Monthly Archives: May 2015

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26 05, 2015

Groundbreaking Propels State-of-the-Art Outdoor Learning Space at Ancona School

By |2018-12-17T11:34:52-06:00May 26th, 2015|Parent News, Public News|0 Comments

P R E S S  R E L E A S E

Groundbreaking Propels State-of-the-Art Outdoor Learning Space at Ancona School.

CHICAGO, May 26, 2015 – The Ancona School’s iconic butterfly has become a symbol of the transformative education that students experience from the moment they enter as 3-year-old’s to the time they graduate from eighth grade. The transformation the school is undergoing this year is proof that Ancona is resilient and, after 53 years, is ready to soar. In addition to existing Head of School, Bonnie L. Wishne’s retirement announcement, plans were solidified in October 2014 that Wishne would oversee along with her successor, Ari Frede, the next generation of child-centered and experiential learning for Ancona; a 15,000 square foot Outdoor Learning Space (OLS).

The OLS will transform Ancona’s entire outdoor campus and provide a spectacular new environment for child-led play, growth, agriculture and learning. Ancona_02Bonnie maintains, “this will be a true extension of Ancona’s mission.” The groundbreaking for the OLS takes place this Sunday, May 31 at Ancona’s field from 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. This event is an all-community picnic culminating Bonnie’s weekend of festivities celebrating her 37 years of service to Ancona.

The OLS is the result of two years of incredible design and planning work volunteered by Ancona parents and Urbanlab’s architects, Martin Felsen and Sarah Dunn. Working behind the scenes with a committee including Ancona alum parent and civil engineer Kelsey Taylor, project managers from the University of Chicago, trustees Chip Bamberger, Lara Moynihan and Dontrey Hart, Sarah and Martin will begin construction as soon as the school year concludes. Phases 1 and 2 are expected to be complete for the start of school in September, 2015.

It was 1962 when The Ancona School’s founders embarked upon a vision for a school where old rules no longer applied. They believed school should be a transformative experience where students discover their own possibilities and develop a profound understanding of how to be contributing citizens of a democratic society. Fifty-three years later, Ancona is a leader in diversity, a champion of child-centered and experiential learning and maintains its commitment to social justice.

For a complete list of this weekend’s festivities, visit

For additional information, please contact Fiona Farrahi, external affairs office at 773.322.1724 or 773.924.2356 Ext. 224. . Explore Ancona at



21 05, 2015

Board of Trustees Meeting + Election Notice

By |2018-12-17T11:34:53-06:00May 21st, 2015|Parent News|0 Comments

BOARD MTG.fwThe next Board of Trustees meeting is Wednesday, May 27 at 6:30 p.m. Trustee meetings are held in Mitchell Commons and parents are encouraged to observe all regularly scheduled meetings as they are open to the public and there is a time for parent/visitor comments at each meeting.

Election Notice: The Committee on Trustees has nominated the following board members for additional terms:  Keith Bevans (second term), Todd Neumann (third term) and Paul Watford (fourth term).

Please register to attend below. We hope to see you there.





21 05, 2015

Celebrating Bonnie L. Wishne – Oh the Ways to Honor Bonnie!

By |2018-12-17T11:34:54-06:00May 21st, 2015|Parent News|0 Comments


Bonnie has inspired so many lives ranging from teachers and administrators to the students she once taught. As Head of School, she led Ancona to what is now a thriving presence on Chicago’s education scene. Let’s come together and celebrate Bonnie as she begins her next chapter! Below is a snapshot of next weekend’s festivities plus a few surprises!

FRIDAY, MAY 29 l  7:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. Purchase tickets>
Enjoy cocktails, dinner provided by Food for Thought, live entertainment and a special top-secret tribute to Bonnie. We’ve included a faculty wish tree which is going to be a huge hit and a sure way to support our remarkable teachers. What’s on the wish tree? Teachers are asking for modest upgrades to their pink towers, Montessori materials and much more! And, the live auction will feature experiences and items dubbed presidential. No spoilers! Please note that there is free parking for this event.

SATURDAY, MAY 30 l 7:00 p.m.
100 % of the proceeds from this fine dining and celebratory experience will be donated the The Bonnie L. Wishne Endowed Fund for Faculty Support. The purpose of the endowment is to generate funds to help Ancona continue to recruit and retain the very best teachers by offering professional development opportunities and competitive compensation packages. For information about this experience or to make a donation in lieu of attendance, please contact Angie Martinez, Assistant Director of Institutional Advancement at 773.924.2356 ext. 223.

SUNDAY, MAY 31 l 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Register here >
The entire Ancona community can partake in a free friends and family picnic with activities for all! Delicious barbecue and sweet treats will be provided by Chuck’s Southern Comforts Cafe. Students can partake in various activities including face-painting and tattoo applications along with games on the field. Enjoy live music, toasts to Bonnie and the official groundbreaking ceremony for the Outdoor Learning Space! This event is free and we are encouraging our community to arrive early! Registration is required to ensure adequate food. Register your family here >.

Life on Record
Want to leave a lasting impression? We’ve created a Life on Record platform for everyone who knows Bonnie to leave her a voice message. Has Bonnie inspired you? Would you like to sing her a song? Recite a poem? Has her service to Ancona impacted you in some way? Tell her! Call 1-800-606-0697 invite#14933. These well wishes, stories and anecdotes will be added to a CD for her to capture forever!

