Chicago Teachers’ Contract Includes Staff Wellness Initiatives

October 12, 2007

by Rochelle Davis, HSC Executive Director

I am glad that the Chicago Teachers Union and the Chicago Board of Education reached an agreement about their contract without a strike and very glad that this contract recognizes the importance of teachers’ health. 

While I do not have the expertise to provide an overall evaluation of the contract, it’s great to see that the contract includes a number of programs which promote staff wellness,  including  a health care plan which covers office visits, providing teachers and other staff with access to free health assessments. The contract also includes lifestyle coaching, access to smoking cessation and weight loss programs and reduced rates at health clubs.   

At the Healthy Schools Campaign, we call upon policy makers and school officials to create school environments which promote healthy eating and active lifestyles. Teachers play a critical role in this equation. 

Teachers who practice healthy lifestyles are more likely to incorporate nutrition education and physical activity into the classroom. And, let’s face it, teachers who are practicing what they preach will be more credible messengers of the healthy lessons. Making schools healthier working environments for teachers also creates healthier learning environments for students.

I urge the district and the union to work together to implement the staff wellness provisions of their contract.  And I hope that other school leaders around the country will consider the importance of staff wellness in creating healthy schools.