A new partnership between Duquesne University's School of Education and the Peirce Family Foundation will help 20 elementary school teachers in Pittsburgh's Catholic Diocese 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 Diocese participants and, paired with the School of Education's tuition discount, the teachers incur no tuition expense. Classes began yesterday for the "Peirce Scholars," who will earn a master's degree in the two-year Graduate Reading and Literacy Education program.

When the superintendent of schools for the Catholic of Diocese of Pittsburgh initially discussed this opportunity at Duquesne, more than 100 teachers expressed interest. A policy has since been adopted by the superintendent requiring that teachers educated through the Peirce Scholars program commit to remain a teacher in the Pittsburgh 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 expand 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 for 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.

"The Peirce Family Foundation's generous gift enables the Duquesne University Reading Clinic to provide additional services to students with dyslexia and reading disabilities, including working toward eliminating the client waiting and maintaining a minimal cost to families," said Associate Professor Dr. Carla Meyer, who is director of reading and literacy education at the clinic.


Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and horizon-expanding education. A campus of nearly 8,500 graduate and undergraduate students, Duquesne prepares students by having them work alongside faculty to discover and reach their goals. The Universitys academic programs, community service, and commitment to equity and opportunity in the Pittsburgh region have earned national acclaim.

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May 17, 2019