Mark T. Skinner West School
eek 27 (2014-2015) 
Week At A Glance
March 13 - March 20


Skinner Banner 2011

Weekly Update   


Friday, March 13th

Progress Reports Go Home

Tuesday, March 17th

8th Grade PARCC Testing

School Spirit Day
Wear Your Green

PTO Meeting

LSC Meeting

March 18th-20th

8th Grade PARCC Testing




Skinner West School Calendar

CPS School Calendar
2014 -2015

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 





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Collect everyday labels from groceries to earn points and funds for our school library


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!)
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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!




Put your child's name on the Skinner Marquee!

Looking for a unique Way to Say "Happy Birthday" to Your Child? Surprise your child with an electronic greeting on the Skinner West marquee for only $25. 

In addition, a birthday greeting will be sent to your child via the intercom during morning announcements . All proceeds will help our Skinner 8th graders go to Washington DC.
  • Complete the announcement request form -  click here 
  • Enclose $25 cash or check to Skinner West with the form
  • Turn the form into Room 320 or 326
  • All forms must be turned in at least one week prior to your requested date.
Your child's birthday announcement will run for 24 hours. If your child's birthday falls on a weekend, the announcement will run the Friday before.


TopClick on the link to advance to the article you wish to read! 
 New Articles 

As you may have read in previous correspondences from our CEO, Barbara Byrd Bennett, all Chicago Public Schools must administer the new state mandated PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) assessments. These assessments:


  • Are aligned to the more rigorous Common Core Standards
  • Will measure how well students are progressing on what they should know at each grade level
  • Will also give teachers information on improving instruction and helping individual students.


The PARCC assessments will be given twice a year in reading, writing and math. The first round of assessments for Skinner is scheduled for March 17th-April 2nd. The second round of PARCC will be administered in May. Students in grades 3-5 will take paper and pencil tests and students in grades 6-8 will take on-line assessments. Our testing schedule is as follows:







March 17, 18, 19




March 20 & 23




March 24, 25, 26




March 27 & 31




March 25-April 2

Make-Up Testing



In preparation for PARCC assessments, please do the following:

  • Have your child get a good night's rest
  • Have your child eat a good breakfast on the mornings of testing, and arrive to school on time.  Students who are tardy will work in the library until the test session is over, and make up any test sessions missed during the make-up testing scheduled time
  • Please bring 2-3 #2 pencils for testing dates (Grades 3-5th)
  • Let your child know that you have confidence in his/her ability to do his/her best
  • Students in grades 4-8 should bring their calculators for use during testing


Thank you for your continued cooperation and support in making this testing experience successful for your child.


To download a copy of this letter, go here.

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Parent Technology Night
Thursday, March 26th  
6:00pm - 7:15pm
Grades 1st - 8th

Please join us to find out more about our technology programs and how they support your child's learning and their progress on programs like i-Ready, XtraMath, IXL, Achieve 3000, NWEA and PARCC.

This is a parents only evening. Superstars who are in the Star Program and Park District will be supervised by Skinner staff from 6:30pm - 7:15pm.

For more details about the event, go here.
School Spirit Day 

Tuesday, March 17th is St. Patrick's Day. Don't forget to wear your green as part of School Spirit Day! 

Save the Date!

12th annual "No Art Left Behind" Gala

May 16th from 7-10pm



The Lofts at 406 N. Aberdeen


Join us for a night of food, drinks & a silent auction.

100% of the proceeds from the event go to 

Skinner West arts programming.

Ticket sales and further details to follow.



School Survey Coming Soon!

Look for an opportunity to provide input and feedback to the Communications Committee to help improve the Skinner West Community's overall experience. In order to assess if we are meeting the needs of our Superstars, we will be sending you a brief survey in the very near future. Please take the time to fill out the survey as we appreciate your input. 


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Spotlight on Skinner Staff - Ms. D'Silva   


This is week three of our series of articles about our newest staff members. Ms. D'Silva is currently student teaching in Ms. Rupp's 2nd grade classroom, room 219.  She is currently enrolled at Roosevelt University working towards her Master's in Elementary Education. Prior to this, Ms. D'Silva graduated from Northwestern University with a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics. Her love for math led to her to becoming an instructor at Mathnasium, a math learning center. While working with children from preschool all the way up to 12th grade for three years, she realized that teaching in the elementary school is what she wanted to do. Ms. D'Silva is very excited to be a part of the Skinner community and even more excited to learn as much as she can from everybody!    

Please join us for a 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade 3-on-3 basketball tournament on Friday, March 27th from 4pm- 6pm. All teams that would like to participate must submit their names to Ms. Mellos by March 17th.

Team admission will be $6/team. Spectator admission will be $2. There will be concessions and cotton candy available for purchase during the game.
The top three finishing teams will receive prizes.
Thank you for your support! 

Classroom Connection- Library with Ms. Ranftl


Skinner West Library has been incredibly busy with Super Stars learning and reading!


Primary students began March celebrating Dr. Seuss's Birthday, which was March 2nd. The great Doctor would have turned 111 years old this year!  K-3rd graders have read a variety of Dr. Seuss biographies, enjoyed D.E.A.R. time, and signed a giant birthday card for Dr. Seuss! Ask your primary student to describe the 3 characteristics of Dr. Seuss's books!


Intermediate students have been gobbling up joke books, poetry books, and biographies! During library class students have been reviewing poetry and genres in preparation for the PARCC exam, and borrowing books that correspond to these topics.  Ask your intermediate student about their favorite genre and to name a few elements of poetry!


