Learning communities

Rochelle Lee Teacher Award Study Groups are school-based professional learning communities. Study groups develop a goal to guide their learning throughout the school year, and meet monthly to discuss instruction and push their practice to reach their goal. Study Groups allow teachers to have a school-wide impact on student literacy instruction. The application is open from mid-December through mid-March. Awardees are announced late April of each year.

study group projects

Application faqs

The Rochelle Lee Teacher Award Alumni Network consists of over
0 teachers
committed to developing lifelong readers in the classroom.


Tailored to your needs

WITS Summer Institute is one of the many benefits of the RLTA program. Over the summer, more than 100 Chicago Public Schools teachers come together to improve their literacy instructional practices at Rochelle Lee Teacher Award Summer Institute. Awardees receive access to over 200 hours of teacher-led professional development, and are given the opportunity to tailor their experience to gain the resources and techniques that are most applicable to the needs of their classrooms and students. In Summer 2022, all CPS teachers may participate in elective workshops. Non awardees may participate in elective workshops at no charge and earn CPDUs toward ISBE recertification.

Summer Institute Highlights

  • The Becoming Readers Institute – a two-day workshop that explores one’s self as a reader through in-depth discussions and activities around a pre-selected novel
  • Elective workshops that cover topics such as guided reading, using literature to teach math, incorporating technology to teach literacy, engaging middle school boys in writing workshop, and more
summer institute faqs

Sign up for Summer Institute Reminders

WITS is excited to welcome elementary Chicagoland educators in participating in professional development alongside Rochelle Lee Teacher Awardees! Summer Institute is an opportunity for educators to reflect on their professional needs, collaborate with peers, and acquire meaningful strategies that they return to the classroom in the fall. Educators will receive continuing education credits for any workshop they attend. Summer Institute 2022 will offer a mix of online and in-person workshops.

The professional development offerings in the past included:

  • From Curious Researcher to Passionate Change Maker: Inquiry-Based Approach to Teaching Literacy Skills Through a Social Justice Lens
    • Workshop audience: pre-k-8th; teachers of diverse learners
    • Date and time: Monday, July 12th from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
  • Let’s Play: Increasing Engagement Through Performance and Collaboration
    • Workshop audience: pre-k-8th; teachers of diverse learners
    • Date and time: Tuesday, July 20th from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
  • An Autistic Teacher Shows You How To Make Your ELA Classroom Friendly To The Neurodiverse
    • Workshop audience: 3rd-5th; teachers of diverse learners
    • Date and time: Saturday, July 24th from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
  • Literacy in the Three Linguistic Spaces: Engaging Emerging Bilinguals in Authentic Ways
    • Workshop audience: 3rd-5th
    • Date and time: Monday, July 26th from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm
  • Get Your Mind Into the Gutter: Strategies for Teaching Graphic Novels
    • Workshop audience: 3rd-8th; teachers of diverse learners
    • Date and time: Saturday, July 31st from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
  • The Power and Magic of Interactive Read Alouds: Teaching SEL Through Literature
    • Workshop audience: pre-k-8th; teachers of diverse learners
    • Date and time: Wednesday, August 4th from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm
  • Community Engagement and Service Learning in the Classroom
    • Workshop audience: pre-k-8th
    • Date and time: Thursday, August 12th from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm
  • G Suite in the Writer's Workshop (two-day workshop)
    • Workshop audience: 3rd-8th; teachers of diverse learners
    • Date and time: Monday, August 2nd and Wednesday, August 4th from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm

If you are interested in Summer Institute, please complete the form below and WITS will use the information to contact you when registration is open. Availability will be limited, and educators will be registered on a first come, first serve basis.

You do not need to complete this form if you are a 2021-2022 Rochelle Lee Teacher Awardee.

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WITS Library Materials

  • Professional texts available to use in the WITS library (select "professional texts" from drop-down menu).
  • Booksource’s Classroom Organizer - a free, online tool to catalog your classroom library books, create class check-out rosters, manage usage reports, and more.

Lending Library

  • The WITS Lending Library contains more than 350 sets of children and young adult books. Titles are available in whole class sets and smaller group sets. Current and former WITS educators may borrow books from our lending library.
  • View the Rochelle Lee Lending Library catalog and availability online via LibraryThing.
  • WITS Lending Library/LibraryThing reference guide.
  • Contact Daphne Robinson in advance to borrow books from the lending library for your students. This will ensure that the desired books are available, and that a specific time can be scheduled to pick up the books.




Remaining Readers Book Club (RRBC) is a monthly book discussion group where Rochelle Lee Teacher Awardees read adult literature and discuss it with peers. Through RRBC, teachers will read books that invite investigation, set reading goals, meet new teacher-friends, continuing to stay engage with their reading-life while earning CPDUs. The Remaining Readers Book Club is for Rochelle Lee Teacher Awardees and Alumni ONLY.

register for remaining readers book clubThese workshops are for RTLA Awardees and Alumni only. Contact Daphne Robinson ( for the page password.