Important Update from Principal Manaen

Important Letter from the Principal and LSC Chair

Dear Ravenswood Families and Friends,

Tonight I informed the LSC that this will be my final year as principal of Ravenswood. This July, my family and I will be moving to Minnesota and I will begin a principalship in Minneapolis. 

I want to share with you what I shared with the LSC tonight to give a little context for this decision: I love, love, love my job, and I LOVE Ravenswood. We have an amazing school community and the most incredible staff you could assemble. While I love being a principal, I love being a husband and father even more. I believe this move will give me more space to be a husband and dad. Additionally, many of you know our entire family is in Minnesota, and as much as we've fallen in love with Chicago and our Ravenswood family here, we have deeply missed our family there. It's time to go home.

That said, I can't express how sad I'll be to leave our Ravenswood students, staff and families. This is an incredible school and a special community. In allowing me to work as your principal for the past 6 years, you've given me a gift I'll never be able to repay, and I thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve. 

I'll be here through the end of the year into the beginning of July, and the LSC will be launching a search for your next leader in the coming weeks. Please see below for a letter from LSC Chairperson Jessica Ashley for more information on this process. I am beyond confident you will find the right person to take our school even farther. Our school is on the difficult but necessary path of becoming better for every student every day, and I know you will only continue to grow and achieve. Thank you for believing in our students and school. 

Although it probably doesn’t need to be said, I promise I will always be in the background, rooting you on and cheering you forward. And maybe showing up at a dodgeball tournament or two... :) #RavenswoodRocks #EquityMeansExcellenceForAll #OnceARamAlwaysARam



Ravenswood community,

We as an LSC, like you and your families and classrooms, are both full of heartbreak and compassion as we write these last chapters in Mr. Manaen’s leadership at Ravenswood. We had the privilege of hiring Mr. Manaen, and we’ve had the honor of working with him closely on budgets, evaluations, and inner workings of this school. He’s brought us all creative thinking, whip-smart intellect, thoughtfulness, and an intense commitment to the students and staff, and we can all see how much his guidance has elevated our school. Being principal is a big job, and following Nate Manaen is an extraordinary calling.

What next?

While we are all saying our farewells and sharing laughs and memories, the LSC will be hard at work to find the highest qualified, best-fit candidates for the principal position. We will follow a legal process and form a principal’s selection committee to search for, interview, and assess each applicant for this position. You, as a community, will be invited to participate at different levels, perhaps by applying to the committee or attending a candidate forum. We will also be sending surveys because it is critical to hear what matters most to families. We have the support of the greater LSC relations office and are committed to having diverse voices and perspectives in this conversation. We will also do everything we can to ensure a smooth transition, and to honor the vision, budget, and people-first belief the LSC has created with Mr. Manaen.  

Please keep reading the newsletter and reaching out to your LSC parent representatives for more information on how you can be involved and where we are on the path to find the next amazing principal of this school. You are always welcome to contact me directly at lsc@ravenswoodelementary.org.

Jessica Ashley

LSC Chair

Nate Manaen
Let's Talk About Race

Dear Ravenswood Families and Friends,

 We have a race problem, Ravenswood. I want to spend this month's message talking about it, and I can't make this one short or quick. But first some context:

Last week we held our final screening and discussion of "America to Me." The docuseries, which was filmed at Oak Park Riverforest High School, explores how race, bias and equity intersect at a progressive school that takes pride in its academic achievement and commitment to equity. As we watched through a variety of clips and scenes from the 10-episode series, I became increasingly uncomfortable with how similar the stories, explanations and experiences were to Ravenswood.  

Over my six years at Ravenswood, I've had a variety of families, students and staff of color come to me with moments and stories where they perceived they were treated differently or unfairly by a parent, staff member or student based on their race. This has happened many times. As a principal, I look for patterns. I get plenty of "one off" situations where someone was upset with someone else about a situation, but that was the end of it. These things typically work themselves out. But when I see the same concern raised again and again and again, it's a problem we have to face as a community.  

By now, you've all heard about the unprecedented academic gains our district and school have made in recent years. We are outperforming similar districts and, in doing so, helping to change the trajectory of our city. But, despite these accomplishments, Chicago remains one of the most racially segregated cities in the nation. It is not an exaggeration to say that for many Chicago students today, the zip code they live in is still highly predictive of their future opportunities and successes. Our achievement as a district is still clearly marked by massive gaps in achievement by race. If you spend any time looking at our own Ravenswood achievement data, you'll see the same grim trend. 

