This week’s unwelcome taste of winter weather reminded us that it’s time to revisit Ancona’s cold weather policies.
We are hardy Midwesterners! We don’t let a little cold prevent us from running off some steam and getting in some play. We go out to recess unless it is raining or sleeting, the wind chill factor is below 10 ℉, or the playground is icy. As salesman in the Canadian Rockies told me when I asked about their -40 ℉ winters, “There is no bad weather, only bad clothing!” Please be sure that your child has warm outerwear and layers including hats, scarves, warm socks and waterproof mittens for snow. Consider investing in some wool socks; they make a world of difference on a cold day. Kids LOVE to play in the snow, so please include boots, warm socks, snow pants or snowsuits on snowy days. We recommend keeping an extra pair of socks in school in case feet get wet.
Our goal is always to keep school open to provide continuity in our educational program and care for our families.
- When temperatures are severe or snow is abundant, we will carefully weigh the advantages of keeping school open against the severity of the weather and driving conditions.
- We may stay open even if the public schools close and vice versa.
- If traffic is merely slow due to snow, we may announce a later opening time.
- And when weather is threatening in the afternoon, we urge you to pick your child up from school early.
When a family notifies us that their child is staying home on a severe weather day, his/her absence will be “excused,” which means that it will not be counted for official reporting purposes.
In the case of a school closing, we notify families as soon as possible via text message, email and voicemail. To check your contact info, please search for your own entry in the My Ancona and
Snuggle up and read with the family! Titles will take over the Umeh Foyer for our annual Winter Book Fair. This event will offer old favorites and introduce your child(ren) to new releases just in time for winter vacation! All proceeds benefit Ancona’s Library.
Sales will be conducted before and after school and during lunch breaks. Book Fair runs from Tuesday December 1 through Thursday, December 10.
The Admissions Office is looking for Ancona families from the North Side who want to share their experience as an Ancona parent. Prospective families are almost ready to take the Ancona “commuter” challenge, but want to hear from you about what your life is like being a north side parent with a south side drop-off and pick-up! Contact Fiona Farrahi at 773.322.1724 to learn how you can help share the Ancona Effect!
The main office has been experiencing a small number of families asking for the drop-in program. Please take note that this program was phased out prior to the start of the school year. Earlier this year, Ancona notified families that the drop-in program would be eliminated. The new AnconaBefore program was launched and is an option for families who need an early start. Elementary students mentor our youngest students in the Montessori classroom and help them to prepare and care for their environment. Students must be signed up to participate in AnconaBefore. 1st-8th graders must arrive between 7:15 a.m. and 7:45 a.m.
To register for the AnconaBefore option, click here >
One of the great insights of Montessori education is that while children may learn and develop in broadly predictable patterns, each child is an individual learner traveling on a path and at a pace that is uniquely her own. Our hands-on classrooms and many experiential activities offer learning opportunities to children at varying stages of development. As educators, we combine our observations of children and their work with our knowledge of common developmental patterns to understand how each child is learning and growing.
As they explore classroom activities, participate in small and large group instruction and receive individual guidance from teachers, most children progress through the typical pattern of development within a reasonable time frame. At any given moment, however, we recognize that a small number of children need additional support either to overcome a roadblock or to participate at a level consonant with that of their peers.
For these children, Ancona provides the Student Support Team (SST) consisting of two learning specialists (Jacki Bober and Kathy Yates) and a school counselor (Tony Gleason). Our learning specialists are specially trained teachers who evaluate and assist children with learning differences to develop successful strategies for learning. Our counselor works with classrooms and small groups of children to promote good friendships and a healthy school climate. He also assists children in overcoming social/emotional barriers to learning. Because learning and social/emotional problems can be related, the SST works together as a team to pool their expertise and ensure that each child receives the best consideration we can give. Our team approach includes collaboration with outside professionals – occupational therapists, speech and language pathologists, psychotherapists, tutors, etc. — whom parents enlist to address needs that we cannot meet in the school.
When a student is having difficulty learning a skill or mastering a concept, or if a child is demonstrating a social or emotional difficulty, Ancona teachers try varying methods, materials and explanations as they look for a successful strategy for that particular child to get the most out of school. When a child continues to struggle despite the alternatives the teacher has tried, the teacher will make a referral to the SST. Following observations, assessments and some initial work with a child, the SST will determine what, if any, services would be appropriate, and a member of the team will write a brief Student Support Plan to outline the services that will be implemented.
Short term services address a specific learning goal (i.e.understanding place value or improving a child’s relations with other students) and last for a stated period of time (i.e. 8 sessions of 30 minutes each). When the plan is complete, the SST makes one of three decisions:
- The intervention was a success, and the child continues in the classroom program.
- The student is making progress, and the intervention will be extended for another set period.
- The student is not making progress, and further diagnostic information is needed.
When neither classroom alternatives nor short-term intervention are successful and the student is still struggling, we need additional diagnostic information to determine whether learning differences are present and to know how best to support the child. We keep lists of recommended diagnosticians available for parents.
Identifying learning differences is usually a great boon to understanding the child and helping her. Some parents fear that obtaining and disclosing diagnostic information will result in negative “labeling” of their child, but nothing could be further from the truth. Obtaining high quality diagnostic information allows us to tailor our interventions to the child’s specific learning needs, to teach self-advocacy and to optimize her learning.
When a neuropsychological or other professional diagnostic evaluation outlines specific learning needs that can be addressed by our SST, we will put in place a long-term plan that includes ongoing support in and outside of the classroom, coordination with any outside providers and regular monitoring and review of the support plan. On occasion, learning needs are so complex that a one-to-one aide is required to assist the child in navigating the demands of the classroom. In these cases, the SST provides coordination and supervision for the aide provided by the parents..
Of course, we work in close partnership with all parents whose children are receiving student support services. Parents who wonder whether their children need student support services should begin by discussing their concerns with their classroom teacher or advisor.
Please join Head of School-Elect, Ari Frede for an interactive discussion and presentation about Ancona’s mission and educational program. The Ancona Effect takes place in Mitchell Commons, Tuesday, December 9 at 6:30 p.m. All parents are welcome to attend. Registration is required and childcare is available.
There are no more spaces available for this event. Registration is now closed! Please contact the main office with any questions.
Applications are now being accepted for the 2015-2016 school year. If you have a child turning three, or if you are looking to transfer a sibling to our elementary school, please apply today! This year, your three-year-old can start on or after her birthday! Ask admissions about our Early Three (E3) start date.
Application Deadline for the 2015-2016 school year – Monday, December 15.
Apply for Financial Aid – Now through January 30, 2015.
Admissions Interviews – January, 2015.
Second Look event for prospective families – Thursday, February 26.
Please support the Annual Fund at Ancona. With nearly 70% allocated to educational programming, this fund provides support to Ancona where it is most needed. Every gift counts! Please donate online, mail or drop off a donation or pledge form at the school.
Thank you for your past support of the Annual Fund, and for considering supporting our school for years to come.