Today is the first day of Teacher Appreciation Week, but I think we can all agree that our appreciation, gratitude, and support for our teachers should not be limited to one week per year. Many of you likely do not know that I began my career as a high school English teacher in Franklin County North Carolina in the early 1990s. I taught 9th and 10th grade English, coached the baseball and football teams, and made many lifelong friends. I recall those days quite fondly and my experiences with my students fostered a passion for education policy and reform that persists to this day. Following the last two years, it’s more important than ever that we listen to our educators’ needs and wants and do our best to provide the much-needed support they seek.
As an organization, the Illinois Network of Charter Schools (INCS) is dedicated to ensuring all students in Illinois have access to a high-quality public school that prepares them for a successful future. That vision is only possible because of dedicated teachers who are determined to see their students succeed in all facets of life. Teachers who devote their time and energy into the classroom, clubs, after-school programs, and projects in their communities.
I encourage all of you to take a few minutes this week to thank the teachers and educators in your lives. Whether it’s a teacher at your school, a friend of yours, or even a teacher you had in the past, reach out and thank them for their efforts and the significant role they play in educating our children.
Along with highlighting and sharing the incredible charter school teachers throughout the state this week, INCS will continue to provide trainings, leadership paths, and advocacy opportunities for teachers to use their voice to better their schools, classrooms, students, and most importantly, themselves. Teachers are the foundation of our education system and INCS is committed to taking action to provide support for teachers in Illinois.