DeWitt Clinton Elementary School

October 2017 Newsletter

Principal's Message

Dear Clinton School Community,

It is hard to believe we are beginning the second month of the 2017-2018 school year. During the month of September we welcomed over 1,100 students to Clinton School. Many of our new families come from countries such as Pakistan, India, Syria, Somalia, Iraq, and Myanmar. We welcome all our new families and look forward to getting to know them better.

In September we had our first Bilingual Advisory Council meeting, Parent Advisory Council meeting, and Principal Coffee. These meetings serve as a connection between the home and school. We understand many parents have to work, but for those who are available to attend we encourage your participation. When parents are involved in their child's education the child does better academically.
On September 8th we hosted a reunion dinner for the Kindergarten Class of 1941. Mr. Jim Mills, an alumni who has worked to assist the students of Clinton School for nearly 20 years is a proud member of this class. We are fortunate to have such a dedicated Clinton graduate who has worked to benefit our students throughout the years. Mr. Mills sponsors the One Year Older, One Year Smarter Program for students in grades 4-8, our 8th grade Washington, D.C. trip, as well as many other student activities.
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On Monday, September 25th Mr. Jim Mills returned to Clinton School to speak to our 4th-8th grade students. Mr. Mills explained the One Year Older, One Year Smarter Program to the students and encouraged them to do their best throughout the school year. 4th-8th grade students who make growth on the NWEA MAP assessment in June will receive an award. Awards range from $12.50 for growth in reading or math, $25.00 for growth in reading and math, $100 for the most growth in each 4th-8th grade homeroom, and $10,000 scholarship for the student who has the most growth in the school.
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Mr. Mills encourages all students to work hard, do their best, and listen to their parents and teachers. He tells students of his days as a student at Clinton and how he is thankful to his teachers who prepared him for a successful business career. He also recounted to students how many of his closest friends were the students he met at Clinton. We are fortunate to have such a kind and generous alumnus!
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I hope you enjoy our monthly newsletter. You will find an Alumni Spotlight, Curriculum Updates, information on our Community Schools Initiative Before and After School Programs, and ways you can help our students through Donors Choose.

Have fun reading about our first month of school!


Maureen Delgado


Alumni Spotlight

Every month we will highlight two Clinton School Alumni in order to learn about their lives after Clinton and how the education they received at Clinton helped them in high school, college, and in their career.

George Kolovos, Class of 2007

What years did you attend Clinton?

Graduated class of 2007; 1999 (1st grade) - 2007 (8th grade)

Where did you go to high school? College?

Northside College Prep; University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

What is your current profession?

I am a Merchandising Analyst for Walgreens and I work at their corporate offices in Deerfield, IL. A Merchandising Analyst is responsible for deciding where the items in a store should go, and how much space each item should take up. The best part about my job is the work-life balance; I get to work from home twice a week and my boss is very flexible with my time.

What is your most vivid memory from your time at Clinton?

It is not a specific memory that I remember most vividly, but rather the diversity (cultures, religions, etc.) of the classrooms.

What was your funniest moment at Clinton?

It was a kid's nightmare coming to life; by mistake, I called one of my teachers "Mom"

Who was your favorite teacher and why?

Mr. Jason Zak; He is respectful of students, and will push them to achieve their potential.

What was your favorite subject and why?

Math; It is used every day, in every part of life. A lot of people struggle with doing math, despite its usefulness in everyday life.

How did your education at Clinton help prepare you for your current career?

An important part of education is being tolerant of others; with the diverse student body at Clinton, I was exposed to a lot of different cultural, religious, social values, and beliefs. In my current career, I have to communicate and work together with dozens of people, each coming from a different background (different work ethics, learning methods, etc.) Being exposed to different people at a young age gave me the perspective I need when communicating with others. Everyone responds differently to everything, and learning how to navigate these tough relationships began with my time at Clinton.

What advice would you give to current Clinton School students?

These are important both inside and outside the classroom

1) Be respectful - It helps; people are more willing to take the time and help you if you treat them with respect.

2) Ask questions - Misunderstandings happen when there is a breakdown in communication; the more questions you ask, the more you learn and the less room you leave for error

3) Shoot your shot - Do not be afraid to fail, because life goes on; if you miss one opportunity, there is another one coming right behind it; Dream big and seize it.

Sophia Logothetis, Class of 1994

What years did you attend Clinton?

I attended Clinton from 1985-1994.

Where did you go to high school? College?

I attended Good Counsel High School, and studied Secondary Education and History at Northeastern Illinois University.

What is your current profession?

