Peirce Newsletter

March 2020

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Haga clic aquí para la traducción al español

Greetings Peirce!

I am excited to announce that Samuel Lee will be joining Peirce's Leadership team as an Assistant Principal on Monday, March 9th. Mr. Lee is filling the position that Dr. Riemer vacated at the end of November. Mr. Lee was offered the position after a thorough interview process which included a review of 90 resumes, 10 in person first round interviews and 4 second round interviews with a team of teachers, administrators and parents. You will find an introduction from Mr. Lee in this months newsletter.

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 Peirce School 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.

Continuous Improvement Work Plan (CIWP)

Thank you to all of the parents who completed the CIWP Survey and who also attended the Local School Council Meeting on February 20th to provide input into our next two year plan. If you have not yet completed the survey, you can do so now by clicking here.

Each CPS school is responsible for creating a school improvement plan which spans across two school years, we are currently in the development phase for our next plan with the expectation that it will be ready for approval late Spring once budget is released.

Enrollment Update

Peirce's student enrollment continues to grow as more and more families from the community are sending their child(ren) to Peirce, their neighborhood school. As our enrollment increases we will need to reduce/eliminate the number of students who are accepted from the lottery. How might this affect you next school year?

  • Any student who resides within the attendance area is guaranteed admission to Peirce.
  • Our goal is to have class size no larger than 28 students in Kindergarten-8th grades.
  • Pre-Kindergarten: Enrollment into Pre-Kindergarten is not neighborhood based, families will still need to apply to Pre-School through the district enrollment process, applications for next school year have not yet been released.
  • Kindergarten: In years past we have accepted approximately 40-50 students from the lottery, CPS is recommending that we accept less than 20 next school year. This means that siblings of current students applying through the lottery will likely be accepted, and possibly a few more students who reside outside of the attendance area boundary.
  • 1st Grade: This years Kindergarten class has 29-32 students in each classroom, the goal for this same group of students next year is to have no more than 28 students per classroom. Enrollment will be monitored over the summer with the possibility of an additional classroom being opened in the fall for 1st grade.
  • 2nd-8th Grades: Depending on enrollment at each grade level, it is unlikely that we will be able to open the wait list for students who reside outside of our attendance boundary.

Confused? Feel free to email Sally Suarez in the main office with questions regarding enrollment.


Lori Zaimi


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Welcome Samuel Lee, Assistant Principal!

Dear Peirce Community,

I am excited to join the Helen C. Peirce School of International Studies leadership team as the new assistant principal. I am honored to walk into a school community that is dedicated to seeing students succeed and I will strive to ensure that students are provided a meaningful learning environment at Peirce.

I am a proud CPS graduate and I am excited to come back to CPS to serve Peirce and its community. I taught Language Arts in CPS at George B. Armstrong and in Oak Park at Percy Julian middle school. Julian is an authorized I.B. school and I enjoyed learning how to teach and build curriculum with the I.B. philosophy in mind. In 2018, I took on the role of an instructional coach for Des Plaines district 62. I coached both tenured and non-tenured teachers, I led and collaborated on many district initiatives and professional development sessions for the staff. My educational background includes a Bachelor of Science degree in English and a minor in Secondary Education and a Masters of Education degree in Educational Leadership.

I look forward to working with the Peirce leadership team, staff, students and parents to ensure that every child has limitless opportunities to be successful both at school and beyond. As the new assistant principal, students will remain the highest priority and I will work diligently on building trust within the community so that our students are consistently in a position to learn and be successful.

I cannot wait to meet everyone! Coming into the position mid-year, I want to prioritize learning about Peirce and its stakeholders. I hope to learn and lead simultaneously! I would love to meet you in person so please remember that I am available and my door is open. Again, I am humbled and honored to serve the Peirce community.


Samuel Lee

Fiesta de Arte

Join Peirce Staff, Families and Students on

Tuesday, March 24th

4:30 - 7:30pm

To celebrate the Arts & Holi - a festival of colors

The event will include:

After School Program Performances

Face Painting

Craft Market

JB Alberto's Pizza Food Truck

Art Workshops

Silent Auction

Book Fair & More!

While most activities are free, there will be opportunities to make purchases,

be sure to bring cash if you choose.

Update Regarding COVID-19

This letter linked here will be sent home with all students today regarding an update to the CPS response to COVID-19. Teachers are revisiting the "Practice good hygiene" section copied here below with all students, and we encourage families to discuss with students as well.

