Each year, WITS invests in approximately 150 Chicago Public Schools teachers through the Rochelle Lee Teacher Award program. Each Awardee receives access to literacy-focused professional development over the summer, and earns a grant to build their own classroom library. Over the school year, returning awardees participate in the Remaining Readers Book Club to maintain their passion for reading and build community with fellow CPS teachers. For the 2017-18 school year, nine Remaining Readers book clubs began by reading Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi before each selecting books to read and discuss in the months that followed. Below is a list of 10 books that were enjoyed by our 2017-18 Remaining Readers book clubs. Happy summer reading!
One of WITS’ strategy for growing students as readers is supporting teachers through professional development and by providing classroom resources. The Rochelle Lee Teacher Award Study Group program aims to enhance the culture of literacy in entire schools through cross-grade-level teacher collaboration and increasing student access to books.
By Shawn Bush, WITS Program Coordinator and Co-Editor of WITS Newsletter/Blog
Tai Basurto is the principal of southwest Chicago public school John C. Dore Elementary, Rochelle Lee Teacher Awardee and Study Group Leader, and a doctoral student finishing her capstone for the Urban Leadership program at University of Illinois – Chicago (UIC). In this piece, Tai shares how her teaching experience and passion for social justice inform how she leads and why she believes neighborhood schools are much more than just institutions of learning.
Interview and Edited by Shawn Bush, Co-Editor of Blog/Newsletter
Gundry Rowe is a librarian at Walt Disney Magnet Elementary School. This past year, CPS librarians were given the opportunity to apply for the Rochelle Lee Teacher Award Program (RLTA)for the first time. Gundry is a 2017-2018 individual awardee and is one of the first librarians to participate in the RLTA program. Below, Gundry shares her path into library science, delivering a powerful message of the importance of school and public libraries, continued professional development, and student choice.
WITS’ Eric Coleman sat down with Rosalba Granados to give us the inside scoop about her experience being a Early Childhood Summer Program Lead Teacher and Rochelle Lee Teacher Awardee. Ms. Granados has been the WITS lead teacher for the summer program for the last 3 years and teaches the Dual-Language Kindergarten program at Talcott Elementary. The WITS Early Childhood Summer Program occurs 4 days a week during July and August and includes fairy tale read-alouds, practicing phonological awareness, and participating in robust reading, writing, sound, and play centers.
Throughout each school year, Rochelle Lee Teacher Awardees participate in the Remaining Readers Book Clubs to continue building their passion for reading and further connect with like-minded educators. The following books are the favorite titles read by each Remaining Readers group, perfect suggestions for your next summer read!
“She is a real pick-me-up on hard days,” Etha Meeks says, speaking of her WITS Classroom Reading Tutor, Lynne. It’s a busy Wednesday afternoon at Manierre Elementary in Old Town, and we are able to steal a few minutes in the teachers’ lounge to catch up on their partnership.
Classroom Reading Tutoring (CRT) is WITS’ oldest program, stemming from the first partnerships forged by founders Joanne Alter and Marion Stone. Currently, there are 36 active CRT volunteers supporting teachers in 17 schools across the city. Some CRTs have been volunteering with their teacher since WITS was founded in 1991, while others are experiencing their first school year in the program.
Each WITS Rochelle Lee Teacher Awardee that completes Summer Institute professional development hours receives a book grant to build their own classroom library. Learn more below about how our teachers are incorporating the new books and summer learning in their classrooms.