Pitt Education Receives Transform for Tomorrow Grants

The University of Pittsburgh School of Education will receive $255,000 in grant funding to lead several new innovations in K-12 education across teacher education, student mentoring, and school leadership development. 

The new funding is part of the Tomorrow campaign, which is awarding 17 grants totaling $1.4 million to nonprofit organizations across Western Pennsylvania over the next 12 months. The grants were announced by Remake Learning on September 1, 2020.

“We are grateful to our partners in the Tomorrow campaign for making this important and necessary investment in educational innovation throughout our region,” says Valerie Kinloch, the Renée and Richard Goldman Dean of the Pitt School of Education. “We recognize that these are trying times and many students, families, and school systems need us to engage in critical work with them. Our School of Education will use the awarded funding to pursue new, and extend existing, educational projects that will support the learning and well-being of students, teachers, and families within various school districts and communities.”

The three grants awarded to the Pitt School of Education were the most received by any organization. 

The Heinz History Center, the Consortium for Public Education, the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, and the Allegheny Intermediate Unit were among others that received funding.

Funded Projects within Pitt Education

Ignite Learning Teacher Mentorship Program
$87,500 Grant

This new mentorship program will offer culturally relevant training and professional development for practicing teachers, pre-service teachers, and university professors. University professors will work with practicing teachers to help them critically examine schooling as a system, as well as the schools where they work and their classroom practice. The practicing teachers, in turn, will work with pre-service teachers to engage in a similar critical examination.This project will also consult with high school students to develop professional learning experiences for educators.

“The teacher mentorship program allows us to both enhance and deepen our commitments to culturally relevant pedagogies, antiracist teaching, equitable forms of learning, and justice-focused mentoring and professional development experiences,” says Valerie Kinloch, Pitt Education Dean and Michelle Sobolak, Associate Professor and Director of Teacher and Professional Education. 

Social-Emotional Learning Tutoring Network
$87,500 Grant

This new program within the school’s Center for Urban Education will have retired Black educators offer tutoring support of Black students. In addition to supporting student’s content knowledge, the Black educators will provide mentoring support to help the students critically interrogate their schooling experiences and larger consciousness. The retired educators will also be paired with members of the CUE’s Heinz Fellows program to advise the fellows on their ongoing work in schools in the Pittsburgh Public School District.

School Board Leadership College
$80,000 Grant

Offered by the school’s Forum for Western Pennsylvania School Superintendents (Forum) and the Institute of Politics (IOP) at the University of Pittsburgh, this program will create a school board leadership college for school board members. Over the course of two years, a cohort of about 20 school board members will meet regularly to discuss leadership issues as it relates to the unprecedented challenges and change taking place in K-12 education.

“Since 1996, our organization has focused on superintendent leadership and building bridges across school districts from rural, suburban, and urban communities,” says Jerry Longo, executive director of the Forum. “This leadership college is an attempt to extend what our Forum superintendents have learned about civic leadership to the elected layperson leadership of the school district.”

Transforming Education for Tomorrow

The Tomorrow grants are part of a larger campaign of grantmaking, storytelling and events that explores how to make education better for all learners. Equity is at the center of that conversation.

Led by Remake Learning, the campaign is supported by the Grable Foundation, ASTC, Global Minds Initiative, Kidsburgh, KnowledgeWorks, Project Fuel, The Saturday Light Brigade and transformED.  

The 17 Tomorrow grants are funded by the Grable Foundation to build on the work of the Pittsburgh region’s nonprofits. 

“Each of these projects represents the imagination and resourcefulness not only of the 17 grantees, but also of the many partner organizations who will join them in their efforts,” says Kristen Burns, associate director of the Grable Foundation. “We hope these grants will provide a spark that will help move the entire field of learning forward in our region.”