Peirce School Newsletter

September 2019

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Haga clic aquí para la traducción al español

Greetings Peirce Families & Welcome Back!

As summer comes to an end, Peirce teachers & staff are back to work, engaging in professional development and preparing classrooms for the start of school. We are all very excited to welcome your children into our classrooms on Tuesday, September 3rd.

I look forward to seeing everyone at the Back to School Festival Tonight (see below for more information). Please note that our elevator is currently out of order, we have been told it will be fixed on Tuesday morning as the vendor has been waiting on a part to arrive. If you are attending the festival tonight and are unable to walk stairs, please come to the main office so that we can have the teacher come down to greet you - we truly apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Also, please pardon our dust, the PK Construction is not 100% complete (very very very close to complete) but know that classrooms will be ready for the first day of school - the custodial team is in the final stretch of having our school prepared for the first day of school.

This newsletter will hopefully provide enough information to get you started at Peirce next week - when in doubt, email any one of our leadership team members (found at the bottom of this email).

A Look Ahead

Dr. Jackson, Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer, launched a Fiver Year Vision focused on equity within Chicago Public Schools. This vision is inspiring and has been needed for a long time within our district. How does the district's vision align with what is happening at Peirce? Last year, Peirce went through a Racial Equity Impact Assessment (REIA), the findings of that assessment along with recommendations were shared with the Local School Council and the school administration. This school year, Peirce will have a Racial Equity Leadership Team made up of administration, teachers, parents and community members. The team will meet in early September to set goals, review the recommendations of the REIA and communicate back to staff, parents and community members on the progress of our work at Peirce.

My hope for Peirce is that we eliminate the achievement gap, find value in our differences and continue to develop a sense of belonging and community among all who love our school.

Cheers to a wonderful school year!

Lori Zaimi


First Days of School Information & Logistics

Back to School Festival: Thursday, August 29th, 3:00 - 4:00pm meet teacher/drop off supplies, 4:00 - 6:00pm join parents, students, staff outside for games, activities, fellowship and learn about parent involvement opportunities.

First Day of School: Tuesday - September 3rd - this can be by far one of the most confusing days of the school year - you are not alone - we try as best we can to alleviate the confusion. With 1100 students and families, there will be tons of people on the turf.

Teachers will be outside the first day of school, holding signs with room numbers. We will also have many staff members outside with Classroom Rosters who can help direct families to the right location.

Pre-Kindergarten, teachers will be calling families with modified schedules for September 3rd. Beginning on September 4th, students will meet outside of door #4.

Kindergarten Rooms 101 & 110, meet outside of door #10

Kindergarten Rooms 126 & 128, meet outside of door #5

1st Grade Room 102, meet outside of door #10

1st Grade Rooms 103, 104 & 105, meet outside of door #8

2nd Grade, meet outside of door #6

3rd & 4th Grades, meet outside of door #9

5th-8th Grades, meet on the turf - you will enter with teachers through door #7

*Students enter and exit through the same door number

*Beginning the 2nd day of school, students in 2nd-8th grade will go up to classrooms on their own starting at 7:57am. Teachers will meet students in PK, K & 1st grade at their entry doors at 8:00am.

Traffic & Parking around Peirce

The area around Peirce becomes very congested between 7:45 - 8:10am and 2:55 - 3:15pm - please plan your morning commute appropriately to ensure that children are at school on time.

Bryn Mawr is blocked westbound from 7:45 - 8:05am and 2:55 - 3:10pm.

Clark Street & Jewel Parking lot are generally the easiest places to park - we are fortunate that Jewel has allowed our families to park without issue.

The staff parking lot is not available to Peirce families during the school day - however, when picking up children from the YMCA after care, families are welcome to park for the time it takes to walk in and pick up children.

Parent-Student Handbook

The Parent-Student Handbook can be found here. Please review to become familiar with school policies and procedures.

Student Fees

Peirce families now have the option of paying student fees online by clicking here and then selecting the one time payment option. Fees are $50 per student or $100 max for 2 or more children.

