Wednesday, January 23, 2013

RSO Application? CHECK

All right, guys.  We passed a major milestone today:  ALMas officially applied for Registered Student Organization (RSO) status, and it looks like all our work is paying off.

Goals achieved:

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:

  1. 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.
    1. 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)
  2. Applying to the Dean's Fund for Student Life
    1. 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.  
    2. 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.
      1. 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.
  3. 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.
    1. Molly for: training our volunteers to use the STEP education evaluation tool
    2. Catherine for: training for in classroom instruction best practices
  4. 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.

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