Kalant planning to retire from Winkelman
Winkelman School Principal Maria Kalant (center) hugs first graders Demi Marlantis (left) and Logan Bilinski (right) on Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012, at the school in Glenview. Kalant is retiring at the end of the school year. | Buzz Orr~Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 5, 2012 6:05AM
After 19 years overseeing the education of thousands of Glenview and Northbrook students, Winkelman Elementary School Principal Maria Kalant will retire at the end of the school year.
Before leaving, she wants to make sure that Winkelman, at 1919 Landwehr Road, Glenview, is in the best place possible to continue meeting the changing needs of its students by solidifying the programs already in place.
“In the time I’ve been here, I’ve seen our student population change, so the school has had to change. With 20 languages spoken by the students, as well as a difference in financial backgrounds, one size does not fit all, ” she said.
“It crystallizes when you see the car line. One parent is dropping a child off in a very expensive Mercedes, and the car directly behind it has a family who has been living in its car.”
To provide children with the best education possible, the school has adopted many new initiatives and programs, she noted.
When Kalant first moved into the principal’s office, the school had only a small class of English language learners. Now, it offers three bilingual programs – one for Hispanic students, another for Koreans and a third for Russians.
She also is particularly proud of the way the staff now handles the response to intervention process that provides early assistance to children having difficulty learning.
“We use it to change the paradigm in the building to the belief that every child belongs to everyone here and that everybody here has a stake in the education and well-being of every child,” Kalant said.
Education here is not based on the “wait to fail” model any more, she stressed.
“It’s the school coming together as a collaborative team within the building to assess what a child needs and decide how that need is going to be fulfilled,” she added.
Kalant noted that the new principal should be a very strong educational leader who is flexible, and a good listener with very high expectations, as well as a can-do attitude.
“If the principal has good communication, works collaboratively and gets all the pieces – the students, parents and the school board – working together, he or she can do anything.”