a message to the class offering free books which arrived signed along with signed bookmarks. This random generosity was totally unexpected by York and her students.
York started writing proposals on donorschoose.org as a public school teacher stating what her classroom needs or wants are hoping for a donation and the rest is history. So far a total of 67 proposals have been funding nearing $20,000 just to her classroom alone.
"Donorschoose.org just reached $1 million in proposals funded," York stated.
Random donations are made to this site with nearly 95 percent of them having nothing to do with her classroom, although some names were recognizable as she showed the website off.
It's not just books that have been donated thanks to the generosity of donors. York also points out school supplies such as clipboards, robots, a projector and other computer related items that are used in her classroom have also been.
York has definitely learned the system and tries to keep her requests to under $300 so that they are funded quicker and don't appear out of reach to those donating.
Students in Mrs. York's class write thank you notes to their donors and their appreciation is evident when you see the excellent condition all of the books are in.
While visiting the classroom last Thursday, York pointed out a whole collection of science books that arrived that day.
York's classroom is not the typical classroom filled with individual desks. In this classroom there are collaborative tables for flexible seating to emphasize more self-control. Tables are different heights, some raised, some closer to the ground and the students can move from one to the other.
York is a #CAEdChat Co-Moderator for a Sunday night Twitter chat open to all California educators. She is a co-founder of the North State CUE started in 2014 and serves as President for the 13 counties represented in the area (cue.org). This organization inspires innovation in education, particularly with regards to technology.
She has presented in multiple area of Butte and Tehama County as a member of #CUERockstar faculty and teaches topics such as elementary coding, social media and Seesaw. As a Seesaw Ambassador for the past three years, York loves the way parents and classrooms can connect and communicate through a digital portfolio program.
Growing up in Durham, York graduated from Chico State and lives in Paradise.
Named School Teacher of the Year for 2014-2015, York enjoys her co-workers and has 1,600 followers on twitter which is nothing but education. She states her twitter account is mainly teachers where they can share curriculum ideas which is a big game changer.
Asked what has changed since her first year teaching, York stated it is the communication between teachers, children and parents on Instagram and Seesaw where parents can receive a phone alert when their child has added something for them to see.
Google Chrome made all the difference in the world for students and York stated she waited a long time for the one to one Google Chrome Books in the classroom.
"I think we pushed for Google Chrome Books for ten years," she stated.