2020-2021 School Year 
Week #30: May 7 - May 13
Dates to Remember

IAR Testing May 10 - May 21
PTO Meeting May 10 @ 5:30pm
LSC Meeting Tuesday, May 18 @ 6:00pm
Memorial Day - May 31 - NO SCHOOL
Every Wednesday - Free COVID Testing @ 955 W Grand

CPS 2020-2021 Calendar: here
Front Office Hours: 8:45am-4:00pm - BY APPOINTMENT ONLY
New Articles
Music Class Video Submissions Duemusic-formmusic


For 4th Grade Parents:

If you are interested in giving your child a chance to perform by video (on an instrument, singing or dancing) for their class, please read the letter for the details.

Due to IAR testing, the deadline for video submission has been extended to Friday, May 21. A signed media consent form is also required.

Ms. Maatouk is looking forward to showcasing the talents of our 4th grade Superstars!

Children's Drawing Contest drawingcontest

We would like to share with you the information of the XXV Children's Drawing Contest "Este es mi Mexico", organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Institute of Mexicans Abroad. For this year's edition, the topic for the drawings will be the Independence of Mexico. This is a drawing contest for children who are Mexican or of Mexican origin and between 6 and 14 years old. The deadline will be August 15, 2021. The complete details and other resources about Mexico's Independence in Spanish can be found here.

Teacher Connections: Get to Know Mrs. Amanda Shaf, 3rd Grade TeacherShaf

What three traits define you?

Organized - I love organizing, planning, color coding, laminating and all the other things that luckily go right along with being a teacher! 
Thoughtful - I love giving gifts and sending nice messages to people to try to make their day better. 
Fun - I love playing games and being silly, especially with my students. 

What is your favorite book and why?

There are so many that come to mind, but I guess one that sticks out would be A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. I like books set in the past and I feel like I can relate to the main character. 

What are your hobbies or interests?

I love to read and collect all types of books. I also enjoy cooking and baking, doing yoga, watching Superhero movies, and writing. 

Why do you enjoy teaching Skinner?

Skinner is the only school I have taught at; I even did my student teaching here! I have gotten to meet so many amazing students who teach me things every day and make my job so fun and worthwhile. I have also had so much support from my co-workers in my time here and they have helped to make me a better teacher, my third grade team most especially! 

What is a fun fact that you would like to share?

I like to collect vintage tea sets, tea cups and other dishes. I even have a china platter that was given to me by my grandma and she got it from her grandma! It was brought here from Ireland. 

Teacher Connections: Get to Know Ms. Julia Jogmen, 8th Grade ELA TeacherJogmen

What 3 traits define you?

 Kind, Creative, Organized

What is your favorite book and why? 

After teaching first grade for 14 years I have developed a fondness for children's literature.  My all time favorite children's author is Kevin Henkes. I find that his children's books portray a very sweet, endearing message that can carry significance into everyday life lessons. Every now and again, you can find me incorporating a children's book in my 8th grade ELA curriculum.  They are a great resource to enforce literacy skills and enhance the theme in young adult novels. My dream one day is to write my own children's book!

What are your hobbies/interests?  

I love being active! Anything from long walks on the lake to trying a fun, new workout class. I love learning new things and exposing myself to unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. When I am not a busy body, you can find me relaxing on the beach enjoying some quiet time.

Why do you enjoy teaching at Skinner?  

Skinner's vast range of diversity greatly appeals to me. As a lover of traveling, I find it extremely interesting to learn about other cultures. Our Skinner Superstars teach me something new everyday!
Our Skinner parents are the best in the city! From the moment I started working at Skinner I was welcomed with open arms by parents. I have developed many great parent-teacher relationships, which I believe to be the cornerstone to a child's academic success.

What is a fun fact that you'd like to share? 

I spent my last semester in college teaching in Australia. It was a remarkable experience that I will never forget! I lived with an Australian family that I am still in close contact with today. I traveled all over the continent and even made my way down to New Zealand. I hope to head back to Australia one day soon!

Mrs. Clark Sings for the TeachersSing
Mrs. Clark was highlighted on ABC7 showing her appreciation for the Skinner Teachers.  See the videos below:

Repeat Articles

Updated IAR Testing Schedule 2021
Hybrid Students
Grades: 3-8
May 10th
May 11th
May 13th
May 14th
Pod A- Day 1
ELA (1)
Pod A- Day 2
ELA + Math
Pod B- Day 1
ELA (1)
Pod B- Day 2
1:45-3:15pm (ELA2)
1:45-3:15pm (ELA2)
May 17th
May 18th
May 20th
May 21st
Pod A- Day 3
MATH (2)
Pod A
Makeup Testing
Pod B- Day 3
MATH (2)
Pod B
Makeup Testing
Remote Learners
Grades 3-8
To be Tested in School
May 12
May 19
May 17-27th Makeup Testing if needed


IAR Testing for Remote Learners will be held on Wednesday, May 12th & 19th at Skinner School. 

Please let us know if your child will be present for testing on May 12th and May 19th HERE. 

IAR testing for Hybrid students will begin May 10th during their scheduled attendance day. 

