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Communicating Regularly and Effectively 

The Communications Awards Program is designed to: 

  • Encourage CTA chapters, Service Centers and UniServs to communicate with their members; and to 
  • Recognize and honor those CTA chapters, Service Centers and UniServs which communicate regularly and effectively. 

Entries are solicited from the current school year. The Communications Committee of CTA’s State Council of Education judges the entries and forwards its recommendations for awards to the Board of Directors. The awards are conferred at local Service Center Councils.

Recognizing the diversity among CTA affiliates, especially in their size and resources, the Communications Awards Program allows for the granting of more than one award in each category. Each entry judged deserving of an award receives an inscribed plaque. 

In addition, Merit certificates are conferred for entries that are of very high quality, but not viewed as qualifying for an award.

General Requirements

Entries should reflect the philosophy and principles of the chapter, Service Center or UniServ and of CTA and NEA. 

Nominations should include, but are not limited to: 

  • Devotion to equal education opportunity and to raising the quality of education for all students;  
  • A parallel allegiance to elevating the status of the teaching profession and advancing the well-being of its members; 
  • A commitment to reflecting the state’s cultural and ethnic diversity and to promoting mutual understanding and respect among all Californians; and 
  • Affiliation with CTA and NEA. 

Those preparing the entry form are asked to identify: 

  • Number of members in their chapters and bargaining units; 
  • Name and position (teacher, association staff member, etc.) of the person(s) responsible for producing the communication; and 
  • Method(s) employed in producing it. 

Locals may submit entries into as many different categories as they choose; however, locals may not submit multiple entries in one category.


Awards for this category will be given in the following three areas: 

  • Small locals: 1—499 members
  • Medium locals: 500—2,999 members
  • Large locals: 3,000 members or more

Newsletters and newspapers may be of any size and shape. The date of the publication and the address of the CTA chapter, Service Center or UniServ must be indicated on each newsletter or newspaper. Additionally, publications must include reference to or logos of CTA/NEA affiliation. At least three (3) samples of different issues of the publication must accompany the entry form.

The list of Special Membership Communications is a long one. CTA chapters and Service Centers have used t-shirts, buttons, and door signs to build morale and strengthen campaigns. They have also produced videos, bumper stickers, e-newsletters, and a myriad of other items.

This category is designed to recognize outstanding efforts by CTA affiliates in reaching out or informing parents or other members of the community.

Jose Colmenares (1930-84) was manager of CTA’s Communications Department from 1977 until his death. This award was established, in his honor, in 1985.

The Colmenares Award recognizes outstanding overall contributions to communications with members and with the community.

No one affiliate or member is eligible for the Colmenares Awards more than one time in any five-year period.

Ralph J. Flynn was Executive Director of CTA from 1976 to 1995. Under his visionary leadership, CTA grew into one of our nation’s most progressive, effective advocacy organizations. Mr. Flynn’s leadership truly made the CTA great as he helped it develop many programs including our multi-faceted communications program. These awards are meant to recognize efforts by CTA locals to use modern technology to communicate with its membership and the public through digital media.

Awards for this category will be given in the following three areas: 

  • Small locals: 1—499 members
  • Medium locals: 500—2,999 members
  • Large locals: 3,000 members or more

Websites shall be evaluated on a basis of 1-10 points per category, 10 being outstanding. Points shall be totaled with awards given on a basis or rankings of scores.

Social media provides the ability to communicate in “real time.” To recognize individuals, local chapters, and service centers for engaging membership and communities through social media, this award will honor their exemplary efforts to engage in and maintain an active social media presence. 

This category is designed to recognize outstanding efforts by CTA affiliates to create engaging content and maintain an active social media presence to connect members and community. 

Awards for this category will be given in the following three areas: 

  • Outstanding Social Media Chapter Page: Maintains an active, engaging, fun and informative Facebook, Twitter and/or lnstagram chapter page. Encourages questions and conversations, provides important resources, and shares accomplishments and jumps on national education conversations. • 
  • Outstanding Social Media Individual Account: Utilizes their own Facebook, Twitter and/or lnstagram account to spread awareness about CTA and CTA events, promotes their chapter, the teaching profession, or education issues. Participates in national conversations. 
  • Best Social Media Campaign: (Special Purpose–addressing an education issue, specific issue at a school, or Member Engagement): Uses social media for a video, storytelling, photo contest, etc. to address an issue or to connect with members. 

Please submit five (5) samples posts (screenshots or links) that give an impression of your social media presence. If you include more than one platform in your entry, be sure your sample posts include each platform (i.e., two tweets, one Facebook post, two Instagram photos).


The deadline has passed.

2023-2024 Award Recipients

1-499 members

  • Merit Winner Jen Arellano, Bonsall Teachers Association, Prez Mez

500-2,999 members 

  • Award Winner Victoria Chon, Fremont Unified District Teachers Association, FUDTA Communique
  • Merit Winner – Kari McDaniel, Bellflower Teachers Association, The Voice
  • Award Winner – Tiffany Curry, Fontana Teachers Association, FTA Facebook
  • Merit Winner – Jessica Potts and Shellie Bittner, Irvine Teachers Association, ITA Instagram
  • Merit Winner – Mary Schoenthaler, Chico Unified Teachers Association, CUTA Facebook