1. We've officially applied for RSO status
2. We've basically secured our school for running our pilot-program with 17 pre-k latino students.
3. I spoke with Carol Balser, Lead HeadStart teacher at Richard J Daley Elementary, and she seems ecstatic about having ALMas (especially since we're research based!).
The next few steps include:
- I'm scheduling ALMas training sessions for my Outreach Team, so that we are all on the same page when we call book publishers for book donations and permissions.
- I already have the list and contact names. It's now just about implementing the strategy and pitching ALMas to these organizations for publicity (and we're a small pilot-program)
- Applying to the Dean's Fund for Student Life
- Average grants from this fund range from $750 - $1500 as a one-time installment for a program that must be integrated into UChicago student life.
- That's good news for ALMas, because this is startup capital to pay for the $65/hour rate for the supervising pre-k teacher in our classroom during our afterschool program.
- We'll be relating this back to campus with a conference on early childhood education with a focus on ELL students and poverty in the United States, as well as the economic benefits of quality early childhood education and development.
- I'll need to speak with Molly Thayer, Director of Literacy at the UEI, and Catherine Corr, PhD candidate at UIC, to schedule training sessions for our members.
- Molly for: training our volunteers to use the STEP education evaluation tool
- Catherine for: training for in classroom instruction best practices
- I'll need to also schedule different meeting times with Carol Balser, so that ALMas members can observe a pre-school classroom and see what it's like firsthand to work with young children. (I had to do this multiple times! And it was a great experience! But also frightening because little children can get crazy very quickly--tat's what training is for).
To think about where ALMas was at the beginning of the 2012 summer--just an idea--to now becoming an actual program...I don't know, I'm taken aback. This has been months in the works, talking to all types of early childhood education professionals, academics, and practitioners; meeting with after school programs all around Chicago to understand what works and what doesn't; going through the literature on sociocultural theory, tansfer theory, and all the research on language development as it relates to cognitive development, ability, and economic opportunity--I'm left almost breathless.
But this is no time to take a break. The best part has just begun. And it's the best part that takes the most work.
But as Theodore Roosevelt said,
So then let this be me caring. By doing.