State Rep. Amy Grant visits Winfield's St. John the Baptist Catholic School
On April 19, state Rep. Amy Grant visited St. John the Baptist Catholic School. She toured the Winfield school, met students and teachers, and spent some time in the seventh-grade social studies classroom where students were learning about state government and the Illinois constitution. After answering several questions about her role as an elected official, she invited the students to visit her in Springfield for a personal experience.
After the tour, Grant met with the Rev. Christopher Lankford, Principal Joanne Policht, a parent, and a representative from the Diocese of Joliet Catholic Schools Office. The representative of the 42nd district was invited to see the impact of the Invest in Kids Act Tax Credit Scholarship (TCS) program and discuss how it can expand education options for families most in need of financial assistance. Since the inception of the program in 2018, 52 tax credit scholarships have been awarded to students at St. John the Baptist Catholic School.
Two years ago, a team from St. John the Baptist worked with partners, like Empower Illinois, to successfully protect the tax credit scholarship program. "Rep. Grant and other legislators listened to their constituents when we told them the TCS program matters to our community," Policht said.
Grant was able to hear first-hand from a mother of three about the difference the program and school has made for her children and family.
"All three of my children have been recipients of a Tax Credit Scholarship since the inception of the program. This scholarship makes the biggest difference for our family. When my oldest daughter was in third grade, she was struggling with homework engagement and finishing tests. She was no longer thriving in our local public school. As a single mom, I needed help to meet her needs and set her up for success. After being told that I needed to find a different school for her to be successful, we transferred to St. John the Baptist Catholic School in Winfield mid-year. After two weeks at SJB, every family member who saw my daughter noticed the positive change in her confidence and engagement. I knew immediately that SJB was the best school for her. It was life changing for her and her commitment to education. At SJB I have no doubt that my children will have the tools to be successful in high school. They have a solid foundation. As a single mom, that is enormous."
After listening to her story, Rep. Amy Grant said, "I really am very much a proponent of school choice. If I had my way, wherever a parent decides to send their child to school, that's where their money should go."
The power of the program is evident through the growth of St. John's school and the impact it has had on families:
• Six new students enrolled in St. John's over the past two years as a result of receiving tax credit scholarships;
• Eleven new students are on St. John's waiting list for the 2021-22 school year;
• A school goal has been set to award 35 scholarships for the 2021-22 academic year, an increase of 10 over this school year.
To learn more about the program, or make a donation, contact Principal Joanne Policht at (630) 668-2625, ext. 617, or Jpolicht@stjohnwinfield.org.
Since 1882, St. John the Baptist Catholic School has prepared children from the area for success in an environment that is formed by faith and values, rooted in tradition, and focused on academic excellence. It currently has an enrollment of 162 students and 182 have registered for the 2021-22 school year. The school serves students in preschool through eighth grade.