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The Bulldog Blast

August 18, 2019

In this Blast:
  • Principal Post
  • New Teacher Bios
  • Fun Run Update
  • Back to School Picnic
  • Hygiene Product Donations
  • Ice Cream Fundraiser
  • Evening Out at Tuco & Blondie
  • J at School
  • Kindergarten Play Date
  • LSC Vacancy
  • LSC - Vacante de Padres
  • School Supply Lists
  • ASPEN
  • CPS 2019-2020 Calendar
Principal Post

FAQs About Language Update
We have received some questions in response to the world language and global context updates we communicated on August 12. We would like to share answers to these questions with the whole school community:
 
Q) What language will incoming 6th through 8th grade students study? 
A) During the 2019-2020 school year, middle school students will study Japanese. They will not study Arabic this year. By the end of the 2019-2020 school year, 5th through 7thgrade students will have the opportunity to choose their language of focus for the remainder of middle school, selecting between Arabic and Japanese.
 
Q) Will global context be taught as a standalone class?
A) Global context will no longer be taught as a standalone class. Instead, Ms. Taguchi will teach Japanese and Ms. K will teach Arabic.
 
Q) Will Spanish still be offered?
A) Spanish will no longer be offered during the school day at Agassiz effective this September. In order to ensure the highest-caliber level of foreign language instruction at Agassiz, Ms. Taguchi will teach Japanese and Ms. K will teach Arabic. Spanish will be available through enrichment with J@School.
 
Q) What does foreign language instruction have to do with global context study?
A) The primary goal of global context study is to promote cultural awareness. One way that culture is taught is through language. Toward that end, both Japanese and Arabic instruction will cover both language and culture. In addition to studying language, students will also have the opportunity to learn about cultural practices such as holidays, art, or food traditions. Ms. K and Ms. Taguchi will work with our specials teachers to integrate learning across subjects, such as by occasionally studying Arabic or Japanese artists in music or dance classes.
 
Q) It can be challenging for young students to study two completely different languages. What kind of additional support will be available?
A) We are currently working through a plan to provide additional support to students as needed. Please know that in grades K-1, the educational goal is primarily exposure to different languages and cultures. We do not expect language mastery in the early elementary grades.
 
8th Grade Student Contract
As many of you know, Agassiz maintains a student contract for all 8th grade students. This agreement is used to teach and foster student independence, goal setting, and responsibility. The contract is structured to reinforce core beliefs about the importance of grades, attendance, and conduct. It is always our intention to provide students the skills they will need to become successful members of a community who are well prepared for the high school setting and beyond.
 
The 8th grade contract enables students to earn points based on responsible grades, attendance, and conduct. To ensure transparency, we distribute updates on the number of points accumulated to date each quarter to both parents and students. Students with IEPs may have modifications made to their contracts based on individual needs.  
 
At the end of the 8th grade year, there are many incentives that students participate in as a culmination of their elementary school experience. To participate in each a certain number of points are required. 
 
At the end of the 2018-2019 school year, we heard many concerns from families about the graduation points system for 8th grade students. We want our students and parent community to know that we hear their concerns.
 
At the start of the 2019-2020 year, we will meet with our teacher team for input on recommended revisions to the points system. Parents of current 7th and 8th grade students will have an opportunity to provide input next. Once we have aggregated teacher and parent feedback and made determinations on potential revisions in early fall, our team will host a meeting for all current 8th grade parents to explain the revised contract. 
 
We look forward to undergoing this process as a school community so that we can ensure our 8thgrade students are well prepared for a successful culminating year at Agassiz.
 
Restorative Practices at Agassiz
All Chicago Public Schools employ Restorative Practices, a system of discipline that emphasizes restorative action over punishment. Restorative Practices are based on the idea that the well-being of a community and its members is preserved through communication, emotional connection, understanding, and meaningful relationships. There are 5 key principles of Restorative Practices:
  • A school is a community
  • Students need social and emotional learning to succeed in school
  • Accountability is achieved when a student understands the impact of his or her actions
  • When a student behavior harms the community, the goal of an effective community is to heal and repair harm
  • Restorative Practices require restorative systems and mindsets that are reflected in school policies, procedures, and culture
Restorative Practices are not a separate program, but rather a system of daily practices that we integrate into each classroom. For example:
  • Classes begin with morning meeting, a circle ritual that enables students to get to know each other as members of a community, celebrate successes and good news, solve problems, and talk about issues that affect the community
  • Teachers employ a restorative mindset and restorative language throughout the day.
When students engage in repeated inappropriate behaviors, additional Restorative Practices are employed.
 
