Katie and Derrick
We have a number of families who are either from Ukraine or eastern European countries and recognize how difficult this time is to process what is happening and feel the impact so directly. The Diversity Committee has put together some resources to support (see below). We also want to recognize there are other groups around the world impacted by other humanitarian crises including Syria, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Myanmar, etc. that are causing numbers of refugees to increase. You can learn more at https://www.unhcr.org/refugeebrief/latest-issues/. Also, please feel free to reach out to the Diversity Committee if you are interested in sharing more perspectives to enhance understanding/raise awareness.
Diversity Committee - We would like to offer Skinner North families resources about how to emotionally support our children as they learn about and mentally process the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia. Here are a couple articles for you to explore:
How to talk with younger kids (PBS)
How to talk with older kids (NY Times)
We also have a note to share from a fellow Skinner North parent. Please see her message below and click on the link to ways your family might consider contributing to locally-managed Ukraine relief efforts.
Skinner North students wrapped up Lunar New Year celebrations with a lion dance virtual lesson offered by Yu's Lion Dance Sports Association of Chicago. Thank you to Mr. Popowich and Ms. Gleason for their collaboration and energy guiding the lessons during gym classes! Click here to practice the dance steps more at home.
Thank you, SN families, for brightening days and warming hearts with ongoing Monday Sunshine efforts-- 9 weeks and counting! Your staff appreciation and meaningful community-building enthusiasm is valued. To pick up an open date to donate goodies, please sign up here. Contact email@example.com with questions or suggestions.
LSC Candidates - We recently found out that the application window has been extended to Wednesday, March 9 at 3PM. (It was initially Friday.) Applications can be submitted to the main office. Here is a link to the application documents. Find out more about LSCs at https://www.cps.edu/about/local-school-councils/lsc-elections/.
From the District - Help Us Improve Equity in our Admissions Process for Selective Enrollment Schools
As part of our District’s ongoing commitment to equity, we are committed to giving every child a fair opportunity to earn admission to our District’s selective enrollment schools. We’ve already made significant progress on making these schools more equitable and more diverse:
· Every CPS 8th-grader had the opportunity to take a high school admissions test in 2021
· Last school year, we increased the percentage of seats allocated to our District’s diverse learners and subsequently, we nearly doubled the number of selective enrollment offers going to these students.
We will be engaging parents and community members over the coming weeks and months to look at how we can make the selective enrollment admissions process more equitable. As part of our efforts to inform the public of these changes and solicit feedback, we are launching a microsite to share policy information and provide families and interested stakeholders the opportunity to take a short poll and submit questions to CPS leadership. Additionally, the District will host information sessions with parents including a webinar on Thursday, March 10, from 6 - 7 p.m. Click here to RSVP for this event.
CPS to Move to Mask Optional Model Starting March 14 - Chicago Public Schools (CPS) will move to a mask-optional model for staff and all students, pre-k through grade 12, beginning Monday, March 14. While CPS will continue to encourage the use of masks, the shift will give families and employees a choice about whether or not to wear a mask at school, outside on school property, and on school buses.
CPS will continue to encourage the practice of wearing masks in schools, especially in schools with lower vaccination rates and among those students and staff who feel most comfortable with a face covering. The District will also support those members of its school communities who choose not to wear a mask, and will provide tools that teachers and parents can use to guide conversations with students about the importance of honoring and respecting everyone’s personal choice. (To learn more about the decision making process for this change, please read this message from CPS.) We currently have an 86% vaccination rate among students.
The decision about whether or not to wear a mask is a deeply personal one. Some children and staff will continue masking because they feel it is what’s best for their family. That decision should never be judged, nor should the removal of masks by those who take that step be celebrated in our schools. Every person’s choice must be valued just as they themselves are valued, and we will need your support to ensure we have peaceful environments that are built on positivity and compassion. We will be supporting students in understanding this.