Carpenter Courier

February 28, 2019

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Principal's Corner

Dear Parents and Guardians,

After spring break, the Carpenter faculty works together on a very difficult but important process. At this time, we begin to create class lists for the next school year. It is a very long process that has many stages.

Because the placing of students in classrooms for next year is such an important decision, we use a very specific and detailed process for all children. We consider six criteria in making our decisions, with no one being more important than another. The following criteria are considered together as a whole before placements are made:

• The total number of children in all grade level classes needs to be equal.

• The ratio of girls and boys should be balanced in each grade level class.

• Ability levels of students need to be balanced in each grade level class.

• Leadership skills and other affective characteristics need to be balanced.

• Students’ learning styles should be matched appropriately with teachers’ instructional styles.

• Some student combinations should be split for social or academic reasons.

We will also be coordinating co-teaching opportunities that may dictate how we group and cluster groups of students in all grade levels.

If you would like to provide specific information about your child to assist in the homeroom placement selection, please submit a letter by Friday, March 22, 2019. That information might include the parents’ view of how the child learns best, the environment that seems to suit him or her best, peer social matches to possibly avoid (not always possible), and any other pertinent details. Such information will be considered as one component of our process, but the final decision about class assignments rests with the principal and the teachers. Even if you submitted a letter in the past, I'm asking if you'd like something to be considered for 2019-20, I would like a new letter as situations and individuals change.

Due to the nature and complexity of this task, we cannot reduce the process to simply accepting requests for specific teachers. PLEASE BE AWARE, LETTERS THAT CONTAIN TEACHERS’ NAMES WILL NOT BE GIVEN CONSIDERATION IN THE PROCESS. I ALSO ASK THAT YOU NOT PUT OUR TEACHERS IN AN AWKWARD POSITION BY ASKING THEM SPECIFICALLY FOR A HOMEROOM PLACEMENT. At times, they are not able to follow through on a request and I do not want them to feel responsible for not being able to follow through or for those requests to interfere with our other considerations.

Any letters received after Friday, March 22rd will not be considered in the process. Please note that the teachers and I spend an inordinate amount of time on this particular process and we take it very seriously for all of our students.

Lastly, please note that once homeroom assignments are made and letters are sent in August, we do not accept requests for changes for all of the reasons stated above. So, please take the opportunity now to share your thoughts. If you have questions or feel you need to have a conversation with me that our letter method doesn't provide, please contact me as I'd rather have this conversation now than a complicated conversation in August.

We will be having Parent-Teacher conferences on Thursday, March 14th from 4:00 - 7:00 p.m. Please note that spring conferences are scheduled differently than fall conferences. Your child’s teacher will contact you if a conference is required. That said, if you have a concern about your child’s performance or if you want an update on your child’s progress, you may contact your child’s teacher. We welcome the opportunity to communicate with you about your child at any time.

Thank you for your continued partnership.


Mr. Brett Balduf, Principal

Carpenter Elementary School


Update on Records Planning Days for March and June

  • Monday, March 4 will be a regular day of school - Although District 64 sets aside four emergency days within the school calendar on an annual basis, if more than two are used prior to February 1, the March records planning day, which is attended by staff only, becomes a day of student attendance. Due to the multiple inclement weather days used in January, District 64 schools will have a regular day of school for students and staff on Monday, March 4.

  • No change at present for Wednesday, June 5 records planning day - At present, the records planning day scheduled for June 5 will be observed. This means that students will not attend school on that day; only staff will be in attendance. This may change, however, should more emergency days be used in coming months.

IAR schedule - help your child be ready

The Illinois Assessment of Readiness Test, an assessment for all students in Illinois, will be administered in District 64 from March 11-22.

The best preparation for the IAR has been the quality instruction our teachers have provided this school year. However, there are things you can also do to promote your child’s success:

  • Make sure your child gets a good night’s sleep and eats a healthy breakfast before each day of testing.

  • Provide your child with words of encouragement. While we don’t want our students to feel anxious about any assessment, we do want them to do their best.

  • If students don't already have them, please send earbuds/headphones to school by Wednesday, March 6th. We will be using these for the English Language Arts test and Math test. These items will be kept at school and returned at the end of testing.

