Skip to main content

Pennsylvania Department of Education awards $100,000 grant to SVC Education Department

Pennsylvania Department of Education awards $100,000 grant to SVC Education Department

by Public Relations | February 09, 2023

LATROBE, PA—The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has awarded the Saint Vincent College Education Department, part of the School of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at Saint Vincent, with a $100,000 Innovative Teacher Prep2Practice grant. The grant will support innovative 2022-2023 clinical experiences for teachers at Saint Vincent College.

Directed by Dr. Veronica I. Ent, Professor and Chairperson of the Education Department, the Building a Neighborhood: Pathways for Belonging through Cultural Relevant Teacher Development program is designed to offer professional development for current teachers at the Jeannette City School District, support “third-space” teacher methods for preservice teachers, create partner school district and Education Department high school future educator events and incorporate Fred Rogers Institute curriculum on equity and belonging to select undergraduate courses and as continuing education. 

Among several grant activities, the initial lead off to the program will be a tuition-free graduate course offering for Jeannette City Schools starting in March 2023.  Mr. Matthew Jones, Superintendent, will select 15 of his teachers to enroll in the course, titled Cultivating Equity and Belonging within a School Environment.

“By making this elective professional development course available through our partnership with Saint Vincent, our teachers are afforded the opportunity to expand their own learning opportunities,” Jones remarked. “Our teachers desire to have classrooms and implement strategies designed to serve their students no matter their race, gender, income level or ability. This training will assist them to better personalize learning for all students.”

The course will be taught by Mr. Joe DiLucente, East Allegheny School District principal and founder and lead consultant for English Language Starts LLC. “I am honored to be teaching this course. The course aligns perfectly to my passion for working with culturally diverse learners and teaching preservice teachers the methods for English language learners,” Mr. DiLucente said. “I enjoy my part-time teaching assignment at Saint Vincent College and look to embrace this class with many hands-on and discussion-based techniques to address the Chapter 49 Culturally Relevant and Sustaining Educators competencies.” 

During the same semester as the course offering, Jeannette City School district will also serve as a site for the Education Department’s “third-space” mathematics methods course in the Spring 2023. “Third-space” methods are courses that are taught in hybridity in which Saint Vincent students travel to a district to attend classes to experience both clinical and classroom instruction.  Jeannette follows Ligonier Valley School District in offering a site for Saint Vincent “third space” methods.

The funding from the Innovative Teacher Prep2Practice grant will also help support future educator activities and clubs in four other school districts in addition to Jeannette City: Penn Trafford, Greater Latrobe, Ligonier Valley and River Valley. “Future educator clubs will not only identify potential students interested in becoming teachers, but it will also help onboard them to the career and what to expect when becoming a teacher,” explained Ent.

“We are excited to partner with Saint Vincent College to help foster students in our district to become teachers,” said Ms. Regina Geesey, Assistant to the Superintendent at River Valley School District. “We are currently looking to ‘grow-your-own’ some of our high school students and set them on a path to return to River Valley as teachers and the future educator partnership with SVC is a great start,” she added.

Future educator events will occur throughout 2023 and will be hosted by the department and the Fred Rogers Institute. The Fred Rogers Institute will be assisting in events, offering content in undergraduate courses and providing extensions to the graduate coursework in the fall 2023 term. 

Building a Neighborhood: Pathways for Belonging through Cultural Relevant Teacher Development Program is Education Department-wide initiative; each Education faculty member has an instrumental leadership role in the program’s success. In the spirit of belonging, this program will reach higher education faculty, K-12 educators, preservice candidates and future teachers attending the area’s high schools and will encourage partnerships, innovative clinical experiences and pathways to foster all-inclusiveness in the educational community.

For more information about the Building a Neighborhood: Pathways for Belonging through Cultural Relevant Teacher Development Program, contact Dr. Veronica Ent via email at or phone at 724-805-2586.