For the Media

Charter Excellence Awards

Nominations for the 2019 INCS Charter Excellence Awards are officially open! At INCS, we value excellence and great teachers, principals, students, and parents deserve special recognition. Here is your exclusive opportunity to recognize those across the charter public school community who have dedicated themselves to creating the positive change our society needs today through a charter public school education!

About the Charter Excellence Awards

The INCS Charter Excellence Awards recognize the outstanding achievements of students, educators and advocates across Illinois’ charter public schools. INCS will offer awards in the following categories:

  • Principal of the Year
  • Elementary Teacher of the Year
  • High School Teacher of the Year

Thanks to generous partners, INCS will award an elementary and high school teacher $10,000 each — $5,000 to the teacher and $5,000 awarded to the school for programming and classroom essentials. The principal of the year will also receive a $10,000 award– $5,000 to the principal and $5,000 for the school.

INCS is also accepting nominations in the following categories:

  • Charter School Parent Advocate of the Year
  • Outstanding Illinois Charter School Senior – four seniors will be selected to win a $1,000 scholarship each
  • Outstanding Illinois Charter School Eighth Grader – two graduating eight graders will be selected to earn a $500 scholarship each

All charter public schools are strongly encouraged to submit nominations. There is no limit on nominations per school or per award. Nominations must be submitted to Matt Major at mmajor@incschools.org by OCTOBER 18, 2019. Finalists will be announced NOVEMBER 13, 2019. INCS will surprise all winners in their schools in early December.

Submission Guidelines

Nominees must meet the following requirements. Please make sure you include all necessary items or your nominations for the categories below:

Charter School Principal of the Year inspires teachers and students alike through their leadership and has a track record of driving exemplary student achievement in their school. The award candidate leads an effective, high-quality school that demonstrates innovation, best practices, and results to best serve students and families in the Illinois charter school community. The winner will be awarded $5,000 and an additional $5,000 will be donated to the winner’s school for programming support and classroom essentials. Nominees must meet the following requirements:

  • Committed to the charter school model and served the school for at least two years.
  • Must lead a highly effective, high-quality school which has demonstrated innovation and results in the charter school community in Illinois. Please list specific examples.
  • Two letters of recommendation and at least one should be written by a teacher. Please include a short explanation with details of how this principal exemplifies the qualities of the Charter Principal of the Year description listed above.
  • Please include a photo of the nominee.

Elementary Charter School Teacher of the Year is committed to the charter school model, improving education outcomes by leading inspiring innovation in and out of the classroom, and evoking students to be resilient while setting and achieving their own challenging and educational goals. The winner will be awarded $5,000 and an additional $5,000 will be donated to the winner’s school. Nominees must meet the following requirements:

  • Must be a K-8 teacher who has taught at your school for at least two years. Please include the number of years the candidate has taught at your school and grade level(s).
  • Must use professional capability and charter school autonomy to grow student performance or demonstrate other positive results with students. List specific examples.
  • Must have impacted student growth. Describe and include the tools used to measure results, if available.
  • Two letters of recommendation – at least one should be written by a student.
  • Please include a photo of the nominee.

Charter High School Teacher of the Year is committed to the charter school model, improving education outcomes by leading inspiring innovation in and out of the classroom, and evoking students to be resilient while setting and achieving their own challenging and educational goals.  The winner will be awarded $5,000 and an additional $5,000 will be donated to the winner’s school. Nominees must meet the following requirements:

  • Must be a 9-12 teacher who has taught at your school for at least two years. Please include the number of years he or she has taught at your school and grade level(s).
  • Must use professional capability and charter school autonomy to grow student performance or demonstrate other positive results with students. List specific examples.
  • Must have impacted student growth. Please describe and include the tools used to measure results, if available.
  • Two letters of recommendation – at least one should be written by a student.
  • Please include a photo of the nominee.

Illinois Charter School Parent Advocate is presented to one charter school parent who has demonstrated a strong commitment to the school and charter community. The winner will be awarded $500 to help continue their efforts. Nominees must meet the following requirements:

  • Must have a child who has been enrolled in an Illinois charter school for at least 3 years. If their child has attended multiple charter schools, please list all schools and the number of years they’ve been a charter school parent.
  • Must be involved with his or her charter school’s parent group.
  • Provide list of involvement and leadership in your school, community, and in parent advocacy efforts. Note any special awards or recognitions.
  • One letter of recommendation is required from the school administration or from a teacher. Please describe how this individual has demonstrated a strong commitment to their school and the charter school community.
  • Please include a photo of the nominee.

Outstanding Illinois Charter School Senior is presented to four seniors who demonstrate outstanding academic achievement, an embodiment of their school’s mission, strong leadership qualities, and exceptional involvement in their school and community. Each student will be awarded a $1,000 scholarship. Nominees must meet the following requirements:

  • Must graduate high school in 2020 and attend college or have other post-secondary plans in the 2020-2021 year.
  • Must be involved in student leadership positions, such as student government, programs, clubs, teams, tutoring, etc. Please provide a resume outlining these activities.
  • Please include a letter of recommendation that explains how the student exemplifies the qualities of the Outstanding Charter School Senior listed above.
  • Each student is required to submit a 250-500 word essay describing how attending his/her charter school has advanced his/her success. Students should think about the following when writing the essays: How has your school helped you achieve a personal and/or academic goal? What is your school doing to create an environment where students feel inspired to learn and grow? What makes your school unique?
  • Please include photo of nominee.

Outstanding Illinois Charter School Eighth Grader – two graduating eighth graders who demonstrate outstanding academic achievement, strong leadership qualities, an embodiment of their school’s mission, and exceptional involvement in their school and community. Each student will be awarded a $500 scholarship. Nominees must meet the following requirements:

  • Must graduate from 8th grade in 2020 and attend high school in the 2020-21 year.
  • Must be involved in student leadership positions, such as student government, programs, clubs, teams, tutoring, etc. Please provide a list outlining these activities.
  • Please include a letter of recommendation that explains how the student exemplifies the qualities of the Outstanding Illinois Charter School Eighth Grader listed above.
  • Each student is required to submit a 250-500 word essay describing how attending his/her charter school has advanced his/her success. Students should think about the following when writing the essays: How has your school helped you achieve a personal and/or academic goal? What is your school doing to create an environment where students feel inspired to learn and grow? What makes your school unique?
  • Please include photo of nominee.

Take Note

  • If applicable, please note any faculty or staff who have strongly influenced the nominee.
  • If available, please include phone numbers and/or email address for each name listed. Please note that those listed may be contact for additional information.

Selection Process

INCS carefully evaluates each submission. Teacher and principal finalists will be asked to submit a brief paragraph on how their award will be utilized to support school efforts.

Nomination Forms

Our 20-year history of success as a charter public school community in Illinois would not be possible without the dedication and commitment of all parents, teachers, principals and students, who work tirelessly every day in creating schools that enable all children to pursue their dreams.