Tucker earns CT social studies excellence award

Katelyn Tucker’s love of social studies has not only sparked her students’ interest, but has also caught the eye of one state organization.
Elyse Poller, president-elect of the Connecticut Council for the Social Studies (CCSS), was on hand at the Board of Education meeting Wednesday, June 26, to present Tucker, a social studies teacher at Shelton Intermediate School, with this year’s CCSS Excellence in Social Studies Education Award.
The honor came as a surprise to Tucker, who was noticeably shocked and nearly speechless when asked to talk to those on hand.
“Yea social studies,” said Tucker, pumping her fist in the arm, after taking a couple moments to thank Kelly Guerra, who nominated Tucker for the award, and Shelton Intermediate School Principal Ken Saranich. “I am overwhelmed.”
“Tucker exemplifies excellence in social studies education,” said Poller, “and we are proud to recognize the passion, skill and energy she brings to her classroom and our state.”
In her nomination letter, Guerra called on Tucker’s implementation last year of an interdisciplinary unit on the global refugee crisis, part of which included arranging a visit from a local refugee agency to give her students a “glimpse into the lives of refugees right here in Connecticut and ways they could help.”
Guerra also noted the global issues summits organized by Tucker “allow students to tackle problems like the refugee crisis, genocide, education for women and girls, climate change and poverty.
“She makes history come alive, makes the issues real and relevant to her students and encourages them to be active global citizens,” Guerra wrote. “She does this not only through her teaching, but models it with her own actions and activism.”
Guerra wrote that Tucker helps make her students become “passionate about history and challenges them to seek the truth” while providing students “opportunities to express their understanding in different ways, whether through painting, poetry, a coding program or song.”
Poller said that Tucker’s travels to South Africa with other teachers last summer reinforced to her the importance of history.
“I hope I bring history alive for my students and that I give them the skills they need to think, question and understand the world in which they live,” Tucker wrote in a letter to the CCSS.
Poller said Tucker helps students find their voice and place in the world through her lessons.
“(My goal is) helping students find themselves in the narrative of history that has already been written,” wrote Tucker, “and convincing them that if they can’t find themselves there, they are good enough to write their own.”