CIS March Newsletter

Keeping you informed about what's happening at CIS.

Principal Update

A big thanks to our Central parents who attended (in-person and virtually), our second CIS Parent Cafe. We look forward to offering additional parent engagement opportunities in the future, and we hope to see you there!

We are very excited about the opening of our new Fine Arts Wing in just a few days. To celebrate this state of the art space for band, choir, and art students, we planned a Fine Arts Wing Open House for Central students, staff, families, and community members who are eager to see the new space. Construction tours in the new third and fourth grade section of the building will also be offered by Mrs. Bush on a first come, first serve basis. Hard hats, safety vests, and goggles will be provided.

Please check out the invitation below for more details!

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at or 309-444-3943.

Brian Hoelscher, Principal.

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A Message from Mrs. Bush

CIS students and staff are gearing up for the Illinois Assessment of Readiness (IAR)! Or, as some of our teachers have named it, The Pirate Test!

This year, students will test during the morning on Wednesday, March 11th, Thursday, March 12th, and Friday, March 13th.

Take a look below at some test taking strategies that align with the DESSA Competencies!


Self-Awareness is a child’s realistic understanding of his/her strengths and limitations and consistent desire for self-improvement.

  • Talk to your child about their strengths and how those strengths will help them on the assessment. This conversation might help students who are anxious about the test feel more confident!
  • Ask your child what personal challenges he or she anticipates throughout the test.

Self-Management is a child’s success in controlling his or her emotions and behaviors to complete a task or succeed in a new or challenging situation.
  • Talk with your child about what it means to self-manage during the assessment. What if it is difficult to sit still? What if I don’t know the answer? Reinforce strategies that help students work through difficult moments throughout the assessment.

Goal-Directed Behavior
Goal-Directed Behavior a child’s initiation and persistence in completing tasks of varying difficulty.
  • Discuss the degree of difficulty your child anticipates on the assessment. Talk to your child about what they do in class when a question or problem is hard. Talk through some strategies that may help them keep persisting even when a question is difficult.

Optimistic Thinking
Optimistic Thinking a child’s attitude of confidence, hopefulness, and positive thinking regarding life situations in the past, present, and future.
  • Talk to your child about their overall attitude regarding the assessment and how it might affect their test taking experience. Discuss how the assessment helps students show what they can do. Talk about how the assessment results help our school.

CIS Spring Play: The Show White Variety Show

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CIS Drama proudly presents, The Snow White Variety Show.

Be a part of the studio audience of Real Talk with Fairytale Legends, where the seven dwarves tell the story of Snow White as the Fairytale Players bring it to life. Each dwarf takes a turn telling part of Snow White’s famous story in his or her own unique voice. At any given moment, the story can be anything — romance, comedy, home improvement show, suspense, Western, epic poetry, mystery, cooking show, stand-up routine, or blockbuster action movie! There’s even a “Miss Fairest of Them All” beauty pageant! It all culminates in a mad-dash ending of fast-changing genres that sets the record straight on Snow White’s happily-ever-after.

Directed by Sarah Woolard

Assisted by Lynn Randolph

Friday, March 6th @ 7pm - CPS Gym

Saturday, March 7th @ 2pm - CPS Gym

Tickets may be purchased at the door for $5!

Yearbook Orders

The link to order a Central District 51 yearbook is now open. Orders will only be taken online at the Lifetouch website. Please know it is an ECE-8th grade yearbook that is combined for both schools! The last day to order a yearbook will be Sunday, March 15th, and no additional orders can be added after that date.

Any questions, please contact, Julie Ori Gruber or Stephanie Boehm Redlingshafer at

Update from PTO President, Stephanie Redlingshafer

March is here, and wow, time is flying! Our next PTO meeting is Thursday, March 5 at 7 pm in the library at CIS. There are several opportunities to get involved with the PTO and the school for next year, please come to learn more! Our second VIP (Very Important Person) Breakfast will take place at CPS on March 12-13, look for more information to come from the school about that! The last ROCK event of this school year is on April 3 for our CIS students. Thank you to all the volunteers who have helped at these fun nights!


Health Update

Notes from the Nurses

Carrie Bright RN- Central Primary School

Kim Martin RN- Central Intermediate School

Trending in the Nursing Offices now:

● Strep Throat: ​Fever, headache, sore throat, stomach ache, vomiting

● Upper Respiratory Illnesses: ​Running nose, cough, sore throat, fatigue

● Pneumonia:​ Cough with (low-grade) fever, fatigue- Please see a doctor immediately!

● Influenza A & B:​ Sudden onset of sore throat, fever,​ ​headache, muscle aches and soreness,

congestion, and cough.

