“[The] words that I didnt understand, my partner would help me out, pronunce it, and make me understand the definition. At the same time I was enjoying it because we would laugh and have a good time.”
Orquidia Delgado, a WITS student from Talcott Fine Arts And Museum Academy, joined Lourdes Duarte and Brenda Langstraat on Adelante Chicago to discuss her experience in the Workplace Mentoring program at Morgan Stanley. WITS connects volunteers from 70 corporate partners to provide literacy mentorship to thousands of Chicago Public Schools students, like Orquidia, each year. Thank you WGN TV and Lourdes for your support of WITS!
During the 2017-2018 academic year, WITS staff and volunteers had the privilege of working with 380 Mid-Day Mentoring students and 373 students in our after-school programs. During the last few weeks of programming, coordinators asked students to reflect on their experiences as WITS participants. Here’s what they thought about their mentors, reading abilities, and overall WITS experience.
By Shawn Bush, Program Manager, and Eric Coleman, Communications Manager
The Student Mentor Spotlight this month features Johnathan, a 7th grade student from Cesar E. Chavez Elementary Multicultural Academy, and his mentor Michael Schwarzhaupt, from 2018 Blackboard Affair Corporate Honoree: Deloitte.
This summer, WITS is hosting the Early Childhood Summer Program at seven CPS elementary schools. This five-week intensive program develops students’ enthusiasm for reading and ensures that nearly 100 students enter kindergarten ready to learn. Thank you to Derrick C. Young and CBS Chicago for your support of WITS!
On June 25th, WITS culminated the 2017-18 school year at the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel by hosting it’s 2018 Annual Meeting, A City of Empowered Readers: WITS’ Vision for 2020. WITS leadership reported out on the vision and impact of the organization and welcomed 175 new Rochelle Lee Teacher Awardees. Highlighting the evening was an engaging conversation between Brenda Langstraat and Dr. Jane Fleming of the Chicago Public Schools Department of Literacy. Dr. Fleming, and the new leadership at CPS, are committed both to early literacy and the work of WITS. At the event, LaTanya McDade, Chief Education Officer at CPS, said of the WITS partnership that it “has transformed the lives of students and volunteers.” WITS is proud to partner with more than 80 CPS elementary schools and to continue advancing student literacy through volunteer-powered mentorship and teacher professional development.
WITS on the Weekend students from McCutcheon Elementary build polygons with their mentor.The WITS on the Weekend (WoW) program equips students to apply literacy skills through scientific inquiry and explorative learning. This past year, WITS hosted programs at Lozano Elementary, Walsh Elementary, and McCutcheon Elementary. In addition to individualized reading time with book choice, each WoW session includes a check-in activity, group activities, and the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics) project for the day. Since the program takes place on Saturdays, WoW affords more time for volunteers and students to expand their knowledge and work together on problem solving techniques.
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!
WBBM Newsradio shared a story about how WITS is making a difference in the community. The piece highlights WITS’partnership with Drake Elementary and the work of WITS Board Member, Principal Sydney Golliday.
WITS CEO, Brenda Langstraat, talked with Jon Hansen on WGN Radio about the impact and importance of corporate volunteerism. Brenda touched on the return on investments for corporations in early literacy and the impact that WITS’ 70 corporate partners have in Chicago Public Schools. Listen here to the full interview.