The Communicator

PYP and MYP Update

The Current State of IB at Peirce

Primary Years Programme (PYP) - Candidate School - Authorization Visit Spring 2017

**The Application for Authorization has been ACCEPTED!

**The Verification Visit is going to be May 25-26, 2017.

Middle Years Programme (MYP) - IB World School - Evaluation Fall 2017

The Learner Profile



We understand the importance of balancing different aspects of our lives - intellectual, physical, and emotional - to achieve well-being for ourselves and others. We recognize our interdependence with other people and with the world in which we live.


What should we expect?

On May 25-26, 2017 Peirce will have their PYP Verification Visit. The purpose of this visit is to ensure that we are implementing the mission of the International Baccalaureate.

IB Mission Statement

The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.

To this end the organization works with schools, governments and international organizations to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment.

These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.

Aims of the Visit

1. Gather evidence showing that the school has met all the requirements for authorization.

2. Identify practices that are beyond the requirements and those whose further development will contribute to the effective implementation of the programme.

During the Visit

The IB is sending 3 global site visitors to conduct our visit. During the visit they will:

**Visit the school

**Observe classrooms

**Talk with teachers

**Talk with the coordinator

**Talk with the administration

**Talk with district officials

**Talk with parents

**Talk with students

Conclusion of the Visit

Once the visit has concluded, the visiting team will compile a report that will be sent to the IB for review.

Once the IB has reviewed this report, they will send us their final determination, as an IB World School of course, but we will no for sure once we receive confirmation from them.

If you have any questions, please contact Kimberly Lebovitz, PYP Coordinator.

Learning Spanish through Song

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Preschool - How the World Works

Strand: the interaction between the natural world and human societies

Central Idea: Relationships within the environment impacts change.

Key Concepts: change, function, form

Related Concepts: Impact, Growth; Adaptation; Plants, Habitat and Animals

Lines of Inquiry:

1. What an insect is

2. A plants impact on the environment.

3. The characteristics of animals

Kindergarten - Who We Are

Strand: Personal Physical Mental and spiritual health

Central Idea: The human body is comprised of complex interdependent systems that perform specific functions and influence both physical and emotional health

Key Concepts: Function, connection, causation

Related Concepts: consequence, interdependence physiology, human body

Lines of Inquiry:

1. Body systems, their needs and functions

2. Interdependancy of systems in the human body

3. Social and emotional health

1st Grade - How the World Works

Strand: the natural world and its laws

Central Idea: Our perspectives on patterns in the sky shape our understanding of Earth's cycles.

Key Concepts: form, connection,

Related Concepts: pattern, systems, seasons, space, evidence

Lines of Inquiry:

1. celestial bodies in the sky

2. develop observational skills using selected observational tools

3.patterns of movement in the sky

2nd Grade - Sharing the Planet

Strand: communities and the relationships within and between them

Central Idea: Living things interact within habitats

Key Concepts: causation, connection

Related Concepts: impact, sequences, relationships, interdependence

Lines of Inquiry:

1. Functions of animals in a habitat

2. Diversity of life within a habitat

3. Interdependency of living things

3rd Grade - Sharing the Planet

Strand: rights and responsibilities in the struggle to share finite resources with other people and with other living things

Central Idea: Changes in the natural world create a domino effect.

Key Concepts: Connection, Change, and function.

Related Concepts: Adaptation, Systems, Interdependence

Lines of Inquiry:

1. The interdependence of habitats, plants, and animals

2. Effects of environmental change on plants/animals

3. Interactions between environments and society

4th - Sharing the Planet

Strand: peace and conflict resolution

Central Idea: Renewable resources can create and/or reduce conflict

Key Concepts: responsibility, causation, connection

Related Concepts: peace, conflict, resolution, power-balance, equality, cooperation, dependence, geography, impact, consumption, distribution, energy, pollution, sustainability

Lines of Inquiry:

1. Causes and resolutions of conflict

2. Renewable energy resources

3. Natural Earth processes and the impact on humans

5th Grade - Who We Are

Strand: what it means to be human

Central Idea: Certain characteristics help define our species today

Key Concepts: perspective, connection, change

Related Concepts: relationships, adaptation, philosophy, identity

Lines of Inquiry:

1. How do humans compare to other species

2. Human Evolution

3. Personal Identity

Supporting Language at Peirce

Check out the power point titled "IB and Inquiry @ Peirce Presentation to BAC - 3/15/17" on the Peirce Website - click here.

