Peirce School Family Newsletter

August 2018

Principal's Message

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Greetings Peirce Families,

I cannot believe how fast summer came and went, I hope that you enjoyed your time away, took some time to relax, unwind and enjoy family and friends. I have missed having your children in the building - learning, laughing and playing. The summer has been a busy one for us at Peirce as we have been planning and preparing for the opening of school on Tuesday, September 4th.

There is a lot of content in this email - all of which is important information, please be sure to bookmark/save this email to refer back to as needed. Also, if you know of other parents who are not receiving Peirce's newsletter online, encourage them to sign up by visiting here.

The 2018-2020 CIWP (Continuous Improvement Work Plan) can be found as a file towards the bottom of this email and creates a good context for the work happening at Peirce over the next two years. Below are a few things to take note of:

  • My goal is to ensure that every child, everyday, feels respected and represented as a Peirce student. During the 2018-2019 school year, we will engage in reflective practices to examine how Race and Equity may impact our students and families experiences at Peirce. A group of parents is developing a series of parent and teacher workshops - stay tuned for more information to come.

  • In supporting every child everyday, we must remember our students with special needs. We pride ourselves in offering a high quality Special Education program which focuses on supporting students in the Least Restrictive Environment, For the next five years, we are fortunate to have been granted a partnership with the Gust Foundation which will support professional development, parent education and thought partnering with school administration - all to strengthen our work with inclusion. An inclusion model benefits students in the general education program along with students who receive services through specially designed instruction. I hope that you will join my team and a member of the Gust Foundation on September 13th at 8:15am to learn more about inclusion and the special education program at Peirce.

  • Restorative Practices is the model which we have adopted to create a positive culture and climate which focuses on collective responsibility, productive dialogue, reflection and action. I am excited to have Shelton Jackson moving into the role of Restorative Practices Coach. During the 2017-2018 school year, 4 staff members (including myself) were certified as Restorative Practices Coaches by CPS. During the 2018-2019 school year, 6 additional staff members will go through the certification process. Peirce staff will participate in professional development related to restorative practices and parents will have the opportunity to participate in parent workshops. Students will have the opportunity to engage in classroom talking circles on a weekly basis and will be encouraged to participate in restorative conversations as needed.

I am very proud of the community that Peirce staff, students, family and community members have created, making our school a gem on the north-side of the city. While we work to create community and get to know each of you and your children, I also have to acknowledge that we are very large with 1,050 students and over 100 staff members. Please know that this task is not an easy one. Help Dr. Riemer (AP) and I get to know you by introducing yourself to us at drop off, pick up, the Back to School Fest or other community events. Also, reach out to myself or a member of my administrative team if you have any questions. The chart following this lists key staff members that you can approach regarding various topics.

Cheers to a successful 2018-2019 school year!

Lori Zaimi


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Let's Celebrate!

  • For the first time in Peirce's history (that I am aware of) a group of ten 7th grade students took Algebra I and all ten passed the citywide Algebra Exam - these students will take Geometry 1st Period at Senn HS in the fall! I am very excited to continue working with Senn HS, exploring other opportunities for us to offer HS Coursework - we are in discussion and planning to offer a High School Science class next.
  • Peirce's Turf was approved to be replaced and we are waiting to receive the date that construction will begin - more information will be communicated as we receive it. I was initially told that construction would begin at the end of July, we do not yet have a start date for construction. For many years, the turf has flooded and in the winter months become an ice rink, creating very hazardous conditions. Please be sure to thank 48th Ward Alderman Harry Osterman for his support of the turf replacement.
  • Full Day Pre-School is now an option for Chicago families at Peirce. Mayor Emmanuel has announced plans to work towards a universal PK program that will be offered for all four year old students.
  • Enrollment is up and I would like to welcome all new families to the Peirce community! Peirce was budgeted to be at 930 students (excluding Pre-K) in April, we are currently at 996 students (excluding Pre-K), and CPS is predicting that we will be at 1008 (Excluding Pre-K) after 10th day budget adjustments. Once budget adjustments are made, I will collaborate with staff and the LSC to determine where the additional dollars should be allocated. We have a few grade levels that are high in enrollment and may need to hire additional staff.
  • Not only do we have a new group of families entering the building in the fall, but we have a group of new staff members to welcome in to the community - at the end of this newsletter you will be able to learn more information about the new staff joining the Peirce Team!

Back to School Festival - Thursday, August 30th

We hope that you will join fellow Peirce families and staff on Thursday, August 30th for our Back to School Festival. Meet your child's teacher and drop off supplies from 3:00 - 4:00 and then head on out to the Gregory Side of the building for our parent organized Back to School Festival from 4:00 - 6:00! Volunteers are still needed to help make the fest a success - please consider signing up here

Also, please note that there will be a few sessions for families from 3:00 - 4:00pm

3:00pm New Family Orientation in the Library (for any new family to the school that was unable to attend the June 1st session)

3:30pm 5th Grade Transition Meeting in the Gym

4:00pm MYP 6th Grade Orientation in the Library (for those who were unable to attend the June 15th Step Up to MYP Session)

Students in 6th-8th grades will be able to pick up their schedules from 3-4pm. Locks will be distributed on the first day of school.

