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Leaders High School Teacher, Sara Boeck Batista, Receives National Teaching Award From EL Education

Congratulations to Sara Boeck Batista, an English teacher from one of our Network Schools, Leaders High School, for winning the prestigious Klingenstein Teacher Award. This award is presented annually to an exemplary EL Education teacher who is judged by his or her peers from around the country to have most successfully transmitted to students the essence of EL Education: building exemplary character; driving outstanding academic achievement; and instilling an ethic of “citizen scholarship.” Made possible by the generous support of Lee Klingenstein, Founding Chair of the Board of Directors of EL Education, the award honors an outstanding member of the EL Education community and is selected by a committee of peers. 

Sara embodies the kind of teaching we support and celebrate–teaching that joins together demanding and engaging learning with an emphasis on community and character. Among her many accomplishments, in 2017, Sara led her students in a learning expedition on “Interrupting Racism” where students used their academic understanding of the role race and identity play in their lives to have informed conversations with each other and members of the community at large. Students interlaced their academic learning with real world incidents by obtaining training around how to be upstanders inside and outside of school.

Students at Leaders speak more than 20 different languages and come from a diverse range of ethnic, racial, and religious identities. In a time period where school segregation is at its highest rate since Brown v. Board of Education, the expedition was developed to de-stigmatize conversations about race and identity in order to center learning around student voice and experience in the classroom, and build empathy between the school’s students and their diverse communities.

And this past year, Sara’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion included a deep dive into furthering her understanding of her own biases. “I accepted an invitation to work through Layla Saad’s book Me and White Supremacy with a small group of white people committed to antiracist work. This work asked me to do something I was resistant to and afraid of: to name and take ownership of the ways that white supremacy lives inside of me”

Sara was presented with the award at the 2019 EL National Conference in Atlanta.

Watch Sara’s acceptance speech:

NYC Outward Bound Schools has allowed me the autonomy in my classroom and development as a professional to be able to mold my classroom into a space where students can analyze their world and I can learn along with them.

Sara Boeck Batista

Ms. Boeck reminded me every day that self-love was important… Without her guidance and strength I would not have been able to find the courage to pursue my dreams and allow my voice to be heard.

Former Crew Student & Skidmore College Graduate

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