Classroom community, student and teacher relationships, and teacher efficacy are all characteristics that drive John Lanahan’ s purpose and day to day work.
Mr. Lanahan’ s belief in his students is remarkable. Not only does he believe in his students and sets high expectations, but he verbalizes this belief helping them to believe in themselves. When teaching rigorous content Mr. Lanahan can be heard saying, “this is challenging but I believe in you and you are smart. We have to have high expectations for you because you can do anything you put your mind to.” Mr. Lanahan has helped all students grow. Because of his high expectations and willingness to grow his own instructional practices, his students’ formative assessment scores and summative test scores are high. Mr. Lanahan does not accept mediocre. He strives for the highest levels of student progress every year. He takes his role seriously and never gives up on his students.
Mr. Lanahan believes that parent teacher communication is vital to help students thrive. Therefore, he spends each Saturday morning texting an individual student report to every parent. This message includes academic and social emotional progress from the week. He works with families to problem solve and help students succeed. When a student is having a moment and needs additional support, Mr. Lanahan never sends the student out of the room for resource staff to handle the problem. Instead, he requests problem solving circles to repair harm. He participates in the circles and is always active in fixing the situation. When Mr. Lanahan sees that a student may be beginning to show signs of distress, he immediately intervenes and helps the student. Mr. Lanahan is proactive in his approach to manage student behavior. Because of his strong relationships with students and families and the genuine belief he has for his students, there are rarely incidents of misbehavior in Mr. Lanahan’ s class. To spend time in Mr. Lanahan’ s class is truly uplifting. Each morning the students connect with a community meeting and a dance party. He sets the mood for fun, teamwork, and cooperation every single day. Mr. Lanahan is aware that community and student teacher relationships need to be strong to raise academic achievement. He goes above and beyond typical teacher duties to create a classroom community that genuinely feels like a family. Mr. Lanahan spends his duty-free lunch period with every single student in his class every single day. During this daily lunch bunch, Mr. Lanahan can be found seated at a student desk with a group of students conversing, laughing, and building relationships. Instead of chatting with other teachers at recess, one can find Mr. Lanahan engaged in structured play with his students. Not only does this build community, team work and relationships, but it is another opportunity to teach social skills.
Mr. Lanahan’ s passion to help students goes beyond his classroom doors. He serves the entire school community through mentorship, club facilitation, and team building activities. Mr. Lanahan serves as a mentor for many previous students. He provides opportunities for daily check-in/check-out in which former students visit his classroom for a pep talk and encouragement. He spends time before and after school facilitating a variety of clubs. He meets with students before school once a week facilitating the Mars Estates Chess Club. He spent an entire Saturday this Spring cheering his chess team on at the county tournament. He has co-facilitated the 24 Challenge Math Club. He meets with students once a week after school and co-facilitates the Robotics Club. On Friday mornings, one can find Mr. Lanahan running with colleagues and up to 80 students as a Fit Friday coach. Every summer, Mr. Lanahan and his entire family spend numerous days volunteering to help beautify our school. Mr. Lanahan can often be found cheering on his students from the side-lines at sporting events and engaging in community events. During our most recent spring break weekend, Mr. Lanahan spent his time off planting trees with his students’ Girls Scout troop.
It is with great honor that I nominate Mr. Lanahan for the Chesapeake Gateway Chamber of Commerce Excellence in Education Award. He truly goes above and beyond each day to provide the most positive and caring environment for all students. Teachers, students, and parents would agree that Mr. Lanahan is much deserving of this distinguished recognition.