Scrapbook Keepsake
There will be a scrapbook with loads of fun materials to create a visual memory for Bonnie at each BLW event. For your convenience, the main office will also provide pages for inclusion in the book. Pick one up today or join us at the festivities for a memory making time!

20 05, 2015

Class of 2015 News

By |2018-12-17T11:34:55-06:00May 20th, 2015|Parent News|0 Comments

8thGraduates’ Assembly
We are proud of our graduating class of 2015! Our confident risk takers are ready for high school and the myriad responsibilities and opportunities awaiting them as young adults. Graduation at Ancona is a very special time. Our graduates assembly is by far a favorite of many families. It honors our graduating class, demonstrates the rich relationships between teachers and students and captures our remarkable community. Please join us Friday, June 5 at 8:35 a.m. in the gym for this culminating assembly that captures the power of an Ancona education.

8th Grade Graduation
Graduation takes place Monday, June 8 at KAM Isaiah Israel. The ceremony begins promptly at 7:00 p.m. Please contact the main office for more information.


20 05, 2015

Preprimary Caribbean Fest

By |2018-12-17T11:34:56-06:00May 20th, 2015|Parent News|0 Comments

caribbean festEach year, the preprimary holds an annual end-of-year Caribbean Fest! The morning includes authentic Caribbean staples and dishes inspired by the Islands of the Caribbean and Central America. Enjoy music, dance and fun. If there is Caribbean-inspired dish you enjoy preparing or eating, please do not hesitate to share it with our community.

Caribbean Fest
Friday, June 5 @10am
Ancona playground

20 05, 2015

Nominate an Outstanding Volunteer

By |2018-12-17T11:34:56-06:00May 20th, 2015|Parent News|0 Comments

harelikThe Barbara Harelik Award is presented annually to an individual who is truly a champion of Ancona. Our community is invited to nominate someone they think deserves this honorable service award!

This year, we will honor the recipient at Bonnie’s Picnic, Sunday, May 31. Here’s to all the dedicated volunteers who make every day at Ancona special. Learn more about the Barbara Harelik Award here.

18 05, 2015

The Ready-for-School Checklist

By |2018-12-17T11:34:57-06:00May 18th, 2015|Expert Advice|0 Comments

Screen Shot 2016-03-19 at 8.20.27 AM

By Fiona Farrahi, Director of Admissions, Marketing and Communications

If you’ve been wondering how best to transition your little one from nanny to preschool-ready, read on. The most common concerns from families entering school for the first time are about preparation. Although there is no scientific or evidence-based formula, you can add these five easy-to-apply activities and approaches to you preschool-ready checklist:

1. Enlist your child in a part-time or full-time summer enrichment program. Many schools and neighborhood centers offer summer camps for three-year-old’s without requiring membership. These camps provide daily structure and create the habit of routine and separation for you and your little one. Most importantly, they are immersed in a social setting similar to that of the school, which encourages peer culture development.

2. Incorporate books that illustrate the positive impacts of school community. Books about going to school are very instrumental at illustrating the fun children have at school or the learning that explodes as a result of going to school. Not to mention, the power of reading to your child is one of the best gifts you can bestow!

3. Begin incorporating activities that foster independence, such as the following:

  • Selecting their own clothes each night before going to bed.
  • Helping to select, shop for and prepare snacks and lunch.
  • Encouraging them to be responsible for their personal belongings. Ask them to determine the best place to hang their coat or store their bag each day. When they forget, you can remind them to recall where “they” decided to store their crayons, back pack, etc.

4. Crank up the play dates. If enrolling in a summer program or part-time play and learn group is not an option, get some play dates on the calendar with friends and neighbors. Not only does it provide instant support to all families involved, it revs up your child’s ability to socialize with others. Some of the best places to arrange playdates are parks, free museum days, or at your home. My family has a standing “family day” with another family of two boys and we rotate whose house will host each month.

5. Less is more when talking about the “big school” to your little one. If your child asks about it, of course, by all means, share what you know, but don’t make it overwhelming. Do not create a “big school” curriculum at home (yes, I’ve heard this before) and do not worry about whether or not they know their colors, shapes or numbers. Trust that the educators are experts at transitioning children into their rich and dynamic learning environments. Most importantly, trust that your child has everything she needs to become a lifelong lover of  learning.


Contact us for more information.

11 05, 2015

Office of External Affairs: Farewell to Andrea

By |2018-12-17T11:34:59-06:00May 11th, 2015|Parent News|0 Comments

Please save the date for a casual farewell reception celebrating Andrea Spencer’s three years of service to Ancona.  Andrea has been a vital member of the External Affairs team as the Assistant Director of Admissions and Marcom and will be returning to her family’s moving and storandreaage business as the Senior Comptroller and Head of Marketing. We wanted to share a special hour together to bid her a happy farewell.

The entire school community is invited to join us for a light reception Thursday, June 4 from 3:15 – 4:15 p.m. at Ancona West. Her last day will be Tuesday, June 9 (the last day of school). Andrea will be missed by all of us. If you see her in the halls, feel free to congratulate her on the road ahead.



7 05, 2015

Your Feedback Matters to Ari – Parent Survey

By |2018-12-17T11:35:01-06:00May 7th, 2015|Parent News|0 Comments

Ari_smallHead of School-Elect, Ari Frede has been working steadfast at getting a clear sense of the school from your perspective. If you have already submitted your feedback, thank you! If you have not yet participated, please take a few minutes to complete the parent survey. Your perspective will help Ari strengthen Ancona for your children and make it shine more brilliantly. Please note that the survey closes tomorrow, Friday, May 8.