Week 14

Dear Urban Prairie Families,

As these long dark (and cold!) nights stretch out before us, I find myself looking forward to the moments of community that await us in the coming weeks – Holiday Orchestra Concerts and of course the Solstice Spiral and Festival of Light. I plan to head over to Ed Mar’s “Successful Failures” party at the Cultural Center this Thursday evening after our Board meeting – maybe I’ll see you there! I always look forward to seeing you and continuing to connect with each other.

Positive Covid case. Please be aware that we have our first positive Covid case in our community (see below for more information). The school has been working with the local public health department, which does not anticipate spread within our community based on our protocols and practices. It was bound to happen, of course. I’m so proud of how well we’ve mitigated the spread of this virus these past 18 months and am grateful for the part all of you have played. Let’s keep up our shared commitment!

$80,000(!) is our current total in our Annual Fund Campaign – and we’re not done yet! Add your end-of-year gift to help us reach our $100,000 goal.

Cheers and onward,


This Weekly Admin Newsletter includes:

  • Calendar highlights

  • School News

  • Community Connections Update

  • Important Reminders

  • UPWS Admin Contacts

Calendar Highlights

December 9 Board Meeting – via Zoom

December 14 Grade 3 Holiday Concert (11:30 via Zoom)

Grade 7 & 8 Holiday Concert (2:30 via Zoom)

December 15 Grade 4 & 5 Holiday Concert (11:30 via Zoom)

Grade 6 Holiday Concert (2:30 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.

Board Meeting Dec 9

All are invited to attend our December Board meeting this Thursday, December 9, at 6:30pm via Zoom. Come hear the latest updates on the school’s strategic initiatives and plans. Curious about the Board? Reach out to Board President Danila….@urbanprairie.org to learn more.

Holiday Concerts

This year, due to COVID, orchestra concerts will be held in the orchestra room during class time. We will provide some seating for some audience members as well as streaming the concert over Zoom. Dates are as follows:

December 14 Grade 3 (11:30 via Zoom)

Grade 7 & 8 (2:30 via Zoom)

December 15 Grade 4 & 5 (11:30 via Zoom)

Grade 6 (2:30 via Zoom)

School News

Positive COVID Case

We had a report of a student who tested positive for COVID-19 this week. This student was last in school on Friday, December 3, 2021. We have communicated with the Chicago Department of Public Health and that student’s grade level. We are actively monitoring the situation. Please remember that vaccines, proper masking in public settings, and staying home when experiencing symptoms are our best defenses against the spread of COVID.

Vaccine Clinic at Urban Prairie

Thank you again for the hugely successful first dose vaccine clinic this week! Dozens of UPWS community members were immunized against COVID-19 at the event. The second shot clinic is scheduled for Tuesday, January 4, 2022, from 3 pm to 6 pm. Both first and second doses of the 5-to-11 vaccine and adult doses and boosters will be available again. Mark your calendars now!

Vaccination Status Updates

With a large portion of our student body now eligible to be vaccinated, we are excited to expand our list of vaccinated students. Please complete this updated Google Form or email ad…@urbanprairie.org with your student’s vaccination dates!

Winter Break Travel

Remember that if you are planning to travel over the upcoming winter break:

  1. Please inform us about your travel plans via ad…@urbanprairie.org

  2. Fully vaccinated students have no travel restrictions or requirements

  3. If your not-yet-fully vaccinated student travels to a state on the City of Chicago Travel Advisory (link):

    1. Get a COVID test after returning home and provide it to UPWS before coming back to school.

    2. Monitor for symptoms for 14 days upon return. If your student experiences any symptoms of COVID, please keep them home. If the symptoms last beyond 24 hours, please get a COVID test and provide the results to the school or obtain an alternative medical diagnosis from a healthcare provider.

From the City of Chicago Travel Advisory website:

“The best protection you can have against COVID, no matter where you travel or what new variants emerge, is full vaccination, and booster shots for those who are fully vaccinated,” said CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D. “The Midwest is the current COVID hot spot as temperatures drop and people spend more time inside, so please protect yourself and get vaccinated.”

Electronics Recycling this Thursday

This Thursday, December 9,, we are holding a free electronics recycling event. Please drop your unwanted electronic items at the Ashland entrance by 4pm. Please contact sophie.ba…@urbanprairie.org with questions. Examples of items include:

  • Copiers

  • Monitors (no CRTs accepted at this time)

  • Printers

  • Computers

  • Laptops

  • Servers

  • Batteries

  • Cell phones

  • Fax machines

  • Tablets

  • Other electronic devices

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.ba…@urbanprairie.org asap so we know how many instructors are needed.

Sign-up forms are at www.operoo.com.

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 two 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.”

The Oberufer Shepherds’ Play

The Chicago Waldorf School and Christian Community Church proudly invite our community to their upcoming performance of The Shepherds’ Play on Sunday, December 12, 4pm, at the Christian Community Church, 2135 W. Wilson Ave.

Community Connections Corner


Please know that no gift is ever required or even expected, especially for those struggling financially. In case you do want to contribute however, CC is managing an electronic payment link for teacher, support staff, and admin gifts this season. Please be sure to include a note/memo and the person/teacher you would like to acknowledge. If there’s no memo, the money will be distributed evenly. All gifts will be distributed upon return to school in January and marked as coming from the UPWS community. Cash gifts can be dropped off in the main office, but for safety’s sake, electronic payment is preferred.

Teachers link: https://www.paypal.com/donate/?hosted_button_id=4FQSDBHD48K7A

Admin link: https://www.paypal.com/donate/?hosted_button_id=DYYN6B5ZMHSX4

Auxiliary/specials teachers:


Feeling like a little more community connection?

We’ve made a private Facebook group! This group is for discussions, reminders, open play-dates, item donations, proud moments, and anything else we can think of. This link is available for 48 hours, but you’ll always be able to join.


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.


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

Administrative questions may be directed to:

Dani Ruiz, Operations Coordinator


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