News and Notes

Photo of packed CTU hall as union delegates deliberated on this year’s contract proposals.

HOD overwhelmingly passes transformative contract proposals

Last Wednesday, the CTU House of Delegates met for a very spirited and important meeting. We presented, reviewed and deliberated the contract proposals we will deliver to CPS, proposals that will transform our public schools. These proposals are the product of more than four months of creation, debate and review by more than 500 rank-and-file members and our citywide PPC.

President Stacy Davis Gates at the podium answers a question from a member speaking at the microphone on the floor of the meeting.Since the start of the contract process last fall, when we began collecting individual member and committee suggestions, several key priorities emerged. Members want a better school day for elementary students and staff, stronger class size enforcement, fuller bilingual and special education staffing and resources, robust CTE programs and green facilities, expanded housing support and expansion of Sustainable Community Schools.

As CTU President Stacy Davis Gates said last week, we have an opportunity to transform our public schools, but it will not be an easy lift. “We are at the foot of the mountain, looking up,” she said.

During the six-hour meeting, members reviewed and offered amendments on the 142-page contract proposal to be presented to CPS. Our citywide PPC and committee members answered questions and provided clarification about the draft demands. Throughout the discussion, members demonstrated their commitment to their schools, colleagues and students and ultimately overwhelmingly approved a comprehensive and transformative contract proposal of which we can all be proud.

On Thursday, we held an all-member tele-town hall to discuss the proposals with our rank and file. President Stacy Davis Gates answered a member’s question about our chance of success this year. “Our power is in the rank and file and in organizing our communities, being connected to the families we serve,” she said. “Our formula works. We restored our bargaining rights after they were taken from us, and we won an elected school board.”

This week and next, your delegate should be hosting a union meeting in your building. Please review the proposals and come prepared with questions and ideas on how we can build this campaign from the ground up in our buildings. You can find the full contract proposal in MemberLink.


Photo of CTU members canvassing for Graciela Guzman and Bring Chicago Home.

Election day is March 19, get ready for a week of action to Bring Chicago Home

Get ready for a powerful week of action as we rally together to Bring Chicago Home. Your participation is key to making a difference. Mark your calendars for the following activities:

We need everyone to make this week of action a success. Encourage your colleagues, friends and family to join us. Read all the details on how to get involved.


Fridays are for CTU Red


Blue, green and yellow graphic explaining how to vote for the Bring Chicago Home ordinance.

Time to vote: Early voting is open across the city

Early voting is now open in all 50 wards. And a new court ruling says the Bring Chicago Home measure is still on the ballot and votes will be counted. It’s more important than ever to:

  1. VOTE YES to Bring Chicago Home. Go all the way to the end of your ballot to vote on the referendum.
  2. VOTE YES on all the CTU-endorsed candidates on your ballot.
  3. Sign up to canvass or phone bank for BCH and also support our education champions Tara Stamps and Graciela Guzmán.

Assessment vote schedule not yet out

We are aware that some school administrations have started presenting assessment plans to staff this week. This is premature, as CPS has not even issued the 2024–25 Assessment Calendar yet. CTU is in the process of meeting with CPS to finalize the timeline for the assessment vote process for this spring under Article 44-32 of our contract.

In the meantime, delegates and PPC members should add assessments as an agenda item to their next PPC meeting and discuss what is or is not working about your school’s current Assessment Plan. Use this as an opportunity to start to survey and solicit input from your members in all grade bands to limit unnecessary over-testing of our students and put more of our valuable time toward learning and instruction.

The Grievance Department will be scheduling an Assessment Vote training after Spring Break—dates and times will be available soon. Please reach out to your Field Rep if you have any questions or concerns.


Statement on CPS coordination and national measles outbreak

We have communicated to CPS CEO Pedro Martinez the CTU’s expectation to participate in creating support and ensuring resources for navigating the national measles outbreak in our school communities. We appreciate the unprecedented level of cooperation and transparency we are receiving from the Mayor’s Office and City of Chicago during this public health event. Read more.


Photo of people at a rally holding a blue yellow elected school board banner.

Final elected school board plan on governor’s desk

Last week the Illinois legislature passed a bill that finalizes the maps and other details for the first ever election of Chicago’s school board. This means we are one step closer to achieving the democracy CPS eduators, families and community organizations have been demanding for more than a decade. Read more.


Right wing balks at civic engagement of our students

As public school educators, our members — especially civics and government teachers — have an obligation to provide students with an understanding of the democratic process and opportunities to participate in it. But the same right-wing forces that deny the results of the last election, spread voter fraud conspiracies and attack voting rights want to stop us us from supporting Chicago’s youth as they begin their voting journey. Read more.


