The Skokie Home Scoop - December 16, 2016

Dear Skokie Families,

Just looking at the faces of our students entering the building this week, there is an added spark, a twinkle of something like magic, an extra hop in their step.  This week, when classrooms celebrate together, anticipating the holidays and a long winter break, excitement is high and our children are children.  The holidays bring with them a hurried pace and a flurry of activity, but there is always energy in the air with the first snow, visiting family and friends, parties and lights.  In the spirit of that magic, I wanted to re-publish a letter I wrote two years ago, and wish you all a happy holiday season...

In 1857, a little girl named Virginia O'Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of The New York Daily News.  You may know it as the "Yes, Virginia" letter.  She wrote it in the wake of cynicism from her friends, looking for as big a confirmation as she could find that Santa Claus exists.  She chose wisely, as the response she received lives on today (Google: "yes Viriginia letter", and you'll see what I mean), and inspired me to write this week's newsletter. 
Dear Carleton,
Over seventy years ago, your desk chair was perched in the same spot where mine is today.  You were in the midst of your final year as Superintendent of The Winnetka Public Schools, having seen through your final vision of Crow Island School.  Resting on my desktop sit three of your many published works, and I often wonder if you're keeping watch over a place you believed in so greatly, and wrote of so prolifically.  In the spirit of believing, I write you now, from a future you never saw, to affirm for you that yes, Carleton, there is a Skokie School.  It lives on ninety-six years after ground was first broken for its foundation, and is as alive with the voices of hundreds of Winnetka children who benefit from the dedication of their impassioned teachers as it was when you walked its halls.
The Skokie School is as realized a dream as its founders had hoped, fueling the curiosity of middle school children, and affirming that their voice truly matters.  Despite years of change, its walls remain largely untouched, and its motto of "Skokie Serves" continues on in the philanthropic projects the students see through each year.  Winnetka Parents are as dedicated to dynamic education as they were in your time, and show their generosity not only in gift, but with their time, attention, and acknowledgement.  They believe, like you did, that school should be a place to explore, to question, and to grow.
Our teachers reflect deeply and seek to grow each and every day, in an effort to give their students the opportunities that will shape them for a lifetime.  While the years that have passed may have brought with them new expectations, the heart of progressive education still beats beneath the Skokie roof with a pulse that is steady and firm.  Yes, Carleton, there is a Skokie School.  It stands tall between Oak and Elm, and is filled with people who enter its doors each day with a dedication to public schooling, and act as a living memory to those who saw to its construction. 
With that, I wish you all the magic of the season, and a restful two weeks with your family and friends. Stay healthy, warm, and safe in your travels.  We all look forward to seeing you back in 2017.
Most Sincerely,
Kelly Tess

WANT A QUICK WAY TO GET PICTURES AND UPDATES FROM SKOKIE? FOLLOW SKOKIE ON TWITTER @skokie36  Use #lookforthes and tweet @skokie36 with pictures or messages of service!
A Note to Students and Parents...
We have seen a tremendous increase in tardy arrivals in the last week with 50 tardy students on Wednesday and 41 on Friday.  With the cold weather settling in and snow on the way, we ask that families do what they can to make sure students are arriving to school on time.  When the temperatures fall below a windchill of 15 degrees, we make sure to open the building early so that no students are left waiting outside for the 8:10 bell to ring.  Thank you for your help with this matter.


Please Turn In Your Grand Receipts

This holiday give our school a gift that doesn't cost a thing! Please remember to turn in your  2016 Grand  Food Center  Receipts  to support the Skokie-Washburne PTO, as well as The  Grand , our fabulous local grocery store. We need to turn in all receipts for 2016 by January 6, 2017so please bring them in as soon as possible, so that we can total and submit them to The Grand.
Please drop off your Grand receipts in the colorfully wrapped boxes labeled "Grand receipts" located in lobby of each school.  The Grand generously donates 3% of the pre-tax amount to the PTO on each receipt collected from their Winnetka or Glencoe stores. Thank you!

Enrollment Balancing Project - Update & Reminder
If you have not yet attended a community Input Session, there will be another opportunity to review models under consideration by the Board Advisory Committee for Phase I of the Enrollment Balancing Project on the following date:

Thursday, January 5, 2017
7:00-9:00 p.m.
Carleton Washburne School

To monitor the progress of the Enrollment Balancing Project, visit the District's website:
Additionally, there is an opportunity to share your comments and suggestion at any time via

Winnetka Parents Institute

Principals Kanne and Tess hosted "Not Quite Little Kid, Not Quite Teenager: The Developmental Progression of the Middle School Child" last week. If you missed it, here is a video on the session, which focused on the academic and social-emotional needs appropriate to 5th-8th grade children, how they change over that four year span, as well as the neurological changes that contribute to these needs.  

Upcoming opportunities:

How Kids Learn in an Interest-Driven STEAM Environment
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
9:30-10:30 a.m.
Carleton Washburne School, N102

Students in our Innovative Technology elective at Washburne will be using FUSE, an interest-driven STEAM learning environment designed by researchers and educators at Northwestern University. At this Winnetka Parents Institute talk, you'll have a chance to learn more about FUSE and the goals of the research from Dr. Reed Stevens, the principal investigator, and Peter Meyerhoff, the doctoral candidate who will be on site teaching and learning with us.  

From our partner, The Alliance for Early Childhood:

5 Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Kids Do: Strategies to Empower and Authentically Engage Your Children
Friday, January 20, 2017
9:30-11:00 a.m.
Church of the Holy Comforter (222 Kenilworth Ave, Kenilworth, IL 60043)
FREE EVENT | Open to the Public
Join Gever Tulley, founder of Tinkering School and Brightworks (San Francisco), and author of Fifty Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Children Do) and Dangerism !   Gever will share 5 dangerous things you should let your kids do - and why a little danger is good for both kids and grownups.  Gever's work has shown that through play, risk-taking, tinkering, and solving real problems, children develop responsibility, and strengthen their innate curiosity and desire to learn.  Parents will come away with exciting and empowering ways that children can explore the world around them.  For more information about Gever Tulley, visit .    

Skokie Calendar
December 19 - January 2 
Winter Break 
Tuesday, January 3 
School Resumes

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