School of education, dean receive awards

Bridget Seelinger | The Duquesne Duke

The School of Education at Duquesne University recently received accolades for its efforts to improve the education of middle school and urban students.

Olga Welch, dean of the School of Education, accepted the Alan Lesgold Award for Excellence in Urban Education from the University of Pittsburgh. The Pennsylvania Association for Middle Level Education provided Duquesne with the second award for the education school’s encouragement of middle school learning and teaching.

Welch gave credit for both awards to the school’s faculty and students.

“This underscores the stellar reputation that the School of Education at Duquesne enjoys,” Welch said. “We are known for preparing professionals at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral level who will make significant contributions to the education of children and youth in the Pittsburgh region and beyond.”

Jason Margolis, chair of the Department of Instruction and Leadership in the School of Education, spoke about what makes Duquesne stand out among other schools of education in PA.

“We do a good job of addressing in a balanced way the academic and social needs of children in that [middle school] group,” Margolis said. “We don’t just view kids at that age as just needing to learn math, science, English, social studies, which they do, but they also need to be developed socially and be good citizens.”

The School of Education is active in Pittsburgh neighborhoods and reaches out to children who might not have access to a thorough education due to problems at home. According to Welch, this community activism sets the school apart from other institutions.

Margolis said education students at Duquesne learn “how to blend content learning with kids’ lives” to reach those students who might not otherwise respond well to school.

Welch said Duquesne is known for preparing educators who are able to work with diverse populations.

“We prepare our students to teach in urban settings and to understand the particular issues that confront students and their families in urban settings,” Welch said.

Lindsay Zuccaro, a freshman in the School of Education, said she likes Duquesne’s hands-on approach to teaching future educators.

“One of the reasons I picked Duquesne was because they get you in the classroom your freshman year and most education programs don’t get you into the classroom until junior, senior year,” Zuccaro said. “Duquesne really stands out because of that.”

The Pennsylvania Association of Middle Level Education is one branch of the larger Association of Middle Level Education (AMLE). AMLE’s website says the association includes schools and businesses across the country that share the goal of improving and promoting the education of all students.