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.
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!