I proudly serve as a teacher at Clinton School.

What is your most vivid memory from your time at Clinton?

My most vivid memory at Clinton was when I was in 8th grade, and won the school History Fair. We were preparing for the city competition, when my teacher, Mrs. Foxwell, ripped off many items from my board and told me I could do better. At the time, I was very upset and did not understand since I thought my project was fantastic, but when I revised my project, I understood what she meant. She knew that I had more potential in me to create something better, and I did. My project won not only the city level competition, but also the state level that year.

What was your funniest moment at Clinton?

Once in 7th grade, I was painting tarps for our Shakespeare Festival in the hallway. I slipped and accidentally poured the paint all over the floor! My friend came to help me up and also slipped on the spilled paint getting orange paint all over the back of her shirt! We were on the floor unable to stand from all of our giggling! Fortunately, we were able to clean up our mess before our teacher noticed!

Who was your favorite teacher and why?

This is a tough question since every teacher I had at Clinton was my favorite, but I will limit this to two special teachers that influenced the way I teach today. They are the late Mrs. Foxwell and Mrs. George. Both of these teachers taught me the value of knowing American history and our rights. Both taught me that hard work pays off in the real world, and that if you put your mind to a task, it may take several tries before you accomplish your goal. Both also taught me to have fun while learning as well as being creative. That is the greatest thing I learned at Clinton.

What was your favorite subject and why?

My favorite subject was science because I loved learning about our planet. I loved learning about the ways we could protect our environment, and also how science could be used to help improve our world.

How did your education at Clinton help prepare you for your current career?

My education was priceless. It not only helped me succeed in high school, my university, and post graduate studies as well, but it provided a wonderful diverse environment that taught respect. As a kid, I would never have imagined that I would be back at Clinton as a teacher so many years later. The lessons I learned on respect, perseverance, and creativity help make my classes successful today.

What advice would you give to current Clinton School students?

I want our Clinton School students to know that anything is possible if you try hard enough. A great attitude and a bit of creativity to all tasks will not only make your work enjoyable, but also prepare you for any obstacle that might come your way in the future.

Curriculum Updates


This month in Preschool we have been learning all about school! Many of our children are attending school for the first time so we have been working on learning the rules and routines of the classroom.

We have also been learning all about the different learning centers in our classroom that focus on reading, writing, math, science, art, and dramatic play. We have been discussing feelings that children may have at school, classroom rules, and how to make and keep friends.

Each day, we read a different story related to these topics. Books are also available in each area of the classroom for students to explore independently or with other children throughout the day. This encourages them to practice pre-reading skills as they use the pictures in the book to talk about the characters and events in the story. We want our students to develop a love for reading at a young age that they can carry with them as they progress through the grade levels.

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Kindergarten is off to an amazing start in just 19 short days of school. Our classes are filled with fun, laughter, and an excitement to learn. In literacy our students are learning letter sounds, letter names, sight words, parts of books, concepts of print, new vocabulary, and so much more. Our students are learning that letters have sounds, the sounds make words, and words make sentences. Our students are learning a love for reading, and are understanding that it opens a new world to education and imagination.

In math, our kindergartners are learning all about the numbers 1-5. We are counting, writing, finding, and comparing numbers. We are using the words "greater than" and "less than" every day. Social studies is a time where we talk about our school and what it means to be a member of our school community and classroom. We set goals as a group and work hard to achieve our goals together. In science are exploring trees and leaves. We go outside to observe and record our finding with all of the beautiful fall leaves.

In kindergarten we are learning to be kind. We are learning how to focus and how to be a good listener. Through our SEL (social and emotional) lessons, students are able to talk, discuss, and practice lessons to help them be more successful in kindergarten and later in life.

1st Grade

First grade is off to a busy start! We are beginning to write small moment stories, are learning about characters and setting and are reviewing letter names and sounds in literacy. Students have been learning about each other and more about themselves in social studies. Science has been so exciting as we observe seeds grow and learn about plants. Students are learning how to add to 10 with fluency and having fun while using math stations!

2nd Grade

Our first month in second grade was a great success! Second graders did a great job learning their classroom rules, routines, and procedures. They were also busy mastering second grade skills!

In reading, the students read realistic fiction texts, learned how to find key details and support them with text evidence, and identify story elements. In Writer's Workshop, students began writing small moment stories and looked at the work of mentor authors such as Jane Yolen and Angela Johnson for inspiration. In math, the second graders completed Go Math! Chapter 1 where they learned how to use place value to find values of numbers and describe numbers in different ways.

