2019 ANNUAL REPORT
Community - Empowerment - Consistency
MESSAGE FROM OUR CEO, TENA lATONA
At the center of everything WITS does are our three core values: community, empowerment, and consistency. As I reflect on 2019, the meaning behind these words in the context of our world today has evolved.
THE WITS MISSION
WITS sets students on a trajectory for success by building critical literacy skills and developing positive self-identity through teacher led professional development and volunteer powered mentorship programs.
Learn what the mission means to Lauren Rocklin, President, WITS Board of Directors.
what did we accomplish in 2019?
WITS volunteers and educators shared their love of reading with students in 92 Chicago elementary schools.
Our volunteers gave 14,000 hours of literacy mentorship to thousands of students in the 2018-2019 school year.
Rochelle Lee Teacher Awardees participated in 1,648 hours of free, educator-led professional development workshops.
Across all WITS programs, WITS students improved their reading level growth by four reading levels, surpassing the national average of three levels.
WITS created WITS Kindergarten Strategy Cards to provide mentors with additional tips and tricks to help their young students develop foundational literacy skills.
WITS began work on a strategic vision that shifts focus from the number and size of our programs, to the impact our programs have on the school communities we serve.
WITS Students Empowered to Grow
The WITS Impact: Outcomes
WITS welcomes all students to participate in programs, regardless of their reading level. Whether the student is reading above grade-level and needing an extra challenge, or an emerging reader who needs practice with fundamentals, WITS helps them grow. Because success looks different for every student we serve, the WITS impact focuses on two outcomes: individual reading level growth from the beginning of the year to the end of the year, and attitudes toward reading.
Teachers Advance Literacy Through Collaboration
WITS engages teachers through the Rochelle Lee Teacher Award because we know we cannot advance student literacy without supporting the educators who lead them in the classroom each and every day. The Rochelle Lee Teacher Award provides Chicago Public Schools teachers with access to the tools, resources, and community they need to create and support professional learning communities within their schools. This elevates their instruction and fosters a culture of learning and collaboration among their peers, administrators, and students.
Building Lasting Connections with Students
Celebrating Corporate Partners for Two Decades of Service
Relationships are an essential component of the WITS mission. When our students and mentors come together throughout the school year to collectively learn and grow, an investment occurs. WITS mentors invest in fostering a shared love of reading, supporting social-emotional development, and building literacy skills in Chicago Public School (CPS) students. Delivering the WITS mission without reliance on school or city budgets similarly requires an investment; one which began in 1999 with the launch of our Workplace Mentoring program. WITS is celebrating corporate partners for their 20 years of commitment to our mission, our city, and our students’ development as confident readers.
Every dollar counts
Our donors are our backbone. They make WITS possible. Over the past year, we have grown the depth of our programs while ensuring 76% of our donations go directly to program needs.
of literacy mentorship each year in Chicago Public Schools.
of literacy professional development for teachers.
WITS ADDS OVER
to the homes of students and classrooms of Rochelle Lee Teacher Awardees each year.
annually through volunteer hours and direct programmitc investment in Chicago Public Schools students and teachers.