To advance student literacy, WITS empowers teachers through the Rochelle Lee Teacher Award Summer Institute. The Summer Institute is a series of professional development workshops designed to promote and develop teachers’ understanding, knowledge, and implementation of best practices in literacy instruction. This year, 141 Rochelle Lee Teacher Awardees were invited to WITS’ offices at the Literacenter to participate in over 170 hours of professional development offered through the Summer Institute. Teachers are also given access to the Rochelle Lee Library to familiarize themselves with texts to bring into their classrooms.
Community building among teachers is a central pillar of the Summer Institute. Teachers from all over the city come together to learn and collaborate. Workshop facilitators include Chicago Public Schools teachers and administrators, university professors, and other educators. Nearly all facilitators are past Rochelle Lee Teacher Awardees and active teacher leaders in their schools.
“Participating in the summer workshops is something that I look forward to every year. I am always excited to hear about and learn new ideas for my classroom. I love the opportunity to meet teachers from around the city, and learn from them as much as I learn from the presenters. I always leave the workshops with new tricks, tips, and ideas that I can’t wait to use in my classroom. After a long school year, the summer workshops are the boost of energy I need to get excited about next school year!”
– Theresa M. Quitshaw, sixth grade Math Teacher and fourth year RLTA awardee at McAuliffe Elementary
Through the Summer Institute, teachers learn strategies for incorporating a daily read-aloud and independent reading time for their students. Upon completing their Summer Institute requirements, each Rochelle Lee Teacher Awardee is granted $400 – $700 worth of books to create robust classroom libraries for their students to regularly access and borrow books from throughout the year.
By supporting teachers, WITS is holistically advancing the culture of literacy in schools.
By: Eric Coleman, Development Coordinator