July Updates

Over the July 4 weekend, Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed House Bill 2643, which is legislation that extends unemployment insurance for non-instructional school employees until Sept. 4. It goes into effect immediately.

The legislation allows noninstructional, research, or primarily administrative employees of educational employers to receive unemployment compensation during periods between academic terms or seasonal breaks, even if they have a “reasonable assurance” of returning to work in the next academic year.

IEA is sending out an email to members soon to inform them about this measure and also provide information about the federal child tax credit money that will be flowing into many members’ bank accounts on July 15. In addition, IEA will be sharing the following resources:

Naperville Tornado Help

Friends, Colleagues and Fellow NUEA Members,

It has been a frightening last 24 hours here in District 203. As you are no doubt aware, a tornado tore through a large portion of the district last night, from about Maplebrook Elementary to Meadow Glens and Ranch View. This event has affected many of our members, our neighbors and our students. It has also affected our neighboring communities of Woodridge and Darien. Thankfully, there has been no loss of life reported as of yet, but the property damage is clearly considerable and lives were altered last night. It is for this reason that we write this short note today.

One of our greatest strengths is our unity. We are an organization whose main purpose is to look out for the welfare of our members and, in so doing, to look out for the welfare of those we teach and for our greater community. Now is a good time to use our primary strength. We have spoken today with a number of our members who were directly affected by last night’s events. And still more of us are aware of colleagues, friends, neighbors and students who may be in need of assistance at this time. Additionally, still more of us are in positions where we can lend a helping hand to those in need.

As a result, we have created THIS DOCUMENT that everyone can edit. If you have a personal need or know someone who does, please list it here with any appropriate contact information.

And if you are able to help, please indicate so and reach out accordingly. It also has options for making general donations of time and material. In this way, we can use our greatest strength to be a source of aid and comfort for our colleagues, our friends and our community.

Thank you all in advance for letting us know of the needs that exist, and for what any of us can do to meet them. In this last year, we have continually proven we can function well in crisis, and that continues into the summer. Thank you for what you have done, what you are doing and what you will continue to do to make our community better. Especially in times of crisis, we are better because of you. Have a wonderful evening, and be well.

-President Dan Iverson

D203 Teacher Union Awards Scholarships

Students honored for their Community Contributions

Four students from the Naperville area received scholarships from the Naperville Unit Education Association (NUEA) in the amount of $1500 each.  The NUEA annually gives three scholarships to high school seniors who are children of NUEA members, and one scholarship to an undergraduate child of an NUEA member who is pursuing a career in education.  Scholarships are awarded based on extracurricular participation and contributions to the community.  These scholarships were awarded in May 2021.

The high-school scholarship recipients are Madeline Sniadecki from Naperville Central High School, Zack Stokes from Waubonsie Valley High School, and Samantha Weigel from Naperville Central High School.  The undergraduate scholarship winner is Kayla Hoffmann from Judson University in Elgin, Illinois.

The NUEA scholarships were created by certified staff in District 203 through their union to recognize outstanding contributions among area high school seniors.  The scholarships are funded by member dues and represent a small portion of the local support NUEA provides the community through scholarships, volunteerism, and charitable giving.

Madeline Sniadecki – High School Senior

Madeline Sniadecki will be attending the University of Iowa majoring in Communication Sciences and Disorders.  While at Naperville Central High School, Maddie has been a leader in all aspects of student life.  Maddie participated in cross-country, track, soccer, and basketball, serving as a captain of the cross-country team her senior year.  She also participated in the National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society.  She was a member of the Student Advisory Council and served as an Executive Board member and Chairwoman for the Mr. NCHS committee.

Outside of school, Maddie has been a confirmation retreat leader and youth group member at Saint Raphael Church.  She partnered with WaterStep her junior year to organize a shoe drive at Naperville Central.  She collected over 200 pairs of shoes which were resold to provide money for a filtration system for clean water in a small village in Africa.