  • The IAR is an online assessment and students will be using their Chromebooks to complete these tests. Please make sure your child brings his or her Chromebook to school each day, fully charged.

Below is Carpenter's schedule for test administration:

Monday (3/11) Math 1 - 3rd (1:55), 4th (9:30), 5th (10:00)

Tuesday (3/12) Math 2 & Math 3 - 3rd (9:00/1:55), 4th (9:30/1:25), 5th (10:00/12:45)

Thursday (3/14) ELA 1 - 3rd (1:55), 4th (9:30), 5th (12:45)

Friday (3/15) ELA 2 & 3rd (1:55), 4th (9:30), 5th (12:45)

If you would like to learn more about the IAR tests, English Language Arts sample tests, Math sample tests, additional resources are available for your convenience. Although the name of this assessment has changed this year, the testing resources provided by the Illinois State Board of Education are the same as last year’s PARCC resources.

Thank you for your support in helping your child be prepared for upcoming testing.


Our monthly theme is March Manners. This particular theme tends to resonate with our students very well and we will continue to incorporate strategies at school to reinforce the need to demonstrate respectful manners.

What we continue to notice as a school system is that social behaviors that may have once been a norm and not something that needed to be explicitly taught have been changing. Our children need to be explicitly taught that manners are an expression of respect and that absence of using appropriate manners can reflect on their character. This explicit instruction comes in terms of both their verbals and non-verbals as well as their actions.

Expected Manners/Behaviors:

*Please (instead of, "Can I have 5 copies?")

*Thank you (instead of silence)

*I'm sorry (instead of "But the other person.....")

*Excuse Me (instead of interrupting two adults talking)

*Eye contact (instead of eye rolls)

*Holding Doors (instead of letting it fall to the next person)

*Appropriate body language (instead of arms folded/slouched/head down)

*Use of "okay" when accepting feedback (instead of expressive sigh or head shake)

*Taking turns (instead of rushing to be first)

*Cleaning up (instead of leaving behind garbage)

I included specific examples because when everyone in our students' lives uses the same language and reinforces the positive, we establish the norm and expectation. When the norm or expectation is missing (i.e. not saying thank you) and we bring their attention to it, it provides the necessary cue of "it isn't acceptable to us that you aren't saying thank you for how I just helped you." We have to let our children know that we expect good manners, because good manners convey respect. Respect is our life rule.

Please utilize our school focus of March Manners to help reinforce and support your conversations at home with your children.

Kiss 'N Go

If you drop your child off in the morning and utilize the Kiss 'n Go dropoff, you can help us with traffic flow and safety with a few simple steps. The Kiss 'n Go works best when the first car to the area pulls up as far as they can go. The child should have his/her backpack/lunch with them in the backseat. The driver of the car should not have to exit the car. This slows down the dropoff for everyone and honestly creates an unsafe situation with cars passing who are not expecting a door to open up into the street. Kiss 'n Go is designed as a quick, close drop-off for families. For some families that may need/want the additional time in the morning and the Kiss 'n Go "rush" is too fast, please consider parking a little further down the block and walking to the building. We appreciate your assistance in making drop-off as smooth, safe, and efficient as possible.

Social Work Tip of the Month

Spring Transitions - School Transitions

Spring is a time of transition and change. Our senses are aware of the beauty that surrounds us with flowers blooming, grass growing and the smells of warmer weather is welcomed by most of us. However, it is a change. A transition.

As people, we are creatures of habit and routine. Even when we welcome change, this takes more energy and planning. It’s not surprising that children often find it difficult to make transitions between activities, places and objects of attention. When we are asked to stop one thing and start another is a very common trigger for emotional reaction, especially for kids. In the school setting there are too many transitions in a day to count! Some of these include transitioning subjects, classrooms, activities, working with peers, teachers and one of the most challenging can be lunch and recess. We transition all of our senses, such as sound, voice, visuals and physical space. Below are some ways to support transitions:

  • Clearly state how long an activity will last
  • Clearly state what is coming next
  • Use a transitional object, sound or visual signal
  • Exercise the ART of DISTRACTION
  • Use tactile or movement breaks between transitions
  • Be aware of wait time. Too much, too little...
  • Be aware of rushing
  • Utilize rewards and it some cases, consequences

Believe it or not when we prepare and practice for transitions, our response is healthier and more welcomed.

