Mundelein High School literacy programs earn grants

  • Mundelein High School teachers Brian Packowitz, left, and Blair Winter have received a grant to expand a Spanish-language library at the school. It's one of several projects receiving grants from a foundation that supports the school.

    Mundelein High School teachers Brian Packowitz, left, and Blair Winter have received a grant to expand a Spanish-language library at the school. It's one of several projects receiving grants from a foundation that supports the school. Courtesy of Mundelein High School

 
 
Updated 5/6/2016 1:40 PM

Several Mundelein High School employees have received grants from a local educational foundation to support reading and literacy projects.

The grants came from the Mundelein High School Community Education and Alumni Foundation, an independent, nonprofit organization supporting school programs.

 

"When teachers receive a grant from the foundation, they are able to take a 'why doesn't anyone do this' conversation (and) actually try something special," Principal Anthony Kroll said. "The creative ideas abound."

Most of the projects benefiting from the grants will launch in the fall, officials said.

English teachers Ryan Buck and Mike Dayton received a $500 grant to buy books written specifically for the young-adult audience. Themes of such novels typically include self discovery, survival and relationships with peers and adults, Dayton said.

It's part of an existing project designed to build interest in reading.

"Even our most reticent readers are beginning to enjoy reading because they are given choice in what they read," Dayton said. "We are able to build a joy in reading that we have never seen experienced in full classrooms."

Literacy center staff member Hope Babowice, who also writes the Kids Ink column for the Daily Herald, received a $200 grant to help fund a field trip for the school's Peer Advisory Council to the Harold Washington Library Center in Chicago.

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The students will then report to the literacy center about student needs.

Special education teachers Leah Kaplan and Georgi Mendez received $500 to develop a literacy program for teens who struggle with reading and writing.

Half the money will be used to create a classroom library. Of the rest, the teachers will spend $200 to purchase resources and $50 will fund a field trip.

World languages teachers Brian Packowitz and Blair Winter received a $500 grant to further build the school's Spanish-language independent reading library.

The collection will mix books that are popular with teens and classic Latin American literature, Packowitz said.

That all of the grants went to literacy programs shows how much the school emphasizes reading, said Diane Covert, leader of Mundelein's English and bilingual department.

"We have more students reading more books than ever before," she said.

To learn more about the foundation, visit d120.org/district120/foundation.

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