CIS December Newsletter

Keeping you informed about what's happening at CIS.

Principal Update

I can’t believe Thanksgiving is here and we are heading into December! The year is flying by and I can proudly report that things are going very well. Our student council students are hosting an assembly today to honor student leaders. This is one of the best things The Leader in Me has brought to CIS. In years past, we had teachers and the administration talk during the assemblies and lead the activities, etc. Now our students plan and carry out all of our assemblies with the help of Mrs. Jessica Uftring, the Student Council Sponsor. It makes me so proud to see our students throughout the building taking charge and being leaders. We have begun a Student Lighthouse Team that we utilize to help us to examine our school policies and practices and provide their perspective on the issues important to them. They are here with us from 8:00-2:45 and it is important to hear their ideas for their school. The changes in our school have been made to increase student ownership and voice in the building. I love the direction our building is moving and look forward to all of the fantastic changes our staff and students will make at CIS.

Brian Hoelscher, Principal

Central Intermediate

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Central 51 Barnes and Noble Bookfair

Saturday, Dec. 14th, 10am

5001 North Big Hollow Road

Peoria, IL

  • Central staff will greet guests at the door from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
  • CPS Music Performance by Kindergarten and First Grade at 11:00 a.m.
  • CPS Music Performance by Second and Third Grade at 11:30 a.m.
  • CIS Seventh and Eighth Grade Choir at 1:00 p.m.
  • Complimentary gift wrapping by Central Staff from 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Can't attend the Barnes and Noble Book Fair? Click here to support us online from Saturday, December 14th to Wednesday, December 18th!

A Message from Mrs. Bush

CIS Parents Cafe

A big thanks to those parents who joined the first ever CIS Parents Cafe on Thursday, November 14th. Mr. Hoelscher and I enjoyed the opportunity to listen to parents, and we are working through the information collected to discuss improvements we can make.

Be on the lookout for an invite to our next CIS Parents Cafe!

5Essentials Survey

The 5Essentials Survey gives our district information on areas of strength and growth in the following areas:

  • Effective Leaders
  • Collaborative Teachers
  • Involved Families
  • Supportive Environment
  • Ambitious Instruction

Please click on the link below to take the 5Essentials survey!

November Update from PTO President, Stephanie Redlingshafer

November was definitely a busy month!

  • The first ROCK (Rewarding Outstanding Central Kids) took place, and it was AMAZING! So many volunteers spent many hours preparing for the event. Thank you to all!
  • PTO hosted the first VIP Breakfast of the year at CPS (formerly known as Donuts with Dad), and it was a huge success! Thank you to all who volunteered and all who attended, lots of delicious food and smiles! Another VIP Breakfast at CPS will happen in March (formerly known as Muffins with Mom).
  • The annual Rivermen game was another fun night! Thank you to all who attended! Looking ahead to December, the holiday parties will take place on Friday, December 20th. Parties take a lot of planning and volunteers, so thank you to those who will be there!
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Health Update

Notes from our Nurses

Kim Martin RN- Central Intermediate School

Carrie Bright RN- Central Primary 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- Please see a doctor immediately!

“Fun” Facts about Germs!

  • The flu virus can live on cloth or tissue for up to 12 hours; it can live up to 48 hours on hard surfaces.

  • More germs are spread by shaking hands than kissing!

  • A sneeze can spread a water bottle’s amount of mucus 2-8 meters!

    • Teach your students to cover their coughs and sneezes!

Snuggle Up!

  • Dress for the Weather!

    • Per the Central 51 Parents & Students handbook, “assuming other relevant conditions are conducive to outdoor recess, students will go out when temperatures with wind-chill are 20 degrees or above.” Please be sure to send your students to school dressed appropriately (coat, hat, gloves, etc).

    • In order for students to play in the snow, they must have a coat, snow pants, gloves, hat, and boots.

Warning! Dry, Chapped Skin in Progress

  • If your student has dry, flaky skin or chapped lips, consider sending lotion and/or chapstick to school.

  • To help prevent dry, chapped skin, make sure your student is drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Consider sending a refillable water bottle to school with your student.

  • Other ways to help prevent dry skin are:

    • Try taking short, luke-warm bath/showers

    • Use gentle body cleansers

    • Apply lotion after baths/showers

    • Consider using a humidifier at home

Student Learning

Renaissance Notifications

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

Leader in Me - Family Learning Team Update

The Family Learning Team is continuing the update the CIS Leader in Me website. The website features the past and present students of the month, spotlights current leadership practices here at CIS, as well as resources to practice the habits at home. Are you wondering what this "WIG" thing is all about? Check out the Trojan Army tab on the website.

