Chess has joined the After School program schedule! Offered each Tuesday from 3:45-4:45 p.m., our chess program will be facilitated by Lorenzo Davis from Checkmate Champions. Please contact Director of Auxiliary Programs, Amy McFadden at 773.924.2356 ext. 244 for questions.
by Head of School, Ari Frede
On Wednesday, November 11, Ancona hosted a curriculum night to answer parents’ question, “What do my children do all day?” Faculty reached back with a fireworks-worthy teach-in. Teachers wanted parents to feel the Ancona education experientially, not simply by reading an email or listening to a presentation.
They wanted parents to learn the same way the children do: through experience.
More than at Ancona’s previous Math and Literacy Nights, teachers carved out spaces in classrooms and hallways to show off student artifacts, put parents in the learner’s seat, and discussed how curriculum builds on itself from preprimary to 8th grade. Parents went on a self-guided tour with each station deserving of its own documentary. Math, language arts, science, social studies, art, music, physical education, Spanish, student support, auxiliary programs, library and technology each had their own lively experience planned for passersby.
Visitors to student support took a quiz to assess their different learning styles. Spanish had a massive stepping-stone gallery of student publications. In the math room, parents learned what an internalized number sense means to becoming a mathematician. Parents said they were very appreciative of the way teachers were combined across grade levels.
It’s not the topics; it’s how we teach them. Ancona gives immersive, multidisciplinary experiences. That’s not going to fit in an email; that only comes from a visit. After a family’s first visit, it is our culture that wins people over. The education takes years to build, and we only had a night to unpack it.
Parents walked away with printouts of Ancona curricula, philosophy and individual lessons. In science, a parent-child team conducting an experiment to isolate strands of strawberry DNA, while another parent expressed her surprise (“I get it!”) at how the Next Generation Science Standards are shaping her three year-old’s growth in science. She became very excited about her son’s academic journey.
In the math room, another parent was shocked at what she thought was “new math,” but was actually a rich exploration of the concepts undergirding a rigorous math curriculum. Researchers have been clamoring for this shift in education for decades, so yesterday’s math learners, who are today’s parents, are learning along with their children what multiplication means beyond a table of memorized numbers.
The adventures continued everywhere. Loads of parents stopped by the art gallery to see how children learn art technique and the processing of ideas; a child was teaching table tennis and 3D virtual human organs popped up on tablets in the library.
The night was so engaging that the people shared that an hour and a half was too short to get through all the rich conversations. Fear not, we will bring back Curriculum Night next year. You will be there, and you will be amazed. In fact, you will probably get jealous of your child. Sorry; Ancona only goes up to grade 8.
Ancona is strong because of the hundreds of volunteers who partner with us in critical areas. Whatever time you contribute will leave you with a better understanding of our learning community and the magic that takes place at the Ancona School.
We’re currently looking for volunteers for the following upcoming activities:
Ancona Day – December 6
Each shift is approximately an hour so that you can enjoy the festivities. If you’d like to get involved for the day, let us know!
Winter Book Fair – December 1 – 9
The Library is looking for volunteers to help work the registers for the book fair. There are several shifts throughout each day during the week – plenty of options to accommodate your schedule. Let us know if you’d like to pick up a shift or two.
The Advancement Office is looking for some assistance with a few data entry projects. If you’ve got an hour to spare and want to get involved here at the school, we’d love to have you!
To volunteer, please contact Assistant Director of Institutional Advancement Angie Martinez at
Please renew your support to the Annual Fund today! Your support of the Annual Fund is vital because it helps bridge the gap between tuition and the actual cost of each student’s education. This year, the difference is $1,350 per student.
You may have already received an email from your Room Parent about “The Challenge.” To have some fun and celebrate your generosity, we are having a Classroom Participation Challenge. The class with the highest rate of parent participation in the annual fund by January 1, 2016, will receive a special pizza party lunch as our way of saying thanks for your families’ dedication to keeping Ancona Ancona.
As of today, World Language Teacher and Middle School Dean Christina Kuszewski Rouches’ advisory is in the lead. They have already achieved 62% family participation in the annual fund. Another five classes already have over 50% family participation. And the class with the most work to do just needs nine more families to give to take the lead. This is anyone’s game! Whether your gift is $5 or $5,000, each gift counts.
Make your gift today! www.anconaschool.org/give
There is no school Friday, November 20 due to Parent Conferences. Please note that school is still in session for the All Year Montessori (AYM) families.
Beyond the School Day – Parent Conference Programming
Register for an exciting day of discovery and experimentation. Experts from The Plant Chicago have prepared a dynamic hands on decomposition activity and aquaponic lesson for Ancona students. Register here >
Contact Amy McFadden, Director of Auxiliary Programs at 773.924.2356 ext. 244 for more information.
If you are a new parent of a preprimary student, please join us after drop-off on Wednesday, December 9 to chat with current and fellow new parents about anything you like! Drop off your little one(s) and meet us in the Commons for coffee and conversation.
Starting at a new school can be overwhelming and we want to let you know that you’re not alone! Light refreshments will be provided. Just show up! Contact the main office for more information.
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
8:05 – 9:00 a.m.
The next Board of Trustees meeting is this evening, Thursday, November 19 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. We hope to see you there.
The Outdoor Learning Space (OLS) is officially open for all! It is stunning, bouncy, tall, complicated, and best of all, it is DONE. It is so exciting to hear students chattering over lunch about the unlimited ways to conquer the ropes course and the recently installed dome.
The OLS has been funded by over 100 individuals to date with gifts ranging from $10 to $500,000. We thank our generous community: current and former families, the faculty and staff, alumni, neighbors and friends. A special thanks to Ancona parents and OLS architects Martin Felson and Sarah Dunn of Urban Lab and to Ancona parent and trustee Lara Moynihan who chaired the campaign for the OLS. This renovation is truly a community effort.