Debate Team - State Championship ResultsDebateState

The Skinner West Debate Team participated in the Illinois Middle School Debate State Championship Tournament for the 2020-2021 season on Saturday, April 17. 

The overall topic for the year is: 'Criminal Justice Reform', and the cases being debated at this Tournament were 'Money Bail' , 'Predictive Policing', and 'Body Cameras'

As an invitational tournament, only the best teams in Illinois were invited to compete, and Skinner West represented our school extremely well. Facing off against the best debate teams Illinois had to offer, the students did an outstanding job against elite competition and won the awards listed below.

Some highlights we would especially like to point out are: 

1) Skinner West won 1st place in the JV division, as Darwin B. and Samar M. became the first ever two-time State Champions, winning their titles back-to-back! 

2) Skinner West advanced a team to the semi-finals in each of the three divisions (Novice, JV, Varsity), the only school in the tournament to do so. 

3) Skinner West qualified one-fourth of the competing teams (9 out of 36). 

Novice Division - State Qualifiers
-Tvisha H. and Natalie Z.
- Kinzie W. and Grier B.
- Aditi S. and Vedika S.

Novice Division - Quarterfinalist
- Charlotte S. and Nimay P.

Novice Division - Semifinalist
- Celeste D. and Allison C.

JV Division - State Champions
- Darwin B. and Samar M.

Varsity Division - Quarterfinalist
- Aleksia L. and Maura S.
- Sophie M. and Katelyn T.

Varsity Division - Semifinalist
- JunHui G. and Matthew Z.

Thank you for your support throughout this debate season!

Our Skinner West Teachers are the best!  Thank you to all of our teachers for their hard work and dedication to our Superstars and Skinner West families!

Send a special note, drawing, or pic to your student's teacher to let you know how grateful you are for what they do!

Sophia M., a 3rd grade student in Ms. Sanders' classroom, sent in a personal narrative story she wrote in class and was selected to be part of the podcast called Tell Them I Am. The podcast series is from a production company that was founded by Michelle and Barack Obama and the episode featuring her story came out this week.  Michelle Obama even tweeted about the podcast! Congratulations Sophia!

Listen to this podcast either on the Spotify app or Apple Podcast by following this link:


Dear Parents and Guardians,
For over 90 years, the CPS Music Festivals have allowed students from across the city to perform prepared pieces and receive constructive feedback from established music professionals, including college professors and musicians at leading Chicago arts organizations. This year's Music Festivals are virtual, and participating in a Music Festival is free and open to students of all experience and ability levels. Music Festivals are available for students in grades 4-12 from any CPS school, including charter, contract, and options schools. 
  • There are six different session dates and over 25 clinics specific to ensemble type, instrument, vocal part, and other musical areas of interest, such as conducting or jazz. Explore the full Music Festivals clinic schedule here.
  • To learn more about each offered clinic, please review the Music Festival Clinic Information Please note that we are still receiving information, and we will update this document on an ongoing basis.
  • The participating colleges and organizations are the Jazz Institute of Chicago, Northeastern Illinois University, the University of Illinois at Chicago, Northern Illinois University, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and the Chicago Symphony Chorus.
  • Register here.

Looking for a COVID Vaccination appointment? See the flyer below:

What three traits define you?

Silly, Fun, Creative

What is your favorite book and why?

I love the story A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon because I love to celebrate being different and unique.

What are your hobbies or interests?

When I am not teaching, I love to spend time with my nieces and nephews, go out with friends, go shopping, and explore all the yummy restaurants in Chicago.

Why do you enjoy teaching Skinner?

I enjoy teaching at Skinner because of the amazing staff I get to learn from each and every day.  I also enjoy building relationships with my students and their families.  It is really fun to have the opportunity to work with so many siblings, since my siblings are so important to me!

What is a fun fact that you would like to share?

I love to have dance parties and play silly word games with my students!


What three traits define you?
patient, friendly, easy-going

I think all three of these have shaped me into being an approachable and caring teacher. I truly care for my students and their growth in my classroom!

What is your favorite book and why?

The Nightingale, I have always loved reading historical fiction and this story celebrates the resilience of human spirit and the courage and the durability of women.

What are your hobbies or interests?
I love being outdoors, hiking, traveling, reading, and doing workout classes.

Why do you enjoy teaching Skinner?
I love teaching at Skinner because the students are hard-working, kind, and positive. The students make me smile every day and they are the reason I love teaching! I also love working with my third grade team, Mrs. Shaf, Mrs. Daigle, and Mrs. Dejulio we are always sharing ideas and helping each other with creative solutions to problems.  They are amazing teachers that I am inspired by and I am thankful to have them as coworkers! 

What is a fun fact that you would like to share?
After watching every season of the Great British Bake Off, I decided I wanted to start baking and making beautiful creations like they do on the show. I love trying new baking techniques and swapping ingredients to make the sweet treats more healthy. The best part is getting to share it with my friends and family!

Stay Connected

 Visit our website at for more information about what's happening in school.
Front Office Hours: 8:30am - 4:30pm
In-person by appointment ONLY.  Phone: 773 534-7790
All comments, suggestions or requests to submit information to this newsletter should be emailed to
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Deborah M. Clark
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Mark T. Skinner West School, 1260 West Adams Street, Chicago, IL 60607