The Hawk

Holmes Elementary School - Welcome Back Edition - 8/3/2018


  • PTO Popsicles in the Park – New Family play date – August 10 – 10:00am-12:00pm on the playground

  • Emails sent with classroom teacher - August 16 - afternoon
  • Class List Posting and Meet Your Teacher Event – August 16, 6:00-pm
  • First Day of School – August 22 – Wednesday 2:30pm dismissal

  • PTO Welcome Reception – August 22 – 8:00am – returning families / 8:30am kindergarten families

  • Curriculum Night – August 30– Time TBD

  • Al Fresco Friday – September 7 – 3:15-4:15pm

Welcome Back!

Welcome back to School! I hope you and your family have had a wonderful summer. Holmes has been a busy place this summer with lots of interior and exterior work happening. Although we have had the sounds of hammers and drills all summer, I believe schools are way too quiet in the summer, making me long for the buzz of learning throughout the building.

Save the date for Thursday, August 16th at 6:00pm. We invite you to come check class lists and meet your teacher. As of now, we won't have any access to the building. If this changes I will be sure to let you know.

If you can't make it on the 16th don't worry. We'll also be emailing you the name of your child's teacher in the afternoon on the 16th. We will not be placing class lists on the front door.

While you have your pen out, mark the calendar for Thursday, August 30th. Curriculum night will take place this evening. Over the summer, we will be working through the details and will share this information with you soon.

We Need Your Help!

The building is starting to look amazing. Spaces are being painted, cabinetry is being installed, and some rooms are being cleaned.

All but 5 of our teachers have moved to a different classroom. Many of our classrooms furniture has been stored in the gym or auditorium and almost every teacher's belongings are in boxes.

Teachers will not have access to the building until 8/17/18 based on current construction timelines and occupancy permits. With that said, I am reaching out with a community call to help. We'll need help moving boxes, furniture, and unpacking.

If you are able, please set aside some time on 8/17 and/or 8/18 to help. Please click here to sign-up.

Volunteering at Holmes

You asked - we listened!

Last year, parents and staff engaged in an activity where we collectively selected 3 focus areas for the 2018-19 school year. One of those areas was VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES to support the needs of our students, teachers, and the school.

Over the summer, a Volunteer Committee was organized. With both staff and parents, we conducted workshops to determine our mission and develop a clear pathway to volunteering at Holmes. And to that end...

Our Volunteer Mission has taken shape:

To proactively transform the school community so that staff, parents, and students:

  • are empowered to do their personal best

  • Inspire the best in others

  • contribute to the success of the entire school

Look out for more in the coming weeks on our 5 Volunteer Support Buckets:

Academic, Room Parents & Classroom, Schoolwide, and Community Hawk Nest

A few events hosted by your PTO:


  • Playground Social & New Family Welcome on Aug 10th 10am-Noon

  • Back to School Coffee on Aug 22nd after drop-off

School Supply Lists

The stores are starting to fill with school supplies. I remember when my kids were younger (Now 25, 21, and 19), we LOVED going to buy our school supplies and be organized for the first day of school.

Here is the link to the supply lists so they are handy for you.

Meet the New Assistant Principal

Dear Holmes Family,

My name is Parisa Asgharzadeh and I am honored and excited to join the Holmes Family as Assistant Principal for the 2018-19 School year. I was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico where I gained a love for community and the Spanish Language. I have spent the last twelve years at dual-language schools both as a teacher and administrator, supporting the implementation of bilingual instruction and language development.

I recently moved to the Chicago area with my fiancé, from Seattle, Washington. While in Seattle, I proudly played for the Seattle Saracens Rugby Club, where I became a gold medalist, winning the National Championship in 2015! I enjoy spending time with friends and family, adventuring outdoors, and playing and watching team sports.

Along with a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership, I have a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with endorsements in both Bilingual Education and ESL and a minor in Spanish. I am committed to children and passionate about equity in education. As Assistant Principal at Holmes, I am excited to support the collaborative culture and bring my passion for fostering diversity and creating an inclusive school atmosphere. I look forward to the journey ahead.


Parisa Asgharzadeh

New Staff at Holmes

We will have a few new faces at Holmes this year. Please join me in welcoming the following new staff:

Assistant Principal: Parisa Asgharzadeh

5th Grade: Ellen Corcoran

5th Grade: Jincy Ninan

4th Grade: Johanna Cousin

4th Grade: Elisa Anderson

4th Grade: TBD

3rd Grade: Megan Freeman

1st Grade: Brent Lopez

Multi-Tiered Support Staff (ELA and Math): Kristine Ashford

Travel PE: Lindsey Bennett

Travel PE: Steven Coglianese

Travel Music: Sarah Altshuler

Travel Spanish: TBD

Social Worker: Kate Rojas (additional ½ time)

School Psychologist: Rachel-Lee Berkeley-Reid

Occupational Therapist: Misti Peppler

Media Assistant: Sara Yu

Staff Switching Roles at Holmes

We also have staff moving to new grades within the school:

4th Grade: John McCauley

3rd Grade: Elizabeth Conway

Library: Nicole Chinski

Instructional Coach: Marianne Rehfield

I know families are used to reaching out to Mr. McCauley with questions or concerns regarding your child. Moving forward please direct those emails to either Parisa Asgharzadeh ( or Dr. Christine Zelaya (

Staff Who Have Left Holmes

We wish the following staff members well as they have moved on to other schools or have moved out of state:

Mrs. Lee, 5th-grade teacher, will be taking a Leave of Absence for the 2018-2019 school year.

