NYC DOE Big Apple Award Winner 2016 (Ms.Hinchcliffe) from Westchester Square Academy on Vimeo.

We will like to extend a huge congratulations to one of very own, Jonelle Hinchcliffe, as she is one of the 15 this recipients of the 2016 Big Apple Award.

The Big Apple Award (5th year of the award) is a citywide program that recognizes and celebrates the educators who inspire students, model great teaching and enhance their school communities. This award was created to give well-deserved recognition to the teachers who go above the call of duty to the benefit of the students and their families they deal with on a day-to-day basis. 

The process to become a recipient of the Big Apple Award starts with nominations of more than 4,500 teachers, from all grade levels, subject areas and any  of the 5 NYC boroughs. After the nomination process takes place, the “Application period” begins. The “Application period” narrows the amount of nominees down from 4,500 to 1,000 nominees. That select group of nominees get an invitation to submit an application for the Big Apple Award program, and after the application is submitted the Department of Education (DOE) citywide committee review the applications based on three competency areas. The three competency areas used to review the applications are “Impact on Student Learning”, “Instructional Practices”, and “Contributions to School Community”. After the “Application period”, the number of nominees get narrowed down to 250 applicants and those applicants will participate in an interview and receive a visit into their classroom as part of the “District-level selection”. Once these steps take place, the Board of Judges will review the district-level nominees and make their selections of the final 15 recipients to then be approved by the Chancellor. 

Once the approval of the Chancellor goes through, the recipients are notified and congratulated in person. Like any reward, a gift is awarded. The Big Apple Award recipient receives a classroom grant to help deepen their work with their students and also they receive recognition from the Mayor, Chancellor and members from the education community at the culminating Big Apple Awards ceremony in June.

As you can see this is an extensive process and the recipients of the Big Apple Award are no flukes. These recipients are the cream of the crop when it comes to NYC Teachers and to have one of our very own receive the award is a phenomenal honor. So congratulations to you once more, Jonelle Hinchcliffe, and continue to be the amazing teacher that you are. 

To see how we celebrated Jonelle Hinchcliffe’s major accomplishment, check out the video above or visit our new Vimeo page (

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