Gateway Education Center’s library is looking to make a big difference in their students’ lives and you can help by giving just 30 seconds of your time. Through the pursuit of the “Thank A Million Teachers” $2,500 grant, the school could add numerous high-interest nonfiction books for students in grades kindergarten through twelfth. Gateway staff and students are requesting the public’s help in pursuit of the grant by voting daily on the ThankAMillionTeachers.com for the Gateway library.
Three years ago if you visited the Gateway Education Center library, you may have had difficulty recognizing it as a library at all. The library was comprised of two shelves worth of discarded books from other WCS schools. When Wendy Kovach, director of library services and Gateway librarian first spied the shelves, she became determined to change the library for the better.
Over the past 3 years the Gateway library has grown in both size and scope. Offering books to those in kindergarten all the way to 12th grade, the library has added over 2,000 fiction and nonfiction books for students to expand their knowledge and reading levels. The change was made possible through the pursuit of numerous grants by Kovach and Gateway Principal Steve Ferber.
In addition, Kovach sought to change the way WCS libraries were funded, allowing for library monies to be distributed based on student population. Though the change has allocated some finances to the Gateway library, due to the small student population, Gateway still has limited resources in its media center. Seeking to continue her pursuit of highly engaging, nonfiction materials, Kovach applied for the “Thank A Million Teacher” grant through Farmers Insurance — but the school needs the public’s help to make the grant a reality.
In order to procure the grant, the school must be among the top six voted schools in the region. Gateway is currently in eighth place and is competing against Illinois and Indiana schools including large Chicago schools. Voting is simple and may be done daily by those 18 years or older.
“This is a great way to ask for help,” explained Gateway teacher Peter Lucht. According to Kovach, Lucht has worked to spread the word of the grant throughout the school corporation and beyond. “We are not asking for money, just 30 seconds of your time over the next 10 days. Those five minutes can make a dynamic difference,” stated Lucht.
To vote, visit ThankAMillionTeachers.com and scroll down to vote on the $2,500 proposal. It is important that those voting visit their email after casting their vote to verify the submission. A validation email will be sent from Farmers Insurance just after voting. Without validating a vote, the vote cannot be counted.
Should the school receive the grant, Kovach noted an additional 150 high-interest nonfiction materials can be purchased for the library. Lucht explained that these nonfiction materials are a great way to help expand students’ reading levels as well as prepare them for standardized tests, which are focusing more and more heavily on reading and writing comprehension in all areas of study.
“I have worked in libraries for 12 years and this has been a dream come true to service students and staff [at WCS]. I couldn’t ask for a better staff,” noted Kovach. Kovach noted many had helped her in pursuit of the grant and votes, specifically noting Lucht, Ferber Allen Blakeley, Gateway instructor, and Karen Rumple, Gateway administrative assistant. She also noted her gratitude for those who have voted thus far.
“We are so thankful for everyone who has voted — 2,516 votes is great,” stated Kovach.
In order for Gateway to make its way into the final six and procure the grant, at least 4,000 more votes are needed in the next 10 days. Voting ends Dec. 1.