Stella Turi – 3rd Grade

Ardith Zucker - 4th Grade

Mindi Maneck – Librarian

Kathy Richardson – Occupational Therapist

Andrew Finkbeiner – 5th Grade

Chris Nolen – 1st Grade

Lidys Aguirre – Travel Spanish

Scott Kandelman – Travel PE

Anjali Karia – Travel Music



We want to welcome all our new families and get you off to a good start, so we have compiled a list of tips that may ease the transition. If you are unsure about things, please ask another parent or staff. There is always help available.

  • The first thing you need to know is where to go to line up the first day of school. At Holmes, we line up on the blacktop across from the school. We will have grade level flags to indicate where different grade levels line up. On the first day of school, teachers will be outside a little earlier than normal (7:45 am) and will be standing at their line. We will also have other staff members out by each flag with class lists to help direct you if you are unsure.

  • Our teachers and I value children arriving on time for school so that all students are there when the day begins and disruptions are minimized. There is a line-up bell that rings at 7:55. Teachers will greet students at 7:55 at their line and walk students in the school. The regular entry doors are locked after the last class enters and your child needs to enter through the main office door, which is monitored by staff. All students arriving before the morning bell should line up with their class as opposed to entering the building through the office. All students who arrive after 8:00 are considered tardy, even those that are just a few minutes late.

  • Many children walk to school, some are dropped off by car, and some ride the bus. The streets around the school are filled with cars, buses, and children just before 8:00. If you drive to school, our drop off area in on Chicago Avenue. We will have staff members out in our drop off area. We ask that you pull all the way forward so other cars may pull in behind you. Do not drop off children in the middle of Chicago Avenue even if you happen to be stopped at the light. This can earn you a ticket from the Oak Park Police Department. We need all parents to cooperate so all of our students are safe. Chicago Avenue can be very busy in the morning so please be aware of your surroundings.

  • There is no student drop off on Kenilworth Avenue in front of the school. We place a barricade at Iowa Street each morning. If you arrive from the north, you will either have to park on Kenilworth or Iowa and walk down to the school. Please remember to be courteous to our neighbors not block their driveways.

  • When it rains or is unusually cold, the children are let in the school early and the regular entrance doors are not open. The students will wait for the bell in the following locations:

Kindergarten – lunchroom

1st grade – blue wall

2nd grade - art/music hallway

3-5th grade - auditorium

  • Wednesday is a shorter day. On Wednesdays, school is dismissed at 2:30 due to staff development sessions. Make sure you pick up your child promptly at 2:30.

  • When you receive anything from the school that says "Return this form to the office", including lunch money, you can give it to your child to take to his or her teacher and the teacher will collect everything and make sure it gets to the office.

  • All students have a 55-minute break that includes lunch and recess. When a teacher takes attendance in the morning, he or she will ask each student if they are eating a cold lunch (lunch from home) or a school lunch for that day. To take part in the hot lunch program you must pay in advance. Please refer to the District 97 Elementary School Fee Form ( or contact the lunchroom supervisor for further details. Children who bring lunch can bring insulated lunch bags or boxes that are deposited in a basket and brought down to the lunchroom and then returned to the classroom after lunch. There is no place to refrigerate lunches that children bring from home or to heat items from home.

  • If you have computer access, email is a good way to get in touch with your child’s teacher or any school employee. You may also want to check out the District website at, which has links to the school sites and other helpful information, such as the school calendar.

  • The Holmes principal sends home weekly messages with important dates. This comes home every Friday. It also includes information from the Holmes PTO.

  • Label everything a child does not have attached to their body (and even some things that are attached): coats, shoes, backpacks, lunch boxes, hats, gloves, etc. If all else fails, there are lost and found bin located in the multi-purpose room.

Below, you will find a handy trifold with important information.

If you have any tips to add to this list, please email me.

Be Ready for Lunch on the 1st Day of School

Mealtime Online is available to monitor student balances and make lunch deposits You can pay by clicking the following Mealtime link.

Celebrate Holmes Staff

Families, have you noticed a Holmes teacher or staff member who deserves a compliment or a thank you? Has this person made a difference for your child? Please share the reason in a brief email to me ( so that we may recognize and thank them!


Popsicles in the Park, Welcome Back PlayDate, Friday, Aug 10 from 10 AM -12 PM

Are you new to the Holmes Community or just looking forward to seeing familiar faces? On Friday, Aug 10 from 10 AM -12 PM, join us for popsicles in the park on Holmes School Playground for a playdate with parent and kids! *Please note that due to the construction, we are not allowed into the school (sorry no bathroom).*

Welcome-back Coffee, Wednesday, Aug 22 at 8AM or 8:30AM for Kindergarten Families. Join us after your child’s school drop-off for the PTO Welcome Reception at 8am (or 8:30 for Kindergarten families). Meet families and find out about upcoming events and ways to volunteer with the Holmes Community. Coffee’s on us!