Why are these awards bestowed?
We believe that significant school change (for the better) is not easy to achieve and, quite simply, we want to recognize those schools (and school districts) that have been able to achieve this. We are also conducting some important research about how these schools were able to be successful.

Can a school nominate itself?
Yes. Schools may be nominated by their district or by an external nominator (such as a university, school reform group, reading association, etc.). In some cases, districts are distributing the information packet to all schools in their district and encouraging schools to nominate themselves.

What value is there for a school to go through this nomination process?
The very process of asking oneself serious questions focused on school improvement can be very rewarding and helpful for a set of school stakeholders. Think about it: How significant have our attempts at change been? What have been the obstacles? How have we dealt with those barriers? Are we doing the best we can for our students? What lies ahead?

Can someone else nominate a school?
In many ways it is preferable to have someone outside the school take a lead role in submitting the nomination, although the school itself, will be composing and gathering most of the basic information.

Is there a limit to the number of schools that can be nominated from the same district?

What does a winning school receive?
The Award to each of the schools will include:

A $5000 award to support the school's ongoing change efforts, plus:

• A ceremony conducted at their school in May/June 2014
• National recognition and coverage by the media 
• Subsidized participation of the school’s principal in the 17th Annual National Principals Leadership Institute to be conducted in New York City
• An awards presentation by the United States Department of Education at a special ceremony in July 2014
• Participation in a major national research project focusing on school change

If we win and our principal participates in the National Principals Leadership Institute, what expenses are covered?
Please contact us for more information.

What is the timeline?
Applications must be postmarked by March 31, 2014. Awards will be announced on or about May 1, 2014. Local awards ceremonies at the schools will be scheduled for May-June 2014.

What materials must be submitted?
As indicated by the application and criteria pages there are some basic pieces of information that are required. You must submit four binders, no wider than 1.5 inches. Each binder must contain all of your materials. Also, you must submit the materials on 2 CDs. Each CD must have four files. Please save all files in PDF format. Check that all files will open. ( We suggest Wilson Jones Poly View 1” white binders.). If you do not have a program that can convert the files, please click here
 for a free converter. Check that all files will open. All of the following must be submitted:

  • Essay explaining how the school meets the criteria for significant school change. In essence, you are "telling your story of change." Of course, in the essay, there must be a reference to the four dimensions of school change, which are outlined in the list of criteria. It is a good idea to structure your essay in the order of the criteria dimensions. This makes it easier for scoring.
  • Four letters of recommendationThese should be concise, no more than one page. Two of the letters are from individuals who "live" within the school -- parents, non-teaching staff, teachers, and administrators. These are people who, with an "insiders perspective," can speak candidly about the school's changes. The other two letters are from "outside" the school and therefore have another viewpoint. These can be individuals who work at organizations that have partnered with the school (business, university, community-based organization, professional association, etc.). Or, they could be people from the district office or state department of education. Or, they could by an elected official, government agency liaison, community leader.
  • Supporting data You want to present a convincing case. The schools that have won in the past dramatically and clearly provided examples, anecdotes, and illustrations. Some schools used article excerpts. charts, graphs, photographs, etc. This is a good opportunity for nominated schools to become creative as they tell their story.

The nomination overview form asks for four references. Who are these people?
These are the same individuals who have submitted letters of recommendation.

Can other individuals attend the National Principals Leadership Institute?
Yes. As you can tell from the web site, this is a remarkable program and a wonderful professional development opportunity for principals, assistant/vice principals and district office personnel who work closely with school principals. The theme for this summer, Re-imagining Schools.

For more information please contact:

Jason Benjamin, 
Nominations Coordinator

Juan Fonseca, 


National Principals Leadership Institute (NPLI)
44 Wall Street, 12th Floor, New York, NY 10005
(212) 524-4616 
info @ npli.org
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