Week 4

And everyone ‘neath the vine and fig tree shall live in peace and unafraid.

Dear Urban Prairie Families,

I know we’re all counting down the days until the goats retu– I mean Festival of Courage. 😉

Truly, we cannot wait to introduce our new families to Saturday’s wonderful pageant and celebration, and for our returning families to gather once again and watch our students face – and tame – the dragon of fear and hatred. The drumming of the Middle Schoolers has drawn our littlest students out of Prairie Roots to watch, wide-eyed, as the big kids practice in Cricket Hall, and all the students are singing our festival songs. (Ask yours to teach you!)

Saturday will also feature our Solar-bration, commemorating the kick-off of our efforts as an Illinois Solar School.

Friday brings our in-school festival observation, with good, hard, practical work as the students help care for our school building and grounds and make a cozy home for our goats. We’ll also hold our much-missed and much-loved Color Team Relay Race, so be prepared to hear all about the results. (Spoiler alert: My family is Blue Team.)

Looking forward so very much to seeing you this weekend and to keep seeing you. It’s great to be together.



This Weekly Admin Newsletter includes:

  • Calendar highlights

  • School News

  • Community Connections Update

  • Important Reminders

  • UPWS Admin Contacts


October 2 Festival of Courage – all school attendance required

October 6 2nd Grade – Parent/Guardian Meeting

October 8 First Friday Coffee

October 11  No School, Indigenous Peoples’ Day

October 14  Board of Trustees Meeting: State of the School – in person

October 26 Flag Football after school program begins

1st UP S.E.E.D. session – 4:30-7:00 pm

October 27 4th / 5th Grade – Parent / Guardian Meeting

School News

Festival of Courage this Saturday

The dragon is coming! Bring your courage and a joyous festival attitude to Saturday’s event; our first big community festival in a while!

  • Students MUST arrive by 10:00am. Students will be greeted by their teacher in their classrooms starting at 9:45am.

  • Fest activities include: grade school pageant performance, tie dye station, “burn your fears” fire pit, Meet the Goats, UPWS merch sales, and more.

  • What to Bring: water bottles, $ for merch and tie dying (TADS also accepted), camp chair for additional seating (optional), face mask.

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

Sign up for our 2nd annual UP S.E.E.D.(Seeking Educational Equity & Diversity) seminar. 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.

Details: 8 monthly 2 1/2 hour-long seminars, exploring race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, religion, sexual identity, abilities, age, etc 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 (1st and last session in-person),

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 RSVP.

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


The New Family Welcome Dinner was a success! Thank you to everyone who was able to come and a big thank you to all of the staff that did all the behind-the-scenes work. It was a beautiful evening with lovely weather, refreshments, conversation, and budding friendships.

This weekend is The Festival of Courage from 10am-12pm. Come for the pageant and stay for the fun! There will be an Urban Prairie merch table and even a tie-dye station. Thank you to everyone that already signed up to volunteer!

Calling all book-worms and library lovers! The library needs you. Volunteers are needed to organize, re-shelve books, among other things. Even as little as 15 minutes a few days a week would be helpful. Anyone out there great at filming and editing videos? The library could use your help as well! Email me at anne.mc…@urbanprairie.org

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

Anne McDonough


Vaccination Status Updates

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.

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 October 4, 2021. Forms are available from your child’s doctor/dentist/optometrist or from Administration. Your doctor should have these forms on file, and you can find them here:

Health and Immunization Form

Allergy/Asthma Action Plans

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, and you can find them here:

Illinois Allergy Action Plan

Illinois Asthma Action Plan

Dismissal and Aftercare Procedures

Late pick up at dismissal

Students picked up after 3:20 pm and by 3:30 pm are considered late pick ups.  Parents will be charged via TADS a $25/child late fee.

Students picked up after 3:30 pm are automatically enrolled in aftercare.  Parents will be charged via TADS a $50/child Aftercare daily fee.

Please make every effort to notify the school if your child(ren) will be picked up late. The school number is 312-733-5337

Email afte…@urbanprairie.org or call 312-733-5337 to enroll your child in aftercare. Note that aftercare is FULL on Thursdays.

Aftercare Dismissal Procedures

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

  • Pickup before 4:15pm: Park in the lot or on 13th St. and pick up from the playlot; if weather prohibits outdoor play, pick up form the Ashland door.

  • Pickup after 4:15pm: Park on 13th St. and ring the bell at the Ashland door.

  • All Music Lesson Pickups:  Park on 13th St. and ring the bell at the Ashland door.

Flag Football Afterschool

Led by Movement and Games Instructor Adriana Kondrat. Enroll at Operoo.

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