March 11 - March 17, 2022 | Week #25
This week: Announcing Our New Principal! | CPS To Go Mask-Optional | Vaccination Clinics are Back | COVID-19 Statistics at Skinner | IAR Testing | Gallery 111 Needs You | Graduation Picture Retake | Happy St. P☘️trick’s Day | Summer Camp Registration Season | Daylight Savings Time Starts Sunday
Dates to Remember

  • Vaccination Clinic @ Skinner West ES - Monday, March 14
  • PTO Meeting - Monday, March 14 at 5:30 p.m.
  • LSC Meeting - Tuesday, March 15 at 5:30 p.m.
  • Join with Google Meet
  • Join by phone(US) +1 320-316-0802 (PIN: 642006434)
  • Gallery 111 Informational Meeting - Wednesday, March 16
  • School Improvement Committee Meeting - Tuesday, March 22 at 4 p.m.
  • IAR Standardized Testing - March 22 - April 1
  • Spring Picture Day - Thursday, March 24 now Tuesday, April 5
  • Graduation Makeup Pictures (K & 8th Only) - Thursday, April 7
📣 Introducing Skinner West’s New Principal - Dr. Rhea Bush

As announced during the special LSC meeting on 3/7, Dr. Rhea Bush has been selected as the new principal for Skinner West Elementary. Congratulations to Dr. Bush!

Dr. Bush has been an educator and school leader for over 16 years. She is passionate about student literacy, school community involvement and the overall well-being of children. In 2015, she served as a resident principal at Skinner West under Mrs. Clark, where she found her calling for school leadership.  It was also here that she first considered herself part of the Superstar family.

The Skinner Community would also like to express their heartfelt appreciation to the LSC and Principal Selection Committee (PSC) for their dedicated time and effort in selecting our new leader. It has been a lengthy but rewarding learning process.  

Congratulations again to Dr. Bush, and a huge THANK YOU to the LSC and PSC! Stay tuned for more information and a word from our new Principal!
CPS To Go Mask-Optional Starting Monday, March 14 | CPS permitirá el uso opcional de mascarillas a partir del lunes 14 de marzo

Dear CPS Families, 
I am writing to let you know that beginning Monday, March 14, 2022, all CPS schools will be moving to a mask-optional model for students and staff. This means that while we will continue to encourage the use of masks, families and employees will now have a choice about whether or not to wear a mask at school, outside on school property, and on school buses.
Responding to Dramatic Change
From the start of the pandemic through today, CPS has always made decisions based on science, and this change to our masking policy is no exception. The number of COVID-19 cases in our schools and throughout the city of Chicago has declined sharply over the past several weeks, and we are seeing far fewer people being hospitalized or losing their lives to the virus. Also, we have dramatically increased the level of COVID testing in our schools, and vaccination rates among CPS students and staff are continuing to rise.
Vaccination rates to date: 
  • CPS COVID-19 vaccination rates are now near the national average for 12-17 year-old students (64 percent of CPS students age 12-17 have had at least a first dose, compared to 68 percent nationally).
  • Rates are well above the national average for 5-11 year-old students (47 percent of CPS students age 5-11 have had at least a first dose, compared to 33 percent nationally).
  • Overall, 56 percent of age-eligible CPS students have received at least one dose, and nearly half (49 percent) are fully vaccinated. 
  • More than 91 percent of all CPS staff members are fully vaccinated.

