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aMAzing Educators

Sontag Prize in Education

The Sontag Prize in Education is an annual award that recognizes and celebrates outstanding educators for their teaching excellence.

Sontag Prize recipients receive an honorarium, and first-time recipients receive professional development led by leading education practitioners and researchers and an invitation to an awards ceremony.

Educators who are selected for and accept the Sontag Prize expand their impact by committing to teach in an Acceleration Academy, a week-long academic program designed to accelerate student learning through engaging, standards-aligned lessons. During the Acceleration Academies, each content teacher is paired with a small group of students (10–12) for the entire week, and teachers are given the autonomy to design lessons based on their students' specific needs.

COVID-19 Update

The Acceleration Academies traditionally take place during the February and April school vacation weeks in Massachusetts and focus on English language arts in February and math and science in April. However, due to the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic, Acceleration Academies that traditionally take place in February have been cancelled. Instead, participating districts will plan to implement in-person Acceleration Academies in April and/or during the summer.

Acceleration Academy Dates, Locations, and Content Focus

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and health/safety precautions, districts are still determining when they will host their Acceleration Academy programs. Please return to this webpage in February for updates regarding dates and locations.

Sontag Prize Professional Development and Awards Ceremony

This year's Sontag Prize professional development and awards ceremony event will tentatively take place in the summer of 2021.

Sontag Prize Application

The 2020-2021 Sontag Prize application will tentatively open in late January or early February 2021.

Eligibility Requirements

Licensed educators who teach reading and writing, math, science, or specials (physical education, music, art, etc.) can apply.

Overview of Application

The Sontag Prize application consists of the following sections:

  • Employment/Work History — In this section, applicants will provide employment/work history information, a resume, contact information for a reference from a supervisor, contact information for a reference from a peer, and voluntary demographic information.
  • Program and Location Interest — In this section, applicants will indicate which districts they are interested in being placed in, which Acceleration Academy they are interested in teaching in, and which grade level and subject area they would like to teach.
  • Written Response — In this section, applicants are given the opportunity to provide evidence of their positive impact on student learning and achievement.

Program Placement

When applying for the Sontag Prize, applicants can select which Acceleration Academy programs and locations they are interested in being placed in if awarded the Sontag Prize.

Applicants who are awarded the Sontag Prize will only be placed in an Acceleration Academy program and location in which they have indicated interest. Applicants who indicated interest in multiple Acceleration Academy programs could be awarded the Sontag Prize to teach in one or both programs.

Travel and Lodging

Sontag Prize recipients who live more than 50 miles from their Acceleration Academy district placement and do not currently teach in the district they are placed in will be provided transportation (or mileage reimbursements) and lodging, if requested.


If you have questions about the Sontag Prize and Acceleration Academies, please send an email to and write "Sontag Prize" in the email's subject line.

Last Updated: December 16, 2020

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Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

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TTY: (800) 439-2370


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