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The student news site of Colonia High School

The Declaration

The student news site of Colonia High School

The Declaration


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Excellence in Education Award given to Mrs. Danielle Allen

Photo Credit: Declaration Staff
Behind the camera is the likely spot you can find Mrs. Danielle Allen.

The Excellence in Education Award is yearly awarded to a teacher in Colonia High School. However, the qualifications of the award are very rigorous and not given to just any teacher.

The requirements for the award consist of: One, being a teacher and having all qualified certifications. Two, said teacher must be innovative in the classroom and use various teaching strategies to  engage students. Three, everything must be student-centered, where the students take an active role in their learning along with following the Common Core. Four, the nominated teacher’s classroom must have a positive environment and said teacher must have a good rapport with their students. And finally, must create a love of learning and of self in each of the teacher’s students.

The decision process for the recipient of the Excellence in Education Award is almost as meticulous as the requirements. Every CHS teacher nominates another teacher they believe should win the award. From there, Vice Principal Ms. Murphy forms a committee of five to six members and evaluate and score each of the nominees. Parents are involved, staff is involved, everybody but students are involved.

Photo Credit: With permission from Mrs. Allen
After receiving a personal invite from the Harvard Crimson, Mrs. Danielle Allen travelled to Boston to attend a journalism workshop.

It is no surprise that The Declaration’s very own adviser, Danielle Allen, won the Excellence in Education Award.

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About Allen

Danielle (Simkovich) Allen has worked at CHS as an English teacher for 14 years and as the Journalism teacher for eight years. Since her start January of 2004, Allen has taught every grade but 11th grade English. In addition, Allen is currently the Poetry Club adviser and Costume Designer for the school plays. Previously, she was one of the yearbook advisers and the freshman class adviser for 4 years.

Also, Allen wrote the last two Journalism 1 and 2 curriculums for Woodbridge Township School District. During the November break, Allen traveled to Boston to attended a journalism workshop at Harvard University to enhance her knowledge of her craft.

When she is not teaching at CHS, Allen is at Middlesex County College teaching RDG011, a remedial reading course required for those who did not score adequately on the Acuplacer. Her Master’s degree in Reading Specialization allows her to be an adjunct professor and teach more students.

CHS Vice Principal, Ms. Murphy, was not at all shocked with Allen receving the award, and has witnessed her monumental efforts over the years. “Mrs. Allen receiving the award was a hands-down easy decision. She has developed the online school newspaper, The Declaration, from the beginning. This little thing that nobody thought of, she has turned into this wonderful program where kids are really enjoying being a part of the newspaper staff. Students are going out, seeing how reporters in the field work. Allen, herself, brings in guest speakers that are in the field for students to appreciate the love of being a journalist. Allen’s class is inspiring. Previous students have become journalists after they graduated because of her. Even nowadays, The Star-Ledger, The Home News — all of them– are going online, so by students having this online experience in Allen’s class, they’re seeing exactly what’s going on in the real world. Mrs. Allen has taken the journalism program to something that’s awesome. You can’t not recognize that. She has everyone engaged passionate for writing, in a journalistic fashion.”


Three of the four years The Declaration has been online, School Newspapers Online (SNO) has deemed The Declaration a Distinguished Site. The Declaration is the only newspaper in New Jersey affiliated with SNO to ever receive this title. Currently the staff is half way to receiving this status again.

The Poetry Club has won three of the five District Poetry Slam Competitions and has their sights on winning again this year.

In Her Words

While it was no surprise to  faculty and staff who would win the award, it was to the recipient herself, ” I was shocked, but deeply appreciative,” said Allen. “It motivates me to further strive for excellence in the field of education, because I do believe that all students can all learn in their own way. Excellence in education to me means to foster a desire for learning in students, a drive them to be a good person.”

Allen shared a recent experience in her class, “Since I run the school newspaper and the school’s Twitter and Instagram, I went to tweet and post that school had been cancelled due to snow. When I went to the account, I saw that my journalism students, Patrick Coveny and Rana Rezk, had beat me to it. It’s a strange but gratifying moment to see how efficient I’ve trained them to be, but to realize that due to this efficiency that they don’t need my assistance anymore.”

In regards to constantly maintaining the school’s social media accounts, Allen says she has a daily routine. “The first thing I do when I get up is check Twitter and tweet the scores from last night’s games. During my block off, I retweet the student’s in my class and check the Gram and YouTube for things to post. Sometimes I sacrifice my prep to take pictures of things going on in the building.  It is my job to promote all the wonderful things that go on at CHS and make our staff and student’s look good. I check Twitter again during lunch, after school, and before be. I even tweeted from Aruba on my honeymoon.”

What Her Students Think

Not only does Allen have the up-most respect for her Journalism program but for her English class as well.  Graduate Marissa Curia said, ” She cares about her students and always dedicates helping students achieve their goals and be the best they can be. She always made class enjoyable and inspired me to love and read. I even went to college for English because I loved everything she taught us.”

Photo Credit: Patrick Coveny
Decked out for the holidays, Journalism Teacher, Mrs. Danielle Allen, poses with editors Frankie Brock and DeAndre Oglesby for the class Christmas card.

That’s not at all. Allen has also been a favorite because of her Poetry Club. Graduate Devon Savage stated, ” I think Mrs. Allen deserves this award because she’s always looking for opportunities to enrich the lives of her students in and out of the classroom. In poetry club, she created a really close community of individuals who were dying for an outlet to express themselves. Her ability to balance her life as an educator and adviser was really impact to my high school years.”

Personally speaking, working with The Declaration for the past four years, has allowed me to know Mrs. Allen on a deeper level. Like the many students have said, she goes beyond the average teacher requirements and truly wants to be a part of her student’s lives. She creates open-mindedness and a new sense of creativity into each of her pupils. Being in two of her classes and writing for her paper for the past four years, has taught me (and other students too) that I have a voice. And, I have the power to use it and share it with others for good.

Overall, Danielle Allen has went above and beyond the basic requirements for the Excellence and Education Award.  She has impacted the lives of many students and faculty members, including me.  For that, we are extremely lucky to have her as a part of our family.

Congratulations, again, to Mrs. Danielle Allen.

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  • A

    aurora menaApr 28, 2022 at 2:26 pm

    shes the best😁

  • P

    Patrick CovenyMar 12, 2018 at 3:31 pm

    Mrs. Allen is the best! Totally deserving!!! 🙂

  • A

    Ann AllenMar 2, 2018 at 4:20 pm

    She deserves it and more,she works like crazy with all she does, with heart and soul

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Excellence in Education Award given to Mrs. Danielle Allen