Peirce Newsletter

November 2019

Big picture

Greetings Peirce Parents!

There is much to be thankful for as we enter the month of November! Teachers & Students back in class is at the top of the list.

In January of 2019, Peirce parent Michael McGuire and his team from 88 Brand Partners donated time and resources to support Peirce by examining the health of our brand and worked with school stakeholders (administration, students, teachers and parents) to strengthen our brand through the branding initiative. I am happy to announce that the brand is now ready to be shared. Parent group leaders and staff have already met with Michael to discuss implementation and now we are sharing the brand with the larger school community. Please click here to learn more about the brand and how the brand should be represented within and beyond our school community along with the exact files and language to be used. THANK YOU to Michael & his team for the countless hours spent on this project!

Just as routines get going again we enter No-School November - you will find the school schedule becomes a bit much to manage as 6 out of 21 weekdays (29%) in November are non-attendance days for students (November 8th, 11th, 13th, 27th, 28th, 29th).

In the sections below you will find post-strike information along with updates to the school calendar and other school information.

With Gratitude,

Lori Zaimi


Post-Strike Information

5 Make Up Days

When will the 5 make up days be scheduled for? This is the question of the hour - I believe that once the contract is ratified and the Board of Education approves the revised schedule we will know when those dates will be - there is a Board of Education meeting scheduled for November 20th - I believe we should know more after then.

Lunch Menus

Due to the strike, the November lunch menus may be different than what is being served in the lunchroom - please check the online website regularly to see if there are any updates and know that there may be a few days where what is on the menu differs from what is available. Once the food delivery is back on schedule, the menus/service will be the same.

Picture Day

Is still in the process of being rescheduled. Information will be sent out as we receive confirmation on a new set of dates.

High School Fair @ Senn

Senn High School will host the regional High School Fair tomorrow, November 5th from 6:00 - 7:30pm.

Coffee with the Principal

Is now set for December 17th at 8:15am in the Fieldhouse

Report Card Day - November 13th

Report Card Day is November 13th this is a non-attendance day for students. A letter will be coming home later this week with sign up information for conferences - if you would like to request a private conference, please let your child's teacher know in advance. Parents are encouraged to attend with their children for student-led conferences from 11:30am - 3:00pm and 4:00pm - 6:30pm.

From Emily DeSanto, Peirce Parent:

We hope you'll help us in showing our Peirce faculty and staff how much we appreciate them by donating to the Teacher Appreciation luncheon on Nov. 13. Food and supplies can be donated on Nov. 13 in the teachers' lounge, between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. Categories for donations include main dish, sides, salads, beverages, fruit, desserts and paper supplies.

To donate, click on the TEACHER APPRECIATION link and add your item/s.

Please note, if you do not donate your item in a disposable container, you are responsible for getting your container back by 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 13.

Race & Equity Announcements

Work at Peirce around Race & Equity continues!

  • The Climate & Culture Committee is planning a series of activities for students to participate in from January - March with the theme "Diversity, Equity & Inclusion". This series will replace Anti-Bullying Month and Inclusive Schools Week.
  • Teachers will participate in a Professional Development workshop on Friday, November 8th - "Engagement, Justice and modeling Upstanding behaviors in the classroom and school community". This session is being sponsored through our partnership with the Gust Foundation.
  • We continue our partnership with Facing History - teachers and administration have access to curriculum materials and professional development.
  • The Race & Equity Parent Resource Group will not meet again until December 12th from 8:15am - 9:45am in the Fieldhouse.
  • The Race & Equity committee will meet in December for a retreat which will help define the work we are doing and set goals for the remainder of this year.

SY20-21 Enrollment

Applications for the Options for Knowledge process must be submitted by 11:59pm on December 6th. This applies to any student seeking enrollment at Peirce who is not currently living within the attendance boundaries of the school. Please be reminded of two common scenarios:

  • Incoming Kindergarten student whose siblings attend Peirce but does not live within the attendance area MUST apply through the Options for Knowledge process.
  • Current Peirce Pre-Kindergarten student who does not live within the attendance area MUST apply through the Options for Knowledge process.

Cold Weather Reminders

The warm summer weather is behind us and cold days have quickly found Chicago. Please make sure that children are dressed appropriately with hats, gloves, scarfs and boots as appropriate. Students will have recess as long as the weather is 15 degrees or warmer, wind chill may be factored in at the discretion of the school administration.

Primary Years Programme Update

Big picture

Behind the Scenes Tours - 4 Part Series

Part 1: Inquiry in the Content Areas

Power Point Presentation and Article Link

Part 2: Assessment in PYP

January 17, 2020 9:30-11:00am

Part 3: Creating a Culture of International Mindedness

March 13, 2020 9:30-11:00am

Part 4: An Inquiry into Action

May 8, 2020 9:30-11:00

Reading in the Primary Grades

Big picture

Essentials for Reading Success in the primary years focuses on developing 5 essential areas to reading:

The five components of reading in primary years are:

  • Phonological Awareness (K-2)

  • Phonics (K-3)

  • Fluency (K-5)

  • Vocabulary (K-12)

  • Comprehension (K-12)


Phonics: the understanding that there are relationships between letters and sounds:

  • Explicit phonics instruction, meaning that each sound and symbol is taught in isolation until the child can manipulate the sounds and symbols to create words and sentences independently.

