Dear Urban Prairie Families,
On this Dia de los Muertos festival day, our students enjoyed a lively celebration with a surprise mariachi band, pan de muertos, and folk dancing by los viejitos (…or was that the 4th and 5th grade class??). This year’s ofrenda was a true work of love and beauty by our entire community in honor of our extended community of departed loved ones – including those whose photos did not make it onto the ofrenda this year.
We have a long weekend coming up: This Thursday there is no school in observance of the Diwali festival of light, our first such observance as we progress toward the solstice, followed by a teacher work day this Friday.
Read on for news and dates to save, including:
Join us TODAY! Hot Cocoa & Farewell to Kim George: Wed, Nov 3, 3:00-3:30pm. Today is Ms. George’s last day. All in our community are invited to come enjoy a cup of hot cocoa and send Kim George off with many good wishes. We’ll gather in the west parking lot TODAY, Wednesday, November 3, during dismissal at 3:00-3:30.
This Weekly Admin Newsletter includes:
Community Connections Update
UPWS Admin Contacts
November 4 NO SCHOOL (Diwali)
November 5 NO SCHOOL (Teacher Work Day)
November 9 Grade 1 Parent Meeting
November 10 Adults Only Color Team Potluck: Red & Orange Teams – 6:30pm
November 12 First Friday Coffee
November 15 Lantern Walk (Grades 1-3)
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
December 8 First Friday Coffee
December 9 Board Meeting – via Zoom
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.
Class Teacher Conferences
Class teachers plan to meet with the parents/guardians of each student. This is an important touchpoint for which class teachers prepare extensively. We ask families to make every effort to schedule a conference during the times listed. If your schedule does not allow you to meet during the times listed, please reach out to your class teacher to see if an alternative time is possible.
Subject Teacher Conferences
All parents/guardians are welcome to meet with their students’ subject teachers, however these meetings are optional. You may receive a request from a subject teacher to meet if they want to discuss something specific or become acquainted with new families.
We will close the sign-up on Thursday, November 18, so please be sure to sign up before then! If you have any questions or experience any issues with Operoo, please do not hesitate to contact Sophie.Ba…@urbanprairie.org
School Photo Ordering Instructions:
Order pictures by November 20th! If you submit your order now, they will be fulfilled by November 5, otherwise they will be fulfilled by November 20 as the photographer will be out of town.
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. Please note she may not respond November 5-16.
Green Team News
UPWS’ long-term sustainability goal is to reduce the energy footprint and negative environmental impact while also “greening” our surroundings for the benefit of our students and community. To reach this goal, the Green Team, led by board member Mike Grill, will build on the work, curriculum, and projects already under way.
A few highlights from 2020-21 (and links with more information) include:
Presenting our Green School Project. https://illinoisgreenalliance.org/urban-prairie-waldorf-school/
Receiving a grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Foundation https://www.illinoiscleanenergy.org
Cultivating a number of gardens on our school property — Butterfly Oasis and Monarch Way Station, hügelkultur, vegetable gardens, and an herb spiral.
Adopting a community garden in North Lawndale for middle school expeditions
Installing three rooftop solar panels that can be tracked at: https://enlighten.enphaseenergy.com/pv/public_systems/xMEh2437560/overview
Generating 111 kWh to date on our newly installed panels, equivalent to generating enough electricity for one classroom each day
Holding our Solar-Bration during the Festival of Courage
2021-22 deliverables are two-fold:
Participate in the Illinois Green Schools Project by devising and implementing a creative no-to-low-cost “green project”
Apply to become a Green Ribbon School, a distinction awarded by the U.S. Department of Education.
This year’s team includes Head of School (Sharla Paul), Board Members (Mike Grill, Sue Mukherjee, Ravi Parakkat), Director of Curriculum & Instruction (Jen Kang), faculty/staff representatives (Hannah Avellone, Kim George), and Siemens mentor (Katy Glynn).
Community members interested in joining the Green Team can contact Mike Grill at mike….@urbanprairie.org.
Did you know?
Lessons Learned at UPWS
I learned that not all learning takes place in the classroom. You can double the square footage of a school just by considering the gardens, playgrounds, rooftops (solar, bees), as learning environments. You can double again if you consider your community/city a learning classroom.
I learned that the best teachers never stopped being students and that often it is the students that teach the most valuable lessons:
From EC Butterflies and Hummingbirds, I learned to expand my world and thrive outside.
1st Graders taught me that learning to play chess or anything complex doesn’t require one to start off with all the pieces.
2nd Graders taught me that compassion for another person is expressed crystal clear even when the words are not clear.
3rd Graders taught me that sometimes you do have to stomp your foot, but not too often. And…. sometimes a child needs an ice pack… but more often they just need a person to offer the ice pack
Grade 4 and 5 taught me that learning takes place in all-size groups — especially when groups are combined.
6th Graders showed me that some people see a pile of woodchips…and others see an opportunity to create a spiral maze
7th graders taught me that all great journeys start with one step, but many steps bring you many adventures and many opportunities
And the 8th graders, the class of 2022, remind me that the place that feels like your whole world turns out to be the place that prepares you for a whole new world just around the corner.
My appreciation goes to the staff, faculty, and families of Urban Prairie Waldorf School for allowing me to be a part of your daily lives for an unforgettable two years.
Community Connections Corner
It’s almost time for our first Color Team Potluck!
Find your babysitter now, because next week we will have our first adults only color team potluck dinner! Red and Orange teams will kick off this event in the Early Childhood yard on Wed Nov. 10th at 6:30pm. We’ll warm things up with a toasty fire and conversation. Invitations have been sent so keep an eye out! If you don’t see it, try this link or feel free to email me at Anne.mc…@urbanprairie.org
Red and Orange Teams: November 10th
Yellow and Green Teams: January 26th
Blue and Purple Teams: February 16th
Not sure what your color team is? Email Jenn at jenn.zi…@urbanprairie.org
Quick coffee reminder: The 2nd First Friday Coffee will be on Nov. 12 at 8am behind the goat shed. See you there!
Looking for a few people to help beautify our outdoor areas!
Always looking for people to move mulch, mend fences, stain wood, pick up trash, etc. We’re also planning a big sandbox dig soon for the Early Childhood garden. If you love the outdoors and have some time to spare email me at Anne.mc…@urbanprairie.org
Kids winter clothing swap?
So many of us have younger children that go through sizes so quickly! We are hoping to host a clothing swap but wanted to see how many people are interested. If interested please email me with your contact info. Thanks!
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!
Calling all dog lovers!
Interested in leading or joining a dog walking group? A dog walking group is great way to meet and connect with people. It’s also great for dogs as group walks can keep them mentally and physically fit. Pack/group walks also build the bond between you and your dog, so it’s a win-win! Excited yet? Please email me at anne.mc…@urbanprairie.org with your name and contact info.
If you’re interested in any of the many volunteer opportunities here at Urban Prairie please contact me at anne.mc…@urbanprairie.org