North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

MSD's Cross named Teacher of the Year


October 18, 2017 | View PDF

Courtesy of WSCSS

The Washington State Council for the Social Studies has given Steven Cross their 2016-2017 Teacher of the Year award.

Marysville teacher Steven Cross has been recognized as the 2016-2017 Teacher of the Year by the Washington State Council for the Social Studies.

Cross currently teaches English at Marysville Getchell High School, but prior to this year he had taught mostly social studies at Cedarcrest Middle School since 1998.

The Washington State Council for the Social Studies recognized Cross on Oct. 10.

"I was very surprised, caught off-guard," said Cross. "I knew that the award existed, but I didn't expect that I would get recognized."

Cedarcrest Middle School English teacher Kerry Hill said the award is long overdue.

"He should have been Teacher of the Year long ago," she said.

Cross said that he enjoys how social studies, like history, can be applied to issues the current world is going through.

"I always like the conversations where you can talk about history and apply it to what is happening now," he said.

Hill said that many of Cross' students continue to enjoy history going into high school because of his classes.

"The kids remember him for a long time," she said.

The person who nominated Cross for the Teacher of the Year award was actually one of his former students.

"That makes it a great honor, having a kid who thought you had such a great impact on them," he said.

The civics portions of his classes are also important to Cross.

"I like students getting involved with the government, or knowing how they can get involved," he said.

Last school year, as Snohomish County Parks and Recreation officials were creating a new plan for the future of Kayak Point, Cross got his students involved.

"We did a park project with the kids at Kayak Point and looked at what sort of changes should be made at the park, and they wrote letters to the council and the parks department," he said.

"They actually got a response from the [county] parks department and the planning person actually came out to share with them what they were considering," he said.

"I think it really helped the kids see that they do have power even though they're only 14 and not ready to vote."

Cross is able to make kids excited about the topics in the classroom, said Hill.

"He is very knowledge and very passionate, and he finds ways to give that passion to the kids as well," she said.

She remembers projects around the Civil War and dam projects integrated with a science class that students loved.

Another project, titled "Paperclip," was also particularly memorable, she said.

"We would do these lessons that revolved around the Holocaust, which was really just a tool to learn about hate and how to be aware of it," she said.

Cross said that he has always enjoyed watching people learn something, and his favorite part of teaching today is "having kids be successful and celebrating them."

"That's one of the key things for me. It's not always about the information, the facts and the figures, it's about getting them to learn something," he said.

This is Cross' first year at Marysville Getchell High School as an English teacher.

"A position opened up at Getchell and I thought it would be a new challenge after 20 years of doing the same thing," he said.

"There are big shoes to fill here [at Cedarcrest]. He left a really great legacy," said Hill.

Cross still enjoys talking about the social implications of the works, especially with the older teenagers in high school.

"I love the part with English where I have the freedom to work Social Studies into it," he said. "Because I have seniors we're able to talk about some of the stuff that is going on today."

The Teacher of the Year award is a "great honor" said Cross.

"It's one of those things where we hate talking about ourselves, but we like recognition, and people noticing the work you do," he said.


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