Week 3

Dear Urban Prairie Families,

Hearty greetings and wonderful to see so many of you – in person again! – at our Middle School Class Night last night and on our 1st Grade Class Zoom last week. Let’s keep connecting!

  • See you at…the Class Meetings still to come, our New Family Welcome Dinner on Sept 28, Festival of Courage on Oct 2, and our First Friday Coffee on Oct 8.

  • Interested in getting involved? Anne McDonough, our new Community Connections lead, would love to hear from you!

On our minds these days. As our children dig into the good, often hard, work of learning and growing together, we are building intentional ways for our community to grow together too. We are launching our 2nd annual SEED Seminar Series in October, and our new Diversity Equity and Inclusion Team is setting our first set of annual goals. This group includes both white and BIPOC members: myself, the directors of enrollment and curriculum and instruction, Mandarin instructor Xuefen Ding, our Board president Danila Miranda, and Dr. Chrisna Perry, a longtime UPWS partner and the director of Comprehensive Learning Services, which has served many of our diverse learners over the years. Please reach out if you’d like to learn more.

Campus planning. Just this morning I met with our playlot architects to begin imagining and planning for our Phase 2 Playlot project. We’re also in conversation with a lower school parent who is consulting us on revitalizing our kitchen planning after the pandemic led our original volunteer kitchen team to need to move on to other endeavors. More to come on these projects!

Goats and gardens. Our students and staff have been enjoying greens, herbs, and veggies from the hugelkultur gardens planted last spring by our current 8th grade, and last but not least, our goats will return in early October, so prepare yourselves for goat tales at home! We’re so proud to offer these unique urban farming experiences for our city Waldorf students.



This Weekly Admin Newsletter includes:

  • Calendar highlights

  • School News

  • Community Connections Update

  • Important Reminders

  • UPWS Admin Contacts


September 22 Middle School Capoeira afterschool program begins, 3:30-4:15

September 25 3rd Grade Parent/Guardian Meeting 9-11 a.m. via Zoom

September 28 New Family Welcome Dinner

October 2 Festival of Courage – all school attendance required

October 8 First Friday Coffee

October 11  No School, Indigenous Peoples’ Day

October 26 Flag Football after school program begins

School News

New Family Welcome Dinner

Please RSVP to ad…@urbanprairie.org for this adults-only event on Tuesday Sept 28, 6:30pm. We’ll mingle and gather in the Early Childhood Play Yard over dinner and drinks, followed by a tour of our recently renovated library and our newest classroom spaces. A hearty thank you to the DiSappio (Folklore and other restaurants), Miranda-Gonzalez (Gonzalez Liquors), and Marszewski (Marz Brewing) families for donating food and drinks for this special event! Inclement weather plan: The event will be held indoors in Cricket Hall. Unvaccinated persons must provide proof of a negative Covid test for all indoor events. Submit your vaccine status here.

Urban Prairie Community S.E.E.D. Seminars

Equitable communities are born of self reflection and interpersonal dialogue across the community. All are invited to consider participating in our 2nd annual SEED (Seeking Educational Equity & Diversity) seminars. Founded in 1987 by Peggy McIntosh (author of White 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 Zieinski.

What does it involve? Participants attend 8 monthly 2 1/2 hour-long seminars, where they explore their education in relation to race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, religion, sexual identity, abilities, and age, and how these factors currently impact their communities.


Limit 15 participants; must commit to attending at least 7 out of the 8 seminars

Tuesday evenings, 4:30-7:00 pm via zoom

Oct 26, Nov 30, Jan 4 & 25, Mar 1 & 22, Apr 26, & May 24

Contact Jenn Zielinski at 312-858-4562 or jenn.zi…@urbanprairie.org to reserve a spot or learn more.

Calling All Book Lovers

Our newly reopened library needs volunteers for all types of projects this school year. Volunteer times are flexible. Some tasks could even be done at your house!  Got 15 minutes around drop off/pick up? Your help would keep us organized and ready to serve our young readers at UPWS. Looking for readers, worker bees, handy people, organizers, video experts, and bibliophiles.

Is reading your jam? Reach out to Leigh Podlesny (volunteer and alumni parent) to find out how you can help and find a library task/need that is fun for you to dive into! Contact Leigh at upwsl…@gmail.com.

Community Connections Corner

1st Fridays

What did the coffee lover name their cat? Cream and Sugar!

Community Connections is thrilled to invite you to our 1st Fridays! On the first Friday of each month at 8am join us to connect over coffee, tea, snacks and conversation. This is such a great way to bring our community together more. The first one of this school year will actually be on the 8th behind the goat shed. Everyone is welcome and we look forward to seeing those that can attend!

You can find free parking on the south side of Hastings or the block west of the school.

