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Twenty-Five Ideas for
Celebrating American
Education Week

American Education Week was first celebrated in 1921. Begun as part of an effort to raise Americas literacy rate after WWI, American Education Week now serves as a special opportunity to shine a light on the great things that schools do. Included: Twenty-five ideas for celebrating AEW, plus links to other resources.

Each year, American Education Week (AEW) is celebrated during the last full week before Thanksgiving. This year, AEW will be celebrated November 14-20. Sponsored by the National Education Association, the theme for this years celebration is Great Public Schools: A Basic Right and Our Responsibility.

During the week, each day has a special focus.

  • Monday is AEW Kick-Off Day
  • Tuesday is Invite Parents to School Day
  • Wednesday is Education Support Professionals Day
  • Thursday is Educator for a Day Day
  • Friday is Substitute Educators Day

More Resources for American Education Week

Here are some links to additional resources for American Education Week (AEW) from the National Education Association (NEA).

AEW Poster

AEW Fact Sheet

AEW Parent Invitation Letter

AEW Celebration Letter to the Media

AEW Radio Public Service Announcements

AEW Proclamation

See more promotional materials on the NEA Web site.

The NEA offers many suggestions for recognizing each of these special days. A selection of those activity ideas appears below. For a complete list of activities, see the AEW Online Toolkit: Activity Ideas on the NEA Web site.


Kickoff the week by providing breakfast for the staff on Monday morning.

Provide each student with a blank thank-you card to fill out and give to someone who works in the school.

During AEW, place a box of apples (or apple muffins or apple pies) in the staff lounge along with a note that reads In celebration of American Education Week, an apple for the teacher.

Arrange for local businesses to provide gift certificates or discount coupons for staff members.

Ask all staff to wear suspenders to show their support for Education Support Professionals on their day. (Wednesday is Education Support Professionals Day.)

Write a letter of thanks to the community, and invite your local newspaper to publish it as a Letter to the Editor.

Plan a What I Like Best About My School contest for all students. Students in lower grades can draw pictures. Others write short essays. Award savings bonds for the best entries. Display the winning entries in the school lobby during American Education Week. Have some students read their essays during the weeks daily announcements.

Ask your local newspaper to devote a full-page ad to publishing student comments about the things they like best about their schools. The newspaper might even be willing to publish photos.

Post a large U.S. map in the school lobby. Have each teacher and staff member sign his/her name by the location where he/she was born.

Hold a contest to design a school flag.

Hold a student vs. teachers volleyball game. The event might be used to raise money for student awards.

Invite students to come to school dressed as if they were dressed for their future career.

Invite a local radio station to pose quiz questions about your districts schools.

Post a different education-related quote on your schools marquee each day.

Have students circle the school and give it a big hug. Invite the local media to cover the event.

Teachers might change classes for one day during American Education Week.

Students might make cookies and give them to school bus drivers along with thank-you cards signed by all the students on their route.

Hold a faculty trivia contest. Invite staff members to share trivial information about their lives that students might not know. Which student(s) guesses correctly the teacher associated with the most trivia statements?

Provide special recognition to parent volunteers who support the school in many ways.

Arrange for a collection of gently used books to be donated to a local shelter or hospital.

Send letters to area churches asking them to publish an announcement about American Education Week in their weekly bulletins.

Invite students to write essays about What I Would Do If I Were Principal. Post the essays for all to read.

Encourage your entire school community (or your entire community!) to wear school colors on the Friday of American Education Week.

Challenge all classes in the school to create a bulletin board tied to this years American Education Week theme.

Join the

How does your school celebrate American Education Week? Click to join the conversation.

Send a "Thank You" card to each staff member. Include a raffle ticket in the card. Then hold a raffle for a special prize(s) including gift certificates to local businesses.


Celebrate American Education Week
Celebrate this event and strengthen the bonds between your schools and your community with these activities suggested by the National Education Association for AEW 1990.

Article by Gary Hopkins
Education World®
Copyright © 2010 Education World

Originally published 11/05/2007
Last updated 09/20/2010