Standing Ovation recognizes educators and school communities with cash awards.

All awards presented at Standing Ovation are made possible thanks to the generosity of David M. Rubenstein. Nominations and final selections for Standing Ovation 2019 are based on performance from the prior school year. 


+Principal of the Year | $10,000 Individual Award


The Principal of the Year award recognizes a DCPS school leader who has a proven track record of instructional leadership. The awardee shows a commitment to providing high-quality learning opportunities for all students, a passion for student achievement, and a focus on closing the achievement gap. Successful candidates demonstrate leadership in the following areas:

  • Articulating a clear instructional vision with a school‐wide focus on teaching and learning that is data‐driven, standards‐aligned, and rooted in a belief that all students can achieve at high levels
  • Developing and maintaining a purposeful school culture that supports a safe and effective learning environment
  • Listening to and communicating with all the school’s stakeholders; building successful interpersonal relationships with faculty, staff members, family and community members and students
  • Managing the change process, including making tough decisions when necessary to move the school and students forward
  • Engaging in constant personal learning, including the need to learn and adapt when faced with challenges and successes

+Teacher of the Year | $10,000 Individual Award


The Teacher of the Year award honors a DCPS educator for their outstanding commitment to their students and school community. Through their passion for teaching, they foster a love of learning for their students and positively affect the entire school community. In addition to their highly effective instruction, the awardee should:

  • Have the ability to inspire and empower students of all backgrounds and abilities to achieve at a high level
  • Play an active role in their school and community, as well as partner with parents and families
  • Possess the skills and dynamism to serve as an ambassador of DC Public Schools

+School Staff Member of the Year | $10,000 Individual Award


The School Staff Member of the Year honors DCPS staff members for their outstanding commitment to their students and larger school community. Through their passion & commitment to school community, they foster a love of learning for their students and positively affect the larger school community. In addition to their highly effective support, the recipients of these awards should:

  • Have the ability to inspire and empower students of all backgrounds and abilities to achieve at a high level
  • Play an active role in their school and community, as well as partner with parents and families
  • Possess the skills and dynamism to serve as an ambassador of DC Public Schools

+Equity | $25,000 School Award


The Equity Award recognizes and applauds a DCPS school that defines, understands, and promotes equity by striving to eliminate opportunity gaps and systematically interrupt institutional bias. Successful candidates demonstrate the following:

  • Incorporate culturally responsive practices and increase access to rigorous academic content
  • Prioritize budgeting and resources for students who need them most
  • Demonstrate shifts in culture, mindsets, policies and practice that affirm and accelerate students furthest from opportunity

+Empowered Team | $25,000 School Award


The Empowered Team Award recognizes and applauds a DCPS school that recruits, develops, and retains a talented, caring, and diverse team. Successful candidates demonstrate the following:

  • Illustrate shared leadership practices that build teams and strong foundations for collaborative team cultures
  • Build a talent pipeline within the school by charting career pathways for individuals at all levels
  • Reflect retention practices that results in low to no attrition rates of highly effective staff
  • Strengthen school leadership development

+Innovation for Excellence | $25,000 School Award


The Innovation for Excellence Award recognizes and applauds a DCPS school that reimagines what’s possible through innovative, out-of-the-box pathways to excellence. Successful candidates demonstrate the following:

  • Embed and establish practices that radically transform shared leadership and engagement, school culture, and academics

+Whole Child | $25,000 School Award


The Whole Child Award recognizes and applauds a DCPS school that provides rigorous, joyful, and inclusive academic and social emotional learning experiences to ensure all students are college and career ready. Successful candidates demonstrate the following:

  • Social emotional learning practices are reflected not in isolation but embedded within the school’s identity and culture
  • Social emotional competencies and expectations are visible between adults and students, students to students, and adults to adults
  • Build a constant culture of adult learning around SEL knowledge and capacity

+Together With Families | $25,000 School Award


The Together With Families Award recognizes and applauds a DCPS school that has actively deepened partnerships with families and their community. Successful candidates demonstrate the following:

  • Ensure opportunities exist for open two-way communication for all families
  • Create meaningful partnerships and collaborate with families and the community to drive academic results, attendance, and joyful school culture
  • Strive to reach students and families who are furthest from opportunity
  • Involve families and the broader school community in the creation and execution of schoolwide goals and initiatives

+Rubenstein Awards for Excellence in Teaching, in Leadership, or among School Staff | $5,000 Individual Awards


Rubenstein Awards are presented each year to individuals demonstrating Excellence in Teaching, Excellence in Leadership, or Excellence among School Staff