New Family Welcome Dinner

Planning on coming to the New Family Welcome Dinner? My husband, Kevin, and I are and we’re really looking forward to mingling and meeting new people. Just a reminder that it’s Tuesday, Sept. 28th in the Hummingbird Garden. Don’t forget to RSVP! If you haven’t yet, you can right here: AD…@URANPRAIRIE.ORG

The Festivals Committee

The Festivals Committee has been busy planning and preparing for The Festival of Courage! This year it will be on Saturday, Oct. 2nd from 10:00 am until 12:00pm. All students arrive at 10:00 am sharp to prepare for the pageant at 10:15! Watch for a detailed email for this festival coming soon.

Find the volunteer sign-up for Festival of Courage in Operoo.

Do you have some time to lend a hand? Urban Prairie has several festivals and fairs throughout the year that could use your help.

What is Community Connections?

If you’re a new family at UPWS, Community Connections is our parent/guardian group. This team focuses on supporting the school’s amazing administration, staff and teachers. We encourage all parents/guardians to become part of the school community through the many volunteer opportunities and social engagements throughout the year. The Yearbook Team, Welcome Wagon, Maker’s Guild, Library Volunteers and The Festivals Committee are just some of the ways we lend our help. Community Connections has meetings about once a month and everyone is welcome to attend. Watch for CC meetings, updates, and volunteer opportunities in the Admin weekly emails!

Feeling the urge to get involved and volunteer? We would love to have you!

Please don’t hesitate to email me with any questions or interest at:  Anne.mc…@urbanprairie.org


Covid Travel Advisory

With the three day weekend for Indigenous Peoples Day approaching, Oct 9-11, we would like to remind families that we adhere to the City of Chicago Travel Advisory, which currently requires quarantine for all unvaccinated individuals that travel to most states. The list of states is updated frequently, you can find it here: https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/sites/covid-19/home/emergency-travel-order.html

We will provide some educational instruction to students required to quarantine. However we ask our families to understand the extra time and resources required to make this possible and to make choices that support our hardworking faculty.

Vaccination Status Updates Please

Middle school parents: Please update the school on the vaccination status of your child! Email ad…@urbanprairie.org with any vaccination dates occurring after the start of school.


Friendly reminder as we move into week 3

Breakfast Advice from Mr. Riendeau-  A number of students are mentioning how hungry they are during Morning Lesson. Please know that our first break for snack is a little before 10:00. A solid, healthy breakfast is the foundation of a successful day at school. Once their blood sugar levels begin to fall and hunger starts to gnaw at them, it can become increasingly challenging for certain students to be available and present for learning. So, please help to ensure their continued success by having them eat a full meal in the morning before they come to school.

  • Snacks – Lunch – Parents please pack a hearty snack and lunch for your child.  There are times when a student gets to lunch and finds they have eaten the majority of their lunch for the morning snack.

2021-22 Student Health Information

All students must be up-to-date with their physical examination, immunization requirements, and other completed forms. These forms must be turned into the office by September 30, 2021. Forms are available from your child’s doctor/dentist/optometrist or from Administration.

Parents:  If your child has an Allergy / Asthma Action Plan please check with Kimberl…@urbanprairie.org to ensure that we have the most up to date information and medication. Medication should be sent to school in a ziploc bag labeled with your child’s name. This will stay with the class in their park bag as to be in reach at all times.

Your doctor should have these forms on file, but here are copies:

Health and Immunization Form

Illinois Allergy Action Plan

Illinois Asthma Action Plan

Dismissal and Aftercare Procedures

Late pick up at dismissal

Please Note: any child not picked up from school by 3:20 pm will be entered into the aftercare program at the drop-in rate.

Aftercare Dismissal Procedures

Families picking students up from aftercare, after school programs, and/or music lessons should follow this procedure:

  • Picking up from aftercare after 4:15pm or any afterschool programming: Park on 13th and ring the bell at the Ashland door

  • Picking up from aftercare before 4:15pm: Park in the lot or on 13th and pick up from the play lot; if whether prohibits outdoor play, pick up form the Ashland door

Important Aftercare Update

  • Aftercare is currently full on Thursdays.

  • Aftercare ends at 5:30 pm.

  • We currently do not have sufficient interest to run an EC aftercare program. This means that students under 5 cannot attend aftercare, even as drop-ins, while students 5 and older will be with grade school aftercare.

  • If you have any aftercare questions,please reach out to ad…@urbanprairie.org.

Flag Football Afterschool

Led by Movement and Games Instructor Adriana Kondrat

When: Tuesdays, Grades 6-8, after school until 4:45pm

Dates: October 26 – December 7

Session Fee: $120


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

Administrative questions may be directed to:

Kim George, Operations Coordinator, kimberl…@urbanprairie.org 

Sophie Baumgartner, Pedagogical Operations, sophie.ba…@urbanprairie.org

AJ Lee, Director of Operations & Finance, aj….@urbanprairie.org

Sharla Paul, Head of School, sharl…@urbanprairie.org

Jen Kang, Director of Curriculum & Instruction, jen….@urbanprairie.org

Jenn Zielinski, Director of Enrollment Management, jenn.zi…@urbanprairie.org