Peirce Newsletter

January 2020

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Haga clic aquí para la traducción al español

Greetings Peirce Families!

We had a wonderful start to 2020 on January 2nd & 3rd, even with low attendance, students were back to learning and in a great routine! Flu Season is upon us, make sure to keep your child home if they are having a fever or are contagious, but otherwise please make sure they are at school, on time and ready to learn. Our current attendance rate is almost 1% lower than last year, however, if the 3 make up days are taken out of attendance, we are exactly where we were last year at this time.

Local School Council Elections

If you are a parent, community member, student, or teacher looking to get more involved with Peirce, consider running in the LSC election. The application window for the 2020 LSC elections is currently open. To apply, candidates must download and fill out the application forms and return them with two forms of identification to the Office of Local School Council Relations at the Garfield Park Office on the third floor of 2651 W. Washington Blvd. by February 25, 2020, or to the school for which they intend to run as a candidate by March 5, 2020 at 3:00 p.m.

Parents and community members have the option to file a Form 4-20 Candidate Statement, school staff candidates must file a Form 5-20 School Staff Candidate Information Form and high school student candidates must file a Form 6-20 Student Candidate Information Form.

Click here to access the forms. You can also come into the main office for an application packet.

Happy New Year!

Lori Zaimi


Race & Equity Updates

  • The Race & Equity Team met on December 16th & 18th for a retreat - where we created a vision, mission and set goals to help guide the work at Peirce around Race & Equity. The team will meet throughout January where we will refine language and create a plan to share this information with parents and staff. We hope to schedule a parent information session/send more detailed information out as we have it finalized.
  • Teachers will begin teaching a series of lessons to all students the week of January 6th which focus on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. This series will replace Anti-Bullying Month and Inclusive Schools Week.
  • Peirce Teachers will participate in a workshop on January 31st which focuses on Implicit Bias & Microaggressions.
  • 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 January 9th from 8:15am - 9:45am and January 22nd from 6:00 - 7:30pm in the Fieldhouse.

Primary Years Programme Update

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Upcoming PYP Behind the Scenes Tour

Friday, January 17, 2020 @ 9:30 in the Field House

Part 2: Assessment in the PYP

Essential Questions:

What is assessment?

What does it mean to be assessed?

What does assessment look like in the classroom?

How can you support your children at home?

5th Grade Exhibition Parent Meeting Follow Up

Exhibition is the culminating activity of the Primary Years Program that happens in the 5th Grade. It is an exciting time for 5th graders to inquire into a topic of their choice in small groups. They will plan and execute the project from beginning to end and work with a mentor while doing so ending in a culminating showcase of their work on June 12, 2020. Check out these resources for the 2020 5th Grade Exhibition. If you have any wonderings, please contact Mrs. Lebovitz at

Reading in the Primary Grades

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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)


Vocabulary: word meanings

Vocabulary instruction: teaching word meanings

“Studies have shown that teaching students the meanings of words and word parts such as prefixes and suffixes can have a powerful impact on reading comprehension. Vocabulary instruction should be both indirect and direct. Indirect activities such as reading to students or encouraging them to read independently allow many opportunities for students to gain knowledge about words. Direct instruction of vocabulary, in which teachers provide students with explanations and a thorough analysis of word meanings can foster such a thorough knowledge of word meanings that reading comprehension improves” -The National Panel Reading Report-Advice for Teachers


Indirect activities:

  • Introduce unfamiliar words during daily interactions

  • Read books with new words

  • Discuss meanings of prefixes, suffixes, and common root words.

Direct Activities:

  • Engage in activities that require your child to use the new vocabulary

  • Use pictures, definitions, and sentences to expose your child to new words

  • Introduce a word of the day or week

    • Set a goal with your child to encourage the use of new vocabulary

    • Example: I will use my new word 5 time this week

  • Discuss meanings of prefixes, suffixes, and common root words.

The National Reading Panel Report

Middle Years Programme Update

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Peirce-Senn Partnership

On January 8th, all MYP teachers will meet with their content area partners from Senn High School to observe classroom instruction with a focus on the Approaches to Learning, discuss the goals of the Peirce-Senn Partnership and begin thinking about Service as Action and how it fits/can fit within our MYP IB Units.

Meet Your MYP

All Peirce Parents are invited to attend a "Meet Your MYP" informational event on January 29th at 10:30am. The goal of this session is to provide more information on the transition students make from the Primary Years Program to the Middle Years Program.

6 Approaches to Teaching

The December Newsletter shared information on the Approaches to Learning that are focused on in the MYP Program. Below are the six approaches to teaching that the IB is grounded in.

