(Washington, DC) – Mayor Bowser is closing out Education Week 2018 tonight at the Seventh Annual Standing Ovation for DC Public Schools (DCPS), an event to celebrate top DCPS educators, featuring surprise celebrity guests, musical performances, and video tributes. The celebration is a hallmark of the District’s work in recruiting, developing, and retaining a talented, caring, and diverse team of educators.
“This week, we announced critical programs and investments to support our students, and none of it would be possible without the extraordinary men and women leading and teaching in schools across all eight wards,” said Mayor Bowser. “Our educators are the driving force behind our progress, and I am proud to be here tonight to honor committed educators who consistently go above and beyond to ensure every student is able to reach their full potential.”
More than 3,200 members of the DCPS community, including teachers, civic leaders, and officials from the arts and business communities, will honor educators who are committed to ensuring every student feels loved, challenged, and prepared to positively influence society and thrive in life. Standing Ovation award winners include Teacher of the Year, Principal of the Year, School Staff Member of the Year, and 21 others. Alice and David M. Rubenstein generously provide $230,000 in cash prizes for Standing Ovation awards each year. Standing Ovation winners represent every ward in the city and are nominated throughout the year by parents, teachers, and other community members.
“As a former teacher and school leader, I am proud that Washington, DC continues to be the best place for educators committed to equity and student success,” said Deputy Mayor for Education Jennifer Niles. “Tonight’s honorees represent the hundreds of educators and staff in public schools across the city dedicated to ensuring every day counts by building school and classroom environments that make our students want to attend every single day.”
Tim Gunn, fashion expert and education supporter, will act as the event’s host for the fourth time, and Wyclef Jean, songwriter, singer, and producer, is this year’s musical guest.
“DC’s educators are at the heart of our work to infuse values in everything that we do. They embody the attitude of putting students first, working with integrity, and bringing courage and joy to everything they do in the classroom,” said DCPS Chancellor Antwan Wilson. “Our city is fortunate to have a team of teachers, leaders, and staff who authentically and collaboratively give their all for the district’s students.”
DCPS teachers entered the new school year with the announcement of a new contract that significantly increases compensation. The Washington Teacher’s Union membership overwhelmingly supported the contract and it was passed unanimously by the DC Council. The agreement provides an additional $110.5 million to DCPS and an additional $92.6 million to public charter schools from FY2017 to FY2021.
Other Teacher Investments
Today, Mayor Bowser also announced that the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) awarded $1.5 million in grants to five nonprofit organizations to recruit and train more than 250 high-quality new charter school teachers. The Scholarships for Opportunities and Results (SOAR) Act Teacher Pipeline Grant awardees are: Relay Graduate School of Education, the Urban Teacher Center, AppleTree Institute, KIPP DC, and the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector. Grants were awarded to eligible non-profit organizations with teacher pipeline programs with the purpose of increasing the quality and quantity of the teacher supply for charter schools in Washington, DC. The grantees were selected through a competitive process.
“We are thrilled to support these new grantees as they work to recruit and train new teachers for DC charter schools,” said State Superintendent Hanseul Kang. “Quality teachers are essential to ensuring we are sustaining, accelerating, and deepening the progress being made in education in DC.”
Last year, the Bowser Administration announced two additional investments in teachers. In August, the Relay Graduate School of Education expanded to Washington, DC. Relay gives educators the opportunity to practice and improve in a supportive environment. The program includes a Teaching Residency program to prepare new teachers to excel in the classroom and a Master of Arts in Teaching program for more experienced teachers to refine their teaching techniques. In addition, the Hope Street Group also expanded to Washington, DC. The Hope Street Group’s Local Teacher Fellowship program supports and equips teachers to engage school, district, and local administrators as well as other elected officials in education policy development. The two-year fellowship will provide teachers from both DCPS and DC public charter schools with training, resources, and support to interact with policymakers and inform policy decisions that impact teaching and learning conditions in the District’s public schools.