| Technology Donation Guidelines
While Bell School benefits from the generosity of its community in many ways, the school houses a large computer network and integrating donated equipment into that newtork can present challenges. Click to read the Bell School Technology Guidlines
developed by the Tech Committee.
| Granting SmART Wishes
Dear Bell Families,
It was such a pleasure visiting with so many Bell parents at the Wish List Granting SmART Wishes
Party. I hope you enjoyed the evening as much as I did. As I said in my remarks, Bell is truly fortunate
to have the incredible support of parents who step up and help us continue to make Bell a premiere
school in our North Center Neighborhood. Given our budget challenges last year, it was critical to
have the fundraising support from Friends of Bell. Thank you on behalf of all Bell students and staff for continuing to help our school with your donations.
Personally, I am having a difficult time believing that we are heading into our last few months of school.
This winter weather has been a challenge for all of us, especially our students, as they have been unable to go outside due to the low temperatures. I am hopeful that we will have sunshine and warmer
temperatures that will allow recess outside. Everyone on our staff feels it too, so we are all looking forward to the warmer weather.
Spring brings with it a sense of renewed energy and focus. This week we will complete the ISAT testfor the last time. Although it will be replaced with PARCC next year, it is giving our students a great opportunity to show how aligned our instruction to Common Core State Standards has been.
Additionally, we are heading into many Bell family-oriented activities beginning with the much
anticipated move into our new building addition. You will be receiving a family invitation to tour our
new building via backpack mail next week. This will be an opportunity to see the finished spaces before
we move our teachers and lunchroom into the new building. I hope you will be able to join us for this
Please mark your calendars for our upcoming Sign/Voice Theatre performances of The Jungle Book, on
Friday, March 28th and Saturday, March 29th. I hope to see you there supporting our Fine Arts and Deaf and Hard of Hearing Programs.
In closing, I’d like to say that our school benefits from each and every family that is actively involved.
Whether you volunteer in the school, assist with fundraising, help our teachers, or run for a Local School
Council position, every contribution is appreciated. Please continue to look for ways that you can make
a difference. Every bit helps and is important to keep our school community thriving.
| D-PAN and Africa Yoga Project Come to Bell School!
Bell School has been filled with excitement during the past few weeks. All students in grades 5-8 had a rare opportunity to attend a performance of singer/songwriter Sean Forbes and D-PAN (Deaf Professional Artist Network). Mr. Forbes emphasized to students that despite his deafness, he was raised believing he could be anything he put his mind to. He is currently a successful singer and founder of D-PAN, a non-profit organization that provides accessibility to music videos by having them performed in sign language.
In addition to the music performance, students in the deaf department were involved in workshop with guest teachers from Kenya as part of a visit by the Africa Yoga Project. The students in the deaf department were fully engaged and mesmerized by the instructor, Rufus, who is deaf himself. We’d like to extend our thanks to Bell parents, Terry and Beth Kiely and the Topfer Foundation for bringing the Africa Yoga Project to Bell School.
| Welcome from Ms. Caudill
Welcome back for the 2013-2014 school year! It has been a busy summer, and we are looking forward to an exciting year. Our school hours are 8:15-3:15 p.m. Student supervision will begin each morning at 7:45 a.m. Students will still be able to participate in our Universal Breakfast program beginning at 7:45 a.m. The main office hours this year will be 7:45 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Curriculum nights will provide a lot of important information regarding your child’s programming for the year as well as school wide updates. Please see the calendar on the school website for these important dates. We look forward to seeing all of you there. Our Open House will take place on Thursday, October 17th from 6-8 p.m. It is a wonderful opportunity to see your child’s classroom and some of his or her work as well as meet other teachers who work with your child on a weekly basis.
With your continued support, we are comitted to providing your child with the best educational program.
| Sign Up for Parent Parties!
Parent parties are back this year with so many great options throughout the year to join the Bell community for fun events hosted by Bell parents. From pre-Spring Break "Manis & Martinis" to back to school "Taco Bell Moms" enjoying a night together (not actually eating Taco Bell), check out the variety of parent and parent/child events offered that all benefit Bell!
