Sarah Berndt (WI '13)
TeacherRonald Wilson Reagan College Preparatory High School
At the time of the Award, Sarah Berndt was:Teacher
Ronald Wilson Reagan College Preparatory High School
Subject(s) taught: Spanish, IB Technology
Grade(s): 4, 6, 7, 8, 9
To most people, Shark Tank might just be a popular reality TV show on ABC, but to Spanish and International Baccalaureate (IB) Technology teacher Sarah Berndt, it’s a teaching opportunity. Berndt has taken the show’s concept and transformed it into a spirited class lesson for her 9th-grade students at Ronald Wilson Reagan College Preparatory High School in Milwaukee, WI. Students 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 worked together with a colleague to develop 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. In the greater community, Berndt also works with the Kettle Moraine Press Association and has been recognized by the Metropolitan Milwaukee Alliance of Black School Educators for her impact on bringing cultures together.