In Social Studies, students learned all about maps. They learned about the different types of maps, the parts of a map, and how to use them. They even created their own maps of their home, neighborhood, or school! Last, but not least, the second graders had a great time being scientists as they began learning all about Solids and Liquids, their first FOSS Science Unit. Students participated in hands-on investigations as they discovered properties of solids and the different types of materials solids are made of.

In addition to all of this learning, the second graders also acquired social emotional skills as they began the Second Step Curriculum.

3rd Grade

Third graders are off to a great start! They are adjusting well to block scheduling as they move from room to room for literacy/social science and for math/science.

In reading, they have been reviewing different genres, basic elements of a story and practicing asking and answering questions for comprehension. They are working on collecting personal stories from their own lives as they work on narrative writing.

In math, third graders have been busy reviewing place value, rounding to the tens and hundreds, as well as adding and subtracting within 1,000. Science has been all about seeds- they carried out investigations to compare different seeds and to find out what effect water has on seeds.

As we begin a new school year, third graders have been learning about important skills for learning, particularly focusing attention and listening, as they look forward to a successful school year!

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4th Grade

The month of September has been filled with tons of learning! Students and teachers have been working hard in building relationships with each other to foster an environment of empathy and respect.

In math, students have focused on place value in order to be able to add and subtract numbers fluently up to the millions. Students have determined the value of digits, compared numbers, rounded numbers, and solve multi-step word problems involving addition and subtraction. In science, students have been learning about circuits and using their science notebook to record their knowledge. Students have been collaborating to conduct investigations, asking questions, seeking new information, creating new knowledge to solve problems, and reflecting on learning.

In reading, students explored fiction stories by identifying point of view, character traits, setting, theme, figurative language and using context clues to figure out the meaning of unknown words and phrases. Through the reading skills, students are creating their own realistic fiction stories based on their own life experiences. In social studies, students are exploring Illinois topics through nonfiction texts, discussions, and questioning.

We look forward to more exciting learning in the upcoming months.

5th & 6th Grade

Students in 5th and 6th grade are off to a great start! We began this year in Social Studies by exploring about the origins of early man in the Eastern and Western Hemispheres. In Literacy, our students are working at their instructional levels with a variety of texts and genres. Students are exploring non-fiction literature regularly with articles from publications like NewsEla. Literacy teachers are also engaging students in in Writer’s Workshop, we are fine tuning our research skills to prepare our students for science fair!

5th and 6th grade Math and Science is off and running! In 5th grade, we are exploring our basic math facts and how they apply to the real world. In Science, we are exploring how the sun interacts with everything in our solar system, and even with us! In 6th grade we are pushing ahead to algebra skills while in science we are completing an in depth analysis of a soil problem within a school garden. Both classes have begun the science fair process and are in the thick of research!

7th & 8th Grade

In 7th grade literacy during the month of September, we have been exploring realistic fiction writing. We have examined various short story examples of this genre and have begun composing our own stories as well. The focus this past month has been on developing our characters as the building blocks for our writing. Students are embodying the role of author and writing with fervor!

Social studies has taken off as well for our 7th grade students as we began researching the earliest people to the Americas. We examined possible migration routes to the Americas taken by the ancestors to the continents. From there we studied the earliest civilizations including the Aztecs, Incas, and Mayans. Students have been working on projects together to explore these complex past civilizations.

Our learning and enrichment period afforded us the opportunity to grow as a community in our classroom. Students in Mrs. Zacks’ homeroom class studied the inner workings of the theater world. They held auditions, rehearsed their parts, created props, developed the stage direction, and performed a short play for Mr. Navarette’s homeroom class.

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Eighth grade students have a lot to look forward to in the month of October. In Mathematics we are wrapping up our Number Sense, Expressions, and Equations unit and will be moving into our Linear Equations and Systems of Linear Equations unit. Our science classes are beginning their study of the periodic table as we continue our Chemistry of Materials unit. All students will be getting information about science fair over the next couple of weeks. All eighth graders are expected to complete a science fair project. In writing students are working on memoir writing. Literature classes will continue our Short Stories Unit and Author's Craft. All students will be working on developing their academic vocabulary though daily practice with Wordly Wise. Lastly, in social studies students will be studying westward expansion and the industrial age.

The high school application start date is approaching. In preparation, eighth graders are asked to log into and activate their accounts. Beginning October 10th students will be able to apply for high schools. Join us October 11th at West Ridge Elementary School for the Network 2 High School Fair from 6 to 8 p.m. Come and meet representatives from different high school, ask questions, and get information about school programs.


