Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza today announced the winners of the sixth annual Big Apple Awards, honoring Harlem’s Ashley Wilson (holding sign above) and the other 16 recipients and celebrating the exemplary work of New York City public school teachers.
Recipients were selected from more than 6,500 nominations.
“I learned guitar in elementary school from my teacher Mr. Valenzuela who empowered me, taught me the value of rehearsal and poise, and believed I could do anything I set my mind to. If it wasn’t for that confidence he instilled in me, I wouldn’t be the person I am today,” said Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza. “The Big Apple Award winners exemplify this love of teaching, and I could not be prouder of the 17 recipients selected this year and all of our teachers who bring out the best in our children every single day.”
“Lincoln Center Education is excited to continue to support the Big Apple Awards for the sixth year. The arts are an essential component of a student’s academic experience and we are proud to honor New York City’s most extraordinary arts teachers with this award,” said Alex Sarian, Acting Executive Director of Lincoln Center Education. “We send our most heartfelt congratulations out to this year’s winner, Alberto Toro, and we look forward to collaborating with him and past award winners to expand access to arts education for all New York City public school students.”
“New York Road Runners’ flagship youth fitness program, Rising New York Road Runners, aims to assist teachers in introducing physical education in a way that gives students the confidence and motivation to be active for life,” said Rachel Pratt, senior vice president of youth and community services at NYRR. “Our commitment to helping and inspiring kids across the city and country through running is heightened by dedicated physical education teachers, and we’re excited to be a part of this special recognition.”
“Our teachers make a difference in children’s lives every day. The Big Apple awards is an opportunity to give the recognition and say what too often goes unsaid: “thank you,” said Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers
The 17 award recipients include 15 classroom teachers, one music educator and a physical education teacher. This week, Chancellor Carranza and Deputy Chancellors surprised the educators in their classrooms to present them with the news of their award. The visits brought students and school staff together to celebrate the outstanding work of their teachers.
The Big Apple Awards are made possible by private support through the Fund for Public Schools, which will provide classroom grants to all recipients. In particular, The Fund has partnered for a sixth year with Lincoln Center Education, which works with the DOE on several arts education programs, to sponsor the Arts Education Award. The Physical Education Award is made possible with funding from New York Road Runners, a DOE partner that provides fitness and wellness programs to over 800 schools across the City.
During the 2017-18 school year, the DOE received over 6,500 nominations, representing nearly 75 percent of district schools. 70 percent of nominations came from students and families. Now in its sixth year of existence, the recognition program continues to grow and engage more school communities each year: nearly 13,500 unique DOE teachers have been nominated since the program’s inception in 2013.
The Big Apple Awards is the culmination of a rigorous selection process that includes community nominations, principal and colleague recommendations, applicant essays, an interview, and a classroom visit. During the 2017-18 school year, the DOE received over 6,500 nominations, representing nearly 75 percent of district schools. 70 percent of nominations came from students and families. Now in its sixth year of existence, the recognition program continues to grow and engage more school communities each year: nearly 13,500 unique DOE teachers have been nominated since the program’s inception in 2013. Each year award recipients are selected based on their ability to demonstrate exceptional success in three key competency areas aligned with the Framework for Great Schools: impacting student learning, demonstrating strong instructional practice, and contributing to their school community. Following a review of the applications this year, 240 educators were selected as finalists by their superintendents.
A board of judges – comprised of DOE officials and representatives from the United Federation of Teachers and Fund for Public Schools – selected 17 award recipients, with New York Road Runners supporting the selection of the Physical Education teacher and Lincoln Center Education supporting the selection of the Arts Award recipient. The ceremony will be held on June 14, 2018 at Tweed Courthouse.
Next school year, the 17 recipients will serve as Big Apple Fellows, and will have the opportunity to meet monthly with one another, becoming leaders and ambassadors for their profession. Winners will also be invited to serve on the Chancellor’s Teacher Advisory Group, which meets bi-monthly and contributes to policy across the DOE.
This year’s Big Apple Award recipients can all be viewed here come from all five boroughs, and teach a range of subjects and grade levels.
Photo credit: Recipient Ashley Wilson, Kindergarten Teacher, Success Academy Charter School—Harlem 3, New York, NY.