Urban Prairie Waldorf School
Administration Weekly Update - January 14, 2020
Upcoming Events   (5)
Monday, January 20
MLK Day of Service - NO SCHOOL

On Monday, January 20, school will be closed in observance of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Families are invited and encourage to take this as a “day on” rather than a “day off.”

The sign-up slots at the Pilsen Food Pantry are full (thanks everyone), but we could still use helpers here at the UPWS Kitchen to do a final push to get it ready. Children are welcome so long as they can work or be with you while you work.

Click here to sign up.

Tuesday, January 21
8:00 - 8:15 am
Martin Luther King Jr. Morning Assembly

The first morning of the week, Urban Prairie gathers as a school to say our verse, hear school updates, and sing a song or two. This week, the day after Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, we invite the community to join us.

In past years, parents, guardians, and extended members of the community have spoken at our MLK assemblies about their experience of the Civil Rights movement past and present, their memories of Dr. King, or shared a favorite quote. We would again like to extend this invitation to our community this year. Anything shared would need to be appropriate for all students grade 1-8 and be short (1-2 minutes). If you are interested in sharing, please contact sophie.baumgartner@urbanprairie.org.

Those joining us will enter the school through the Ashland door and make their way to Cricket Hall. Parking is available in the northeast corner of the Costco parking lot and along the south side of Hastings.

Wednesday, January 29
5:30 - 7:00 pm
Grade 1 Parent/Guardian Evening

Thursday, January 30
6:30 - 8:30 pm
Grade 5 Parent/Guardian Evening

Friday, January 31
Tuition Assistance Application Deadline

The tuition assistance application is now available in TADS.

If you have questions about how tuition assistance works visit our website or email peggy.lofgren@urbanprairie.org.

Mark Your Calendars   (3)
School Tours and Observation

Prairie Roots, Hummingbird Garden, 1st grade…all grades! Urban Prairie now serves toddlers to 8th grade (plus our 0-3 playgroups that adults can attend with little ones). Families are making decisions now about school for next year. Spread the word far and wide!

Tour and Observation
February 4, 8:15 – 10:00 am
March 10, 8:15 – 10:00 am

Learn more here.

Kitchen Education Events
Come learn about the methods and philosophy behind our Urban Prairie Community Kitchen project.
Thursday, January 30 3:00 pm
Tuesday, March 10 7:00 pm
Monday, May 4 7:00 pm
Mardi Gras and UPWS10/Waldorf100

Mardi Gras is around the corner, and we have a birthday party coming up! If you missed the Noche de Rábanos solstice dinner, come out to mix and mingle with your fellow (masked) Waldorfians.

February 1: Come celebrate Mardi Gras with Julia and Todd Smart (grades 2, 3, 5, 6) in their South Loop home. Masks provided! Heavy appetizers, wine, and drinks. Get your tickets here.
March 7: Plans are underway for the UPWS10/Waldorf100 Anniversary Party. Calling all party planners: contact sharla.paul@urbanprairie.org to volunteer. Hosted by the Marszewski family (grade 4) at their Bridgeport gallery, with drinks donated by Marz Brewing and the Gonzales/Miranda family (grades 5 & 8) and appetizers provided by the Di Sappio family (grades 5 & 8), who is also helping us plan entertainment.
Fun is coming!

School News   (4)
New Faces at Urban Prairie

Jennifer Zielinski joins us next week as our new Director of Enrollment. Jennifer uses she/her pronouns. Jennifer comes to us with over 10 years experience working in Enrollment Management at the Chicago Waldorf School. She and her husband currently reside in Rogers Park with their 3 boys and Chi-Weenie named Mimi. Her deep commitment to Waldorf education is reflected in her professional development, having completed the Foundation Year at Arcturus Rudolf Steiner Program, as well as having spent a year studying Educational Support with experts at the Association for Healing Education. In July of 2014, she attended the National S.E.E.D. (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) Project training to become a S.E.E.D. facilitator and has been leading sessions ever since. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago and is excited to be back in the neighborhood. Many thanks to Jenifer Brenner, our interim admissions coordinator, who has been building relationships all winter and getting us organized as we head into enrollment season.

Kimberly George joins us this week as Operations Coordinator. Kimberly uses she/her pronouns. She will take over the front desk and phones and provide front office support, including interacting with visitors, students, and parents, as well as providing administrative support for fundraising and admissions. Kimberly joins us from the Chicago Youth Center’s Sidney Epstein Center and previously spent 20 years at the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago. She describes herself as a student in the study of “Growth Mindset,” and we are excited to add her to our Admin team. Kimberly’s arrival will allow Sophie Baumgartner to focus on supporting the administrative side of our teaching, educational, and community programs, including her great work in planning and coordinating festivals.

