Become a Charter Ambassador


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 Ms. Collins at 773-637-9430 or

We Can and We Will!

Ice Bucket Challenge

If you missed it on our Facebook page, here’s a look at our “Ice Bucket Challenge” video:


The West Belden Parent Teacher League (WBPTL) plans and hosts various fundraisers and events throughout the school year and is always seeking volunteers. Parents can contact the main office at any time for information about how to volunteer.

We at the WB are so grateful for our parent volunteers and everything they do for our school community. The following parents serve on the WBPTL Executive Board and its subcommittees and have provided information about upcoming meetings to which all WB parents are invited.

WBPTL Executive Board
President: Cheyla Molina
Vice President: Tanya Diaz
Secretary: Celinda Gameros
Treasurer: Dionna Plywacz

WBPTL Subcommittees
Fundraising Co-Chairs: Melanie Mercado & Margaret Ocampo-Delgado
Safety Patrol Chair: Ivan Flores
Uniform Chair: Nora Nunez

2014-2015 Meetings (5:30-6:30 p.m. in the cafeteria)
October 30, December 18, February 26, April 30, June 4

The WBPTL will feature an information table at CICS West Belden Back-to-School Night on August 28. Feel free to stop by and greet them!

Build A Bear

CICS West Belden students partnered with General Electric and participated in a community project yesterday for which they built stuffed animals to be donated to the WINGS shelter. Thank you to Ms. Tartan for providing this wonderful opportunity for her students!

Back-to-School Night

Join us for CICS West Belden Back-to-School Night on Thursday, August 28, 2014 from 5:30-7:00 p.m.

We will host a parent meeting in the gym at 5:30 p.m. and classroom visits will take place from 5:45-7:00 p.m. Please click here to view the flyer.

Back-to-School Information

Please review these important reminders as you prepare for the first day of school:

New Arrival & Dismissal Times

  • School will begin at 8:00 a.m. and end at 3:30 p.m. for all grade levels (K-8) this year. Primary grades will no longer dismiss at 3:15 p.m.
  • The first bell will ring at 7:50 a.m. and the tardy bell will now ring at 8:00 a.m. Tardies will be issued at 8:00 a.m.
  • Wednesday dismissal will be at 1:50 p.m.


  • Students in Rooms 001, 002, 003, 004, and 005 will enter through the primary doors.
  • Students in Rooms 105, 106, and 107 will enter through the courtyard doors near the library.
  • Students in grades 4-8 will enter through the gym doors.

Class Lists
Class lists will be displayed on posters and hanging outside on Monday, August 18 for students to identify their room numbers.

Please contact the main office or Cheyla Molina if you need to pick up your uniform orders. New order forms can be picked up in the main office or downloaded here.

See you soon, Bulldogs!

New Dismissal Details

All CICS West Belden students (K-8) will dismiss at 3:30 p.m. this school year. Please plan your pick-up routines accordingly.

Dismissal details for grades K-3:
-Kindergarten will dismiss from rooms 001 and 003 (parents sign out).
-1st grade will dismiss from rooms 004 and 107 (parents sign out).
-2nd and 3rd grade will dismiss outside (primary driveway).

Dismissal details for grades 4-8:
-Rooms 100, 101, and 103 will dismiss through the gym doors.
-Rooms 200, 201, 203, 205, 206, and 207 will dismiss from the North stairwell near the Belden Ave sidewalk.

*Students in grades 4-8 may pick up siblings from the primary wing.

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. will receive a tardy pass. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

Let ‘Em Grow

Ms. Tartan’s 4th graders have a unique way of encouraging the growth of their basil plants!

Congratulations, CICS West Belden Class of 2014!


ADORE Conference

ADORE (A Day of Recognition Event) is an annual conference that recognizes the love, sacrifice, and commitment of parents, guardians, and families of children with disabilities in Chicago. Join ADORE to be recognized and honored for the loving difference you make in your child’s life. Participants will have the opportunity to attend workshops and have access to a variety of resources from organizations that benefit families and caregivers of children with special needs.

View flyer: English | Spanish

Date: June 7, 2014
Time: 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Location: Hope Institute Learning Academy | 1628 W. Washington Blvd, Chicago, IL

For more information, email:

To register by phone, call: 312-747-8311

Enrichment Electives Survey

The following survey is for CICS West Belden students in grades 5-8. Please take a few moments to submit your responses regarding possible Enrichment electives next school year. Thank you.

