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So far Laurie Ortega-Murphy has created 14 blog entries.
18 05, 2017

Moving Up Night 2017

By |2018-12-17T11:32:30-06:00May 18th, 2017|Parent News|0 Comments

Moving Up Night

If your child is changing levels next school year (i.e. starting 1st, 3rd, 5th, or 7th), this event, on Wednesday, May 24 at 6pm, is an opportunity to meet their soon-to-be teachers and ask questions about the new curriculum and environment.

Please fill out the RSVP form so that we can provide enough food for your family,

See you there!

11 05, 2017

Town Meeting 2017

By |2018-12-17T11:32:31-06:00May 11th, 2017|Parent News|0 Comments

Town Meeting

Wednesday, May 176-7:30 pm
The Ancona School Gym

In accordance with Ancona’s bylaws, we are hosting a Town Meeting for all members of our community, including students, parents, alumns, staff, teachers, neighbors, and trustees. At this Town Meeting we will toast to the end of the successful Outdoor Learning Space campaign, as well as celebrate the 2017 recipient of the Barbara Harelik Award, Peter McCarthy. Aside from being Ancona’s #1 fan, Peter has dedicated time, money and experience to Ancona’s facilities, as our on-call electrician for over a decade. His daughter, Sarah, graduates this year from 8th Grade. The evening will conclude with an open Q&A with school leadership. Please RSVP using the form below.

6:00 Welcome and overview

6:15 Toast to the Outdoor Learning Space

6:30 2017 Barbara Harelik Award

6:45 Q&A with outgoing Board President Keith Bevans, incoming Board President Lara Moynihan and Head of School Ari Frede

7:30 Event Wrap-up

Thank you to everyone for an amazing year and I look forward to seeing you next week,

Ari Frede
Head of School

26 04, 2017

Mexico Trip 2017

By |2018-12-17T11:32:32-06:00April 26th, 2017|Parent News|0 Comments

Reflections from Oaxaca

Every Spring our 8th Grade students travel to Oaxaca, Mexico. At the end of their trip students reflect on their experience abroad. Here are some of their stories:

“This was my first time out of the country and I definitely think it has greatly changed my world view. I will never think of language the same way, people the same way, Chicago the same way and even the world in the same way…I am going to take my new world view to Chicago with me and hopefully use it to do good in my community. Even if it is something as seemingly small as clarifying a stereotype or telling stories of the things I saw and did in Mexico. ” –Valerie

“The first part [of the trip] was tiring but after I got into the swing of things I really had a feel for what was around me. I have never felt so comfortable speaking Spanish in my life.” – Malcolm

“[From the trip, I got] a new understanding of Mexico and Latin-American culture. You are only used to how things work in the U.S. but the history, the people, the culture is so different it really makes you think about what “normal” is. I will also be bringing back one of the greatest experiences of my life…and a sun burn.” –Loren

“My [home stay] family was by far the best part. They treated me as if I was one of their own. They also tailored meals just for me, which I really appreciated.” –Breanna

“This trip showed me how much I take for granted and it showed me how I should take every opportunity I get to improve myself.” –Ethan

“In Oaxaca I was able to see so many different lives and atmospheres. I was able to appreciate life even more. I saw Oaxaca as expressing yourself through color, music and hobbies.” – Ruby

23 03, 2017

Curriculum Connection: Legos, Water Conservation and STEAM

By |2018-12-17T11:32:33-06:00March 23rd, 2017|Parent News|0 Comments

Third and fourth-graders marked World Water Day with a STEAM session in which students paired up to create water-moving machines. This activity connected a unit on simple machines with the current social studies unit, Africa. Students remembered their enjoyment of the pulleys and levers used in the well and shaduf at the Field Museum. After a discussion of the water cycle, students learned that 1.8 billion people today are drinking water contaminated with human waste. Two students wrote about the experience and collected quotes from their classmates about their contraptions.

-Janet Gray-McKennis

Working with Legos

By Ella and Delphine, 3rd Grade

Hello, here at Ancona the 3rd graders are working with Legos. Yesterday, March the 22nd  was world Water Day! Our teachers decided that we should look through all the things we can make with Legos that can move water in different  directions. Last Week, we went to the Field Museum and saw a water pulley in the Africa section. In the Ancient Egypt section we saw a shaduf, they use it to move water in a similar way that the pulley does.

