Queens parents and kids can nominate their favorite teacher for the Big Apple Awards

Photo courtesy of Instagram/nycschools

For the sixth year in a row, the city is asking the public to nominate a teacher who goes “above and beyond to serve our students and families.”

The Big Apple Awards is a citywide program started by the Department of Education to recognize educators who have positively impacted their students and community. Last year, 7,800 teachers across the public school system were nominated.

The citywide community nomination period, which will end on Nov. 27, asks students, families, administrators and community representatives to nominate a teacher. The DOE is especially interested in nominations for educators who teach grades 2, 7 and 10, and also teachers of special education and English Language Learners.

After this community nomination period, a group of 1,000 nominees will be invited to submit an application that will be reviewed by a DOE committee.


Then, up to 250 nominees will be chosen to move to the district-level selection stage. This stage will include an interview and/or classroom visit by the school’s superintendent team. Superintendents will choose up to two finalists per each school district to move to the final round and a Board of Judges will choose the winners.

Next spring, recipients will receive a visit from Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña, who will honor them with the award. Winners will serve as Big Apple Fellows and will meet monthly as part of the Chancellor’s Teacher Advisory Group. Educators will be able to discuss best practices and education policy and receive leadership development.

Last year, special education teacher at P.S. 199 in Sunnyside Patrick Murphy, was one of several teachers to win a Big Apple Award. Murphy brought a Lego robotics program to the school several years ago and inspired several students to consider engineering careers. He also created a school wide website and trained fellow teachers on how to use Google Apps for Education.

“I have never met a teacher that exhibited such understanding and care for students,” one parent told the DOE. “You can tell Mr. Murphy truly enjoys teaching and works hard to make a difference for his students.”

To nominate a teacher for the Big Apple Awards, fill out the nomination form online.