Social Emotional Learning Corner - Mrs. Arms and Mrs. Freeman

The Most Overlooked Reason Why Kids Won’t Listen by: Lauren Tamm, Military spouse and Language of Listening Master Parent Coach

My son climbed to the top of the monkey bars and snaked across them from above. He’s not strong enough to swing across arm-to-arm, so his solution is to catapult his legs up, pull his entire body on top of the bars, and slither across.

A mom walked up to me. “Your son’s on top of the monkey bars. Just thought I’d let you know so he doesn’t fall and get hurt.”

Shortly after, two kids walked up and said, “He’s on top of the monkey bars! He’s going to get hurt.”

It happened in other situations, too.

When I took my two kids to a Merry-Go-Round, and let them have it as I sat on a picnic bench watching from afar, parents and kids alike voiced their concerns.

“Someone is going to break their arm over there!”

“She’s going to fall and get hurt.”

“He’s spinning, and he’s going to get sick.”

Same thing when people saw my kids hanging upside down (per their own doing) for several minutes at a time.

“All the blood is rushing to his head. It’s gonna make him sick.”

“That’s too dangerous!”

Or when people saw my kids twisting and spinning around on a swing.

“Someone is going to get their fingers pinched!”

“That’s not safe. Put your bottom on the swing.”

The bigger issue occurred — for other parents — when my kids did these things and their children wanted to join in the “dangerous” activity. This is a common thread I see at playgrounds and when talking with parents I work with through parent coaching.

Here’s the problem: Why kids won’t listen.

Children’s ability to move and play are being restricted more than ever. We are trying to protect them by saying “No climbing,” “No running,” “No spinning,” “That’s too dangerous,” and “Get down from there!”

However, research shows that the drastic decline in “risky” outdoor play in kids is creating behavior problems. By constantly hovering over kids, restricting their movement, and diminishing their time to play, we are causing more harm than good.

“According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (2013), a recent study showed that the average child spends eight hours a day in front of screens (television, video games, computers, smart phones, and so on). Older children and adolescents are spending an average of eleven hours a day in front of screens.” (Hanscom 2016).

That’s a huge amount of time spent in front of screens, which provide little to no proprioceptive or vestibular input (which I’ll talk about in a second). In prior generations, this time was spent outdoors or in play.

This is the important part.

In order for kids to listen, focus and learn to sit still for a period of time, they must develop both proprioception and vestibular sense. The most critical time to develop a child’s proprioception and vestibular sense is before age six.

With all the time spent in front of screens and telling kids to sit still, avoid climbing, and stop jumping, it’s not surprising why kids won’t listen.

Proprioception is what tells you where your body parts are without having to look at them. This is the sense that helps you make sense of gravity. It’s the reason you can switch from the gas pedal to the brake without looking at your feet, or bring popcorn to your mouth without taking your eyes off the movie screen.

Without properly developed proprioception, kids can push too hard during tag, fall out their seat at the dinner table, or trip while walking up stairs. (You’ll see this a lot in toddlers as they develop proprioception, but you should see it less and less in kids ages four, five, six and beyond).

Vestibular sense provides information about where the body is in relation to its surroundings. This is the sense that helps you understand balance, and it connects with all the other senses.

When the vestibular system does not develop properly all other senses will struggle to function properly. Without a strong vestibular sense, kids will have no choice but to fidget, get frustrated, experience more falls and aggression, get too close to people when talking, and struggle with focusing and listening. Because they literally cannot help it.

Helping your kids.

In order for kids to learn to listen, focus and follow directions, they need to develop proprioception and vestibular sense by experiencing many physical challenges during childhood.

Without it, kids can’t pay attention in school because they are too distracted by their own bodies. Putting clothes on, trying new foods, and finishing homework become insurmountable tasks when kids don’t have a strong vestibular sense or well-developed proprioception.

Study after study shows that kids today desperately need more physical activity. “John Ratey, an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard, suggests that people think of exercise as medication for ADHD. Even very light physical activity improves mood and cognitive performance by triggering the brain to release dopamine and serotonin, similar to the way that stimulant medications like Adderall do.”

Angela J. Hanscom, author of Balanced and Barefoot and Pediatric Occupational Therapist, recommends getting your kids outside as much as possible. Ideally, kids of all ages should get at least three hours of free outdoor play daily.

While I’m not certain if her age-based recommended times are realistic or not, they are as follows:

  • Toddlers → At least five to eight hours of active play per day, preferably outdoors

  • Preschoolers → At least five to eight hours of active play per day, preferably outdoors.

  • School age → At least four to five hours of physical activity and outdoor play.

  • Adolescents → Physical activity three to four hours a day.

