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Brenda Langstraat, CEO of Chicago’s Working in the Schools (WITS)

Posted: October 31, 2018 at 8:29 pm   /   by   /   comments (1)

Brenda Langstraat, CEO of WITS, a literacy program that supports students in Chicago Public Schools joins Enterprise Radio.

Listen to host Eric Dye & guest Brenda Langstraat discuss the following:

  1. How did WITS get its start in Chicago?
  2. What is WITS’ overarching mission? How do the current programs support this mission?
  3. How does WITS collaborate with Chicago Public Schools and their existing curriculums?
  4. How can people support WITS? (Either through fundraising or through your volunteer program)
  5. Can you tell us more about The Blackboard Affair in November?

Summary: WITS serves over 10,000 students across 80+ schools in the Chicagoland area, and 100% of what we do is made possible through private fundraising. With zero funding coming from public school or city budgets, things like The Blackboard Affair make it possible for us to continue the great work that we’re doing.

Brenda Langstraat is the CEO of Working in the Schools (WITS). WITS is the largest literacy organization that partners with Chicago Public Schools (CPS). WITS provides holistic literacy support for students in Chicago Public Schools by creating positive and collaborative communities of teachers, volunteers, principals, and investors. WITS serves more than 10,000 students in 80 elementary schools through programs that provide professional development for teachers and engage volunteers with students in 1:1 literacy mentorship.

Brenda joined WITS in 2012, her life-long love of reading and MA in literary criticism driving her passion to advance students toward reading proficiency. From 2012 to 2013, WITS experienced revenue growth of more than 50%, giving the organization the capacity to expand school-year and summer programs and to support students impacted by school closures.

In January 2015 Boundless Readers, a leading literacy organization focused on teacher professional development, merged into WITS. Around the time of the merge, WITS moved its offices to the Chicago Literacy Alliance’s shared office space, the Literacenter. 

Brenda joined WITS after serving as Executive Director of Parkways Foundation for seven years and as a development professional at the Chicago Humanities Festival for five years. Brenda serves on Chicago Literacy Alliance Board of Directors, on the Forefront Mission Sustainability Oversight Committee and the Mentor Illinois Leadership Council.   


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