 This summer I shared via Twitter that "we have a moral imperative to cultivate classrooms and schools where we engage race, racism and equity head on" and that "as a mixed race school, we have an opportunity and moral imperative to be a school in which every child, grade, and subgroup achieve at high levels academically and socially." I still believe this, and I am asking you to walk forward with us into this work. If this is confusing or you don't see a problem, or you want to get involved in making a change, I encourage you to take advantage of future upcoming resources including:

·        "Dear Ravenswood", a new feature in our weekly newsletter focused on providing questions and resources related to racial equity, diversity and integration in our school community

·       Parent-led book clubs (see admin if you're interested in leading one)

·       A regular, informal coffee hour to discuss topics and resources related to race and equity

Equity means excellence for all. Humanity has a race problem, and we are not exempt, Ravenswood. By engaging in this work toward excellence for all through the lens of race, we are engaging in the work of a better future for our students and modeling the courageous learning and community we hope for our children. Thanks for believing in a better future for all our students, Ravenswood. Let's know better as we do better, people.  #RacismMustFall #RavenswoodRocks

Best,

Mr. Manaen

Nate Manaen
Spring Forward - an AMAZING kickoff to March!

Dear Ravenswood Families and Friends,

Wow. Thank you to everyone who joined us Saturday night for our annual Spring Forward Benefit. It was AMAZING! Thank you to the many, many parents who volunteered their time, expertise and resources to make last night happen.

Through Friends of Ravenswood School (FORS), our community allows us to fund an entire arts teaching position every year and that enables us to provide students with the comprehensive and enriching experience they receive at Ravenswood. I can't say this often enough: Ravenswood is a great place for our students to learn and grow because YOU make it great. Thank you for constantly believing in our school, your students, our staff and community. There are a ton of amazing CPS schools out there...and we have something really special here. 

A few big ticket items to put on your radar in the coming month below:

America to Me: We will host our third and final screening and discussion of America to Me on Wednesday, March 27th at 6:30PM in the Learning Lab. These are stand alone sessions and you do not need to have attended a previous session to attend. If you haven't yet made it to a screening yet, please join us for a critical and needed conversation about race, equity and access in our school. We need you there!

The Artist Test Formerly Known As PARCC: The Illinois Assessment for Readiness will be given to 3-8 graders at Ravenswood on April 2-4. This assessment is the same assessment students have taken for the past several years. We will take it as an entire school for the three days. More information will be forthcoming, but the test is given in reading and math. Students who do not take the test will stay in their classroom and be provided with an alternate silent academic activity.

Parent-Teacher-Student Conferences: Mark your calendars for report card pick up on April 10th. This is an absolutely critical time to touch base with your student's teacher on their progress.

Spring Showcase: It's going down Friday, April 12th. We will have a morning and an afternoon showcase- you do not want to miss this!

Have a great week, everyone. 

Best,

Mr. Manaen and Ms. Karrel

Nate Manaen
Special Update: Spring Forward + America to Me Watch Party

Dear Ravenswood Families and Friends,

I cannot believe it is almost March. Given how quickly the year is moving, I want to put two things on your radar for this week: 

America to MeTonight at 6:30 in the Learning Lab we will host our second screening of a sections from "America to Me." Filmed at Oak Park River Forest High School, this docuseries explores race, equity, identity and education from a thoughtful, honest lens. All students, families, staff and community members are invited to join us for this critical experience! As a school working to do better at being an equitable school and community, we believe this is part of a larger, critical and ongoing conversation we need to have as a community and hope you can join! No RSVP needed.

Spring Benefit: Join us this Saturday for the biggest party of the year as we celebrate and support Ravenswood School! See you Saturday at 6:30 at the Dank for an evening of celebration, support and fun!

Best,
Nate Manaen

Nate Manaen
Welcome to February

Dear Ravenswood Families and Friends,

We hope everyone stayed warm through our historic low temperatures this past week. While it hasn't been made official yet, the district will likely make up the lost two days at the end of the school year. 

Party like it’s 19(99): We are less than a month out from our Spring Benefit! Get your tickets here so you don't miss the party of the year. This year we are celebrating 125 years of Ravenswood: our Past, Present and Future! Tickets are offered at various price points so we can have as many people there as possible. See you March 2nd at the Dank Haus!

Day of Service: Looking for a great family activity February 9th? Join us at the school from 9:00 to noon for our annual day of service. We will have a variety of improvement projects around the school suited for a variety of ages and skill levels. Help make Ravenswood a great place for our students to learn and grow! Did we mention there will be a chili cook off at noon? All veggie? Chicken with white beans? Meat-only-no-beans? All is fair in love and chili. Bring your slow cooker and your secret family recipe (cough, "Siri give me an award winning chili recipe...") and come compete for the golden ladle! Everyone is welcome to stay for lunch whether you brought a chili or not. 

