Dear Solomon Family--

We have a few events this week to get students, staff, and families ready for the school year this week, so please consult our calendar below. The one event for everyone is our Open House and Supply Drop-off on Thursday afternoon (2:45-3:45). This is a great opportunity to meet your child's teachers, meet our before-school childcare team from the YMCA, drop off school supplies, and, most importantly, connect. We are excited to see you! All attendees should enter through Door #1 on Hamlin. 

At our Open House and Supply Drop-off, we are asking families to provide a picture of your child and their family to the main office so that we can place them on our Solomon Family Tree in the main office hallway. It is an optional activity, but one that reinforces our core belief in family and community; the picture should be no larger than 4x6.

In partnership,

Chris Gamble


Hannah G. Solomon Elementary School

Welcome to Solomon!

Hello! My name is Jeanne Bakula, and this is my 20th year of teaching in CPS! My husband (also a CPS educator) and I have 2 children: Frankie and Rosie. I have taught in Hong Kong and Jamaica, I play piano and trombone, and I love running 5K's. I am honored and humbled to be joining the Solomon family! 

Hi Solomon Family! This is Viola (Haijiao) Xiong. As a first year teacher responsible for Mandarin instruction, I feel kind of nervous but it is also exciting to start a new chapter of life. I had lived in China since I was born for 25 years, then moved to Chicago in 2019 to pursue a Master’s degree in Erikson Institute with a focus on child development and early childhood education. Before that, I finished my Bachelor’s degree in Shanxi University in China, majoring in Teaching Chinese as a Second Language. This inspired me to become a teacher and interested me in working with students from different language backgrounds. I am a big fan of travel, I will continue exploring the world! .  

Hi! My name is Ms. Gandhi, and I am a first-year teacher and will be working in the cluster classroom for 6th-8th grade, but have been in the education field for over 5 years. I like to bake, read, and watch cooking videos during my downtime. I am eager to get to know the students and the community and look forward to working with everyone throughout the school year. 

Hello everyone, my name is Abir Ahmed and I’m excited to be a part of this team. I used to work as a SECA at Uplift High School and I transferred this year. I enjoy cooking and making new recipes. I’m looking forward to meeting you all.

My name is Abby. I was born and raised on the northside of Chicago.I have a BS from the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point, where I also minored in music. I've been playing the violin since I was 4 years old and I love going to concerts with friends.

Hi Solomon community. I am excited for my first day to start at Solomon school. I have 3 adult children of my own and have worked as a teacher's aide in Elmhurst since 2019. I’m looking forward to this new school year.

We are excited for new staff to join our Solomon family this year:

  • Mrs. Jeanne Bakula will be our 5th grade teacher in Room 119.
  • Ms. Heli Gandhi will be teaching the upper grade cluster program class in Room 122.
  • Ms. Viola Xiong will be our new Mandarin teacher.
  • Ms. Abir Ahmed will be a classroom aide in Room 117. 
  • Mr. Michael Arbor and Ms. Abigail Leoni-Hughes will be classroom aides in Room 104.

Additionally, not pictured above:

  • Mr. Aaron Mills will be joining us as a classroom aide in Room 117. 
  • Ms. Bridey Clark will be our new library media specialist.
  • Ms. Kestelle Wiersma will be our new full-time case manager and Diverse Learner department chair. 
  • Ms. Wilmer Coronel will be our new Diverse Learner resource teacher supporting students in the intermediate and upper grades.
  • Ms. Ninfra Ligue will be our new Sign Language Interpreter in Room 122. 

We have also had internal transitions, with Ms. Zachar taking the position of our Instructional Coach and Lead Interventionist and Ms. DePaolo becoming a student teacher this semester. 

A few more hires still need to complete the on-boarding process, and our team will be set. You can see our (nearly) complete organizational chart with email addresses here. We are eager to welcome everyone into our Solomon family!

