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Sarah Leedberg

The Principia
IDEA Center Coordinator
St. Louis, MO
Sarah Leedberg works at The Principia School in St. Louis as the IDEA Center Coordinator - A cooperative learning environment that houses the library. Her role is to help students and faculty find ways to transfer content into understanding and broaden the 21st Century Mindset.

After working for the Royal Dutch Shell Corporation as an oil field interpretation and visualization expert, Sarah transitioned to become a K-12 curriculum specialist at the Principia School in St. Louis, Missouri in 2016. In this role, she worked with faculty to bring elements from outside specific disciplines into the classroom and help students visually demonstrate their understanding of the content at hand. This process is intentionally interdisciplinary and can include arts and crafts, technology, engineering, performing arts, gamification, and anything else that enhances transfer of knowledge. The current language surrounding these types of activities includes but is not limited to: Project Based Learning, Place Based Learning, Making, STEM Activities, and Visualization of Learning. Additionally, she heads up the capstone Senior Projects. In this role she works with the students (seniors) throughout a year long class that is designed to prepare them for a three week independent project. The students must create a blog site, project proposals, present at a pitch night in front of experts, prepare a budget, and most importantly, incorporate three elements of Passion, Problem Solving, and Service. The passion element is something that they plan to pursue either at college or later in life, examples include creating a video game, social activism, writing, art, photography, etc... The problem solving element is an opportunity to look deeply, through research, into a world problem that could potentially be addressed using their passion element.  The service element can be either direct service or service activism that the students directly participate in. Some examples: a student who wants to become a chef looks into world hunger and specifically what food deserts look like in St. Louis, he opens a BBQ catering business and uses the proceeds to donate goods to a food bank. Another student wants to become a fashion designer and researches the impact of fashion mandates on the oppression of women throughout history, she has a clothing drive for Dress for Success, and creates an authentic 18th century ball gown. The projects are all unique, but all must include an artifact that demonstrates their learning. 

Since 2017 Leedberg has been the Arts & Crafts Director at Camp Owatonna, a summer camp for boys in Maine. Here she works with small groups of campers on projects that enhance their experience. Some highlights include, “Iron Chef” style art challenges in which campers have to create a piece of art that incorporates a scavenger hunt list of criteria; engineering challenges such as bridge building, egg drops, and catapults; costumes for socials; campers even built Herod’s Temple out of popsicle sticks and clay. As of 2021 she has introduced blacksmithing. She worked with an expert for two weeks to design the studio and develop the necessary skills to craft items across differentiated skill levels. Campers learn about safety, basic metal properties, and should walk away with something useful to take home.  

Additional experience includes several years of theater work in sets, props, costumes, and makeup. The productions include Anything Goes, Shrek, The Cat in the Hat, Big, and Freaky Friday. The work included period pieces, fantastical characters, and contemporary uses of technology.

My Presenter Sessions

Monday, June 4

1:45pm CDT