The Puma Educators Association of Saint Joseph's College is providing bilingual books to first and second graders and reading stories to celebrate Dr. Seuss' birthday at North White Primary School in connection with Read Across America on March 2, 2012.
This project is funded in large part through a CLASS (Community Learning Through America's Schools) Grant from the National Education Association's (NEA) Student Program. Working with the local Puma Educator's Association are members of the North White Classroom Teachers Association.
The grant was applied for by SJC senior Elementary Education major Maggie Schmitt of Kodiak, Alaska. It was her first time applying for a grant, and with the help of SJC Assistant Professor of Education Karen Venditti, Schmitt was awarded the grant.
CLASS projects are taking place all over the country. Since 1989, college students on more than 200 campuses have been giving thousands of children hope and a promise of a better tomorrow. CLASS projects involve NEA student members working on community improvements with others. At the same time, these students are gaining practical experience and growing as professionals.
"This is an exciting and productive experience for our members," said Schmitt, coordinator of the event. "I hope the books will make a tremendous difference to the students at North White Primary and hope to get our College chapter more actively involved."
North White Educators agree. "The Student Program members are so enthusiastic," noted Theresa Diener, North White Primary second grade teacher. "My students will be very appreciative of the books."
The NEA Student Program is a grassroots organization that serves more than 67,000 students nationwide who are preparing for jobs in the education profession. NEA Student Program goals include providing opportunities for professional development and leadership training and advocating for student member concerns.
Saint Joseph's College, named a "character-building college" by the Templeton Foundation and a "best Midwestern college" by the Princeton Review, is a four-year, Catholic college offering 27 majors, 4 group majors, 34 minors, and 9 pre-professional programs, complemented by the nationally acclaimed Core Program. Founded and sponsored by the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, SJC is located in Rensselaer, Indiana, approximately 90 minutes from both Chicago and Indianapolis, on a park-like campus of 180 acres and has an enrollment of 1,100 students.
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