If you are reading this, you grew and learned with powerful teachers. Every morning, all over Chicagoland, thousands of teachers wake up before first light, start their coffee makers, put on their sensible shoes, and head to school to teach. To expand the minds of our children. To teach compassion, empathy, the ABCs, how to be a friend, and , yes, how to read. Teachers do so much more than teach academics – they teach us how to be good people and how to exist in the world. Can you think of a teacher who taught you more than what was in the lesson plans, who broadened your understanding of the world? If you can, take the time to #ThankATeacher today.
Today, in honor of National Teachers’ Day, WITS proudly announces our new 2019-2020 cohort of Rochelle Lee Teacher Award recipients. This 31st cohort of outstanding professionals was approved by the WITS Selection Committee and will be invited to attend the 2019 Summer Institute.
RLTA 2019-2020 by the Numbers
To join the Rochelle Lee Teacher Award (RLTA) program, applicants answer questions about their literacy practice in essay form. Then, the applications are scored by the WITS Selection Committee, made up of principals, teachers, and other members of the WITS community. Every application is scored separately three times using this rubric. WITS keeps the median score. Then, using maps of location, information about school performance levels, study group logistics, and taking into consideration the need for resources and school-readiness, we determine a cutoff score and make awards. To accept the award, applicants commit to attend the Summer Institute and focusing on the three pillars of RLTA during the upcoming school year (read alouds, independent reading, and engaging classroom libraries). Once Awardees complete their requirements, they qualify for Classroom Library Grants to purchase new, high-quality diverse books for their students.
The 31st cohort of RLTA Awardees come from 84 schools all over CPS, with an average of 10 years of teaching experience. 100 Awardees will be joining the program for the first time with 60 teachers returning for another year of learning. 160 teachers have been offered the award. That means that over 4,000 students will benefit from WITS workshops, where teachers can choose from over 200 hours of professional learning. At the end of the Summer Institute, these 16- teachers will order books for their classroom libraries; over 8,800 titles will go into the hands of students. Teachers work an average of 52 hours a week, 30 hours of instruction and 22 hours of out-of-the-classroom preparation. The CPS calendar for the 2019-2020 school year includes 38 weeks of instruction. That’s at least 121,600 hours of top-quality literacy instruction fueled and uplifted by the Rochelle Lee Teacher Award.
Did you benefit from the many hours that a hardworking teacher put into your personal development? Did you learn to read while learning to be a good friend? Do you know a Rochelle Lee Teacher Awardee who deserves thanks and recognition? If so, #ThankATeacher.