Have a great week, everyone. 

Best,

Mr. Manaen and Ms. Karrel

Nate ManaenPrincipal Letter
Weather Update January 28

Dear Ravenswood Families and Friends,

CPS has announced that due to inclement weather forecast for this week, the district will take the following action:

  • Tuesday, January 29, 2019:  After-school activities including sports competitions will be canceled.

  • Wednesday, January 30, 2019: Chicago Public Schools will cancel classes and all school buildings will be closed. To ensure students do not miss out on valuable instruction, a student attendance day will be added to the CPS calendar for Wednesday, June 19, 2019 pending approval from the Chicago Board of Education.

  • Thursday, January 31, 2019: The district will provide an update to families by noon Wednesday on the status of school opening.

Regardless of these closings, Ravenswood will not turn away any student who comes in need of warm shelter.

For the latest updates, please visit the CPS website, or follow Chicago Public Schools Facebook,  Twitter, and Instagram.

Thank you for your patience with these updates. We’ll continue to keep you posted.

Mr. Manaen & Ms. Karrel Ravenswood School

Nate ManaenPrincipal Letter
Weather Update January 28th

Dear Ravenswood Families and Friends,

 As you are likely aware, this week’s forecast is calling for severe winter temperatures. It is always the district’s intention to open schools on time in order to minimize disruption to student learning, but for the latest information on potential school cancellations, please follow the district’s social media feeds (Chicago Public Schools FacebookTwitter, and Instagram) and sign up for emails on the CPS website. In the event school is cancelled, Ravenswood social media accounts will also post information as soon as we are able. Either way, our building will be open to any students who show up this week. An update on the district’s plans will be provided by Tuesday at noon when the district has greater certainty about Wednesday’s anticipated temperatures. If classes are cancelled, all after school programs and before care with BASA will also cancelled. Additionally, our Showcase will also be rescheduled. 

If you are concerned for your family's safety in these cold temperatures, please contact the school ASAP so we can assist you and your families with shelter, food, water, clothing etc.

A few notes below:

 Thank You: A huge shout out to our incredible facilities and security team (Ms. Arzuaga, Mr. Ramos, Mr. Hodzic) have been hard at work ensuring safe entry ways, that heating systems are working properly and that snow and ice are being cleared from walkways as fast as possible. If you see them out and working, please thank them for their hard work!

Arrival/Dismissal: We will post orange flags if we are holding indoor arrival (anticipated for most of this week). Students can enter through the main doors as soon as they arrive. If you are running late for pick up, please call the office as soon as possible so we know where you are and can coordinate care for your child in the interim. 

Traffic: We know the road conditions are crazy. Please don't add to it by double parking and leaving your vehicle. If you are asked to move your vehicle by school staff, please do so promptly. Give yourself plenty of time to get to and from school.

Recess: We will hold indoor recess any day the weather is below 15 degrees windchill and/or the playground has unsafe conditions.

Stay warm and safe, Ravenswood.

Best,

 

Mr. Manaen and Ms. Karrel

Nate ManaenPrincipal Letter
Happy New Year!

Dear Ravenswood Families and Friends,

One thing I like about the timing of the school year is that we really get two new starts to the year- the first in September and than again in January when the calendar rolls over. Happy New Year to you and we hope you're feeling refreshed and empowered! We are so excited to welcome back your student to class this Monday! Additionally, we have three very different but really exciting events to share with you happening this January at Ravenswood. We hope you can make it to all three, but either way know that we are incredibly optimistic about what the second half of this year holds for our students, school and community, and invite you to participate as you can! In upcoming order:

47th Ward Aldermanic ForumJoin Friends of Ravenswood Thursday, January 17 (7PM) at Ravenswood as they host an education-focused candidate form for the 47th ward aldermanic candidates.It takes an entire community and city to ensure equitable, ambitious outcomes for all students and families, and Friends of Ravenswood will facilitate a discussion to learn more about the 47th ward candidates' visions for education and equity in the ward and city. All community members welcome and no RSVP needed! 

RamPage Dodgeball TournamentIt's that time of year again. Somebody topple the (other) staff team! Break out your best costume, stretch your throwing arm and fine 9 other buddies to join you in an epic night of fun competition, community building and chucking foam balls as hard as you can at other people. Who dares wins! Tourney will take place on Friday, January 25 in the evening.  