Zack Stokes – High School Senior

Zack Stokes will be attending the University of West Florida to study accounting and play baseball.  Zack carefully balances his time between his church community and his school community.  He has served as a member of his high-school church youth group and as a volunteer for vacation bible school, Feed My Starving Children, and the middle school youth group.  Zack traveled with his youth group to Colorado on a mission trip to help less privileged individuals find success in life.

Zack has played baseball on various traveling teams since he was nine years old and has been a member of the Waubonsie Valley Baseball Team for all four years of high school. He also worked as a lifeguard during the summers. 

At Waubonsie Valley High School, Zack was chosen as a student leader for the LINK Leadership Team.  As a team member, he met weekly to help Freshman acclimate to the high-school environment.  Zack used his own experiences to help create a positive example for others to follow.

Samantha Weigel – High School Senior

This fall, Samantha will be attending Grand Valley State University to swim and study Elementary Education.  Samantha is a highly decorated swimmer at Naperville Central High School, but she also finds time to participate as a LINK Leader and Commissioner and as a member of the National Honor Society.  Samantha also earned the Silver Award as a Girl Scout Cadette her Freshman year.  She is a PE student leader, swim teacher, and lifeguard in the summers. 

Samantha’s swim career is just starting, but already impressive.  She participated as a swimmer at Naperville Central High School for four years, earning varsity letters each year.  She also was an Academic All-Conference Athlete, state qualifier, and national qualifier for three years. 

Kayla Hoffmann- Undergraduate Future in Education Award

Kayla will be a junior at Judson University in Elgin, IL for the fall 2021 school year studying Elementary Education with an LBS1 endorsement. She just completed her second practicum this past semester in a 4/5 split classroom where she spent over 50 hours working with some amazing students and building confidence in her teaching skills. She was admitted into Kappa Delta Pi (International Honors Society in Education) and named to the KDP officers as the Event Coordinator for Judson University. Kayla has loved working with children since she was young and gives credit to many of the inspirational teachers that she had growing up in District 203 attending Elmwood, Lincoln, and NCHS.

Her passion to make a difference in the lives of children was strengthened as she volunteered from 7th through 12th grade for over 500 hours mentoring elementary students at her church.  Teaching in the Redhawk Preschool for Early Childhood Education and at Maplebrook Elementary School for the “Introduction to Teaching 2” class gave Kayla a unique opportunity to experience teaching firsthand.

School Board Elections

The District 203 School Board currently has four open positions. The NUEA, in collaboration with members of IEA Region 39, recommends the following candidates for the Naperville 203 School Board:

Charles Cush (incumbent)
Kristin Fitzgerald (incumbent)
Donna Wandke (incumbent)
Amanda McMillen

All school board candidates were given an opportunity to be interviewed by a panel of educators and staff from NUEA and our associated ESP Unions NESPA, NTA, and NUMA. Of all candidates, we believe the four above recommended candidates will best guide the district back to full-time instruction safely and responsibly.

Furthermore, they have expertise on a wide range of other issues that will be a necessity post-COVID. District 203 is the 8th largest district in Illinois. Managing the social, emotional, and academic needs of our students, in addition to the financial needs of our community, requires board members with a long-term vision and understanding of what is needed to maintain our district’s status as a high-achieving, fiscally responsible district. They have demonstrated that vision and understanding.

Elections will be held on Tuesday, April 6, 2021. We encourage you to vote!

Welcome New Teachers!

District 203 certified staff members have been attending orientation workshops on July 22 and 23 at Naperville Central, Madison Jr. High, and River Woods Elementary schools. The NUEA was excited to welcome new staff to the district during those workshops. Executive Board members presented the NUEA New Teacher Handbook and discussed the structure, mission, and benefits of our organization.

If you are a new certified staff member in our district and you have questions, please reach out to an executive board member, talk to a building representative, or login to NUEA Connect and read through our posts and links.

NUEA Awards Four Scholarships

2020 Scholarship Winners

Four students from the Naperville area received scholarships from the Naperville Unit Education Association (NUEA) in the amount of $1500 each. The NUEA annually gives three scholarships to high school seniors and one scholarship to a college undergraduate who plans on pursuing an education-related field. All applicants must be children of NUEA members.  Scholarships are awarded based on extracurricular participation and contributions to the community.

