Although she has an intrinsic knack for teaching that has heads turning, Sara Ward is nothing if not humble. Always open to feedback from colleagues and others, Ward is a wellspring of knowledge and professionalism who takes her job seriously. And it shows.
Her classroom is a hive of activity, which is due in no small part to an innovative game, Beat the Boss, in which kids use a gamer's mentality to progress to different levels. Incorporating literacy and math skills, it is so popular that students flood her room before and after school and during lunch to play. Beyond the game, Ward imparts problem-solving and critical-thinking skills during her lessons and tracks data to improve instruction.
Always wanting to take her teaching to higher levels, Ward keeps a daily journal to reflect upon her own teaching. And she is not the only one to improve! Strong test scores are the norm in Ward's room. Out of 26 students in her class last year, 16 scored advanced in reading, 19 in math and 16 in language usage. School achievement on the whole is high, exceeding district and state targets.
Ward is dedicated to professional development and serves as a mentor to educators in and out of her district. She is involved in district-level leadership and committees in literacy, math and English language development. Ward also built unit studies in math, which she presented to the school board, and now the entire district has adopted them. When Lakevue Elementary received its national Blue Ribbon award, Ward was tapped to represent her school in Washington, D.C.