Hardware and software donations to area schools complement a strategic partnership with Maryville University to support professional development for teachers
O’Malley Hansen Communications
ST. LOUIS (August 6, 2020) – Today, First Bank and members of the James F. Dierberg family announced their Education Technology Initiative, which commits $1 million over the course of the next three years to support technology needs for students and professional development for teachers. To maximize the benefit to the students from technology as an educational tool, First Bank signed an agreement with St. Louis-based Maryville University to launch a program that will provide a professional development training curriculum focused on technology-assisted learning at selected schools.
Now in its fourth-generation of family ownership by the Dierberg family, First Bank has focused its philanthropic efforts since 2016 around helping children from under-resourced communities’ get the education and support they need to succeed later in life. This includes supporting schools to provide a strong educational foundation, assisting mentorship programs, supporting leadership and exploration, creating new entrepreneurship opportunities and helping kids get the most out of the world around them.
“What we knew before the COVID-19 pandemic has only been reinforced during the pandemic –students in under-resourced and minority communities are at a disadvantage relative to students in other neighborhoods,” said Michael Dierberg, Chairman of FB Corporation, the parent company of First Bank. “While all schools were unprepared for the disruption caused by the pandemic, the disruption has disproportionately impacted lower-income and minority families. The investment we are making will not only serve the students during the pandemic, but will also pave the way for schools in under-resourced communities to utilize technology to complement in-class instruction long into the future.”
“Establishing this strategic partnership with Maryville will allow First Bank to make a significant, long-term impact on the needs of students and educators in the years ahead,” said Shelley Seifert, Chief Executive Officer of First Bank.
The professional development program, which will launch this month, aims to execute four primary goals:
- Teachers will understand and be able to implement virtual teaching and learning techniques through and beyond COVID-19.
- Teachers will have access to a sharable repository of best practices for virtual teaching and learning.
- Teachers will participate in a mutually supporting, scalable community of learners.
- Teachers will know how to implement new technologies into their students’ learning processes.
“Last spring, educators were put to the test, as teaching methods had to completely change overnight,” continued Seifert. “The most significant component of preparing for distance learning is giving teachers the tools they need to educate in this new environment. This program has been designed specifically to address teacher needs and concerns to help educators restructure their classrooms for the days ahead.”
First Bank and Maryville are anticipating approximately a dozen under-resourced schools will be invited to participate in the Maryville professional development program. Furthermore, First Bank will also support hardware and software costs including iPad, Chromebook and Wi-Fi hotspots for certain under-resourced schools.
“As a national leader in online education, Maryville is proud to partner with First Bank to empower a generation of students and teachers with these powerful digital tools,” said Dr. Mark Lombardi, President of Maryville University.
First Bank’s Education Technology Initiative will be led by Stacy Clay, Director of Community Affairs. Clay, who joined First Bank in August 2018 after serving as the Deputy Superintendent of Student Support Services at St. Louis Public Schools from 2013 through 2018, has been instrumental in shaping First Bank’s strategy and focusing its efforts on education.
“The goal of this investment is to create a program that is accessible and scalable to maximize its impact for students and teachers who need our support now more than ever,” said Clay.
Schools and school districts interested in joining the Maryville Professional Development Program should contact Stacy Clay at 314-692-6345 or at [email protected]. To learn more about First Bank, visit www.first.bank.
About First Bank
First Bank, a subsidiary of FB Corporation, is one of the largest privately owned banks in the country. As a family-owned business with four generations of independent, single-family ownership, First Bank offers the stability and experience with long-term planning that helps businesses and the communities in which they operate grow and thrive. With over $6 billion in assets and over 90 locations throughout California, Missouri and Illinois, First Bank has developed a relationship-driven approach to offer comprehensive solutions for clients in commercial and consumer banking, wealth management, mortgage banking and more. For information, visit www.first.bank.
About Maryville University
Founded in 1872, Maryville University is a comprehensive and nationally ranked private institution with an enrollment of 10,500 students. Maryville offers more than 90 programs at the undergraduate, master’s and doctoral levels to students from 50 states and 58 countries. Among recent graduates, 97 percent are employed or attending graduate school.