Maine East Social Science Teacher Jennifer Conlon earned the Barbara O’Donnell Award, which is given by the Constitutional Rights Foundation of Chicago to commemorate the outstanding teaching ability of the late Barbara O’Donnell, former coordinator of the Career Development Center for Law and Justice at Lincoln Park High School in Chicago.
The award criteria states that the recipient should be a high school teacher of law or social studies who integrates law into his/her curriculum. In addition, nominees for both awards should also demonstrate commitment, competence, concern, connection, critical thinking and leadership that encourages students to express their ideas and creates a classroom environment that is tolerant of diverse opinions.
Social Science Chair Carl Brownell shares that Conlon is “constantly looking for ways to strengthen the teaching of civics to students in the classroom and in extracurricular activities. Last year she initiated communications which led to collaborative work with Stony Brook University to develop a news literacy curriculum that is being used in all Civics and Government classes. She was the founder of Demon-ocracy, our civic engagement club at East. Under her leadership, the students completed a number of projects that have educated and supported the political involvement of students and community members.”
Conlon received the honor on Friday, Oct. 26 and is one of just two recipients of the award this year. She has been a teacher in District 207 since 2005.