Agassiz is fortunate to employ a Restorative Practices Coordinator who is onsite daily and has many years’ experience working with students in a variety of roles. The Coordinator is available during the school day if students wish to drop in and talk about their feelings or discuss a problem. Teachers and staff may ask the Coordinator to co-participate in restorative conversations and restorative interventions.
 
Restorative Practices require in-depth study and continual integration into our school climate. There is much more information than can be shared in a school newsletter. We encourage you to join a Tuesdays with Mira meeting during the school year to learn more about Restorative Practices. Meeting dates will be shared once the school year begins.

Tuesday Folders
Please note that all administrative updates communicated in the Blast will also be printed in Tuesday Folders once school resumes. This will help us ensure that all families have access to important school updates. Thank you!
New Teacher Bios

Kayla Astle, 2nd Grade
I am very excited to teach 2nd grade at Agassiz after filling in Emily Hulbert's maternity leave at the end of this past school year. This will be my first year teaching 2nd grade after flipping between 1st and Kindergarten the past couple of years. I look forward to joining Agassiz's warm inviting community while bringing my own passions for the arts, literacy and math. I just earned my Masters in Early Childhood Education last year from National Louis University, and have a Bachelor's degree in Theatre Education from Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin (my home town). I will be teaching in room 205 – Come say hello! 
 
Sarah Callahan, 3rd Grade ELA/IB
Hello, my name is Sarah Callahan and I am so excited to be the 3rd grade English and Language Arts (ELA) teacher! I recently graduated from DePaul University with my Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education. I am from the western suburbs and always dreamed of living in the city. Outside of the classroom I enjoy baking, reading, and running on the lake. I also love going to Cubs games and spending time with my three older siblings. I’m looking forward to a great year and am so excited to be part of the Agassiz community! 
 
Laura Medaglia, 5th Grade Math/IB
Welcome back families! I’m excited to start my 6th year as part of the Agassiz family! During those years, I’ve co-taught with many of our amazing teachers from 3rd grade-8th grade. This year, I’ll be having a home room of my own, joining the 5th grade team!

When I’m not at school, I am spending time with my family. I have two sons, one is starting 1st grade at Agassiz this fall and the other is 3 and a future Bulldog! :) I love spending time outside and traveling. I’m looking forward to a great school year!! 
 
Eric Yang, 6th Grade Math/IB
Hello Agassiz friends and family! My name is Eric Yang and will be teaching 6th grade Math and Science for the upcoming school year. I'm super excited to be a part of such a great community and I look forward to working with all of you very soon. I've previously taught 7th and 8th grade math at a CPS school in West Town, and this will be my second year of teaching. I earned my Bachelors Degree in Elementary Urban Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago with endorsements in middle school Math and Science. I'm originally from Upstate New York and have been a resident of Chicago for 13 years. In my off time, I love playing guitar, hanging out with my wife of 10 years (Heather), my pets (Megatron and Skeeter), and playing video games.  I look forward to an exciting year of learning and getting to know each and every one of you!
 
Joe Laughlin, Library/Design
My name is Joe Laughlin and I am looking forward to continuing my role as the library/design teacher at Agassiz this year! I obtained my Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from the University of Illinois at Chicago and I have worked in several schools in the city with both primary and middle school students. I am very excited to continue working with the students of Agassiz to foster the love of books and reading, enrich their technological prowess, and encourage their creativity. Outside of school, I love reading, cooking, riding my bicycle, and taking my dog to the many dog parks around Chicago.  
 
Sara Bassitt, Diverse Learner Teacher
Hi! My name is Sara Bassitt and I am excited to begin the new school year at Agassiz Elementary School. I have been teaching for 20 years and always eagerly anticipate the beginning of the school year. At the beginning of my career, I received a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Miami University in Ohio and a Master’s in Special Education from the University of Illinois in Chicago. I then taught in a variety of programs for diverse learners in the suburbs of Chicago. Outside of school, I love reading, knitting, walking my dog, and picnics at the park. I am looking forward to meeting the staff, parents, and students and collaborating throughout the school year.
 
