The Mather Memo

January Edition

Principal's Message

Happy 2021 Ranger Families! On behalf of the entire team at Mather, I wish you a warm, safe, and happy start to 2021.

On January 6th, the assault on our nation's capitol was alarming. I found myself experiencing feelings of anger, shock, and disappointment. I am proud of our staff and students who took time to engage each other in conversation around the events, reflect on their experience and the experience of others, and committed to continue to support one another through continued dialogue and understanding. The events may affect our students differently - our staff and counseling team is here to support those experiencing trauma or who are in need of support. Please reach out to an adult you trust - Mather is a safe school and we are here to support you.

Our work continues in 2021. It was really great to return to the virtual classrooms with our students this week. As we get back to work, we pick up where we left off in December and there is much work to do. Please keep in mind that final exams will be Tuesday and Wednesday, February 2nd and 3rd, respectively. Students and teachers are working hard to ensure everyone has a successful end to the first semester, which ends February 5th. Remember, semester grades are final, and we expect all Rangers to earn B's or better. Failing grades do not earn credit and must be made up during summer school or Saturday/night school. I am asking all parents to review grades with your children as soon as possible and to put a plan in place to improve. Our teachers, counselors, and administrative team are here to help.

The most effective strategies right now are to:

  • ensure that your students attend every classroom meet

  • communicate directly with the teacher if you need help in a specific class

  • Use Wednesday support day and Ranger Days strategically - be productive

  • If you don’t know what to do or who to contact - please email and we will connect you with the appropriate teacher, counselor, or administrator.

PSAT - 11th grade - Class of 2022

CPS will offer our 11th-grade students the opportunity to take the PSAT/NMSQT exam in person at our school on January 26th. Your child’s score on the PSAT/NMSQT will determine if he or she is eligible to participate in programs administered by the National Merit Scholarship Program, which include recognition and scholarship opportunities. If your child chooses not to participate in PSAT/NMSQT testing on January 26th, he or she will have a normal day of remote learning instruction.

To ensure the health and safety of our students and staff during in-person testing, we will implement the following protocols at our school:

  • We will fully sanitize all rooms, before and after testing, in line with the district’s enhanced cleaning procedures.

  • Students and staff members will be required to pass an online health screener and temperature check prior to entering the building.

  • Everyone who enters our school will be required to clean their hands either by washing with soap and water or by using hand sanitizer.

  • All students and staff will be required to wear a cloth face covering while inside the building, including during the test and during testing breaks.

  • Students will be seated six feet apart with no more than 25 percent of the room’s capacity being utilized and no more than 50 people per room.

  • Masks can be removed for eating and drinking, and strict social distancing will be required when masks are removed.

  • During testing breaks, students will remain in their testing room and maintain strict social distancing.

  • We will implement procedures for restroom breaks that maintain the requirements to socially distance, wear cloth face coverings and clean hands.

  • We will establish and communicate clear arrival and dismissal procedures, taking advantage of the College Board’s flexible, staggered start time policy.

We are glad to be able to provide your child with an opportunity to begin planning for their future. Feel free to reach out to Assistant Principal Altstiel at with any questions.

Students who have registered for the test will receive an email from Mrs. Altstiel the week before the exam.

All students should begin preparing for the PSAT and SAT by signing up for and practicing on Khan Academy.

SAT Saturday Virtual Prep Class **Starting in February**

All JUNIORS are eligible to participate in the SAT Saturday virtual prep class.

Mather is waiving the $25-course fee this year.

More information will be available in student advisory next Friday

Encourage your student to sign-up next week!

First Semester Final Exams

Final Exams will take place on Tuesday, February 2 and Wednesday, February 3. There will be a special schedule released next week for students to follow.

Ranger Days - January 15 & 29

Mather High School will be hosting our 3rd and 4th Ranger Days this month. The goals of this day are to focus on social-emotional learning for students, help students connect with their peers and Mather staff, and build school spirit/culture.

From 8-8:45 AM, Students should engage in independent work time and message teachers to set-up office hour appointments.

At 8:45 AM, all students should attend their regular advisory class. Here, teachers will be taking attendance for the day, distributing grades to students, helping students reflect on their academic performance and prioritize which office hours they should attend, and explaining the session offerings for the afternoon.

From 9:30 -11 AM, each staff member is offering office hours. Students who are struggling with a class or need help with a concept or assignment should take advantage of these office hours.

From 11-12, there will be a whole-school lunch break.

From 12-2:15, there will be 3 session times offering different options for students. These will include club meetings and other opportunities for students to de-stress, connect with their peers/staff, and have fun. Some sessions that will be offered include yoga, guided meditation, a cookie decorating demonstration, kickboxing, holiday crafts, and community-building games.

We hope that this day will allow our school community to take a break from our normal technology-heavy routine, receive extra support if needed, submit any missing/late work, and most importantly, connect with others at Mather that they may not "see" on a regular basis.

January/February Dates to Remember

  • January 12: LSC Meeting @6:00pm

  • January 15: Ranger Day

  • January 18: No School (MLK, Jr. Day)

  • January 26: PSAT (11th Graders who signed up, report to the building for in-person testing)

  • January 29: Ranger Day

  • February 2: Final Exams - Even periods

  • February 3: Final Exams - Odd periods

  • February 4: Make-up final exams - regular schedule

  • February 5: School Improvement Day - No school for students

  • February 15: Presidents Day - No School

Technical Questions

Are you experiencing technical difficulties? Call the CPS Hotline for support: 773/417-1060. They are available from 7:30 am - 4:30 pm to provide support to CPS students.

Are you having a password issue? Did your Chromebook break? Check out the links on your Google Classroom "Class of" page and we will help you out!

Do you still need a Chromebook for your student to log into their classes? There is a link on the "Class of" page as well! Students can access this page and add parents!

CPS Meal Site

The health and wellbeing of our students and staff is always our top priority. Since the temporary closure of our schools due to COVID-19, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) has served millions of grab-and-go meals to families. We are committed to providing meals throughout the closure, during the remote learning schedule. Parents/Guardians/Students can pick up meals at more than 450 schools, Monday through Friday from 8 am to 1pm.

Please go to Door 4 at Mather High School to pick-up food