End of the Year Staff Awards


Can you think of a more important school tradition than the end of the year awards ceremonies? There are lots of important school traditions. I don’t know about you but I never thought we’d have to carry these celebrations out virtually. During a pandemic of all things. This post is going to share with you some exclusive staff awards and ideas for presenting them to your staff with “social distancing” in mind.

First and foremost you need to do what works for you and your staff. You do you! Do not fall victim to social media FOMO. It is absolutely not necessary to do all the things. Especially during a time like this. However, you need to be honest with your staff about what you can and cannot do. They are seeing the same things on social media that you are seeing. So it’s better to be transparent and over-communicate.

Feel free to tweak all of these celebration ideas. You will see that I only did one of them. Believe me. I wanted to do ALL THE THINGS!! Everything I saw on social media…I wanted to do it. So how about seven ideas. Choosing from seven is way better than choosing from a bazillion.

Here are 7 Ways to Celebrate Staff Virtually

Virtual Awards Ceremony

During school closure, Zoom and Google Meet have become the virtual learning tools of choice. Using these tools you can host an online virtual awards ceremony. The ceremony can be as elaborate or simple as you feel comfortable. I chose to do a virtual awards ceremony. 

Using the awards I created, we hosted a virtual staff awards ceremony. To find out how I created the presentation see my Instagram highlights at Melinda.S.Miller Here is a short snippet:

Snail Mail 

Admittedly this is the easiest way to deliver end of the year award certificates. At the beginning of corona craziness, we were advised not to mail items yet. At the time, it wasn’t clear how the virus was spreading. So we erred on the side of caution. Mailing things don’t seem to be a problem at this point. And you can make your envelopes fancy.

End of the Year Parking Lot Party

I noticed on social that people were meeting up in restaurant parking lots. They would go through the drive-thru or get curbside pick-up. Then, here is the best part…. they would park, sit in chairs or the hatch of their car, and be together. Socially distant of course. Why not meet up in the school parking lot and celebrate and hand out awards? GENIUS!!!


Allowing teachers to vote goes with all of these celebrations. Before presenting the awards you can allow your staff to vote on who wins each award. Personally, I prefer getting teacher input on everything. This is how we have almost always handled awards of any kind. During school closures, I wasn’t sure how this would play out. I almost forgot about Google Forms.

end of the year wards image with google form screenshot

Surprise Guests

Better late than never. Oh, how I wish I had thought of this BEFORE my awards ceremony. This idea come from John Krasinski’s Some Good News YouTube series during Covid-19. Each week he has special guests surprise ordinary people. 

Your “surprise” guests could be local and/or school “celebrities.” School superintendent, local news anchor, local government official, local sports figure, etc. There were videos all over the internet of national and local celebrities surprising people.

Special Deliveries

Ho-hum. We were also advised against making home deliveries and having parades during the end of the 2020 school year. Lots of teachers and principals were making deliveries.  End of the year staff awards can be included in gift bags and porch delivery.

End of the Year Teacher Check-out

Awards could also be distributed during the end of the year teacher checkout. We were limiting the amount of contact we were having with each other. When teachers check out you can present them with their award. Actually, we would have put them in their bucket for check out. Teachers did not have to personally checkout with me.

So, there you have it! Seven ways to celebrate your staff during school closure. Let’s just hope this is the first and last time we ever have to celebrate the end of the year VIRTUALLY.