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Wheeling Country Day School Receives $70,000 ‘Moonshot Grant’

Wheeling Country Day School wants its students to “shoot for the moon,” and a grant for $70,000 could help them to achieve their goals.

The school has received a “Moonshot Grant” from the Remake Learning Council in Pittsburgh. The grants reward “bold ideas for the future of learning.”

The money received by WCDS will be put toward the school’s “Teaching to the Edges” program, which seeks to provide a personal educational curriculum meeting the needs of each student.

The school will partner with Carlow University, Bethany College, West Liberty University and the Augusta Levy Learning Center on the program, which has already started at WCDS.

WCDS students will have access to education students at the colleges, who will serve as tutors for students needing extra help, explained Elizabeth Hofreuter, head of school at WCDS. Master teachers will oversee the college student teachers.

The goal is to “establish individualized services for all students apart from traditional notions of special education, tiered intervention, and gifted learning,” according to information provided by the Remake Learning Council.

WCDS is looking to build on the needs of its middle school students and create a personalized learning plan for those with reading or math needs.

“This really does build out what we are trying to do,” she said. “It disrupts the notions of special education and gifted learning.”

Projects awarded with “Moonshot” awards are those deemed to be bold in nature, Hofreuter said.

The bold ideas of this project are using college student teachers as a means of providing middle schools students access to tutors during the day, and ending the notion of an average learner by creating an individualized approach, she explained.

“We’re hoping grades won’t be as important as the jagged profile of a student’s strength, and that the process of learning makes a better product than the process of a test,” Hofreuter said.

WCDS was one of 16 awardees selected from among 64 applicants for the “Remake Learning” award. The grants are awarded for education projects in southwestern Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia.

The Remake Learning Council describes itself as a network of community leaders in Pittsburgh that brings together executives and learning scientists in business, higher education, public education, civic and cultural organizations, charitable foundations and government.

The network was established in 2007 with the mission of creating engaging, relevant and equitable education for students.

Programs selected for grant awards seek to improve education through transformative problem-solving, creative programming, modern learning values, and research-backed practices, according to information provided by the Remake Learning Council.

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