Andrea Batista is bringing unconventional thinking to Lake Arthur, NM – a town of less than 1,000 people.
When Andrea realized she was struggling to make a meaningful connection with students during the COVID-19 pandemic, she made a bold move and requested permission to forego state standards and utilize strict-project based learning to promote research, student-choice and design, and math and literacy skills.
She designs projects for her students that give them exposure to the skills her students will need to secure careers in the prominent industries in southeast New Mexico, such as the energy industry. She leads her students through projects that are meant to incorporate the lowest-performing students (whether that be poor reading, behaviorally or emotionally challenged, and socioeconomic status) and challenge the highest and brightest.
“By continuously promoting advanced career curriculum or similar project-based learning ventures, students of all talents, IQ levels, abilities, races, and genders are challenged to industry-standard literacy and math skills, as well as local job exposure to match their needs and abilities. If all students are exposed and practiced in the skills necessary for the job, there are no barriers for any students regardless of level or background—that’s inclusion and equity.” - Andrea Batista, High School Science Instructor
Andrea plans to use the Unconventional Thinking in Teaching grant to create better vertical alignment from Lake Arthur’s middle school to high school by receiving additional professional development in career-aligned project based learning. After she receives her training, Andrea also plans to train all middle and high school teachers in the Pecos Valley.