There are several special events celebrated throughout the year that have become traditions at CAOS. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CAOS traditions may be celebrated differently or canceled to keep everyone safe. Specific details about COVID-19 safety measures will be shared following a typical description of the event.
Meet and Greet
Times are allocated in the days before school starts for families to come to the school, drop off their school supplies, meet their teacher and other CAOS staff. Due to COVID, this event has been shifted to the garden and pictures/ videos of the learning areas was shared with families.
Typically held on the last day of school before Halloween, small groups of students parade through Carle departments sharing smiles and words of greeting with the staff and patients they pass. Due to COVID, this event has been shifted to a shorter parade through the ECHO Building. Families were invited to pass out candy, masked and socially distanced, in the garden.
Taste of Thanksgiving
Traditionally held on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, this holiday feast begins around noon and ends by 2 p.m. The school and area businesses provide the main course and sides, including turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, green bean casserole, whole kernel corn, bread or rolls, lemonade and water. Families are asked to sign up to provide desserts. The children take turns sharing what they’re thankful for using the school intercom. Families are able to purchase two tickets for a nominal fee to participate in this event. Additional tickets may be available, depending upon the number of students enrolled. Due to COVID, 2020’s celebration was held on a smaller scale with individual classrooms cooking up small portions of holiday favorites to enjoy together on the last day of school before Thanksgiving break.
The timing of this event varies from year to year but it always falls sometime between December and February. Traditionally, the students are dropped off at the school at their typical time. A parent education session is held at 9:15 a.m., with the program immediately following. Topics such as literacy, media safety and executive function have been presented during this session. The performance tends to last about 30 minutes and features individual classes, grade levels and school-wide performances. Families are invited to join the students for a brief snack following the program. The students will head back to the school by 11 a.m. Due to COVID, 2020’s winter program has been canceled.
The walkathon is held on a Wednesday in May at a park in Urbana. Staff and families set up the event prior to the students’ arrival. The children ride shuttles/Caring Place bus to the park. Students are divided into groups with each group donning a team colored cape to embark on their Walkathon adventure. We invite parents to help chaperone and participate in this event, which lasts a little more than an hour. Parent chaperones/participants are incorporated into the groups to help supervise, photograph and engage in activities with the children. Children may walk back to the school or catch a pre-arranged shuttle. Staff and family members will clean up and help transport materials back to the school once the children depart.
Each child that participates will receive a free youth size CAOS Walkathon t-shirt. These shirts are a small part of our fundraiser and a huge part of raising awareness of our program and creating a sense of community within the school. The children are invited to wear these shirts every Wednesday in May. Children who wear the t-shirt on a Wednesday in May have their names entered into weekly prize drawings. The winning name is selected during morning announcements on Fridays and the winners receive a superhero-themed prize.
Due to COVID, this year's event will be held on the sidewalks, playgrounds and gardens surrounding the school. Each classroom will move through the Walkathon course as a small group and parent participation will be limited to ensure student safety.
The Spring Celebration is our final school-wide performance of the school year. This celebration is typically held at the Forum at Carle from 10 a.m. until about noon. The children are dismissed directly from the Forum and no after care is available following the program. Mark your calendars for this one because each student is showcased in a video vignette, as well as classroom, grade level and school wide performances. This festive gathering celebrates the learning and accomplishments of all of our students. Students who are in kindergarten and Primary grades prepare and deliver speeches in front of the appreciative audiences as well. For students who are deaf and hard of hearing and graduating from CAOS, we show clips from their years at the school to celebrate their growth and development, and send them off on the next chapter of their lives. This can be an emotional experience for families and staff as well. Following the celebration, children and families gather for snacks in the Forum lobby. You are welcome to invite your whole family to this event – we have plenty of room! Due to COVID, 2020’s celebration was held outdoors at the Harvest Moon Drive-In and was limited to the speeches from students in the Primary classes. The event was recorded and shared with all CAOS families. A decision hasn’t yet been made about the 2021 graduation/spring celebration.