Back-to-School Information

CICS Bucktown Families,

We are eager to welcome students back to school on Monday, August 18. In the meantime, we have some important announcements that will help all families prepare for the 2014-15 school year.

New Start Time
As mentioned recently on the website and our Facebook page, our school day will begin a little earlier this year. Doors will open at 7:50 a.m. and close at 8:00 a.m. Students who arrive after 8:00 a.m. are expected to report to the reception office for a tardy pass.

8th Grade Meeting
All incoming 8th graders are invited to discuss expectations for the school year and to explore plans for graduation celebration week on Wednesday, August 13 (2:00-3:00 p.m.).

Please note that this student meeting is in addition to the 8th grade parent meeting at the back-to-school open house on August 14 at 7:00 p.m. Student attendance at the parent meeting is optional.

Back-to-School Open House
You are invited to open house on Thursday, August 14. Please refer to the following list for your arrival time (according to last name).

4:00-5:00 p.m. Last name begins with A-I
5:00-6:00 p.m. Last name begins with J-R
6:00-7:00 p.m. Last name begins with S-Z

All families with students entering 8th grade will be attending a mandatory meeting at 7:00 p.m.

At open house, you can drop off school supplies, visit your child(ren)’s classrooms, meet teachers, pick up uniforms (if your order was placed by August 7), sign up for after-school care with Springboard, complete registration, and pay fees.

*All registration paperwork must be completed and fees paid before the first day of school.

New Gym Schedule
This school year, all students in grades K-5 will have gym every day. Students have the option of wearing their CICS Bucktown polo shirts and khaki pants (khaki shorts are also allowed through September) or CICS Bucktown gym t-shirts with navy blue CICS Bucktown gym shorts/joggers.

There may be days where students are required to wear polo shirts and khakis for special events. On these particular days, families will be notified in advance. Please note that uniforms may not be “combined.” For example, the polo shirt may be worn only with khaki pants/shorts and the gym shirt may be worn only with gym shorts/joggers. Further details about the uniform dress code will be available at the back-to-school open house on August 14.

Middle school students (grades 6-8) will have gym once per week for the entire school year and are expected to wear a gym uniform only on the day they have gym class. Polo shirts and khaki pants (khaki shorts are also allowed through September) are to be worn every other day of the week. Students will be given their schedules the first week of school.

Please contact our Dean of Students, Mr. Kliebert, if you have any questions about the dress code. He can be reached via email at or by phone at 773-645-3321.

Please call with questions. We look forward to seeing your smiling faces!

New Start Time Begins August 18

We did a little math this summer and realized something very important: 10 minutes per school day x 192 days = 32 hours of added instructional time! Consequently, please note our new morning procedure below… beginning on Monday, August 18.

Doors will open at 7:50 a.m. and close at 8:00 a.m.

Every student who arrives after 8:00 a.m. is expected to visit the reception office to receive a tardy pass. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

Uniform Update

Do you still need to order uniforms? Order today by clicking here.

Our uniform vendor, Runner’s Edge, has again extended the order deadline. Orders placed before August 7 will ship to you before school starts or will be available for pick up at the CICS Bucktown Back-To-School Open House on Thursday, August 14. Orders placed after August 7 will be shipped to you in early September. Please note that Runner’s Edge will have a limited inventory of uniforms to purchase at open house. Please be prepared for extended wait times in the purchasing lines.

Runner’s Edge will be at CICS Bucktown on Friday, August 15 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. to help with any additional uniform needs before the first day of school.

1500 Club

Join the CICS Bucktown 1500 Club, a summer learning challenge that will keep your brain sharp until school resumes on August 18, Eagles!

Important Information About School Uniforms

Please note that CICS Bucktown requires all school uniforms be purchased through Runner’s Edge and, despite the pictures on their website, purchased items will have CICS Bucktown logos. The folks at Runner’s Edge are currently working to correct the erroneous pictures. We apologize for the confusion.

Because of the misunderstanding, Runner’s Edge has extended their deadline- all uniforms purchased by July 23 will be available for pickup at open house on August 14.

Thank you for your patience and cooperation. Please call with further questions.

Springboard After School Program Begins August 18

CICS Bucktown is excited to announce that we will partner with Springboard After School to provide daily after school programming for 2014-2015 school year. Springboard’s after school programming is designed to extend student learning time and opportunities beyond regular school hours. Programming will begin on August 18, 2014, and will run each day until 6:00 p.m.

Springboard’s after school program is comprised of research-based curriculum delivered by a team of licensed and certified on-site teaching professionals whose materials are created to provide a well-rounded, fun and enriching environment for every student. Each day of programming will include guided homework support, team building, read aloud’s, SPARK (Sports, Play and Active Recreation for Kids) and inclusive enrichment.

Please click here for details.

Representatives from Springboard will be present at open house on August 14.

Primary Students Sing About Science

CICS Bucktown students in kindergarten and 1st grade are known to take an active role in science. Toward the end of each school year, each primary grade puts on a performance about a specific science topic. The students make their own props, learn songs in music class, and memorize lines and poems for each show. Kindergarten students learned all about plants and were able to sing and and perform in front of the school this quarter for their annual plant show. They dressed up as different parts of plants and sang songs about plants and how they grow. They are getting more and more ready for 1st grade! Not to be outdone, 1st grade students learned about space and performed for their annual Spring space show. They were very excited for the performance and worked hard at practicing their songs. “What It Is Like On The Moon” and “The Earth Turns Around” were two of the highlights!

Committed to Greatness

We made the CICS newsletter, Eagles! Click here to check it out.

Thank You, Carnival Donors!

