Westmoreland Intermediate Unit receives grant from Richard King Mellon Foundation

The goal of the project, Learning Equitable Accessibility Network (LEAN), is to expand and enhance virtual learning opportunities for children age 3 through grade 8 and their families while also building our educators’ capacity to lead the learning. Through LEAN, students, and families, the WIU, and the educators in its member districts will have the tools needed to overcome the regression of learning and skills we anticipate in children as a direct result of gaps in services caused by school closures. To achieve this goal, we will employ a three-pronged approach:
 
1. Create a lending library for early childhood and elementary families that will provide internet access to those who don’t have it as well as devices that will connect them to their teachers and learning resources.
 
2. Provide professional learning opportunities for up to 1,500 teachers and therapists aimed at better practices in online instruction, asynchronous curriculum resources, and synchronous media tools that enhance the provision of personalized learning. We hope to accelerate this effort by also creating a teacher cadre leader that will serve as a secondary level of support in a cadre leader per ten teachers ratio. The teacher cadre leader approach serves as a guide within a supportive professional learning community countywide.
 
3. Provide support, training, and consultation to parents of children ages 3 through middle school, empowering them to meet better and support their children’s educational needs.
 
“Education today is key to economic prosperity tomorrow, and our children’s’ learning was set back significantly by the pandemic,” said Richard King Mellon Foundation Director Sam Reiman. “The Westmoreland Intermediate Unit developed a comprehensive and creative proposal to overcome those setbacks, and the Foundation is eager to support their efforts.”
 
For more information about the project, please contact Dr. Matthew Thomas, Student Services Division Director at mthomas@wiu7.org.
 
The Richard King Mellon Foundation is the largest foundation in southwestern
Pennsylvania and so far has committed $15 million to COVID-19 recovery.