Mark T. Skinner West School

School Year 2012-2013

Week 5      

Oct. 4 - Oct. 11, 2012 

Skinner Banner 2011

Weekly Update 

Sunday, Oct. 7 
Space X Dragon Launch Viewing Party
7:00 - 8:00 pm
Science Lab Room 226 

Monday, Oct. 8 
Columbus Day 
Student Attendance Day
Fall Catalog Fundraiser Due

Wednesday, Oct. 10
1/2 Day of School
School Improvement Day
Breakfast & Lunch Will Be Available 

Skinner West School Calendar

CPS School Calendar


Neighborhood News
What's Happening in the West Loop?  Visit the 
 Did you miss last week's Week-At-A-Glance e-newsletter? Click here to catch up on a must-read!


Does your Superstar have an accomplishment or honorable mention you would like to submit to the newsletter?  

Reply to this email or email us at



Are you supporting Skinner through these NO additional cost fundraisers?

SUPPORT OUR SCHOOL and Share this with Family and Friends! 


Box Tops/ Labels for Education
Collect everyday labels from groceries to earn points and funds for our school library

e-Scrip (Dominick's & other retailers)
Visit to designate your eScrip accounts to Mark T. Skinner. A percentage of your purchases go to the school. However, you must renew your e-Scrip annually. Look out for special bonus days too!


1% goes to Skinner on ALL purchases made with Target Card (additional 5% all purchases for you!)
Designate Skinner Classical as your school




5% of purchases go to Mark T. Skinner Classical School (Code A5BY) 









Please submit pictures from any Skinner West events (concerts, parties, presentations etc) to
 We prefer .jpg or .gif files of up to 350kb. 
Thank you!





Click on the link to advance to the article you wish to read! 


topIn This Issue...


 New Articles:       


Repeat News Articles and Updates:    



 New Articles 
CPS Updated School Calendar - Wed 10/10 is a Half Day


CPS has approved a new school calendar.  Note that dates have changed due to the new agreement between CPS and the Chicago Teachers Union.


Wed, October 10th is a Half Day School Improvement Day. 
  • School Hours will be from 8:30am to 12:00pm
  • Breakfast and Lunch will be available for all students
  • The STAR program will not be available on this day or on other Half Days
  • The Skinner Park District program will be available on site from 12pm to 6pm
Please refer to the new CPS schedule HERE of key full and half days off and post this schedule. There are many changes to the schedule which include additional half days off and a revised winter break, spring break and makeup days due to the strike.  We recommend that you print this schedule for planning future days off.





Launch Viewing Party - October 7th 


All students in grades K-8 were invited to participate in the Mission Patch Design competition. There were 288 patches submitted from grades K-3, and 119 patches submitted from grades 4-8, giving us a total of 407 patches submitted by approximately 700 students participating in the competition. One winning patch was chosen from grades K-3, and another winning patch was chosen from grades 4-8. Our winning patch from grades K-3 was created by a 2nd grader named Daniel. It features a friendly space-alien welcoming Skinner West to space. Our winning patch from grades 4-8 was created by a 5th grader named Christine. It features a rocket-ship blasting off among Chicago's most prominent landmark.


This Sunday our Microgravity experiments and winning mission patches will finally be launched into space! The test tube and mission patches will be traveling to the International Space Station on board the Space X Dragon rocket, which is scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida this Sunday, October 7th at 7:30 pm.


We will be having a Launch Viewing Party on Sunday evening to watch the launch via the internet at school. All Skinner Superstars and their families are invited! The party will take place in the Science Lab, room 226, from 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm.  
In the event the launch is delayed at the last minute, we will delay the viewing party.  So please check the Space X website before coming to make sure we are still a "go" for launch.



Skinner West Birthday Book Club


 Dedicate a book to the Skinner West Library in honor of your child!


Honor your child's birthday by dedicating a book to our school library. Have something else to celebrate?  Books can be dedicated to honor a student's accomplishments, a graduation, or in remembrance of a loved one.  Just contact Ms. Ranftl!


How does the Birthday Book Club work?   