Practice good hygiene.

  • Washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is best, especially if they are visibly dirty. An alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol is a suitable alternative.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.

Student Council Book Drive

Student Council is again sponsoring a book drive this year in cooperation with Bernie's Book Bank. Please consider making a donation to the book drive by dropping off gently used books by March 20th.

Please visit our athletics website or follow Peirce Athletics on Twitter for information on schedules, sign-ups, a coach directory, updates, and more!

Spring Sports Sign-ups are due by Friday, March 6th. Here is the spring sports sign-up information. You may sign-up online here.

If you have questions or would like to volunteer, please reach out to:

Tyler Leighton, Girls Athletic Director,

Luis Carbajal,Boys Athletic Director,

Go Panthers!

Primary Years Programme Update

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Behind the Scenes: Part 3

Friday, March 6, 2020


Field House

Creating a Culture of International Mindedness

An inquiry into…

  • International-mindedness is a view of the world in which people see themselves connected to the global community and assume a sense of responsibility towards its members.

  • The learner profile and approaches to learning provide the dispositions and foundational skills for the development and demonstration of international-mindedness.

  • The learning community envisions, creates, articulates, and models a culture of international-mindedness.

  • An internationally minded learner takes action for positive change.

Reading in the Primary Grades

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This year, the K-2 team has been working on developing and/or refining small group structures in the classroom. Small group structures allow teachers to support the individual needs of the students in their classrooms. During this time, you will typically, 5-6 centers with different activities that align with the instruction. The different centers might include a guided reading group led by the teacher, a phonics center, a writing center, an independent reading center, a listening center, and a sight word center. There are typically 5-6 students per group and students rotate to a different center after 15-25 minutes. In order to ensure this is done effectively, teachers first have to create a well-defined structure that keeps activities moving, explicitly teach and practice expectations for each individual center, build problem-solving skills and a schedule for students to follow. Additionally, this structure allows teachers to differentiate activities and support students in smaller groups with similar needs. For students, this structure allows students to apply learned skills independently, work with peers to problem solve and builds teamwork and responsibility.

Middle Years Programme Update

Peirce-Senn Parent Tour

For the past two years we have partnered with Senn to offer a special Peirce-Senn Family Tour of Senn. There was a lot of interest in 2018 with less interest in 2019. We are in the process of determining whether or not this is of interest in 2020.

This survey was mailed out in the February newsletter and is being included again this month. Please complete this survey to indicate your level of interest.

MYP Updates

  • Samuel Lee was hired as the Assistant Principal/MYP Coordinator - he will begin on March 9th.
  • MYP Teachers met on March 3rd to discuss the current Learning Community structure in Middle School - discussions focused on the usefulness of this time, resources that are used and how to maximize student learning. The team also explored alternative models that we may explore piloting next school year which focus more on personalized learning.
  • Senn Teachers will visit Peirce on March 11th to complete peer observations and continue discussions around incorporating more opportunities for service within our partnership.
  • Middle School Students who earned straight As during the 2nd quarter participated in an ice cream social.

Math at Peirce

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Preparing for IAR

The Illinois Assessment of Readiness (IAR) will be given at Peirce starting on March 17 for Grades 3 through 8. Here are a few ways you can talk to your children about the test:

  • The IAR tests students on all of the grade-level math topics from the year -- even though it is given with three months left to go in the school year! It can be helpful to tell children that they may see something new or that they haven’t learned yet. They can see this as an opportunity to try something new, but they shouldn’t feel overly anxious.

  • It can be helpful for kids to see assessments like IAR as a chance to practice what they know and also to pay attention to questions that are challenging. They can even talk through these questions at a later point with their teacher or parents to try to figure it out with some guidance!

  • Above all, reinforce for your child that we at Peirce are most concerned with giving students a rich, holistic learning experience. We don’t want anyone to feel overly stressed about a state test.

Bilingual Program

Upcoming Bilingual Advisory Council Meeting

On Friday, March 6 we will have our next Bilingual Advisory Council meeting. It will be at 8:15 am in the Field House. Breakfast will be served. We will discuss matters of bilingual and ESL education at Peirce as well as the recently completed ACCESS test. We will also have a guest presentation about how parents can help their children feel motivated to achieve academic success. Everyone is welcome!

Case Manager Update

Community Connections for Diverse Learners

The Office of Diverse Learners Supports and Services (ODLSS) together with the Office of Family and Community Engagement in Education (FACE) is excited to share the upcoming Community Connections Diverse Learners Expo.

