For the past several years, Exelon volunteers have partnered with Working in the Schools (WITS) Chicago to help elementary school students improve their reading skills.
Setting the tone and culture for all students to become literate:
An organization of educators, volunteers, and investors known as WITS is tutoring low-income children with the goal of supporting better public education for students by improving their reading comprehension skills.
Through these tutoring initiatives, the WITS program advocates for every Chicago Public School student to have access to the literacy resources necessary for academic and professional achievement and to give students the opportunity to develop a passion for learning and its life-enhancing benefits.
Exelon works with WITS to help students reach their literacy goals:
Exelon has been committed to working with WITS for the sixth year now, where Senior Vice President and Chief HR Officer Amy Best serves on the board. With education being a huge area of focus for Exelon, we’re proud to power the transformation of 15 Chicago Public Library branches serving high-need communities with a $2.5 Million-dollar grant. Early learning spaces housed within the libraries will be renovated to incorporate recent advances in experts’ understanding of brain development and learning processes for very young children, with focus on the development of talk, play and early STEM skills.
This grant includes a complete redesign of the Thomas Hughes Children’s Library at the Harold Washington Library Center (HWLC), which provides an innovative learning environment for all Chicago-area children. Here, Exelon employees met with 3rd-6th graders from Wicker Park’s Lozano Bilingual & International Elementary School to kick off this year’s mentoring program, which continued every Thursday afternoon from October-May alternating between the Library and Exelon’s corporate headquarters located in Chase Tower.
Paired one-on-one with the same employee each week, students develop personal relationships with their mentors who work to boost their literacy and academic confidence.
"The program is very rigorous, based on literacy being the window that opens up all these other areas for learning, but it's also this exchange," said Brenda Langstraat , CEO of Working in the Schools.
Exelon employees and WITS students form positive bonds:
Together, Exelon and WITS see results:
This is the sixth year Lozano Elementary has participated in the WITS program and the results are speaking for themselves. In a midyear literacy test, 92 percent of children in the program met or exceeded their goals, compared to 85 percent of Lozano students not in the WITS program.
“That’s especially impressive because the students chosen for the program were struggling at the beginning of the school year.” Said Lozano Principal, Dr. Terri Campos .
Overall, WITS students outperform their peers in reading level growth year after year, driving students to grade-level proficiency. Exelon volunteers are proud to foster this growth.
From 2012 to 2018, Exelon had 324 employee volunteers work with WITS students who spent 4,800 hours reading 1,283 books!
Talk about some great numbers!