Fun Run Update
Back to School Picnic

Please join FOA and the newly renamed Agassiz Building Community (ABC, formerly PTO) for our annual back-to-school picnic on school grounds on Sunday, August 25 from 11 AM to 1 PM. Kindergarten families are invited to come at 10 AM to get to know other school families. The picnic is also a great time to learn about FOA and ABC and see how you can get involved this coming school year!
 
Hygiene Product Donations

As some of you may know, Illinois law mandates free feminine hygiene products in schools. These are often provided by teachers. As a way of supporting Agassiz middle school students and alleviating any financial burden to teachers, ABC (formerly PTO) is accepting donations of sanitary items (tampons and pads of various sizes). Donations can be dropped off at the Back to School picnic on August 25. Thank you for your support!
 
Ice Cream Fundraiser

Spread the word! Tuco & Blondie, a Mexican restaurant on 3358 N. Southport Avenue, has generously offered to donate all sales of ice cream for the month of August to ABC (formerly PTO). Ice cream is free for kids and only $1 per adult! Please stop by and mention Agassiz when you visit.
Evening Out at Tuco & Blondie

Save the Date! Tuco & Blondie is donating 15% of all restaurant sales on Thursday, August 29th to Agassiz ABC (formerly PTO). Remember to mention Agassiz when you go. ABC invites all families to a back to school get together from 4 PM to 7 PM on August 29. Come out to say hi to old and new friends!
 
J at School

J at School provides aftercare to Agassiz students on all weekdays between 2:45 PM and 6 PM. Students can enjoy a safe play to play and enjoy time with their school friends. J at School includes snack, arts and crafts, game time, indoor and outdoor play, and homework time. Parents can sign up for any combination of weekdays, or for last minute aftercare, using this link.

A variety of enrichment classes are available at an additional fee. Fall enrichment registration opens August 20. The fall enrichment calendar is below.
Kindergarten Play Date

Agassiz was able to squeeze in a kindergarten play date between rain bursts on August 17 at Weisman Park. Thank you to all the new and returning families, and Principal Weber, for joining us!
LSC Parent Vacancy

The Local School Council (LSC) currently has one parent vacancy. If you are interested in submitting a nomination for this vacancy, please see Ms. Caro in the main office for a LSC Nomination Packet after the first day of school. To be considered, candidates must submit pages 1-4 of the LSC Nomination Packet to the main office along with the written statement and two proofs of ID.

During the LSC September Meeting, candidates will have an opportunity to address the council, describing why they feel they would make a good council member, and the LSC will have an opportunity to ask candidates questions regarding their nomination. The meeting will be held on September 11.
 
LSC - Vacante de Padres

El Consejo Escolar Local (LSC) actualmente tiene una vacante de padres. Si está interesado en presentar una nominación para esta vacante, consulte a la Sra. Caro en la oficina principal para obtener un Paquete de Nominación de LSC después del primer día de clases. Para ser considerados, los candidatos deben enviar las páginas 1 a 4 del Paquete de Nominación de LSC a la oficina principal junto con la declaración escrita y dos pruebas de identificación.

Durante la reunión de septiembre del LSC, los candidatos tendrán la oportunidad de dirigirse al consejo, describiendo por qué creen que serían un buen miembro del consejo, y el LSC tendrá la oportunidad de hacer preguntas a los candidatos con respecto a su nominación. La próxima reunión será el 11 de septiembre.
 
School Supply Lists

School supply lists for the 2019-2020 school year are now online. School supplies can be dropped off at school Thursday, August 29 from 1-3 PM and Friday, August 30 from 8-10 AM.
 
ASPEN

Chicago Public Schools launched a student information management system called ASPEN in spring 2019. If you need assistance logging in, please reach out to Agassiz administration (memcnally@cps.edu or mtweber@cps.edu).
 
CPS 2019-2020 Calendar

The Chicago Public Schools 2019-2020 calendar can be found online here.

Who We Are

Agassiz School is a Chicago Public Schools (CPS) neighborhood and magnet cluster school with a fine and performing arts focus, providing high-quality elementary education to students from Kindergarten through eighth grade. Agassiz also offers half-day preschool for qualifying 3 and 4-year-olds.
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