- Pennsbury School District
Eleanor Roosevelt Teacher Recognized for Outstanding Dedication to STEM Education
Eleanor Roosevelt SPARK (STEM through Perseverance, Application, Resilience, and Kinetic Knowledge) teacher Terri Boileau is one of 59 teachers nationwide to have earned the 2022-23 Outstanding Project Lead The Way (PLTW) Teacher award. The award recognizes educators who demonstrate a strong record of delivering an inspiring and empowering student experience while expanding access to PLTW programs and transforming teaching. PLTW is honoring Ms. Boileau for her work in the PLTW Launch program.
PLTW is a mission-driven organization that is transforming the learning experience for millions of PreK-12 students, and thousands of teachers across the U.S. PLTW empowers students to develop in-demand, transportable knowledge and skills through pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science.
This year marks Boileau’s 29th year teaching at Eleanor Roosevelt. Prior to becoming the school’s SPARK teacher, she taught first and second grade.
SPARK was researched and developed during the 2018-19 school year. The mission was to create a STEM opportunity for all elementary students across the Pennsbury School District.
“I love teaching, and teaching second grade was everything to me. However, I knew I was ready for a new challenge. When SPARK was announced, I immediately thought this was something I wanted to teach. It would offer me a chance to teach not just twenty-five students in my class but almost 600 students from kindergarten through 5th grade,” said Boileau.
“SPARK is so important for our district's youngest students,” Boileau added. “Our children are growing up in a world where they need a variety of skill sets for the 21st century. SPARK empowers students through hands-on learning and incorporates projects and problems that build upon each other and relate to the world around them. SPARK encourages our youngest students by engaging them in PLTW Launch Modules, STEM-based experiences in and out of the SPARK room, coding, robotics, engineering, and so much more. Having SPARK in our elementary schools provides the pathway for all students to begin to develop what they need for bright futures that lay ahead of them in this ever-changing world.”
Students take the knowledge gained through SPARK, expand upon it in grades 6-8 with the IGNITE curriculum, and delve even deeper into the field once they reach Pennsbury High School with courses in Applied Engineering and Technology Education. The curriculum helps prepare students to learn the skill sets required for careers in engineering and related fields or post-secondary training. At a minimum, it helps them to understand how things they use on daily basis impact their lives.
In addition to the impact she is making in the classroom, Ms. Boileau is credited with creating one of the first SPARK Expo events in Pennsbury. The Eleanor Roosevelt SPARK Expo gives students the opportunity to showcase their PLTW projects alongside more traditional science fair projects.
“Ms. Boileau has adopted a STEM for all, fail-forward philosophy. She has become an expert questioner and ‘guide on the side’ as students navigate through the STEM problem-solving and engineering design process. She values the opportunity of mastering the art of reimagining and the students' ‘AH-HA’ moments in their design process,” said Lisa Follman, principal of Eleanor Roosevelt Elementary School.
“There is not one student in Eleanor Roosevelt that won't say they aren’t great at STEM, and it's because of Terri's philosophy and problem-solving skills that this is true,” added Follman.
“Ms. Boileau is always willing to help us, ” wrote former student Luke Sherrat is his PLTQ Outstanding Teacher nomination letter for Ms. Boileau. “I look forward to her special each week. Ms. Boileau makes science fun for me, and I never really liked it as much until she started teaching STEM class.
Boileau is engaged in other STEM-related activities at Eleanor Roosevelt, including as an advisor for the school’s PLTW Robotics Club and a summer school PLTW teacher. She also supports her colleagues by serving as a Science Fellow for the district, helping to streamline and share the information she learns through professional development opportunities, in addition to serving as Pennsbury’s Keystone Science Network Liaison through the Franklin Institute.
Ms. Boileau is also the second-grade level chairperson at Eleanor Roosevelt and a member of the District’s Literacy Team, the Eleanor Roosevelt Building Equity Leadership Team, and advisor of the Eleanor Roosevelt Diversity Club.
PLTW provides transformative learning experiences for students at all fifteen schools in the Pennsbury School District. Approximately 12,200 elementary, middle, and high schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia offer PLTW programs. For more information on Project Lead The Way, visit www.pltw.org.