Congratulations to our 2019 Big Apple Award Winners!
Earlier this month, on June 11, 2019, the 17 exemplary educators who were selected as winners of the 2019 Big Apple Awards were honored at Tweed Courthouse.
The Big Apple Awards are a citywide recognition program celebrating the dedication, rigor, and community spirit of New York City public school teachers. This year, out of a record-high 7,100 nominations, Big Apple Awards were given to 17 classroom teachers.
The Fund for Public Schools supports the Big Apple Awards through partnerships and donations made by two nonprofits that are dedicated to making an impact in the lives of students — Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and New York Road Runners. Both of them sponsored a Big Apple Award to honor an arts teacher and a physical education teacher.
Chancellor Carranza and Senior DOE leaders surprised the winning teachers in their classrooms to deliver the exciting news of their award. These joyful visits brought students and school staff together to recognize their teachers, and the tireless work they do supporting New York City public school students day in and day out.
Lincoln Center’s education department, Lincoln Center Education, works to enrich the lives of children by providing opportunities to engage with the arts on stage, in educational settings, online, and in the community. Its Acting Executive Director, Alex Sarian, presented the Big Apple Arts Education award this year to Jamie Cacciola-Price – in the words of Sarian, “for being an exemplary ambassador for all arts educators.”
Mr. Cacciola-Price is a high school theatre teacher at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Queens, whose class blends stage skills and techniques with empathy, public speaking, research, and writing. His play selections reflect diverse voices to mirror his students’ experiences.
The New York Road Runners sponsors the Big Apple Physical Education Award. New York Road Runners also provides fitness and wellness programs to over 125,000 children across the City.
Rachel Pratt, Senior Vice President of Youth and Community Services at New York Road Runners, presented the Physical Education award to Douglas Rebecca, a High School Adaptive PE teacher at PS K271 Brooklyn Occupational Training Center.
Pratt said, “Rising New York Road Runners seeks to find champions at schools to help and inspire their students through physical activity, and Mr. Rebecca is a true champion for the students at PS K721 Brooklyn Occupational Training Center.”
In fact, every day Douglas Rebecca advocates for his students, creating lesson plans and opportunities that allow them to succeed independently.
Colleagues at PS K721 said, “Mr. Rebecca truly embodies the title of an APE teacher. Mr. Rebecca will modify any activity to ensure that all students participate. Whether it is wheelchair hockey or adaptive swimming, Mr. Rebecca makes sure everyone has a chance.”
The Fund congratulates Jamie Cacciola-Price, Douglas Rebecca, and all of the teachers who received Big Apple Awards this year for your tireless commitment to our students. As NYC Schools Richard Carranza said, “That’s what teachers do—they change lives. The Big Apple Award winners exemplify this by inspiring our students to achieve greatness every single day.”
The 17 award winners will serve as Big Apple Fellows in the 2019-20 school year. As fellows, they hold monthly meetings with one another, working to build leadership skills and to be ambassadors for their profession. Award recipients are invited to serve on the Chancellor’s Teacher Advisory Group, and are provided grants to support their classrooms and practice. Through bi-monthly meetings, this group advocates for teachers citywide and contributes to DOE policy.