Beginning this week, Guo Ying, a college exchange student from China, is visiting Urban Prairie to learn about Education and Culture in the U.S. If you see our special visitor in or around the school please give a warm welcome to Guo. Guo uses she/her pronouns and found us through a program titled The Foundation for Global Education. Guo Ying is excited to learn all she can across the many age groups we serve and will be visiting classes spanning the grades and be visiting for four weeks.

We are pleased to announce that traveling eurythmist Mark Ebersole will be teaching a six week block of Eurythmy to all students, from Early Childhood through Grade 8 from February 24 to April 3. Mark uses he/him pronouns. Mark has fine-tuned the art of teaching Eurythmy in traveling blocks and comes highly recommended from the many schools he has worked with. He is also a trained Therapeutic Eurythmist and may potentially be able to offer private pay sessions to individuals during his time at Urban Prairie.

Also, you may have missed the introduction of our aftercare person, Myra Kalaw. Myra uses she/ her pronouns. She spent two years teaching EFL to grade-school students in Taiwan. Prior to this, she has also worked as a Math, English & Biology tutor for Chicago City Colleges & Chicago Public Schools. She received her formal education at Columbia College Chicago where she took extensive classes in Poetry, Papermaking, Bookbinding & Letterpress Printing. In her free time, she enjoys being in the great outdoors and doing restoration work for the local forest preserves.

In need of more goat helpers

We could use a few more families in rotation for weekend goat help. Every Saturday and Sunday the goats need to be let out of their shed and given fresh food, hay, and water in the morning, and put back in the shed with refreshments in the evening.

If you are interested or have questions please email sophie.baumgartner@urbanprairie.org.

Martin Luther King Jr. in the Classrooms

At Urban Prairie we work to weave Dr. King’s messages and lessons into the everyday fabric of school life. Conquering hate, striving for justice, and overcoming our biases are endeavors that cannot be achieved in a single day or with a single lesson.

Around his birthday we bring extra attention to the life he lived, the movement he inspired, and the work he challenged us to do. Look to your weekly updates for snapshots of how this is happening in the classroom.

Winter Aftercare Contract

If you will be sending your child/children to aftercare on a regular basis and wish to pay the contract rate of $9.00/hour please complete the contract here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScbZQ65gJ_S9kmYiBBOu_LS-g9JP_3K4vaUxapp5M1usG77wA/viewform?usp=sf_link

If your schedule will be the same as the fall please email aftercare@urbanprairie.org to indicate you will continue with the same days and times.

Curious Questions   (1)
What IS Eurythmy?

Eurythmy is coming! But what exactly does that mean?

Simply put, Eurythmy is sound made visible through movement. Forms are both created by moving through space as well as gestures made with the body. The pedagogical significance of Eurythmy is similar to that of form drawing; through Eurythmy, as with form drawing, we are orienting children in space.

The capacities developed through practicing Eurythmy go beyond spatial awareness. Students are introduced to speech and music from a new and challenging angle. Furthermore, there are social lessons learned from working individually and as a group to create the forms and movements.

We hope to offer a community education opportunity either before or during our upcoming eurythmy block!

Community Connection Corner   (1)
Delegates Meeting

We had a wonderful delegate meeting! You can find meeting notes here. Please save the date for our next meeting on February 4th, 2020 from 6-7:30 pm. All are welcome!

Some meeting highlights include:

  • New delegate study. The group picked The Cycle of the Year which is a series of Steiner lectures that focus on the four Christian festival seasons. Thanks to Charles Blair for finding us this free link and taking notes. We will read the Contents and Forward sections to discuss at the February meeting.

  • Discussion of Service Days

  • Event and Marketing Photos

  • Library Update

In Gratitude   (1)
Thank you to Ravi Parakkat for shepherding us through the Green Ribbon Schools Application
Yesterday Urban Prairie submitted our application to be considered as a Green Ribbon School. The application showcases all that we do as a school around sustainability, starting with inspiring reverence and wonder in our students (from the earliest ages!) for Nature as our home. 
From our permaculture gardens and goat habitat, to our students’ healthy outdoor play and “expeditionary learning” on foot and by CTA, to our waste reduction efforts and a facility energy use assessment underway: Urban Prairie has a lot to be proud of! This application provides a baseline for our future visioning and planning as an institution. 
A special thank you to grade 2 parent Ravi Parakkat (grade 2 parent), for shepherding us through the application process, and to Adam Koch (EC and grade 8) for overseeing the energy assessment. Want to get involved in our sustainability efforts? Email sharla.paul@urbanprairie.org