All party proceeds will go to Friends of Bell so the more fun you are having,
the more Bell is benefitting! It is a win-win!
| Wish List Campaign 2018
Bell's largest fundraising campaign has begun...Wish List 2018!
The Wish List is a targeted fundraising campaign that allows donors to choose how their contributions to Bell School are used. CPS funds alone have been insufficient to provide all the program and experiences that make Bell School special and allow us to maintain our high educational standards. Friends of Bell funds have been used to pay for grade specfic residencies but also "must have" items such as teacher salaries, additional staff support, instructional supplies and technology. Read more in a letter from Ms. Miller here.
To see the detailed Wish List and make a donation, click on the logo above. Note that grade items are for your child's grade next year (example - CircEsteem is for students going into 1st grade next year).
A green packet of information was sent home via backpack mail with all of the details about this fundraising effort as well as the Wish List party. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
| CPS School Calendar 2018-2019
The Chicago Board of Education approved the calendar for the 2018-2019 School Year. Please see the letter from Janice K. Jackson, CEO of Chicago Public Schools, and the calendar HERE.
| The State of The School Video
The State of the School presentation by Bell Principal, Katie Miller, from the October 12, 2017 Local School Council meeting.
View the video here.
| Bell's Strategic Planning Committee
Do you want a role in shaping and influencing Bell's future? Do you like collaborating with others to address important issues? If so, we have a great opportunity for you to apply those interests to benefit Bell School.
The Bell Local School Council has formed a Strategic Planning Committee to help the LSC and Principal Miller address some bigger picture issues such as enrollment, the parent survey, and the "three programs-one school" model that has made Bell so unique.
The first meeting of the SPC is this Thursday, September 14 at 5:30 p.m. at Bell School. Please join us either to learn more about the SPC or to volunteer to be part of the SPC. For more information, please click here.
| Kiss & Go Reminders
Each morning we need to get over 1000 students safely into Bell. Many students walk, some ride the bus and others are driven to school. The recent construction on Western Avenue has increased the challenge of this morning ritual. If you are driving and use the Kiss 'N Go lane on Grace Street, please keep in mind the following:
Kiss N' Go Reminders:
- Please pull your vehicle all the way forward
- NO double parking at any time
- Do not block any crosswalks
- Do not turn off your engine in the Kiss N' Go lane. This slows down traffic flow.
- Do not talk on your cell phone in the Kiss N' Go lane. We need your full attention while dropping off and exiting the lane.
- Please have you children exit the car on the sidewalk side. Do not let them exit onto the street.
- Have backpacks ready to exit the vehicle versus storing it in your trunk. Do not exit your vehicle to unload backpacks.
Thank you for your help!!
| Helpful Information for Head Lice
Head lice is a periodic issue at all schools. Please click here for some helpful hints for dealing with this should it become a problem in your household.
| New CPS Physical Education Policy
The new Chicago Public Schools (CPS) five year strategic plan, entitled The Next Generation: Chicago’s Children, recognizes the need to prioritize physical education as a core subject. Recent studies illustrate that high-quality physical education can have a profound impact on both student health and academic achievement. Benefits include:
- Improved Brain Function: Physically active students score higher in reading comprehension with just 20 minutes of physical activity per day.
- Improved Test Scores: Active students score higher on standardized tests.
- Improved Behavior: Suspensions and disciplinary action decrease by 50-60% when PE is offered five days a week.
- Improved Health: Regular physical activity leads to lower incidence of disease and improved mental health.
In addition to these benefits, the Illinois School Code requires that students receive daily physical education in both elementary and high school. At the high school level, CPS has maintained a state waiver for 11th and 12th grade students since 1997. As a result, the majority of our high school students only receive physical education in grades 9 and 10. This waiver will expire in June 2014 and will not be renewed.
