University of Pittsburgh
October 22, 1998


Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH, Oct. 23 -- The University of Pittsburgh Learning Research and Development Center (LRDC) and its partner urban school districts have been awarded $9.9 million of the Technology Innovative Challenge Grants for Teacher Professional Development recently issued by the U. S. Department of Education.

The funds will support extension of the school restructuring activities of LRDC's Institute for Learning through use of the Internet for collaboration among school superintendents, principals, and teachers. LRDC's primary partner for this project is New York City Community District No. 2.

The Institute for Learning is a nationwide partnership of districts committed to bringing all students to high standards of learning. Members of the Institute include the school systems of Pittsburgh, Woodland Hills, and Sharon in Western Pennsylvania and the urban districts of Boston, Camden, Kansas City, MO, San Diego, Philadelphia, and several New York City community school districts.

"The school workplace needs to be organized around the concept of continuous learning, with all of its professionals working from a common set of expectations and a core body of knowledge about excellent instructional practice," said Lauren Resnick, director of LRDC.

The standards adopted by the Institute for Learning schools were established by the New Standards Project -- a joint effort of LRDC and the National Center on Education and the Economy. These standards were written by nationally-recognized content experts, internationally benchmarked, and provide assessment support.

Alan Lesgold, executive associate director of LRDC and leader of the new project, remarked: "Professor Resnick has developed the Institute for Learning to help schools restructure to focus more on learning to high standards. As it expanded, we needed to find ways to help more school systems without having to always be present in person at each site. By creating a networked learning community of school leaders and teachers, we can extend the Institute's work to more school systems more quickly and efficiently. In the process, teachers and principals will naturally acquire the technology skills they need - through learning by doing."

The Technology Innovative Challenge Grant Program serves as a catalyst for positive change for schools. It supports educators, industry partners, communities, parents, and others who are using new technologies to help bring high quality education to every classroom and neighborhood.