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Board President's Message

Mrs. Darlene Gray Everett

Dear Parents and Guardians:

The Board of Education along with the Superintendent and certified staff are excited to have chosen Roosevelt University, Dr. Policastro as our Illinois Empower Partner to support the schools who are underperforming/targeted in our district.  The great news is that all schools in the entire district will take this journey to assist the district in becoming a Balanced Literacy District.

Dr. Margaret Policastro is a professor of language and literacy at Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois where she directs the language and literacy program and is the founding director of the Summer Reading Clinic for children. Margaret has over 30 years of teaching both undergraduate and graduate students in language and literacy at Roosevelt University. She has worked over 10 years on grant funded literacy projects in Chicago Public Schools and is currently the principal investigator of the Improving Teacher Quality (ITQ) grant from the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE), funded by No Child Left Behind (NCLB). She received her B.S. in art and elementary education and her M.S. in reading. After teaching art and reading in Indiana, she moved to Chicago, Illinois and earned her Ph.D. at Northwestern University in reading and language.

Dr. Policastro’s research interests currently focus on access to books for parents, children, and teachers and ongoing professional development for teachers and what effects these have on student learning. A balanced literacy program is organized to provide five very important instructional and organizational elements: 1. excellent models of reading and writing behavior 2. systematic, intentional skill instruction 3. copious amounts of rich and varied literature 4. authentic reading and writing activities 5. ongoing assessment and evaluation.

According to research Balanced literacy is a framework that gives equal attention to reading and writing instruction. As reading and writing are interdependent, instruction in one supports learning in the other.

This partnership will be paid for out of the District’s School Improvement Grant Funding to support new classroom libraries in all schools, parent libraries, literacy coaches and new instructional supplies and materials to support student learning.

We want our students to understand the importance of reading and writing and we believe this program will help transition the students and teachers to utilize this pedagogy to improve student learning in reading in our district.

We Believe. . . Excellence, Humanization, and Pride!

Darlene Gray Everett
Board President


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