The year was 2007. Lorraine Boucher was appointed the new Director of Technology for the Ludlow Public Schools, and the buzzwords in education were technology integration and 21st century skills. Many LPS teachers were eager to introduce technology in their classrooms, but in general technology consisted of a teacher computer, overhead projectors, a spattering of laptops, an antiquated infrastructure, teachers recording grades by hand, tape recorders, CDs and VHS tapes, and a staff only email system- Integrity.
Fast forward ten years. Boucher is preparing to retire on October 31st and the district has seen a dramatic change in access to, and the use of technology. Under Boucher’s leadership many additions and upgrades have been made including: Aspen (parent/student portal); Google Apps for Education Accounts for students in grades 2-12; SMARTBoards, wireless access and network infrastructure upgrades in all schools and central office; ceiling mounted projectors; mobile technology including laptops, iPads, Chromebooks and, most recently, a 1:1 student Chromebook initiative for students in grades 2-12.
Dr. Todd Gazda, LPS Superintendent reflected on Boucher’s influence, “Recent years have seen a dramatic increase in the availability and use of educational technology in our district and Lorraine has been instrumental in charting the course for its effective integration into our buildings and classrooms. Her dedication to the staff and students of this district is clearly evident through her amazing work ethic and commitment to not only providing students access to technology, but also working to ensure that we use that technology thoughtfully to support student growth as learners and citizens of our community.”
“Due to Lorraine’s influence we've come so far with technology -- moving from a few netbooks to our new 1:1 Chromebook initiative,” stated LHS Science Teacher, Hollington Lee. “Lorraine and her team have done a wonderful job developing and supporting our technology infrastructure. We can now effectively integrate technology into our curricula and improve our students' learning experiences.”
Melissa Knowles, Veterans Park Principal, has seen the direct impact of Lorraine’s tenure both as an LPS elementary teacher and administrator. “Since her first day as the Director of Technology, Lorraine has been a strong advocate for not only the expansion of technology on every grade level and strengthening our outdated infrastructure, but also for providing support and professional development to staff on how to effectively integrate technology to support the curriculum. She never lost sight of her goal to prepare students for their future, with ever-evolving tools.”
Like many teachers in the district, Baird Middle School English Department Chair Michelle D’Amore admires and respects Boucher’s commitment to support both teachers and students. "Over the years, Lorraine provided constant professional development and support for teachers as we transitioned from paper grade books and chalk boards to the online gradebook portal (Aspen), SmartBoards, and digital documents. The implementation of these initiatives enhanced the district's teaching and learning as well as our communication with parents."
Jake Oliveira, a 2004 LHS graduate and current School Committee member, shared his thoughts about Boucher’s impact on the district. "Lorraine, throughout her tenure with LPS, has brought the district into the 21st century. When I was first elected to the School Committee in 2009 we were still struggling to get wifi in our buildings. Since that time, through Lorraine's leadership and investments made by our district, Ludlow Public Schools have made great progress integrating technology within our classrooms, expanding access to technology, and now providing nearly every student in the district with a chromebook."
“On a personal level, not being the most technologically savvy person in the world, when I received my first smartphone, Lorraine was the first person to help me get email on my phone, and she was always there to help if I had any questions,” continued Oliveira. “There are numerous examples of Lorraine helping teachers, students, administrators and district staff throughout her career when working with technology seemed intimidating."
Nikki Reed, Chapin Street Principal summed up the sentiments of many in the district when she shared her feelings about Boucher’s retirement, “All who worked closely with Lorraine would agree that her skill set, dedication and work ethic is her legacy. Students may not know Lorraine personally, but they certainly have felt her impact in their classrooms from SMARTBoards, Aspen, wireless, and now the 1:1 Chromebook initiative. She will be missed, but her legacy of integrating technology and bringing the district to the cutting edge of technology will be felt for many years to come.”