Here are a few ways to support your child’s vestibular sense:

  • Spinning in circles.

  • Using a Merry-Go-Round.

  • Rolling down a hill.

  • Spinning on a swing.

  • Going upside down.

  • Climbing trees.

  • Rocking.

  • Jumping rope.

  • Somersaults or cartwheels.

  • Using monkey bars.

  • Skating.

  • Going backwards.

  • Swimming.

  • Dancing.

  • Wheel-barrel walks.

Here are a few ways to support your child’s proprioceptive input:

  • Carrying or lifting boxes.

  • Pushing or pulling a wagon.

  • Build a fort.

  • Rake leaves.

  • Shovel snow.

  • Pick up and put down heavy sticks.

  • Dig in the dirt.

  • Carry buckets of sand or water.

  • Give hugs.

  • Knead playdoh

  • Jump on a trampoline.

  • Chewing on something

  • Squeezing a stress ball

  • Playing Tug-O-War with a stretchy band

Related Posts:

Let the kids live “dangerously.”

As a parent, there are many times I’ve cringed and closed my eyes to avoid watching my child spin in circles, slither across the monkey bars or swing high into the air. It’s only natural to worry that something will happen.

But the truth is kids know what they need. Children with healthy neurological systems naturally seek out the sensory input they need on their own. They do this without thinking about it.

When they jump, swing, spin, pick up rocks or dig in the dirt, kids are doing exactly what they need. They aren’t intentionally doing it to get hurt, act rambunctiously, worry you or get messy.

They are doing it to help themselves become safer, calmer and happier kids.

Like Dr. Tina Bryson says, “You can trust development.” Her words have never been more true.

For more information and resources regarding this topic visit:

Student/Parent Handbook Highlights


Please make sure students are dressed appropriately for outdoor recess.


Students will go outside for recess on a daily basis depending on weather conditions. Assuming other relevant conditions are conducive to outdoor recess, students will go out when temperatures, with wind-chill, are 20 degrees or above.

Teachers/administrators may allow abbreviated recess time when temperatures are in the 17-20 degree (with wind-chill) range. These instances usually occur during the winter when students have been forced to remain indoors for several days/weeks.

School Closings

School closings may occur for a number of reasons. One major factor is the weather. If our schools are cancelled because of weather conditions or other emergencies, the district will put out a School Messenger call, and the following radio and television stations will be contacted prior to 6:30 a.m. whenever possible:


Sometimes weather conditions or emergencies require schools to delay start times or dismiss early. In case of delayed start time for early dismissal, a School Messenger call will be placed, and the radio and television stations will be contacted. Care for children dismissed early from school is important. Parents are urged to plan for such events by arranging for temporary care of children in advance of an early school closing.

Please be sure to check your child's e-Learning Day Expectations on days that school is closed!

Exemption from Physical Activity

In order to be excused from participation in physical education, a student must present an appropriate excuse from his or her parent/guardian or from a person licensed under the Medical Practice Act. The excuse may be based on medical or religious prohibitions. A written excuse from a person licensed under the Medical Practice Act is required before allowing a student to be exempted from physical activities for three (3) or more days. An excuse because of medical reasons must include a signed statement from a person licensed under the Medical Practice Act that corroborates the medical reason for the request. An excuse based on religious reasons must include a signed statement from a member of the clergy that corroborates the religious reason for the request. Any student unable to participate in Physical Education Class due to an exemption shall not be allowed to participate in extracurricular activities/practices.

A student in grades 7-8 may submit a written request to the building principal requesting to be excused from physical education courses because of the student’s ongoing participation in an interscholastic or extracurricular athletic program. The building principal will evaluate requests on a case-by-case basis.

Students with an Individualized Education Program may also be excused from physical education courses for reasons stated in Exemption from P.E. Requirement.

Special activities in physical education will be provided for a student whose physical or emotional condition, as determined by a person licensed under the Medical Practices Act, prevents his or her participation in the physical education course.

State law prohibits the school district from honoring parental excuses based upon a student’s participation in athletic training, activities, or competitions conducted outside the auspices of the school district.

Students who have been excused from physical education shall return to the course as soon as practical. The following considerations will be used to determine when a student shall return to a physical education course:

  1. The time of year when the student’s participation ceases; and

  2. The student’s class schedule.

Central 51 Activities

Girls Basketball 8th Grade Night

On Thursday, November 21st, we celebrated our 8th grade girls basketball players by recognizing them at 8th Grade Night before the game against Washington Middle School. Congratulations to these ladies and their parents on a great season!

The 8th grade team plays their first regional game against Beverly Manor on Monday, December 2nd at El Paso-Gridley Junior High School. The game starts at 7:30 p.m.!


