Peirce Newsletter

December 2019

Big picture

Greetings Peirce Parents!

Thank you to everyone who supported parent-teacher-student conferences earlier this month - as and IB school, we embrace student leadership/ownership of learning, I hope that you enjoyed the student-led conference and were able to follow up with your child's teacher as appropriate.

Please note the following:

  • Due to the CTU Work Stoppage, Picture Day is rescheduled for March 4th & 5th
  • Winter break is cut short, students will return from break on Thursday, January 2nd and Friday, January 3rd - please send your children to school both days.
  • CPS is seeking feedback from parents on the School Quality Rating Policy, consider completing the SQRP Feedback form.

I wish you a wonderful holiday season and look forward to a strong close of 2019.

Lori Zaimi


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.
  • Peirce Teachers participated 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 and focused on identity, implicit bias and identifying microaggressions. We will have a follow up session on January 31st.
  • 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 meet on 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 13th. 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

Developing critical and creative thinking skills in your children

The IB Learner Profile Thinker - We use critical and creative thinking skills to analyse and take responsible action on complex problems. We exercise initiative in making reasoned, ethical decisions.

Developing critical thinking allows students to analyze and evaluate issues and ideas and from decisions. At Peirce we do this by teaching students to observe carefully, consider meaning, synthesize new understandings, organize information, and draw conclusions and generalisations.

We develop creative thinking by teaching students to use discussion and play to generate new ideas and investigations, making connections, seek information, consider alternative solutions, and ask “what if” questions.

So how can you support the development of critical and creative thinking skills at home?

  • Provide opportunities for play

  • Pause and wait

  • Don't intervene immediately

  • Ask open-ended questions

  • Help children develop hypotheses

  • Encourage critical thinking in new and different ways

Here are two resources for additional information on how to develop your children’s critical and creative thinking skills.

Big picture

First Graders listen for sounds and make inferences about what they are hearing.

Reading in the Primary Grades

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)


Fluency: fluency is reading with accuracy, speed and expression

“Research indicates that repeated readings lead not only to improvement in reading the passage but also to improvement in decoding, reading rate, prosodic reading, and comprehension of passages that the reader has not previously seen (Dowhower, 1994; Koskinen & Blum, 1986; Kuhn & Stahl, 2000; National Reading Panel, 2000).” -Excerpt from Creating Fluent Readers


  1. Accuracy:

    1. Have your child reread stories, passages, or parts of a story both aloud and silently

    2. Read aloud to children to provide a model of fluent reading

  2. Speed

    1. Practice decodable and non-decodable words using playful activities

      1. Example: Bingo,

  3. Expression

    1. Have children listen and follow along with audio recording:

Article from ASCD- Educational Leadership digs into the research of why reading fluency matters. Creating Fluent Readers

Middle Years Programme Update

A major component of our MYP Program here at Peirce is our partnership with Senn High School. In order to maintain this partnership, Peirce teachers meet with Senn teachers quarterly. The primary aims of our partnership this year will be observing instruction around the Approaches to Learning (ATL skills) in years 1-5 of our programme and developing a structure for implementing the IB objectives for Service on both campuses.

Through ATL students develop skills that have relevance across the curriculum that help them “learn how to learn”. ATL skills can be learned and taught, improved with practice and developed incrementally. They provide a solid foundation for learning independently and with others. ATL skills help students prepare for, and demonstrate learning through meaningful assessment. They provide a common language that students and teachers can use to reflect on, and articulate on, the process of learning. (From

The focus of ATL in the MYP is on helping students to develop the self-knowledge and skills they need to enjoy a lifetime of learning. ATL skills empower students to succeed in meeting the challenging objectives of MYP subject groups and prepare them for further success in rigorous academic programmes. In the MYP, ATL encompasses both general and discipline-specific skills. Many ATL skills are applicable to all MYP subject groups; these general “tools for learning” can be tailored to meet the specific needs of students and schools. In order to develop ATL skills that facilitate effective and efficient learning, students need models, clear expectations, developmental benchmarks (or targets) and multiple opportunities to practise.

While ATL skills are not formally assessed in the MYP, they contribute to students’ achievement in all subject groups. Teachers should provide students with regular, specific feedback on the development of ATL skills through learning engagements and provide formative assessment.(From

The MYP learning outcomes for service are the core resource in guiding what Service as Action should look like in schools. With differences assumed for the different ages and learning styles of students and how much guidance they may require, MYP students are to reach these outcomes through their participation in service as action:

  • become more aware of their own strengths and areas for growth

  • undertake challenges that develop new skills

  • discuss, evaluate and plan student-initiated activities

  • persevere in action

  • work collaboratively with others

  • develop international-mindedness through global engagement, multilingualism and intercultural understanding

  • consider the ethical implications of their actions. (from

Big picture
MYP 2 Students in Algebra with Mr. Rossiter demonstrate RESILIENCE, a key component of SELF-MANAGEMENT, an essential ATL Skill.

Math at Peirce

Big picture

Math games are a wonderful way to get kids engaged in mathematical thinking in school and at home. Why math games? Education researchers can point to at least four distinct benefits:

  • Persistence and problem solving. Children, especially young children, make meaning out of mathematics through trial and error, testing out ideas, and learning from their past attempts.

  • Social-emotional development. Through game playing, kids develop their ability to interact collaboratively and productively with their peers.

