The Educators Rising Leadership Award Competition,encourages inspired, proactive Educators Rising members to make an impact in their communities. Contestants seek to exemplify sound leadership and a strong commitment to improving education in their communities. The final award is given to one Educators Rising member who has made notable, voluntary contributions to his or her community through education.

To enter this competition, Educators Rising members must successfully complete a self-initiated service-learning project that meets several requirements:

The project benefits individuals with special needs.

The project includes a sustainability strategy so that the project’s impact will not end when the Educators Rising Leadership Award Competition is over.

The project cannot be part of the required curriculum for a course.

The project requires a minimum of 40 hours of work.

The project must be led by a single Educators Rising member.

Submit the complete project portfolio by the competition registration deadline stated in the General Competition Information sheet.

In addition to submitting the project portfolio, contestants must deliver a presentation to a panel of judges.


Entries are limited to good-standing Educators Rising members in high school, who are juniors (11th grade) or seniors (12th grade).

Competition Guidelines

The student must complete an education-related service-learning project that makes a concrete and visible impact for individuals with special needs in the school or community. A minimum of 40 hours is required. The studentmust then complete a well-organized portfolio that includes an essay describing the project, as well as supporting artifacts. There are two components to the project portfolio: the essay and the artifacts. If the artifacts are not included, the application will be disqualified. 

Essay Guidelines

Title Page: Include your name, your teacher leader’s name, your school name and address, and the title of your project. 

Executive Summary: Give an overview of your project that is two pages or less. Include highlights from each section of the essay (background, project description, and reflection). For example, an executive summary might include a brief summary of the reasoning behind your project, what the project entailed, and the primary lessons that you learned from this experience. 

Background: Why did you choose this project? Why is this project necessary and appropriate for this time and place? What is the intended impact of the project and how will you know if you achieved it? 

Project Description: Describe the process of completing your project. Questions to consider include: 

• How did you determine a plan for your project? What was your method for gathering information and making strategic decisions? 

• Did you need specific materials or volunteers? If so, how did you obtain them? Howdidyoukeepeverythingand everyone organized? 

• How much time did you spend on this project? How did you spend most of your time?Wasthat different thanwhat you anticipated? If so,how?Howdid you keep a record of progress? 

• Did you make any significant changes to your project during the process? If so, did that affect the overall outcome? How? 

• How did you know when the project was completed? Was there any presentation or debut of the final product? 

• Did you undertake the project in a way that maximized its potential effectiveness? 

• What is your strategy for keeping the project going once the competition is over?


Reflect on the overall experience. Think about what you learned about yourself and those that benefited from the project. Consider how this experience will influence you in your future career in education. Questions to consider include: 

• What did you learn about yourself as a project leader?What skills did you acquire that you can use in your career as an educator? How did this project affect you personally? 

• What impact did this project have on your community? How did youmeasure or determine this impact? Given the project’s outcome, did you spend your time well? 

• What did you learn about working with others or managing people? 

• What would you do differently, if anything? 

• What do those who benefited from this project think of the work that you led? How has your project positively impacted education or supported the work of Educators Rising? 

References: If you cited any research within your essay, be certain to include a works cited section. Follow APA, MLA, or Chicago citation style when writing your works cited section. 

Artifact Guidelines

In addition to your essay, you must include five to eight artifacts in your project portfolio. An artifact is anything that demonstrates or exemplifies the work that you put into your service project. This is your chance to show the evidence and impact of your hard work. All artifacts should clearly and directly relate to the to the project objectives. Here is a list of sample artifacts that you might include: 

• Photographs 

• Newspaper articles, blogs, or other media coverage of your project 

• Reflective journal 

• Project timeline 

• Log of how time was spent 

• Testimonials from beneficiaries of your project (especially students and parents) 

• Letters of commendation 

Only artifacts submitted at the submission deadline will be considered for scoring. Artifacts brought on-site to the competition but not previously submitted will NOT be considered for scoring. 

Presentation Guidelines

Students will deliver a slide deck presentation no shorter than five minutes and no longer than seven minutes describing their experience and insights gained through the project. Students should bring their presentation on a USB drive. 

Students will respond to judges’ follow- up questions. The entire presentation and question session will last a total of no more than 15 minutes. 

Find out more details below:

Educators Rising Leadership Award