Girls Volleyball will be starting soon!

Any 6th through 8th grade girl who is interested in trying out for volleyball this school year needs to have an updated physical. Please sign up in the office. Open gym and tryouts will be starting soon. Please check the announcements for dates and times!

Holford Gym Expectations

Please review our Holford Gym Expectations:

  • Popcorn and water are the only food and drink items allowed in Holford Gym.

  • K-3 students must be accompanied by an adult at all times during events.

  • Please remain on the bleachers when the ball is in play.

  • Please be respectful of players, coaches, officials, and spectators at all times.

Extracurricular Code of Conduct

Students and parents/guardians of students participating in extracurricular activities must complete the Central 51 Extracurricular Code of Conduct. Please note that the online form must be signed by students and parents separately by logging into Skyward Student Access and Skyward Family Access.

Please see the directions below for signing the Code of Conduct:

Parent/Guardian Instructions

  1. Log into Skwyard Family Access
  2. The Code of Conduct (Parent) can be accessed on the main page of Family Access or by clicking "Online Forms" on the menu located on the left side of the page.
  3. Click on "Fill Out Form."
  4. Click Step 1 under "District Message" on the right side of the screen.
  5. Click "Link to Extracurricular Code of Conduct."
  6. Read the Extracurricular Code of Conduct.
  7. Click Step 2 under "District Message" on the right side of the screen.
  8. Read through the coach, player, and parent agreements.
  9. Check the three boxes at the end of the agreement page to agree to the information.
  10. Sign and date the agreement page electronically.
  11. Click Step 3 under "District Message" on the right side of the screen.
  12. Click "Submit Code of Conduct (Parent)."
  13. Check email for a confirmation of the signature.

Player/Participant Instructions

  1. Log into Skwyard Family Access
  2. The Code of Conduct (Student) can be accessed on the main page of Student Access or by clicking "Online Forms" on the menu located on the left side of the page.
  3. Click on "Fill Out Form."
  4. Click Step 1 under "District Message" on the right side of the screen.
  5. Click "Link to Extracurricular Code of Conduct."
  6. Read the Extracurricular Code of Conduct.
  7. Click Step 2 under "District Message" on the right side of the screen.
  8. Read through the coach, player, and parent agreements.
  9. Check the three boxes at the end of the agreement page to agree to the information.
  10. Sign and date the agreement page electronically.
  11. Click Step 3 under "District Message" on the right side of the screen.
  12. Click "Submit Code of Conduct (Student)."
  13. Check email for a confirmation of the signature.

Important Dates

Monday, December 2nd

  • Boys Basketball Game vs. Beverly Manor @ Home - 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday, December 3rd
  • Boys Basketball Game vs. Dunlap Middle @ Home - 4:30 p.m.

Wednesday, December 4th

  • Student Council Donuts and Donations
Thursday, December 5th
  • Boys Basketball Game @ Pekin Broadmoor - 4:30 p.m.
Monday, December 9th
  • Boys Basketball Game @ Dunlap Valley - 4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, December 10th

  • 5th Grade Band Concert @ Holford Gym - 6:00 p.m.
Wednesday, December 11th
  • 6th - 8th Grade Choir & Band Concert @ Holford Gym - 7:00 p.m.
Thursday, December 12th
  • Boys Basketball Game @ Eureka - 4:30 p.m.
  • Board of Education Meeting @ CIS Library - 7:00 p.m.
Friday, December 13th
  • STAR Reports sent to parents
  • 7th & 8th Grade Winter Dance - 7:00 p.m. Wear blue and white.
  • 5th - 8th Grade Peoria Civic Choir Festival Performance @ Five Points - 7:00 p.m.

Saturday, December 14th

  • Barnes and Noble Book Fair @ Barnes and Noble (Peoria) - All Day

Monday, December 16th

  • Dress Up Day: Home for the Holidays - War pajamas or comfortable clothes.

Tuesday, December 17th

  • Dress Up Day: Baby It's Cold Outside - Wear an ugly sweater.

Wednesday, December 18th

  • Dress Up Day: White Christmas - Wear white.

Thursday, December 19th

  • Dress Up Day: It's Beginning to look a lot like Christmas - Wear Christmas hat/socks.

Friday, December 20th

  • Dress Up Day: Jingle Bell Rock - Girls wear green, boys wear red.
  • 5th Grade DARE Graduation
  • Holiday Classroom Parties @ CIS - 1:00 p.m.
  • Early Dismissal - Bus: 1:45 p.m. Walkers: 1:55 p.m.

Monday, December 23rd - Sunday, January 5th

  • Winter Break

Monday, January 6th

  • School Resumes