Thursday, August 17, 2017
The PNC Foundation presented a check for $20,000 to Mercyhurst University on Aug. 17, 2017, that supports the university’s Pre-K Counts partnership with the Erie School District ($15,000) as well as provides a $5,000 corporate sponsorship to be shared by Mercyhurst Athletics and the Mercyhurst Institute for Arts and Culture.
On hand for the occasion were, from left in photo, Erie School District Superintendent Brian Polito, PNC Bank Regional President Jim Stevenson, ESD Assistant Superintendent Bea Habursky, Mercyhurst President Michael Victor, and Mercyhurst Vice President for External Relations and Advancement Cal Pifer.
Dr. Leanne Roberts, dean of the Hafenmaier College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, and Amy Bauschard, education department program director, authored the grant proposal and oversee the program’s implementation on Mercyhurst’s behalf.
Mercyhurst has been partnering with Erie's Public Schools since the spring of 2014, when it created a Pre-K program within each of its elementary schools. The collaboration has proven successful on many levels, specifically in being able to offer the Pre-K experience to 40 percent more pupils than were served under an earlier model.
The new funding will enable Mercyhurst to provide special education professional development training during the 2017-18 academic year for eight teachers, along with supervisors, for the Pre-K Counts Program, noted Roberts. Mercyhurst professors will select eight of the highest caliber, certified early childhood teachers enrolled in the university’s master's degree program in Special Education to teach in the Pre-K Counts initiative.
The youngest and most vulnerable of Erie's Public Schools students are served each year through the Pre-K Counts Program at Lincoln, McKinley, Harding, Joanna Connell, Perry, Emerson Gridley and Wayne schools.