Spratling awarded Civil Rights and Liberties Excellence Teaching Award.
Oak Ridge, TN – John Spratling’s dedication to his students at Robertsville Middle School in Oak Ridge, TN has brought much attention to his work. The most recent is the Civil Rights and Liberties Excellence Teaching Award that included $250.
This year Spratling has also been recognized as the WBIR January 2021 Teacher of the Week, and the Tennessee Lottery Educator of the Month, for March 2021.
Spratling’s efforts on behalf of a long-neglected aspect of Oak Ridge history, the story of the “Scarboro 85,” led to his nomination. Dr. Kirk W. Renegar, principal of Robertsville Middle School, praised Spratling’s work.
“Unfortunately, it is not widely known that in 1955, 85 brave men and women from the Scarboro community of Oak Ridge blazed the trail of desegregation of the Oak Ridge Schools, becoming the first school system in the Southeast to desegregate.”
Dr. Renegar added, “Mr. Spratling has made it his mission to not only have these courageous individuals recognized for their accomplishments but also to ensure that future generations of students can learn about the rich history of this landmark event.”
Spratling said that he remembers the sacrifices of the historical actors of the Civil Rights Movement and the Scarboro 85. “They paved the way for us to do what we do. I am very thankful for the sacrifices they made for me. Their stories cannot be forgotten. Our students must hear the voices of those who struggled to make their lives better.”
In addition to lessons in class on the Scarboro 85, Spratling’s social studies curriculum educates students on civil rights, liberties, and acknowledgment of those who stood before them. He is also working to ensure the TN Oak Ridge 85 history is integrated into the Oak Ridge Schools and state of Tennessee school curriculum.
Spratling curated a display in the Scarboro Community Center; organized panel discussions featuring members of the group; was instrumental in the fundraising that led to plaques honoring the Oak Ridge 85 to be placed at Oak Ridge High School and Robertsville Middle School.
Spratling is a product of the Oak Ridge community and schools where he is now an educator. He teaches Social Studies and is the boy’s basketball coach.
The Tennessee Council for the Social Studies annually recognizes outstanding teachers at the elementary, middle, and high school levels, and selects the recipient of the Civil Rights/Liberties: Excellence in Teaching Award. TCSS is a 501©3 organization and affiliated with the National Council for Social Studies. More information can be found at www.tnsocialstudies.org.