Emergency Plan & Safety Drills

Each Chicago Public School is required annually to hold 4 different safety drills with students, Evacuation (also known as fire drills), Lockdown, Shelter in Place and Bus Evacuation (for those who ride a school bus to school). Teachers talk with classrooms about the importance of safety in our schools and methods that we use if there were a threatening situation. Generally, Evacuation, Shelter in Place and Bus Evacuation Drills are conversations that are not as difficult to have with students because they often relate to non-violent causes which have created a need to ensure safety. The Lockdown drill becomes a more difficult conversation to have (especially with events that have taken place within our country in recent years), but our teachers know how to speak with our students in a manner which is appropriate to the age of the children and in a way that ensures that these drills are designed to help us stay safe in a dangerous situation - with an emphasis on safe. This article provides guidance for parents on how to talk with children about lockdown drills.

Safety Drills are not announced in advance but often happen before the middle of October. In the attachment below you will find the different directives given in each of the safety situations. If you have any questions about the safety drills or individual student needs as it relates to drills, please speak first with your child's teacher. If you have any additional questions after that, please reach out to Kristen Munoz, Assistant Principal at

Schedules, Recess/Lunch

School Day Hours

8:00am - 3:00pm

Doors open at 7:57 for 2nd-8th Grades

Teachers meet PK-1st grade students at entry door

Specials Classes

The Specials Class Schedule Rotation can be found here. You can bookmark this link if you are interested in keeping track of which specials class your child has on each day of the school year - this becomes helpful with Gym & Dance classes.

Recess & Lunch Times

Breakfast & Lunch Menus found here

Kindergarten: 10:50 - 11:10

1st Grade: 10:25 - 10:48

2nd Grade: 10:35 - 10:58

3rd Grade: 12:32 - 12:55

4th Grade: 11:00 - 11:22

5th Grade: 11:18 - 11:40

6th Grade: 11:23 - 11:45

7th Grade: 12:05 - 12:27

8th Grade: 12:27 - 12:50

*PK & Individual teachers will share their classroom schedules

Welcome to Peirce!

Francisco Alvarez, Security & Student Support

Hello my name is Francisco Alvarez. I am thrilled and honored to serve Helen Peirce international School as one of the security officers. I speak Spanish and English fluently. I have three wonderful years of experience in therapeutic day schools as a Special Education teacher assistant and substitute teacher. I love learning about world history, playing all sports, and enjoy all types of multicultural music. I am very eager and proud to join the Helen Peirce international school community serving and working with students and parents with immense integrity, and working alongside with great faculty members to accomplish our school goals!!

Daisy Arreola - Pre-School Teacher Assistant

Hello, my name is Daisy Arreola I am 24 years old. I grew up in Chicago, but I was born in Mexico. My passion is working with children and watching them grow and learn. I have been working with children for over 5 years at a daycare center. I have loved my experience in the daycare center and have loved every single child that has walked into my life. It has always been one of my goals to work at CPS and I am very excited to finally be a part of this community. I am hopeful for the new school year and very excited!

Kate Bell - 1st Grade

I am so excited to work with the 1st graders at Peirce School! This year will be my 10th year as a teacher with prior experience in Pre-School and 5th grades at another Chicago Public School. I enjoy spending my summers exploring the outdoors with my two sons, Lucas and Theo. I can often be found reading or enjoying the outdoors.

Jonathon Baldwin - K-4th Grade Spanish

My name is Jonathon Baldwin. I graduated from the University of Iowa with a B.A. degree in Spanish as well as a teaching certificate in Foreign Language Education Spanish with an Endorsement in ESL. In college, I spent time studying in Spain and have grown up around the Mexican culture on my mother’s side. I’m excited to join the Peirce team!

Bryan Burda - Pre School Special Education

I am excited to be the diverse learner teacher in the full-day, blended preschool classroom at Peirce. I have been teaching for 18 years with my last four at a South Side STEM school as the general education teacher in the half-day, blended preschool classroom. I have my M.S. in Child Development from Erikson institute and and my M.Ed. from University of Illinois-Chicago in Early Childhood Education and Special Education. I have worked in a variety of settings throughout the Chicagoland area including a Head Start with the Abraham Lincoln Center, a publicly-funded preschool in Joliet, and a tuition-based preschool on the West Side. I am eager to continue to grow professionally, particularly related to IB. I live on the North Side with my wife, two-year-old daughter, and two cats. In my spare time I like to cook, read, see live music, and trail run.

