This fictional family saga follows two generations of intertwined Russian Jewish immigrant clans who settled on Chicago's West side. It springs from Della's family's oral histories and her late father's written chronicle about family's businesses in the heart of Chicago's Maxwell Street market. The themes of the novel center on women's struggles to claim autonomy in times of limited reproductive choices and economic opportunities.
2021-2022 short-term fellowship from Chicago's Newberry Library to support the historical novel, Beyond Maxwell Street (1911-1956).
2021 Individual Artist Program award from Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events to support Beyond Maxwell Street.
Second Place for "Penicillin," in the Off Campus Writers' Workshop flash fiction contest judged by author, poet, DePaul professor, and Rose Metal Press co-founder, Kathleen Rooney.
Kathleen writes: "The density of information in this piece of historical fiction is balanced beautifully by the intimate characterization of the unlikely hero, Sol, showing us how fate and timing have their way with us all."
Della Leavitt's unpublished novel, The Measure of a Teacher is upmarket, contemporary women's fiction that tells the story of Betty Reifman, a white woman who leaves a tech career at mid-life to teach math at a Chicago high school in 2001 that is resisting an inevitable racial transformation.
BIO: Della Leavitt lives in Chicago with her spouse. Their son attended the Chicago Public Schools from Kindergarten through his high school graduation. Della serves as volunteer board secretary for the 75-years-running, Off Campus Writers' Workshop.
Della had a full career as a rare female in the early years of the computer and telecommunications industries, later taught high school math in the Chicago Public Schools and at a bilingual, social justice, adult high school. In addition to a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an MBA from Northwestern University's Kellogg School, Della earned her PhD in 2010 from the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She worked as an educational researcher on national and state grants based based in Illinois, California, and New Jersey.
Della lives in Chicago, embracing a writing life. She serves as secretary on the board of the long-running, Off Campus Writers' Workshop, and is a member of the Chicago Writers Association and the Women's Fiction Writers Association.
Leavitt, Della. (In press, 2021). Repeal! (pp. 99-107). In Turning Points: An Anthology from Members of the Off Campus Writers’ Workshop. Rolling Meadows, IL: Windy City Publishers.
Leavitt, Della. (October, 2020). Chicago Literary Hall of Fame guest blogger. https://chicagoliteraryhof.org/blog/entry/persistence-at-the-3rd-annual-virtual-storystudio-conference
Leavitt, Della (August, 2020). GameChangers documentary film. Personal essay contest winner. Remembering the 1965/1966 Marshall vs. New Trier match ups. https://www.gamechangers.film/contest
Leavitt, Della. (2019). The Week that Was. In J. Rehak (ed.) A Reason to Be Here. A collaborative novel
from the Off Campus Writers Workshop. Rolling Meadows, IL: Windy City Publishers.
Leavitt, D.R. (2017). Where I am from. Vitae Scholasticae: The Journal of Educational Biography. Special Issue: Family Methodology. 34(2), 28-31.
Leavitt, Della. (2017). Honorable Mention. The Return of the 17-Year Locusts. Word of Art 3: InPrint
Writers, Rockford, IL.
Leavitt, D.R. (2017, December). Becoming and teaching: Currere in context. Currere Exchange Journal, 1(2)34-40. Retrieved from
Leavitt, D.R., Palius, M.F., Babst, R.D, Donegan, R., Lampkin, J.L, Smith, M., & Whitford, P.A. (2013).
Teachers create a Professional Learning Community to be a place of their own. Mid-Atlantic Education Review, 1(1)3-16. Retrieved from http://maereview.org/index.php/MAER/article/view/4/4
Leavitt, D. R. & Washington, E. N. (2013). “I teach like you are all gifted:" Leading lowest-track students to become confident mathematics learners. In A. Cohan & A. Honigsfeld (Eds.), Breaking the mold of education: Innovative and successful practices for student engagement, empowerment, and motivation (4th in a series) pp. 171-178. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. Retrieved from https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781475803501.
Razfar, A. & Leavitt, D. R. (April, 2011). Developing meta-discourse: Building mathematics discussions in an urban elementary classroom. Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, 11(2), 180-197. Retrieved from:
Leavitt, D. R. (2010). Inquiry as Stance: Practitioner Research for the Next Generation, Book review. i.e: inquiry in education, 1(2), Article 7. Retrieved from: http://digitalcommons.nl.edu/ie/vol1/iss2/7
Leavitt, D. R. & Ahn, C. M. (2010). A middle grades teacher’s guide to Model Eliciting Activities, In R. Lesh, P.L. Galbraith, C.R. Haines, & A. Hurford (Eds.), Modeling students’ mathematical modeling competencies: ICTMA 13 (pp. 353–364). New York: Springer. Retrieved from http://www.springer.com/education+%26+language/mathematics+education/book/978-1-4419-0560-4
2015, 2010 University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada: Narrative Pedagogy as Social Justice.
Partial scholarship awarded by Canadian Mahatma Gandhi Foundation for World Peace.
Leavitt, D.R. (2010). "Meek, but not Weak!" A Resilient Black Female Mathematics Teacher Composes a Purposeful Life. University of Illinois at Chicago. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. ProQuest: 3417385.