Lasure’s passion to help students results in Kohl honorLaurie Lasure is a driven advocate for her students, providing them with every opportunity to develop the skills they need to function fully in society. Lasure’s passion to create unique opportunities for her students has earned her a 2012 Herb Kohl Educational Foundation Fellowship.
Laurie Lasure is a driven advocate for her students, providing them with every opportunity to develop the skills they need to function fully in society.
Lasure’s passion to create unique opportunities for her students has earned her a 2012 Herb Kohl Educational Foundation Fellowship.
Lasure was nominated for the Kohl honor as the Somerset School District Special Education Teacher of the Year. Lasure is one of 100 state teachers to receive a Kohl Foundation Fellowship. By receiving the Kohl honor, Lasure earns a $1,000 check for the school district. Lasure will be honored this Sunday at noon at the Menomonie Middle School, where winners from CESA districts, 4, 10, 11 and 12 will be honored. The event begins with a reception at noon and a luncheon at 12:30 p.m.
Lasure is in her 16th year as the speech and language pathologist at the middle school and high school in Somerset. Lasure is dedicated to patiently working with her students to help them develop their speech skills. Then she takes the students’ speech experience a step farther.
Lasure understands that students can be taught to learn skills in the comfortable setting of a classroom where they’ve developed a safe feeling. She also knows that the students need to be able to use their improved skills outside of the classroom setting. She has arranged a number of opportunities for her students to get experience speaking with people in the public.
“As a speech and language pathologist I work with students who have difficulty in areas of communication and am always looking for new and different opportunities for my students to improve their communication skills and learn to use their skills in real life situations,” Lasure said. “I feel it is important for my students to learn the value of volunteerism as they practice their communications skills.”
For several years, Lasure has arranged for her students visit residents of Countryside Apartments, a senior citizens residence. The students help some of the seniors at the apartment complex with a few chores as a companionship activity. This allows the students to get comfortable with the residents. They gradually began to converse and do activities with the residents, like playing games.
Frankie Arneson is one of the Countryside residents who has worked with the students to help them become more comfortable, so they can use their improved communication skills outside of their home and classroom.
“I have seen personal growth in the young people,” Arneson said. “(Lasure) helps kids see their strengths. She does amazing things. She looks at possibilities instead of limitations.”
Lasure has been a promoter of getting her students involved in as many regular education situations as possible. A project that she began at the middle school that has carried over to the high school is friendship groups. Lasure groups her students with students from the general population. Many of them develop friendships that carry through all their school years and into adult life. The peer mentors were asked to model good communication and friendship skills, for Lasure’s students.
Lasure and elementary speech and language pathologist Michelle Paulisich have also created a mentoring program among their students. The older students get to serve as mentors to the younger students. This gives the older students the experience of having someone look up to them and it provides role models for the younger students in the program.
Ricki Perzichilli, a Somerset High School senior, has been one of Lasure’s students since fifth grade. Perzichilli has been working in a new program Lasure has begun at Somerset, “Visualizing and Verbalizing for Language Comprehension.”
The deep trust Perzichilli has for her teacher showed as the two talked about the progress Perzichilli has made since starting this program. Perzichilli recently took the WITC entrance test for the Certified Nursing Assistant program.
“I had to visualize some of the questions and it helped me dramatically. I passed the first time,” Perzichilli said.
As they continued to talk, Perzichilli told Lasure how her efforts have helped Perzichilli to change her view of her future.
“You gave me the confidence boost that I can make it in this world,” Perzichilli said.
Lasure said she has a new mission. Because there is a shortage of speech and language pathologists, she is searching for students who might be interested in a career in helping students in this occupation.
Lasure was nominated for the Teacher of the Year honor by Somerset Director of Pupil Services Darren Kern. Kern said he could only do justice to Lasure by talking about her separately as an educator and a person.
“She’s the consummate professional. She always puts others ahead of her own needs. She’s a wonderful resource to other staff members,” Kern said. “As a person, she’s one of the greatest people you’ll ever meet.”