Working in the Schools

Building Communities. Empowering Readers.

aka WITS   |   Chicago, IL   |  http://www.witschicago.org

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.

Ruling year info

1993

Chief Executive Officer

Ms. Tena Latona

Main address

641 W. Lake Street Suite 200

Chicago, IL 60603 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

36-3891846

NTEE code info

Remedial Reading, Reading Encouragement (B92)

Adult, Child Matching Programs (O30)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

There is an opportunity for WITS to make a significant impact on literacy rates in Chicago. WITS aims to instill in students a lifelong passion for reading through our longitudinal programming.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Mid-day Mentoring

Mid-Day Mentoring (MDM) supports 2nd and 3rd grade students during the later stages of the transition from learning to read and reading to learn. This significant, and often difficult, milestone requires students to exercise strong foundational literacy skills in order to comprehend increasingly challenging curriculum. Volunteers travel to the school and are paired with the same student for an entire school year. Volunteer-student pairs spend time reading aloud and building comprehension skills through conversation. MDM mentors make a weekly or bi-weekly commitment from October-May.

Population(s) Served
Children

WITS Kindergarten (WITSK) develops trusting and fun relationships between adults and students with the intention of developing the mindset for learning at an important developmental age. WITS Kindergarten mentors read one-on-one with kindergarten students, helping them build book and print awareness, letter name and sound recognition, as well as developing a lifelong love of reading. WITSK volunteers commit to working with the same students once a week for 60-90 minutes from October-May.

Population(s) Served
Children

Workplace Mentoring (WPM) provides one-on-one mentorship in a professional setting. 4th through 8th grade students are bussed after school to downtown corporate offices, where they spend time reading. WITS program facilitators lead literacy-based activities, which foster student-mentor conversation and bonding. Participating students also gain insight about what it is like to be a professional employee at a major Chicago firm. WPM mentors make a weekly or bi-weekly commitment from October-May.

Population(s) Served
Children

The WITS Early Childhood Summer Program (ECSP) is a literacy-based kindergarten readiness program that prepares early learners as they enter elementary school, helping them build the foundation to be reading proficiently by 3rd grade. With the support of WITS volunteers, students practice emergent literacy skills such as letter name and sound recognition, book and print awareness, and early writing skills. Each site is led by a teacher from its respective school, allowing WITS to introduce students to classroom routines and relationships that support a smooth transition to kindergarten in the fall. ECSP mentors commit to volunteering one to four days a week, 9:00am-11:30am, for five weeks from early July to early August.

Population(s) Served
Children

Rochelle Lee Teacher Award (RLTA) Study Groups are school-based professional learning communities. Study groups develop a goal to guide their learning throughout the school year, and meet monthly to discuss instruction and push their practice to reach their goal. Study Groups allow teachers to have a school-wide impact on student literacy instruction. The application is open from mid-December through mid-March. Awardees are announced late April of each year.

Population(s) Served
Teachers

Where we work

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

WITS is the only literacy nonprofit best positioned to make a significant impact on literacy rates in Chicago.
That’s because WITS provides whole school enrichment by layering student and teacher literacy programming in Chicago Public Schools (CPS). We have 3 stages of strategic focus to help make WITS even better than ever.

1. Evaluate and drive quality; focus portfolio on highest impact programs.
2. Reimagine WITS literacy delivery through creative design.
3. Expand reach to greatest number of students with highest need.

Financials

Working in the Schools
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Working in the Schools

Board of directors
as of 02/22/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Lauren Rocklin

The Parking Spot

Term: 2019 - 2022

Jamie Garard

Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance

Jill Jacobs-Baar

Invesco Powershares

Laura Shroyer Liss

Patzik, Frank & Samotny

Carolyn Goldhaber

Vienna Beef

Marion Stone

No Affiliation

Bud Lifton

No Affiliation

Ginny Carlson

No Affiliation

Ron Sonenthal

Deloitte

Federico Flores

Peabody School

Roger Carlson

Morgan Stanley Smith Barney

Joanne Alter

Phil Hildebrandt

Segall Bryant & Hamill

Carl Tannenbaum

The Northern Trust

Tim Bixler

Credit Suisse

Jennifer Mikulina

McDermott Will & Emery

Mark Spender

Credit Suisse

Jeremy Cole

Jones Day

Matthew A'Hearn

Moelis & Co.

William Atwood

Illinois State Board of Investment

Lauren Rocklin

Orbitz

Edward Tilly

Chicago Board Options Exchange

Brenda Palm

Working in the Schools

Brook Jay

All Terrain

Paul Lantero

BP Corporation

Katarinna McBride

Harrision & Held, LLP

Krish Mohip

Chicago Public Schools

Randy Raup

No Affiliation

Alice Rooks

Big Ten Network

Kristine Schaffner

The John Buck Company

Amy Best

Exelon