  • The instruction should be sequential and consistent

  • Students use phonics knowledge to encode (spell) and decode (read) with ease

  • The sounds of the English Language are represented in 250 different spellings (e.g. /k/ as in c, k, ck, ch, que)


  1. Review letter sounds:

    1. Consonants (/t/tin), blends (/cl/ like clown), digraphs (/sh/ like ship

    2. Short vowels (/a/ like hat) long vowels (/ai/ like paint), Diphthongs (/aw/ like jigsaw or oi like foil)

    3. Show pictures of objects and have students identify beginning, middle or end sound

  2. Build decoding habits:

    1. Example: If your child is struggling to read a word, ask your child to sound out the word and blend it

      1. Say: what sound does the letter make, have student sound out one syllable at a time and blend it

      2. Create a blending board-have student point to each sound and then blend

  1. Encoding habits:

    1. Example: When students are writing words, have them say the word slowly and have them write what they hear

    2. Use lines for each sound to support

      1. Example: say m-ar-ch ( write three sound lines)

      2. _______ _______ ______

      3. Write each sound that you hear

Article from about the importance of explicit phonics instruction

Explicit Phonics Instruction

Big picture

Math at Peirce

How do students really learn their addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts? Well, research says there are three phases of math fact mastery:

  1. Developing concrete, foundational strategies.

  2. Learning more efficient reasoning strategies.

  3. Meaningful, ongoing practice to build flexibility and mastery of math facts.

For example, to solve 4 x 4, a 3rd grade student might at first need to use an array of dots and count them one by one. After some time, the student can do this work mentally and can count by 4’s, thinking, “4, 8, 12, 16.” Finally, after practicing regularly with games and activities, the student might think of 4 x 4 as equivalent to “8 and 8” and produce the product, 16, quite quickly!

This year, teachers from 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grades are participating in a study group to investigate and discuss instructional strategies to promote each of these phases in the classroom. At home, be on the lookout for how your child reasons through their math facts and see how you can encourage them to use some fun and helpful strategies.

Bilingual Program

Did you know Peirce has two “programs” for English Language Learners?

  • One program is Transitional Bilingual Education (or TBE). This is a program of instruction for all English Language Learners whose native language is Spanish. These students are entitled to receive some part of their instruction in their native language, as well as instruction to help them develop their ability in English.

  • The other program is Transitional Program of Instruction (or TPI). This is a program of instruction for all ELL’s who speak languages other than Spanish. These students receive instruction from ESL-certified teachers so that they have meaningful access to content in English. Just like TBE students, these students also receive ESL instruction to help them develop their use of English.

Counseling Department

Big picture

It’s never too early to start checking out high schools for your child. CPS offers a variety of high school options that you can apply to when you are in 8th grade. These open houses are open to all families and a great opportunity to get inside the schools and check out what they have to offer.

Northside High School Fair

Senn High School - Tuesday, November 5, 6:00 - 7:30pm

5900 N Glenwood

Northtown High School - Thursday, November 7, 5:00-7:00pm

3900 W. Peterson, 773-478-3655

Chicago High School for the Arts -Wednesday, November 13, 6:00-7:30pm

2714 W. Augusta, 773-534-9710

Noble Academy - Saturday, November 16, 10am-1pm

1443 N. Ogden, 312-574-1527

Alcott High School - Saturday, November 16, 11am-2pm

2957 N. Hoyne, 773-534-5970

DePaul College Prep - Sunday, November 17, 12-2pm

3633 N. California, 773-539-3600

Senn High School - Sunday, November 17, 12:00pm

5900 N Glenwood

Muchin College Prep - Thursday, November 21, 5:30-7:30pm

1 N. State, 312-521-5287

November Calendar

7th - End of 1st Quarter

8th - No School - Professional Development Day

9th - Co-Ed Softball @ Mather HS, 9:00am

9th - 5th/6th Girls Volleyball @ Uplift HS, 10:30am

9th - Co-Ed Softball @ Mather HS, 11:00am

9th - 7th/8th Boys Soccer @ Winnemac Park, 12:00pm

9th - 7th/8th Girls Volleyball @ Uplift HS, 12:00pm

9th - 5th/6th Boys Soccer @ Winnemac Park, 1:00pm

9th - 7th/8th Girls Volleyball @ Uplift HS, 3:45pm

11th - No School - Veterans Day

12th - Metropolis Coffee Orders Due, Friends of Peirce

12th - Peirce Day @ Chipotle, 4:00 - 8:00pm

12th - Friends of Peirce Meeting, 6:30pm, Fieldhouse

13th - Report Card Day

15th - Parent Advisory Council Meeting, 8:15am, Fieldhouse

15th - Peirce Service Organization Meeting, 8:15am, Fieldhouse

15th - Parent Basketball League, 6:00pm, Gym (Friends of Peirce Sponsored)

