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 submitted! The Verification Visit will be scheduled for the late spring. Dates will be forthcoming. **

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

The Learner Profile


We show empathy, compassion and respect. We have a commitment to service, and we act to make a positive difference in the lives of others and in the world around us.


Muestran empatía, sensibilidad y respeto por las necesidades y sentimientos de los demás. Se comprometen personalmente a ayudar a los demás y actúan con el propósito de influir positivamente en la vida de las personas y el medio ambiente.

Spotlight on IB

United Nations International Day of Peace

This year, on September 21st, we focused on the UN Sustainable Development Goals as the Building Blocks of Peace. Each student built a kite and sent up their wishes for peace. It was an amazing event in spite of the weather. Since the majority of students couldn't go outside they "flew" their kites in the halls and onto the walls of our school. See above for some pictures from that day. Also, click the link for additional information on the Sustainable Development Goals.


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The PYP at Peirce


Who We Are

Strand: nature of the self
Central Idea: Identity reflects the creativity and ideas of our natural instincts.
Key Concepts: form, refleciton, change
Related Concepts: identity,classification, genetics, adaptation, growth, diversity,
Lines of Inquiry:
1. How our bodies grow, change, and develop.

2. How we are similar and different than others.

3. How we view ourselves.


How We Organize Ourselves

Strand: societal decision making
Central Idea: Schools provide people with opportunities to make connections and establish a sense of community.
Key Concepts: responsibility, function, connection
Related Concepts: community, environment, participation
Lines of Inquiry:
1. Purpose of schools

2. Characteristics of our school

3. How we work together in schools

First Grade

How We Organize Ourselves

Strand: societal decision making
Central Idea: Shared norms establish an orderly environment in which we learn, work, and play.
Key Concepts: function, responsibility, reflection
Related Concepts: behavior, rights, responsibility, communication, cooperation, justice, roles, authority, ownership
Lines of Inquiry:
1. Routines and procedures

2. Responsibilities to our classrooms, school, and community

3. Goal-setting and decision-making using democratic traditions

Second Grade

Who We Are

Strand: Inquiry into the nature of the self
Central Idea: Understanding personal learning needs helps us grow and develop
Key Concepts: reflection, perspective, function
Related Concepts: diversity, resilience, perseverance, self regulation, biology
Lines of Inquiry:
1. How the brain constructs meaning

2. Different learning styles

3. Building learning communities

Third Grade

Who We Are

Strand: rights and responsibility
Central Idea: Our actions are a reflection of our beliefs and values.
Key Concepts: Perspective, Responsibility, reflection
Related Concepts: Beliefs, Citizenship, Values, Rights, Freedom, Government, Roles, Justice, Prejudice, Identity, Authority, Progress,
Lines of Inquiry:
1. What determines our beliefs and values

2. How our beliefs and values drive us to action

3. The ways citizens take actions to influence their community.

Fourth Grade

How We Express Ourselves

Strand: the ways in which we reflect and extend creativity
Central Idea: Creative expressions provide ways to communicate ideas and emotions.
Key Concepts: reflection; perspective; connection
Related Concepts: communication, beliefs, interpretation, symbolism, voice, traditions, identity, family, artifacts, conlict, history
Lines of Inquiry:
1. creativity can communicate ideas.

2. The value of creation.

3. How ideas form and grow

Fifth Grade

How We Organize Ourselves

Strand: societal decision making
Central Idea: Perspective influences decision making
Key Concepts: responsiblity, causation, reflection
Related Concepts: consequence, behavior, citizenship
Lines of Inquiry:
1. How decision-making practices reflect human rights

2. How human actions affect law-making

3. How societies solve disagreements about laws

The MYP at Peirce

Get to know our MYP teachers!

Ms. Lawrenz- 7th Grade Language and Literature

Did you know that students frequently confuse Ms.Lawrenz's last name with Ms. Leventis’?

Ms. Lebovitz- PYP Coordinator

DId you know that Ms. Lebovitz loves to travel?

Here's a look at what's been going on and what's coming up in our MYP classrooms!

Ms. Bibiana Andrade- Technology, Design, and STEM

The 8th Grade Design class is doing Scratch Programming. Students are making games or stories using a free programming website. The 7th Graders are working on either designing a Logo or designing an ergonomic pen in 3D using Sixth graders are using SketchUp, a 3D modelling software, to design a house or a playlot or a bridge. All classes are learning and understanding The Design cycle, a process necessary to solve problems today and in the future. Also, all levels are engaged in creativity, innovation and systems.

