As a longtime teacher in District 65, I struggled over the years with our continued achievement gap between our white and many students of color. I poured my heart and soul into every child to the best of my ability. I tutored at-risk kids during the summer, taught extended day reading and math classes, ran book clubs and math clubs. Many colleagues did the same.
In the meantime I watched superintendents come and go, each stating that under this watch the achievement gap was going to be addressed and hopefully resolved. I saw first hand that the children who came to school kindergarten ready, from ANY background, usually stayed on track and on grade level throughout their elementary school experience. I also saw that the children who started kindergarten not prepared, for whatever reasons (mostly socioeconomic), usually did not catch up. Strides were made, kids learned to read, but the gap remained and sometimes widened.
So I wondered what I could do. I came up with the idea of Evanston Moms for Moms when thinking about what may have been missing from the experiences of our low income kids. I thought that maybe it would help if I could provide culturally appropriate books and educational toys from birth to kindergarten. I thought it would help to match moms together with other Evanston moms as an extra support and to encourage literacy and school readiness. More ideas have sprung from there.
So that’s the story of why this organization is starting. I can’t do everything. I can’t resolve these social issues with one small organization. But…maybe I CAN help some of the children in my community, and some are better than none.