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Rockwood School District
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Leigh Mills of Wildwood Middle Earns MRTF Diversity Grant

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Wildwood Middle celebrated language arts teacher Leigh Mills on Sept. 14 as she was awarded a $500 grant from the Missouri Retired Teachers Foundat​ion​ (MRTF). ​

The grant, titled "Building Community, Conversations, Confidence through Diverse Book Clubs and Read Aloud" was awarded to only 10 applicants throughout the St. Louis region​​.

"Ms. Mills went above and beyond to research, apply and, ultimately, earn one of only a handful of grants across the state," said Dr. Jason Lievanos, assistant principal at Wildwood. "Ms. Mills is a shining example of teachers that create opportunities and environments for her students to thrive."

"I'm a teacher who loves, loves, loves reading, and I always want my middle school students to grow and improve through reading," said Mills. "Yet I felt that my classroom library lacked diverse fiction, so the goal was to remedy this."​

MRTF provides classroom supplies through grants to help active teachers enhance their classrooms.

This grant seeks to empower and develop middle school learners to be intellectually and socially invested in learning through reading.

Mills was able to buy 50 new books for her classroom.

"The novels selected for this project are thought-provoking, inspiring texts centered around themes of survival, perseverance and acceptance, and the topics of anti-racism, inclusion, homelessness and the refugee experience," explained Mills. "Exposure to diverse literature will enlighten my students of the truths about lives they may not live and will encourage empathy."

Lievanos is looking forward to Mills doing great things in her classroom with the grant money. 

"I'm excited to see her put to use the funds to create opportunities and enhance the environments for her kids," he said.
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