About the Awards
What are the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching?
The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) are the highest honors bestowed by the United States government specifically for K-12 mathematics and science (including computer science) teaching. Established by Congress in 1983, the PAEMST program authorizes the President to bestow up to 108 awards each year.
Awards are given to mathematics and science (including computer science) teachers from each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Department of Defense Education Activity schools, or the U.S. territories as a group (American Samoa, Guam, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and U.S. Virgin Islands).
The award recognizes those teachers who develop and implement a high-quality instructional program that is informed by content knowledge and enhances student learning. Since the program's inception, more than 4,700 teachers have been recognized for their contributions in the classroom and to their profession.
Awardees serve as models for their colleagues, inspiration to their communities, and leaders in the improvement of mathematics and science (including computer science) education. The National Science Foundation administers PAEMST on behalf of The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
Recipients of the award receive the following:
- A certificate signed by the President of the United States.
- A paid trip to Washington, D.C., to attend a series of recognition events and professional development opportunities.
- A $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation.
- An opportunity to build lasting partnerships with colleagues across the nation.
Who is Eligible?
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The following are eligibility criteria for nominees. They must:
- Teach mathematics or science (including computer science) as part of their contracted teaching responsibilities at the 7-12 grade level in a public (including charter), or private school.
- Hold at least a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution.
- Be a full-time employee of the school or school district as determined by state and district policies, with responsibilities for teaching students no less than 50% of the school's allotted instructional time.
- Have at least five years of full-time employment as a K-12 teacher during which mathematics or science (including computer science) has been a part of the applicant's teaching duties prior to the 2016-2017 academic school year.
- Teach in one of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Department of Defense Education Activity schools, or the U.S. territories as a group (American Samoa, Guam, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and U.S. Virgin Islands).
- Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
- Not have received the PAEMST award at the national level in any prior competition or category.
The Award Process: Overview
Anyone—principals, teachers, parents, students, or members of the general public—may nominate exceptional mathematics or science (including computer science) teachers teaching in grades 7-12 for this award year. To submit a nomination, the following information is required:
- Teacher's name
- Email address
- School contact information
Nominations may be submitted for more than one teacher. Teachers may also initiate the application process themselves at www.paemst.org.
Once a teacher is nominated or initiates the application process, the teacher will receive an email invitation to continue the application process. The invitation will include login information for accessing the online application system.
The application consists of three components: Administrative, Narrative, and Video. The components allow the applicant to provide evidence of deep content knowledge and exemplary pedagogical skills that result in improved student learning. After eligibility is confirmed and technical specifications are met, each application will be evaluated using the following five Dimensions of Outstanding Teaching:
- Mastery of mathematics or science content appropriate for the grade level taught.
- Use of instructional methods and strategies that are appropriate for students in the class and that support student learning.
- Effective use of student assessments to evaluate, monitor, and improve student learning.
- Reflective practice and life-long learning to improve teaching and student learning.
- Leadership in education outside the classroom.
All applications will be subjected to the following review process:
- At the State level, coordinators convene local selection committees, which include prominent mathematicians, scientists, mathematics/science educators, district level personnel, and classroom teachers. These committees select up to five finalists from each discipline (mathematics or science) for recognition at the state level. To ensure consistency across the country, all state selection committees will score their applications using the review criteria and scoring information presented in the 2016-2017 Application Packet.
- At the national level, NSF convenes a national selection committee composed of prominent mathematicians, scientists, mathematics/science educators, district level personnel, and classroom teachers that reviews the applications of the state finalists and recommends to NSF up to two finalists in mathematics or science from each state or jurisdiction. The Director of NSF then submits the recommendations to the Director of OSTP. All finalists will be subject to a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) background check.
PAEMST winners are typically announced and honored the year following the receipt of the application.
Each awardee receives a certificate signed by the President of the United States and a $10,000 award from NSF. Awardees are honored during events that take place in Washington, DC. These events include an award ceremony, celebratory receptions, professional development programs, and discussions with policy-makers on how to improve mathematics and science (including computer science) education.Learn more about the event, and current awardees, on the PAEMST Recognition Program Web site.