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 science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and/or computer science teaching. The awards were established by Congress in 1983. The President may recognize up to 108 exemplary teachers each year.
Awards are given to science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and/or 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, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and U.S. Virgin Islands).
The award recognizes those teachers have both deep content knowledge of the subjects they teach and the ability to motivate and enable students to be successful in those areas. Since the program's inception, more than 5,000 teachers have been recognized for their contributions in the classroom and to their profession.
Awardees reflect the expertise and dedication of the Nation's teaching corps, and they demonstrate the positive impact of excellent teachers on student achievement. The National Science Foundation (NSF) 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.
- Teach science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and/or computer science as part of their contracted teaching responsibilities at the K-6 grade level in a public (including charter) or private school;
- Hold at least a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution;
- Be full-time employees 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 prior to the 2020-2021 academic school year during which science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and/or computer science has been a part of the applicant's teaching duties each of the five years;
- 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 U.S. citizens or permanent residents; and
- Not have received the PAEMST award at the national level in any prior competition or category.
The Awards Process: Overview
Anyone—principals, teachers, parents, students, or members of the general public—may nominate exceptional individuals who teach science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and/or computer science in grades K-6 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.
The application consists of three components: Administrative, Narrative, and Video. The application is designed to 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 content appropriate to grade level taught.
- Use of effective instructional methods and strategies that are appropriate for the students in the classroom 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 inside and outside the classroom.
All applications will be subjected to the following review process:
- At the State level, coordinators convene selection committees, which include prominent mathematicians, scientists, mathematics/science education researchers, district-level personnel, and classroom teachers. These committees select up to three finalists from each award category (mathematics and science) for recognition at the state level and forward up to six applications from each state to NSF for national review. States are strongly encouraged to forward finalists in each of the STEM areas. Within the science category, states are encouraged to include science and engineering finalists (if appropriate) and in the Mathematics category, states are encouraged to include mathematics and technology/computer science finalists (if appropriate).” State selection committees score their applications using the review criteria and scoring information presented in 2021-2022 application guidance. Prior to national review, state finalists will have the opportunity to respond to state level review feedback through submission of a PAEMST addendum.
- At the national level, NSF convenes a national selection committee composed of prominent mathematicians, scientists, mathematics/science education researchers, district-level personnel, and classroom teachers. The national committee reviews state finalists’ applications and ranks state finalist using the review criteria noted above. NSF then recommends up to two finalists per state to the OSTP. All finalists will be subject to a Federal Bureau of Investigation background check.
Each Presidential Awardee receives a certificate signed by the President of the United States and a $10,000 award from NSF. Awardees are honored at an award ceremony which takes place in Washington, D.C. Additional events may include professional development opportunities and discussions with policy makers on how to improve science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and/or computer science education.