Thank you and goodbye for now!

Letter from the principal

 Thank you and farewell Ray School! I hope to be able to come back and to remain a part of Ray School however I can contribute!

As we celebrate the end of another school year, my last after 43 years working within the Chicago Public Schools system, I wanted to leave you with some highlights from the last few months of this year, inform you of some developments for the 2011-2012 school year, and wish you all the best.

Principal changes

By now I am sure everyone knows that I will be leaving, as will Assistant Principal Barb Onofrio who as most people also know will become principal of Stone Elementary on the North Side.

Dr. Tatia Beckwith, who has been Assistant Superintendent of the DeKalb County Regional Office of Education, will become Ray’s new principal on July 1. I believe she is also in the process of seeking an assistant principal.

Budget & facilities update

With the recent state and city school budget battles, Ray did lose $11,000 from our budget as well as a reduction of one special education teaching position and one special education aide position. Fortunately, we do have a teacher and an aide in those roles leaving, so while we are losing two positions, we are not losing any personnel to the budget reductions.

Otherwise, I am happy to report, I and Ms. Onofrio are leaving the school in sound financial shape. We’re not wealthy by any stretch, but funds available to the school do include $5,000 raised from popcorn, craft sales, and other sources, plus additional money unspent this past year that should roll over from 2009-10 and 2010-11 allocations of state funds as well as a bit of savings on the side.

Another possible revenue stream for Ray School is currently under discussion: a local church has approached us about renting the auditorium on Sundays starting around the beginning of next school year. With some help from CPS central office staff, we have been negotiating with them and I hope we will be able to come to an agreement that benefits both parties.

With Keronn Walker who runs the B.I.G. Baseball Academy, we have been discussing since early spring renovations to the fields between our school and BixlerPlaylot Park. These discussions are ongoing and I expect that they will continue past my tenure.

Finally, we have one more improvement this summer: playground equipment upgrades. [SEE ATTACHED PHOTOS]

Farewell teachers and staff!

In addition to myself and Ms. Onofrio, Ray is saying goodbye to several dedicated employees:

•          Ms. Diaz will be teaching in Calumet City, where she lives.

•          Second-grade teacher Margo Frizzell is moving to Iowa (a special thank you to Ms. Karin Droegemueller, a Ray alumna who has been filling in for Ms. Frizzell these past few weeks during the latter’s sick leave).

•          Ms. Hite is moving to Dallas.

•          Ms. Gronemeyer is moving to Ann Arbor to be closer to her family.

•          Mr. Nick Humilier is going to grad school at University of Illinois.

Congratulations to all of you and we’re sorry to see you go!

New pre-k program next year!

Next year Ray welcomes a new pre-k for all classroom and teacher. The class, which is open according to need rather than tuition based, is expected to serve 20 children in the morning and 20 in the afternoon.

Ms. Rebecca Graham, the teacher, joins our roster of tuition-based and pre-k for all classrooms (non-tuition-based). She has been running this very successful program at Murray Elementary School, and we’re excited to have her program join ours at Ray.

One reason she is joining us is that Murray was in a bit of a space crunch and we were delighted to be able to accommodate the program.

Great job, B-ball players

Our girls basketball team with the help of Coach Jackson took second place in the CPS Area 15 Girls 5th/6th conference.

The Ray Warriors took third place in the CPS Area 15 Boys 5th/6th conference.  They did take first place in the St. Columbanus and Kenwood Oakland Bronzeville Conference held at the University of Chicago. Thanks to Coach Lewis for his hard work!

Finally, I’d like to congratulate all of our wonderful teachers and staff who achieved milestones too numerous to name this year, and our accomplished students who were young authors, science fair and spelling bee winners, and more.

Fantastic work! Keep it coming.

Have a wonderful summer and again thank you and goodbye for now!

Published in: on June 15, 2011 at 2:34 pm Comments (0)

Ray Says Good-bye to the Numata Family

Mirai and Taiyo came to our school just two years ago.  Neither child spoke English but Mirai did have another classmate who spoke Japanese.  Taiyo on the other hand had a more difficult time with no one in his first grade classroom who spoke his native language.  Mrs. Numata patiently sat outside his classroom studying her English and giving Taiyo that feeling of support until he adjusted to his new classroom.  After just two years the family speaks English.  Mirai excelled in her classes and was adored by her classmates.  Little Taiyo remains a little shy but really learned to like his school and classmates.  Unfortunately,  Mom Dad and the two children left to go back to Japan shortly after the earthquake.  They told me that their family at home were safe and that they felt comfortable returning to their country in spite of the disaster.  We will keep in touch with this wonderful and inspiring family.  Good luck to them.


                               Mrs. Butler saying , “Sayonara” to the Numata Family.

Published in: on April 8, 2011 at 1:47 pm Comments (0)

Ray School Students Rock

On Saturday, March 26, two of our sixth grade students were honored for their science fair projects at the Museum of Science and Industry.  Grace L. ‘s experiment involved the rate of attraction of fruit flies to  specific colors.   Zhixin S.’s  experiment tracked the growth of plant seeds under varying conditions.  Ray School was the only school with two sixth grade honorees.

Nima S. placed in the area Spelling Bee.  She received a trophy sfor her participation.  It is important that our students participate in competitions so that they learn the art of both written and oral presentation.  Students also become aware of the level of competition from students outside of their own school. 