While there, check out the Peirce PYP Language Policy.

Have you looked at the Peirce PYP Documents lately?

Check them out on the Peirce Website!

You will find:

PYP Assessment Policy

PYP Language Policy

Peirce PYP Programme of Inquiry

Peirce Specialists Programmes of Inquiry

...And Much More!

The MYP at Peirce

Learner Profile Focus: BALANCED

Take a look at what the MYP students have to say about what it means to be balanced...
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MYP Teachers HONOR Asian-Pacific American Heritage month by sharing their inspirations...

Amy Tan

Amy Tan is an inspiration because her book, “The Joy Luck Club” reinforces the idea of tradition and family. It helps me appreciate my own family history and traditions. I hope to leave a legacy for my own children one day.

-James Greenwell

Amy Tan because of her books The Joy Luck Club and The Kitchen God’s Wife.

-Bibiana Andrade

Yo Yo Ma

Renown Chinese-American cellist, Yo Yo Ma has been an inspiration to me and is the reason that I developed the Silk Road unit for 6th grade. Yo Yo Ma was a child prodigy who began performing at the age of 4. He attended the Juilliard School of Music and Harvard University and is a master player of western European classical music. However, it was his interest in music of different cultures that led him to start a group named The Silk Road Ensemble. He gathered together traditional musicians from several places throughout Asia and eastern Europe and they explore cultural music as well as experimenting with new music which combines many different styles and genres.

-Brooke Thompson

Kenzaburō Ōe

The books of Japanese author Kenzaburō Ōe are really dense but beautifully written. His early novels blended autobiography and fiction, telling the story of his life from different angles. I often need to read passages over again to understand them, but it’s always worth it.

-Dave Roche

Linda Sue Park

Linda Sue Park is one of my favorite Korean-American authors. Her book When My Name was Keoko sheds light on the value and importance of keeping one’s culture alive even in difficult times, and is beautifully written. I am inspired by her ability to help young readers better understand the struggles and identities not only of Koreans but also the Lost Boys of Sudan (Long Walk to Water) through literature. She is also a native Illinoisan!

-Jinny Gerhardt

Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee is one of my greatest heroes. His mantra of “Be water, my friend” as a way to be fluid across settings in life. In his form of martial arts, Jeet Kune Do, you use the energy from your opponent and react. These reactions are spontaneous and fluid.

-Nancy Zawayta

Thanhha Lai

Born in Saigon, Vietnam, Thanhha Lai is an award-winning children’s book writer. However, she claims her most important contribution was starting a not-for-profit organization called Viet Kids Inc. established to buy bicycles for poor students in Vietnam. I admire her balance of contributing something creative and something to make the world better.

-Mel Ferrand

Maya Lin

Maya Lin has broken barriers again and again - for women, young people and minorities. At just 21, she designed the now famous Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial in Washington D.C., which millions of people visit each year. She also designed the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Alabama. She has proven that young, minority women are smart, powerful and dedicated to their professions.

-Amy Kerkstra

Jeremy Lin

Jeremy Lin attended Harvard University (admirable enough!) but then went on to shatter NBA stereotypes. His critics were great: No one from Ivy League schools succeeds in the NBA. He also faced racism on the court with grace and continues to persevere despite these challenges.