First Day of School Logistics & Entry Procedures

On Tuesday, September 4th all teachers will greet students and families outside on the Gregory Side of the building near their entry door location and will hold a sign to identify the teacher and classroom. Students will enter with their teacher on the first day of school only for 2nd-8th grades.

Beginning on Wednesday, September 5th, all 2nd-8th grade students will enter on their own beginning at 7:57 through their assigned door locations. All PK, K and 1st grade students will enter with their classroom teacher at 8:00am.

Students will dismiss from the same door that they enter from.

Pre-K will enter through door #4 (Lunchroom)

2nd & 5th Grades will enter through door #6

6th, 7th & 8th Grades will enter through door #7

1st Grade Rooms 103, 104 & 105 will enter through door #8

3rd & 4th Grades will enter through door #9

Kindergarten Rooms 101 & 110, 1st Grade Room 102 will enter through door #10

Kindergarten Rooms 126 & 128 will enter through door #5

On inclement weather days (severe rain or cold weather below 15 degrees) students will enter the building through the following locations beginning at 7:50am:

PK, Kinder Rooms 126 & 128 2nd, 5th & 8th Grades - Lunchroom Door #4

1st Grade Rooms 103, 104, 105, 3rd, 4th, 6th & 7th Grades - Gym Door #8

Kinder Rooms 101, 110 & 1st Grade Room 101 - Door #10

After School Programs

If your child is participating in a fee based after school program such as the YMCA, Lakeshore, etc please inform your child's teacher about the program that they will be picked up by.

Student Fees - Pay Online

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.

Parent-Student Handbook

The Parent-Student Handbook can be found here. Please review to become familiar with school policies and procedures.

Volunteering Protocols

All parents and community members interested in volunteering at Peirce must complete the CPS process for volunteering and be in touch with Sally Suarez in the main office or 773-534-2440. Instructions for completing a volunteer application can be found here. In addition, there are 3 different levels of volunteering - each level requires a different level of clearance. More information on the levels can be found here.

Student Code of Conduct

Peirce School utilizes Restorative Practices which are in alignment with the Chicago Public Schools Student Code of Conduct. This guide provides information on how student behavior is supported in CPS. Click here to access the Student Code of Conduct. Any questions related to Restorative Practices or the Student Code of Conduct can be directed to Shelton Jackson via email or by phone at 773-534-2440.

Daily Specials Rotation

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).

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.

CIWP 2018-2020

You can find a copy of our 2018-2020 CIWP plan below. The CIWP stands for Continuous Improvement Work Plan which guides our goals as a school in 2 year increments.

The three areas of focus in our school improvement plan for the 2018-2020 school years are:

  • Instruction: delivering high quality instruction for all learners
  • Multi-Tiered Systems of Support: ensuring academic and behavioral supports are in place for all students, along with appropriate tools to monitor student progress.
  • Restorative Approaches to Discipline: Implementation and monitoring of school-wide social emotional learning and community building through through second step, the IB learner profile and restorative practices.

Peirce Calendar!

Many of the 2018-2019 dates are currently on the school calendar - found on the Peirce Website - please note that these dates are tentative and subject to change, but offer a good start to planning for next year.

August 2018

Back to School Information

August 24th - Classroom Placements updated in Parent Portal (still tentative)

August 30th - Back to School Meet the teacher/drop off supplies from 3:00 - 4:00pm, PSO Back to School Festival from 4:00 - 6:00pm

August 30th - New Family Orientation, Library, 3:00pm (If Kindergarten families missed the June 1st session, this is an opportunity to have a condensed version, and new families to grades other than Kindergarten are welcome to attend)

August 30th - 5th Grade Transition Meeting, 3:30pm Gym

August 30th - 6th Grade Transition Meeting, 4:00pm, Library (for those unable to attend the June 15th session)

September 2018

4th - First Day of School for the 2018-2019 School Year!

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

12th - PSO Sponsored Parent Mixer - More info to come

13th - Special Education & Inclusion Information Session, 8:!5am, Fieldhouse

13th - 7th & 8th Grade New York City Travel Meeting, 5:00pm, Gym

14th - PSO Meeting, 8:15am, Fieldhouse

20th - Local School Council Meeting, 6:00pm, Gym

21st - International Day of Peace

21st - Parent Advisory Council Principal's Meeting, 8:15am, Fieldhouse

21st - Parent Advisory Council Organizational Meeting, 8:45am, Fieldhouse

27th - Peirce Day @ Potbellys on Clark, Sponsored by Friends of Peirce

27th - Open House, 5:00 - 6:30pm

27th - 8th Grade Go CPS Parent Meeting, 6:00pm, Gym

28th - Bilingual Advisory Council Informational Meeting & Organizational Meeting, 8:15am, Fieldhouse

Welcome New Peirce Staff!