Ms. Brugman- Language and Literature

Right now, students are glued to our class texts, either Warriors Don’t Cry, a memoir from one of the Little Rock 9 who integrated Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, or The Circuit, a memoir from a child of migrant workers in California during the 1940s. We are working on reading strategies, reviewing literary devices and vocabulary, and practicing Cornell Notes while also analyzing related historical documents.

Next, students will read The House on Mango Street and work with our cooperating partner, Writer’s Theater. Students will work individually and with a group to dramatize their writing and perform for an audience.

Mr. Skvarenina- Physical and Health Education

The students just finished their first round of fitness testing. The students ran the one mile run, and did push up, curl up, sit and reach and pacer tests. All students then set personal goals for second and fourth quarter testing. The students have set high expectations for themselves and created personal plans to help achieve their goals.

Next we will get into our fitness training unit. Now that the students have set personal goals it is time to start training for them. Students will start to learn about proper technique and training needed to meet their personal goals. Students will begin to pace themselves while running outside in order to build stamina, given stretches to help increase flexibility, and start training to build muscle that will help increase scores in push up and sit up tests.

Mr. Greenwell- Spanish

Students are reviewing concepts from the previous year. 6th Grade is reviewing greeting, numbers, days of the week, etc. 7th and 8th grade non native classes are working on present tense verbs. Native 7th graders are discussing identity and review of present tense verbs. 8th grade native speakers are learning about Spain and the multiple influences on the language and culture.

Up next, 6th grade students will be learning to talk about themselves and others. Students will discuss their likes and the likes of others and learn about different activities.

7th grade- Students will study Spain and learn about shopping. Students will also learn about stem-changing verbs,

8th grade- Students will study the Dominican Republic and learn about leisure activities and past tense verb forms. All levels will continue to develop their reading, writing, and speaking skills in Spanish.

Ms. Hopkins- Mathematics

Currently, students are reviewing one and two step equations, combining like terms, identifying properties, graphing equation as well as exploring strategies for problem solving.

In October, we will begin our first unit, “Math Models” exploring how rate relates to parallel lines soon. Our Approaches to Learning (ATL) focus will be Critical Thinking specifically, drawing reasonable conclusions and generalizations, testing generalizations and conclusions and revising understanding based on new information.

Ms. Hernandez- Science

We are currently exploring the concept of ecosystems in the 7th grade, specifically focusing on introduced versus invasive species. Students have begun to classify what makes a species invasive to an environment. In 8th grade science we have begun our unit on Chemistry and are exploring the periodic table. We will also be evaluating how we select sources, and what makes a source credible in both 7th and 8th grade sciences.

Coming next, in 7th grade we move through our understanding of invasive species we will be identifying a specific species to study and create a wanted poster that includes characteristics, environmental impacts, and location. In 8th grade science we will begin the Chemistry unit and explore the periodic table in the upcoming weeks. Students will garner new understanding of how chemistry impacts our world.

Ms. Keiner- 7th Grade Math & 8th Grade Science

In 7th Grade Mathematics, students have engaged in analyzing, drawing, and measuring polygons. We have constructed various regular and irregular polygons while observing where polygons occur in our environment. Groups have evaluated angles and predicted measurements based on their understanding of benchmark angles. Next, week, we will be beginning to explore Supplementary angles.

In 8th Grade Science , we have begun our unit on hazardous materials. We are determining unknown substances by performing tests, following safety procedures, and investigating materials. For our nest unit in 8th Grade Science, students will begin the Chemistry unit and explore the periodic table in the upcoming weeks. Students will garner new understanding of how chemistry impacts our world.

Ms. Lawrenz- Language and Literature

Currently in 7th Grade Language and Literature, students are studying the structure of literary and informational texts. We are analyzing organizational patterns, literary elements, and text features of fiction and nonfiction. Students are keeping current with election issues through articles from The New York Times Upfront Magazine. Pairs of students have partnered to read The Giver, The Maze Runner, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, The Lightning Thief and Number the Stars (just to name a few titles) in order to explore an author’s craft and structure. Classes are working on different note taking strategies and vocabulary development.

Next month, in 7th Grade Language and Literature, students will begin to examine the theme of choice. They will be exploring short stories, a myth and articles that illustrate how the choices people make affect their lives and those of the people around them. Classes will be reading Rikki-tikki-tavi by Rudyard Kipling, Three Skeleton Key by George G. Toudouze and Daedalus and Icarus. Classes will also begin work on argument writing.

Ms Jetton- Science

In 6th Grade Science, students are currently working on movement and relationships as it pertains to the Sun, Earth and Moon. They are discovering, through hands on activities, simulations and readings, the patterns of movement of the Moon and learning the different phases we see from Earth. In 8th Grade Science , we have begun our unit on hazardous materials. We are determining unknown substances by performing tests, following safety procedures, and investigating materials.