This event will connect families of diverse learners with ODLSS/community supports, and services all in one location!

  • IEP Clinic
  • Break Out Sessions
  • PUNS Sign-up
  • Health & Wellness
  • Technology Center
  • Quiet Area
  • Arts & Crafts
  • Raffle & Prizes

When: Saturday March 21, 2020 from 10am-2pm.

Where: CPS Garfield Park Offices 2651 W. Washington Blvd, Chicago, IL 60612

Counseling Department

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High School Acceptances

The results for ninth grade will be released on March 27, 2020 between 5pm and 11:59pm. Families will receive a robocall and email the week of the upcoming release date and you are encouraged to log into your accounts to ensure that you remember your usernames and passwords. You will need to accept or decline your offer online through your GoCPS account. You may accept an offer AND remain on the waitlist for other schools.

Selective Enrollment Test Scores

Scores for students who took the Selective Enrollment High Schools admissions exam in November or December were mailed to the student's primary addresses on Thursday, February 13th. If you did not receive your score please contact the GoCPS office at 773-553-2060 or email and they will email the letter to you. Scores for these students, and for all other applicants, will also be posted on the GoCPS accounts when the high school application results are released on March 27th.

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. How to determine your tier - type in your address in the search bar.

Open Houses

Open Houses are a great way for you to see the school and program to help you make your decision on accepting a High School offer. Check out this link - Open Houses and visit the schools that you applied to. If you missed the High School’s Open House date, you may call them and ask to schedule a visit.

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


4th & 5th - Picture Days

5th - Local School Council Applications Due

6th - Progress Reports Distributed

6th - Bilingual Advisory Council Meeting, 8:15am

6th - Small Group Tour, 8:15am

6th - IB Behind the Scenes tour, 9:30am

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

7th - Peirce Day @ Chicago Wolves Game, Friends of Peirce Sponsored

7th - Orange Shoe Fitness & Uvae with Friends of Peirce

10th - Comprehensive Sexual Health Information Session, 10:30am, Gym

10th - Friends of Peirce Meeting, 6:30pm, Fieldhouse

11th - Picture Re-Takes

12th - Race & Equity Parent Resource Group Meeting, 8:15am, Fieldhouse

13th - Parent Advisory Council Meeting, 8:15am, Fieldhouse

13th - Parents Night Out Babysitting Night, 6:00pm, Friends of Peirce Sponsored

13th - Parent Basketball League, 6:00pm, Gym

16th - Metropolis Coffee Orders Due, Friends of Peirce Sponsored

16th - Mom's Night Out at Bar Roma, Friends of Peirce Sponsored

17th - Washington D.C. Family Meeting, 5:00pm, Gym

19th - Peirce Day @ Jett’s Pizza on Clark, Friends of Peirce Sponsored

19th - Local School Council Meeting, 6:00pm, Gym

20th - District Bilingual Advisory Council Meeting @ Peirce, 8:15am, Gym

20th - Peirce Service Organization Meeting, 8:15am, Fieldhouse

20th - Parent Basketball League, 6:00pm, Gym, Friends of Peirce Sponsored

24th - Fiesta de Arte, 4:30 - 7:30pm

25th - Coffee with the Principal, 8:15am, Fieldhouse

27th - Parent Basketball League, 6:00pm, Gym, Friends of Peirce Sponsored

28th - 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament (18 and over), Friends of Peirce Sponsored

29th - Mattress Sale, Friends of Peirce Sponsored

31st - Student of the Month, 10:15am, Gym


Spring Break

April 6th - 10th

2nd Race & Equity Parent Group Meeting, 8:15am, Fieldhouse

3rd Small Group Parent Tour, 8:15am

3rd Parent Basketball Night, 6:00pm

13th Metropolis Coffee Orders Due, Friends of Peirce

14th Friends of Peirce Meeting, 6:00pm, Fieldhouse

16th End of Quarter 3

16th Race & Equity Parent Group Meeting, 8:15am, Fieldhouse

16th Local School Council Meeting, 6:00pm, Gym

17th No School - Professional Development Day

22nd Report Card Day

24th 5th Grade Musical Parent Presentations

24th Parent Advisory Council Meeting, 8:15am, Fieldhouse

24th Peirce Service Organization Meeting, 8:15am, Fieldhouse

24th Parent Basketball Night, 6:00pm

26th Peirce Day at Hopleaf

30th STEAM Night,

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 de Duran, 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