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Staley Teacher Wins Leon Jaworski Award – (August, 2005)

Patience LeBlanc 9center)Patience LeBlanc, eighth-grade American History teacher at Staley Middle School, has received the Leon Jaworksi Awards for Teaching Excellence in Law Focused Education. She has received $500 that may be used to purchase law focused education materials or to cover travel expenses to attend an educational conference. The use of the funds is approved through the Department of Public Service/Law-Related Education of the State Bar of Texas.

The award is given to outstanding teachers who bring programs to their classrooms based on five criteria. The programs must foster understanding of the values of our legal and judicial systems; inform and educate students as to the roles in society of the law, the courts, the law enforcement agencies, and the legal profession; stimulate a deeper sense of individual responsibility, instructing students to recognize their duties, as well as their rights; encourage effective law focused education programs in their schools or communities; and increase communication and understanding between students, educators and those involved professionally in the legal system.

LeBlanc conducts congressional hearings each year in her class to help her students understand the legislative process, she coaches the Staley Mock Trial Team, taking students to the Collin County Courthouse where they compete with other schools, and she also chaperones students on trips to the nation’s Capitol each year. LeBlanc is known at Staley for her costumed impersonations, dressing up as characters such as a pilgrim on the Mayflower.

LeBlanc is honored to have received the award and expressed her appreciation to Dennis McDonald, Staley principal; Mike Waldrip, Liberty High School principal and curriculum coordinator; Gail West, counselor; Treysa Graham, a Staley parent; and Sarah Smetzer, one of her students, for their recommendations.

It is LeBlanc’s passion for excellence that Principal McDonald says makes her very deserving of this award. “She is the kind of teacher I would want to have as a kid. She is an outstanding representative of the high quality of teaching we have at Staley Middle School and in the FISD.”

Jan Miller, director of Law-Focused Education, has known LeBlanc since she began teaching. She has been impressed by the energy and dedication LeBlanc brings to the classroom. “She is personally and professionally vested in her students,” she said.