Scully wins social studies teaching award

Scully surrounded by his antiques in his classroom.

Jack Zwirn

Scully surrounded by his antiques in his classroom.

Jack Zwirn, Opinions & Broadcast Editor

WA teacher Stephen Scully is set to receive the 2023 William Spratt award for excellence in teaching social studies. The award’s recipient was announced at the School Committee meeting on Monday, April 24 by Superintendent Christopher Chew.

In order to be nominated, one must be a social studies teacher for grades 9-12. In addition, they must also meet certain qualifications decided by the Massachusetts Council for the Social Studies (MCSS). These qualifications include making the content creative and interesting for students, being involved in activities outside of the classroom such as workshops or being on committees, and some other qualifications.

Earning this award was never a goal for Scully. While some may take this award as a confidence booster, Scully is not the kind of person who lets his accomplishments get to him. He recognizes his achievement, but does not want it to change anything about the way he teaches.

“I appreciate the acknowledgement, but to be praised is awkward sometimes. I’d rather lift kids up than put myself above them,” Scully said.

Scully’s teaching style is experiential learning, or learning through reflection and experience. The learning done in his classes are not traditional lectures, but instead are creative, hands-on activities to keep students engaged.

“Experiential learning to me is creating hands-on activities for students, providing them an immersive environment so they can see, touch, and feel the past,” Scully said.

According to Scully, he has the perfect classroom for experiential learning, as he is surrounded by his collection of antiques.

“History is best taught through anecdotal stories. […] And I’ve always collected antiques, which are a great way to create these stories through experiential learning,” Scully said.