2018 Blackboard Award Honoree: Cesar Elias Sanchez

Andrew Schwartz

Editor’s note: To read profiles of all 2018 Blackboard Awards honorees, click HERE!

Cesar Elias Sanchez
Grade 4, Science
KIPP: Washington Heights Middle School

Tell us about some of the special joys and challenges you’ve experienced as
a teacher.

One of my biggest joys is witnessing the growth of students’ belief in themselves
as they achieve goals and master concepts. Madeline is a student who struggled in reading and thought she wouldn’t be able to achieve the goal of reading a million words. Daily check-ins and constant communication with her family showed her that she had a whole team of teachers behind her. This support translated into Madeline surpassing her goal of a million words by the end of the year.

Please share a special project or achievement that you are particularly proud of from this year.

Though this year my students are out-performing the previous cohort on every major assessment and should exceed our NY State Science Test mastery proficiency of 90 percent in 2017, what I am most proud of is my work with their families in connecting them to advocacy resources. I have the opportunity to help educate our families on the importance of registering to vote and voting, link them to citizenship classes, and build connections between them and our local politicians so their voices are heard.

Cesar Elias Sanchez with publisher of New York Family John Hurley. Photo by Daniel S. Burnstein.

What keeps you motivated and committed to being a dedicated and hard-working educator?

My motivation and commitment is Shayden R. and others like him. He’s intelligent and charming, and he’s grown up in an environment that has told him that he must present a tough exterior at all times. Underneath is a kid who believes in supporting his teammates. When our baseball team welcomed two young ladies for the first time this year, Shayden vigorously defended them from the jeers of the opposing team. In my role as baseball coach, I am able to highlight these moments and tell him it’s okay to be vulnerable and there for others.

What do you love about your school?

I love that we are a team and a family. This idea that we work with and support each other is the foundation of the way in which we interact as a staff, with our families, and with our students. We understand that by building strong relationships and providing each other with critical feedback we will become the educators that our children deserve.