September 26-30, 2022 | Week #6
This week: Safety Incident and Action Items | Meet the Teacher | Classroom Connections | Volunteers Needed | Lockdown Drill | Ice Cream Fundraiser Recap
Safety Communication from the Principal

I want to bring a serious community alert incident to your attention. On Wednesday, Sept 28 during recess, several Skinner students were approached by an unknown person. The person offered pepper spray to a student. (The person later stated that they live in the West Loop. They stated they believed the student was in distress, which is why they offered pepper spray to a student.) A known Skinner parent advised that they did not recognize the person as a West Loop resident. Skinner recess supervision staff approached the person and asked them to not engage students. The person left the park and returned minutes later. Mr. Lomax intercepted the person, the second time, and asked them not to communicate with students. The person left and returned a third time. Dr. Brown stopped the person the third time. The person left the park.

Following the incident:
  • The Chicago Police Department (CPD) was called and a police report was made.
  • An announcement was made for no classrooms to go to Skinner Park for the remainder of the school day.
  • A call was made to parents whose children were directly involved.
  • A CPD car was requested for dismissal.
  • This incident is being logged in ASPEN.
  • All Skinner security, Mr. Lomax, and Dr. Brown circulated the campus and Skinner Park to ensure scholars are safe during dismissal.

In partnership and student safety,
Dr. Bush
Talk to Your Superstars

Our goal as a community is to keep everyone safe. In light of recent neighborhood events, here are a few safety reminders to review with your child:
  • Never talk to strangers.
  • If a stranger starts to talk to you or your friends, tell a trusted adult immediately.
  • When walking to and from school, walk with others.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Keep your device in your pocket until you get home!
  • If you see something that doesn't seem right, say something.
Chicago Police: Community Conversation

The CPD is holding two meetings where community members can help create the 2023 strategic plan for the 12th District. Register at
Virtual Meeting
Thursday, Oct 13, 2022
6:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Zoom Meeting ID: 851 2268 7117
Passcode: 743790
Join via App or dial 312-626-6799
In-Person Meeting
Thursday, Oct 20, 2022
6:00 p.m.

Whitney Young
211 S Laflin Street
Meet Ms. Makris, 4th Grade
Ms. Katina Makris is a new Skinner West fourth grade teacher. She has taught in Chicago for more than 12 years and earned a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She also has a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction.

"My teaching philosophy is that all students can learn and will do so when provided with a safe, nurturing, and engaging educational environment," says Ms. Makris.

She enjoys crafting, sewing, biking, walking, and spending time in the heart of downtown Chicago. "However, my work is my life, and I dedicate much of my own time to pursuing new and innovative ways to teach children. I am extremely enthusiastic about joining the Skinner West community!"

We're glad you're here, Ms. Makris!
Classroom Connections
This week at the Branch, our youngest Superstars spent time exploring Hispanic Heritage Month!
While our fifth graders had a day of robotics coding with MBots.
Volunteers Needed!

Do you want to get involved but don't know where to start? We're in need of volunteers!

Do you have a few hours to spare on Thursday, October 6? Friends of Skinner West (FOSW) needs parent volunteers to help with the school's largest fundraiser! No need to volunteer the entire day. There are several different activities with different times to fit busy schedules, including:
  • Set-up
  • Clean-up
  • Bounce house monitoring
  • First-aid station
  • Bike monitoring
  • Water hand out

Sign up for something that works for you! Note: All volunteers must complete the volunteer application form on the CPS website.
Are you looking for a fun, creative way to get involved at Skinner West? Join Gallery111!

Gallery111 is a committee of parents, teachers, and community members who bring in outside arts partners to provide workshops or longer residency programs to enhance our core curriculum. For example, during 4th grade poetry unit, a poetry teacher from The Poetry Center of Chicago comes into class and works with our teachers to plan and present lessons to brainstorm, draft, and publish poems with our students.

The committee meets once a month to discuss programming, how to connect with teachers to communicate options for their classes, and plan fundraising efforts to keep these programs at Skinner West.

Interested? Email Jennifer Christiansen at
Room Parents

Room Parents are still needed for the following classrooms! Note: All volunteers must complete the volunteer application form on the CPS website.

  • Pre-K: Ms. Bottorff
  • K: Ms. Novitski, Ms. Sobut, and Ms. Growe
  • 1st: Ms. Salameda and Ms. Sittner
  • 2nd: Ms. Petrosino and Ms. Ford
  • 3rd: Ms. Haddad
  • 4th: Ms. Nelson, Ms. Travis, and Ms. Kawa
  • 5th: Mr. Hinterlong and Mr. Lewandowski

If you're interested, email
CPS Volunteer Application

When submitting a volunteer application:
  • Make sure you identify Skinner [West] as the school and not Skinner [North]
  • Input information exactly as it appears on your ID or passport
  • Bring a current ID to the school (for Level 2 applications)
  • Email a screenshot of your application if you are waiting for a Level 2 approval
  • For Level 1 approvals, CPS Volunteer Department will share information regarding fingerprints and TB tests (we do not direct that at the school level)
Lockdown Drill Update

CPD Officer Edwards was on-hand this week to help students and staff with Skinner West's lockdown drill.
Thank You for Your Support!

Thanks to everyone for stopping by Jeni's for ice cream to support Friends of Skinner West. And, thank you to Jeni's for helping make this fundraiser a tasty treat!
In Case You Missed It...
Principal's Report

Every month, Skinner West's principal prepares and presents a report at the Local School Council Meeting (LSC).
Celebrating Hispanic Heritage

Pre-K through 8th grade Superstars are exploring Hispanic Heritage Month in class via instructional activities and projects. We are also hosting a contest to engage students in Spanish culture and history.
Meet Ms. Wu, Mandarin
大家好(Hello)! My name is Chan Wu. I have taught Chinese in elementary school for many years in China. I moved to Chicago in 2016 and received my bachelor’s degree in world language education – Chinese from DePaul University in 2022. I recently completed my student-teaching at Whitney Young.

I care about students and love teaching. My teaching style is flexible and I focus on motivating students' learning interest to achieve goals. I will guide students to learn a language by understanding the culture behind the language. I am excited and honored to be a new teacher of Skinner!

And, Skinner is happy to have you, Ms. Wu! Thank you for securing our acceptance into the 2022-2023 Chinese Artists in Residence Program provided by the CPS Chinese World Language Program.
Open House Success

Thanks to all of the parents, guardians, students, and families that made this year's open house a success! And, big thanks to the teachers who opened their classrooms and answered questions.
If you weren't able to attend, children will receive the following reports from their teachers:
  • 5th week progress reports (1st – 8th grades)
  • Beginning of year iReady individual student reports (K-2nd grade)
  • Beginning of year STAR360 individual student reports (3rd – 8th grade)
  • Illinois Science Assessment (ISA) individual student reports (current 6th grade student: scores from 5th grade ISA)
  • Illinois Assessment of Readiness individual student reports (current 4th – 8th grade students: scores from school year 2021-2022 IAR)
  • Five day notices (students with 5 or more unexcused absences)