President’s Education Awards Program (PEAP) student recipients are selected annually by their school principal. This year, PEAP provided individual recognition to nearly 3 million graduates (at the elementary, middle and high school level) across the nation at more than 30,000 public, private and military schools from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Outlying Areas: American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Students received a certificate signed by President Donald Trump and U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Schools also received letters signed by the President and the Secretary.
We’ve got four great reasons as to why you should nominate students in your school.
Create the defining moment in a student’s life. As a principal, you aspire to make a difference in the accomplishments and success of your students. Through this program, you have the opportunity to be the catalyst that sets them on an upward path. Since 1983, these prestigious awards provide individual recognition from the President and the U.S. Secretary of Education for both student achievement and hard work.
The program has two recognition categories: The President’s Award for Educational Excellence and The President’s Award for Educational Achievement. The criteria for both are rigorous. Students who receive either of these awards know they’ve achieved something extraordinary.
2) Reward Academic Success!
The President’s Award for Educational Excellence recognizes academic success in the classroom. To be eligible, students must meet requirements including grade point average, school-set criteria and choice of states or teacher recommendations.
3) Honor Educational Growth!
This award recognizes students that show outstanding educational growth, improvement, commitment or intellectual development in their academic subjects but do not meet the criteria for the Educational Excellence Award. Its purpose is to encourage and reward students who give their best effort, often in the face of special obstacles. Criteria for this award is developed at each school.
4) Celebrate Great Students!
Each year, thousands of elementary, middle, and high school principals participate by recognizing deserving students. The school principal determines the number of qualifying students based on program criteria and verifies the order for awards. There is no limit on the number of awards, as long as students meet the criteria for each award. Award orders can only be placed by a school administrator.
The award includes a certificate and congratulatory letter signed by the President, the Secretary of Education, and the school principal. School principals have final authority to determine which students receive an award.
Last year, nearly 3 million students from over 30,000 schools were recognized by the PEAP. 1.7 million students were honored for educational excellence and 1.1 million were cited for outstanding educational achievement.
Recipients of the 2014 PEAP stand proudly at Germantown Elementary School in Germantown, Maryland. (Photo credit: U.S. Department of Education)
The first school in Germantown, Maryland, was built in 1860. The school was just one large room with a wood stove in the center to keep the students warm in the winter, double desks, and a chalkboard. It served a few dozen children from the first to the 8th grade.
The school itself and the students and staff have come a long way since then. Today, Germantown Elementary School serves a diverse student population of about 300 students from Pre-K through 5th grade. And on June 12, I had the honor of joining them to congratulate 32 amazing students who were being recognized for their hard work by earning the President’s Education Award at Germantown’s 5th grade promotion ceremony.
Recipients of the PEAP stand proudly at Germantown Elementary School in Germantown, Maryland. (Photo credit: U.S. Department of Education)
Surrounded by excited and teary-eyed parents, I joined Principal Amy Bryant and others to celebrate their academic success and urged them to continue setting an example for other students. As we were told by one of the former students, who had returned to offer words of inspiration, “more homework will come [in middle school] — and along with that is more responsibility.”
The President’s Education Awards Program honors student achievement and hard work in the classroom. This award, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education in partnership with the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP),recognizes students who meet key criteria. Since 1983, the program has provided individual recognition from the President and U.S. Secretary of Education to those students whose outstanding efforts have enabled them to meet challenging standards of excellence. These students often are pushing the traditional standards of thinking to come up with creative solutions to problems. Overall, these students deliver their best and bring out the best in those around them.
This year’s students received a certificate signed by President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, as well as a congratulatory letter signed by the President.
The 5th grade students of Germantown Elementary School have left their mark for the classes to follow. We applaud their success in fulfilling Germantown’s mission: a learning community where students, staff, and parents work together to create a caring, safe, and positive school environment in which everyone succeeds.
Frances Hopkins is director of the President’s Education Awards Program at the U.S. Department of Education.