Carpenter Courier

January 31, 2019

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Principal's Corner

Dear Parents and Guardians,

So, it has been quite an interesting month, hasn't it? I hope you all enjoyed your additional time with your children this week. As much as it is nice to have an additional day (or two, or three) off every now and again, this weather has certainly been disruptive and I would've much preferred to stay in our routines. Since returning from winter break, we've been able to focus on our instruction. With the exception of our second language ACCESS testing, our mid-year benchmarking was completed in December, so we've been able to settle into those routines we missed this week. Ms. King, with the help of Ms. Dazzo and Mrs. Grosso, conducted our Carpenter Spelling Bee and we had many 3rd-5th graders participate. We will send three winners and an alternate onto the District Bee. Mrs. Loftus has continued to work with our Battle of the Books Team to get ready for the start of the Battle season. Our teachers have continued with an exceptional amount of targeted professional development in our new Reading Curriculum, Units of Study, and our special education team attended Facilitated IEP training this month as well. Thanks to our parents, Junior Great Books started up in 1st/2nd/3rd grade this month.

Shifting into February, the district continues its focus groups to find our next district superintendent. Our 2nd graders will be taking the COGAT test next week which will be about two periods of testing (one during Math, one during Reading). The PTO is sponsoring the Snowball Dance and we will be collecting for Uncle Pete's Lunches on Tuesday, February 12th. Our classrooms will have Valentine Parties on the 14th, but we're excited that it is another whole month of routines and instruction.

Our monthly theme is FAIR FEBRUARY. As shared throughout the year, each month we have an identified focus that aligns with Second Step Lessons, or in general, supports the social-emotional-behavioral learning of our students. We make announcements, teachers emphasize the importance of the skill or value, and build it into our language and regular teachable moments. As I go out to lunch recess daily, I have found continuous opportunities to have discussions with our students regarding their play and playing fair. However, the value of being fair extends everywhere and the concept can be taught in developmentally appropriate ways based on the age of your child. It is important to be fair in the classroom, when sharing resources, amount of attention provided by adults, etc. For our older children who understand the concept, it is also important to begin to teach that Fair doesn't always mean Equal; fair is children and students being provided what they need. As always, please continue to support our monthly themes by having conversations with your children at home. Our collaboration will help our students generalize the skill and knowledge and help them to understand that these aren't just school concepts, but rather life values.

We look forward to seeing you at our rescheduled Open House next Thursday, February 7th from 6:00 - 7:30 p.m.


Mr. Brett Balduf, Principal

Carpenter Elementary School

2nd Grade COGAT

The CogAT estimates students’ reasoning and problem-solving abilities and is the first step in determining students’ eligibility for the Channels of Challenge Program.

Our students take the verbal and quantitative tests on the CogAT. These tests are untimed but each test takes approximately 45 minutes to complete. Test sessions will be scheduled on two different days. We will test on Tuesday, 2/5 at 9:00 a.m. and Thursday, 2/7 at approximately 12:45 p.m.

Recess & Temperature Guidelines

With the unusual temperature swings, I thought it would be helpful to update everyone on our practices and guidelines when it comes to our students being outside. We utilize the "Feels Like" or "Wind Chill" temperatures to make our determinations. I'm sharing this for two purposes. First of all, please note that we still do go outside when it is cold out (see chart below). Please check-in with your children to make sure that they have the appropriate clothing for the temperature. However, I also want you to understand how/when we bring the students inside.


10+ - if the feel like/wind chill is 10 degrees or over, we are outside

1-9 - if the feel like/wind chill is 1-9 degrees, we shorten our lunch recess to 15 minutes (from 25 minutes); our teachers are provided with the option as to whether or not they bring students out for grade level recess (max 15 min); students are allowed in the building in the morning before school (they should not arrive before 8:35 a.m.)

0 or below - if the feel like/wind chill is 0 or below, there is no outdoor recess at all; no patrols outside; children let into school before school

Parking, Drop-off, Pick-up, and Safety

School drop-off and pick-up can be challenging. But it doesn't have to be if everyone subscribes to the belief that our first priority should be all of our children's safety and that sometimes, things may be a little inconvenient. Most of the time, I write things in the "This is what you should do." This is pointing out what you shouldn't do and then what you should do. A few notes to remember, consider, and follow:

1. Do not park in NO PARKING ZONES, even if it is "just for a couple of minutes." Those areas that are NO PARKING, particularly by Stop Signs are NO PARKING for a reason. When a car is parked there, it limits the other driver's field of vision. Please do not park there. The inconvenience? Park a little further down the block - keep our kids safe.

