By: Erik Pedersen, Senior Communications Manager
BALTIMORE – Notre Dame of Maryland University’s School of Education was recently awarded a grant of over $400,000 through the Maryland Emergency Education Relief (MEER) program to increase access to quality digital instruction at a Baltimore public school, further strengthening a partnership between the two groups which began over 10 years ago.
The Excellence in Remote Instruction Support and Engagement (e-RISE II) project will help Notre Dame provide a variety of technical support to John Ruhrah Elementary/Middle School, which has been a part of NDMU’s Professional Development School Partnership Network since 2010. Funding from the grant will also support the creation of a new Global Technology Classroom on campus to allow for live streamed professional development opportunities.
Through the project, NDMU’s School of Education seeks to provide updated equipment to increase John Ruhrah’s access to state-of-the-art technology. Students who are identified as being at-risk for digital inequity will receive continuing technical and software support for Chromebooks, while English Language Learners will gain access to best practice in language instruction through technology-enhanced teaching in the classroom.
This is the second grant awarded to the Notre Dame/John Ruhrah partnership in the last two years. The first e-RISE initiative was supported by the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) fund, a federal grant created in 2020 to address issues in education caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The technology and instruction enhancement tools provided by that effort led to strong increases in learning outcomes, student attendance, and access to in-home technology during the pivot to virtual learning.
“This is a wonderful opportunity to continue the success of e-RISE I,” said Dr. Kathryn Doherty, dean of the NDMU School of Education. “This most-recent round of funding offers updated technology and technology training options for John Ruhrah’s teachers and students following their return to classroom instruction, with an emphasis on STEM education for English Language Learners. The goal is to continue the documented improvements in student learning outcomes through increased and consistent access to technology among this diverse group of learners. The bulk of the grant once again goes to JREMS, and the NDMU School of Education is delighted to be the conduit.”
John Ruhrah Elementary/Middle is located in southeast Baltimore’s Greektown neighborhood. It has the largest English as a Second Language population of all Baltimore schools, with over 85 percent of the school’s 884 students in 2020-21 speaking a language other than English at home, and a majority of attendees live below the poverty line.
All teachers and teacher assistants at John Ruhrah will be provided with up-to-date laptops and associated technology accessories to support enhanced instruction and learning. They will also receive access to professional development courses live-streamed from NDMU’s new Global Technology Classroom.
Patrice Silver, assistant professor in the School of Education, and Lauren Watson ’00, M’06, vice principal at John Ruhrah, will serve as co-directors of the project. All new technology purchased through the MEER grant will be in place prior to the start of the 2022-23 school year.
Established in 1895, Notre Dame of Maryland University (NDMU) is a private, Catholic institution in Baltimore, Maryland, with the mission to educate leaders to transform the world. Notre Dame has been named one of the best "Regional Universities North" by U.S. News & World Report.