March 25 - March 31, 2022 | Week #27
This week: IAR Standardized Testing Continues | Special LSC Meeting Tuesday | For Your Awareness: Investigation for COVID-19 at Skinner School | COVID-19 Statistics at Skinner | Classroom Connections: Chicago Author Visits Skinner | Changes to Next Year’s School Calendar are Coming | Reminder: Please Slow Down
Dates to Remember

  • IAR Standardized Testing - March 22 - April 1 (Please note updated schedule below)
  • Special LSC Meeting - Tuesday, March 29 at 5:00 p.m.
  • Spring Picture Day - now Tuesday, April 5
  • Graduation Makeup Pictures (K & 8th Only) - Thursday, April 7
  • School Improvement Committee Meeting - now Tuesday, April 19 at 4 p.m.
  • LSC Elementary School Election - Wednesday, April 20 6:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
IAR Standardized Testing Continues Next Week

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 updated IAR testing schedule is as follows:
Grades 3-5
March 22-March 25 From 9:30am-12pm (Unless notified otherwise)

Grades 6-8
March 28 - April 1 From 9:30am-12pm (Please note testing will begin on Monday, not Tuesday as previously scheduled)

Monday- March 28 9:30-12pm
Tuesday- March 29 Regular day of classes- no testing
Wednesday- March 30 9:30-12pm
Thursday- March 31 9:30-12pm
Friday- April 1 9:30-12pm

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
Special LSC Meeting
The LSC is holding a special meeting Tuesday, March 29th at 5:00 p.m. Topics to include:

  • 2022/2023 Budget Summary Overview
  • Request for Use of Skinner West Parking Lot for Soul City Church Overflow

Join with Google Meet:
Join by phone(US) +1 402-527-4047 (PIN: 903935472)

Hope to “see” you there!
For Your Awareness: Investigation for COVID-19 at Skinner School

Friday, March 25, 2022

Dear SKINNER Community,

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is committed to keeping you informed of the most current developments regarding COVID-19. A person who was in our school building on March 21-25, 2022 tested positive for COVID-19. We are sending this notification for your awareness, and you do not need to take any further action at this time. If you have been identified as a close contact, you should have received a separate notification from the Office of Student Health and Wellness with additional information.

As a reminder, we can slow the spread of COVID-19 as a CPS school community by getting vaccinated, social distancing whenever possible, wearing masks in public, washing our hands thoroughly, and avoiding close contact with people who are sick. 

For district updates and resources, visit If you need help locating medical care or have any CPS-specific questions, please reach out to the Healthy CPS Hotline at 773-553-KIDS (5437) which is staffed 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

We are here to support you as we move forward together as one healthy, supportive, and engaged school family. 

SKINNER Administration
COVID-19 Statistics

As of 3/25, Skinner's COVID-19 statistics are as follows:
  • Students in quarantine: 0 
  • Percentage of student population vaccinated: 67% (Reported)
Classroom Connections: Chicago Author Visits Skinner

On Monday Skinner West welcomed a special visitor in grades K-3. Mrs. Kathleen Dragan, author of children's book Rickshaw Reggie, all about Chicago neighborhoods read from her book and answered several questions about what it is like to be an author. We also had a parent in first grade donate a large check to Skinner which covered the cost of each child to receive a personally signed book from Mrs. Dragan. Thanks to Mrs. Kathleen Dragan for stopping by and sharing her wonderful book and to our generous Skinner parents and community whose contributions help to make our children the Superstars that they are!
Pictured Above: K Teacher Candice Growe and Class and Mrs. Kathleen Dragan
Changes to Next School Year’s Calendar are Coming

The Chicago Board of Education on Wednesday unanimously approved a calendar for the 2022-23 school year that will wrap summer vacations up earlier this year. Students will return to school on Aug. 22 and will get two weeks off for winter break, one week off for spring break, and the entire week of Thanksgiving off this year. The calendar also includes ​​176 instructional days for students, as well as four Teacher Institute days, four School Improvement days, two parent-teacher conference days, and four professional development days.
We’ve all been there. They slept through the alarm (or ignored it). Perhaps they spilled breakfast on their clothes or it was just a Murphy’s Law kind of morning. Whatever the case may be, take a breath, slow down at and around the crosswalks, and keep in mind our children are crossing!
In case you missed it....
Meet the Candidates for the LSC Election

Dear Parents/Guardians, Community Members, and School Staff Members:

The 2022 Local School Council Election will be held on Spring Semester Parent-Teacher Conference Day, Wednesday, April 20, 2022 (for elementary schools) and Thursday, April 21, 2022 (for high schools) from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. In the Election, parents and community members will have the opportunity to vote for up to 5 candidates to fill 8 positions on your school's LSC (6 parent members and 2 community members) and school staff will have the opportunity to vote for up to 2 candidates to fill 3 positions on the LSC (2 teacher members and 1 non-teacher staff member).  