CICS Bucktown would like to thank the many generous donors who helped make our carnival a huge success:

Ice for Less, Paleteria Y Neveria Bombon, Ashland Division Currency Exchange, Alpha Baking Company, Leona’s Restaurant, Chavela’s Face Painting, The Warwick Allerton Chicago Hotel, Stella Barra Pizzeria, Café Ba Ba Reeba, Trio Los Primos, Mary Kay baskets courtesy of Lucia Saenz, My Gym Chicago, Mamma Mia Restaurant, WhirlyBall, Chicago Wolves, Toast Restaurant, Buffalo Wild Wings, Logan Theatre, Chicago Spine and Sport, Shiraleah

We also want to thank CICS Bucktown parents/families who donated food, basket items, and volunteered their time. Thank you!

CICS Bucktown Carnival: May 21

The 10th Annual CICS Bucktown Carnival is this Wednesday, May 21 from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. in the back parking lot. The carnival is open to the public, so please bring friends and family to enjoy…

Snow cones, cotton candy, a dunk tank, an obstacle course, Pop-A-Shot, other cool carnival games, raffles for great prizes, and more! Admission is free. You may purchase tickets for 25 cents apiece or five for $1!

*Students may pay $2 to dress down on May 21

Holocaust Survivor Provides Authentic Context for CICS Bucktown Reading Students

Ms. Ellie Merar, Holocaust survivor, spoke to Ms. Walchak’s seventh and eighth grade reading classes recently about her life in Germany during the Holocaust and her subsequent journey to America. Ms. Merar, who speaks regularly at the Skokie Holocaust Museum, delivered a 50-minute presentation at CICS Bucktown that featured photographs and a question and answer session. Prior to the presentation, classes had read both The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and The Diary of Anne Frank. Our students loved hearing Ms. Merar’s firsthand accounts and were able to connect many of her experiences to their reading. We are extremely thankful to Ms. Merar for providing such a meaningful learning experience for our kids!

Teacher Recruitment Fair: Wednesday, May 14

Qualified candidates are invited to join us at our North Side Teacher Recruitment Fair this Wednesday at CICS Bucktown.

  • Meet Campus Directors
  • On-site Interviews
  • Explore Curriculum
  • Meet Distinctive Schools Teachers

Wednesday, May 14 from 4:00 to 6:30 p.m.
CICS Bucktown
2235 N Hamilton
Chicago, IL 60647

Important: Please Fill Out a Witness Slip to Support Charter Schools

Attention, CICS Bucktown Supporters: We really need your help…again! In order to continue to do what we do, we are asking that you take five minutes of your time to fill out a “witness slip” to oppose HB 4527 by Tuesday, May 13.

Click here to complete the form. Please reference the red text in the picture below for guidance.

Thank you for your continued support of public charter schools!

The Carnival is Coming!

The annual CICS Bucktown Carnival is right around the corner! To help prepare for the carnival, each grade will be responsible for creating a themed gift basket to be displayed and raffled at the event on May 22. We are asking families to donate items or cash for their child’s grade level basket. Please send your donation by Wednesday, May 14.

Carnival basket assignments:

Kindergarten: “Stay-cation”

1st Grade: Arts & Crafts

2nd Grade: Game Night/Sports

3rd Grade: Pajama Party

4th/5th Grade: Baking Treats

Middle School: Summer Fun

Tickets may be purchased in Miss Borio’s classroom (103) from 8:00 to 8:30 a.m. beginning Monday, May 19 and after school on Tuesday, May 20. Tickets are $1 apiece, or six for $5.

BAM! Contest Winners Make Special Pie Deliveries

Last Friday, CICS Bucktown students celebrated the conclusion of BAM, an April reading contest that challenged students to read over 600 minutes on MyON, our online library. The top two readers in each class received medals for their accomplishments while classes that read the most minutes earned pizza parties. In a surprise development, the medal winners got to throw pies into a teacher’s face in celebration! We look forward to our upcoming May/June MyON reading contest as well as a summer contest, details to come.

Celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week

CICS Bucktown Students Join Peers, Tour Notre Dame

Because of their exemplary behavior and consistent academic achievement, 55 Distinctive Schools students earned the chance to visit the University of Notre Dame last week. CICS Bucktown, CICS Irving Park, CICS Prairie, and CICS West Belden each sent several representatives who were able to witness both the bustle and beauty of a storied college campus!

Family Matters

Distinctive Schools produces Family Matters, a monthly electronic newsletter, to keep parents and families informed about news and activities throughout our network of schools.

Click here to read this month’s edition of Family Matters.

Past issues of the Family Matters newsletter are available on the Distinctive Schools website.

Programs Offer New Technological Experiences for CICS Bucktown Students

CICS Bucktown teachers and students are excited to be participating in some cutting-edge programs that are exposing our students to awesome technology in the classroom. We were recently awarded a grant that allows us to work with LEAP Innovations to pilot literacy technology. Our students are loving it! We are also piloting AMPLIFY tablets on a 1 to 1 student-to-device ratio that will allow our fifth graders (and some fourth graders) access to technology for throughout the school day. These two programs, along with MyON and other programs we are currently using, are giving our students amazing opportunities in 21st century learning experiences. Our students are extremely engaged and are learning at a level that, to date, we have not seen!

Introduction to Día: Children’s Day, Book Day


Children’s Day/Book Day, also known as El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Día), is a celebration of children, families, and reading held annually on April 30. The celebration emphasizes the importance of literacy for children of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds.

Join us on Friday, April 25 to learn more about Día and how our school community can celebrate Children’s Day, Book Day!

Introduction to Día: Children’s Day, Book Day
Introducción a Día: El Dia de los Niños, El Dia de los Libros
Friday, April 25 at 8:20 a.m.