These are quotes from us and our classmates about the creations that we have made:

“Our machine paddles the water. It also lifts up a bucket that lifts up water.”  – Jonah

“A bucket brings water up to a paddle machine and dumps the water into a water truck.”

– Delphine

“The water spinner will take the water and pour it into lakes so it can have new water.” – Ella

“When we press down water comes up. -Kinzie

“Turn it to make it move”- Xavy

“The thing we made is a water pump and it was a good pump” – Byrionna 

“It brings water to and from the plant part. When I bring it there, the transporter then puts into the the well bucket which stores it. We used gears, wheels, and string. The gears turn pushing the water into the bow which carries it off”.- Alice

“The water invention is a cool contraption when you turn the axle on the wheel it spins the wheel up or down. I like how the gears turn it looks cool . The hard thing is to make the wheel, so yeah”.- Evangeline

“What I was trying to do is put both axles together with a pulley”.- Gabrielle

“The name of the thing is called “the picker upper” and it picks up water from the well, but more than one person can pick something up from the well. It picks up water from the well by have a person pull on the end”.-Cosima

“The machine moves the water in a direction and then picks up the water”.- Laurens

“It turns water”-Kanayo

“I made the well bucket that would pull up the water”.- Dante

“It gets water from the bucket the water turns”-Aaron

So now you’ve got some of the quotes about how we work our machines, you should probably try it out, to

2 03, 2017

5th Annual Diversity Symposium

By |2018-12-17T11:32:34-06:00March 2nd, 2017|Parent News|0 Comments

Ancona’s 5th annual Diversity Symposium explores empathy. We welcome you to a variety of workshops activating you on this crucial ingredient to strengthen and change society.

After a welcome coffee reception, the day will begin with a keynote presentation by Lecia Brooks, Outreach Director, Southern Poverty Law Center. Following her talk, attendees are invited to breakout sessions and a lunch followed,  by a roundtable reflection on the day’s topics and actions we can take in the future.

Ancona welcomes educators, parents, school leadership and community members interested in multicultural education.

Featuring Breakout Sessions on…

Presidential Anxiety, American Civil Liberties Union

Student-Led Presentation of Climate Change Data, Facilitated by Sylvia Glassco

And more!

Click here for the full list of sessions and to buy your ticket >> 

30 01, 2017

Town Meeting

By |2017-03-06T11:00:54-06:00January 30th, 2017|Parent News|0 Comments

Dear Ancona Community,

Peace and justice are the cornerstones of our mission and we are its defenders and promoters. Ancona is a wonderfully diverse community with a history of families, staff, and students who are immigrants, people of color, LGBTQ, span the full political and religious spectrum, as well as represent various economic realities.  We are a community by choice, which means we choose each other.  We, this whole community, are guardians of this mission. But we are challenged to teach about diversity, inclusion, care, and respect when the opposite is being trumpeted by our government, and division is replacing bonds.

The joy of community is that we can lean on each other in times of trouble. We share in a thirst for empathy and a desire to absorb different perspectives in order to understand our fellow citizens. In an effort to support our community, I would like to invite everyone to attend a Town Meeting this Thursday, February 2 at 5:30pm to discuss what we, as a community devoted to social justice, can and should do in our current environment. The Diversity Symposium on April 29 will further this discussion.

Ancona parents, teachers, staff, and Middle School students are invited to the discussion. Childcare will be provided for our younger students.

Ari Frede

Head of School

When: Thursday, February 2, 5:30-7:30 pm

Where: Ancona Gym


15 12, 2016

2017-2018 Preprimary Program Changes

By |2018-12-17T11:32:35-06:00December 15th, 2016|Parent News|0 Comments

Dear Ancona Community,

Expect to see some changes to the Preprimary program in the 2017-2018 school year. These changes were made to offer more options to more families. We know that the wide variety of family needs means that Ancona must create programming that is both flexible and abundant throughout the school year.

The major change is that all Preprimary classrooms will only offer Half Day and School Day and parents will have the option to select before or after school care a-la-carte. The All Year and Full Day programs will no longer be offered.