We encourage and invite you to vote in the parent/community election or the school staff poll.  

A Candidate Forum will be held virtually at 5pm on Tuesday, March 22, 2022 and we encourage and invite you to attend the Forum to hear the Candidates speak about their qualifications and their plans if elected (or appointed) to your school's LSC. 

Join with Google Meet 

Or dial: ‪(US) +1 484-424-4385‬ PIN: ‪802 759 267‬#.

Agenda can be found here

Form 8-22 (List of Candidates for the LSC), with the name(s) of the candidate(s) who have filed to run in the LSC Election at your school, is enclosed for your reference. 

For more information about the election, please contact the Office of Local School Council Relations: (773) 553-1400

We look forward to your participation in the Local School Council Election and thank you for your interest in your school. Working together, we can continue to improve our children's education.  


Renee Mackin, Administrator In Charge, Skinner West School

 *Special Note*
• In order to vote, parent and community voters must present 2 forms of I. D. to the election judges.
• Parent voters must present at least one form of I. D. or documentation establishing that they are the parent,
   legal guardian or temporary custodian of a child enrolled in the school.
• Community voters must present at least one form of I. D. with a current residential address within the school's
    attendance area or voting district.
 • School staff voters must present two forms of I.D., one of which must be their CPS Employee I. D. 
• Any person requiring a sign language interpreter for the Candidate Forum must inform the school by
 12:00 p. m. (noon) on March 11, 2022.
LSC’s Principal Report

March 15, 2022


VISION: The Mark T. Skinner School’s vision is to be the premier elementary School in metropolitan Chicago for educating special children (Special Education, Classical, and Neighborhood), and to serve as the outstanding model for all such schools.
LRE MANDATE: LRE requires that to the maximum extent appropriate students with disabilities, including students in public or private institutions or other care facilities are educated with students who are non-disabled.

I. Covid-19 Update
Percentage of students in quarantine: 0
Percentage of student population vaccinated: 67% (Reported)

II. Promethean Board Upgrade
III. Counselor Interventions 
IV. Parking/Traffic Update 
V. Chief Milberg visit 
VI. IAR Testing Preparations 
March 22-25th Grades 3-5
March 28-April 1 Grades 6-8
COVID-19 Statistics

As of 3/18, Skinner's COVID-19 statistics are as follows:
  • Percentage of students in quarantine: 0.09% 
  • Percentage of student population vaccinated: 67% (Reported)
Classroom Connections:
Skinner Spirit Week Recap

Students and Staff had a blast celebrating Skinner Spirit Week last Week!
Check out some photos from Wacky Wednesday and Sports Day. 
Spirit Week 2022
(Pictured: Wacky Branch Staff, Mrs. Priola's Sports Day, Mrs. Priola's Wacky Class)
It’s Spring Again (Finally!)

March 20th is the Spring Equinox and marks the First Day of Spring for 2022. Mr. Lew's 5th grade class created a bulletin board entitled Spring Kindness to spread positive messages to passers-by including:

* Life * Love * Hope * Joy * Good Natured * Inspiration * You Are Awesome * You Are Strong* You Rock * You Are Amazing * You Can Do It * Pay It Forward * Kindness is the Key to Friendship * Smile! You are Beautiful * You Light Up the Room * Believe In Yourself * Happiness is Awesome * 

Thank you Rm 236 for sowing the seeds of kindness!
POW Gym Summer Camp

Looking for a Summer Camp? POW Gym West Loop is offering various week long fitness and sports summer camp sessions beginning June 20 through August 22, 2022. Register by 3/31 and get $100 off during the Early Bird Special!
Connect with Officers and other Youth at a Youth Explorer Meeting

There will be a Youth Explorer meeting at the Maxwell Street Community Garden on Mar 26th. All youth are welcome to the garden. Meet at the 12th district at 9:45a.m for introductions and sign-in.  The Explorers program is a youth organization run through each District CAPS office and allows young adults the ability to connect with Officers from Districts across the City.
Should you have any questions about these events kindly reach out to 12th District Community Policing, Lisa Barraco at 312.746.8306 or
📣 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)
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. 
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.