Chicago is at low risk for COVID by every metric, including the CDC’s historic and current metrics. City case counts and positivity are the lowest they have been since July 2021 and continue to fall. Chicago is now averaging just 191 cases of COVID-19 per day, among an average of more than 27,000 daily tests performed, giving our city a positivity rate of just 0.8 percent. CPS’ screening test positivity rate is even lower, at 0.14 percent. 
Listening to the Experts
Throughout the pandemic, CPS has relied on the guidance of our public health experts, especially Dr. Allison Arwady and her team at the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH). I am in regular contact with Dr. Arwady and am encouraged by her view that going mask optional is a safe course of action for our District at this time. CDPH is not alone in this analysis, as public health authorities at the local, state, and federal level are now aligned in their opinion that the risk of contracting COVID-19 in schools is very low.
Most school districts across the country have already transitioned to a mask-optional model. The City of Chicago removed the mask requirements for certain public spaces on February 28 to align with the State of Illinois, and the CDC recently relaxed guidance for communities where hospitals aren’t under high strain. Chicago is currently in low risk per the new CDC guidance.
Supporting Individual Choice
This is not about telling anyone they shouldn’t wear a mask. In fact, CPS will continue to encourage this practice in schools, especially in schools with lower vaccination rates and among those students and staff who feel most comfortable with a face covering. We will also support those members of our school communities who choose not to wear a mask, and will work with our schools to develop tools that teachers and parents can use to guide conversations with students about the importance of respecting everyone’s personal choice.
The past two years have taught us a lot about who we are as a community, including that when it comes to pulling together and supporting each other, we shine. 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 will not be judged, nor will the removal of masks by those who take that step be celebrated in our schools. Every person’s choice will be valued just as they themselves are valued, and we will make every effort to ensure a peaceful learning environment that is built on positivity and free of division.

We have not entered into this decision lightly. From the very start, CPS has taken the pandemic extremely seriously. We were one of the first to require universal masking in schools, and we would not be moving to a mask optional model unless the data and our public health experts indicated that it is a safe path for our school communities.
We will share more information before Monday, March 14 around how this change will impact our additional health and safety protocols and about how we will be supporting schools and students during this transition. It’s important also to note that the District has remained responsive to change throughout the pandemic and we must continue to remain nimble and pivot if the health data changes. We recognize that you, our families, and our staff must be confident that we will act quickly and implement safety procedures as needed. 
I thank you for your unwavering support of our students and sincerely hope that the decline we are seeing in COVID cases right now signals a permanent end to this challenging time. 
Pedro Martinez
Chief Executive Officer
Chicago Public Schools
Vaccination Clinics are Back

Our next clinic is Monday, March 14, at Skinner West ES.

For Appointments: 
● Visit: 

● Appointment Registration Steps 
(Patients need to register separately for a 1st AND 2nd dose appointment)*:
1. Find the school with the corresponding date on this flyer 
2. Select your dose (eligibility criteria below) 
3. Once the vaccine is selected, click Add to Cart, then click Continue 
4. Provide your information 
5. Confirm the information you input
6. Download and print/take a screenshot of your ticket

● Walk-ins accepted while supplies last
Current COVID-19 Statistics at Skinner

As of March 10, Skinner's COVID-19 statistics are as follows:
  • Percentage of students in quarantine: 0.001%
  • Percentage of student population vaccinated: 67% (Reported)
March 11, 2022

Dear Superstar Parent,

Every year, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) administers federally-required state assessments that help us gauge how our city’s students are growing academically compared to their peers across the state. These tests also help us determine where additional supports and resources are needed in our schools. 

This spring, your child will take the Illinois Assessment of Readiness (IAR), which measures student mastery of the Illinois Learning Standards in English language arts/literacy and mathematics in grades 3 through 8. Our IAR testing schedule is as follows:

Grades 3-5: March 22-March 25 From 9:30am-12pm 
Grades 6-8: March 29-April 1 From 9:30am-12pm

Children cannot study for a standardized assessment like they would for a regular classroom test, but there are ways you can help your student prepare to do their best: 

  • Ensure your child attends school regularly so that they don’t miss out on important instruction 
  • Talk to your child about testing so that they understand why doing their best is important 
  • Make sure your child gets a good night’s sleep the night before the exam 
  • Ensure your child arrives to school on time on the day of the exam 
  • Remind your child to take their time, listen to and read all directions, and tackle one question at a time
  • Help your child maintain a positive mindset by reminding them of their strengths and accomplishments

I thank you for your commitment to your child’s academic success, and we will reach out to you again to let you know the dates when your child will take the IAR. Please reach out to me, at with any questions about this exam. 