  • If you want to participate, complete the form that is attached  here.
  • Send it with $15.00 cash or check made payable to Skinner West .Send the money in an envelope to library  labeled: Ms. Ranftl-Birthday Book Club.  Forms are due Oct. 26th.  If you do not receive a confirmation email by Nov. 2nd, please email Ms. Ranftl. We don't want anyone being missed!
  • The $15 includes the price of a new hardcover book and all processing costs.
  • Birthday Book Club selection will occur twice a year. August-December birthdays will select books on November 27th (the week of many author birthdays- Mark Twain, C. S. Lewis, Marc Brown, and Madeline L'Engie!) and January-July birthdays will select books on March 5th (the week of the great Dr. Seuss' birthday!).  
  • A bookplate including your child's name and birthday will be attached to the front page of the book.
  • The book will be checked out to your child first to take home and share with your family before it is returned to share with our school.  From then on, every child who reads the book will know what great support your family has given to the library!  


This is a great way to honor your child and help our library! If you have any questions, please contact Ms. Ranftl at     



Buy Halloween costumes at wholesale prices and support Skinner West at the same time. 
This year, Friends of Skinner West (FOSW) is sponsoring is a Halloween costume fundraiser where you can select from 1000's of costumes at wholesale price, while 15% of your purchase goes back to Skinner. Click here to learn more. Be sure to use Promo Code FUN1499 at checkout.

Thank you for your support.

Do you have a few minutes to spare?

With the school day starting earlier, student volunteers no longer have time to re-shelve all the returned
books. Parent volunteers are needed in the library to help shelve books! Any amount of time is appreciated,
especially at the beginning of the day and before pick-up. Ms. Ranftl will teach you everything you need
to know about re-shelving. Younger siblings are welcome in the library too!
Box Top for School
 Skinner West's Box Top collection is off to a great start!

Introducing..... the Box Tops Market Place!

Do you shop online for your family, for gifts, or for your business/company's supplies? If so, please shop
through the Box Top Market Place, and earn eBoxTops with your purchases. Several parents already use the Market Place for their families and work places, and have been very successful at earning Box Tops for Skinner West!

Here's how-

2. Choose from over 175 stores, including Staples, Office Max, Office Depot, Apple, iTunes, Target, 1-800-Flowers, many clothing stores for children and adults, photo websites, and travel sites.

3. Shop as usual, and earn Box tops for Skinner West.

  4. Send a printout of the Box Tops you earned in the Market Place to school with your child so his or her class receives credit.

Make sure you are registered for..., and check regularly for Click & Earn opportunities, valuable coupons, and
contests, and earn 5 Bonus Box Tops automatically! Explore the site for Bonus Box Top opportunities at local stores, such as Jewel-Osco, Cub Foods, and Shop & Save, as well as coupons., and explore opportunities for eBoxTops and Bonus Box Tops at Dominick's Stores. Earn 5 Box tops for referring friends, and 5 for receiving newsletters.

The Summer Box Top Raffle winners are......
$50 Book Fair Gift Certificate- Jordan T., Room 218
$15 Book Fair Gift Certificate- Jamarri, Room 212
$10 Book Fair Gift Certificate- Jaden J., Room 218

Thank you to all the students and families who collected box tops over the summer, and special thanks to Mrs. Robinson for drawing the winning raffle tickets. Keep collecting Box Tops... more contests are coming soon!
Mixed Bags
Support Skinner West Pre-School's Mixed Bag Designs Fundraiser

Here's a fundraiser where style, fashion and fun come together with sustainability. Through this fundraiser you have the opportunity to purchase eco-friendly products, give back to our school AND help the environment! Click here for more details.

Repeat News and Updates

Please pardon our mistake as we inadvertently omitted one of our new teachers from last week's newsletter.

Let's extend a warm Skinner West welcome to our new Kindergarten teacher Jenny Schroeder !!


Why not Donate Some of Your
Old Games  


In preparation for the looming winter months, board games, card games and other indoor activities for classrooms are needed for the students to use during indoor recess. If you have any, please drop them off at the security desk.




Local School Council

Parent Rep Needed 


LSCs are elected representatives of the parents, community residents, teachers, and, in high schools, students in each school. LSCs select and evaluate the principal, help develop, approve, and monitor the annual school improvement plan and budget, and carry out other important functions at the local school level.  Needless to say, the LSC is a very important committee and has a lot of influence over what happens here at Skinner West.   


Currently, the Skinner West LSC is looking to fill a parent seat due to the relocation of long serving parent rep ,Kathryn Ash ,to Bloomington, Il. If you are interested please submit your application by October 11th deadline.  The election will be held at the LSC meeting scheduled on October 16th. Candidates are invited to come and introduce themselves to the LSC at the meeting.