America to Me Screening and DiscussionOn Wednesday, January 30 at 6:30PM, 2 Ravenswood parents will be facilitating a screening and discussion of the first episode of Steve James' "America to Me". Filmed at Oak Park River Forest High School, this docu-series explores race, equity, identity and education from a thoughtful, honest lens. All students, families, staff and community members are invited to join us for this critical experience! As a school working to do better at being an integrated school and community, we believe this is part of a larger, critical and ongoing conversation we need to have as a community and hope you can join! No RSVP needed.

Have a great week, everyone.

Best,

Mr. Manaen and Mrs. Karrel

Nate Manaen
November Wrap-Up & December Planning

Dear Ravenswood Families and Friends,

Thank you to everyone who participated in this year's raffle. Hands, our annually-returning Austrian body-builder-turned-emcee facilitated this year's raffle and was incredibly "pomped opp" by the participation of everyone! Ravenswood runs a tight school budget, and fundraisers like these allow us to do what we do for kids each day. Thanks for joining in through your time, effort and generosity financial support! A special thank you all our parent volunteers and to parent Erin Szott for all her work in organizing this year's raffle! 

Two things to put on your radar and one concluding thought below:

International Club Potluck: Join us this Friday with a dish to share for a school-wide potluck! Bring a traditional dish from you culture or upbringing and enjoy a Friday evening dinner celebrating our diverse Ravenswood community! To accommodate our families with food allergies, please bring a list of ingredients from your dish. 

Supporting Our Community During the Holidays: Every year, we collect gift card donations (Target only, please) to give to Ravenswood families in need over the holiday season. If your family is interested in donating gift cards, please bring them to the office over the next two weeks and we will distribute to families in need before the winter break. 

These next few weeks leading up to break will be packed and go quickly. Please send your children to school every day they are healthy as we have a lot planned for them! Thank you for your unbelievable support and commitment to our students, staff and each other. Ravenswood is a school community like no other and we are grateful for the chance to be part of it every day. 

Have a great week, everyone. 

Best,

Mr. Manaen and Mrs. Karrel

Nate ManaenPrincipal Letter
October Wrap-Up

Dear Ravenswood Families and Friends,

This year we are trying out monthly principal letters vs. weekly. If you prefer one or the other, please let me know. Either way, we highly recommend you like/follow/subscribe to our Ravenswood FaceBook Page, our Ravenswood Twitter account and our Instagram account for all things Ravenswood!

That's a Lot of Candles
In light of this being our 125th birthday, Ravenswood held its first-ever alumni celebration dinner this past Friday evening. We enjoyed a very special evening with alumni from across the decades including graduates from last year and every decade back to the 1940's (yes, you read that correctly). We also hosted former staff including former Ravenswood principal Mrs. Donovan! We collected memories, video and photos from alumni showing Ravenswood through the decades and we look forward to sharing these with you soon. Many, many thanks to parent Maria Dimond for taking my call for help in planning this event, and to the dozens of parent and staff volunteers who helped pull this off. A special shout out to Mr. Guidry's student lighting team for their incredible work in transforming our gymnasium, and to Mrs. Reed's dance ensemble for their show-stopping performances for our alumni.  #happybirthdaytous #125looksgoodonyoukid #ravenswoodhasalwaysrocked

Conferences and Repot Card Pick Up
Look. We get it. Ravenswood has a ton of special events. It seems like there is something going on every day of the week either before of after school or on the weekends. But if you can make only one thing this year, please make it for Conferences and Report Card Pick Up on Wednesday, November 14th from 11am-6pm (staff lunch from 2:30-3:15). This is a critical opportunity to connect with your child's teacher about their academic and social progress. Admin will be available for anyone who'd like to meet as well!

Dirty Laundry
We've mentioned this now in a few ways and venues....but it's still a problem. We need to model what we expect of our students. Adults- please do not block people in with your vehicles, please do not double park and leave your vehicle, and PLEASE treat others respectfully outside school grounds at pick up and drop off even when parking is tight. We know how crazy it can get out there, and we also know how important it is to conduct ourselves with respect, responsibility and safety. Thank you!

Ice Cold
As temps get colder, we want to remind everyone that our threshold for outdoor recess is a windchill of 15 degrees. Because fall weather can be variable, please make sure your child has appropriate cold weather gear available every day for recess.

Trick or Treat
With Halloween candy incoming, this is a friendly reminder to please keep food with nuts out of school. We have several students with severe nut allergies, and the less nuts in the building, the less likely we are to have to call an ambulance. That said, all of these candies are still a "full go".

Have a great week, everyone.

Best,
Mr. Manaen and Mrs. Karrel
 

Ravenswood School