Daniel Calderon - 6th-8th Grade Special Education

Daniel Calderon is a seven year teacher with classroom assistant and paraprofessional experience. He's currently teaching special education but has a background in social science. His passions include board gaming and Dungeons & Dragons.

Hannah Canale - 1st grade for Ms. Zaander

My name is Hannah Canale and I am so excited to continue my teaching journey at Peirce! I student taught at Peirce in first grade, and cannot wait to continue working with this grade, school, and community. A little bit about me: I was born and raised in Upstate New York and moved to Chicago three years ago, and I just graduated from the University of Chicago's Urban Teacher Education Program with my Masters in Elementary Education. Cheers to teaching, learning, and growing this upcoming year!

Nicolás Chudoba Chudoba - 5th Grade Language Arts & Social Studies

My name is Nicolás Chudoba. I am of Spanish descent, but I grew up mostly in Oak Park, where I attended elementary school through high school. I am fluent in Spanish and English. This will be my third year teaching in the United States, the last two years I taught 5th and 6th grade at a bilingual school in Milwaukee. The three years before that I taught in Madrid. My major is English Literature, but I have a masters degree in Education as well. In the past I have also worked for Teach for America and the Instituto Cervantes of Chicago. I love watching and playing sports, in particular soccer. I also enjoy reading or going on bike rides through the forest in my spare time, as well as spending lots of time by the lake. Student success is my top priority. I strive to create a classroom environment that is geared towards academic and personal growth, but is also a place where students can feel comfortable and create lasting memories to look back on with a smile.

Brenna D'Ambrosio - 5th Grade Special Education

I don't remember a time I didn't want to be a teacher, so I am thrilled to get started this year and meet all the students here at Peirce. I graduated from North Park University with my Master of Arts in Teaching and endorsements in Special Education and Middle Grades ELA. When I'm not at school I enjoy reading Young Adult fiction, biking with my family, cooking, and going to White Sox games.

Rebecca Darland - Pre School

I have worked with preschool aged children in Chicago for 18 years and absolutely love their curiosity and desire to discover new things! On my spare time I enjoy spending time with my own 4 year old and husband, especially outdoor activities like biking and hiking!

Julia Guerrero - Pre School

Hello! My name is Julia Guerrero and I am very

excited to be your child’s teacher this year. This

school year will be fun, and filled with lots of learning

opportunities, as well as new adventures.

I would like to share a little bit about myself. I am

married and have a daughter who just turned one

this year. I graduated from National Louis University,

where I earned a bachelors in Early Childhood

Education, a Bilingual certification and an ESL

endorsement. This will by my fourth year teaching

preschool and the first thing that students always

learn to appreciate about me is that I am energetic

and passionate about what I do. I know how much you

care about your children and that is why I am

committed to ensuring that they have a wonderful

year of preschool! I believe that each child is unique

in his or her own way and am very aware that some

may learn differently than others, which is why I will

do my best to help your child discover his or her own

individual talents. This school year is going to be

great! I look forward to working with your children

and making sure that this year is a successful one.

Laine Heuer - Art

Hi! My name is Ms. Heuer and I will be covering for Mrs. Zapata during her maternity leave. For the past 2 years, I have been teaching High School Art in Little Village. This school year, I will be able to be closer to home and return to the school where I did some of my clinical hours for student teaching in Fall 2016. It's exciting that things have now come full circle and some of the students I had then, may be ones I get to see again this year! Other than being an Art teacher, I am a mother and a competitive powerlifter. I spend a lot of my weekends with my son and at the gym or traveling when I can. We also like to read books, watch movies, and find new things to do in the city. It's been a great summer, but I'm happy to get back into the classroom and excited to start a new school year!

Jill Layden - 3rd Grade Special Education

Hello! My name is Jill Layden, and I will be joining the diverse learning team for the upcoming school year. I have a Masters in Special and Elementary Education and have been teaching 1st grade for the past two years. I am extremely excited to become a part of the Peirce community and am looking forward to a successful school year!

