Education Alumna Honored with National Science Teacher Association Award

JaydaPuglieseJayda Pugliese, a Holy Family University alumna (BA ’09, MEd ’14) and current student in the Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership program, has been named the 2018 recipient of the National Science Teacher Association (NSTA) Sylvia Shugrue Award for Elementary Teachers.

Pugliese, who applied for the award after consulting her mentors at the Milken Family Foundation, introduced a lesson plan to build a robotic arm, which was inspired by her work with building prosthetic limbs for animals and humans with her students. 

“I was in the middle of teaching my afternoon Mathematics class when I found out the good news,” Pugliese said. “I saw the email from NSTA, and right away called the office. My principal and office staff cheered on the phone, then made a building announcement to share the good news. I could hear the cheer coming from classrooms once the announcement was made. It was a great moment. I am still in shock, and I think it will be more real one I travel to receive it in person.”

Pugliese’s award is for $1,000 and up to $500 to attend the NSTA National Conference on Science Education. She will also be honored during the Awards Banquet at the NSTA Conference.

In addition to the Sylvia Shugrue Award, Pugliese was also awarded the Milken Educator Award in October 2016 and was a finalist for the 2016 Escalante–Gradillas Prize for Best in Education.

“This award, as well as previous awards, validates to me that I am doing something right, that I am making a difference,” she said. “Making a positive impact on the lives of my students is all that I can ever hope for as a teacher. I believe my greatest measure of success as a teacher is in my students; and not how well they perform on standardized tests, but how much they care about themselves, their school, their community, and their world. Since the world they live in is very challenging, some of my students face issues that I cannot even imagine facing myself. They are brave. They are bold. As their teacher, if I help students develop these traits and become well-rounded, compassionate leaders who realize their own capacity in solving real-world issues, then just maybe they overcome their own adversities, and believe in their own ability to change the world.”

Pugliese teaches fifth-grade math and science at Andrew Jackson Elementary School in Philadelphia. Her fundraising work for her classroom has resulted in donations to purchase a $5,000 3D printer and 3D printing supplies. She also assisted the Andrew Jackson Elementary School Principal with obtaining a grant that provided over $100,000 of technology to support the school’s blended learning initiative.

According to the National Science Teachers Association, the Sylvia Shugrue Award “honors one elementary school teacher who has established (or is establishing) an interdisciplinary, inquiry-based lesson plan. The lesson plan will fully reference sources of information and any relevant National Science Education Standards and benchmarks found in the Atlas of Science Literacy.”