Campaign: Sanctuary Schools

The Chicago Teachers Union is committed to protecting our students, our schools and our communities.

Newcomers: How can members access help & get involved?

Update from November 1, 2023: In late September CTU submitted a proposal to CPS for increased supports to schools with an influx of newcomers with demands on increased staffing, including TAs, PD, Resources/Curriculum, Know Your Rights/Language Access, STLS, and Enrollment Support. On November 1st CPS responded to our proposal. They are moving to increase staffing to schools with an influx of newcomer students and CTU/CPS will work together to increase the number of BIPOC parents, recent graduates, etc into the PSRP pipeline. This is progress for our members experiencing the pressures of the everyday grind. The district is getting pushed to do more AND this will not be enough! We need the state and federal government to provide additional school funding.

As we continue to push for more supports at the district level, state and federal level. Here are some steps/supports at the school level:

  • CTU members should fill out our CTU Newcomer Support Need Form so we can track issues and provide support where possible AND have your principal fill out this report Newcomer Support Request Form that OLCE put out. It will be good for both CTU and your principal to flag schools to CPS that need support!
  • If your classes have become oversized, members should fill out the Class Size Form Remember, bilingual ed classes should be 90% gen ed class sizes. This means bilingual class should have no more than 25 students in K-2nd, no more than 28 in 4th-8th, and no more than 25 in academic classes in 9th-12th grades.
  • Reach out to your OLCE Specialistto request support
  • The CTU Bilingual Committee started this Bilingual Ed Resource Share ( on shared Google Drive. It is meant to be a space with bilingual ed resources that educators use in their classroom. Feel free to look through it and use whatever may be useful! Also, you can add resources of your own for other to access as well.
  • CPS put together this document named Newcomer Resources, it includes links that have information ranging from Resources/Multilingual Books to Social Services/Support Organizations
  • Access the CTU Newcomer Toolkitwith info on food banks, free clinics, legal assistance to share with families
  • Bring the issue to your PPC with the following asks: Reach out to the OLCE chief, Karime Asaf, to request support. Ask the principal to meet with the chief to appeal the budget in order to get additional funds for resources, staffing, etc

Organizing efforts need to happen at the school level  AND we continue to work towards and advocate for a district wide response to this. Our members spoke at the ISBE board meeting last week and in late September we put forth a proposal to CPS to provide staffing & professional development, resources/curriculum, language access & know your rights, STLS and enrollment support to school receiving newcomers.

Expanded Sanctuary

Chicago calls itself a “Sanctuary City.” Yet, this city still needs to adopt many more actions and policies that would increase protections for all students. That’s especially true for our most vulnerable students who are immigrants, Muslims and LGBTQI. Even as the union joins the fight for these changes, we hope to provide resources for our members to use right now. Use the resources provided here to support and protect students who live under direct threat every day.

What Does “Sanctuary” Mean?

Join the Fight for Expanded Sanctuary

CTU Organizer Rebecca Martinez is always ready to bring more members into the fight for expanded sanctuary. Fill out the form below to contact her about the campaign. Our students and their families need us!