Alcott Elementary School discusses teacher reports
The Local School Council of Alcott Elementary School met Jan. 6.
The Alcott Local School Council includes 13 members charged with carrying out responsibilities under the Illinois School Code and the Chicago Board of Education to improve the quality of education at Alcott East and West campuses.
Name Present Absent
Aurelia Chaudagne X
Bree Warren X
Elizabeth Thompson X
Evelyn Fitzgerald X
John Ketchum X
Letty Zavala X
Lex Cisler X
Megan Everett X
Heather O’Malley X
Mike Kolody X
Tim Even X
Kristine Hernandez X
Elias Estrada X
Meeting was called to order at 7:52pm by Libby Thompson.
Roll call was taken by Bree Warren. At time of roll call, 7 voting LSC members (quorum) were present.
Heather O’Malley made a motion to approve minutes from the December 2 LSC meeting; Libby seconded. Motion carried 7-0. See Exhibit Motion #2016.01.01.
• Seniors have continued with Pennies from Prom and have collected $200-300.
• Candygrams in December for the holidays contributed to fundraising.
• Seniors have started meeting about Prom and Graduation.
• This week is Spirit Week for Homecoming 2.0.
• Junior class One Goal focuses on improving students’ GPAs and ACT scores. Two practice ACTs are coming up.
- Treasurer Report
General FOA Total
$380,558.81 (includes 2015-16 pledge drive funds deposited through 12/21)
FOD Account Total - $12,438.30K
2015 Grant Disbursements:
• Spring 2015: $210K to CPS for Field PM
General FOA Account
August 2015 $230K to CPS for school positions and materials
September 2015 $25,000K for Kindergarten Aide from 2015-16 KG Fundraising
September 2015 to CPS $17,450 for laptop cart
Kindergarten aide 2015-16:
Number of Families Contributing: 35
Total: Approximately $25,275 K
Total Amount Collected as of 12/21 $24,090
Pledge Year 2015-2016 Totals
Total Amount Pledged: $253,995
Number of Families contributing: 225
Total Amount Collect Through 12/1: $174,878.42
Acknowledgements and upcoming events
Our next FOA meeting is January 12 at 8AM in room 110. The meeting is open for all to attend.
• Alcott parent party/auction is Saturday, March 8 at Stan Mansion. Please help out by soliciting donations!
Kindergarten has started our penguin unit. We will learn all about penguins and we'll pay particular attention to their adaptations. We'll take our knowledge of adaptations to the Shedd Aquarium with us next Tuesday where we'll be participating in a new learning experience offered there. Each small group of students will get an iPad and they will get to go around the Shedd with their chaperone to photograph/document different animals and their adaptations. The Shedd will then send us the students' work and we can compare and contrast the info each group gathered once we are back in our classrooms.
Grade 1: We're finishing up the animal group portion and moving onto habitats. Students will create 3-D diorama representations of an animal of their choosing as the culminating event. These will arrive at the beginning of February.
Grade 2: Wrapping up a unit on air and weather. We're focusing on collecting weather data and interpreting it in the form of graphs. Afterwards, we'll be moving onto the solar system!
Grade 3: Students started a unit on Earth Materials right before break. We're starting to identify minerals, then we'll use different items to determining the minerals' hardness.
Grade 4: Cook County's Ag in the Classroom presenter came in on Monday 1/4 to teach students about agriculture in Illinois. She focused on corn as well as which products derive from corn, such as eco-friendly packing peanuts. In addition, she went through the process of how food gets from the farm to our tables. She'll be back to teach the second portion late February. This will focus on nutrition and food labels. Both sessions tie into the upcoming unit on the human body.
Students continue to work on rational numbers. 6th grade students are going to be wrapping up a unit on decimals by focusing on how to use their knowledge of decimals to calculate the tax (and tip) of a given total.
5th Grade math is being introduced to solving word problems using multiplication and division of fractions. They are learning using what they learned about exponents to find the prime factorization of numbers.
Fifth and sixth grades are both working on nonfiction units. Sixth graders will start a new round of literature circles this month, and towards the end of the month, fifth grade will also begin a new novel.
7th grade is finishing up a unit on chemical reactions by balancing chemical equations and will be moving on to looking at how photosynthesis works and recognizing that it involves a chemical reaction. 8th grade has been experimenting with static electric charges, and is beginning to see its relationship to current electricity. They will be creating and comparing parallel and series circuits; then understanding concepts such as amperage,voltage, and wattage and learning how to compute one value based on the values of the others.
College acceptance rate is at 73%, with 63% to a 4-yr program.
Students have earned $1.3M scholarship money.
Civics classes are continuing leadership development program. Students reviewing policies such as dress code and off campus lunch, and will be presenting to the ILT next week.
Senior leaders in PE are in charge of Freshman classes.
• Senior Leaders hosted Hot Hot Thriftshop fundraiser.
Principal Report comments marked with [brackets]
• Spelling Bee Thursday, January 7. Grade level finalists will compete to determine a school winner. Thanks to Mrs. Knight for coordinating and overseeing this year's bee.
• Math team will partake in a Math PD about Singapore Math and the bar method implementation. PD on January 13.
• Winter Assembly was incredible. Thanks to Mr. Loiselle, Ms. Swenson, and all our teachers, staff, and students for an absolutely marvelous production.