September marked an exciting return to the library, as students discovered more than 1,000 new books that had been added to the collection since the spring. Students in all grades visit the library every other week to check out books, with students in grades K-2 also enjoying storytime with Ms. Mernick. Early visits each year are a chance for students to revisit book care, library organization and routines. In October, we will begin to explore award-caliber literature by introducing the Illinois Readers' Choice Awards to all grades and by launching a Battle of the Books trivia team for grades 7-8.

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Dear Clinton Family,

It has been amazing to be welcomed into the Clinton community. It has been so much fun to get to work with your children and continue the work of cultivating a deep love for music within our students. So far, students have been exploring different core concepts while also developing concrete understandings of the basic building blocks of music. The core concepts of creating, performing, responding and connecting to music help guide instruction by providing avenues for exploration based on student's interests. This helps lead to the deep understanding of music content, but also the acquisition of important music skills that students can apply in other areas of their lives. Looking forward to the rest of the school year!


Mr. Thomas Ng

English Language Learner (ELL) Program

For the first month of school, we have been working hard to identify and assess all English Language Learners in the school and make sure that students are getting the support they need! This school year we launched a new program for newcomers in 4th-8th grade. This program is for students who are new to the country and who need extra support in literacy and social studies. Within this class, students have started doing reading groups, weekly word work and vocabulary, writing autobiographical narratives, and learning about maps in social studies. Clinton school also now has seven inclusion teachers who work to teach and support English Language Learners in literacy, math, science, and social studies!

Social Emotional Learning (SEL)


Every week, students in grades pre-K-8 have time built-in for Social and Emotional Learning, with teachers utilizing the Second Step curriculum-a program that focuses on social skills and academic success. During the beginning of the school year, students are learning to welcome, to listen with respect and show empathy. Students in grades 5-8 especially focus on transitioning to middle school and welcoming new students.

SEL at Home:

Use Active Listening with your child at home by giving your full attention to what your child is saying as well as their tone of voice. You can show you are really listening by turning off the tv, putting down the phone, and making eye contact. When you are really listening, you are thinking about what your child is saying and can restate it back to them. This shows that you care about your child's feelings and point of view.

Success At School

The beginning of school is a good time to make sure that routines for academic success are being developed. An important routine is a consistent bedtime to make sure that kids get enough sleep. Children in elementary school need 10-11 hours a night to make sure they are ready to learn the next day.

Community School Initiative Before & After School Programming

Clinton Morning and After School Programs started the week of September 18th. We had a record breaking number of students signup for our programs this session. Clinton is so excited to be able to offer our students so many wonderful programs free of cost. Some of the types of programs we offered this session were chess, math and reading enrichment, and art instruction.

We are also proud to be able to have a before school program which allows the students to socialize and learn in a more casual setting.

We also have wonderful programs for parents and the community. Clinton has partnered with the Indo- American Center to provide adults with ESL classes FREE of charge. Classes take place on Wednesdays from 1:30-3:30 . All are welcome to attend.

We are always researching new programs and opportunities we can bring to the Clinton Community. Any questions please contact Ms. Prince

Donors Choose

Bringing Code to Life

Mrs. Ashley Danoff funded her "Bringing Code to Life" project using Donor's Choose. The project asked for 3 Ollie robots and 3 Sphero robots. The robots will be used during and after school in conjunction with projects. They are great ways to visualize code in action, and learn how to make algorithms more precise. There are pictures of the two types of robots below.

Please support Ms. Elaine Mernick's Donors Choose - Send Our School on a Magical Journey Through Chicago!

My students need books for our One Book, One School program. All students throughout our school will read the book "Rickshaw Reggie: Chicago Neighborhoods" by Kathleen Dragon as part of our 3rd annual One Book, One School initiative. It tells the story of Charlie, who thinks he knows everything a kid needs to know about Chicago, until he's taken on a magical journey through Chicago's diverse neighborhoods. Our students will go along for the ride, discovering aspects of Chicago they may never have imagined.

For a full week, students, teachers, and staff will become immersed in the story and collaborate on a series of lessons and activities inspired by the themes of the text, which include Chicago history, cultural appreciation, diversity, and more.

As part of our Social Emotional learning efforts, One Book, One School aims to bring our community together around one text. With this book specifically, students from pre-k through eighth grade will engage in various activities relating to neighborhoods, history, map-reading, multi-culturalism, etc., before going on a gallery walk to discover how other classes interpreted the book and built skills across the curriculum. We hope they, like Charlie, find the journey unforgettable!

Please follow the link below to donate for this project. Ms. Mernick needs $2000 to have this project funded. Any amount will help!

Here's the link: