Grant for Impactful Teaching

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On Tuesday, April 9, 2019, the Junior League of Kane & DuPage Counties, Inc. (JLKD) proudly awarded Grants for Impactful Teaching to fund three classroom libraries at Fearn Elementary School in Aurora, IL and one classroom library at Highland Elementary School in Elgin, IL. JLKD is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. One of JLKD’s main focus areas is on education and readying children for being more successful in school and increasing the level of college attendance. JLKD selected these programs to receive these grants because they identify and attempt to resolve an achievement gap between low-income students and their non low-income peers. Rich, diverse, easily accessible classroom libraries give an advantage to students and ready children to be successful in the later grades and college.

The Hidden Achievement Gap: Fourth Grade Classroom Library Initiative at Fearn Elementary School will likely impact approximately 90 fourth grade students each year.  As a part of the initiative, three fourth grade teachers will bring each classroom core library closer to the standard of 20-30 books per student. Additionally, the classrooms will be able to vote on monthly book additions for a rotating library, increasing student engagement. As fourth grade teacher, MaryBeth Sterr explains, “Classroom libraries provide easy access to books for students and overcome barriers inherent in low-income households.” Ms. Sterr further explains the positive impact this program will have, “Students from poverty who read widely from a classroom library each day will increase reading achievement and decrease the reading achievement gap in fourth grade.

The First Grade Reading Raft Initiative at Highland Elementary School will likely impact approximately 70 first grade students each year.  As a part of the initiative, first grade teacher, Ann Serbick, will design and construct a Reading Raft that will serve as central focus within the classroom and provide first graders access to a broad variety of books. Ann Serbick explains, “This will serve as an inspiration to the eager young readers in my classroom for many years to come.” Ms. Serbick further explains, “Teaching children to read and having a fun, comfortable place to read, like a Reading Raft, will only encourage a love of books and foster students’ success!”

JLKD is honored and excited to be able to assist Fearn Elementary School and Highland Elementary School in reducing the achievement gap in language arts while developing children’s passion for reading and potential for the future. JLKD is certain that the Computer Science Education Initiative program will continue to improve the community through the effective action and engagement between teachers, staff, and students.