Pilgrim Lutheran School News

January 15, 2016

Back in the swing of things....

The halls are buzzing again! Tonight is the Winter Carnival! Please join us for an evening full of fun and games. Next week, there is no school on Monday, January 18th in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Stay warm, this weekend!

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Holiday

Monday marks our country’s annual observance of the Dr. Martin Luther King Holiday. In light of the national debate over the Black Lives Matter movement, regulations on guns and gun violence, domestic terrorism, and immigration, the commemoration of Dr. King’s work and message of non-violence is even more relevant than in quieter times. We hope that the partnerships that we have formed with St. Paul’s/Dorchester, Pablo Casals, and Colegio Salvadoreño are helping our students understand how they are linked to other kids all over the city and the world. Every outreach builds empathy and makes us better.


Even though the 2015-2016 has not yet reached the half-way mark, much of the talk in the school office has already turned to school year 2016-2017. This week, pre-registration letters have gone out to current Early Childhood (3-year-old families) and Pre-Kindergarten (4-year-old families) about pre-registration for next school year. If you know that your family does not plan to return for the next school year, please let the school office know as soon as possible, as we have several families on waiting lists for the Early Childhood, Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten classes for next school year. Any information shared with the office is kept confidential unless you tell us otherwise. We want all of you to stay, but we all know that transitions are normal and inevitable. If we ask you for a deposit for next year and you are not able to make the payment within the time allotted, please let us know. We are happy to make accommodation; we just need to know. Thanks for your understanding.

MAP Testing

Winter NWEA MAP testing starts this week. We hope to finish all testing by the end of January. If you have any questions about testing, please contact your child’s teacher or me. Parents will receive a copy of results at Parent-Teacher conferences in March.

Pilgrim World Service Station

The Pilgrim World Service Station after-school workshop starts next week! In this service club, 4th through 8th grade students will explore some of the issues facing children, especially girls, around the world as they fight for the right to go to school. They will watch movies and participate in hands-on activities that illustrate both the obstacles and the solutions to the problems their peers encounter on their road to an education. They will also work together to create a unique, group service project that will raise money and awareness for the cause of girls’ education.
WHO: Students in grades 4 through 8

COST: $85 (check made payable to Girls Supporting Girls)
WHEN: 3:10 – 4:10 p.m. on Wednesdays (January 20th and 27th, February 10th, 17th, and 24th, and March 2nd, 9th, 16th, and 23rd)

This after-school program is being sponsored by Girls Supporting Girls, a local charity that works to build schools in developing countries and to raise awareness of the issues involved in global girls’ education. The money raised by students will go to Girls Supporting Girls in support of their mission to build a new school in India. Pilgrim parent Lori Hilton serves on the board of GSG, so please feel free to contact her with any questions.

Pilgrim is highlighted in Chicago Parent Magazine - Check it Out!

If you have a subscription to Chicago Parent Magazine, you probably already know that the January edition comes with a special extra edition: Making the Grade, Your best guide to Chicagoland Schools. One of the feature articles in Making the Grade is called “Brain research=happy learners.” Pilgrim Lutheran is one of the featured schools in the article. If you would like a copy, we will have it available in the school office. If you look at the magazine, be sure to check out the quarter page ad for Pilgrim, too. This is a great way to spread the good news about Pilgrim!

Pilgrim Committees hard at work...

The Pilgrim School Marketing Group is meeting Wednesday, January 20 in the school office at 7 p.m. We are planning Open House for January 26 and discussing the possibility of a radio ad for Pilgrim, a project which our partners at CLEF have committed to help underwrite. We also need to review our current marketing materials to determine what must change for next year. Please join us if you are interested.

The Playground Planning Group is meeting Wednesday, January 27. If you would like to join the group or would like to submit some ideas for the Early Childhood play-deck, please join us. If you have ideas but cannot attend the meeting, please contact Tricia Koning-Llewellyn or the school office.

