Jayda Pugliese, a fifth-grade science and math teacher, has made a big splash in her short time at Philadelphia's Andrew Jackson School. She consistently raises the bar for her students and uses technology to keep them fully engaged. More than 80% of Pugliese's students showed at least one year's growth in math skills during the teacher's first year at Andrew Jackson, and many of her students work above grade level.
Pugliese's STEAM-focused classroom is well-equipped. Through DonorsChoose.org, a crowdfunding website where companies and individuals contribute funds to buy supplies for public schools, Pugliese ran successful campaigns that brought her students a 3D printer, microscopes, and "snap circuits" to study electricity. The fifth-graders use the 3D printer to design products, write business plans and present their ideas for their classroom "company." Pugliese wrote a successful application for a competitive grant for blended learning, a mix of online and face-to-face interaction. She will train and monitor the faculty at Andrew Jackson as the blended learning program is implemented.
In addition to her responsibilities as the go-to expert in blended learning, Pugliese is chair for her grade band and a Professional Learning Community leader. With a background in teaching gymnastics, she founded the HYPE (Healthy Youth, Positive Energy) after-school program at the school, which was named the best in the city. Students look up to her, colleagues respect her, and parents get involved in her programs.
Outside the school, Pugliese provides professional development districtwide in technology integration and working with diverse student populations. She is a board member of her local TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) affiliate, serves on the teacher advisory council for the Philadelphia Zoo and writes about technology for LifeHack.org.
Pugliese has multiple certifications and has taught both regular and special education classes in Philadelphia. Before coming to Andrew Jackson, she served as a classroom teacher, technology director, and coordinator of the K-12 ESL and special education programs at ASPIRA Bilingual Charter School. She spent three years teaching seventh- and eighth-grade math and special education at Community Academy of Philadelphia Charter School. In high school, Pugliese, who is hearing-impaired, organized a sign language club at her school and tutored students at a local school for the deaf; as a teacher, she relates well to students with disabilities and teaches compassion and understanding to all her students. Pugliese grew up in south Philadelphia and is the first in her family to graduate from high school and earn a college degree.
Pugliese earned a Bachelor of Arts in special education and elementary education and a master's in ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) and literacy from Holy Family University; she expects to earn an Ed.D. in educational leadership and administration there in 2018. Pugliese began teaching at Holy Family in 2016 as an adjunct instructor.
"Prior to winning the Milken Educator Award, I was lost and unsure about how I could make a greater impact. I did not know where to..." (read more)