-Tiffany Brugman

Kimora Lee Simmons (Leissner)

I think Kimora Lee Simmons (Leissner) is an inspiration for many reasons. First of all, instead of allowing herself to feel defeated by those that bullied her for her height (5”10”) she embraced her stature by becoming a world famous model. Furthermore, with the profits of the fashion and entertainment empire that she presides over, she engages in numerous charitable initiatives including her scholarship foundation that provides college tuition support for academically successful girls with financial needs. Kimora Lee is a businesswoman, actress, designer, philanthropist and a MOM! She is truly an inspiration!

-Talyia Eve Riemer

Bruno Mars

Bruno Mars! He has amazing talent! His style, confidence and dedication to his craft is inspirational.

-Jasmyn Hernandez

George Takei

George Takei, I always knew him as an actor but recently found out he is very influential community leader. He has also taken vocal steps on recent political issues with only scientific facts. I love scientific facts.

-Adrienne Keiner

Connie Chung

Connie Chung is an influential person because she became the first woman to co-anchor CBS evening news. She was also the first Asian to anchor one of America's major network newscasts.

-Shannon Mangas

Tammy Duckworth

Tammy Duckworth is an influential political woman that has done many great things in her life. She is a role model that shows perseverance and strength of character can help you achieve your goals.

-Ruth Jetton

Douglas Susu-Mago

Douglas Susu-Mago- Hawaiian-born to parents of Japanese and Scottish ancestry. He was my voice teacher for many years. Truly a pioneer in his field, he integrated his knowledge as a formally trained opera singer with the science of right and left brain strengths and weaknesses. Post-vocal surgery, he helped me create and maintain, as he put it “vocal health.”

-Gabrielle Muschong

What will we Master this May, MYP?

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Ms. Zawayta- MYP Year 2 DIverse Learners

In 7th grade math we will continue exploring multi-step linear equations. Students will solve for variables and be able to articulate the steps they took to solve.

Students explore fundamental principles of Mendelian genetics in pea plants and humans. Students will study asexual and sexual reproduction, the process of cell division, and the role of nature and nurture in determining traits. Near the end, students model the use of DNA technologies to solve real problems.

In 8th grade science we will begin exploring force and motion. Students will engineer and test egg car racers or egg balloon drops.

Ms. Puente- MYP Year 1, Language and Literature

6th Grade Literature and Language will continue to work with Writers Theatre to translate their thinking about “El Deafo” into a live performance. Our resident artists, Sindi and Elizabeth, have begun working with all the 6th classes to write monologues that reflect their understanding of the main character and themselves. We will invite the 5th grade classes to come and watch our final performances.

Ms. Brugman- MYP Year 3 Language and Literature

As 8th graders conclude their study of the Holocaust and WWII this spring, we will end with a culminating trip to the Holocaust Museum. Additionally, students will research different genocides and present to the class.

Mr. Roche- MYP Years 1-3, Diverse Learners

After reviewing slope and intercept, 8th graders will being solving word problems with graphing and work towards solving systems of equations - finding where two lines intersect. Seventh graders will continue solving one-step equations and work up to two-step equations and beyond. Simplifiying expressions is in the future as well.

Ms. Thompson- MYP Years 1-3 Music

I am excited to finally be working with middle school students during this last quarter of the year.

6th grade students will be following the historic Silk Road trade routes from China and Japan in the east through India and Turkey and finally ending in southern Spain. Students will be examining similarities and differences in the music of each of these unique cultures and learn about the instruments of these countries. They will be engaged in a project in which students will work in small groups to develop their own country, examine this fictional country’s resources for trade and develop their own musical instruments and compose a piece of music to play on the instruments.

7th grade students will start their quarter developing a community within each of their classes through West African Traditional Drumming. We will then “cross the ocean” to learn about the music that was created when West Africans were brought to the Caribbean islands and Brazil as slaves.

8th graders are looking forward to their graduation and will be composing their own song to present at the ceremony this year. Their unit revolved around vocal music and developing their own voice, both physically and through written words and composed music.

