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Friday Letter: 10/05/2012

Friday Letter: 10/05/2012

Dear Parents,

There are quite a number of important items in today’s “Friday Letter”:

 Thorp Application Process: Applications are now available for the 2012-2013 school year. Please go to for more information.

Parent Portal: Parents if you have not registered for parent portal please go to and sign up. Your child’s ID# and PIN# were sent home.


Calendar Changes: Parents I want to make you aware of some very important changes to the calendar: Monday, October 8th (Columbus Day) is an attendance day for students.  Please make sure your child/children are in school.  Wednesday, October 10th the students will have a half day of school and will be dismissed at 11:15 a.m.  Please make suitable arrangements. The other half days for the rest of the school year are: 11/09, 12/05, 02/27, 04/04 and 05/08. Cold lunches will be available for students who wish to eat at school, but parents are encouraged to make lunch arrangements.  Report card distribution days will now be non-attendance dates for students:  November 13th and April 17th.


School Start Time: Parents and students I want to remind everyone that our lineup bell rings at 7:40; all students are expected to be in their classrooms by 7:45 a.m.  and students are tardy at 7:46 a.m. The times in the student agenda were published incorrectly.


MAP Reports: Your child’s MAP scores are being sent home, along with an explanation of what the scores mean. Typically this report is important because it shows how your child is progressing over time. However, since this is our first test; we are just establishing a baseline for future reference. The report will also tell you how your child compares to others nationally, and the expected growth he or she is expected to make this year. Please do not focus on the numerical RIT score. As I tell my students, they are only competing against themselves. Their number one task as a student is to keep learning and growing. In the near future their scores will be correlated with an Individualized Learning Path, explaining what skills your child has mastered and the skills they need to attain to reach the next instructional band. Your child’s learning path will also be correlated with Compass Learning. More details will follow in the next few weeks.


Park District Busing: I know many parents share my frustration about the situation with the park district buses. Please know that the scheduling issues were not caused by Thorp staff, and the situation is completely out of our hands. We are calling the transportation department daily, letting them know what an inconvenience the lack of busing presents to our parents.  A letter will be sent home as soon as we have more information.


Picture Day Retakes: Picture day retakes will be on November 5th. Student ID’s will be delivered to us within the next week or two. Student ID cards will help us better identify students who are out in the hallway as well as helping streamline our lunch and library programs.


Recess:  As you may know, I was an enthusiastic supporter of student recess even before it was mandated by CPS.  I am working to make recess an enjoyable break in the day.  You can help me in this endeavor by discussing with your child the concepts of personal space, keeping their hands to themselves and the difference between acceptable playing and unacceptable roughhousing. I am also looking for parent volunteers who may be available to help us during our lunch/recess period. If you are able to help us, please email me at


Tuition Based Extended Day Programs: We are again offering our tuition based learning opportunities at Thorp. This year we are also including a lunch time option with many of our programs. Below is a list of some of our partner programs. Please contact the listed program coordinators if you wish your child to participate.  Descriptions for each of these programs will be on our website.


Robot City – We currently offer afterschool robotics workshops to grades K-8, generally divided by age into groups into kindergarten or K&1, grades 1 or 2 through 5, and grades 6 through 8. Please contact Ms. Megan Bongartz at 773-281-1008 and by email at for more details.


Little Linguists Learning a new language has never been this fun! Mandarin Chinese/French/Spanish

Language Club at Thorp School.** Scholarships available on a need basis. Please contact Little Linguists Academy 773.557.9726. Registration form is also available at the Thorp Website.


Renaissance Knights Chess Club Research has shown chess enhances cognitive development in children, improves math and verbal skills, and increases all levels of academic performance. Also, chess has been proven to enhance children’s motivation, concentration, focus, social skills, and creativity. For more information – call 773-844-0701 or email:

Smiling Strings- The Smiling Strings program has been operating at Thorp Academy since 1999. It is a very popular tuition based program that offers violin and other string instrument instruction (no guitar.) Lunch time and after school times available. Please contact: Deborah Grimes, Director (773)263-8816

Northwestern University NUMATS Program- The NUMATS program offers students in grades 3-9 the opportunity to participate in taking an above grade level test (Explore, ACT, SAT) and becoming part of an organization that offers not only the scores of those tests but the comprehensive and assessment component, the individualized academic plan for years after the test, and a variety of resources and recommendations for the student, the parents and educators as well. For more information contact: Center for Talent Development Northwestern University 847-491-7127


After School All-Stars, Tutoring and Saturday School: Many parents are requesting information on our free after school programs. Those programs should start the first week of November and are completely dependent on funding from CPS. More information will be forthcoming.


Other extended day opportunities will be posted on the Thorp website as they become available.


As the fall season approaches we continue making great strides at O.A. Thorp.  In our push to integrate technology into the curriculum we have started six laptops are being delivered to each classroom. Additionally, our second graders just received their IPad Cart; I cannot wait to see what they do with it! Our teachers and I just had our first Technology Thursday, and soon you should be seeing their updated class sites very soon. On a final note, I just wanted to express my gratitude for a staff that is willing to innovate and keep Thorp at the cutting edge of instructional practices. I am really looking forward to seeing how our teachers and students will take advantage of these new technologies in the near future.

Thank you for your support of Thorp Academy.

Efren Toledo



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