● Stomach flu:​ Stomach ache (severe pain reported by some students), vomiting, diarrhea, fever

Dental Forms Due May 15th

If you have a student in Kindergarten, 2nd grade, 6th grade, or are new to the district this school year, the State of Illinois requires a current dental exam on file. Dental forms must be dated between November 15, 2018 to May 15, 2020. ​ If Central 51 is in need of a dental form for your student, you will receive a letter in the mail

Please refer to the Central 51 Parent & Student Handbook for other policies pertaining to medications at school

Student Learning

Test-Taking Tips

We are quickly approaching the IAR test (Illinois Assessment of Readiness). CIS will be testing on Wednesday, March 11th - Friday, March 13th.

It is very important that your student attends school ready to take the state tests. Please discuss the following information with your student prior to testing week! Thank you for your continued support!

Here are a few testing tips that will help your student on testing days:

  • Get a good night’s sleep every night during testing week.

  • Eat a nutritious breakfast each morning.

  • Encourage your student each day to try his/her best on the tests. Ask them questions about their tests each day.

  • Explain to your student that taking these types of tests take a lot of focus and is a requirement at every age. They can think about them as “practice” rounds for future college/ job entrance exams.

  • Your student can do online IAR practice tests from home! Use the link to take the online practice Math or Reading tests at your grade level.

Test Taking Tips:

  • When possible, read the questions BEFORE reading the Reading passage. This will help determine your purpose for reading.

  • Read ALL multiple choice options and eliminate incorrect options.

  • Re-work the math problems before selecting an answer! The test writers provide answer options based on common just because your answer is an option, it doesn’t guarantee that it’s correct.

  • Read the questions carefully! There are many questions that use words like “Select ALL that apply”, “All of the following Except”, etc.

  • Make sure to answer all parts of the questions. Many of the test questions contain parts A,B,C…be sure to check over that!

Pulsera Project Update

In December, Miss Harrison introduced the Pulsera Project to CIS. “The Pulsera Project is a nonprofit organization that educates, empowers, and connects Central American artists with students in more than 3,000 U.S. schools through the sale of colorful handwoven bracelets, or "pulseras" in Spanish.” Miss Harrison and her Spanish students sold pulseras at CIS and raised over $5,000 for the organization! As a Thank You, The Pulsera Project sent Miss Harrison two personalized maracas! A big thanks to Miss Harrison for bringing this opportunity to our CIS students!

Fine Arts/Technology/Foreign Language Team

Our Fine Arts/Technology/Foreign Language Team works hard to provide meaningful and important learning opportunities for our students outside of the core curriculum. Central Intermediate School is lucky to have this team of teachers who work together to provide so many opportunities for our students to shine in various areas.

Pictured from left to right:

Mrs. Kennedy - Technology

Mrs. Kinder - Art

Miss Harrison - Spanish

Mrs. Houle - Band

Mrs. Randolph - Choir

Mrs. Lowry (not pictured) - STEM

Illinois Digital Educators Alliance Annual Conference

Central District 51 sent a team of educators to the annual conference for the Illinois Digital Educators Alliance Conference, IDEACon.

Presenters from around the state presented on various technology tools to support classroom instruction, Social Emotional Learning, content-specific tools, and innovation in all facets of learning. All of the educators who attended the conference are excited to share ideas with staff in their buildings

Pictured from left to right:

Mr. Deatherage - CPS Technology Teacher

Mrs. Bush - CIS Assistant Principal

Mrs. Kennedy - CIS Technology Teacher

Mr. Halpin - Central 51 Curriculum Director

Mrs. Lowry - CIS STEM Teacher


In an effort to keep parents as informed as possible, the teachers at CIS are asking you to take a moment to sign up to receive email notifications about STAR Math/Reading and Accelerated Reading tests. The Ren Place program has a feature that allows parents/guardians to get immediate results each time your student takes one of the above tests. This is an AWESOME way to stay connected with your student’s progress!

Please click here for directions on how to sign up for the Renaissance Place email notifications as well as the Home Connect site link.

Social Emotional Learning

What's a Clique?


Reviewed by: Kathryn Hoffses, PhD

Friendship is an important part of kids' development. Having friends helps them be independent beyond the family and prepares them for the mutual, trusting relationships we hope they'll establish as adults.

Groups of friends are different from cliques in some important ways.

  • Groups of friends form based on shared interests, sports, activities, classes, neighborhoods, or even family connections. In groups of friends, members are free to socialize and hang out with others outside the group without worrying about being cast out. They may not do everything together — and that's OK.