Ms. Hernandez- Science

I signed up for my first marathon back in high school. It was the scariest and best decision of my life! I will be running my 5th marathon this year!

Next on the agenda for April: In Science, MYP year 2 and 3 students will begin with our unit on Sexual Health. Topics will range from safe sex practices to decision making strategies. Students will create educational brochures on sex education and resources available to the community.

Mr. Greenwell- MYP Years 1-3 Spanish

6th grade- Students will be learning about food and Puerto Rico!

7th grade- Students will learn about sports and leisure activities in the Dominican Republic.

8th grade- Students will learn about handicrafts and Costa Rica.

Ms. Jetton- Year 1 & Year 3 Science

In May, 6th graders will continue their unit called Heat Wave, a study of Weather and Climate. They will have a project component based on interest towards the end of the month.

In May, 8th graders will continue their unit on Force & Motion, looking at the relationships between speed, distance and time, as well as examining Newton’s Law of Motion.

Ms. Muschong- Year 1 Diverse Learners

The focus of my 6th grade Learning Communities is reading. I plan to create individualized reading activities to best serve the students in improving their reading abilities, specifically with the NWEA in mind.

Ms. Keiner: MYP Year 2 Math & Year 3 Science

7th grade has entered unit 5, “#RelationshipGoals”, and will learn about linear relationships while keeping their successful families in “Paw-Ville” thriving. Ask 7th graders how Paw-Ville is helping them learn about finance.

Mr. Skvarenina- Physical and Health Education

The students will be entering the baseball/softball/kickball unit. The unit focus will be on learning the rules of the game and teaching students proper technique and strategy for all the games. The students will learn fundamentals and rules allowing for a more free flowing game.

Ms. Kerkstra- Year 1 Mathematics

6th grade math will be completing our unit on rational numbers with a fun summative assessment. Students will be creating a kids’ activity book using the skills and concepts learned in this unit. In the middle of May, we’ll begin a unit on expressions and equations.

Ms. Ferrand- Library

6th & 7th grades will expand on the argument-centered education topics they began in April.

Ms. Lawrenz, MYP Year 2 Language and Literature

Students will be working with a variety of literary and informational texts in order apply reading strategies to strengthen reading skills.

Talyia Eve Riemer- Assistant Principal & MYP Coordinator

In May, 7th and 8th graders will be participating in the long awaited trip to Washington, Dc. While in Washington D.C., from May 10-12, students will study American Culture and Heritage by visiting numerous historical sites, including the Holocaust Museum, The Museum of African American History and Culture, Arlington National Cemetery, and MORE! Please wish us safe travels...

Field Trip Forecast

  • The eighth grade class will be visiting Robert Morris College on May 26th for a day of Junior Achievement, visiting the Holocaust Museum on May 31, and taking a cruise on-board the Odyssey on June 7, 2017.
  • On Friday, June 9th,201, the 7th graders will also be visiting our Springfield during the third quarter to learn more about the history and government of the state of Illinois.

T-Shirts for Sale

We have new PEIRCE SWAG for sale. Brand new T-shirts in all sizes are available for $10!

Helen C. Peirce School of International Studies

Kimberly Lebovitz - PYP Coordinator


Dr. Talyia Eve Riemer - MYP Coordinator


PYP Disclaimer for Being A Candidate School in the International Baccalaureate

Helen C. Peirce School of International Studies is a candidate school* for the Primary Years Programme. This school is pursuing authorization as an IB World School. These are schools that share a common philosophy—a commitment to high quality, challenging, international education that Peirce Elementary School believes is important for our students.

*Only schools authorized by the IB Organization can offer any of its four academic programmes: the Primary Years Programme (PYP), the Middle Years Programme (MYP), the Diploma Programme or the Career-related Programme (CP). Candidate status gives no guarantee that authorization will be granted.

For further information about the IB and its programmes, visit