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December 01, 2020

New York teacher receives award from American Bar Association

WASHINGTON, Dec. 1, 2020 – The American Bar Association will honor longtime New York teacher David Scott with its Isidore Starr Award for Excellence in Law-Related Education. The award recognizes individuals for outstanding achievements in teaching about the law in elementary and secondary grades.

The Starr Award will be presented to Scott in a virtual ceremony on Dec. 16. He will also be honored during the 2020 National Law-Related Education Conference, which is a part of the 2020 Virtual Conference of the National Council for the Social Studies, Dec. 4-6.

Patricia Lee, a member of the selection committee and chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Public Education, noted Scott’s “extensive commitment to program development and teaching.” She said he “inspires students to take on the role of good citizens.”

Scott is a beloved veteran social studies educator in the Northport-East Northport Union Free School District, in Northport, New York. He has been the longtime coordinator of the district's law-related education program, Project P.A.T.C.H. (Participatory Awareness Through Community Help), where he teaches courses in American law to high school students and introduces classroom-based law programming to elementary and middle school students.

“His class is not only an informative introduction to topics such as civil, criminal and constitutional law, it is a place where students are challenged to understand the significance of laws and defend or refute its practical applications and influence on our modern society,” said colleague Sean Hurley in his nomination letter. “David Scott’s enthusiasm and passion has influenced us all.”

Scott brings a remarkable level of dynamism to his work. In addition to his teaching — which spans the entire school district — Scott advises several civics and law-related extracurricular activities for students, including mock trial team. He also coordinates valuable community service programs that not only respond to needs, but also emphasize educating populations about their legal rights and how to address legal needs. He organizes professional development programs for teachers in New York and works with professional networks to make presentations on topics throughout the year.

Notably, Scott introduces real people behind significant U.S. Supreme Court cases to his community, so students might hear their stories firsthand. These include Mary Beth Tinker who, along with her brother, was a plaintiff in the 1969 case, Tinker v. Des Moines, which concerned the First Amendment in schools. “Through my travels to schools throughout the country, I meet many wonderful educators who go the extra mile,” Tinker said in her nomination letter. “This year, I am proud to recommend one who really stands out.”

Earlier this year, Scott was lauded for converting a student mock trial program into a virtual format in a matter of days at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. Instead of a cancellation during an uncertain time, it became a bright spot of continued programming for his students.

To register for the ceremony, click here.

The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at and on Twitter @ABANews