Standing Ovation recognizes 29 educators and school communities with $230,000 in 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 2018 are based on performance in school year 2016-17. 


+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

+Excellence in Service | $10,000 Individual Award


The Excellence in Service award recognizes the sustained efforts of a DCPS teacher or school staff member whose contributions to their school community and to DCPS impact school climate, culture, partnerships, and student outcomes in positive and meaningful ways. The awardee is committed to serving their school community, the broader community, and to helping sustain the future of DC Public Schools. Successful candidates desmonstrate the following:

  • The teacher or school staff member shows superior commitment to the whole school community and has demonstrably impacted the lives of those the school serves.
  • The teacher or school staff member takes advantage of or creates opportunities to demonstrate leadership at the school level and is considered by their colleagues to perform above and beyond their professional role.
  • The teacher or school staff member actively works to build or expand upon existing positive, sustainable relationships and trust between the community and the school.
  • The teacher or school staff member actively fosters, promotes, and grows civic engagement between students and community members.

+Excellence in Classroom Innovation | $10,000 Individual Award


The Excellence in Classroom Innovation Award recognizes and applauds the sustained efforts of a DCPS teacher who uses their knowledge of subject matter, teaching and learning, and, in many ways, technology to facilitate experiences that advance student learning, creativity, and innovation in both face-to-face and virtual environments. This award honors high performance, strategic thinking, and exploration of new ways to make learning vibrant and relevant for students in a global and digital society. The awardee collaborates with students, peers, parents, and community members, using resources to support student success and innovation. Successful candidates demonstrate the following:

  • The teacher leverages technology or other strategies to engage students and positively impact student outcomes.
  • There is evidence that the innovation(s) positively impact student learning outcomes.
  • The teacher’s style of instruction allows students to reflect on what they are learning and how they are learning it.
  • The teacher initiates relationship building and collaboration with the DCPS community and values students and families as partners.

+Excellence in School Innovation | $25,000 School Award


The Excellence in School Innovation Award recognizes and applauds the sustained efforts of a DCPS school that exhibits strong innovative planning and implementation at the school level. This award honors high performance and innovation by an entire school community, with emphasis on improving school culture and student satisfaction. The awardee inspires and facilitates, among all stakeholders, a shared vision of purposeful change that maximizes use of digital-age resources to meet and exceed learning goals, to support effective instructional practice, and to maximize the performance of the school and district. Successful candidates demonstrate the following:

  • The school community clearly demonstrates a commitment to implementing innovation in a way that fosters positive school culture and student achievement.
  • The school community clearly demonstrates a commitment to implementing innovation in a way that fosters family engagement.
  • The school community is designed to engage and inspire students at all levels of learning.
  • The school community initiates relationship-building and collaboration with the DCPS community and values students and families as partners.

+Excellence in Family Engagement | $25,000 School Award


The Excellence in Family Engagement Award recognizes and applauds a DCPS school for its efforts to more broadly engage and empower families. This award honors a school community that demonstrates exemplary relationship-building with students and families. The awardee is committed to positive partnerships between teachers and families and maintains strong systems for collaboration with parent leaders, working toward improving student achievement for the entire school community. Successful candidates demonstrate the following:

  • There are positive relationships and trust between teachers and all families.
  • The school encourages all family members to engage with the school and employs strategies to ensure that families from diverse backgrounds feel welcomed.
  • Teachers partner with families to support them to play five roles that impact student success: communicating high expectations, monitoring and holding their child accountable, supporting learning at home, advocating for their child or coaching them to self-advocate, and guiding the major educational decisions in their child’s life.
  • There is frequent, proactive, positive communication between families and schools. Communication is primarily focused on the student, and how teachers and families can partner to support his or her success.

+Excellence by an Academic Leadership Team | $25,000 School Award


The Excellence by an Academic Leadership Team (ALT) Award recognizes an exemplary leadership team that engages students, improves outcomes, and effectively builds school culture. The award honors high performance and strategic thinking by the ALT and school administration. The awardee initiates high-impact educational approaches or interventions that support student achievement. Successful candidates demonstrate the following:

  • The ALT demonstrates leadership in embodying and supporting the school’s vision and goals for all staff.
  • The ALT has a clear process in place for data analysis, meetings, communication, and ensuring implementation fidelity of instructional vision.
  • ALT members share responsibility for decisions, review feedback, and build mechanisms to support instructional alignment.
  • The ALT tracks its success through both teacher and student outcomes and responds with a sense of urgency.

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


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