May 28, 2013
 Our Vision: Ignite Passion. Inspire Excellence. Imagine Possibilities.

According to the Summer Learning Association, students typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer vacation than they do on the same tests at the beginning of the summer. But research shows that children who keep their minds active during the summer are less likely to experience "summer learning loss." Last week, the elementary literacy specialists held a workshop to provide parents with tips on how to keep learning fun and meaningful throughout the summer. Click here for handouts from the evening.   


Also in support of summer learning, Churchill held its first-ever Summer Send Off last week, an event that highlighted the importance of summer learning and provided resources to families. Students received folders with their spring MAP scores and reading level information, and families visited stations on identifying appropriate books, navigating online resources, using Odyssey, visiting the Churchill Bookmobile and more. Churchill Principal Scott Klespitz estimates that 60% of Churchill K-5 families attended the event.  

Recently, three elementary teams participated in the second annual cross-town Battle of the Books: Benjamin Franklin (the Vicious Koalas), Forest Glen (the Harlem Sisters) and Churchill (the Ghostbusters). Over the course of three rounds, students tackled questions about authors, plot intricacies and characters. "If we played teachers against kids, the kids would win," said moderator Stacy Slater, literacy specialist at Benjamin Franklin. The event was designed to be a fun and friendly way to inspire students to read attentively, reflect on their reading, and develop teamwork.
The Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower) has lost its status as North America's tallest building. Fifth graders at Churchill could tell you all about that, having completed a project comparing data on tall buildings of the world. To make their comparisons, students did lots of computations, visited a database of construction projects, investigated building techniques and researched skyscraper projects around the world. Finally, they competed in building tall structures using only mini-marshmallows and toothpicks. By the time they took their culminating field trip to the dethroned but nevertheless very tall Willis Tower, they had developed a great deal of background knowledge about tall buildings in general, and about this local landmark in particular.
Please direct your questions or comments to District 41 Director of Communications and Grants Julie Worthen at We ask that you do not reply directly to this email because such replies cannot be answered. Thank you!