Yael Berenson White, 5th Grade Math

My name is Yael Berenson White and I'm thrilled to be the fifth grade math teacher this year at Peirce. After several years as a social worker in the city of Chicago, I realized I could make the biggest impact on the youth of our city by teaching. I then pursued my Masters degree in Education at The University of Chicago. I am now beginning my 6th year of teaching in Chicago Public Schools and my first year at Peirce. Growing up in a small town on the coast of California has given me a true appreciation for the beauty of the natural world and the power of a strong community. When I moved to Chicago in 2008 I fell in love with the city and its vibrant culture. Outside of school you can find me spending time with my growing family, cooking, exploring new restaurants, reading on the beach or by a fire, playing tennis, and traveling.

Andrea Calhoun, 3rd Grade

I'm excited to return to the Peirce family this year in a new role as a third-grade teacher! My two boys were part of this amazing community for many years and I look forward to working with the wonderful teachers and parents that make this school so unique! After earning a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education from Northeastern Illinois University, I continued my studies at the University of Illinois-Chicago earning my Master's Degree in 2006 as well as my English Language Learner's Certification. I then began my teaching career with the Chicago Public Schools and have taught third grade and fourth grade for almost 13 years. When outside of the Peirce community, I enjoy attending teacher institutes as I get to continue my love of learning and bring exciting new pieces back to our classroom. This past summer I attended a teacher institute in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia learning about "Race and Equity in Colonial Williamsburg". I also enjoy traveling with my family, bicycling around the city, and being with friends enjoying great food!

James Callerstrom, 5th Grade Inclusion

My name is James Callerstrom (Mr. C.) and I am incredibly excited to be at Peirce this year! This is my first year at Peirce and in Chicago Public Schools. I previously worked as a Special Education teacher in Minneapolis Public Schools for 2 years.

I was born and raised in Minneapolis. I have my BA in Sociology from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, my M.Ed in Youth Development from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and my Special Education licensure from the University of St. Thomas. I have a twin sister who also works as a Special Education teacher back in Minnesota.

I work hard to ensure that the classroom is a community, where everyone can expect respect, support, and friendship. Students receive individualized support and engage in critical thinking. Students from every culture, level of exceptionality, and gender feel welcome and positively challenged.

I embrace family involvement, and look forward to working with you to create an amazing school year for your student!

If you have any questions, please reach out to me through e-mail.

Luis Carbajal, Kindergarten-4th Grade Physical Education

Hello Peirce Family! My name is Luis Carbajal, and this is my first official year teaching Physical Education at Peirce. My goal as a professional educator is to present a wide range of activities to help maximize students’ self-esteem and self-confidence. Through these activities students will also learn to value the importance of physical activity, improve social skills, and motivate them to stay active throughout their lives.
Facts about me are I graduated from Elmhurst College, I have a big family and enjoy spending time with them. Physical activity that I enjoy to participate in outside of school includes basketball, baseball, hiking, and going to the gym. I love to try new foods and like to cook. I am a huge Cubs fan, and have been coaching baseball for the last 7 years.

Kaitlyn Carro, 5th & 6th Grade Inclusion

As a 2010 graduate of Peirce I am excited to return to the Peirce community as a special education teacher, beginning my first official year as a teacher! I recently graduated from Benedictine University, receiving my Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education and Special Education. During my free time I really enjoy spending time with my family and watch sporting events.

Michael Cortright, Kindergarten Inclusion

Hello! My name is Michael Cortright and I am thrilled to be working at Peirce this upcoming Fall! I am originally from Connecticut, but I moved to Chicago to pursue a degree in Early Childhood Special Education from Loyola University. I love everything about this city and I plan to stay here for as long as I can! When I’m not teaching or prepping, I enjoy playing my guitar and spending time with friends and my two older sisters and twin brother. I firmly believe that every child can succeed regardless of background or circumstance and am committed to providing all of my students with the best possible education. I look forward to getting to know the Peirce community!

Mariel Frauneheim, Special Education Teacher - Multiple Grades

Mariel Frauenheim moved to Chicago three years ago from Orlando, Florida. She has a master’s degree in teaching from the University of Central Florida, where she focused on reading education. She studied special education at Roosevelt University here in Chicago. Originally from Tallahassee, Florida, Mariel enjoys Chicago’s cultural opportunities, like the theater, writing, spending time on Lake Michigan, and is slowly acclimating to Chicago’s winters. She looks forward to the new school year at Peirce with great enthusiasm.

