Week 11

Dear Urban Prairie Families,

Can it possibly be that our Festival of Thanks is already nearly here? This Friday the whole school will participate in small and not-so-small gestures of sharing and gratitude with and for each other.

On behalf of the faculty and staff of Urban Prairie, THANK YOU for choosing this school, for entrusting your students to our care and teaching, for showing up and being present yourselves in so many ways, and for making this community everything it is. We keep attracting more community members to us, and I am pretty sure all of you are among the reasons why.



This Weekly Admin Newsletter includes:

  • Calendar highlights

  • School News

  • Board News

  • Community Connections Update

  • Important Reminders

  • UPWS Admin Contacts

Calendar Highlights

November 17 Lantern Walk (Early Childhood)

November 19 Festival of Thanks

November 22 Parent/Guardian Teacher Conferences – No School

November 23 Parent/Guardian Teacher Conferences – No School

November 24 Independent Work Day – No School

November 25, 26 Thanksgiving Holiday

November 30 Giving Tuesday

December 1 Middle School Parent Chat: High School Process

December 8 First Friday Coffee

December 9 Board Meeting – via Zoom

December 16 Festival of Light Solstice Spiral

School News

Fall Teacher Conferences

Fall conference sign-ups are now available in your Operoo account (www.operoo.com). All conferences will be held over zoom. The teacher’s zoom links are available here. Most conferences will be held on Monday, November 22, and Tuesday, November 23.

School Photo Ordering Instructions

Order pictures by November 20th! Password for all albums is: autumn

Please find detailed instructions for placing photo orders here. If you have any questions, reach out to Eileen Molony at eil…@emphotography.net.

Help Wanted! Recess and Aftercare Support

Help Wanted! Are you or someone you know available to help staff our end-of-day recess and aftercare needs this year? We are looking for support from 3 pm – 5:30 pm on Tuesdays and 2 pm – 5:30 pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays. If you are interested or know someone who might be, please let us know: ad…@urbanprairie.org. This is a paid part-time position.

Water Testing

We had our water tested after the main line into the building was replaced at the start of the school year to ensure that our drinking water remains safe. Every water output in the school was tested twice: after the water was unused for 12 hours and again after the water was flushed through for 30 seconds. The Illinois Department of Public Health sets a threshold level of 5 parts-per-billions (ppb); the EPA threshold is 15 ppb. Results were as follows:

  • Drinking Water: All of our drinking water fountains continue to be below the measurable concentration amount of 2 parts-per-billion (ppb) for lead. Our students are instructed to drink from and fill their bottles at these fountains.

  • Student Handwashing Sinks:

    • Four handwashing sinks in classrooms had measurable lead levels beyond the IDPH thresholds in the initial test. The sinks were below the threshold after being flushed for 30 seconds.

    • Three sinks in the science classroom and one student bathroom sink tested above the IDPH threshold on both tests and remained above IDPH threshold levels but below EPA threshold levels after flushing.

    • Signage will be placed at these sinks noting they are not drinkable water.

  • Adults-only Handwashing Sinks: Two sinks in the administrative area and the sink in an adults-only bathroom on the first floor were above IDPH thresholds before flushing and below the threshold after being flushed for 30 seconds. Signage will be placed at these sinks noting they are not drinkable water.

  • Kitchen: Two sinks in the kitchen space tested above 5 ppb initially but were under that standard after flushing.

Middle School Parent Chat: High School Process

Middle School Parents and Guardians, mark your calendars for Wednesday, Dec 1, 6:30pm. Grade 7 parent Jon Vigano will host a zoom chat create a space where families in grades 6-8 can:

  • share their process and experiences so far in navigating the Chicago high school landscape

  • access information about different schools

  • learn about admissions processes

  • share resources

  • ask questions

After School Programs Winter 2022

We are excited to announce two new after school program that will start in January:

Circus Club

January 10 – March 9

Mondays: grades 1 and 2

Wednesdays: grades 3, 4, and 5

Pickup time: 4:30pm


Join staff from CircEsteem and our very own Sophie Baumgartner in the UPWS gym for circus activities. Space is limited! In order to run these clubs we need enrollment numbers by December 10 – so please sign up early!

  • Sign ups are now active in Operoo (www.operoo.com). (You can clear this form from your Operoo account by clicking “Decline.”)

  • Middle school helpers wanted! Please contact sophie.ba…@urbanprairie.org for more information.


January 10 – March 18

Tuesdays: grades 6 – 8

Pickup time: 4:30pm


Movement instructor Adriana Kondrat will run this Tuesday afternoon intramural basketball 101 clinic. Sure to be a favorite!

