Literacy position reinstated

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Elliott

BELOIT - School District of Beloit Director of Early Literacy Rachelle Elliott will be reinstated in her job after it was announced in May her position was being eliminated.

In a May interview, then Interim Superintendent Tony Bosco told the Beloit Daily News the position of "early literacy coordinator" listed in the new organizational chart would replace Elliott's position, with Elliott able apply for it. The vision, he said, was to have leadership come from the superintendent to executive director of school leadership to the early literacy coordinator position.

Shortly after the announcement, officials with the Beloit Literacy for Life initiative said they were upset about the decision, especially since they weren't consulted or contacted prior to the decision being made.

Beloit's Literacy for Life Initiative was launched in March 2018, a joint effort between the Stateline Community Foundation (SCF), the School District of Beloit (SDB) and other stakeholders. The aim was for early exposure to literacy to get kids on the same playing field as their more socioeconomically advantaged peers in terms of vocabulary and school readiness.

Elliott was credited for being an integral part of the initiative's success.

According to an email from Executive Director of School Leadership and Equity Peggy Muehlenkamp on Thursday, the district is committed to supporting the Beloit early literacy initiative and continuing the partnership between the School District of Beloit, Literacy for Life and community agencies.

Muehlenkamp said she and Superintendent Stanley Munro had the opportunity to meet with community leaders and attend a Literacy for Life meeting.

"Upon hearing the impact Rachelle has had and the importance of autonomy a director level position provides, we decided to move forward with reinstating the position to administrator status. We share a passion for supporting children and families in our community and recognize that together, we can impact outcomes for generations," Muehlenkamp said in her email.

Elliott will be part of the School Leadership and Equity Team, reporting to Muehlenkamp.

Stateline Community Foundation Executive Director Tara Tinder said she was pleased to hear the district recognizes the importance Elliott has brought to the position.

"Her expertise, coupled with her ability to connect has created levels of trust that are irreplaceable," Tinder said.

Tinder said there continues to be a stream of agencies that are embracing the importance of literacy and helping get more books to children.

For example, the Literacy for Life Initiative gave out books to the Stateline Boys and Girls clubs this week. Next week, it will be giving bilingual books to the Children's Hospital for the playgroups it is creating in the community.

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