GOLD2022

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

150 N. Wacker Drive Suite 1120

Chicago, IL 60606 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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  • 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 07/11/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Lauren Rocklin

The Parking Spot

Term: 2019 - 2022

Jeremy Cole

Jones Day

Lauren Rocklin

The Parking Spot

Olimpia Bahena

Talcott Fine Arts and Museum Academy

Laura Shroyer Liss

Advocate Aurora Health

Scott Lehman

Barclays

John Martin

JFM OPS Consulting LLC

Doug Buchler

CIBC US

Patrick Hatton

Chicago Athletic Association

Maria Arosteguy

KPMG LLP

Amy Best

Exelon Corporation

Stephanie Bramin

William Blair & Company

Craig Close

PPM America/ Jackson

Stephanie Curulewski

bp IST Oil Americas

Carolyn Goldhaber

Segall Bryant & Hamill

Sydney Golliday

John B. Drake Elementary

Jesus Gonzalez

Aon Risk Solutions

Diane Graham-Henry

Diane Graham-Henry Photography

Philip Hildebrandt

Segall Bryant & Hamill

Kweku Obed

Marquette Associates

Kaitlin Reimann

Google

Kristine Schaffner

Kinship Capital

Thru Shivakumar

Cohesion iB

Mike Stritch

BMO Harris

Edward Tilly

Chicago Board Options Exchange

Jennifer Alter Warden

Baird & Warner Real Estate

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 3/31/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data