New Attendance Procedure

After Thanksgiving break we will no longer require a daily health screening for students attending school. We will assume that by attending school your child is in good health and symptom and exposure free.

If your student will be late or absent from school please report this to the office as soon as possible. There are three ways you can report lateness or absence:

  • Operoo (www.operoo.com) – The daily form will still be there and you may report absences with it. You will no longer receive daily email/text reminders, and the form will clear from your account each day.

  • Email atten…@urbanprairie.org

  • Call 312-733-5337

Please report the reason for an absence; if your child is experiencing symptoms we will continue to follow our current COVID protocols.

Board News

Dear Urban Prairie Community,

Yesterday was a Tuesday in November, so that must mean Giving Tuesday is coming. For those who haven’t already marked your calendar (like I have!), this year Giving Tuesday falls on November 30th, which is of course the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, a day when nonprofits around the world look to our communities – to you – to help launch us into the giving season.

Please save the date! On Giving Tuesday, Nov 30, the Urban Prairie Board of Trustees will issue a match challenge to our community. We will match up to $30,000 toward our 2021-22 Annual Fund.

By now many of you know that I serve on the Board of Trustees but my children no longer attend Urban Prairie. Why do I serve? I hear that question so often from so many people. Well, today I stopped by the school to make a video with Sharla to answer that question. It’s the same reason I make a gift every year to the Annual Fund, and the same reason I ask my fellow Board members to give every year.

Why? You’ll have to watch the video to find out!

What inspires you to make an annual gift to Urban Prairie? I’d love to hear. Drop me a note at danila….@urbanprairie.org.

Un abrazo,

Danila Miranda


President, Board of Trustees

Parent to David and Natalia UPWS’20 and Elena ’23

p.s. No need to wait for Giving Tuesday! Feel free to make your annual gift right now! Help us achieve our goal of raising $35,000 by GivingTuesday and $100,000 by June 30, 2022.

Community Connections Corner

Wow, last week was so much fun! Thanks to everyone who came to the Color Team Potluck, the First Friday Coffee, and the Sandbox Dig! Don’t worry, there are more opportunities coming up for all 3 events.

Sandbox Dig This Weekend!

We’re planning another big sandbox dig for the Early Childhood garden. We’ll be digging from 10am-2pm. If anyone is available this weekend, sign up here:


Parents! Yearbook Team needs your help!

Photos, photos, photos! If you have any photos of any events last year(in-person or remote), we would love it if you could share them with us! Send them to me at anne.mc…@urbanprairie.org

Let’s Get Together!

Looking for someone’s contact to build community, connect with other families, get your children together to play? Find each other here!


Volunteer Opportunities

Have some time to lend a hand? Community Connections is always building our volunteer team and would love to have you! Please email me at anne.mc…@urbanprairie.org or come to our 1st Friday Coffee on Oct 8th and we can chat.


Lost and Found

We are amassing quite a collection of water bottles, gloves, garments, and miscellanea. The best way to help is to label everything you send to school with your kiddos!

We will work on sending out photos of what we have, but if you know your child is missing something encourage them to look through the lost and found!

All items will be donated on December 10.

Outerwear Guidelines

As the weather fluctuates wildly, please send your kiddos prepared with layers! Here is a quick temperature guideline, please dress for the low so they are prepared for whatever comes!

  • 70 degrees and warmer: Shorts, short sleeves

  • 65 – 70 degrees:  long pants required, short sleeves acceptable; long sleeves encouraged on cloudy and / or windy days

  • 50 – 65 degrees: long sleeves required; jacket layering recommended

  • 40 – 50 degrees: jacket required; additional layering recommended

  • 30-40 degrees: multiple layers required; outermost layer must include winter jacket, hat and gloves / mittens; scarf highly recommended for all ages / required for lower grades (EC – 3)

  • Below 30 and if snowy: snow gear required – winter jacket, snow pants, hat, gloves / mittens, and boots

Rain: Please send rain jackets, pants, and boots on rainy days! We ask students NOT to bring umbrellas as they present a safety concern on the play lot. It is always a good idea to send a full change of clothes that stays at school, especially for younger students.

Vaccination Status Updates

We will collect vaccination details for younger students soon. If your student is fully vaccinated, please complete this Google Form or email ad…@urbanprairie.org with your student’s vaccination dates.


For curriculum and classroom related questions and concerns, please start by contacting your class teacher or subject teacher.

Administrative questions may be directed to:

Sophie Baumgartner, Pedagogical Operations


AJ Lee, Director of Operations & Finance


Sharla Paul, Head of School


Jen Kang, Director of Curriculum & Instruction


Jenn Zielinski, Director of Enrollment Management