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This January marks two years since the first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed in the United States. Less than three months later, California schools began closing, and educators entered one of the most challenging periods in the history of public education. Yet educators rose to the occasion, making the best of an unthinkable situation with innovation, care and commitment that the general public may never fully know or appreciate.

Even now, you continue to lead the way and make California an example for the rest of the nation. Your generosity of spirit, your efforts to keep students engaged and moving forward, your fight for safe learning and working conditions in our schools are truly inspiring. We know you’ve been stretched to your limits, and we’re hopeful that the new year, with resources from state and federal funding, will make a difference.

To say it’s been a challenging time is an understatement. But this time has also spotlighted the tremendous adaptability and creativity of CTA members. I am always amazed, but never truly surprised, by the incredible ability of educators to adapt to almost any circumstances, to overcome almost any obstacles, and to continue to grow and create learning environments with new and successful ways for students to learn. That’s what educators do: We innovate.

CTA has a long history of encouraging and directly supporting that innovation. Our Institute for Teaching has awarded over 450 grants totaling more than $5 million to CTA member projects and programs impacting individual classrooms or entire school sites. Our Instructional Leadership Corps has provided innovative, teacher-led professional development to educators in thousands of schools in nearly 600 school districts. Every year our Good Teaching Conferences provide countless opportunities for CTA members to share new ideas and instructional practices.

These past two years have also demonstrated your willingness to fight for what is right — with our students, and out in the community. The new “Social Justice” section in this issue is intended to highlight your efforts, beginning with a story about an initiative that seeks reparations for Black students in Oakland to address impacts of systemic anti-Black racism.

As we gradually move out of this pandemic, you should take pride in all you have accomplished and continue to do.

Yes, there remain many issues that require our attention and action, from ongoing work to ensure the health and safety of students and school staff, to standing up for educators’ right to #TeachTruth, to staving off yet more attempts to undermine and destabilize public education. But I have faith — in you, and because of you.

I have faith because your creativity, your dedication to our students, and your willingness to fight for justice are changing the world. CTA supports you and is there for educators and students everywhere.

E. Toby Boyd

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