PITTSBURGH, PA

Gift to aid dyslexic students in Catholic schools

Tuesday, June 11, 2019 - Updated: 11:20 am

A new partnership between Duquesne University’s School of Education and the Peirce Family Foundation will help 20 elementary school teachers in local Catholic schools focus on the distinct needs of students dealing with dyslexia and other reading disabilities.

The foundation gift of more than $380,000 supports Duquesne scholarships for the participants and, paired with the School of Education’s tuition discount, the teachers incur no tuition expense. Classes began recently for the “Peirce Scholars,” who will earn a master’s degree in the two-year Graduate Reading and Literacy Education program.

When Dr. Michael Latusek, superintendent of Catholic schools for the Diocese of Pittsburgh, initially discussed this opportunity at Duquesne, more than 100 teachers expressed interest. A policy has since been adopted requiring that teachers educated through the Peirce Scholars program commit to remain a teacher in the diocese for at least three years after earning their degree.

“The impact that this will have on students who are struggling with reading is far-reaching since it is almost impossible to excel in any subject without a firm foundation in reading,” said Duquesne Education Dean Dr. Cindy Walker Ringel. “We expect that, over the proposed two-year timeline, there will be one reading specialist for every school in the diocese.”

A gift of nearly $70,000 from the Peirce Family Foundation is significantly expanding the impact and outreach of the Duquesne University Reading Clinic, which has provided support to children and their parents for 55 years. This funding will allow more tutors to be trained in structured literacy approaches consistent with standards of the International Dyslexia Association. In turn, these tutors will work with an increased number of dyslexic children throughout the next calendar year.


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