Spring Concert Videos

For your viewing and listening pleasure, the 2014 CICS West Belden Spring Concerts:

The PRIDE Guide Now Available!

Have you picked up our new book? The PRIDE Guide describes, poetically, the classy culture and high expectations at CICS West Belden and features illustrations by several WB students. Get your copy of The PRIDE Guide today by clicking the link above ($14.99) or by visiting the main office, where we have a limited supply available at a discounted rate of $10 each! All proceeds benefit CICS West Belden.

CICS West Belden Field Day

Our first-ever field day was flat-out phenomenal, Bulldog Nation! Thanks to our teachers, parents, and students who helped the inaugural event run so smoothly.

Summer Camp Information

Please click here to explore the variety of camp opportunities that will be offered this summer to CICS West Belden students, including:

Art Camp, Music Camp, Technology Camp, and Uplift Camp.


Mix It Up Day: Wednesday, May 21

“Mix It Up Day” is Wednesday, May 21. Sit with somebody new at lunch. Play with a different group at recess. Talk to somebody that you’ve never talked with before. It’s all about diversity, acceptance, and celebrating our differences…the stuff that makes the world go ’round, Bulldogs!

You may wear a mismatched or mixed-up outfit on May 21. Just make sure that it’s appropriate for school.

Information Session: Monday, May 19


Come learn about the Chicago Public Library’s free summer reading program!

Who: All students and their parents
When: Monday, May 19 at 3:30 p.m.
Where: WB Gym
Why: To find out how to join the Chicago Public Library’s summer reading program and win exciting prizes!

*All students who attend this 20-minute information session will be entered in a raffle to win books and tickets to the Brookfield Zoo!

Breathe Easy, Bulldogs!

Over 20 students in grades 3-8 participated in free asthma education classes at CICS West Belden this month. We would like to thank Jennifer DeVries and the Respiratory Health Association for helping our students understand and manage their asthma through the Fight Asthma Now program. For more information, visit As always, big thanks go to Mr. Kumor for consistently providing meaningful health and wellness opportunities for our kids!

WNOW Radio May/June 2014 Update

For your listening pleasure, our May/June radio update is linked below. We have a lot of great things going on from now until CICS West Belden Graduation, so listen and re-listen, if necessary, Bulldog Nation. We look forward to your presence at our many upcoming events!

Teacher Recruitment Fair: Wednesday, May 14

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


Thank you for your continued support of public charter schools!

Celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week

CICS West Belden 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.

CICS West Belden Wins $100,000 Technology Planning Grant

Breakthrough Schools: Chicago announced today that CICS West Belden is one of seven public schools in Chicago to win a Next Generation Learning Challenge-planning grant to support whole-school transformation with the goal of increasing personalized instruction for our students. According to Breakthrough Schools: Chicago, CICS West Belden and the other grant winners “share a clear vision of next generation personalized teaching and learning in which all students are engaged and empowered to take charge of their own learning, while all educators have access to robust data to pinpoint student needs, allowing them to quickly accelerate or remediate with students.”


This grant was made possible through a local-national partnership led by Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC), The Chicago Public Education Fund (The Fund), and LEAP Innovations. The CICS West Belden proposal lays out an ambitious plan of adopting a whole-school blended learning model comprised of rotation labs, which will allow students to assume greater control of their learning through digital and adaptive programs, peer collaboration, one-on-one intervention from educators, and small group instruction. We are also looking to add more technology options for all of our students.

CICS West Belden was also a 2013 recipient of Summer Design Program launched by The Fund. Through the 2013 Summer Design Program, CICS West Belden’s educators and administrators developed an innovative professional development model that has effectively utilized both virtual instruction and educator collaboration to improve teaching school-wide. Three past NGLC grantees in Chicago are already showing the transformative impact of this grant program, as they’re well on their way to creating 21st century centers of learning. CICS West Belden and the six other 2014 recipients will join them in evolving the public education landscape in Chicago and transforming the lives of Chicago’s youth.

CICS West Belden was featured on the front page of the Chicago Tribune today!

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 8:15 a.m.

