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2018 Application Information: Awards for Teaching Excellence
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Application Information

2017-2018 CSTA/Infosys Foundation USA Awards for Teaching Excellence

Applications are now closed. All applications for the 2017-2018 Awards for Teaching Excellence in Computer Science were completed online. Applicants will not have access to the online application after submission and should keep a copy for their own records.

Application Elements
Applicant Information

Applicants are asked to submit demographic information. This data will not be provided to the judges and will not be used in the evaluation of applications. This information will be used solely by CSTA to evaluate the profile or composition of the applicant pool. Data collected will include:

  • Urban density of the teacher's school (urban, suburban, rural)
  • Geographic location (State or Country)
  • Ethnicity
  • Gender
  • Current grade(s) taught
  • How long you have taught at a K-12/pre-university level
  • How long you have taught CS at a K-12/pre-university level
  • Level of education (Bachelor's, Master's, Ph.D., Other)
  • Field of education (Math, Science, Computer Science, etc.)
  • Whether they have received previous teaching award(s) at local/regional/national levels
An employment and eligibility verification letter (required)

All applicants must submit an employment and eligibility verification letter. The letter must include the following elements:

  • The name and address of the school where the applicant teaches.
  • A brief description of the applicant's current teaching assignment including grade level(s), number of students, and the percentage of time spent on teaching computer science within that assignment.
  • A statement verifying that the applicant has taught computer science at a K-12/pre-university school for at least the last two (2) years.
  • A statement verifying that the applicant spends at least 50% of her or his time teaching in the classroom.
  • The principal, superintendent, or equivalent must confirm that the applicant is in good standing within the school.
  • This letter must be signed and dated by the applicant as well as a school principal, superintendent, or equivalent.
A narrative application from the candidate (required)

Questions included in the narrative section are listed below.

Three Letters of Recommendation (required)

Each application must be accompanied by three (3) signed and dated letters of recommendation. The letters may come from administrators, colleagues, parents, students, or others who can describe how the applicant's work has had a positive impact on student learning of computer science concepts. Letters of recommendation should clearly state the reasons why the nominee should receive the award, addressing one or more of the following factors:

  • Evidence of outstanding CS teaching practice by the applicant at a K-12 level;
  • Evidence of the nominee's effectiveness as a role model for his/her students, and;
  • Evidence of the nominee's potential to serve as a leader in K-12 CS education.

In total, the recommendation letters should address why this applicant deserves to be recognized as a recipient of the Infosys Foundation USA Award for Excellence in Teaching CS by providing evidence where possible. Each letter should clearly indicate how the author knows the nominee and the perspective from which they are evaluating his/her work (e.g., student, fellow teacher, school administrator, parent of a student, etc.). Each recommendation letter should not exceed three standard pages in length.

Supplemental material (optional)

Applicants may submit optional supplemental material, such as lesson plans, teaching evaluations, or other artifacts that illustrate or reinforce concepts discussed in the narrative application. Supplemental materials are limited to at most 5 pages of content.

Questions on the Application

The application will address the following questions related to the Five Dimensions of Outstanding Teaching utilized by the National Science Foundation. Responses to these questions will be limited to 4,000 characters each (approximately one page in length).

Dimension #1: Describe a computer science concept that is important for students to learn and understand. Discuss why this concept is fundamental for them to learn and how it relates to more complex concepts that students will encounter in subsequent settings (e.g., lessons, grades, courses, etc.). Describe misconceptions or misunderstandings that students typically have with regard to this concept and explain how you address them.

Dimension #2: Describe, in general, your decision-making process when and how you utilize various instructional methods and strategies when teaching computer science concepts. Discuss the instructional methods and strategies you use to meet the learning needs of all students, challenging those with stronger knowledge while ensuring learning for those with less understanding.

Dimension #3: Discuss specific ways that you routinely assess and guide student learning of computer science concepts, including formative or summative techniques. Describe any creative or innovative approaches you have used to teaching CS or evaluating CS learning.

Dimension #4: Discuss the more successful and less successful aspects of how you currently teach computer science concepts and what you might do differently to improve student learning. Describe one experience or activity where your participation improved your teaching and enhanced your student's learning.

Dimension #5: Describe how you have supported other teachers, student teachers or interns to learn more about CS. Provide an example of how you have been a change agent or advocate for CS education in your school or community. Describe how you would seek to serve as a role model for other teachers or actively advocate for K-12 CS education during your award year.


If you have any questions about the application process, please email


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