students reading

As part of its PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention & Support) second-trimester celebration, the students and staff at CHSD170's Garfield School recently came together to conduct a Community Helper Recognition Event.

Building upon and supporting the theme of "The Last Stop on Market Street," the students participated in learning activities, including listening to a read-aloud of the book and utilizing the book's message to brainstorm ways to help the Garfield School and Chicago Heights community.

The students planted small pots of grass seeds to care for and watch grow in their classroom while brightening the school community, and created thank you cards and messages of support to the Chicago Heights Police and Fire Departments and the PAWS Chicago Heights Shelter.

In a fitting conclusion to the event's activities, students received a hard-cover copy of "The Last Stop on Market Street" to add to their home library through a generous donation from Options For Literacy. Students also pledged to complete a home learning extension exercise to share the book with their families.

"This celebration was a wonderful opportunity for our students to continue building a community within and around our school," said Garfield Principal Diane Kostovski. "The literacy and planting projects were engaging, and the students were very excited to take home their copy of the text."

"We have so many amazing community partners and services that support our school, and we want to ensure that our students understand the importance of and appreciate these valuable resources," Kostovski continued.

"We look forward to other opportunities to continue these partnerships and give back to our community."

As part of the extended home learning activities, families will sign a pledge card to extend a helping hand to a neighbor and bring a canned food item to Garfield School to donate to a local food bank.

"We are thrilled that Options for Literacy's leadership reached out to work with us and provide books for our student's home libraries," said Jennifer Gorton, CHSD170's Parent Academy Director.

"They are a local organization supporting and building community partnerships in the best way possible, with books. The message of 'The Last Stop on Market Street' really comes full circle for our students, as they were given a copy of the book and then charged with finding ways to support and make our school community great!" she continued.

Garfield School Reading Specialist and PBIS Team Member Rebecca Horejs echoed Gorton in praising the activity's success.

"Our students were intrigued to learn about the many responsibilities of animal shelter workers and eager to send thank-you messages recognizing their hard work. The planting of grass was an engaging, hands-on learning experience for the students, and receiving their copy of 'The Last Stop on Market Street' was a most appropriate way to end the day," Horejs said.

According to its website, Options For Literacy, a non-profit organization, was founded "with a passion for improving the lives of disadvantaged children by providing inspiring book collections and engaging literacy programs to underfunded schools, libraries, and organizations across the nation."

For many of the children it serves, Options For Literacy represents a crucial link to vital literacy education. Its programs help build and nurture support systems for developing literate minds.

The initiative aspires to empower and embolden children through a culture of reading. By immersing children in an integrated world of literary experiences that teach them firsthand, the impact of reading on every aspect of life, imagination is ignited, and confidence is built for a prosperous future, regardless of race, economic status, or personal capabilities.