Students Create and Collaborate on Another Magnificent Musical

Have you ever wondered why mosquitoes buzz in people’s ears? CICS West Belden students explored that question in their performance of the annual 5th grade musical,“Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears.” This year’s show was a musical adaptation of the West African folktale and was especially notable because, not only did students sing and act, but also played accompaniments on live instruments, danced, and created both set pieces and original costumes. The show afforded our students the opportunity to connect emotionally to the arts through music, drama, dance, visual art, and literature.

Enrichment teachers, Mr. Lyerly (library/media), Ms. Ausmann (music), and Ms. Gore (art), each focused on a specific aspect of the play. In library/media class, students developed acting skills like expression, projection, pantomime, blocking, line memorization, characterization of movement, and constructive criticism. Each character in the play was an animal and students researched their particular animal to accurately depict its mannerisms for the performance. Furthermore, library/media students analyzed the meaning of the play and character motivations.

In music class, students sang authentic African folk songs and/or songs composed in an authentic African folk style. They also accompanied themselves utilizing a small percussion ensemble, including xylophones, djembes, bass bars, and various smaller instruments. While the melodic lines were simple, the accompanying rhythmic patterns were complex and fostered independent rhythmic skills, students’ knowledge of form, and note reading skills. In addition to singing and playing instruments, students performed complex dances requiring teamwork and cooperation amongst all students.

In art class, students created their own costumes using traditional West African textiles and stamping techniques. Students analyzed the meanings of Adrinkra symbols in order to authentically represent their character information and character traits in their textile designs. Students also painted a scenic backdrop that transformed the stage into an African jungle.

In addition to fostering unique aesthetic viewpoints, students simultaneously developed their 21st century skills- creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, and communication – skills that are embedded throughout all parts of this production.

Students expressed themselves creatively by demonstrating originality and inventiveness in making textile stamps, bringing life to the script, and their musical choices. Students and teachers collaborated respectfully and responsibly to create a shared work of art while utilizing their critical thinking skills by analyzing and interpreting the script, making connections between the folk tale and their production, and reflecting critically on their experiences. Kids learned how to communicate effectively in diverse environments and media through singing, playing instruments, dancing, acting, and costume making.

These unique opportunities are possible because CICS West Belden and Distinctive Schools are committed to the importance of a valuable arts education. While reading, math, and science are cornerstones of a child’s education, the arts allow students a consistent opportunity to connect with each other, create an expression of truth and beauty, and tangibly express the ineffable. The philosopher Plato once said, “I would teach children music, physics, and philosophy; but most importantly music, for patterns in music and all the arts are the keys to learning.”

These cross-curricular Enrichment projects are further made possible each year by the Oppenheimer Teacher Incentive Grant, which funds project-based learning in Chicago Public Schools.

For more on the musical, listen to WNOW Radio or view the pictures on our Facebook page.

Parent Spotlight: Mrs. Molina

Parent Spotlight is a monthly feature that recognizes parents who go above and beyond to help the CICS West Belden school community.

This month, we recognize Cheyla Molina, PTO president, and so much more. Mrs. Molina is a fixture in and around our school and we appreciate her on so many levels. For starters, her gregarious nature is both unmistakeable and contagious, as she routinely implores those in her presence, be they young or old, to move to her ever-present, energetic beat.

Each May, in celebration of “Teacher Appreciation Week,” she spearheads an astounding annual effort in which many of our proactive parents partake- an authentic Latin luncheon. The savory scent of carne asada is noticeable for blocks, complemented by spicy salsas, tamales, and other unique culinary experiences- many of which are refreshingly new to members of our staff.

While we ultimately take pleasure in highlighting those special instances that are, in many ways, unique in experience alone, we can also readily recognize several notable contributions from this special parent volunteer in the form of a quick, yet impressive, list. Mrs. Molina has also helped CICS West Belden by:

-Donating the piano that rests atop our stage
-Coordinating uniform sales for our students and their families
-Leading the charge in our advocacy work, recruiting representatives here in Chicago and downstate in Springfield
-Serving as a reliable liaison between political representatives and our school
-Donating time to help in our school office

Though we’re probably forgetting something, we hope that Mrs. Molina, like so many of our incredible parents, understands our sincere gratitude for her many contributions to our school community. Our students and teachers are very appreciative, and also look forward to formally recognizing many more of our parents who, without question, are integral to everything we do! Thank you.