Week 10

To purpose in living, 

To right in our doing, 

To peace in our feeling, 

To light in our thinking….

Dear Urban Prairie Families,

Ten weeks into the school year! There’s a real rhythm around the place these days, and a sense of purpose. 

At our Monday morning grade school assemblies we’ve been singing about Autumn, about the earth all aglow, and what the geese seem to know (tomorrow they’ll go…). 

We also recite our school verse, part of which is excerpted above. Purposeful living, right doing, peaceful feeling, enlightened thinking. It’s a tall order we’ve set for ourselves in educating your children, and we take it seriously – perhaps all the more so these days, as we lean into the new era presenting itself.

As we head into the giving season and toward the solstice, please commit to an annual gift in support of purpose, peace, and light. In the past, our Annual Fund has been overshadowed by giving to our special drives, such as the playlot and our building purchase. This year, instead of making multiple contributions yearly through special drives, we are asking families to make one larger contribution to the Annual Fund per year. Annual giving improves our ability to plan for each new school year and gives us a stronger sense of what programs we can improve and introduce. Your dollars, in addition to directly benefiting the school and your students, will go to:

  • Improving the fiscal health of the school
  • Special yearly projects, including Playlot 3.0 (without the need for separate special drives)
  • Closing the gap between the overall tuition brought in and the annual expenses of the school

All donors in the Sponsor Circle and above will receive recognition in our Annual Giving List and an invite to the Annual Dinner. Mark your calendar for April 23, 2022.

Sponsor Circle $1,000 – $2,499

Partner Circle $2,500 – $4,999

Sustainer Circle $5,000 – $9,999

Visionary Circle $10,000 – $24,999

Legacy Circle $25,000 and above

Commit to your annual gift today. Or reach out to me or Board member Jeff Smagley from our Fundraising and Development Committee. We’d love to talk to you about why your gift matters so much. 

In shared love for our school,


This Weekly Admin Newsletter includes:

  • Calendar highlights
  • School News
  • Community Connections Update
  • Important Reminders 
  • UPWS Admin Contacts

Calendar Highlights

November 9 Grade 1 Parent Meeting 

November 10 Adults Only Color Team Potluck: Red & Orange Teams – 6:30pm

November 12 First Friday Coffee (Beside Goat pen)

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

School News

Vaccine Clinic – Tues, Nov 16

We are excited to announce a COVID vaccine clinic at Urban Prairie arranged by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). The initial dose of Pfizer BioNTech for children 5 – 11 years old will be available in Cricket Hall on Tuesday, November 16, from 3 pm to 6 pm. The IDPH will return in early December to administer a second vaccine dose.

At this same event, booster shots will be available for all adults in our community who are 6 months past their second dose of Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or at least 2 months past a Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine dose. IDPH says that all brands of adult vaccines will be available, so new adult or age 12-to-17 students can also start a new vaccination on 11/16/21 at the event.

Welcome to Dani Ruiz

We are excited to announce that we have officially hired a new Operations Coordinator! Dani Ruiz will join us on Nov 29, the Monday after Thanksgiving, working the same hours Kim George covered previously: 10 am – 6 pm.

Dani is coming to us from Loyola University Health, where she has been scheduling patient care in a highly structured system. Dani is a master organizer and has a meticulous approach to completing tasks. She enjoys working with others, excels at customer service, and speaks Spanish. We are incredibly excited for Dani to be here in a few weeks.

Congrats to Ms. Myra

The Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival has announced the very first cohort of artists in the Chicago Puppet Lab, an initiative for Chicago artists creating new original puppet theater work. Grade 4 parent Tom Lee is co-director of the program. 

Congratulations to Myra Kalaw, our recess and aftercare assistant, who was selected for the inaugural cohort. Born & raised in the Philippines and transplanted to Chicago at age 16, Myra is a poet and a book and paper artist. She has lived and worked in Chicago for over 30 years, has worked with the local CIRCA Pintig Community Theater and The Bread & Puppet Theater of Vermont. The Chicago Puppet Lab will be her first ever formal theater training and builds on the fun puppetry classes she took last summer with the Chicago International Puppet Festival. Also in the cohort is Carmen Kingsley, who has taught circus arts at Urban Prairie. 

We can’t wait to see what Myra, Carmen, and Tom put forward!

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! 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 eileen@emphotography.net. Please note she may not respond November 5-16.

Community Connections Corner


Join the Fun

There is so much fun coming up with our first Color Team Potluck and our second 1st Friday Coffee this week!!

It’s time for our first Color Team Potluck and you can still sign up!

This 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 tomorrow, Weds, Nov. 10th at 6:30pm. We’ll warm things up with a toasty fire and conversation. Invitations have been sent but If you haven’t seen it, try this link, or feel free to email me at Anne.mcdonough@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 Z at jenn.zielinski@urbanprairie.org

Why did the coffee bean keep checking his watch?

Because he was pressed for time!

This Friday morning is our 2nd First Friday Coffee! Join us behind the goat shed at 8am, right after drop-off. Feel free to bring a treat to share or just come for the hot coffee and warm conversation.

Sandbox Dig This Weekend?!

We’re planning a big sandbox dig for the Early Childhood garden. Is anyone available this weekend? Sign up here:


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.mcdonough@urbanprairie.org.