  • Cliques sometimes form around common interests, but the social dynamics are very different. Cliques are usually tightly controlled by leaders who decide who is "in" and who is "out." The kids in the clique do most things together. Someone who has a friend outside the clique may face rejection or ridicule.

Members of the clique usually follow the leader's rules, whether it's wearing particular clothes or doing certain activities. Cliques usually involve lots of rules — implied or clearly stated — and intense pressure to follow them.

Kids in cliques often worry about whether they'll still be popular or whether they'll be dropped for doing or saying the wrong thing or for not dressing in a certain way. This can create a lot of pressure. Kids may be pressured to take risks like steal, pull pranks, or bully other kids in order to stay in the clique. Kids also can be pressured into buying expensive clothing or getting involved in online gossip and teasing.

Cliques are often at their most intense in middle school and junior high, but problems with cliques can start as early as 4th and 5th grades.

When Cliques Cause Problems

For most kids, the pre-teen and teen years are a time to figure out how they want to fit in and how they want to stand out. It's natural for kids to occasionally feel insecure; long to be accepted; and hang out with the kids who seem more attractive, cool, or popular.

But cliques can cause long-lasting trouble when:

  • kids behave in a way they feel conflicted about or know is wrong in order to please a leader and stay in the group

  • a group becomes an antisocial clique or a gang that has unhealthy rules, such as weight loss or bullying others based on looks, disabilities, race, or ethnicity

  • a child is rejected by a group and feels ostracized and alone

How Can Parents Help?

As kids navigate friendships and cliques, there's plenty parents can do to offer support. If your child seems upset, or suddenly spends time alone when usually very social, ask about it.

Here are some tips:

  • Talk about your own experiences. Share your own experiences of school — cliques have been around for a long time!

  • Help put rejection in perspective. Remind your child of times he or she has been angry with parents, friends, or siblings — and how quickly things can change.

  • Shed some light on social dynamics. Acknowledge that people are often judged by the way a person looks, acts, or dresses, but that often people act mean and put others down because they lack self-confidence and try to cover it up by maintaining control.

  • Find stories they can relate to. Many books, TV shows, and movies portray outsiders triumphing in the face of rejection and send strong messages about the importance of being true to your own nature and the value of being a good friend, even in the face of difficult social situations. For school-age kids, books like "Blubber" by Judy Blume illustrate how quickly cliques can change. Older kids and teens might relate to movies such as "Mean Girls," "Angus," "The Breakfast Club," and "Clueless."

  • Foster out-of-school friendships. Get kids involved in extracurricular activities (if they aren't already) — art class, sports, martial arts, horse riding, language study — any activity that gives them an opportunity to create another social group and learn new skills.

If your child is part of a clique and one of the kids is teasing or rejecting others, it's important to address that right away. With popular TV shows from talent contests to reality series glorifying rude behavior, it's an uphill battle for families to promote kindness, respect, and compassion.

Discuss the role of power and control in friendships and try to get to the heart of why your child feels compelled to be in that position. Discuss who is in and who is out, and what happens when kids are out (are they ignored, shunned, bullied?). Challenge kids to think and talk about whether they're proud of the way they act in school.

Ask teachers, guidance counselors, or other school officials for their perspective on what is going on in and out of class. They might be able to tell you about any programs the school has to address cliques and help kids with differences get along.

Encouraging Healthy Friendships

Here are some ways to encourage kids to have healthy friendships and not get too caught up in cliques:

  • Find the right fitdon't just fit in. Encourage kids to think about what they value and are interested in, and how those things fit in with the group. Ask questions like: What is the main reason you want to be part of the group? What compromises will you have to make? Is it worth it? What would you do if the group leader insisted you act mean to other kids or do something you don't want to do? When does it change from fun and joking around, to teasing and bullying?

  • Stick to your likes. If your child has always loved to play the piano but suddenly wants to drop it because it's deemed "uncool," discuss ways to help resolve this. Encourage kids to participate in activities that they enjoy and that build their confidence.

  • Keep social circles open and diverse. Encourage kids to be friends with people they like and enjoy from different settings, backgrounds, ages, and interests. Model this yourself as much as you can with different ages and types of friends and acquaintances.

  • Speak out and stand up. If they're feeling worried or pressured by what's happening in the cliques, encourage your kids to stand up for themselves or others who are being cast out or bullied. Encourage them not to participate in anything that feels wrong, whether it's a practical joke or talking about people behind their backs.

  • Take responsibility for your own actions. Encourage sensitivity to others and not just going along with a group. Remind kids that a true friend respects their opinions, interests, and choices, no matter how different they are. Acknowledge that it can be difficult to stand out, but that ultimately kids are responsible for what they say and do.