Multi-colored flyer advertising a forum discussion Mayor Johnson’s $1.4 billion community investment plan.

March 14: What to know about Mayor Johnson’s $1.4 billion community investment

CTU’s Pavlyn Jankov will join Deputy Mayor Kenya Merritt and Kendrick Hall of People for Community Recovery this Thursday to discuss the exciting new investment program the City of Chicago is rolling out and what it means for our communities. RSVP for the online event.


Grow Your Own applications open

The Grow Your Own (GYO) teacher preparation program is dedicated to addressing the lack of racial diversity in our teaching force. Our PSRPs, teaching assistants, parent workers, tutors, and other members of school communities are encouraged to apply by May 1. You know your school community. Please encourage engaged parents, PSRPs and other community members you know to apply. Learn more and apply today.


AFT mandatory reporting survey

AFT and the University of California, Irvine are conducting an online survey to learn more about educators’ perceptions of reporting to Child Protective Services. Even if you haven’t reported to CPS, we are interested in hearing from you. Survey participants will be entered into a drawing to receive one of 65 Target, Staples, or Bookshop gift cards for $15. Get more information and participate in the study.


Administrative transfer window opens March 24

Teachers may transfer schools without the consent of their current principal providing that the Talent Office receives the administrative transfer request signed by the receiving principal between 75 and 30 calendar days before the end of the second semester. This spring, the dates are March 24 to May 8. The actual move to your new school will take place in August on the first day teachers return. Get important details here.


Save the date: Apply for the Summer Organizing Institute by April 1

We’re now taking applications for our 2024 Summer Organizing Institute, now in its 14th year! As an intern with us this summer, you’ll take a leading role in our fight for member rights and educational justice. To apply by April 1, email April Robinson-Baker at organizing@ctulocal1.org.


Call to Action

Let’s do this!

We’re in the final stretch of the primary campaign and we need you to help send CTU Organizer Graciela Guzman to the Illinois Senate, return Commissioner Tara Stamps to the Cook County Board, and pass Bring Chicago Home. Sign up to help today.


Notices

March 20: 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 Wed., March 20, 5 to 8:30 p.m. There is now an $8,000 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 LynnCherkasky-Davis@ctuf.org or register for the NTL information session here.


Brown and beige flyer advertising a forum titled Builiding Bridges, Sharing Struggles, Gaining Resources. The forum is April 6, 2024 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at CTU Center.

April 6: Building Bridges, Sharing Struggles, Gaining Resources — A Gathering for Teachers to Help Teachers

Do you have an influx of newcomers in your classroom? Would it be helpful to hear what other teachers have done to help meet the needs of their students? Join us April 6 as we create space so that you can finish the year strong and gain knowledge and resources for next school year. RSVP today.


Collaboration Corner

We know schools work best when administration and staff collaborate to meet the needs of students. But we know that doesn’t always happen. Does your principal demonstrate collaboration and good instructional leadership on important issues? Send your stories to communications@ctulocal.org.


Members Corner

Member thanks two amazing collegues at Brentano Elementary

Emily Thies, delegate at Brentano Math and Science Academy, sent this shout out to two of her special colleagues. Thanks for sharing, Emily.

“My wonderful colleagues, Kelly Harris-Preston and Jasmin Profit created a Black Student Union at Brentano Elementary. They do a lot! They have been meeting weekly since last year, outside of work hours. I think this is the first BSU in a CPS elementary school. They have taken the students on field trips to high schools. They made t-shirts for members and for allies that are proudly worn all around our school. In addition to organizing a month-long celebration of Black History, they planned a beautiful Black Renaissance Festival in February. When I tell you it was the best day I have had in my seven years at Brentano, I mean it!

There were nurses, a hairstylist, artists, authors, dancers, a band, and the Jessie White Tumblers. I could go on forever about how wonderful these two women are. Kelly is an incredible middle school science teacher, who planned a WHOLE school field trip to the Botanic gardens this fall. Jasmin is the dean, for whom the SEL needs of our students are paramount, and is also studying to be a special education teacher. We are so blessed to have these brilliant educators at Brentano, they deserve ALL the flowers.”


In memoriam

In memoriam for February 2024.


Events


In the News

CTUF Quest Center

Motivation Matters
Games and Learning

Teaching Climate Justice
Learning to Spin

National Board Certification Recruitment Meeting

For more CTU news and updates, please visit our website at www.ctulocal1.org, and follow us on Facebook (including our members only Facebook group), Instagram and Twitter.