Sarah Berndt, a Spanish and technology teacher at Milwaukee's Reagan College Preparatory High School, has received a Milken Educator Award.
The award recognizes exceptional work in the field of education. This year, 40 teachers nationwide will receive the honor, only one in Wisconsin. In addition to the recognition, the teacher is awarded $25,000.
Among those on hand for today's announcement, were state Superintendent Evers, MPS Sup. Thornton and Dr. Jane Foley, representing the Milken Educator Awards. They started in 1987.
The organization summarized some of Berndt's work at Reagan:
Berndt has taken the (TV reality show Shark Tank) concept and transformed it into a spirited class lesson for her 9th-grade students. (They) learn the technology design cycle (Investigate, Design, Plan, Create, and Evaluate) by jumping into a metaphorical shark tank where they present their product ideas to a panel of independent judges.
Berndt differentiates her instruction to reach all learners among Reagan’s diverse urban freshman class, and also leads professional development for staff in best practices for teaching technology.
In her dual role as a foreign language teacher, Berndt’s students exit her Spanish I class capable of writing 100-125 word essays; the majority achieve a rating of proficient or advanced, with many receiving college credit.
Combining her passions for technology and Spanish, Berndt developed the curriculum for Reagan’s first online Spanish course aligned with IB standards.
As editor-in-chief of Reagan’s online school newspaper, Berndt requires interested students to fill out official job applications for staff positions, with more than 50 students applying the first year.
And since the high school offers more than 70 extra-curricular options, Berndt created a central database to provide students, staff, parents and the community with the information they need to get involved.