Lakewood students are making ‘Great Leaps’ with help of retired teachers (Sun-Times Media)

by Emily McFarlan Miller

CARPENTERSVILLE — On Wednesday, Ed Ritter sat in the hallway at Lakewood School listening to students read aloud for a minute or two, one-on-one, during their Read 180 class.

One read about owls; another, about dragon slayers. They chatted about the books they were reading, about spring breaks and Tom Sawyer.

Ritter also works with students in the fifth- and sixth-grade building on their reading fluency in a program called “Great Leaps.”

But Ritter isn’t a teacher — at least, not anymore.

The Carpentersville village president is one of four retired Community Unit School District 300 teachers offering extra support this school year to students at Lakewood School.

“Just because I’m retired doesn’t mean I want to stop working with children, and I hope to never stop,” Ritter said.

Ritter retired from Westfield Community School in Algonquin three years ago, when he was elected village president.

But he’d been a teacher in District 300 for 15 years, and he’d really enjoyed his job, he said. He missed the students. He also felt it was important to give back to his community, he said.

And he knew the challenges teachers face.

“Teachers are pretty strapped. They’ve got a lot of kids and a lot of things to do, and you can’t always get to the kids who need attention. I always felt bad about that when I was a teacher,” Ritter said.

“Now, volunteering, I feel like I have a few kids I can make a difference for.”

This is the first time Lakewood has invited retired teachers to volunteer at the school — an idea that came from Principal Tim Loversky, who “recognized the need,” according to Assistant Principal Kristin Sainsbury.

“We are seeing a way to better meet the needs of our kids which just takes some more time and people to do,“ Sainsbury said.

For the rest of the story, read Lakewood students are making ‘Great Leaps’ with help of retired teachers (Sun-Times Media).

Photo credit: Michael Smart for Sun-Times Media.