Sarah Compton challenges her fifth-graders at Northside Elementary School in Monroe, Wisconsin, to think critically and dive deeply into their learning. In a series of project-based lessons on financial literacy, students explore concepts of spending, saving, sales tax, discounts and interest. Next, they learn about the stock market, including how to choose companies for investment based on data trends and current events. They track an imaginary $10,000 investment as a group, then move to a friendly competition as individual students try to grow their pretend portfolios. Along the way students practice computing with large numbers and decimals, calculating percentages, graphing and estimation. Engagement is sky-high, both because of the project’s real-world connection and because it offers students options along the way. In another popular unit, students create public service announcements on issues facing today’s teens: obesity, texting while driving, high school dropout rates and cyberbullying. A vibrant classroom presence, Compton is dedicated to maximum growth for students at all levels and delivering engaging, explicit and relevant instruction. Her students deliver among the highest growth scores in the district.
Compton looks for innovative instructional solutions and is always willing to try something new to pursue student achievement, access and equity. A leader for her grade level and within the building, Compton studies data to design individual learning plans for each student and helps other Northside teachers use data to differentiate their instruction. She designs curriculum and creates formative assessments for the district. Compton sits on Northside’s leadership committee and has served on district committees for math and literacy. She mentors colleagues in both content area mastery and designing assessments and developed a district model to spur teachers to engage in peer-to-peer support and cross-coaching. Compton frequently leads professional development for the district on responsive classroom practices, math and literacy. She works tirelessly to improve her craft; when Compton speaks during a meeting, the whole room listens.
Committed to Monroe’s school community, Compton gets to know every child and family and communicates regularly with parents so they can work together to support students. She is known as a genuine advocate for her students and stresses independence and self-reliance. Compton has made great strides with students with behavioral issues, taking time to relate to them on a personal level and build mutual respect so they know she is on their team. When these students return to Northside after they graduate, she is the first person they want to see.
Compton earned a bachelor’s in education in 2007 from University of Wisconsin Whitewater and a master’s of education in 2011 from University of Wisconsin La Crosse.
Press release: Student Stock Market Pays Dividends, Earns Sarah Compton a $25,000 Milken Educator Award
"I feel like I can make a change every day with the kids I work with. They change me in return. It's the most important job in the..." (read more)
2021 LMC Unsung Heroes Fellowship