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Dear Sisters and Brothers:

Last March, COVID-19 threw the world and our profession into a tailspin. When the pandemic forced schools to shut down abruptly, you adapted your lessons for remote learning and found new ways to engage your students online with little support or development from the district. You pivoted sharply and remade school through Zoom and Google Meet with grace, diligence and creativity, because this is what teachers, PSRPS, clinicians, counselors and librarians do.

Outside of the virtual classroom, you created mutual aid funds and collected food, clothing and diapers for your families. You started GoFundMe pages to support families suffering tragic losses from COVID. You helped our union push back on a reckless reopening plan from the mayor and CPS leadership that would have endangered your lives, and the lives of your families and school communities.

Thank you for the tremendous dedication, commitment and courage you have shown this year. Your willingness to stand up for what educators and their students need during a devastating global pandemic has been nothing short of heroic.

As we draw close to the end of a very tiring school year, I ask you to remain vigilant and unified because our work is not done. We have a chance to pass SB2497 — an historic elected school board bill — during the current legislative session, which ends May 31.

Please reach out to your state senator and ask for their YES vote on SB2497. If you’ve already called or emailed, please reach out again! Encourage your friends, family and colleagues to do the same.

There is no better way to show appreciation for Chicago educators this year than helping to pass a bill that will give you, parents and students the democracy we all deserve. We will also be starting our Summer Organizing Institute in a couple of months, so please join us this year for a leading role in the campaign to promote our members’ rights and the fight for educational justice. Contact the CTU Organizing department for more information.

On behalf of my fellow officers and CTU staff, happy Teacher Appreciation Week. We thank you this week and every week for all you do, and we are extremely proud and honored to stand shoulder to shoulder with you in the fight for the schools our students deserve.

In solidarity,

Jesse Sharkey
CTU President