News and Notes

CTU President Stacy Davis Gates and members of the Summer Organizing Institute at a rally.

Deadline extended: Apply for the Summer Organizing Institute

Have you ever wondered how you could make a difference beyond your classroom? Want to learn the skills to advocate for your students, schools and community? Then, the Summer Organizing Institute (SOI) is for you.

Applications are open for the 2024 SOI, now in its 14th year. We’re looking for members who want to take a leading role in our campaigns to secure member rights and fight for the schools our students deserve.

CTU Organizing Director Rebecca Martinez sees the four-week summer program as an investment in our members and in our resistance.

“SOI is an intensive training program during which we invest in members, invest in their leadership and invest in their organizing skills so we can develop another level of union leadership,” she said. “It has been foundational in developing the rank-and-file leadership that we’ve needed to fight the big fights, whether it was pushing back against school closings in 2013, against charter expansion, against awful mayors like Rahm Emanuel and Lori Lightfoot. It’s been a really integral part of our resistance.”

And, it’s not overstating it to say the SOI helped propel our union brother Mayor Brandon Johnson to the fifth floor of City Hall. Mayor Johnson himself completed the SOI in 2010, one of the first members in our inaugural training.

Two CTU members confere while out on the street canvassing.During the summer program, interns will meet with CTU members, parents, and community leaders to organize for bilingual and special education, green building improvements, CTE expansion, Sustainable Community Schools, and more funding and resources to improve our schools and our jobs. Interns will organize meetings and public events, mobilize supporters and develop grassroots leaders.

The organizing and leadership skills members develop will help our union advance our current contract campaign and support Chicago’s first ever elected school board campaigns.

Help grow our grassroots movement and fight for the schools and city we all deserve, while learning skills that will help you become a school leader when you return in the fall. Read this reflection on last year’s Summer Organizing Institute and send an email with your resume and cover letter to April Robinson-Baker at organizing@ctulocal1.org by April 15 to apply.


CTU President Davis Gates, CTU Delegate, and CTU Educator honored

Last weekend, the Chicago Defender inducted three of our own into their 2024 Women of Excellence class: CTU President Stacy Davis Gates, CTU Delegate Diannia Jemison (above right) of the Keller Regional Gifted Center and CTU educator Erin Cloyd (above left), a Network 12 early childhood specialist. Colleagues, family and friends were on hand for the celebration (below). Congratulations to our amazing colleagues.


Retired CTU Executive Assistant Audrey May at the CTU Women in Leadership luncehon.

CTU hosts inaugural event celebrating our women leaders

This past weekend, we hosted our inaugural Women in Leadership Luncheon. The event celebrated the pioneering women who have contributed to our union, inspire our current leaders, and empower the next generation of women in leadership. Rank-and-file members, as well as CTU leadership, came together to honor the legacy and ongoing contributions of women in the CTU.

This year’s guest of honor was Audrey May, retired long-time Executive Assistant to the CTU President (above photo). Mrs. May won our union’s lifetime achievement award for her faithful service to CTU presidents from 1984 to 2018, including Jackie Vaughn and Karen Lewis.

May’s career is a testament to her dedication to education, community engagement, and social justice. Her tenure was marked by her profound influence on policy, advocacy, and community organization, leaving an indelible mark on the CTU and broader educational landscape.


Promotional image for an event titled, Building Bridges, Sharing Struggles, Gaining Resources.

First time working with newcomers? New to ESL? Longtime teacher of ELs needing support?

Join us April 6 as we create space so you can finish the year strong and gain knowledge and resources for next school year. CPDUs will be available for participants. RSVP today.


Guidance for report card pick up April 10 and 11

Elementary School parent teacher conferences will occur on Wed., April 10, from 11:45 a.m. to 6 p.m., unless otherwise adjusted at the school level. High school parent teacher conferences will be the following day, Thurs., April 11. High school lunch will be from 11 to 11:50 a.m. unless otherwise determined at the school level. Teachers will report to school from 11:50 a.m. to 6:15 p.m. For more information, including information for members who are CPS parents and those celebrating Eid al Fitr, read our guidance.  


April 10 and 11: Don’t forget to vote in your LSC election

Please remember to vote in your school’s Local School Council elections during report card pick up this week. Polls should be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. You are entitled to vote for any combination of two teachers and staff representatives. CTU members who are CPS parents can also vote for the parent reps at their children’s school. A good, proactive LSC can help shape the vision of your school and a dysfunctional one can derail it. Read more, please make sure to vote and contact Sarah Rothschild if you have any concerns about the conduct of the election.


Photo of CTU and other union members cavassing in Pittsburgh over spring break.

How CTU members spent their spring break

What do CTU members do on their Spring break? Nothing short of saving democracy by canvassing for public education workers’ rights champion, Rep. Summer Lee, in the battleground of Pittsburgh, PA. CTU members joined with union allies in the United Electrical Workers, One PA, and SEIU to support Rep. Summer Lee, a key Congressional ally, who became the first Black woman elected to represent Pennsylvania in Congress in 2022. Rep. Lee was one of the first Congressional voices to recognize a growing humanitarian crisis in Gaza and one of the first to call for a ceasefire. CTU members made a substantial and well-received contribution and were proud to walk the walk in solidarity with our union siblings and Rep. Lee. Thanks to everyone who joined us.


Multi-colored flyer advertising a Teen Vogue Guide to the Climate Crisis book give away.

No Planet B: Free books for your students

The Chicago Teachers Union and Haymarket Books are partnering to give away class sets of No Planet B to educators to use in their classroom and/or school community. Books will be picked up at the CTU office, 1901 W. Carroll Ave. Learn more and order your books today.


May 6: Deadline to apply for CTU Scholarship

If you have a child who will be graduating from high school this year, NOW is the time for them to apply for a CTU Scholarship. Scholarships in the amount of $1,000 will be awarded to students to help defray the cost of post-secondary education in college or vocational programs. Learn more and have your student apply by May 6.


Notices

Administrative transfer window open until May 8

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 transfer window is open until May 8. The actual move to your new school will take place in August on the first day teachers return. Get important details here.


Promotional image for April 6 Child Care worker and parent summit from 10 AM to 1 PM at SEIU Healthcare, 2229 South Halsted. Click for more information and to register.


Advertisement for a city-sponsored youth summer jobs fair.


April 24: 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., April 24, 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.


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.


May 17: May Day Fun Day for Retirees

Retirees are invited to join us Fri., May 17, from noon to 4 p.m. at CTU headquarters to socialize with CTU officers, meet fellow retirees, play games, dance and have fun. Stay tuned for more details.


Collaboration Corner

Photo of CTU member Hope Wilson.

Hope Wilson

Headshot of Principal Patricia Bagget Hopkins

Principal Patricia Bagget-Hopkins

Shout out to principal Patricia Baggett-Hopkins, from Claremont STEM Academy (bottom right), for her willingness to listen to and collaborate with her educators. After CTU member and new NBCT Hope Wilson (top right) collected specific student learning data suggesting ways to improve it, Principal Baggett Hopkins acknowledged her advocacy and leadership and implemented her recommendations. As a result, student achievement increased. Wilson represented CTU’s new class of NBCTs as they were honored at last month’s CPS Board meeting. Congratulations to Wilson and Baggett-Hopkins for the kind of collaboration we need more of in our schools.

Both women were recently recognized as part of the 46 new and 73 renewing National Board Certified teachers honored by the CPS Board of Education at it’s March meeting.


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.


Events


In the News

CTUF Quest Center

Motivation Matters
Games and Learning

Teaching Climate Justice
Learning to Spin

National Board Certification Recruitment Meeting