The 2020 scholarship recipients are Maria Gabrielli from Naperville Central High School, Kathryn Southon from Naperville Central High School, Mordecai Park from Naperville Central High School, and Alexis Henz from North Central College.

The NUEA scholarships were created by certified staff in District 203 to recognize outstanding contributions among area high school seniors and college undergraduates. The scholarships are funded by member dues and represent a small portion of the local support NUEA provides the community through scholarships, volunteerism, and charitable giving.

Maria will be attending Loyola University this fall with a major in Global Education Policy. Maria’s participation on the J. Kyle Braid Experimental Education Foundation had a profound influence on her choice of major. The Foundation helps empower young adults to make positive and healthy decisions while fostering kindness and harmony among others. Maria was also a member of the LINK Crew, the National Honor Society, and the Adapted PE/Art Peer program. Also a strong athlete, Maria was the Captain of the Water Polo Team and the Swim Team at NCHS.   

Kathryn is planning to attend the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana this fall in the Campus Honors Program with a major in Chemical Engineering. At NCHS, she has been involved in Class Council, Medical Club, LINK Crew, National Honor Society, and Spanish Honor Society. Her athletic activities include indoor and outdoor track and field, cross country, and gymnastics. Outside of school, Kathryn is heavily involved with Girl Scouts and volunteers with the Naperville Library Summer Reading Program.

Mordecai will be attending Marquette University in the fall with a major in Exercise Science, which is a component of the Doctor of Physical Therapy program. Mordecai is heavily invested in the band and in his church. As a musician, Mordecai performed in the Steel Pan Ensemble, Drumshow, Band, Marching Band, the musical, and gave percussion lessons. He also was a church nursery volunteer, a church worship team member, a Vacation Bible School volunteer, and a Manna volunteer for Breakthrough Urban Ministries. He completed a mission trip, but still found time to participate in the National Honors Society and intermural basketball.  

Alexis has been focusing on Elementary Education while a student at NCC. As a senior in high school, she completed a job-shadowing program at the 4th grade level, which helped inspire her to pursue teaching. Alexis has taught and observed in the classroom for over 150 hours the last 3 years in grades 1st, 3rd, and 5th. Last summer, she also volunteered at the library for their summer reading program and helped lead a Sign Language Story Time.  She will complete another field experience this fall before completing student teaching in Fall 2021. 

Joint Statement from Gov. Pritzker and IEA

March 17, 2020

Joint Statement of the Office of Governor JB Pritzker, Illinois Education Association, Illinois Federation of Teachers, Illinois Association of School Administrators, Illinois Principals Association, and Illinois State Board of Education

These are unprecedented times, but we are all together with the goal of caring for students. Our organizations are truly inspired by the phenomenal cooperation shown across the state and encourage all of our members to be reasonable, creative, and generous while determining what’s best for our students in Illinois. ISBE has announced that these will be Act of God Days. To assist our members during this time, the leadership of the IEA, IFT, IASA, and IPA have prepared this joint guidance with the Office of Governor JB Pritzker and ISBE to be effective through March 30, 2020. As this is a rapidly evolving situation, subsequent guidance may be released.

From March 17 through March 30, all school district employees on the district’s payroll will get paid as if the schools were functioning normally, regardless of the district plans developed during this time. These school days will not be made up. All employees will get paid as if they did all the normal work they would have done if schools were functioning normally. Normal pay includes salary, hourly and stipend pay, benefits, and employees will receive full and normal service credit in their pension systems.

From March 17 through March 30, the employer can expect school district employees to participate in work activities in some form. The concrete details of the work, including stipend work, that will occur during this timeframe must be worked out through mutual agreement, but negotiations should focus on ensuring (1) continuity of education, (2) provision of meals, and (3) other student support measures as appropriate for each district. Public health and safety of students and staff are paramount, and to the extent work can be done remotely, it should be. Illinois Department of Public Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations on social distancing and group gatherings should be adhered to. Employers should not require any more employees than absolutely necessary to come to school.

