Week 13 

Dear Urban Prairie Families, 

The spirit of generosity in this community this week has been, in a word, profound. 

Together we raised $72,000, exceeding our Board match challenge by $12,000. Thank you. From $25 to $10,000, every single one of your gifts supports the inspired teaching – and inspired learning – that unfurls all day every day in this school. (Didn’t have a chance to get your gift in yet? We’re aiming for $100,000 – make your gift today!)

Lots of news this week! Read on for details on our upcoming Solstice Spiral Festival, vaccine clinic, and 



This Weekly Admin Newsletter includes:

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

Calendar Highlights

December 1 Middle School Parent Chat: High School Process

December 6 Vaccine Clinic #1

December 8 First Friday Coffee

December 9 Board Meeting – via Zoom

December 16 Festival of Light Solstice Spiral

December 17 Last day of school before Winter Break – no aftercare

Dec 20-Jan 2 Winter Break – no school

January 3 School resumes

January 6 Vaccine Clinic #2

January 7 First Friday Coffee

January 17 Martin Luther King Jr Schoolday of Service – school in session

Festival of Lights Solstice Spiral

This year Urban Prairie is combining two beloved events into one magical evening. On the evening of December 16 the community will gather in our play lot for a choral performance by our grade 4-8 students, followed by a community sing-along and walk through the solstice spiral.

We will walk the spiral in procession as we sing and hold candles.

Students will walk the spiral with their class on Wednesday, December 15.

We will need many hands to make these events successful, stay tuned for a volunteer sign-up!

Click here to RSVP for the Festival of Lights Solstice Spiral.

School News

TONIGHT Middle School Parent Chat All Things High School

Middle School Parents and Guardians, join us tonight at 6:30pm for a Zoom chat hosted by grade 7 parent Jon Vigano. Here’s a chance to: 

  • share our 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

Plus, save the dates for more high school guidance and insights:

  • Alumni panel – Feb 8, 6:30-8:30 pm
  • HS enrollment process “nuts ‘n bolts” session – Mar 8, 6:30-8pm

Vaccine Clinic at Urban Prairie

IDPH has confirmed our vaccination event for Monday, December 6, 2021, from 3 pm – 6 pm in Cricket Hall. There will be vaccines for 5-to-11 year-olds, vaccines for 12-to-17 year-olds, vaccines for adults, and adult booster shots available. This event will be open to all members of our community, including extended families. The second shot clinic will be scheduled for Tuesday, January 4, 2022, from 3 pm to 6 pm. Look for the separate email for additional details or complete the Google Form to express interest in attending.

A seed from SEED: Understanding Implicit Bias

At last night’s community SEED (Seeking Educational Equity & Diversity) seminar we discussed implicit bias. Follow along by listening to the Hidden Brain podcast – 

The Mind Of The Village: Understanding Our Implicit Biases

Curious about SEED? Founded in 1987 by Peggy McIntosh (author of Whie Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack), the National S.E.E.D. Project is a peer-led development program co-facilitated at UPWS by Rob Welcher and Jenn Zielinski. 

After School Programs Winter 2022

Circus Club

Circus Club for grades 1-6 starts January 10. If you are considering signing up but have not yet, please email sophie.baumgartner@urbanprairie.org asap so we know how many instructors are needed.

Sign-up forms are at www.operoo.com

Basketball – FULL

The middle school basketball club is full! Email sophie.baumgartner@urbanprairie.org to be added to the waitlist.

New Attendance Procedure

We 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:

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

News from our Community

Successful Failures: Lumpen Turns 30

Grade 6 parent Ed Marszewski … artist, publisher, entrepreneur, restaurateur, breweur, often referred to as the Unofficial Mayor of Bridgeport … invites fellow UPWS fambos to purchase tickets to Successful Failures, his nonprofit’s gala on Dec 9th at the Chicago Cultural Center celebrating the 30th birthday of Lumpen Magazine and the 20th anniversary of the Public Media Institute. Can’t make that date? Make a donation or bid on some art!

Ed’s group has received a grant that matches all donations to the end of the year. Says Ed Mar: “It’s a huge thing for us. Check out the site: https://www.betterunite.com/lumpen30.”

Community Connections Corner

First Friday Coffee is THIS Friday, Dec 3rd!

Why did the coffee bean keep checking his watch?

Because he was pressed for time!

This Friday morning is our 3rd 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 stay for the warm conversation.

Parents! Yearbook Team needs your help.

Photos, photos, photos! If you have any photos of any events last year 2020/2021(in-person or remote), we would love it if you could share them with us! Send them to me at anne.mcdonough@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.mcdonough@urbanprairie.org or come to our 1st Friday Coffee this week on Dec 3rd 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 admin@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