2. Do not encourage your children to cross the street in the middle of the street. We want all of our children to cross at the cross-walks. Broadway/Elm, Hamlin/Elm, Hamlin/Cherry. This is especially a problem on Cherry. If you are picking up or dropping off your child north of Carpenter, please teach, reinforce, and model crossing at the Hamlin/Cherry cross-walk. The inconvenience? Your child or you might have to walk a little further - but it is keeping our kids safe.

3. Do not have your child enter/exit the car into the street. Have your child exit the car on the side of street where they are going. The inconvenience? It may be a new 1 block driving route - but it is keeping our kids safe.

4. Do not spend a lot of time in the Kiss n' Go. Please remember that we have 2 Kiss n Go areas. One area is between Broadway and our staff lot on Elm. The other Kiss n Go is on Cherry by the basketball court. Please park your car in a manner that allows your child a quick exit out of your car (school-side). Once your child is safely out of the car and door is closed, please carefully pull out of your spot. Longer goodbyes can take place at home or perhaps the Kiss n Go is not for your family and a park and walk might be better. The inconvenience? A little extra planning at home, but it is helping to keep our kids safe.

*I realize that we have an issue with our Kiss n Go on Elm. When there is snow, we only have one entry walkway at drop-off. I would recommend that while we have a lot of snow, the 1st car that shows up pulls up to the parking lot entryway and drops off there, while the 2nd car pulls up to the Kiss n Go plowed entryway through the snow. Please don't stop in the middle of Elm as you are turning from Broadway because this will mean letting child off in the street and creates traffic flow patterns. Once the snow melts, we will again be able to fit 3 cars in the Kiss n Go. If there are cars at the Kiss n Go, please wait your turn on Broadway. If everyone subscribes to the speed in which drop-off should occur, we should be fine.

Ms. Creehan, myself, and the Park Ridge Police Department will be working to re-norm the practices. I also ask our awesome assistants who are outside to provide guidance as well, so please understand that any requests that they may make are coming from me asking them to help with student safety. However, we cannot do it alone. It takes all of us working together, being patient, being a little inconvenienced, and modeling/teaching our students about safety to help keep them all safe.

Social Work Tip of the Month by Laura Campbell, Carpenter School Social Worker

ENJOY 2019!

Happiness and Joy - Why children need to understand it!

One of the most popular courses at Yale University and across the world is a course on Happiness, by Dr. Laurie Santos: Link to Course on Happiness.

Happiness has become such a phenomenon and that as a society we want to understand the emotions, actions, and the way to feel happy.

This is true of all ages. Yet, the way in which we look for happiness and joy has been lost. We seem to think that joy and happiness is something we experience after we achieve something. For example, after we get a good grade, make a team, score a goal, hit a note or even make a new friend.

Happiness and joy are emotions they are not something affiliated with success as one might define it. Staying present and aware of our senses and surroundings is a great way to embrace joyfulness.

As educators and parents, helping our children to understand this from a very young age is important. We are making a mistake if we teach our children that joy comes from achievements alone. This is in fact not at all what research shows.

Teaching our children and ourselves that joy comes from within us. Some ways to help people connect with the concept of joy include:

  • Laughter - true laughter that we experience

  • Play - playing together

  • Creativity - making something

  • Music - listening to beautiful music

  • Reading - reading a book that brings a sense of fulfillment

  • Exercise – increasing our heartbeat and endorphins

  • Smell - something that smells wonderful

  • Taste - eat something YUMMY

  • Touch - Hugs, petting an animal, holding hands

  • Watch - watching others play, laugh or perform

ENJOY 2019 and stay present by using our senses, and the beauty of Joy will quickly overtake you!

Best Wishes for the New Year!

Laura Campbell

Social Worker

Carpenter Elementary School

5th Grade Baby Photos - Yearbook

Needed: 5th Grade Baby Photos for the Yearbook

Deadline: March 1, 2019

Attention 5th Grade Parents!

Each year, Carpenter School Yearbook features a page with fifth grader's baby photos. We would love for each student to be included. Please send one photo only.

How to submit your child’s baby picture to the yearbook:

a) Email a photo to (preferred) with your child’s name in the subject line, OR

b) Send a copy of your child’s photo to the PTO mailbox in an envelope marked “Yearbook Baby Photos” and with your child’s name.

Photo Guidelines:

• For digital photos, high resolution is best. Most photos taken with a standard digital camera will be fine, but we will contact you if a photo is too small/low-resolution to print.

• The photos should be of your child aged 0-1. The photo should have a clear view of the face; close-ups work well. The photo should ideally not have other people in it, so we can feature only your child.

• Be sure to include your child’s identification, as described above. Photos without identification will not be included.

• Hard copies of photos will be returned via your child’s classroom teacher as soon as they are scanned.

If you have any questions, please contact Erica Duffy at

Deadline to submit photos is March 1st.


If you have a question about transportation, please email