Become a Charter Ambassador

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We will have a translator on site and lunch will be provided.

Live on the South Side? Click here for information about training near you!

Please direct specific questions to Lindy Mandel at 773-433-5000 or lmandel@distinctiveschools.org.


Friday Packet

The most up-to-date Friday Packet along with past and future editions can be found here. The Friday Packet page is always accessible by clicking “Resources” and then “Parent Links” in the main menu above, or on the home page under “Quick Links” (right side).


Back-to-School Information

Your teachers cannot wait to see your smiling faces on Monday, Pumas! Please click here to view the summer newsletter for important back-to-school information. Our first Friday Packet will be published on Friday, August 22.


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 7:35 a.m. and close at 7:50 a.m.

Every student who arrives after 7:50 a.m. will receive a tardy pass. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.


Student Government Participates in Leap for Learning Program

The CICS Irving Park Student Government was recently afforded the valuable and enriching opportunity of participating in an after-school program called Leap for Learning. Our students were able to draft, edit, finalize and present speeches in front of their middle school peers. The students wrote about issues passionate to them; these issues were often school-related, civic, or community-focused. Students explored a variety of topics in their speeches including the selection process for selective enrollment schools in Chicago, globalization of corporate brands, lunchroom cafeteria options, and whether cell phones should be present in the classroom. The students objectives were developed from a variety of Common Core Speaking & Listening Standards. Some of the skills students learned and practiced successfully included rate of speech, fluency, enunciation, tone, persuasive argumentation, and active participation. Our students had fun with the project as it generated some very intelligent and thought-provoking conversations!


CICS Irving Park Third Graders Work Hard by Playing Hard, Too!

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CICS Irving Park third graders are maximizing learning time by putting health first because research shows that students who are physically active (running, playing at recess, dancing) for ten solid minutes will perform better on academic tasks for the next 90 minutes.

With this in mind, as well as the general well-being of our scholars, we make health and fitness a priority. The third grade teachers have worked to receive two grants through Donors Choose for “Fitbits,” which are pedometers and sleep trackers. The students are able to take week-long turns wearing these trackers and have found they are less active than they thought. After seeing their step count each day, they then make the effort to move. They have said that those more active days are more fun anyway! In class, the pedometers give us reminders that we deserve a brain break and it is time to get up and move.

At any given time, it is common to hear music through the doorways of the third grade classrooms as they dance, stretch, or hurdle in place behind their desks. Chicago Run has supported our efforts by giving us innovative ideas and incentives to stay active through quick and engaging work-outs both inside and outside. Every teacher and scholar has run (or worked out) about 25 miles each! GoNoodle, a free online resource, leads us in yoga for kids, Zumba, and many more fun fitness routines that our scholars adore.

To conclude this amazing, active and learning-filled year, we are studying health and fitness in a more academic way. Our scholars are learning the five food groups as well as healthy vs. less healthy (and even not healthy) foods. They are creating positive advertising on cereal boxes to teach good habits and are also tracking their own eating, sleep, and activity. The lessons include reading, writing, science and math and help reinforce the fact that we are already doing so much for our bodies and minds. As teachers, we can see the difference in the focus, alertness and engagement of our scholars. Once you go active, you won’t go back!


Teacher Recruitment Fair: Wednesday, May 14

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

  • 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, Puma Nation: We really need your help…again! In order to continue to do what we do, we’re 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.

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Thank you for your continued support of public charter schools!