Jeff Remington

Palmyra School District, Pennsylvania, USA

Jeff  Remington

Jeff has taught science and technology for 33 years. His educational career has been focused on developing STEM uptake and achievement, both in his school and throughout Pennsylvania – during a period when computers have gone from being rare in the classroom to ubiquitous. His teaching perspective focuses on project-based learning to turn students into divergent, collaborative innovators who are expert problem solvers yet also understand the human impact on their environment.

The challenges at Jeff’s school fall into three types: the growing population of the local area (meaning larger class sizes), increasing student special needs, and cultural challenges stemming from student attitudes. For over a decade, the Pennsylvania Department of Education has recognized his program’s ability to exceed expectations in science for all student sub-groups, including traditionally low-achieving students. Part of Jeff’s success has involved incorporating new methods into his teaching that leverage the potential of the human brain to learn STEM subjects. Having taught several generations of some families in his school, Jeff has seen the rewards and benefits of perseverance, and has even helped found a Youth Center to give disconnected and struggling pupils a safe place to go if their home life is volatile.

In addition to his teaching at home, Jeff has promoted science teaching in a number of other countries, including Haiti, Syria and the United Arab Emirates. As well as becoming a National STEM Teacher Ambassador, Jeff received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) in 2002 based on his innovative teaching, performance in the classroom and leadership in the field. This came with an award of several thousand dollars, which he used to kick-start the development of science and technology classrooms as well as teacher training at schools in Haiti. He also helped set up Internet connections, Skype collaboration and a wiki project between students in Haiti and Palmyra, a step which he considers the most significant project of his career. These trips were initially focused on the development and delivery of STEM infrastructure and teaching, but in the end they grew to be much more than that: they became an opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of other cultures too.

If Jeff were to receive the Global Teacher Prize, he would use the funds to expand the scope of the Palmyra-Haiti project he started nearly 15 years ago. He would also aim to create a Computer Science workforce hub for schools in Haiti: this would take students who demonstrate exceptional Computer Science skills and develop them further, connecting them to jobs and projects around the world.