Carpenter Courier

February 22, 2018

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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 23, 2018. 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. In the past, I've shared that if you have submitted letters in the past, you didn't need to resubmit. However, this year, I'm asking if you'd like something to be considered for 2018-19, I would like a new letter.

Due to the nature and complexity of this task, we cannot reduce the process to simply accepting requests for specific teachers. PLEASE BE AWARE THAT 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 23rd 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.

We will be having Parent-Teacher conferences on Thursday, March 15th 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

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


Last year in March, we started our school-wide attention on thematic months that focus on different social-emotional values or skill sets. We have completed one school year cycle and have returned to March Manners.

As we continue to evaluate our goals and strategies as a school, I will share with you that one thing we've discussed and has always been apparent is that teaching our children about social-emotional behaviors requires a comprehensive approach. It requires a common language, consistency between homerooms, grade levels, staff members, and home and school. It requires clear expectations and norms for our students and appropriate follow-through when rules/expectations are not met.

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. This month, for example, we are focusing on manners. 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)

*Flushing toilets (yes, I included this)

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. We have great children at Carpenter and in our community. We have to help combat the barrage of poor manners/messaging that they're likely viewing in Youtube videos and tv shows that utilize lack of manners to convey humor.

MARCH MANNERS VIDEO show to students

PARCC schedule - help your child be ready (3rd-5th Grade Standardized Testing)

The PARCC Test, an assessment for all 3rd-8th grade students in Illinois, will be administered in District 64 from March 12-23.

The best preparation for the PARCC 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 they don't have them already, please send earbuds/headphones to school by Wednesday, March 7. 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 PARCC 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 our school's schedule for test administration:

*TIME OF TEST VARIES BY GRADE LEVEL. Please avoid making appointments during this week and as always, please assure your child is at school on-time. Some of the tests are beginning right at 8:55/9:00 a.m.

Monday, March 12: Math 1, Math 2

Tuesday, March 13: Math 3, Math 4

Wednesday, March 14: ELA 1

Thursday, March 15: ELA 2

Friday, March 16: ELA 3

March 19-23 Make-ups

If you would like to learn more about the PARCC tests, English Language Arts sample tests, Math sample tests, and additional resources are available for your convenience.

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

Healthy Living Month

A Celebration of Healthy Living Will Return to District 64 Schools in April 2018

Again this April, through the support of their PTO’s and PTA’s, K-5 students in District 64 will focus on four themes of healthy living. Each week, students will pledge their participation in activities to promote these themes: Health and Nutrition Week (April 2 - 6); Neat to Use Your Feet Week (April 9 - 13); Go Green Week (April 16 - 20); and Screen-Free Week (April 23 - 27). Watch for more information in the April edition newsletter.


Please make sure that you ordered pizza for this last period. The due date is today. At the start of every new pizza period, we tend to have 5-10 students per lunch period who do not show up with a lunch because they think they are getting pizza. If you want your child to have pizza - today is the last day to order. Double-check that you ordered if you think you did it earlier this month. Our goal: no students in the office without a lunch on Thursday, March 1st.

LEGO CLUB - 4th/5th Graders

Mrs. Campbell is piloting a LEGO Club with our 4th and 5th Graders starting in March. Please see the attached flyer below. If you are interested in having your child participate, the application must be in by Thursday, March 1st. If interest is high, not all students may be able to participate. We are continuing to look to design clubs that are interesting to the diverse interest needs of all of our students. We'll use information and expressed interest to consider for 2018-2019, so we'll apologize in advance if child is not selected due to large enrollment.

Battle of the Books, Spelling Bee, and Science Olympiad

Thank you to all of our students who participated in District-planned events such as Battle of the Books, Spelling Bee, and the Science Olympiad. I love seeing our students getting involved in the learning that takes place simply through their participation.

*Congratulations to our 4th and 5th Grade Battle of the Books team which placed 3rd this year in the Park Ridge Library Battle of the Books Competition.

*Congratulations to Charlie who placed 3rd in the District Spelling Bee.

*Congratulations to the following winners from the Science Olympiad:

Egg Drop: 1st Place Tie: Jisoo & Josie

2nd Place: Olivia, Ryan, Mackenzie

Mystery Box: 1st Place Tie: Caroline & Sean

3rd Place: Lilly, Mia, Tori

-Thank you to Mr. Palmer who coordinated the Carpenter's Rubberband Catapult event.

Uncle Pete's Lunches Success and Follow-up

(From Uncle Pete's Ministries)

What a marvelous morning at Carpenter. With the cold weather and snow it is wonderful to see that 265 sacks were collected. It is a perfect day to remember those in need. The sacks were taken to:

*Franciscan Day Program, 10 S Kedzie, serving the homeless in need of services.

*Our Lady of Angels Food Pantry and outreach programs, 824 N Hamlin, serving the needs of the surrounding community, including youth, seniors, and homeless.

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

*Pioneer House Transition Housing Program, 4458 W Jackson, serving homeless men.

The recipients are more than grateful and express their appreciation. The children are marvelous and so caring.

The parents, teachers, and students can be proud for recognizing the needs of others.

Uncle Pete Ministries


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