Application period is now closed.

The application period for the Rochelle Lee Teacher Award is now closed.
Please read the eligibility requirements prior to applying.

RLTA Application

WITS Covid Response

Beginning December 1, 2021, Working in the Schools (WITS) is requiring all volunteers (Board of Directors, Associates Board, in-person school mentors, staff, and educators) to be up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations as defined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to participate in any in-person events, professional development, and programs as part of WITS. Up to date means a person has received all recommended COVID-19 vaccines, including any booster dose(s) when eligible.

WITS is committed to the health and safety of all our mentors, volunteers, school communities, and staff. By mandating that all those who are eligible are vaccinated to participate in WITS, we can protect each other and ensure consistent delivery of our mission.

WITS is a community of thousands that creates opportunities for every student in Chicago to be literate. We understand that some in our community may have personal, health, or religious reasons as to why the COVID-19 vaccine is not right for them. Given the severity of this ongoing pandemic, we must do what we can to help ensure the safety of everyone involved. Therefore, WITS will not make exceptions for volunteers for health, personal or religious exemptions, and will only accept those that can prove vaccination status.

We appreciate all the care people have shown to WITS during this unique time. We thank you for supporting us and committing to keeping each other safe and healthy by adhering to this policy.

If you arrive to a WITS event or program prior to completing this process, you will be able to complete it on your phone prior to participating or show proof of vaccination to onsite staff. If you cannot complete either, you will not be able to participate in that day’s activity and will need to complete the online process prior to participation.

COVID-19 vaccination remains highly effective against COVID-19 hospitalization and death caused by the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2. (CDC). This vaccine requirement is for the safety of students and staff and their families and communities.

Anti-racist Commitment

WITS is a community of readers who promotes literacy, builds communities, and finds strength in sharing stories, perspectives, and empathy as pathways to dismantling racist behaviors and mindsets.

WITS is committed to connecting people across various boundaries as we believe cultivating relationships between diverse groups of people builds empathy and understanding. These key steps serve to dismantle ideologies that oppress People of Color and are foundational to the future we aspire to create.

We are and remain committed to being an anti-racist organization.  We acknowledge that racism has pervaded our public education system, from punishing enslaved people who sought to learn to read and write, to Separate but Equal education laws, to housing discrimination that often maintained school segregation and perpetuated unequal distribution of funds.

Our community building will continue to include and elevate the voices of People of Color.  We acknowledge the dynamic that can exist if our staff, Board, and volunteers are predominantly white and the students we serve are predominantly People of Color.

With these acknowledgements, WITS commits to:

  • Continue to develop a staff, Board of Directors, Associates Board, and volunteer corps that is more reflective of the communities we serve;
  • Offer annual antiracism education to our community members and volunteers through WITS Talks and other resources;
  • Partner with companies whose cultures align with our antiracist values and practices;
  • Promote books by Authors and Illustrators of Color to foster conversation and build a culture of antiracism in our work with students, teachers, and the public; and
  • Assess internal processes that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion.

As a member of our community, we ask you to be an active part of this awareness and commitment with us, and to meaningfully uphold our values – Community, Empowerment, and Consistency.