Prospect teacher receives national award from American Psychological Association

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Daria Schaffeld, a psychology teacher at Prospect High School, has been named a winner of the 2017 APA TOPSS Charles T. Blair-Broeker Excellence in Teaching Award by the American Psychological Association’s Committee of Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools. 

“Daria is someone who is always on the cutting edge of her craft,” said Kristin Whitlock, MEd, chair of APA’s Committee of Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools. “She is always looking for new ideas and research to make sure her teaching is up to date.” 

Schaffeld incorporates technology, including videos and online simulations into her lessons, applying a modern approach to teaching. 

She has served 12 years as chair of the National Council for the Social Studies Psychology Community (NCSS), which advocates for psychological science at the national level. At the organization’s 2005 conference, Schaffeld led an effort to make psychology a separate, independent discipline category within NCSS, removing it from the other social sciences. 

Additionally, she has sent information to thousands of psychology teachers across the country by using Facebook and Twitter and hosting #psychat to raise the visibility of the NCSS Psychology Community. She currently serves on the steering committee for this year’s inaugural APA Summit on High School Psychology Education, which will promote the value, delivery, assessment and reach of psychological science through the teaching of high school psychology. 

Schaffeld also provides additional resources for students after school hours. “The night before a test, she invites students to virtually review with her, on a forum in which she answers questions regarding the content of upcoming tests, as well as gives helpful advice,” said former student Itzel Velazquez. 

As a result of Schaffeld’s efforts, psychology is one of the largest elective courses at Prospect High with between 100 to 150 students taking psychology each year. As a teacher, Schaffeld not only wants her students to achieve academic success, but encourages them to take lessons learned beyond the classroom and into their lives. 

“Daria is a strong advocate in teaching students to be mindful,” said Jay Heilman, social sciences teacher at Prospect High School. “She believes that the goal of teachers is to prepare students for life.” 

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