2017-2018 Preprimary Program Schedule

Before School7:15 a.m. - 8:05 a.m
Half Day Ends12:00 p.m.
School Day Ends3:00 p.m.
After School Ends5:45 p.m.
Ancona ExtraConference days, some holidays and breaks (TBD)
  • We’re expanding our Preprimary offerings for Before Care, After Care, and Ancona Extra! All three Preprimary classrooms will follow the regular school calendar.
  • We will continue offering the Half Day Montessori option for P3s and P4s.  Half Day Montessori will run 8:05 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
  • Before School will continue to run 7:15 a.m. – 8:05 a.m. Parents who register can drop off their children any time until 7:45 a.m.
  • A Preprimary After School program will run from 3:00 – 5:45 p.m. Snack will be provided by Ancona. Pick-up can occur any time between 3:00 and 5:45 p.m. Parents can sign-up for five days a week or just the days they need!
  • Our faculty and staff will work hard to create smooth transitions between the regular school day and the Before/After School programs.
  • On some of the days when school is not in session, we will offer AnconaExtra for preprimary students. These days are flexibly programmed with a variety of fun activities, but are separate from our Montessori program. You can register for as few or as many as fits your schedule.
    • Although we haven’t finalized the dates for next school year, we hope to offer AnconaExtra for part of winter break and spring break, parent-teacher conference days, Indigenous People’s Day, and President’s Day.
  • In addition, we will continue to offer a Preprimary summer program. More details to come soon!
  • For families with children in Grades 1-8 the existing auxiliary options will remain the same, with the addition of more AnconaExtra days.

If you have any questions, please contact Head of School Ari Frede  or Assistant Head of School Nancy Nassr 

8 12, 2016

Curriculum Connection: Activism and Project Based Learning

By |2018-12-17T11:32:35-06:00December 8th, 2016|Parent News|0 Comments

PSAs, Ofrendas, and Editorials

Written by Ryann and Thomas, Ancona Students

This year in 7th and 8th grade, we have been working on activism within editorials, PSAs (public service announcements) projects using Imovie , and ofrendas. Some of the projects for the ofrendas (offerings or alters), PSAs, and editorials covered animal cruelty, the environment, war, refugees, racism, sexism, and rights.

With the PSAs, we all took on environmental problems, and researched how to fix them. Some of us got inspiration from the trips that we have taken. We went to Wolf Lake, a forest preserve near Indiana. Then the weekend after that we left for Camp Chingachgook, a camp in the middle of a forest and on Lake George in the Adirondack Mountains. We saw a lot of clean water, healthy trees, and beautiful nature. We don’t see that much in Chicago.

And with the editorials, we all chose subjects that mattered to us, and wrote about them, after we spent a month studying them. We discussed a lot of controversial issues, and after making a long list of them we choose our topics. So the two project were very similar. Editorials are basically when you have a two-sided problem and you write about what side you’re on. It’s your opinion backed up with facts.

We also made ofrendas, and some were about pressing issues in our society. Ofrendas come from Mexican history, for Day of the Dead, where people give offerings on a 3 leveled structure, each standing for heaven, earth, and the underworld. The four elements are represented on it. (Earth, air, fire, water). Usually, the offerings have something to do with a loved one that you have lost, or something that has a big meaning to you. Most of the ofrendas we made were about a single subject, or rights. So all of these projects walked hand in hand in our first quarter of school.

In the end we had a lot of fun working on these projects. We all got fired up on topics we grew to care a lot about. We added a lot of information, describing the details, why we chose the topics, and what we could do.

Click below to watch Kelsey and Sophia’s PSA on Littering:

13 06, 2016

Save the Dates!

By |2018-12-17T11:32:48-06:00June 13th, 2016|Parent News|0 Comments

Grandparents.Day.2016Though this year is  coming to an end, we are eagerly anticipating our time together next year. Please add these events to your calendar for future fun with Ancona:

Sunday, September 11, 2016 – Fun Run 9:30 a.m. / Ice Cream Social 10:30 a.m. /  Ancona School

Sunday, October 16, 2016 – Ancona Day / Afternoon / Ancona School

Saturday, March 18, 2017 – Ancona Gala / Evening / Place TBD

Friday, May 12, 2017 – Grandparent’s Day / Morning / Ancona School


9 06, 2016

5th/6th Science Fair

By |2016-06-09T12:41:39-06:00June 9th, 2016|Parent News|0 Comments

Join the 5th and 6th grade students upstairs after the Graduates’ Assembly on June 10th to see and hear their science fair presentations. Inspired by the 7th and 8th grade level, the students picked their own project ideas and dove into research.

The fair will also be open on Thursday, June 9th,  from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. in the Middle School hallway.