It was more than likely the first time that a D.C. schools leader described herself as “verklempt” — Yiddish for choked with emotion. That’s the word Chancellor Kaya Henderson used Monday night to characterize her condition at last year’s first “Standing Ovation” awards ceremony for outstanding teachers.
She promised to be more composed this year. But it was hard for anyone at the Kennedy Center to avoid getting just a little choked up at the second annual “Ovation,” honoring the 663 teachers--16 percent of the city’s public school teaching corps--who reached “highly effective”ratings on the IMPACT evaluation system during the 2010-11 academic year. They’ll receive bonuses of anywhere from $3,000 to $25,000, depending on the subject they teach and the school where they work. The 290 who have now done it two years in a row will also be eligible for base salary increases of $10,000 to $20,000.
The bonuses, a provision of the District’s 2010 contract with the Washington Teachers’ Union, are underwritten by a group of private education philanthropies, including the Walton and Broad foundations.
Thirty-three educators — 27 teachers and six principals-- received special awards for excellence and highly effective teaching that come with prizes of $5,000 to $10,000, donated by David Rubenstein, co-founder and managing director of the Carlyle Group.
While issues surrounding IMPACT will continue to be hashed out by the District and the union in courtrooms and conference rooms, the commitment of the teachers honored Monday night transcended any policy debate.
In a series of introductory videos, the audience saw seven educators singled out for special Excellence Awards. They included Tameka Petticolas, who works with autistic children at Davis Elementary in Ward 7. She said she comes to school every day determined “to find their genius.” Jonathan Jou, an ESL teacher at Jefferson Middle School in Ward 6, pledged his bonus money to help his students buy bilingual electronic dictionaries.