Carpenter Courier

January 25, 2018

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Principal's Corner

Dear Carpenter Parents,

It's a new year and with a new year comes new excitement, goals, and hopes. Even though it's a new year, we've launched right back into where we left off before holiday break and our students are back in the groove of structured learning activities and engagement. It's amazing how quickly the school year goes by and to see candy hearts on this newsletter (thanks, Mrs. Petrielli) helps to remind me that February is almost here already.

This month, I shared with the students that a great way to start the new year was to set a goal about being responsible. It tied in nicely with our cultural/societal goal-setting that typically accompanies the start of a new year. I'm hoping that you are talking to your children at home about ways they can demonstrate more responsibility at home. This coming month is another great theme: Playing Fair February. Our themes continue to align with our Second Step Lessons. Although the lessons may not directly be taught in Second Step in the month of February, Second Step covers playing fair, fair ways to play, playing fairly on the playground, and solving playground problems throughout the grade levels.

As you can imagine, many of my discipline conversations with students involve something that has occurred at recess. I'm sure our teachers, Mrs. Lech, and I know Mrs. Campbell, our school social worker, would support me when I say that many of their conversations with our students have centered around recess activities. I certainly don't want to feel old, but when I think back to our childhood, we often had to learn to make up games, make the rules on our own, referee ourselves, and come to some type of fair consensus on a disagreement (Rock, paper, scissors anyone)? As we became older and had our own children, seemingly more structured opportunities became available and our children have become more scheduled, more on structured teams and lessons, and typically have adults telling them what to do, how to play, and the rules for the activities. We could have a long discussion about all of the benefits of such opportunities, but one disadvantage that I've seen in my years in schools is that children are having more difficulties when left to their own devices when playing with others without adults guiding them. We get to see how this all plays out at recess. We have our athletes, our rule followers, our less athletic, "I just want to play" students, our imaginative, our "I need a break" students, and our social students. I thought for some humor and some insight into our school recesses, I'd include the Top 10 Statements that I've made to some of our students for perspective:

10. Your soccer game is not for the World Cup, it's for fun; it's recess.

9. He just wanted to play in the game - if he doesn't understand the rules - teach him.

8. She normally plays 4 Square with a different rule twist, maybe today you can play your way and tomorrow you can play her way?

7. Ok, before you start, if I were you, I would bring everyone together and review the four basic rules that you are following for the game.

6. Ok, I didn't really understand any of that game that you just explained to me, but if all of you guys understand and you're having fun, I'm okay with that.

5. Well, did you ask her if she wanted to play? Let me tell you something, if you see a student standing there watching you, it's very likely that she wants to play, maybe she just doesn't know how to ask - so why don't you ask her?

4. Stop stacking teams! How are you guys picking teams? Here's an idea - if you all play basketball for the Park District, why don't you split up the kids who are on a team and then take the kids who aren't on teams and divide them up so the teams are even. It's much more fun for everyone when a game isn't 24-0.

3. Boys, I know you like to socialize and talk, but do you think it's fair to be walking in the middle of the soccer field while you're doing that?

2. This is recess! The goal is that everyone gets to come out here, have fun, and play if they want to. You spend more time disagreeing about rules, if it was a goal, what the teams are going to be, the order of who goes first. If you create a system of doing it, you'll get more time playing!

1. Everyone plays! The rule at Carpenter is that everyone plays!

I just thought I'd welcome you into our world of 476 students, albeit for a brief moment. Although not all of those statements necessarily had to do with playing fair, I wanted to show some of the social challenges that also go along with playing fair at recess. We need to teach our children how to play. We need to teach them how to problem-solve and get along when there aren't adults fully guiding their activities (yes, we have playground supervisors, but they aren't directing the activities). We want them to learn to play fairly and playing fairly requires compromise, understanding, and empathy. It means learning to play for fun and not always only having fun through winning. It is okay to be competitive, but learning to find the right balance. In the month of February, you can help us by discussing these issues at home as well.

Thank you for your continued partnership.


Mr. Brett Balduf, Principal

Carpenter Elementary School

Inspire every child to discover, learn, achieve, and care.

We Look Forward to Seeing You!

Mark your calendars! We hope to see you and your child(ren) on Thursday, February 8th for our drop-in Open House from 6:30-8:00 p.m. There are no formal presentations, so come any time to explore what your child has been learning!


Mark your calendars and please avoid any appointments the week of March 12th. Our 3rd-5th graders will be taking 4 Math assessments and 3 ELA assessments that week. The assessments are exceptionally challenging to make-up and create additional lost instructional time, so we'd like to see everyone complete them that week provided everyone can stay healthy.

Stopping for the Bus

Every month, our school and district administration meet with the Park Ridge and Niles Police Departments to talk about traffic safety. One noted concern this month was continuously observed commuters failure to stop for a school bus. Please make sure in your travels you're respecting stopped buses. The Niles and Park Ridge Police Department will be ticketing and there has been increased vigilance.

Thank you from Cradles to Crayons (from Clothing Drive)

Thank you so much for hosting a collection drive - the outcome was amazing! Carpenter Elementary School’s donations are going to help over 40 Chicagoland children in need. We appreciate everything you did and would love to partner with you for any future initiatives!

-Cradles to Crayons-

Kiwanis Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser- Friday February 9th

Please consider attending the Kiwanis Spaghetti Fundraiser Dinner. As a member of Kiwanis, I've witnessed the great work that this group does not only for "Children of the World" but for our children right here in Park Ridge. Their fundraising efforts directly benefit our neediest children here in District 64. In December 2017, they were able to support 36 families for the holidays thanks to $7,000 raised through these community events.

Emerson's Jazz Band Performs at Wolves Game

Please come out to support Emerson's jazz band on Saturday, 2/17 at 6:00 p.m. at the south gate of the Allstate Arena (8th year performing)! Game follows at 7:00 - Wolves vs. San Antonio Rampage. For more information on the game, please call 800-THE WOLVES.


If you have a question about transportation, please email