Upper grade students have completed a unit on using documentaries and informational films as sources of information.  Students learned about how cinematography, tone, and nuance can add to basic information, and how to take notes during a film.  Ask your upper grade student to explain the pros and cons of film vs. text sources, and when they think a film would be a useful source of information!

Introducing... The Skinner West Spring Book Bazaar

The Skinner West Spring Book Bazaar will be a used book sale that allows students and families to donate items they are no longer using, and purchase new-to-you books and items for a very low price.  All proceeds will be used to add new materials to the Skinner West Library.
We are looking for donations of used books for all age levels (Baby books-Adult), audio books, educational toys and games, puzzles, activity books, stationary, and all other fun learning materials. Anything your family has finished using, grown tired of, or your children have outgrown! Donations of small garage sale style stickers or blue painter's tape would also be appreciated for price tag labeling.

Donations can be dropped off in the Library throughout the month of April . Please label your donation with your child's name and room number.  All families that donate will receive a thank you voucher that will be redeemable at the Book Bazaar.



Save the Date! 


On Friday, April 24, 2015 from 4-7pm, Skinner West will be having a MoneySmart Week Family Fun Game Night!


There will be games, activities, food and fun for the whole family. So, join us for a round of jeopardy, visit the game truck, win prizes (target gift cards, gas cards, a raffle prize for two adult tickets to see The Book of Mormon), and more...  



Go here to view the Skinner West Mad Science after school programming options along with registration form for spring 2015.

Repeat News and Updates
Dr. Barbara Byrd-Bennett, Chief Executive Officer of Chicago Public Schools, recently announced that all CPS schools will proceed to take the PARCC assessment in March based on the response from the Illinois State Board of Education.

Dr. Barbara Byrd-Bennett's letter to parents and guardians along with the Illinois State Board of Education's response can be found below: 

Additional PARCC Preparation Begins!

Now that it is official that all CPS schools must administer the PARCC assessments in March and May, we are revving up in high gear to give our students as much practice and preparation time as possible. We feel the additional practice will improve their skill development and increase their stamina and confidence for taking these important assessments.


During the next three weeks, our teachers in grades 3-8 have scheduled times to give additional support to students in reading, writing and math. The extra practice and skill building time will occur before school from 8:00-8:45, after school from 3:45-4:45 and/ or on Saturdays, March 7th and 14th from 9:00 - 12:00 or 10:00-1:00.


Please see the attached schedule, here, for your child's teacher. We do hope that all students who are invited will take advantage of this great opportunity to gain extra practice in preparation for this new assessment.


We would like to thank our LSC for their support in allocating funds to make this initiative possible for our Superstars.


More information about the PARCC assessments and Skinner's
testing schedule will be coming home in the next few weeks.


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March Performance Days start next week in the Music Classroom. For details and schedule, click on the letter below for your child's grade level.



Parking and Drop Off Reminders 
Parents- Avoid a Ticket and Keep Our Students Safe!   
Drop Off and Pick Up

* Please do not block any driveways in the community area, double park or block a crosswalk while dropping off or picking up your child.

* In the morning the Monroe Street side is a "kiss & go" (drive up- drop off and drive away) area. Please do not park there - even temporarily. Other parents need to be able to use this area to drop off their children. Find parking in another area if you are going to exit your car for ANY period of time.

* After school, the Monroe Street side is reserved for the bus lane. There is no parking or area to wait for your child.

* Do not park on the Adams Street side directly in front of the school in the mornings. The Adams side is used for school bus drop-off only.

* In the evening, the Adams street side school parking zone is a "pick up & drive away" area. Do not leave your car for extended periods of time. Please find legal parking in other areas if you are going to exit your car for ANY period of time.

Parking Lot

* Our parking lot has limited spaces and is for SKINNER STAFF ONLY. Please do not park in the staff lot or block other cars.  It is permit parking only!  All non-permit cars will be towed. 
Lastly, thank you to our parent and teacher volunteers that work hard to keep our children safe as they walk across the busy crosswalks on both the Monroe & Adams Street side. As a community we all play an active role in keeping those crosswalks safe.

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"State of Skinner West School Report" Moved to 3/17 LSC Meeting 


Principal Clark's State of Skinner West School Report will be moved to the March 17th LSC meeting due to Chicago elections (we anticipate low turnout at the LSC meeting as a result of the elections.)  Please note, the February 24th LSC meeting will still take place.  



Curious about NWEA Testing?
Your child's NWEA test scores were sent home with your child's report card.  Please find a copy of the information sheet accompanying your child's scores here.  You can also access Illinois specific information about NWEA standards here




School Improvement Committee Meeting Minutes 
The Skinner School Improvement Committee (SIC) met on March 3rd at 4:30pm.  Please find the February minutes here.  All parents are invited to attend - We need your participation! The remaining SIC meetings for the school year are as follows:

April 14, 4:30pm 
May 5, 6:00pm
Please go to this link to see updates on our school website relating to the School Improvement Committee.




School Safety Reminder   

In accordance with CPS safety policy, all parents must sign in at the security desk in order to enter the school building.  Parents should always enter on the Adams Street side.   Parents should not be moving about the school without a visitor's badge. If a parent needs to see a teacher without a scheduled  appointment, then the parent must get clearance from the main office . The office receptionist will check with the teacher to see if the teacher is available to meet with the parent. Under no circumstance should a parent enter a classroom without the teacher present or without a prior appointment. Let's all work together to help keep our school safe and limit classroom interruptions while the teacher is conducting instruction. 


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