Spring into aware of changes and how they impact not only your life but also the children we work with.

Here is a website with more ideas

Happy Spring!!


Look for digital pledge cards for Healthy Living Month this April

District 64 students in grades K-5 through the support of their school PTO’s will again have the opportunity to participate in Healthy Living Month in April. Each week, students will pledge their participation in activities to promote these themes: Health and Nutrition Week (April 1 - 5); Neat to Use Your Feet Week (April 8 - 12); Go Green Week (April 15 - 19); and Screen-Free Week (April 22 - 26). Pledge cards to track a student’s activities are being provided in digital form. Watch for more information in the April school newsletters!

Channels of Challenge Information

District 64 has a variety of methods of differentiating for student learning. Channels of Challenge is one of the District's programs for advanced and accelerated students. Refer to the Channels of Challenge/Primary Challenge Website if you would like to learn more about the eligibility process and Channels of Challenge.


Overall, 141 students participated in District 64 spelling bees this year, which are offered as an extracurricular activity for students in grades 3-8. Spelling bees were held at all seven schools in January, with the top three spellers from each school earning an invitation to the District-wide competition conducted on February 1st at Roosevelt School's auditorium.

Our fifth grade student, Charlie Warner, won the D64 Bee after 15 rounds with the championship word "hundredth." It was his third year competing in the Bee. The District Bee included both spelling and vocabulary rounds. Read more about the Bee on our website news. We are pleased to report that Charlie then placed third in the North Cook suburban area bee held on February 12th, and moved onto the 9th Regional ISC Scripps Spelling Bee Championship on February 20th, where he placed sixth. Only one other D64 student has progressed this far in competition in recent years. Needless to say, we are very proud of Charlie!

Science Olymipiad

We had many Carpenter students, 3rd-5th grade, participate in the District's Science Olympiad on Saturday, February 2nd. There were 471 total student participants from the entire district which was their largest turnout ever! We had a few of our students place in the top three of their chosen event.

Domenic and Joaquin in 4th grade partnered with a Roosevelt student and tied for third place in the egg drop.

Roxanne in 3rd grade partnered with a Washington student and tied for 2nd place in the Rubberband Catapult.

Congratulations to our students and thank you to all of those who participated! Let's look to have even more students participate next year!

TOMORROW: Friday, March 1st - Last Day to order pizza through PTO!

Uncle Pete Lunches Total

Thank you so much for sending lunches on Tuesday for the Uncle Pete's Ministry. About 360 lunches were collected and delivered that day. Several locations serving those in need received the sacks. Our Student Council and staff are beyond grateful to the amazing families and students we have here at Carpenter.

The sacks were taken to:

St. Martin DePorres Food Pantry, 5112 W. Washington, serving the needs of the surrounding community

St. Sylvester Food Pantry, 2157 N. Humboldt, serving the needs of the surrounding community

Mother Teresa Sister of Charity Soup Kitchen and Ministry, 115 N. Oakley, serving the hungry and the homeless

Marillac Center Food Pantry, 2859 W. Jackson, serving the needs of the surrounding community

Marillac Center Project Hope, 2859 W. Jackson, serving new mothers with skills for raising children

The recipients are very grateful and appreciate that others care about them. You can be proud.

Uncle Pete Ministries

Chess Club Registration


Back by popular demand! Chess-Ed is pleased to offer a third chess session at Carpenter. The 8-week program runs from 3/14/19 to 5/9/19 and takes place on Thursdays from 11:40 a.m. to 12:35 p.m. (during lunch). The program is open to Carpenter students in all grades and of all chess abilities. Professional instruction will include the basics for novice players and build with opening theory, middle game planning, and end game combinations for continuing students. Playing chess improves memory, uses analytical and critical thinking skills, teaches problem solving, responsibility, sportsmanship, social skills and more! The benefits of chess last a lifetime!

To register, please go to DISCOUNTED Registration Fee applies through 3/7/19 so register TODAY! Final and Late fees begin 3/8/19. For more information about the program, please refer to the program flyer. Chess-Ed is looking forward to seeing your CHESS ENTHUSIAST this Spring!


If you have a question about transportation, please email