Weekend Update
CONGRATULATIONS to the Illinois PTA 2022 Outstanding Administrator, Teacher, and Volunteer of the Year.
teacher of the year
volunteer of the year
Carrie Azab, Outstanding Administrator of the Year. Ms. Azab is an administrator at School District 54 Early Learning Center in Schaumburg.
In a building that typically enrolls upwards of 600 students annually, Ms. Azab consistently demonstrates her ability to connect with the students and families. She makes it a priority to welcome every new student and to recognize them during classroom visits. She is a strong supporter of sharing information and experiences with parents, family members, and the school community at large through a variety of venues including a weekly newsletter and Facebook, and events focused on the whole family experience. Ms. Azab works closely with the PTA to make ‘Family Engagement’ more than just a phrase. Watching her interact with the students and families gives clear evidence of her understanding that each child has specific needs to be met, and she goes above and beyond to do just that.
Julie Collier, Outstanding Teacher of the Year. Ms. Collier is a teacher at Adlai Stevenson Elementary School in Elk Grove Village.
Ms. Collier is a superhero committed to the PTA Mission. Some of her various roles at Adlai Stevenson school are: Check In-Check Out mentor, Title 1 Teacher, Small Group Instructor, a 1:1 proctor for district assessments, not to mention one of Stevenson’s biggest cheerleaders, you will often find her having an ‘emergency celebration’ for a student caught doing good or mastering a challenge. She is a strong proponent of PTA and as a mom of 2 boys, she believes in the power of partnering together to advocate for all students and foster relationships. She is always quick to lend a hand at PTA Events. She enhances PTA meetings with her wisdom and infectious joy.
Ronnie Turner-Winston, Outstanding Volunteer of the Year. Ms. Turner-Winston is the Urbana High School (UHS) PTSA President.
Ms. Turner-Winston has gone above and beyond her job description as PTSA president. COVID brought additional needs for her school and community and Ronnie stepped up. To ensure remote learning access for students, she worked with internet providers to secure internet access for families. She wrote grant applications, securing 2 National PTA COVID Relief Grants to help her school and community’s COVID recovery efforts. Ronnie also coordinated the National PTA School of Excellence program and the National African American Parent Involvement Day. And last Fall Ronnie added one more thing to her plate when she agreed to be Illinois PTA’s representative on the State Education Equity Committee. Ronnie’s commitment to the students and families at UHS goes beyond meetings, committees, and initiatives. She advocates for UHS students and families at disciplinary hearings as well. She is a true advocate for all, with a keen sense of justice and an undying devotion to UHS, School District 116, and her community.
Advocacy is at the heart of what PTA does, but you may not be sure what role advocacy has for your local PTA. As we shared in Why Advocate? a few weeks ago, you and your PTA members are likely already doing some advocacy even if you didn’t know you were. To help your PTA take its advocacy efforts to the next level, Illinois PTA is releasing the Local Unit Advocacy Toolkit.

Didn’t Come to Springfield… Here’s What You Missed.
The People Who Inspire:

  • Outstanding Volunteer Ronnie Turner-Winston and Outstanding Teacher Julie Collier. Their stories of dedication and passion that each of them brings to the lives of children, their school, and the community they serve were exemplary examples of how one person can make the difference in the lives of so many. From being innovators of programs that enhance the educational experience of students to engaging their PTAs, coworkers and families in their projects, these women’s service to our children and families is infectious and awe-inspiring.
  • Emanuel ‘Chris’ Welch, the Illinois Speaker of the House of Representatives, shared his story as a school board member, his first election to the House of Representatives, and becoming the first black lawmaker to his current position. His story of bringing cursive writing back to our classrooms was inspiring. Sharing how combining your resources, connections, and maybe a little help from your spouse and a colleague on the other side of the aisle’s spouse can make things happen. Speaker Welch welcomed questions and didn’t shy away from any topic.
  • Cynthia ‘Cindi’ Changyit-Levin author of ‘From Changing Diapers to Changing the World,’ reflected on the advocate in all of us. How, since the moment we became a parent, we have been developing the 5 most important skills to being a great advocate for what we are passionate about… we are powerful, we explain things, we are persistent, we are responsible, and we are experts. ‘You have been advocating for years,’ said Levin. ‘If you can convince a 2nd grader to do something, you can convince a legislator.’

Your State PTA in Action  

  • NEW! Advocacy Toolkit, provides your PTA with the tools it needs to advocate at a new level, with a special focus on advocacy IN YOUR COMMUNITY. The toolkit covers how to create an advocacy campaign around an issue, build an advocacy team, form a coalition with other organizations, create an advocacy plan, deal with the media, and more.
  • Spring Advocacy Briefing was shared as our Call to Actions were e-blasted out to all PTA members in Illinois, generating letters to legislators regarding EBF and Safe Gun Storage Education. A great conversation ensued regarding the correlation between safe storage and the gun violence in Chicago impacting our children daily.
  • STEAM Booklet, created by Illinois PTA in partnership with the Illinois State University Classroom in Action team, was introduced. A collection of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) activities for K-5 students that families can do at home or PTAs can use for a Family STEAM Night event. Participants in Springfield were able to try their hands at creating a free-standing tower with only spaghetti, tape, and a marshmallow. The winner structure stood over 56” high.
  • NEW! Volunteer Workshop, The 3 Rs to an Effective Volunteer Program. This program demonstrated how recruiting beyond your inner circle can create a volunteer group of diverse individuals. How to retain volunteers through developing a relationship with your volunteers. And how being responsible for their knowledge will enable them to be responsible for their task. By having an effective volunteer program ‘we don’t recruit volunteers we release leaders.’
  • Virtual Spring Leadership Series coming in April. A different topic will be presented each Tuesday and Thursday during the month. Topics included are PTA Resources, PTA Programs, Membership, Grants, Diversity, Inclusion, and Reflections. Registration is now open.

Although we did not have a quorum present to allow us to conduct the business of Illinois PTA, we are so pleased that we were able to convene and demonstrate the work of PTA continues to move forward.

We hope to see you when we reconvene on April 28 at 7 pm via ZOOM.

Carolyn McCarty
Illinois PTA, President
Next Week's Training Schedule
RESOURCE WORKSHOP | *Your PTA Virtual Resource Tour

Come along with us on April 5th at 7 pm as we discuss some of the many PTA resources available to you. We will take you on a virtual tour of areas of the National PTA, Illinois PTA and MemberHub websites and discuss a few other resources you may not even know exist to help you.

PROGRAMS WORKSHOP | Your Community Engagement Blueprint

Illinois PTA works diligently to support public schools and ensure all children and youth have equal opportunities and access to a quality education. On April 7th at 7 pm learn how we can assist your PTA and community with education achievements, community involvement, and high standards of excellence through PTA Programs.

Coming Up
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