Big Apple Awards FAQ

Find answers to common questions below. Please contact us at teacherleadership@schools.nyc.gov if you if you have any additional questions. 

How can I help teachers/counselors in my community get nominated?

Anyone can nominate teachers/counselors through this website. You can also spread the word by posting a link to this page on social media -- be sure to use #ThankATeacherNYC! Nominations open each fall and are announced through the Department of Education's Facebook and Twitter accounts. The nomination period will be open for about two months.

What information is required for a nomination?

  • Teacher's name and subject area OR counselor's name
  • Teacher/counselor's school name and borough
  • Teacher/counselor’s email address
  • Teacher/counselor’s principal or education director's name
  • A brief statement on why your nominee should be considered for the awards (250 words max)

What type of teachers/counselor are usually nominated?

Nominees can be any current teacher/counselor in a:

  • DOE school
  • charter school
  • NYCEEC, district school, or Pre-K center (early childhood teacher who teaches infants, toddlers, 3s, or 4s)

When choosing someone to nominate, think of who has gone above and beyond to serve their students and school community. The Big Apple Awards celebrate educators across the city and honor those teachers who inspire students, model great teaching, and enrich their school communities. Past recipients of the Big Apple Awards have demonstrated exceptional success in the following areas:

  • impact on student learning
  • instructional practices
  • professional contributions to their school community

Can I nominate myself?

Absolutely! We encourage you to nominate yourself and/or any DOE teacher/counselor.

Can I nominate more than one teacher/counselor?

Yes, you may nominate as many teachers/counselors as you like for this award. You will need to submit a separate nomination for each person you would like to be considered.

Who will see my nomination information?

The Big Apple Awards team and review committee will have access to nomination information. Nominations are accepted anonymously, and your nominee will not be given your name without your permission. It is possible that statements from nominations will be used anonymously on social media for the promotion of the awards program.

What happens after someone is nominated?

Recipient selection is a multi-step process that takes many months—and it all starts with you! Students, families, administrators, and community members can all nominate any DOE teacher or counselor. We then initiate a rigorous selection process that includes multiple stakeholders across the DOE.

What does it mean to be a Big Apple Award winner?

Recipients receive surprise appearances from the chancellor, deputy chancellors, and other members of the NYC education community, notifying them of their award. This allows us to honor and celebrate these exceptional teachers and counselors in their teaching environment, sometimes even with their students and colleagues!

Big Apple Award recipients have the opportunity to serve as Big Apple Fellows, in addition to continuing their amazing work in the classroom. Fellows meet monthly to develop their leadership skills and expertise in education.

Who is funding the Big Apple Awards?

The Big Apple Awards are made possible through generous funding from The Fund for Public Schools, Lincoln Center Education, and New York Road Runners. Previous sponsors include:

  • Leonard and Louise Riggio
  • HBO
  • The Centerbridge Foundation
  • The New York Mets
  • STATE Bags
  • Modell’s Sporting Goods
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