Next month in 6th Grade Science, students will begin exploring the movement of Earth and determine patterns in that movement through hands on activities. They will discover how this movement relates to the day-night cycle and seasonality on Earth. In 8th Grade Science, students will begin the Chemistry unit and explore the periodic table in the upcoming weeks. Students will garner new understanding of how chemistry impacts our world.

Ms. Kerkstra- Mathematics

Students are currently working with factors, multiples and products. We are examining problems and determining when it is appropriate to use common factors or common multiples. This allows students to see how they can break down a number to solve a problem.

Next, students will move into factorization. Students will investigate how to create factor strings for products, seeing how the string gets longer as we replace factors with prime numbers. Eventually they will realize that every number can be a result of prime factors!

Ms. Puente- Language and Literature

The 6th Grade has begun their first unit novel, Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer. It is centered around a protagonist named Miranda and her family. In this novel, an asteroid hits the moon and knocks it out of its orbit. The story develops around what happens to the family and the consequences of this disaster. It is a compelling and very "dystopian-like" read.

Next, we will begin our interdisciplinary IB unit with Science, Individuals in Society, and Language & Literature. Mrs. Jetton, Ms. Mangas, and Ms. Puente will be working together with all the 6th grade students to write an argumentative essay that integrates all the IB Key Concepts for this particular unit as a final project. A green outlined project description packet has been distributed and we are currently sharing it with the students.

Ms. Ferrand- Library/Media Specialist

In September we adjusted from a fixed schedule to a flexible one, which facilitated more check out time and more books being checked out by MYP students.

6th & 7th Grade Learning Communities work in the library 3 days a week.

The library is fast becoming more and more of a central focal resource for the needs of each grade level and the specific IB units taught in each.

Going forward classes will spend more time in the library doing research based on student generated inquiry.

Ms. Mangas- 6th -8th Grade Humanities

In 6th Grade Individuals and Societies, we have begun our unit on the rise of mankind. The students have been exploring the idea of evolution. They have read multiple texts and have been practicing taking Cornell Notes. They are currently learning about the first farmers and farming communities. In 6th Grade Individuals and Societies, moving forward, the students will be exploring the first civilization of mesopotamia. They will then be examining many other early civilizations such as Greece, Egypt and China.

In 7th Grade Individuals and Societies, we have begun our first unit on Geography. The students have been working with the 5 themes of geography. Currently the students are working on a project based on a variety of cities in different countries. The students have to determine the geography of that city by applying what they know about the 5 themes of geography. Moving forward, the students will begin to practice different geographic skills such as latitude and longitude. We will then move on to our next unit, exploring the first American colonies.

In 8th Grade Individuals and Societies, we have begun our first unit on the Civil War. The students are currently examining the events that lead up to the war as well as important people. They have been using a multitude of texts such as, articles, primary documents, and the textbook. We will soon begin to delve into the start of the civil war. The students will explore the different battles, prominent figures and the impact the war had on the American people.

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Here are some more of the good things happening at Peirce!

  • High School Coaches- Peirce Staff members have volunteered to work with 8th grade students and parents through the entire application process. All 8 th grade students will be assigned a HS App Coach to assist with completing applications, making final decisions, and submitting any additional paperwork. HS Application coaches will contact the students and parents and set up a 45-60 min appointment to discuss eligibility, options, and complete applications together.

  • High School Fair-Also, Senn will be hosting a HIgh School Fair on October 11, from 5:30-7:45pm. Over 10 high schools have been invited, Including: Von Steuben,Lane Tech, Jones, Payton, Amundsen, Mather, Whitney Young, and Notre Dame. ALL elementary school families from Andersonville, Buena Park, Edgewater, Lakewood Balmoral, Rogers Park, and Uptown are invited to attend.

  • In Advisory, students are setting goals every week and monitoring their progress toward meeting these goals. During advisory, students also take part in the Second Step program for Social and Emotional wellness.

The MYP has quite a few excursions planned already! Take a look:

  • The 8th graders will be going on a walking trip to Senn High School to check out the what Senn has to offer and also get a look at their MYP Program.

  • The sixth graders will be heading out to Indiana to explore the Dunes Nature Center. Date TBA

  • 7th graders will enjoy an outdoor education at the Lorado Taft Center on the campus of Northern Illinois University. Date TBA

  • 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.

  • Both 7th and 8th graders will invited to attend Peirce School's trip to our Nation's Capital, Washington, DC from May 10-12, 2017. More information, as well as a Parent Meeting to discuss details will be coming soon.

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