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2016 Application: Opens October 14th

Sontag Prize in Urban Education

Lawrence Public Schools is looking for America’s Outstanding Urban Educators.

The Sontag Prize in Urban Education recognizes outstanding teaching in Mathematics, English Language Arts (ELA) and other disciplines. Educators chosen for the Sontag Prize will lead classes as part of the LPS Acceleration Academy, a program designed to provide targeted small group support for students.  

Any educator from within the city or across the country is eligible to apply for the Sontag Prize. In addition to an honorarium, new Sontag Prize awardees will participate in a weekend of professional development at Harvard University February 14th and 15th. The opportunity provides motivated and successful educators the chance to share best practices with their fellow awardees. Most importantly, this award recognizes excellence in teaching and provides students with an extra week of high-quality instruction.

*This program is generously supported by the Lynch Foundation.

Harvard Professional Development Weekend for all new Sontag Prize recipients: Saturday, February 13th - Sunday, February 14th
Acceleration Academy 1 (ELA Focus): Monday, February 15th - Friday, February 19th
Acceleration Academy 2 (Math Focus): Monday, April 18th - Friday, April 22th

Awardees will spend one week teaching in Lawrence, where they will:

  • Share best practices with colleagues
  • Participate in learning opportunities with Harvard Graduate School of Education and Harvard Business School faculty
  • Lead LPS Acceleration Academy classes to demonstrate effective instruction with students.

New Sontag Prize recipients will receive the following:

  • $3,000 honorarium
  • National award presented at a recognition ceremony
  • Kick-off reception
  • Round trip airfare and lodging (if not a resident of Massachusetts or nearby state)

How to Apply

Please note: You must indicate your preference for either the February or April Academy in your application.

February Acceleration Academy - ELA Focus

February Sontag Awards will be granted to: English Language Arts, Elementary, ESL, Special Education, and Specials Teachers (Music, Art, Theater, Dance, Technology, and Physical Education).

April Acceleration Academy - Math Focus

April Sontag Awards will be granted to: Math, Science, Elementary, ESL, Special Education, and Specials Teachers (Music, Art, Theater, Dance, Technology, and Physical Education). 


Experience from Past Participants

Jenna Sideri

One (of the many) amazing things about being involved in Sontag was spending time with other teachers from different schools. We shared ideas, best practices and horrible failures. I loved growing as an educator through the experiences of people I came to respect so much.

I walked away on a cloud after the weekend of PD. It is rare that we get so much time to develop in our attitudes toward our profession. The speakers were not only enlightening, but also inspiring. To choose Harvard Business professors and world renowned brain surgeons as our leaders for the weekend proved that Sontag hold education in the highest esteem.”

Donna Disario

The experience as a participant of the Sontag Prize in Urban Education was rewarding and exhilarating! The recognition I received was an honor that I will not soon forget... 

I believe that what we bring as humans matters. If there is one truth that represents the outcome of my time invested in Sontag Prize in Urban Education, it’s the fact that teachers can make a difference. 'A hundred years from now, it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the car I drove. But the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child' (Forest E. Witcraft)"

Suzanne Hickey

As a past participant of Acceleration Academy I was afforded the opportunity to build a strong, sound relationship with both students and staff from my host school. Both students and staff made me feel welcomed and appreciated every day. I was able to expose "my" students to math experiences that were different from their regular school day instruction that would help improve their understanding of math skills and concepts. The professional development opportunities that I experienced were fun, exciting and educational. I learned new teaching strategies to use during the Acceleration Academy that I looked forward to bringing back to share with the teachers that I work with on a daily basis. Participating in the Acceleration Academy was an experience of a lifetime."



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