• Grease Jr is the musical for this school year. Tentative performance dates are scheduled for the evening of May 12 and 13, with May 16 being the date that it's presented during the school day for students.
• Progress reports go home Friday, January 8. [Parents should schedule appointments with teachers as necessary.]
We received the Creative Schools Fund grant with the Chicago Human Rhythm Project! This is an opportunity to offer dance to students. Currently looking at offering one of the following options for our students. Still determining scheduling as to whether to allow during the school day or to offer it as an after-school program option. [The grant is about $10,000. The program will be incorporated into music class, first middle school grades then primary grades.]
All Around the World:
The All Around the World dance curriculum takes students on an exciting journey through movement. Students are exposed to the rhythms of Latin America, Africa, India, and the US, focusing on one country per class. We learn not only a dance's physical style, but also the geographical and cultural context in which it is used. Dancers deepen their personal coordination and strength while broadening their global outlook.
Latin course description:
Over the course of a session, students will learn the most widely practiced Latin social dances. They will be exposed to the rhythms of merengue, bachata, salsa, cumbia, and cha cha. They will then dive deeper by learning an extended choreography in one style. Each class includes a warmup, an introduction to basic steps, and progressing to more challenging material (ie, faster steps, or learning arm combinations). Each class also offers relevant geographical and cultural information, identifying countries of origin for each dance and the context in which the dances are used. Dancers first master the steps as individuals, and then dance with a partner, learning in the process about teamwork, respect, and self control. By the end of a session, students will be able to 1) match each dance's musical rhythm to its basic steps, 2) identify background information on each dance, 3) strengthen their ability to work alone and with a partner, and 4) perform a routine for their friends, family, and school.
Additional CMP [math] materials bought for grade 8 to address skills not addressed by Algebra program. A balanced math curriculum will be in place to ensure NWES further growth and student success.
Anthony Debartolo is back as the engineer at East. We will share him with Newberry.
Homecoming Friday 1/8 need chaperones please
Shelter in Place drill - week of 1/11th
Practice ACT for One Goal Juniors Saturday, 1/16 [Goal of program is to start and stay in college. Program follows students throughout their college career. Current funding has been provided by One Goal. School is pursuing extending the program to additional students.]
MLK Jr day 1/18 - 50 year anniversary of March on Washington.
Travel Warning - the Belmont - Western overpass coming down. FYI
Next PD Day (School Improvement Day) - 2/5 Semester Grades are due
Debate team [Funding is from an outside source.]
Engineer at West [Mr. McCarthy is no longer our Engineer, working with the network for our needs. Waiting to hear who our Engineer will be.]
[Created additional space changing Engineer office to a Teacher Lounge with computer access and privacy. Old Teacher Lounge used as a Technology repair center. Mr. Chenli has been an excellent addition to the staff. The goal is for a Tech Club at West to do the repairs.]
[Continued focus on students resolving conflict through conversations. Peace Room to enable this has been created from a former room for books.]
No news on Budget; attended Progressive Caucus Leadership Meeting with no results. The district as well as the city does not have a plan. [Mr. Estrada is trying to schedule a meeting with Alderman Waguespak to discuss CPS issues.]
Staffing Changes – [Diverse Learner teachers at West]
Vallet [resigned; interviews happening this week.]
Laiser [will be back likely at the end of June. Will start interviewing for a certified replacement.]
LSC Candidate Applications; slow on coming in. Mr. Eno Rocha, para at East will manage process of election.
Mr. Estrada has made a request for using FOA funds. See letter at the end of the meeting minutes.
1. Science curicculum materials of $10,588.98 are to finish out 6th grade materials for the second half of the year, and purchase the 8th grade materials. The plan is to purchase materials for an additional grade each year. The goal is to have a continuous science curriculum for grades K-8. Libby suggested seeing if there is a science grant available to fund purchasing the materials for all grades at once. Ms. Wildermuth suggested possibly purchasing materials for 4th (Bostik), 5th (Brinza), and 7th (White) all next year, so each teacher adds 1 new grade to the curriculum.
A parent asked a question about the timing of a potential strike, and whether it could go past the end of the June. Mr. Estrada responded that it could potentially happen in May. There need to be 181 school days to continue to receive state funding. Mr. Estrada will receive confirmation on whether a potential strike could last beyond the end of June.
Letty Zavala asked about the timing for standardized testing. Mr. Estrada will provide the CPS testing windows; he does not have actual dates.
Committee Reports/Old/New Business
Letty Zavala asked about the status of sports space at West. Mr. Estrada replied that CPS did another walk through and is now holding up the rental of the CHA space (former Boys and Girls Club space). Mr. Estrada is meeting with Alderman Waguespak to try and resolve.
Mr. Estrada has observed sport leagues using our Field of Dreams on the weekends. He has been letting them know that while the field is available now, it may be restricted and available through rent in the future. Chicago Sport and Social Club is thinking about renting the space.
A parent asked for an update on the East and West split. Mr. Estrada responded that he received a potential budget with East and West as separate schools. Mr. Estrada will provide this at the February LSC meeting. The numbers are in line with what he anticipated.
• Bree made a motion to adjourn the meeting; Libby seconded. Motion carried 6-0. See Exhibit Motion #2016.01.02.