By Charlie Warner
Argus News Editor
“This program is all about making the kids successful readers at their own comfort levels. It is amazing to see the interest the kids are exhibiting. They are so motivated.”
That’s the way Caledonia Area Elementary School kindergarten teacher Jan Klug described a new reading program she was able to acquire through a special grant from Bank of the West.
Klug applied for the grant through DonorsChoose.org, which is an online clearing house for grant applications and classroom requests from public schools across the United States.
Caledonia Bank of the West Branch Manager Mike Werner informed Klug of the program, Klug checked it out, completed the quite lengthy application and was awarded the grant.
The grant made it possible for Klug to purchase the reading program called “Level Out Our Kindergarten.” It is a set of books that benefit the young students with reading sets that will allow all students to be successful during independent reading in the classroom.
“When Mike first told me about the program, my first thought was ‘ipads,’” Klug recalled. “But they weren’t available. Then I thought about the leveled readers and knew how successful they were in the La Crosse School District.”
Klug admitted the application process was quite complicated and involved a number of steps. It was actually quite a learning experience for her.
“There were a lot of hoops to jump through. I had to describe the class, the Caledonia area and how the request would impact my students,” Klug noted. “And once we received the grant, I learned there was more to be done.”
Klug had to report how the new reading program was being received by the kids. The students were required to write thank you letters. Klug had to obtain permission slips of the students’ parents to have a class photo taken, which would be part of DonorsChoose.org’s website.
“It’s been a lot of work, but well worth it,” Klug said. “The kids look so forward to our reading sessions and are working so hard to move up through the various levels. Some of the books in the series are in the school library and the kids are allowed to take the books home.
“This is a reading program that we will be able to utilize for many years,” the veteran kindergarten teacher added.
Bank of the West’s contributions through DonorsChoose.org support public school k-12 teacher and student needs throughout the bank’s 19-state footprint. Through the remainder of the school year, Bank of the West estimates it will contribute a total of $500,000 to approximately 1,000 classrooms.
You can contact Charlie Warner at firstname.lastname@example.org