From IB:

The same six approaches underpin teaching in all IB programmes. The approaches are deliberately broad, designed to give teachers the flexibility to choose specific strategies to employ that best reflect their own particular contexts and the needs of their students. In all IB programmes, teaching is:

  • Based on inquiry. A strong emphasis is placed on students finding their own information and constructing their own understandings.
  • Focused on conceptual understanding. Concepts are explored in order to both deepen disciplinary understanding and to help students make connections and transfer learning to new contexts.
  • Developed in local and global contexts. Teaching uses real-life contexts and examples, and students are encouraged to process new information by connecting it to their own experiences and to the world around them.
  • Focused on effective teamwork and collaboration. This includes promoting teamwork and collaboration between students, but also refers to the collaborative relationship between teachers and students.
  • Designed to remove barriers to learning. Teaching is inclusive and values diversity. It affirms students’ identities, and aims to create learning opportunities that enable every student to develop and pursue appropriate personal goals.
  • Informed by assessment. Assessment plays a crucial role in supporting, as well as measuring, learning. This approach also recognizes the crucial role of providing students with effective feedback.

Math at Peirce

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Agency, Authority and Identity

Here at Peirce we work hard to develop a culture of learning where students can establish their positive identities as mathematicians. By contributing to discussions, building off the ideas of their peers, and asking questions that drive further learning, students come to see that they have real ownership over the mathematical ideas that are developed in the classroom. This trait -- often known as “agency, authority, and identity” -- develops quite naturally when classrooms are structured around activities such as investigating new math problems, sharing different approaches to one calculation, or revisiting an error in order to learn something new.

Bilingual Program

ACCESS is Almost Here!

Every January/February, schools in CPS give an assessment known as ACCESS for ELL’s. This test gives a measure of English proficiency for all students currently placed in the school’s EL program. There are four short sections: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. The Kindergarten test is administered one-on-one with the child’s teacher. For 1st through 8th grade, the test is taken on the computer. For more information about ACCESS, come to the Bilingual Advisory Council meeting on Friday, January 17 at 8:15 in the Field House!

Counseling Department

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Happy New Year and Congratulations on completing your high school application!

Admissions Screenings

During January there will continue to be IB Information Sessions, Military Information Sessions, Selective Enrollment Exams, and Auditions/Interviews for the Fine & Performing Arts Programs. In case you have not signed up yet or missed your previous appointments there is still time to complete this additional step if needed. You will need to sign into your GoCPS account and at the bottom of your application you will see an RSVP button to any necessary admissions screening.

Selective Enrollment Exams

In December the selective enrollment exam dates filled up quickly. Additional capacity to current selective enrollment test dates will be added on January 6th. Please check back into your GoCPS accounts to sign up or call 773-553-2060. Students who completed their selective enrollment exam in November or December will receive their scores by mid-February. Students who test in January will receive their test scores in March 2020, with their application results.

Tier Location and Selective Enrollment Schools

If your address has changed since the application deadline, please be sure to update your address in the GoCPS account and also with the school main office so that you receive any notifications by mail. Your address change after Dec 13 will not affect your designated Tier for selective enrollment selections. The address you used when you submitted your high school application is the address that will be used to determine your Tier.

Re-Ranking Choices

If you need to re-rank your choices you may do so up until February 3rd using the paper re-rank form. You will NOT be able to make any edits to your submitted application through the GoCPS Account. High School Re-Rank Form

High School Acceptances

High School acceptance notifications will be posted in your GoCPS account on March 27. You will receive an email and robocall that week as a reminder. Be sure to save your username and password in order to log back in to view.

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

January Calendar

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

9th - Race & Equity Parent Group Meeting, 8:15am, Fieldhouse

9th - 3rd-5th Grade Spelling Bee, 8:30am, Gymnatorium

9th - 6th-8th Spelling Bee, 1:00pm, Gymnatorium

9th - Graduation Information Meeting, 5:00pm

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

10th - Small Group Tour, 8:15am

10th - Parent Basketball League, Friends of Peirce Sponsored, 6:00pm, Gymnatorium

11th - Winterfest Family Fund Day, Friends of Peirce Sponsored, 1:00pm - 4:00pm

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

17th - Parent Basketball League, Friends of Peirce Sponsored, 6:00pm, Gymnatorium

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

21st - 8th Grade Pictures

22nd - Race & Equity Parent Group Meeting, 6:00pm, Fieldhouse

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

February Calendar

1st - Argyle Street Lunar New Year Parade, 1:00pm

5th - Student of the Month, 10:15am

7th - Report Cards Sent Home

7th - Small Group Parent Tour, 8:15am

7th - Parent Basketball League, Friends of Peirce Sponsored, 6:00pm, Gymnatorium

11th - Metropolis Coffee Orders Due, Friends of Peirce Sponsored

11th - Friends of Peirce Meeting, 6:30pm, Fieldhouse

12th - African American Heritage Showcase Performances, Times TBA

13th - Race & Equity Parent Group Meeting, 8:15am, Fieldhouse

14th - Parent Advisory Council Meeting, 8:15am, Fieldhouse

14th - Valentine’s Day Dance, Peirce Service Organization Sponsored, 5:00pm

17th - No School - President’s Day

20th - Local School Council Meeting, 8:15am, Location TBA

21st - Peirce Service Organization Meeting, 8:15am, Fieldhouse

21st - Parent Basketball League, Friends of Peirce Sponsored, 6:00pm, Gymnatorium

25th - 8th Grade Graduation Pictures, Re-Takes

28th - Parent Basketball League, Friends of Peirce Sponsored, 6:00pm, Gymnatorium

Office Updates

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.

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