Amy Liss - Pre School

My name is Amy Liss. I am so excited to join the preschool team at Peirce Elementary School! This will be my 16th year teaching preschool for Chicago Public Schools. I have a background in the Reggio Emilia philosophy, The Project Approach and nature-based preschool. I am looking forward to learning more about teaching and learning through the lens of the International Baccalaureate Programme.

I was born and raised in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I received my degree in Special Education from The University of Wisconsin-Madison. I graduated from the Erikson Institute with a Master’s in Early Childhood Education in 2010. I have my Early Childhood Special Education approval and an English as a Second Language endorsement. Additionally, I am Nationally Board Certified in Early Childhood Education.

When not at work, you can find me enjoying what Chicago has to offer with friends, practicing macro photography, improving my sewing skills, reading and going to Broadway in Chicago musicals. I also love to travel and went to the Galapagos Islands this past June. It was an amazing experience I will never forget.

The preschool years are so important. I am so lucky to have the opportunity to spend my days learning, enjoying stories and nature with this inquisitive age. Every day is an opportunity to learn something new for the classroom community. Families are a child’s first teacher. I am thankful for the opportunity to partner with you in helping your child grow as a learner, leader and member of the Peirce School community.

Anavelia Mauricio - Pre School

Hello! My name is Anavelia (Ani) Mauricio. I am a proud third generation migrant farm worker so I consider myself to be from both Del Rio, Texas and Princeville, IL. My pursuit towards a higher level of education brought me to Chicago in 2009. The constant moving as a child made me understand how crucial a welcoming learning environment can be when entering a new setting. I hope to provide that warm, welcoming environment to our preschool students as they begin their own journey as students. My personal instructional philosophy is student-centered, multicultural and inclusive so student inquiry, creativity, and critical analysis can thrive. I look forward to meeting your family and having a fun-filled year watching each child develop and grow!

Lisa Navarro - 7th Grade Language Arts

Hi, my name is Lisa Navarro, and I’m a native Latina from New York. I am a mother of three grown young men. I enjoy reading, board games, spending time with my family and friends, pilates, and traveling. I became an educator nine years ago and obtained my masters in Literacy Education in 2018. I am excited to begin a new chapter with the Peirce family and share with the students the knowledge and experience I bring from the past nine years of teaching. Reading classics to modern day books to share our views and perspectives with each other as a family.

Kimberly Ocampo - 5th-8th Grade Spanish

Hi! My name is Kimberly Ocampo and I graduated in May of 2018 with my Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Language and Culture and a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Language Education from Loyola University Chicago. I am a Chicago native, born and raised in Pilsen. When I am not teaching I enjoy traveling, running, rock climbing, playing my guitar, and hanging out with friends. Last year I taught K-4th World Language and cannot wait to embark on my second year of teaching here at Peirce! I believe students can be global and lifelong learners and I can’t wait to share my love for education with my students!

Rekha Singh - Pre School

My name is Rekha Singh, and I am a member of the new Preschool team at Peirce Elementary School. This will be my first-year teaching here and I cannot wait! I have taught Preschool children at many Head Start programs in the city for more than a decade. I graduated from Northeastern University with a Masters in Early Childhood Special Education and ESL from National Louis University. Prior to that I got my undergrad in Textile Designing and a second undergrad degree in Education from India. I was born and brought up in India and moved to Chicago 17 years ago. When I am not teaching, I enjoy traveling, painting and cooking new recipes. I love to try food and clothes from different cultures. I believe learning never stops and that’s why I always seek new things to learn about. I live by the philosophy of Albert Einstein -“I never teach my pupils, I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.”

Joseph Vasquez - 8th Grade Special Education

Hi! My name is Joseph Vasquez and I am so excited to be joining the Peirce team! I have been working in the field of Education for over 9 years in both public and therapeutic school settings. In 2017, I completed my Master’s program with a degree in Special Education. Since then I have taught various age groups and have had the honor of being Head Coach of a basketball team! Sports have always been a large part of my life and I think students can learn important life skills through sports as well. I myself like to run and follow all my favorite sports teams, go Cubs! I was born and raised in a small town but have been living in Chicago for 6 years. Living in the Edgewater neighborhood now for over a year with my fiancée, I have always wanted to be a part of Peirce. I know that Peirce has a lot to offer with it’s rich diversity and all of its accomplishments in academics. I look forward to being a part of such a great community, and cannot wait to see what this year has in store!

