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Recognizing Inspiring School Employees (RISE) Award

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The purpose of the Recognizing Inspirational School Employees (RISE) Award is to recognize and promote the commitment and excellence exhibited by classified school employees who provide exemplary service to students in pre-kindergarten through high school and to inspire innovation and excellence among all classified school employees. 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. The terms used have the meaning given the terms in section 8101 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 7801). The U.S. Department of Education invites the governor) of each state to nominate up to two classified school employees by November 1 annually. Prior to May 31 of each year, the Secretary shall select a single classified school employee to receive the Recognizing Inspiring School Employees Award for the year. The Department will communicate the selectee's story in order to inspire other innovative practices and excellence among classified school employees.

RISE Update: Please check back for the 2024 RISE Award information – for specific questions, please email

Last Modified: 02/06/2024