Dear Winnetka Families,

Last Tuesday night, Dr. Lisa Damour gave a webinar entitled, Managing Stress, Anxiety, and Parenting Under Covid-19 .  This was sponsored by the Family Action Network and New Trier High School. Roughly 1,800 people joined, so perhaps you took part as well. Below are a number of key takeaways from the webinar. While we all have years of experience in education, we share these thoughts as fellow parents also striving to manage the quarantine and its effect on our families, children's learning, and personal health.

Managing Anxiety
  • Don't overestimate the danger you fear or underestimate your ability to deal with it.
  • Stress and anxiety are normal and healthy, as they help us adapt. Stress and anxiety, however, can reach unhealthy levels. When they do, wrap yourself in your support system. 

Parenting under Covid-19 Pressures
  • Children and teens are resilient, and these unprecedented times may actually nurture growth in resiliency. 
  • Model how you want your child to think about a situation. Is this the end of the world, or will we get past this?  Is this horrible, or just an inconvenience? Children read adults' cues, especially as they look for guidance on how to manage this novel situation. 
  • It is beneficial to focus on "buffering" chronic stress through seeking breaks and planning for fun activities.
  • Make things predictable; regular start time, lunch time, etc., whenever possible, can be beneficial.
  • Offer independence where possible. This is incredibly important and helps children feel in control and a sense of accomplishment. Their self-esteem is reliant on this. When they have jobs around the house they know their family needs them. When we trust them they know they are trustworthy. Dr. Damour suggests giving them a space to be "in charge."

Handling a Meltdown in 9, yes 9, easy steps! 
(It hopefully won't take all 9 but they are there if you need them!)
  1. Listen without interrupting
  2. Offer sincere empathy
  3. Validate distress
  4. Support positive coping (see below)
  5. Express non-dismissive confidence ("This is hard, but I know you can handle it.")
  6. Offer to help problem-solve (offer is the key word here- do not jump to this step until you have completed 1-5)
  7. Divide the problem into categories: things that can change and things that can't
  8. Brainstorm solutions to those that can change
  9. Support acceptance of what cannot

Positive Coping Strategies for All
We as adults must do these things for ourselves in order to protect our children. We can ask ourselves and our children, "What do you need to do to feel better?"
  • Alternative means of social connection
  • Happy distractions (a book, painting, family movie time, etc.)
  • Self-care (mental, physical, spiritual)
  • Caring for others
  • Following the Golden Rule, but also in reverse: treat yourself as you would treat a friend

A question was asked about reassuring a child if a parent is a front line worker (or just going out in public). Dr. Damour stressed the importance of honesty and the need to find "the lyrics and the tune." Be honest. For example, "I take every precaution at work because I know it is important for my health." Most importantly, we need to avoid promising what we cannot deliver. That is the lyrics part. For the tune, keep upbeat, positive, and confident. Our children pick up on our subtle messages. As parents, our stress and anxieties can feed children's stress and anxieties.

Lastly, we took comfort in Dr. Damour's reassurance that it is normal to struggle with our mental health at this time. How we are personally coping will be important for ourselves and our children. There is no shame in the struggle as it is part of the human condition.

We appreciate the tremendous amount of effort our students, families, and community have placed into managing shelter-in-place restrictions, and we hope you find some of these notes as beneficial as we did.


Beth Carmody, Hubbard Woods
Andrew Fenton, Carleton Washburne
Julie Pfeffer, Crow Island
Joshua Swanner, Greeley
Betty Weir, Skokie

From the Greeley Office
Dear Greeley Parents and  Students,

Mr. Schreiber and I wanted to say hello to everyone and let you know how much we miss you all.  Our mornings used to begin with 270 happy, smiling, laughing children walking in the doors to Greeley which always brightened our day.  Morning is much quieter now!   

We hope that eLearning is going well for you.  We can imagine that it's quite different from what you are used to.  We are also working remotely from our homes and have had to get used to new technology and new ways of doing things.  Sometimes it's great and sometimes it's hard!

It's important to keep doing what we've all been doing since March, even though it's not always fun.  We can't wait until we can see all of you again!  Keep up the good work!


Mr. Schreiber and Mrs. Jenner


Monday, May 11, 2020 Grey Day 
On Monday, May 11, 2020, we will have our next District-wide Grey Day with a Celebration of the Arts.  We hope that this will be a fun day for students to sing, dance, play an instrument, paint a picture, or find other ways to express their creativity.  

A guide of activities for this day organized by grade level bands is available with further instructions here: 

Parent Education Opportunity 
Lost Experiences: Coping with Disappointments During COVID-19
When: May 11, 2020 7:30 PM Central Time (via Zoom)

Description: We're in the midst of something that no one living has ever experienced, and it comes with many different challenges. For parents, one of the challenges is the disappointment and concern over our children's lost experiences. We feel helpless with every canceled camp or event. We are upset by how unfair it is for them, and for us. Join Molly Pope, school psychologist and mental health consultant, to build your toolbox as parents to support your children now, and in times to come. and in times to come.  This event is co-sponsored due to the generous support of The Winnetka Public Schools Foundation.

Register in advance for this webinar:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.  Registration is capped at 500, and this webinar will be recorded for future viewing.

Remote Learning Schedule May and June

Social and Emotional Learning Resources
The Winnetka Public Schools  social workers have compiled some new resources for you (updated weekly.) Included in these resources this week is a video message on stress management from Beth Martin, Director of Student Services. You can access additional information on our Family Resources webpage, which we will continue to update.

2020-2021 Online Registration for new and returning students begins this month
Registration information for next year will be sent via regular mail and email. Look for these materials in your mailbox and inbox. Once you receive this information, you may contact District Registrar, Carolin Huh, at 847-446-9400 or, if you have any registration questions, or did not receive notification.  Registration should be completed and submitted by June 30.  

All students entering the sixth grade are required to submit a Certificate of Health Examination and Proof of a School Dental Examination. Incoming second graders must submit Proof of a School Dental Examination. Both are due before the first day of school and must be dated after August 26, 2019. Please schedule your child's doctor appointments now and return the forms before the end of this school year if possible.

Right at School: Before- & After-School Care Program: Parents interested in before and/or after-school care will have an opportunity to attend a Right at School Parent Information Meeting on Monday, May 18 from 7-8 p.m   Details are included here.  

OnDeck Remote! Is open....
OnDeck Remote! is meeting Mondays - Fridays from 3:00 - 3:30 p.m. Click here to sign up.

For Parents of Incoming 5th Graders
In place of our usual 5th Grade Orientation Night, please access this presentation to help you and your child learn more about The Skokie School. The presentation contains a combination of audio and video clips that will provide you with helpful information as you prepare for your child's transition to Skokie. We suggest you find ~30 minutes to sit down with your child and review this presentation together. 

Within the presentation, you will find a link to provide placement input for the 2020-2021 school year. The link to the placement form is included here  for your convenience.

Inquiries Regarding School Access
Schools have been receiving questions from parents to access our school buildings for student belongings and materials. Due to the seriousness of the COVID-19 situation and in accordance with the Stay-at-Home Order issued by Governor Pritzker, we are limiting public access to our school buildings at this time. We will be able to help facilitate the pick up of student items when the Stay-at-Home Order is lifted. Our first priority is supporting our public officials in taking measures that help protect the collective safety of our community. 

Dates to Remember  



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