Education Department receives $93,500 to support teacher development

PITTSBURGH – Carlow University has been awarded $93,500 from the Irene C. Shea Charitable Foundation to fund the education department’s annual Sister Mary Paul Hickey Educator Development Project, which began in 2020.

The aim of this initiative is to promote teacher leadership, scholarship, professional development and service for teachers in the Pittsburgh region. It is named in memory of Sister Mary Paul Hickey, a champion for education who instilled a legacy of excellence in teaching after founding The Campus Laboratory School and serving as its head of school.

One of the events made possible by the grant is a full-day symposium focusing on inspiring leadership and excellence in teaching, to be held Oct. 9 during homecoming weekend. The symposium will feature a panel of educators who will answer questions, a keynote speaker, breakout learning sessions and workshops.

The grant will also allow the University to continue a successful workshop series, launched in 2020, that promotes community engagement and provides hands-on learning experiences for educators.

Despite the education challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 1,100 teaching professionals from around the world attended 23 remote professional development workshops at Carlow in 2020. Topics touched upon timely issues such as supporting students with dyslexia and culturally relevant teaching practices. A four-part art and learning series focused on better integrating an art curriculum.

“Educators really responded to the slate of workshops and trainings last year,” said Keely Baronak, chair of Carlow University’s education department. “Turnout for our first round of workshops was higher than anticipated, despite the pandemic. Educators of all disciplines know that this line of work is always in flux. This grant is particularly vital in that it allows Carlow to offer services that move professionals, and the field itself, forward.”

Also made possible by this grant is a series of research “mini grants” for educators in the Campus Laboratory School and Catholic schools in the dioceses of Pittsburgh and Greensburg to advance professional development and curricular leadership. In addition, the grant funds $16,000 in graduate scholarships for the MEd programs at Carlow University, open to teachers everywhere. This is in addition to Carlow’s self-funded 50% tuition discount on all MEd programs.

“Our aim is to ensure that educators are prepared to meet the ever-evolving challenges in this line of work,” said Patricia Beaumont, director of special grants and research in Carlow University’s education department. “Through this grant, we can help eliminate barriers that can hinder professional improvement and ensure that education as a field moves forward.”

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