Back to top 


Believe Catalog Fundraiser In Progress!!!

It's time to get excited to sell some items, help Skinner, and win some amazing prizes.  The Believe Catalog Fundraiser has begun.  Make sure to look for the fundraising packet being sent home with your child. 

Do you have family and friends who don't live close but want to support your Superstar?  Online ordering is available with free shipping on purchases over $75.00.   The deadline date for orders has been extended to Monday, October 8th.   To see the catalog and place your order go to   Please feel free to contact at for additional information about this PTO sponsored fundraiser.



SelectivePrep Registration Open


Selective Prep is a program that prepares sixth and eighth-grade students to take the high school entrance exams.  According to Ingrid Byrd, an 8th Grade parent here at Skinner West, after taking the SelectivePrep class, 


"My older daughter's standardized test scores improved and she achieved 99th percentiles for the high school exam. She currently attends Walter Payton College Prep."   



SelectivePrep offers the only classroom program in Chicago to help students prepare for the Academic Center Admissions test. The Admissions Test is an aptitude test containing unusual problems that assess your child's ability to recognize figural, mathematical and verbal relationships. This test is one third of the score required for admissions to an Academic Center.

Classes at Skinner will start on Monday, November 5th and run for 6 sessions from 3:45 PM - 5:45 PM. We will need a minimum of 9 students to run the class at Skinner - so please spread the word. Click here to register.




One third of the entrance score is determined by your child's performance on the Selective Enrollment High School Entrance Exam. SelectivePrep offers an intensive program to help prepare students for the Selective Enrollment Entrance Exam. SelectivePrep's course will review all the Exam's Reading, Math, Language, and Vocabulary topics and discuss optimal test taking techniques. Included in this program is a Study Guide containing extensive content review and exercises.  Classes at Skinner will start on Thursday, October 25th and run for 8 sessions from 3:45 PM - 5:45 PM. We will need a minimum of 9 students to run the class at Skinner - so please spread the word. Click here to register.

If you need more information or have any questions, please visit our website at or call




Join Skinner Stars Dance Team


Does your son or daughter think they can or would like to Dance? If so, they are invited to come and join the Skinner Stars Dance Team!  It's open to 4th -7th Graders.  Practice is on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:10 - 6:30pm in the Gym.  If they are interested in being a part of our fabulous team, tell them to go see Ms. Wardanian!


Mandarin Chinese Updates 

As we started another wonderful year, Ms. Kong, the Skinner West Mandarin Chinese teacher would like to share the following wonderful news and updates about the Chinese Mandarin Program:
  1. Per parents' request, the school has decided to offer Mandarin to 1st through 5th grade students.  
  2. The Mandarin Classroom has moved from room 222 to 211.  You are welcome to stop by or join your child for a lesson at any time. Please notify Ms. Kong before your visit.  Ms. Kong's contact info is: 773-534-7790, ext.61181. Email: 
  3. Students in Mandarin will be given new Experiencing Chinese textbooks to use during class thanks to the support the director and the Foreign Language Chinese Department in CIC. Since we are given limited quantities, students are not allowed to draw in the books or take the books home. Consequently, parents are being asked to volunteer with making copies of the student workbook, so that homework from the workbooks may be completed at home. It's time consuming and a lot of work, so please be patient.  If anyone can help with copies, please let Ms. Kong know. 
  4. During the reconstruction of the new classroom, several parents showed their support of our students and the Mandarin program by volunteering their time and effort for a variety of class projects. On behalf of all the students and families we  thank them for their help.
  5. Parent volunteers are needed this year in the Mandarin classes. If you can help either a day or a half day in the classroom, please let the school or Ms. Kong know ASAP. As always, your support is greatly appreciated. 
  6. Below are the list of things we'd like to have for the classroom and for cultural and food projects. So if you happen to have any items and would like to donate them or if you know someone who can help, please let us know.
    • A Elmo Projector
    • A large thermal bottle
    • Sponsorship for cultural field trip or Chinese cultural dance program.
Thank you all in advance for your thoughtfulness, involvement and support to students in Mandarin!



Visit our website at

for more information about what's happening in school.
 All comments, suggestions or requests to submit information

to this newsletter should be emailed to

 Deborah M. Clark