West Broad St. School: 2011

This year’s Orion Award was presented to the entire staff and faculty of West Broad St. School in Pawcatuck, CT during the reception for the donor recognition dinner on September 23.

Terry Jordan, the principal, and her entire team at West Broad St. School deserve this Orion Award because of the creativity and courage they have demonstrated by integrating Mystic Seaport’s educational resources into their classroom. They have a vision of creating a “Seaport School” as a Center of Excellence, where their curriculum is fully intertwined with and supported by our resources here at Mystic Seaport. As part of this vision, all students at West Broad St. School have the opportunity to experience Mystic Seaport in a way that is truly connected to and a part of their curriculum, and more than “just a field trip.” It is an extension of the classroom. Over the course of the entire school year, Museum staff visit the school to do experiential programming in the classroom, then students visit Mystic Seaport for immersive, hands-on experiences that complement and solidify what they have learned in school.

The Orion Award recognizes educators for “their commitment in utilizing the Museum’s collections, programs, and learning resources to create meaningful and innovative learning experiences for their students.” West Broad St. School more than meets these criteria. But it is something else in our description of the Orion Award that really rang true. It states: “And, perhaps most importantly, [this award is for] teachers who radiate the joy of learning, as well as of teaching.” This could not better describe the entire team at West Broad St. School. They are passionate, exuberant, and truly communicate the joy of learning to their students in a way that is inspiring. We are honored to have them as a partner.