Dr. Jeffrey Brown
Assistant Principal
The Skinner Arts Integration Residency Fundraising Committee is Looking for Volunteers!

Help continue to grow Skinner’s Arts Integration Residencies by joining the fundraising committee, Gallery 111. Attend one of 2 informational meetings Wednesday, March 16. There will be 2 virtual sessions at 4 and at 4:30pm. For additional details see the flyer and click here to sign up if interested. Please reach out directly to Ms. Florczak with any questions.
Smile 📸🎓 Kindergartners and 8th Graders

Graduation picture retake for K and 8th grade students has been scheduled for April 7th. 
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
St. Patrick
In honor of St. Patrick’s Day on Thursday, March 17th wear green and dress festively if you choose. And on Saturday keep the party going as Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day celebrations are returning. The Chicago River will be dyed green beginning at 10AM and Chicago’s St. Patrick Day Parade will step off at 12:15PM. Be sure to check for street and bridge closures! 🚧

”Wherever you go, whatever you do, may the luck of the Irish be there with you!” - Irish Proverb
Summer Camp Registration Season is Upon Us

Summer will be here before we know it. (Wishful thinking). Summer camp registrations however have already begun so be sure to start your research and registering if you haven’t already.
Don’t Forget to Set Clocks Forward Sunday

Daylight Saving Time officially begins Sunday, March 13, at 2 a.m. so be sure to move clocks ahead by one hour Saturday night.
In case you missed it....
Thank you Dr. Smith!

Friday, March 4th was Dr. Smith's last day at Skinner school. Our Superstar students and staff sent him off with cards and special projects as well as a book that highlighted many of the wonderful initiatives he created during his short time as Administrator in Charge. This list is just a portion of what Dr. Smith's time has given our school community, as a true list is immeasurable.
Your time at Skinner was short, but your influence will be long lasting...
Formed an MTSS team
Reorganized the ILT
Hired additional staff-
·         PE teacher
·         Special Education teacher
·         School Counselor
·         Security guard
·         Librarian
·         Special Education Classroom Assistants
Developed a weekly staff newsletter
Brought the “Buddy Band” program
Set up bathroom procedures for student safety
Created and initiated homework passes for positive behavior
Assisted in developing an upper grade behavior protocol
Facilitated an upper grade reward system
Was a positive daily presence for our students and staff

Thank you again to Dr. Smith for all the time and effort you have given our school and community.

Skinner Spirit Week
March 7 - 11, 2022

We’ve got spirit! Yes we do! We’ve got spirit! How ‘bout you? Skinner School Spirit Week will be from March 7 through March 11! Skinner Superstars are encouraged to show their school spirit by sporting the following:

  • Monday, March 7 - Pajama Day
  • Tuesday, March 8 - Hat Day!
  • Wednesday, March 9 - Decades Day! (Classes can vote on the decade they’d like to represent.)
  • Thursday, March 10 - Sport/Jersey Day!
  • Friday, March 11 - School Spirit Day! (Wear you Skinner gear or purple/yellow.)
Current COVID-19 Statistics at Skinner
As of March 4, Skinner's COVID-19 statistics are as follows:
  • Percentage of students in quarantine: 0.008%
  • Percentage of student population vaccinated: 66% (Reported)
Classroom Connections
Third Grade African American Hero Wax Museum
The third graders have completed their annual project during the month of February, with a smaller live audience than in the past. Each student chose an inspirational African American Hero to research. They wrote a speech in the first person narrative and dressed the part to "come alive" and share information about their life. FlipGrid recordings will be sent to parents and may be viewed by other classes during the Virtual Wax Museum event on Friday, March 4. Great job, third graders!
Happy National Women’s History Month!

It’s National Women’s History Month! In 1987 after being petitioned by the National Women’s History Project, Congress passed Pub. L. 100-9 which designated the month of March as “Women’s History Month” to celebrate the amazing contributions women have made to the United States and to recognize the specific achievements women have made over the course of American history in a variety of fields. Women rock!