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Recognizing Inspiring School Employees (RISE) Award

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of the RISE recognition award?
The Recognizing Inspiring School Employees (RISE) Award honors and promotes the excellence exhibited by classified school employees who provide exemplary service to students in pre-kindergarten through high school.

Question: Who is considered a classified employee?
Answer: A classified school employee is an employee of a state or any political subdivision of a state, or an employee of a nonprofit entity, who works in any grade from pre-kindergarten through high school in any of the following occupational specialties: paraprofessional, clerical and administrative services, transportation services, food and nutrition services, custodial and maintenance services, security services, health and student services, technical services, and skilled trades.

In which areas must a RISE nominee document achievement?
Nominees must demonstrate excellence in the following areas: (A) Work performance; (B) School and community involvement; (C) Leadership and commitment; (D) Local support (from co-workers, school administrators, community members, etc., who speak to the nominee's exemplary work); (E) Enhancement of classified school employees' image in the community and schools.

What are the benefits of being selected a RISE awardee?
The RISE selectee is nationally recognized as America's exemplary classified school employee. S/he is recognized at the state and federal level.

How do I apply or nominate someone for this award?
You may not nominate a candidate directly to the U.S. Department of Education (ED). Instead, governors' offices nominate to ED. The first step in garnering that nomination would be to contact the governor's office where the classified employee in question works.

How many individuals can my state nominate?
Each state may nominate no more than two individuals to the federal competition annually. They may, however, recognize more individuals with state honors.

How many times can an individual be selected for the RISE Award?
A given individual can receive the federal award only once.

Do private schools, preschools, and charter schools qualify for awards?
Public and private school employees are both eligible for nomination by their states.

Do education support personnel employed at Bureau of Indian Education and Department of Defense Education Activity schools qualify for nomination?
The legislation for this award uses the definition from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Puerto Rico, the Outlying Areas, DC, and states are all able to make nominations for the RISE Award. If the Bureau of Indian Education or Department of Defense Education Activity school where the classified school employee in question works is in one of those areas, the individual may be referred to the state. As the statute was written, DoDEA and BIE cannot, themselves, act as nominating authorities, so education support professionals working outside the continental U.S., PR, and the Outlying Areas may not be nominated for the award.

Last Modified: 12/09/2022