Remember to provide the big-picture perspective too. As hard as cliques might be to deal with now, things can change quickly. What's more important is making true friends — people they can confide in, laugh with, and trust. And the real secret to being "popular" — in the truest sense of the word — is for them to be the kind of friend they'd like to have: respectful, fair, supportive, caring, trustworthy, and kind.

Kids Yoga

Most adults have been introduced and know the health benefits of Yoga! However, did you know that kids can benefit as well? In general, Yoga teaches us all about taking care of ourselves. It is a great way to move our bodies and feel healthy. Teaching our children how to take care of themselves, both physically and mentally, is one way to show love! Research has shown us that Yoga helps kids in lots of areas.

  • Yoga helps kids manage stress and anxiety by learning to focus on breathing to relieve tension and promote mindfulness.

  • Yoga helps promote a healthy body by building strength, flexibility and coordination.

  • Yoga provides a positive mental health potential, including improved mood, calmness, increased self-regulation and improved body awareness.

  • Yoga releases endorphins which combat feelings of stress and sadness. It can increase a child’s sense of wellbeing and promote self-esteem.

  • Yoga is inclusive to all varying abilities of kids. Whether in a one-on-one or small group setting, Yoga allows kids to do poses in a way that feels right for their bodies!

Check out this article for more information on Yoga!

YouTube also has lots of Yoga for kids videos! Check this one out!

Social Emotional Learning Resources

Don't forget to check out our new Social Emotional Learning Parent Resources website started by Mrs. Neal, our school psychologist!

Right now, articles, home activities, games, and resources are available on the website for K-2, 3-5, and 6-8 students! We will continue to add to the website as Social Emotional Learning across the district progresses!

Check it out by clicking the button below!

Feel free to check out these additional resources as well:

Aperture Education

Leader in Me Family Resources

Second Step

Social Emotional Learning Parent Resources Website

Click here to visit the site! We will continue adding to the website in order to support Social Emotional Learning for our students!

Central 51 Activities

Congratulations to our CIS Chess Club members who went to state on Saturday, February 29th! Trevor Pak had an amazing day and won 2nd place! In team standings, 6th grade ranked 13th, 7th grade ranked 10th, and 8th grade ranked 9th!

Congratulations players and Coach Goede!


Our Central Boys Basketball Teams ended their seasons on a high note. Both the 7th and 8th Grade Boys Basketball Teams advanced to the IESA State Championships this year! Seventh Grade placed 3rd at State, and eighth grade was defeated in the first round game. We are very proud of our dedicated student athletes, Coaches Joop and Uftring, and our Boys Basketball Parents!


Seventh Grade Girls Post-Season Volleyball started Saturday, February 29th with IESA Regional Games at Central Intermediate School. Our seventh grade team was defeated, but we are proud of their hard work and encouragement throughout the season. Congratulations Coaches Sopko and Cox as well!

Eighth Grade Girls Post-Season Volleyball starts this Saturday, March 7th @ Normal Parkside Junior High School! The game starts at 9:00 a.m.!


The Washington Township Wrestling Co-Op has had an amazing first season! The boys are working hard and have had many successes throughout their season!

This past Saturday, the team won their regional at Normal Parkside Junior High School!

Important March 2020 Dates

Wednesday, March 4th

  • Disability Awareness Day

Thursday, March 5th

  • Conference Scholastic Bowl Meet @ CIS

Friday, March 6th

  • CIS Spring Play @ CPS - 7:00 p.m.

Saturday, March 7th

  • 8th Grade Girls Volleyball Regional @ Normal Parkside Junior High School - 9:00 a.m.
  • CIS Spring Play @ CPS - 2:00 p.m. Matinee
  • Trojan Gala @ Five Points Washington - 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday, March 11th

  • IAR Testing Begins
Thursday, March 12th
  • IAR Testing
  • Board of Education Meeting @ CIS Library - 7:00 p.m.

Friday, March 13th

  • IAR Testing
  • CIS Coffee Concert @ Holford Gym - 5:00 - 8:00 p.m.
  • 7th Grade Art Show@ Holford Gym - 5:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, March 14th

  • Solo & Ensemble Contest @ ICC

Tuesday, March 17th

  • Scholastic Bowl @ Tremont Middle School - 4:00 p.m.

Wednesday, March 18th

  • Fine Arts Wing Open House - 6:00 - 7:00 p.m.

Thursday, March 19th

  • Scholastic Bowl @ Metamora Grade School - 3:45 p.m.

Friday, March 20th

  • CIS Spring Picture Day
Monday, March 21st - Friday, March 27th
  • Spring Break