Edgeville Buzz

Peirce Elementary Principal Joins Elite CPS Program To Help Advance The School

Helen C. Peirce School’s Lorainne Zaimi has joined an elite group of 98 high-performing Chicago Public School (CPS) principals in order to better lead the school and focus on the specific needs of its students.

Introduced by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Public Schools, the Independent Schools Principals (ISP) program introduced its first principals into the program in 2016 which includes Goudy Elementary’s Pamela Brandt. Zaimi will join the program starting this school year with 11 other school leaders throughout Chicago.

The ISP program gives select high-performing principals minimal CPS oversight allowing them the benefit of additional independence in order to lead their schools. The move will give Peirce School increased flexibility with budget and purchasing as well as the ability to share ideas with others in the program.

Relatively new to the principal ranks, Zaimi has used CPS network support through the past few years to help expand her expertise on such issues as literacy, social emotional learning and school leadership. She used those skills to build a strong foundation at Peirce and finally felt comfortable enough to apply for the ISP program.

“Given that the principals job is complex and there is only so much time in a school day to meet the many demands of the job, I found that the ISP program gives me the autonomy to determine where my time needs to be spent to better prioritize the needs of Peirce,” Zaimi told EVB. “I like the ability to create my own professional development track, collaborate with other high performing principals to push my learning and not focus on compliance related issues which will not move my school forward.”

With every CPS school having its own individual needs, sometimes specific priorities do not always align with network or district priorities. The greater autonomy will give Zaimi the opportunity to focus on school-related priorities as outlined in Peirce’s CIWP (Continuous Improvement Work Plan) in order to help move student learning forward.

According to Zaimi, the ISP status also helps to further develop Peirce School’s IB (International Baccalaureate) program as they continue their partnership with Senn High School.

“The ISP recognizes that Peirce is a great neighborhood school,” Zaimi added. “It recognizes the work of our teachers and administration and indicates that there are good things happening at the school. Through our IB program, we have a strong focus on the arts, inclusion, restorative practices, equity, differentiated learning and the desire to push ourselves as teachers, administrators, students and parents to always want what is good for our school.”

Raised in Edgewater and currently an area resident, Zaimi is personally invested in both Peirce School and the Edgewater community. In fact, her daughter is also a student at the school.

“I could not be prouder to be the principal of Peirce,” Zaimi said.  “The community has always supported the school. Our parents, alderman, community members and local businesses have always supported our initiatives. We are able to offer programs after school, during school and the summer because of the support that we receive.  This does not happen everywhere, but it happens in Edgewater.”




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