On Wednesday, March 30, Ray School had its annual fourth through sixth grade geography bee.  The students were tested on their knowledge of  the  states, continents, countries, geographical  terms and  state quarters.   Teachers attribute their growth of knowledge to our new social studies curriculum.  The three winners were Noah S., Natalie B. and Vavara K,. We are extremley proud of  all of them.

Published in: on March 28, 2011 at 3:13 pm Comments (0)

A Snowy Day

Ray in its glory.

Published in: on February 7, 2011 at 3:50 pm Comments (0)

School Calendar Change

Due to our school closing for snow days, February 11, previously scheduled as a staff development day will be a day of attendance for our students.

Published in: on February 4, 2011 at 5:43 pm Comments (0)

School Update

The mayor announced that schools will be open on Friday.  There will be no bus service, however.

Published in: on February 3, 2011 at 3:34 pm Comments (0)

Ray School Closed Till further Notice

Ray School will probably remain closed Thursday and Friday.  Parents should watch the news or visit the CPS website to remain current with information regarding the school.  We are fine with power and heat but just need to make sure that the number of personnell able to report will be adequate for effective running of the school.   Thank you all who came early or on time to pick up your children on Tuesday.  We actually had most children on their way home by 4:30.

Kudos to Ralph(our engineer) and Charles(chief custodian) who made their way back to the school at 3:00am Wednesday morning to begin snow removal and to check the heating and electricity.  Charles had to abandon his car at 55th and King Drive but proceeded to walk the rest of the distance to our school.  Thank you to those dedicated gentlemen.   All custodians are at the school working today.  What a wonderful team!

Published in: on at 11:21 am Comments (0)



We now have a new cook in the kitchen, Mr. Tyrone Buckhalter.  Mr. Buckhalter joins us from Morgan Park High School.



Ray School adds three more teachers to its list of National Board Certified teachers.  Ms. Chandra Garcia, Ms. Heather Hall and Mrs. Jessica Gronemeyer(Fragner) join the prestigious group of Mrs. Leslie Travis, Ms. Michelle Webb, Ms. Mary Cobb, Mrs. Frizzell and Ms. Bethanie Smith.  This brings our total to eight.  We now have a teacher at almost every grade level with that prestigious designation.  We have one more teacher who is currently going through the process.      CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL!



Ms Diaz, Ray ESL teacher, convened our annual Bilingual Advisory Committee meeting on Wednesday, December 1.  Joining our parents was Ms. Maria Godinez from the Office of Language and Culture.  Parents learned about the English as a Second Language Program at Ray.  They were also given information about upcoming tests, the after school tutoring program, STARS and resources to help students at home. Parents enjoyed coffee and pastries while listening to the presentation.  There was a question and answer period following.

Published in: on December 2, 2010 at 7:06 pm Comments (1)

After School Activities


Published in: on November 15, 2010 at 3:25 pm Comments (0)

Amanda’s Garden


Ray School community celebrated the existance of Amanda’s garden.  Twenty years ago Amanda was a young student at Ray.     She was tragically struck and killed by a car on the first day of school.  The garden was built as a memorial to her.  This year Ray school students , staff and community  celebrated with chips and various dips enhanced with fresh herbs from the garden, cookies supplied by Medici and music.  Amanda’s parents Mr and Mrs. Carter were present along with Ace of Spades representatives Rolando Favela and Dr. Margaret Johnson who helped to plan and plant the garden.  Mr. Carter, seen above with his guitar, sang and led the group in song.  Our own science teacher, Ms. Garcia, who worked tirelessly on weekends with students to plant is also seen above addressing the group.  Though it was a chilly, blustery day, the group spirit was not dampened.  It was a great commemoration.

Published in: on October 18, 2010 at 5:34 pm Comments (1)


Team Ray

Published in: on October 4, 2010 at 1:52 pm Comments (0)

Welcome to Our Wonderful School


August 27, 2010

 Dear Kindergarten Parents:

 Welcome to Ray Elementary School.   I hope you and your families enjoyed the wonderful summer weather we experienced these past few weeks.  I am sure that you and your children are eagerly anticipating the beginning of school which begins on Tuesday, September 7, 2010.   To this end, I want to be sure that you have the information needed to experience a successful first day.

 First of all, kindergarten has been restored to a full day.  Students will arrive at 8:50 and leave at 3:30.  Students are considered tardy if they arrive after 9:00.  A free breakfast is available to all students at 8:30 in the student lunchroom.  Recess occurs at 11:00 followed by lunch at 11:20.  Students can bring their own lunch or can buy a hot lunch.  To make sure that students are able to keep up with all of their belongings please label everything including lunch boxes and sweaters.

On the first day of school primary parents and students should wait on the playground on Kimbark near 56th street.  Teachers and PTA volunteers, who will wear an identifiable piece of clothing or badge, will be there with class lists to make sure that students are placed with the correct classroom teacher. Once students enter the building at 9:00, parents are invited to come to the kindergarten breakfast in the student lunchroom.  At dismissal time (3:30), parents should wait outside the front doors near the same playground, on Kimbark.  Teachers will bring students outside and wait with them until parents pick them up.

 There will be an ice cream social for new families taking place on Friday, September 3 at 2:00.  This is an opportunity for parents and students to get to know the faculty and staff and other families.  Parent volunteers will conduct a tour of the school during this time.

Please visit or website to access the parent handbook which will be posted early next week.

 I look forward to meeting all of you in the very near future.


Bernadette Butler


Published in: on August 27, 2010 at 4:08 pm Comments (0)

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