PHILADELPHIA — The University of Pennsylvania’s Teachers Institute of Philadelphia has received two annual grants from the Wachovia Foundation totaling more than $138,500 which will support six professional-development seminars for approximately 70 public school teachers from West and Southwest Philadelphia in 2008 and 2009. .
The grants will allow the Teachers Institute to reach a critical mass of teachers, strengthen their instructional and leadership capacity and effect positive change in West Philadelphia and beyond. The ultimate goal is closing the student achievement gap in Philadelphia.
“We are extremely grateful for the Wachovia Foundation’s commitment to our efforts to improve the quality of instruction in schools throughout the west and southwest regions of the Philadelphia School District,” said Alan Lee, director of the Teachers Institute, which is administratively housed in the provost’s office at Penn. “The Foundation understands that teachers who are well versed in their subject matter get better results from their students, and this grant will enable the Institute to attract growing numbers of teachers who wish to upgrade their academic knowledge to better serve their students.”
This is the second grant the Teachers Institute has received from the Wachovia Foundation. The first was an annual grant in the amount of $34,750. This year’s grant, however, marks a significant increase over the Foundation’s prior commitment to the program.
“Education is a primary focus of Wachovia’s corporate philanthropy, particularly in the areas of teacher retention and development,” said Susanne Svizeny, Wachovia regional president for greater Philadelphia and Delaware. “The backbone of any school system is its teachers. Without properly equipped and educated teachers, no school can hope to tap into its students’ true potential. We hope that our increased support enables the Teachers Institute of Philadelphia to have an even greater impact with their outstanding program. Helping 70 teachers hone their skills will improve the educational experience for almost 2,000 children,” Svizeny said.
The Teachers Institute of Philadelphia is a partnership between Penn and the School District of Philadelphia to provide academic professional-development seminars for teachers of all levels.