APPLAUSE AND APPRECIATION
The Whittier School Fourth Annual Spelling Bee for primary students took place on April 11, with students in kindergarten, first, and second grade participating, and on April 12 for the 3rd-5th graders. Each classroom sent two representatives and had an alternate selected to participate, if needed, based on classroom level Spelling Bees held earlier in the month. Congratulations to all our participants, and especially to the winners; in the Primary Spelling Bee, Julia Rosen won 1st place, William Wheeler won 2nd place, and Maria Leon won 3rd place. The Intermediate Spelling Bee winners are; Maya Lowenthal in 1st place, Jonathan Rosen in 2nd place, and Peter Koenig in 3rd place. Congratulations to our teacher sponsors, Mrs. Danielle McDaniels and Ms. Annie Darley, for sponsoring this event at Whittier, as well as coordinating all of the activities that led up to both the intermediate and the primary the Spelling Bees.
Thank you, too, to the many Whittier families, parents and students alike, as well as staff members, who created such memorable activities for this year’s Earth Week festivities. While the ‘Thank-yous’ are many, special thanks go out to Green Team members Tammy Adkins, Mary Furman, Kristen Alfonsi, and Caroline Baker, along with support of many Whittier teachers and classes, in the production of this year’s Earth Week video. We also had a chance to appreciate the healthy-eating/recycled art projects displayed in the Library through Earth Week. Raising our students’ awareness of how to care for our Earth and themselves is an important step in creating good stewards of our future.
A very special ‘Thank You’ to Wendy Giardina and Jerry Steele for their leadership and efforts in this year’s Whittier At Play fundraising event at La Majada on April 13. Their leadership insures the ongoing support of the academic enrichment offered through the Whittier PTO in addition to the outstanding support of the playground improvements that will take place on our grounds this summer. My thanks are extended to the entire PTO Leadership Team and Whittier staff members over the past two years for their work on behalf of the Whittier playground. From surveying parents, students, and staff to valuable insight and input into the planning process, parents and staff worked tirelessly to mold the best vision of our outdoor play area for many years to come. One last ‘Thank You’ goes out to both parents and staff members for your creativity in preparing a wonderful bid package that enabled the Whittier At Play fundraiser to be such a success! The lasting memories that will be created as teachers and parents host their events are a testament to working together for our children.
APRIL INSTITUTE DAY UPDATE
During the April 26 Institute Day, Early Childhood through fifth grade teachers and academic support staff spent time deepening our understanding about the changes to the Teacher Evaluation system, as well as furthering Common Core State Standards work, which will replace the Illinois State Standards during the 2014-2015 school year. Our activities included several designed to deepen our understanding of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Parents and community members also had an opportunity to participate in a PTO Council-sponsored Common Core State Standards workshop that took place on Monday, April 29, at Irving School. The Illinois State Board of Education recently updated their Common Core State Standard information, and you can access the documents at http://www.isbe.net/common_core/htmls/facts-vs-myth.htm. In the addition, if you would like to learn more, the main site is available here:
¨ http://www.corestandards.org/ (Main Common Core Site)
SAFE DROP OFF AND PICK UP FOR ALL STUDENTS
Staff and parents have asked me to include a special notice for families who drop off students at Whittier School in the morning. It is very important for all of our crosswalks to be clear at all times. I have learned about occasions when a driver will stop at a crosswalk to allow students to disembark from their car, van, or truck. This situation is extremely hazardous to students and families who walk to school. The Oak Park Police can issue a ticket to drivers observed during such a drop-off. Please take time to pull into a vacant parking place whenever you drop students off along Augusta. Better yet, turn north on Cuyler and let your passengers off in a less traveled area. Together, we can create a safe start for our children each day.
PLANNING FOR THE 2013-14 SCHOOL YEAR
At each of the District 97 Schools, very careful planning is underway for the coming school year. We are looking at programming, student achievement, and enrollment as we plan for the 2013-14 school year. Our goal is to continue to provide the best educational opportunities for all of our students through the various programming options that occur at Whittier School. The current projected enrollment provides for 18 Kindergarten-Grade 5 classrooms, providing for an average class size of 20-22 students per class.
By now, families with Kindergarten through 4th grade students should have received a letter from me detailing the programming options available next year for your child. This will be your opportunity to tell me if you are returning to Whittier next year, and to give your input on the learning styles and needs of your children. Please do not feel pressure, as we are not asking you to select a teacher for your child. It is far more helpful to us as we prepare the class lists if you tell us about particular concerns you may have about your child’s learning style. This will allow the teachers and me to make the best match between your child and teacher.
You can reach your child’s teacher by leaving a message with the school secretary, calling the District 97 Voice-Link (524-5830), or by email. The email address and Voice-Link number for your child’s teachers can be found in the Whittier Directory. Look for weekly Virtual Backpack emails or the Thursday Packet from your child. Our PTO faithfully assembles this packet of important information each week!