Last year, when the Chicagoland Lutheran Educational Foundation (CLEF) received a generous gift to support its mission of empowering Lutheran schools in Chicago to deliver academic excellence, CLEF turned to Concordia University Chicago for assistance in implementing the strategic initiative, Pathways to Excellence. Concordia-Chicago faculty and staff are now deeply involved in designing and delivering key programs and services to enhance the academic and financial position of the 25 Lutheran K-12 schools in the Chicago area’s crowded and competitive school market.
In the first year of the Pathways to Excellence for Teachers initiative, Concordia-Chicago’s Concordia-Chicago’s Center for Literacy will roll out professional development programs to strengthen CLEF teachers’ foundational skills in literacy instruction. Individualized, in-classroom coaching support will also be offered to program participants. “Given the enormous responsibility of K-12 classroom teachers regarding reading and language learning, we are honored to provide a layer of support in helping teachers address each individual student’s unique needs,” explains Dr. Dara Soljaga, professor and chair of the Department of Literacy and Early Childhood Education; and executive director of Concordia-Chicago’s Center for Literacy. “Through ongoing professional development and in-classroom coaching, we look forward to helping Lutheran schools become renowned hubs of innovative literacy and faith-based practice.”