  • Observation. When kids play games, we as teachers or parents have a great opportunity to observe their thinking quite closely. This gives us the information we need to know how to help them most effectively.

  • Repetition and practice. We often underestimate how much exposure and practice kids need in order to become fluent with certain mathematical ideas. With games, kids get to interact with important concepts regularly.

For math game ideas for younger children, consider visiting blogs such as Games for Young Mathematicians and Games for Young Minds. Many effective online games are out their for older students to develop algebraic reasoning. Some examples include and DragonBox Algebra 5+. Note, however, that online games are most effective when the child reasons through the game with a teacher or parent.

Bilingual Program

Have you heard about the Peirce Bilingual Advisory Council? This is a committee led by parents of bilingual students that provides recommendations to the school community about bilingual, ESL, and cultural education at Peirce. Most CPS schools have a Bilingual Advisory Council just like ours.

We are always looking to expand our outreach and meet new families. All are welcome! Our next meeting is Friday, December 6 at 8:15 am in the Field House. Light breakfast and coffee will be served.

Restorative Practices Update

School Graffiti Consequence - ☮

As our wonderful students and parents returned to school after the strike, we were met with very inappropriate terms and symbols spray painted on our building. This caused major concern and jarred many emotions from students, staff, parents, and community members. After reviewing the video, five (5) high school students were identified. We were able to reach out to their school administrative teams in hopes to work together and resolve this issue using Restorative Justice. Restorative Justice addresses the needs of all involved when harm is done: the victim(s), harm-doer(s), and the surrounding community, whereas the punitive system is primarily concerned with balancing the scales, so to speak, by punishing the offender to a degree deemed equal — as much as possible — to the offense committed.

Restorative Justice relies on an alternative logic as well. We suggested a talking/peace circle with the students/parents, and the administrative staff from the schools involved. During our circle, the students read apology letters and thanked the Peirce team for not pressing charges against them. They shared how this could have ruined their lives and that the love shown during this entire process really spoke to them about how this affected others. The restorative process allowed them to reflect on their choices, the harm they caused, and focus on how they can repair that harm. Prior to the circle, they didn't have the opportunity to see how such a minor act (to them) could harm so many people. It was a very powerful circle that empowered the students to make better LIFE choices moving forward. Through the positivity of staff shedding light on the leaders they have potential to be and the tears of their parents, we hope that the circle planted seeds that will soon bear courageous, upstanding adults! Agreements have been made and the students chose to complete community service projects as a consequence to repair the harm caused.

Counseling Department

Big picture

High School Application deadline has extended to December 13, 2019.

Admission Screenings

If you signed up for a selective enrollment exam, IB info session, Military Academy Info Session, and/or Fine/Performing Arts Audition in your GoCPS account and don’t know what to prepare, what to bring, how long it will take, and where exactly to go then check out This link. This will take you directly to the GoCPS Admission screenings website where you can find all detailed information.

High School Open Houses

Many High School Open Houses have rescheduled their dates and some continue to add more Open House dates. You can look up any school that you are interested in and see if they have an upcoming Open House from this link. You are encouraged to call the school to confirm that the event is still taking place.

High School Shadow Days and Tours

Some High Schools offer Shadow Days and/or Small Group Tours. Please call those schools directly or check out their website. Below are links to some of the High School Shadow Days.

Senn High School Shadow Day/Tour Registration Form

Amundsen High School Shadow Day Information

Amundsen High School Sign Up For A Tour

Lakeview Shadow Day

Selective Enrollment High School Calculator

Click Here to find out your chances of getting into a Selective Enrollment School.


Click Here to find out what Tier you live in. Type in your address and you can see what your assigned Tier is and your designated neighborhood school. Click Here to view the overview of the Tier Map.

High School Application Coaches

If you have any questions you may contact one of the high school application coaches below. If we are unable to assist you, please contact or 773-553-2060.

Anne Choe, School Counselor

Brian Girard, 8th Grade Teacher

Irma Puente, 6th Grade Teacher, Speaks Spanish

Jinny Gerhardt, Intervention Specialist

Joseph Vasquez, 8th Grade DL Teacher

December Calendar

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

17th - Staff Appreciation Breakfast, PSO Sponsored

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

18th - Band Concert, 7:00pm

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 1st

School Resumes on January 2nd

January Calendar

2nd - School Resumes

8th - Student of the Month, 10:15am

9th - Graduation Information Meeting, 5:00pm

10th - Parent Advisory Council Meeting, 8:15am, Fieldhouse

10th - Small Group Tour, 8:15am

11th - Winterfest Family Fund Day, Friends of Peirce Sponsored

13th - Metropolis Coffee Orders Due, Friends of Peirce Sponsored

14th - Peirce Day @ Jerry’s, 5419 N Clark, Friends of Peirce Sponsored

14th - Friends of Peirce Meeting, 6:30pm

16th - Local School Council Meeting, 6:00pm, Gymnatorium

17th - Peirce Service Organization Meeting, 8:15am, Fieldhouse

17th - Bilingual Advisory Council Meeting, 8:15am, Fieldhouse

17th - Behind The Scenes Tours Part 2: Assessment in PYP, 9:30am

20th - No School - Martin Luther King Jr. Day

21st - 8th Grade Pictures

24th - Parent Basketball League, 6:00pm

29th - Meet your Middle Years Program (MYP), 10:30am

30th - End of Quarter 2

31st - No School - Professional Development Day

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

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