HOLLAND — A teacher from Holland was recently recognized for his work in the classroom on a national level.
Holland Middle School STEM teacher Bill Boerman was recently named National Amazing Teacher of the Month by Gannett Publications, the parent company of The Holland Sentinel.
“The word grateful is probably the one that comes to mind the most,” Boerman said. “Ultimately, in a year that has been so trying, so isolating because of social distancing and keeping your distance from other staff members, it’s been, for lack of a better term, a little lonely.
“In all of that, to realize ‘OK, somebody took time to recognize what I’m doing and what is being done at Holland Middle.’ It means a lot. It just is a reminder that what is being done is noticed and is valued.”
Boerman has utilized strong community partnerships to help bring opportunities to his students that they wouldn’t otherwise have.
“I’ve just been humbled by the community in West Michigan,” Boerman said. “In reaching out to different businesses or organizations or churches, there’s just people who say ‘How can we help? What can we do?’ Because of that, we’ve been able to obtain a host of different equipment that has provided opportunities for our students that they normally wouldn’t have.”
That equipment ranges from 3D printers and virtual reality headsets to a mobile kitchen unit and the school’s greenhouse.
“It’s providing opportunities for kids to design, which is ultimately STEM, but to do it in ways that are life applicable,” Boerman said. “Whether it be 3D printing, virtual reality, the greenhouse, the mobile kitchen unit — these are all tools that have been of profound gratefulness on my end and making an impact, ultimately, on the kids. That’s what we’re there for.”
As for the greenhouse, which provides free, fresh produce for district families and community members, Boerman said crops are already starting to come in.
“We have blossoms on our peas already,” he said. “We have lettuce that has already been harvested and used in there. We have carrots, cucumbers, spring onions, zucchini, we have a lot. If people drive by on the outside they will see that we have raspberries and blackberries that are greening up already.”
Boerman said that in late May the greenhouse plans to open up to district families to harvest. It will be open to members of the public in the summer Mondays once school is out.
Ultimately, Boerman said the honor feels like a highlight for the entire Holland Public Schools community, not just him.
“The award itself, I think, is something that honors not just the STEM program, but what’s happening at Holland Public, and in this case Holland Middle School,” he said. “It’s neat to see that on a national level, and just for people to recognize what’s happening. In the midst of a pandemic and a lot of challenges taking place, there’s still a lot of good that’s going on, too.”