I have no idea if SPS schools are handing these out federally-based awards but, just in case, here's info about them.
President's Award for Educational Excellence
The feds have a program that allows school principals to give out academic awards based on grades OR "academic achievement" along with "activities in which a student demonstrates high motivation, initiative,
integrity, intellectual depth, leadership qualities and/or exceptional
judgment. They may also require student essays and outstanding
attendance, but these activities must bear some relationship to the
academic performance of a student."
They must also include taking a "state test or nationally-normed achievement tests" including the SAT or ACT. (I'm guessing that Principal Clark at Denny wouldn't even consider giving one to any student who opted out of the SBAC.)
Recommendations from a Teacher Plus One Other Staff Member: One
recommendation is to reflect outstanding achievement such as English,
mathematics, science, history, geography, art, foreign language, and any
other courses that reflect a school's core curriculum. This judgment is
to be supported by tangible evidence that is comprised of either
results on teacher-made tests, portfolio assessment, or special
projects. The second recommendation from a school staff member may
address, for example: involvement in community service or co-curricular
activities including tutoring other students and/or demonstration of
creativity and achievement in the visual and performing arts.
President's Award for Educational Achievement
The purpose of this award is to recognize students that show outstanding
educational growth, improvement, commitment or intellectual development
in their academic subjects but do not meet the criteria for the
President's Award for Educational Excellence. This award should not be
compared to the President's Award for Educational Excellence or be seen
as a second tier award, for it recognizes a very different type of
academic achievement. It is meant to encourage and reward students who
work hard and give their best effort in school, often in the face of
special obstacles to their learning.
This award is given at the principal's discretion based on the criteria developed at the school. The criteria should reflect the purpose of the award and must be applied fairly to all students.
The directions are very clear, though, for both awards:
*Please note the school principal has final authority to determine which students receive this award*