PNC Grants Benefit Teacher Mentoring Project and June Jazz

February 12, 2019 | by the Office of Marketing and Communications

An innovative project to support new teachers, and one of Elmhurst College’s most popular music events are the beneficiaries of recent collaborations between the College and PNC.

Starting this month, a generous grant from PNC has enabled two education faculty members to pilot an “e-mentoring” project for Elmhurst teaching alumni. PNC also is this year’s lead sponsor of June Jazz, the annual summer outdoor music concert that has featured internationally known performers like Doc Severinsen, The Manhattan Transfer and Patti Austin.

“We’re very pleased that PNC has so generously supported these two projects, which benefit both the College community and the community at large,” said President Troy D. VanAken. “We value our relationship with PNC and look forward to more collaborations in the future.”

The grant awarded to the e-mentoring project is part of a PNC initiative to support early intervention programs for at-risk children between the ages of 3 and 5. Many teachers who work in such early- childhood programs are new to the profession and could have limited access to the kinds of support and resources they need to succeed.

The e-mentoring project pairs Elmhurst alumni who are first-year teachers with veteran teaching alumni in the same field. The novice teachers will communicate regularly with their mentors using Facetime, emails and phone calls. Though informal, the regular interactions will provide the new teachers with some welcome reassurance and guidance from their mentors, which then could show benefits in the classroom.

As the principal investigators on the project, education professors Lisa Burke and Linda Dauksas will study the e-mentoring relationships and their potential impact on teacher retention and child development.

“What we’d hope to see is that when a new teacher feels stronger and more successful about what they’re doing, it ultimately will provide positive outcomes for their own students,” Burke said. “We’re gratified to be able to use the grant to explore new ways to support and retain teachers.”

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