Key Contact List

The information below indicates the leadership team at Peirce - if you have questions about something not listed, please reach out to Lynn or Sally in the main office so that they may put you in contact with the correct team member

Lynn Carro, Office Manager

Enrollment, Building Rental, Schedule meetings with administrators, Lunch & Recess, General Questions

Sally Suarez, Office Manager

Enrollment, Volunteering, Schedule meetings with administrators, General Questions

Lori Zaimi, Principal

Oversees all school operations

Kristen Munoz, Assistant Principal

Kindergarten-4th Grades

Talyia Riemer, Assistant Principal & MYP Coordinator

5th-8th Grades

MYP Program

Kim Lebovitz, PYP Coordinator & Instructional Coach

PYP Program

Joshua Lerner, Bilingual Lead Teacher & Math Instructional Coach

Bilingual Program

Math Instruction

Anne Park, Counselor

School Counseling, High School Transition, Climate & Culture

Shelton Jackson, Restorative Practices Coach

Restorative Practices, Student Behavior & Supports, Recess & Lunch, Climate & Culture

Athanasia Kolontouros, Case Manager

Special Education Services, IEPs, 504 Plans

Brook Thompson, After School Program Coordinator

Fee & CPS Funded After School Programs

Recurring Information

Student Fees - Pay Online/Tarifas para estudiantes - Pagar en línea

Peirce families now have the option of paying student fees online by clicking here and then selecting the one time payment option. Fees are $50 per student or $100 max for 2 or more children.

Las familias de Peirce ahora tienen la opción de pagar las cuotas de los estudiantes en línea haciendo clic aquí y luego seleccionando la opción de pago por única vez. Los honorarios son de $ 50 por estudiante o de $ 100 como máximo para 2 o más niños.

No Dogs (Pets) on School Grounds/ No perros (mascotas) en los terrenos de la escuela

Please help us create a safe space for our students as they enter and leave the building - dogs and pets are not allowed on school grounds.

Ayúdenos a crear un espacio seguro para nuestros estudiantes al entrar y salir del edificio; no se permiten perros ni mascotas en el recinto escolar.

Breakfast & Lunch Menus/Breakfast & Lunch Menus/Menús de desayuno y almuerzo

The CPS Breakfast and Lunch Menu can be found here, this is updated regularly, so please check back often. These menus are subject to change. Also, please check out the CPS Nutrition Services Website.

El menú de desayuno y almuerzo de CPS se puede encontrar aquí, se actualiza regularmente, así que por favor vuelva a visitarlo con frecuencia. Estos menús están sujetos a cambios. Además, consulte el sitio web de CPS Nutrition Services.

Daily Specials Rotation/Rotación de especiales diarios

The specials schedule can be accessed here - this indicates the class that your child will have each day of the week (Art, Music, Dance, PE, Spanish).

Se puede acceder al programa de especiales aquí: esto indica la clase que tendrá su hijo cada día de la semana (Arte, Música, Danza, Educación Física, Español).

Parent-Student Handbook/Manual para padres y alumnos

The Parent-Student Handbook can be found here. Please review to become familiar with school policies and procedures.

El manual para padres y alumnos se puede encontrar aquí. Por favor revise para familiarizarse con las políticas y procedimientos de la escuela.

Student Code of Conduct/Código de Conducta Estudiantil

Peirce School utilizes Restorative Practices which are in alignment with the Chicago Public Schools Student Code of Conduct. This guide provides information on how student behavior is supported in CPS. Click here to access the Student Code of Conduct. Any questions related to Restorative Practices or the Student Code of Conduct can be directed to Shelton Jackson via email or by phone at 773-534-2440.

La Escuela Peirce utiliza Prácticas Restaurativas que están alineadas con el Código de Conducta Estudiantil de las Escuelas Públicas de Chicago. Esta guía proporciona información sobre cómo se admite el comportamiento de los estudiantes en CPS. Haga clic aquí para acceder al Código de Conducta Estudiantil. Cualquier pregunta relacionada con las Prácticas de Restauración o el Código de Conducta del Estudiante puede dirigirse a Shelton Jackson por correo electrónico o por teléfono al 773-534-2440.