Jennifer Connelly said the best thing about her job is seeing the smile on a child's face when they find a piece of assistive technology that unlocks their ability to learn a new skill.
“I tell them I wear glasses, and their computer and their iPad is just like that,” said the Sudbury Catholic District School Board's assistive technology teacher. “It's what they need.”
Before there was assistive technology that could read text to students with learning disabilities, they'd often have to get a teacher to read their tests out loud to them, Connelly said.
The teacher was honoured Nov. 19 by the Learning Disabilities Association of Sudbury, when she was presented with the Outstanding Educator Award at Sudbury Catholic's monthly board meeting.
Queen Elizabeth II Public School resource teacher Shasta Dusick was also presented with the award last month.
Connelly, who has been with Sudbury Catholic for eight years and the board's assistive technology teacher for the past three years, said it's “amazing” to be recognized for her work.
Learning Disabilities Association of Sudbury vice-chair Rhonda Lenti, who presented the award, said Connelly is someone who works in the background to ensure students' success, and deserves to be honoured.
The teacher often goes above and beyond the call of duty, working with students and their families after-hours and during the summer holidays.
“She is that someone special, because it's not just doing her job, it's leading with her heart, and the compassion that she has for children that takes her beyond just doing a job.”
Sudbury Catholic special education consultant Christina Raso also praised Connelly for her contributions.
“Jennifer is such a dedicated and passionate teacher, and her love of technology is quite evident in her constant pursuit of innovative and exciting programs and software/hardware to support the success of our students,” she said, in a press release.
“We are very fortunate to have her be a part of the special education team at Sudbury Catholic and know that she is making a positive difference in the lives of our students every single day.”