Tracy Heider, 8th Grade Individuals & Society/Writing

As a child, I always knew that one day I would be a teacher. Born and raised in Chicago, I completed my undergrad at Illinois State University. After working for several years in Middle School, I completed my masters degree, earning a Masters in Education in Curriculum and Instruction with ESL Specialization. I am presently taking courses through the University of Wisconsin Madison. I have taught in a variety of settings with students from diverse backgrounds. I believe education is a partnership between the teacher, the student and the parents. I am an advocate for student voice, and try to instill in each of my students their voice has power and is important.

In my free time, I enjoy hanging out with my German Shepherd/Corgi, Cooper (yes, he looks just like one would imagine a shepherd/corgi to be). And I am always down for a weekend adventure, whether it's time with family and friends, or hitting the road for a day trip.

I am looking forward to meeting my new students and families. We have an exciting year ahead of us!

Sam Keesee, 8th Grade Science

I recently finished my Masters in Education for Secondary Earth Science at the William and Mary School of Ed, and completed my student teaching at Bruton High School in Williamsburg Virginia. I grew up in Virginia, and studied interdisciplinary environmental science as an undergrad at William and Mary while working summer camps every summer. I discovered my passion for teaching at the summer camp and my purpose for teaching in my environmental science program. I am something of a jack of all trades when it comes to my academic interest, and enjoy learning and teaching most of the sciences and humanities. I strive to carry this over to my teaching philosophy and content, because I believe that everything has interdisciplinary connections and many problems require multiple areas of understanding critical thinking to solve.

My personal hobbies include sailing and historical fencing, which is a lot like modern sport fencing, but with techniques and weapons based on medieval and renaissance sword manuals. I came to Chicago to to be with my significant other, who is a chemistry grad at the University of Chicago, and am very excited about working with the IB program at Peirce. IB aligns very well with my personal ideas about learning and education, so I feel very lucky to have my first year of teaching at Peirce.

Tyler Leighton, 5th-8th Physical Education

I’m excited to teach students at Peirce enjoyable ways to be healthy and physically active for a lifetime. I bring with me knowledge and experience in working with students from kindergarten through 12th grade, as well as college and professional athletes. I also love coaching sports teams. I enjoy running, lifting weights and playing sports. Most of all, I love to be with my wife and two children at the various parks and beaches around Edgewater. A fun fact about me is that I played professional basketball in China.

Patrick Meallet, 7th Grade Individuals & Society/Writing

Hello, my name is Mr. Meallet and I am the new 7th grade social studies/writing teacher. I am a lifelong Edgewater community resident and attended CPS from kindergarten through 12th grade. Two of my children currently attend CPS. I hold a Masters in Education from the University of Illinois at Chicago and have taught 7th social studies for almost 10 years. I enjoy playing chess and coach students for CPS sponsored chess tournaments. I am very excited to be a teacher at Peirce School and I’m looking forward to helping students grow academically, socially, and emotionally.

Megan Tolpa, 7th Grade Science

Hello! My name is Megan Tolpa and this will be my first year at Peirce teaching 7th grade Science. I started with CPS in 2007 where I taught math and science on the south side. I enjoy playing sports, trying new restaurants and spending time with family and friends. I live in the neighborhood and am excited to be joining the Peirce family.

Lisa Vaugh, 5th Grade Reading/Writing/Bilingual Spanish

My names is Lisa Vaughn and I am the 5th Grade English Language Arts teacher at Peirce School of International Studies. I was born and raised in Detroit and I moved to Chicago for college. I hold a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Comparative Human Development and a Masters Degree in Teaching from the University of Chicago. Prior to teaching in Chicago Public Schools, I taught English internationally. I am fluent in Spanish. I am also a 200-Hour Certified Yoga Teacher and Breathe for Change Wellness Champion.

As a kid, I loved to read and write - I still do. I also love to go to the movies, travel, learn new languages, run, and practice wellness through yoga and meditation. In my spare time you might catch me running along the lakeshore, teaching a community yoga class, or sitting down to dinner with friends.

I am very excited to be a part of Peirce's learning community to collaboratively guide your child to deeper learning and well-being.

Alicia Zapata, 5th-8th Grade Visual Art

Alicia Zapata received her Master's Degree in Art Theory, Criticism and History and Certificate of Museum Studies from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. During that time she completed internships with Brooklyn Museum and International Center of Photography. She taught middle school and high school darkroom photography at Marwen Art Center in Chicago for years before receiving her teaching licensure from North Park University in 2015. She has taught art in New Orleans, Lousiana for the past 3 years. During this time, she created and built two art programs in the International Baccalaureate framework. In her classroom, Alicia promotes a student-centered space where inquiry and exploration are used to solve problems in the arts that have no standard answers.