Carpenter Courier

February 27, 2020

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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 Thursday, March 19, 2020. 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. Even if you submitted a letter in the past, I'm asking if you'd like something to be considered for 2020-21, I would like a new letter as situations and individuals change.

Due to the nature and complexity of this task, we cannot reduce the process to simply accepting requests for specific teachers. PLEASE BE AWARE, 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 Thursday, March 19th 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.

Lastly, please note that once homeroom assignments are made and letters are sent in August, we do not accept requests for changes for all of the reasons stated above. So, please take the opportunity now to share your thoughts. If you have questions or feel you need to have a conversation with me that our letter method doesn't provide, please contact me as I'd rather have this conversation now than a complicated conversation in August.

We will be having Parent-Teacher conferences on Thursday, March 12th 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


Do you have any questions about District 64's student services? Are there any concerns you want to tell us about?

Dr. Lea Anne Frost, District 64’s Director of Student Services, will host a monthly coffee for parents to express their concerns, ask questions, or discuss any matters related to the Student Services Department. Please feel free to attend all or part of these meetings.

The times and dates for the remaining coffees are:

  • 3 to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 10 in the Emerson Middle School conference room, 8108 North Cumberland Avenue, Niles

  • 8 to 10 a.m. on Wednesday, April 22 in the Carpenter Elementary School conference room, 300 North Hamlin Avenue, Park Ridge

  • 3 to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, May 19 in the Washington Elementary School conference room,1500 Stewart Avenue, Park Ridge


  • Students will have the day off on Monday, March 9, Records Planning Day - Due to the lack of any inclement weather days used in January, District 64 students do not have to attend classes on Monday, March 9.

  • Schools will be closed for Spring Break from March 20-27 - Schools will be closed for six days (10 including weekends). The last day of classes will be Thursday, March 19. Schools will re-open on Monday, March 30.


Our monthly theme is March Manners. This particular theme tends to resonate with our students very well and we will continue to incorporate strategies at school to reinforce the need to demonstrate respectful manners.

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. Our children need to be 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)

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.

Supporting our monthly theme, we had great success (and fun!) tying in our Positive Office Referrals with the College March Madness Basketball Tournament. Over the next month, our students that earn positive office referrals will draw a number between 1-64 which will eventually "connect" them to a college basketball team. If their team progresses through the tournament, it increases their chances of winning a basketball game reward with Mr. Balduf and Ms. Creehan when we return from Spring Break. Check out the picture below from last year that shows the MARCH MANNERS MADNESS TOURNAMENT.

GO I-L-L!!!!

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