No school district can unilaterally change the use of benefit days. We encourage local collaboration on the use of benefit days and encourage ways to support anyone who is sick or is caring for a sick family member.
We acknowledge that the current law on teacher evaluation and Reduction in Force (honorable dismissal and layoff) remains in full force including all timelines and existing statutory language. If necessary, meetings and evaluation conferences associated with these statutes will occur remotely.

NUEA Attends IEA RA

Several members of the NUEA visited the IEA Representative Assembly from Thursday, March 5 to Saturday, March 7. Delegates discussed adjustments to the bylaws, legislative platform, and association business.

Delegates were visited by Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker on Thursday. Pritzker touted his recent pro-education accomplishments, including raising the minimim teach salary to $40,000, raising the minimum wage to $15/hour, eliminating the Charter School Commission, and increasing funding to public schools and colleges.

On Friday, delegates were addressed by Dr. Jill Biden, wife of presidential candidate Joe Biden. Jill Biden is a member of NEA and is a strong advocate for returning the nation’s educational leadership voices to those of educators, not politicians. Dr. Biden followed up her address by walking among the assembled delegates seeking information to further the interests of Illinois educators.

On Saturday, delegates heard from Rep. Chuy Garcia, who spoke on behalf of Sen. Bernie Sanders. Chuy spoke at length about how Sanders would support teachers and give them better access to resources to help historically underfunded schools.

Naperville Sun Talks Teacher Pensions

The following Letter to the Editor was penned by Joan Knopp, and may be found in the August 18 edition of the Naperville Sun.

A recent editorial in the Chicago Tribune, the parent company of the Naperville Sun, yet again decried teacher pensions, citing David Piccioli, an American Federation lobbyist, for receiving a pension for life after working as a substitute teacher for one day. The article neglected to state that he was able to count his time as a lobbyist as well.

All of this is true. What is not is the implication that this is commonplace in the teacher pension system. It most certainly is not. The vast majority of teachers earn their pensions, follow the rules, and make contributions.

Here are some facts that the editorial board may want to include in its future articles. The vesting period for new teachers is 10 years to qualify for a minimum pension. Unlike those with a 401(k) plan, when a teacher leaves the system only individual contributions can be extracted. Teachers forfeit contributions made by their school or made by the state on their behalf. Those with a 401(k) can take all contributions and roll them into an IRA.

Teacher pensions are back-loaded. Teachers work many years before their future benefits exceed the value of their contributions plus interest. Only 20% of teachers will break even from the state retirement system. Only 50% of teachers will qualify for a pension.

Many teachers work multiple jobs and should be able to cluster together their savings should they ever change jobs. Teachers should be able to take their savings with them no matter the reason for their leaving, be it personal, relocation to another state, or career change. Some states allow this. Illinois does not. Why?

The vast majority of contributions made by today’s teachers are for unfunded pension liabilities. This is not the result of teachers not contributing their fair share. About 78% of Illinois pension contributions are going to pension debt created by horrific mismanagement by state leaders of both political parties.

Perhaps it would prove beneficial for state leaders and the editorial staff of the Chicago Tribune to read state Supreme Court Justice Karmeir’s opinion on the subject of teacher pensions delivered as a judgment of the court.

NUEA Welcomes New Staff

NUEA would like to welcome District 203 certified staff members that our joining our organization over the next few days. Note that you are currently viewing our publicly accessible site. Our members’ only site is called NUEA Connect, and it may be accessed by clicking the link on the right.

Once you register for NUEA Connect, you will receive a confirmation e-mail over the next day or two. After that, you can access all of the members’ only content.

Know that if you were previously a member of the IEA in another district, you still must sign-up for NUEA (our local) using the IEA form in order to begin your new NUEA membership retain your old IEA/NEA membership.

If you have any questions concerning your membership, please contact President Dan Iverson.

NUEA