Specifically, the policy requires that elementary and middle schools provide students in grades K-8 with 30 minutes of daily physical education or the equivalent of 150 minutes per week. Additionally, high schools must schedule all students in grades 9-12 in a daily physical education or health course in the same time increments as other core courses. Health education can satisfy the physical education requirement in grades 11-12. Health education can be counted for up to 60 minutes of the weekly requirement in grades 5-8.
| Promotion Policy Assessment Changes
| Absence Note Procedures
Please call the attendance office (773-534-5157) each day that your student is absent. The first day an absent student returns to school, the parent/guardian must provide a signed “Reason for Absence Note” that identifies the reason and date for each student absence. E-mails cannot be accepted as a signature is required. CPS attendance policies have been revised since our Bell School Parent Handbook was printed.
There are only 6 valid reasons for excused absences:
- Student’s illness
- Observance of a religious holiday
- Death in the immediate family
- Family emergency with explanation
- Circumstances which cause reasonable concern to the parent/guardian for child’s safety with explanation
- Other situations beyond the control of the student with explanation
Download the CPS Reason for Absence Note or Nota de Razón de Ausencia.
| Benefits of Graduating From Bell
The Many Benefits of Bell School’s Junior High
For those parents considering transferring their students to an academic center for junior high, the decision involves a delicate weighing of pros and cons in the context of the individual student and family. It’s not an easy process and sometimes the choice feels like it’s too close to call. If you would like to speak with Ms. Caudill about your particular situation, please feel free to contact her. Otherwise, here are a few of the many reasons you might choose to keep your student at Bell.
Bell School’s 7th and 8th grade program, led by experienced teachers, aims to provide students with a challenging and rich curriculum that enhances students’ prospects for admission to the city’s selective enrollment high schools and prepares them for the rigors of high school. Many of our graduates attend the city’s most selective high schools and succeed--in good part because Bell offers students in the upper grades a program that addresses the social, emotional, and educational needs of junior high students. The more intimate and nurturing setting of the grammar school compared to the high school provides benefits:
- Students have close relationships with teachers, staff, and classmates, developed over years in the building.
- Upper-grade students have the opportunity to serve as leaders in the school--directing fine arts productions, running the student council, exploring themselves and the world through the 8th grade Legacy Project, serving as buddies to lower-grade students, participating in special classes such as before-school art history, and competing as senior members of the school’s sports teams, academic teams, and clubs.
- Overnight field trips, an emphasis on inclusion, and the preparations for graduation bind the members of each class to one another.
- There’s recess everyday and the chance to play with friends.
- Bell’s counselor helps families manage the high-school admissions process and provides individual attention and guidance for those families who seek it. Bell’s veteran parents are a valuable resource for families as they navigate the high-school decision-making process; they have connections to and insights about the region’s high school options.
Bell School has a long tradition of preparing students for life beyond elementary school. Consider having your student remain at Bell through 8th grade and enjoy the benefits of staying part of this caring community.
| Common Core Standards
In June, 2010, the Illinois State Board of Education adopted new learning standards known at the Common Core for students in grades K-12. Development of the Common Core standards is a national effort developed to better prepare our students for college and career readiness. Currently, 45 states have adopted the Common Core standards and are transitioning now. As a result of the new standards, there will also be a new standardized assessment. PARCC (Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness of College and Careers) is the new assessment that is being developed now and will officially replace the ISAT in the 2014-2015 school year. For more information about the Common Core Standards and the PARCC assessment, please visit the following websites:
Achieve the Core
Council of Great City Schools
Inside Mathematics - MARS Tasks, Problems of the Month, Math Talks, Videos, etc
Common Core Illinois - Provides parent-friendly information and videos about the move to the CCSS
| Parent Portal Guidelines
The administration and staff at Bell School work very hard to develop open lines of communication with parents, particularly regarding student progress. The Parent Portal can be a helpful tool for monitoring student grades. It does not replace direct parent and student communication with classroom teachers or a student’s responsibility to accurately fill out the assignment notebook. The first and most important method for monitoring student progress is to speak directly to the classroom teacher when concerns or questions arise. Bell School utilizes the portal as an online viewable grade book, not a real-time representation of a student’s current academic status, as assignments are entered at the same time as grades. Teachers work very hard to enter information in a timely manner, and parents are always encouraged to contact teachers if they have questions about the Parent Portal. Additional information about the technical capabilities of Parent Portal is available in the main office. Please contact the main office if you have any further questions.