News and Notes

You did it! All $13,000 of Mrs. Stirling's Donors Choose project was funded, and Solomon will be the beneficiaries. We will have new risers to use in our gymnasium for graduations, concerts, and more. Way to go, Mrs. Stirling, for organizing this--we are abundantly grateful to our community members that supported us, giving our students another way to shine.

We are still refining our entry and exit procedures document, so we will share a final version of the document mid-week so that you can prepare for the first day. General education homerooms (K-8) will enter the building at different doors between 9:00-9:05 and be dismissed from those same doors between 3:55-4:00. Stay tuned :)

If you need before-school care for your child (7-9am), be sure to sign up with our new partners, the YMCA. You can sign up for before-school care here. At this same link, you can share your interest in any after-school enrichment programming as well. At this time, the YMCA will only be offering before-school care, as we did not have sufficient parent interest in after-school child care. If there is sufficient interest for afternoon programming, we will partner with the YMCA to bring in enrichment programming, like chess, STEM programming, etc., to help provide some after-school options for families. We will also offer free Solomon staffed programming (called "OST programming") for different grade levels a few days a week later in the fall. All before-school child care from the YMCA will be held in the Solomon lunchroom, and families can drop off their children at Door #6.

If you did not order the Teacher Tailored kits this past spring, then make sure you print out a supply list for your child's classroom and head over to the store. You can find the supply list on our website ( or you can click here.

This past spring and summer, our Local School Council approved Solomon's Dress Code policy, which can be found here. It is more or less a continuation of last year's policy, and we are grateful for Solomon's Student Voice Committee leading that initiative. Additionally, the LSC approved our school fee structure for the year. You can find the letter describing the fees and how they are used here. You can use the E-pay link to pay fees online, or you can stop by the Solomon main office to pay.

Please review the district's minimum health requirements for all students here.

In district updates:

  • Due to the national driver shortage impacting CPS, the projected travel time for students can be 90 minutes each way. Diverse learner families and students in temporary living situations have the option to opt to self-transport their child(ren) and receive $500 monthly. If you are interested this year in self-transportation, you are asked to complete the following forms: English and Spanish 
  • Every CPS student or staff member who wants to enroll in weekly testing this school year MUST complete a new consent form. Consents from last school year or this summer WILL NOT be valid for the 2022-23 school year. Parents or guardians can click here to complete this year’s consent form. Once consent is given for the 2022-23 school year, staff and students will remain consented until they leave CPS. Please refer to this guide if you need assistance in filling out the consent form. You will need your staff or student’s ID number to complete the form. Testing will begin the week of August 29. For the first week of school, starting August 22, each student and staff member will be given a take-home rapid COVID-19 test.
  • For students or staff that are unvaccinated and identified as a close contact this year, the district will be implementing a Test to Stay program for all district schools. If your child is identified as a close contact, you will receive an email from the district detailing your options with the Test to Stay program. When a description of the program is uploaded to the district website, I will share that information.
  • Please continue to read all district communications sent out to families, including the most recent one on August 5 regarding this year's COVID-19 Safety Protocols, so that you have the information you need to make decisions for your family.

More information, such as our daily entrance and exit information and introductions to our new staff, will start in next week's newsletter, so stay tuned!

Solomon Calendar
All Solomon community events can be found on our school Google Calendar, linked at the Solomon website,

A few of the important upcoming dates:

Tuesday, August 16: Solomon Pre-Kindergarten (Room 108) Play Date (Hollywood Park, 10-11am)

Tuesday, August 16: Solomon New Student Orientation (grades 1-8 only) (Solomon Lobby, 3-4pm)

Thursday, August 18: Solomon Open House and Supply Drop-off (all Solomon classrooms, 2:45-3:45)

Friday, August 19: Solomon Kindergarten (Room 105) Play Date (Solomon Playground, 9:30-10)

Monday, August 22: First Day of School for Students

Monday, September 5: Labor Day (no school for students or staff)
If you would like to receive this newsletter as an email, please email to be added to the list. If you would like to be removed from this newsletter, please click "Unsubscribe" below.