PNC Extends Innovative Early Childhood Education Initiative with Detroit Public Schools

 

 Arts and Science investment of $950,000 to more than double the number of students and schools served over the next two years

PNC Foundation, which receives its principal funding from The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE: PNC), announced October 17, 2013 that it will extend its early childhood education initiative with Detroit Public Schools (DPS) for two additional years.

Funding in the amount of $950,000 leverages the resources of the Detroit Public Schools Foundation, DPS, Cranbrook Institute of Science, the Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts, and the Detroit Parent Network to continue arts and science programming, building on an initial three-year program designed to prepare pre-k children for success in school and life.

In 2010, PNC announced a $2.1 million Grow Up Great initiative to enhance science and arts education for DPS preschool students, with more than 700 DPS preschool students participating in the program since it began.

Over the next two years, PNC Grow Up Great will expand from eight to 15 schools and more than double the number of children previously served, including approximately 448 children in 28 DPS classrooms in the 2013-2014 school year.  The extension of PNC Grow Up Great will provide a wide variety of educational enhancements, such as professional development sessions and individual coaching for teachers, field trips, classroom visits by arts and science staff, new books and equipment.

“Three years ago, PNC demonstrated its commitment to Detroit by investing in the city’s most valuable resource – its children,” said PNC Regional President Ric DeVore.  “Today, we are extending that commitment because we believe that improving early childhood education is an essential first step to building a brighter future for Detroit and all of its residents.”

According to an independent evaluation provided by Open Minds, LLC, PNC Grow Up Great has created positive changes in science and arts programming that will benefit DPS preschool children for years to come. Some of the findings include:

  • Excellent classroom learning environments: Project classrooms earned high scores for the layout of the arts and science learning areas, and the availability of engaging materials.
  • Quality programming and learning activities: Teachers participating in the project developed classroom science and arts activities for their students that scored higher than comparison teachers’ activities on quality measures such as integrating science and arts across the curriculum. Teachers also provided these learning activities with greater frequency.
  • Greater family engagement: Seventy-two percent of participant families reported attending arts events in the community with their children.  Fifty-two percent attended science events. Participating families also reported regular science and arts activities at home with their children.
  • Project partners’ increased focus on arts and science for young children and their families: As they have worked together on this project, Music Hall and Cranbrook Institute of Science have increased their own programming for young children.

“Detroit Public Schools made pre-k a strong focus of its five-year strategic plan because study after study has found that quality early childhood education pays dividends with improved academic success and graduation rates,” said DPS Emergency Manager Jack Martin. “Quality pre-k programs help children learn to read before third grade, which is a critical achievement because we know that students who can read by third grade will stay engaged in school and graduate at much higher rates. Grow Up Great is a critical element of our pre-k program, and we appreciate PNC for its continued commitment to the children of Detroit.”

The program’s outstanding partners will contribute to its ongoing success by providing various services.  These include:

The DPS Foundation will support the program activities of DPS;

DPS will coordinate activities of the program partners and provide coaching sessions for teachers;

Cranbrook Institute of Science will conduct immersive fieldtrips to Cranbrook for all Grow Up Great classrooms, a Family Science Day for students, teachers and parents; and offer no-cost family memberships;

The Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts will host dramatic arts and music professional development sessions, fieldtrips, and three Family Fun Days for teachers, students and parents; and

The Detroit Parent Network will offer free transportation to Cranbrook and/or the Music Hall, parenting skills training and parent leadership training.

“Arts and science are two of the priority areas for DPS Foundation support,” said DPS Foundation President Dr. Glenda Price. “Therefore, we are especially pleased to be a partner in the Grow Up Great initiative, which fosters teacher development in these areas, and in turn, provides an enhanced educational platform for future student growth.”

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