Sister School

William Penn Elementary School

Did you know that Prospect has a sister school? We are proud to say that for over 10 years, Prospect School has “adopted” William Penn Elementary in Lawndale, Chicago, as our “Sister School.” Penn School is home to approximately 400 students in Kindergarten through 8th grade. The ethnic breakdown of Penn is about 83% African-American and 17% Hispanic, about 1/3 special needs, and a large percentage of Penn students are foster care or DCFS families.

Prospect supports Penn through a variety of initiatives, but the major focus of the partnership lies in running a monthly rewards store in the lower level of Penn School. Penn students receive “Olliebucks” (named after their principal, Dr. Ollie) from their teachers for good grades, behavior, attendance, etc. Once a month, students can visit the Ollie store and buy goods, ALL donated from Prospect families, teachers and the PTO. Before leaving their “shopping experience,” children are encouraged to also select a donated book or gently used article of clothing. Members of Prospect’s PTO Sister School committee have the opportunity to travel to Penn monthly to run the store, which is also attended by two Prospect PTO alumni who have graciously continued to be involved.

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How can I help?

We are currently seeking volunteers to join our committee and help staff the Ollie Store on the 2nd or 3rd Wednesday of every month. If you would be interested in joining the William Penn Sister School Committee, email [email protected]. Please join us!

Other ways Prospect expresses their “Prospect Pride” and respect for Penn include:

A winter clothing drive each fall provides many kids from Penn with hats, coats and mittens. The Prospect PTO and children publicize, donate, and sort the clothing to be taken to Penn. The clothes go directly to the Assistant Principal, and are distributed strategically as they notice children who are coming to and from school without winter clothing.

During this very popular drive, Prospect families donate loose change throughout the week of Prospect’s Fall Book Fair. An average of $800+ has been raised to purchase books for Penn’s Common Core reading list / curriculum.

Penn’s 4th grade students take an annual field trip to meet the Prospect 4th grade students in the spring. For the last three years, the trip has been at The Naper Settlement in Naperville. This field trip offers an opportunity for the Penn students to branch out from their small neighborhood, and provide exposure to a different way of life. Prospect and Penn students alike look forward to meeting their “Sister School” friends!

Run with the help of Prospect’s Eco Panthers Club and Mrs. Tiemstra, Prospect families and staff donate a variety of art supplies to be used by the staff and parent volunteer art teachers at William Penn. Construction paper, markers, crayons, coloring books, erasers, glue, and tape have been popular items. The past two years, this has been done in conjunction with “Studio 100”, the Prospect Spring Art Fair.

Twice a year, the Sister School Committee takes baked treats to the Penn faculty and staff. These are delivered in conjunction with an Ollie Store visit.

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