News and Notes

Standing on business for the schools Chicago students deserve in 2024

Photo of CTU President Stacy Davis GatesWelcome back CTU members, we hope you had a joyful and restful winter break. We kicked off the new year this week in solidarity with our SEIU siblings (see item below) and are looking to 2024 to be a year of endless possiblities for our union and our school communities. Read CTU President Stacy Davis Gates’ welcome back message to members.

CTU, Mayor’s Office, CPS collaboration wins more than $35 million for electric school buses

Thanks to the organizing and leadership of the CTU, Mayor Brandon Johnson, and CPS, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded the district more than $35 million to purchase 50 electric school buses. The grant is the result of our collaborative action, centered on the needs of our students and school communities. Read more.

Jackson PotterMoving away from school choice is the right choice to fix inequity

Vice President Jackson Potter and Crystal Gardner, associate political director of United Working Families, made the case for equity in CPS as they took on critics of the Board’s intention to move toward greater support for neighborhood schools instead of increasingly competitive and racially inequitable school choice. Read their Sun-Times op-ed.


Walk ins across city show solidarity with our SEIU siblings

We kicked off 2024 in style, solidarity style that is, supporting our SEIU Local 73 union siblings who have been working without a contract since May. Members, like those above with CTU Recording Secretary Christel Williams at Fulton Elementary, donned purple t-shirts, rallied before school and walked in together for their first day back from winter break. See more inspiring walk in photos.

CPS Facilities Planning Round Tables

CPS’ Educational Facilities Master Plan Round Tables continue this month. This is your chance to let CPS know about the critical needs in your school. Learn more and register at the CPS EFMP community engagement page.

Call to Action

Update your member information

As we embark on our contract campaign, we need to be able to reach you. Please make sure you update your membership info so we have your correct non-CPS email, phone and address. Update your information in the MemberLink portal or send an email to

Jan. 15: Let’s Bring Chicago Home

The real estate industry is pulling out all the stops to kill the Bring Chicago Home ordinance. Join us on MLK Day to do what we do best: organize. Sign up for our Jan. 15 Bring Chicago Home breakfast and phonebank.


Jan. 17: NBCT Information Session

Recruitment is underway for the 2024–2026 Nurturing Teacher Leadership National Board Certification cohort. CTUF will host a virtual information meeting on Jan. 17, 5 to 8:30 p.m. There is now an annual state stipend for NBCTs who remain in hard-to-staff schools for at least two years (in addition to our CPS annual, pensionable stipend, opportunity to move to Lane 5 on the Salary Scale, optional master’s degree, and paid leadership opportunities). For more information, contact or register for the NTL information session here.

Jan. 19: Interpreter stipend deadline

If you are a CTU member who has completed all components of the IEP interpreter training and have interpreted three or more IEPs during the first and second semester of this school year, ask your principal to submit your name on the IEP interpreter stipend form. The deadline for name submissions is Jan. 19.

Jan. 23: Contract Action Team webinar

Have you set up your Contract Action Team yet? Join us Jan. 23 to learn about these important school committees and get your questions answered. Register for the webinar.

Feb. 1: Blood Drive for Sickle Cell Anemia and Maternal Health

In collaboration with the American Red Cross, the CTU Foundation is hosting a blood drive and a panel discussion on sickle cell anemia and maternal health. The blood drive runs from 2 – 7 p.m., with the panel discussion from 5 – 6 p.m. at the CTU Center, 1901 W. Carroll Ave. Register here for the blood drive and here for the panel discussion.

Feb. 2: Black Educators Greek Night

Come out for a night of socializing and community with your Black Greek union siblings, 5 – 7 p.m. at CTU.

Feb. 8: Deadline to run for your Local School Council

Looking to get more involved with your school? Consider running in your school’s upcoming LSC election. The application window for the 2024 LSC elections is open now, with applications due Feb. 8. Learn more.

Feb. 17: Future Black Educators’ Scholarship Gala

Please join the AFT Black Caucus Chicago for its Future Black Educators’ Scholarship Gala, Feb. 17, 5:30 – 8 p.m., at CTU. Tickets will be available at the next HOD meeting for the early bird price of $55. Stop by the Black Caucus table to purchase your ticket.

Feb. 22 and March 2: Delegates and school leaders training

Save the date for our next delegates and school leaders training, where we’ll be mobilizing for our 2024 contract campaign. Stay tuned for details.


Veteran educator Vicki Kurzydlo makes good trouble to advance her students’ and union’s needs

Photo of veteran educator Vicky Kurzydlo, a speical education teacher at Sauganash Elementary.Although some may find it hard to believe, veteran special education teacher, Vicki Kurzydlo, remembers being shy and withdrawn as a child.But, as a young adult, she decided that teaching was a way she could provide children the support and love she didn’t receive in school. “My heart just kept on saying, ‘I want to make a difference, to help children feel loved, cared for, and valued,” she said. “That’s really why I was drawn to special education.” Read more about Vicki.

Members Corner

Celebrate your siblings

Do you know a CTU member who’s achieved a special milestone or accomplishment that you want to acknowledge? Have they made something cool you want to share with the union? Send your blurb (1 to 4 sentences) to for consideration in an upcoming Members Corner.


In the News

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The Curriculum Workbench Examining Bias

Minecraft as a tool for Multidisciplinary Learning Spanish Communication

National Board Certification

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