Pilgrim School Board and Church Council

The Pilgrim Board of Education devoted a good deal of discussion time this month to special education services. Since then I have had several discussions with families about special education at Pilgrim. Our school welcomes all families and all children but we also have to consider individual student needs in relation to the resources available to us. Because we are a small school, we automatically offer much of what most individualized education plans require: small class size, frequent breaks, lots of individual attention. Federal law grants Pilgrim a proportionate share of funds available to public schools for social work services, for tutoring in reading and math, and for one-on-one instruction by licensed learning assistance teachers. Pilgrim partners with outside agencies to provide all of these services. If you believe that your child might be eligible for special services and an individualized educational plan (IEP), please speak to your child’s teacher. The teacher must collect 6-8 weeks’ worth of data to support a learning disability. Once the data is collected, the Lutheran Schools special education coordinator helps the school and the parents to complete an application to CPS, which then has 10 school days to arrange an initial meeting with parents. If the team assembled at the CPS meeting determines that the child might be eligible for one-on-one services, CPS has 60 school days to complete further testing and hold an eligibility meeting with parents. All of this testing is free to parents in accordance with federal law, but it is a long process. Parents are always welcome to have a private evaluation done and either submit that evaluation as supporting documentation for CPS or to seek services privately. Often, health insurance plans cover private evaluations and services, but there are no guarantees. These are just some basics about special services. Please let me know if you would like more information, especially for 3-6 year-olds, which is a whole different process.

Pilgrim Church Council met this week on Tuesday night, January 12. The main discussion topic was about ways to expand school programs and maximize the programs that we currently offer. An on-going discussion has been the idea to expand the Early Childhood program and create another room outfitted for 3 and 4 year olds. Another questions for debate is how to ensure that the upper grades are full and rigorous enough to compete with CPS magnet and selective enrollment programs. Our biggest obstacles are money and space, but Pilgrim is always coming up with new ways to overcome both of those hurdles. I welcome any ideas that you might have on expansion and sustainability. The Council point person for this discussion is Theresa Sparlin. She can be contacted through the school office.

Simplify your life!

Set up automatic tuition payments and have one less thing to worry about. Visit our website at www.PilgrimChicago.org, click "online giving" then choose "school tuition." It's just that simple!


A special thank you to everyone who helped us raise $378.92 for UNICEF!

Gift Cards

Gift cards will be sold on Sunday in the church foyer and Tuesday and Friday, in the school office, because of Martin Luther King Day. Valentine's Day is coming! Remember to use smileamazon.com to add more profit to Pilgrim to your purchase!!

Come to El Salvador 2016

If you have ever wanted to go on a mission trip, now is the time! Come with us to El Salvador, Central America July 31st- August 10th, 2016. We will be witnessing the dedication of a new Resurrection Lutheran Church in San Salvador, El Salvador. We will be able to meet Nobel Peace Prize Nominee Bishop Medardo Gomez and the leaders in the Lutheran Church of El Salvador. We will accompany the church in their work to resettle and feed refugees, help children attend school, help bring solar electricity to rural homes, minister with the homeless, and encourage our sister churches who raise Christian voices for human rights on a daily basis. This trip is open to all people. ALL AGES WELCOME, no Spanish knowledge required. Please talk to Pastor Kristian or Pastor Anna-Kari for more information!

First Communion Class-Begins in February

We invite everyone who is in 2nd grade or older to participate in our upcoming First Communion Program, which will be beginning with an interest meeting on January 27th at 5:30 p.m. The inter active class (that is geared for adults as well as children and youth) is focused on helping us grow in our relationship with God. We will cover the Lord’s Prayer, the Creed, the 10 commandments, and the meaning of the sacraments.

You are always welcome in classrooms, and I welcome your feedback and questions. Feel free to contact me (ccomella@pilgrimchicago.org) whenever something arises. If you would like to become involved in events and activities hosted by the Parent Teacher League (PTL), please contact either Anna Lambros or Carrie Goerne. Parents are also welcome to attend weekly chapel services. The students are always happy to see you there!

Chris Comella, Pilgrim School Principal