19th - Parent Session: Restorative Practices @ Peirce, 8:15am, Fieldhouse

20th - Fall Tour & Open House, 8:30am

20th - Family Reading Night, 5:00pm

21st - Local School Council Meeting, 6:00pm, Gym

22nd - El Dia de Los Muertos School Wide Celebration (Re-Scheduled)

22nd - Peirce Day @ Mata Traders (Friends of Peirce)

22nd - Parent’s Night Out, Friends Of Peirce Sponsored, 6:00pm

22nd - Parent Basketball League, 6:00pm, Gym (Friends of Peirce Sponsored)

27th-29th Thanksgiving Break, No School

December Calendar

3rd - Peirce Day @ Wooden Spoon, Friends of Peirce Sponsored

4th - Student of the Month Ceremony, 10:15am, Gym

5th - Friends of Peirce Metropolis Coffee Orders Due

5th - Peirce Day @ Edge of Sweetness

6th - Bilingual Advisory Council Meeting, 8:15am, Fieldhouse

6th - Small Group Parent Tour, 8:15am

6th - Parent Basketball League, 6:00pm, Gym (Friends of Peirce Sponsored)

10th - Friends of Peirce Meeting, 6:30pm, Fieldhouse

11th - 5th Grade Exhibition Parent Meeting, 5:30pm

12th - Race & Equity Parent Resource Group Meeting, 8:15am, Fieldhouse

13th - Progress Reports Distributed

13th - Parent Advisory Council Meeting, 8:15am, Fieldhouse

13th - Parent’s Night Out, Friends Of Peirce Sponsored, 6:00pm

13th - Parent Basketball League, 6:00pm, Gym (Friends of Peirce Sponsored)

17th - Coffee with the Principal, 8:15am, Fieldhouse

18th - 48th Ward Winter Program @ Senn HS, 4:00pm

19th - Winter Concert, 8:30am, 9:45am and 1:15pm

19th - Local School Council Meeting, 6:00pm, Gymnatorium

20th - Peirce Service Organization Meeting, 8:15am, Fieldhouse

20th - Parent Basketball League, 6:00pm, Gym (Friends of Peirce Sponsored)

Winter Break December 23rd - January 3rd

School Resumes on January 6th

Office Updates

Student Fees

Peirce families now have the option of paying student fees online by clicking here and then selecting the one time payment option. Fees are $50 per student or $100 max for 2 or more children.

Apply to be a volunteer

Parents please apply to become a Peirce volunteer by filling out an application at, it would be of much help to our teachers if you apply to become a Level 1 volunteer. This level of clearance allows you to help our teachers on field trips with the children. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at

Parent Portal

If you have not yet created a Parent Portal account through ASPEN please send me your child's name and your email that you would like associated with the account to .

No Dogs on Campus

Please help us create a safe space for our students as they enter and leave the building - dogs and pets are not allowed on school grounds.

Breakfast/Lunch Menus

The CPS Breakfast and Lunch Menu can be found here, this is updated regularly, so please check back often. These menus are subject to change. Also, please check out the CPS Nutrition Services Website.

Daily Specials Classes

The specials schedule can be accessed here - this indicates the class that your child will have each day of the week (Art, Music, Dance, PE, Spanish).

Key Contact List

The information below indicates the leadership team at Peirce - if you have questions about something not listed, please reach out to Lynn or Sally in the main office so that they may put you in contact with the correct team member

Lynn Carro, Office Manager

Enrollment, Building Rental, Schedule meetings with administrators, Lunch & Recess, General Questions

Sally Suarez, Office Manager

Enrollment, Volunteering, Schedule meetings with administrators, General Questions

Lori Zaimi, Principal

Oversees all school operations

Kristen Munoz, Assistant Principal

Kindergarten-4th Grades

Talyia Riemer, Assistant Principal & MYP Coordinator

5th-8th Grades

MYP Program

Kim Lebovitz, PYP Coordinator & Instructional Coach

PYP Program

Joshua Lerner, Bilingual Lead Teacher & Math Instructional Coach

Bilingual Program

Math Instruction

Anne Park, Counselor

School Counseling, High School Transition, Climate & Culture

Shelton Jackson, Restorative Practices Coach

Restorative Practices, Student Behavior & Supports, Recess & Lunch, Climate & Culture

Athanasia Kolontouros, Case Manager

Special Education Services, IEPs, 504 Plans

Brooke Thompson, After School Program Coordinator

Fee & CPS Funded After School Programs