The Skokie Home Scoop - February 3, 2017 

 
Dear Skokie Families,

It is not uncommon for a Winnetka parent to remark to me in conversation how happy they are to raise their children in such a nice community.  There is much about our children's lives here that is idyllic, not only in that they are afforded the opportunity to attend some of the best schools in the country,  but that they are safe and welcome to play their own active role in the community.  Several times a week, I make the drive down Elm Street toward town and wave at students that I pass, on their way to the park, the Coffee Shop, the Book Stall or the toy shop.  Our Winnetka children have safe choices after school, and lots of family, friends and neighbors to support them.  As teachers (especially those that have the perspective of prior work in other districts), we notice that our children are open to learning, and able to articulate their deep thoughts and questions.  They are concerned about those not afforded the same opportunities that they are, and interested in hearing their stories.  Having grown up in Wilmette and attended New Trier myself, I don't think I became aware of just how fortunate I had been until I took my first teaching job in Southern California.  There I quickly took stock of that which I had, which so many are unable to even dream of.  It is a humbling realization.  

The Skokie School has historically been a school that values service learning, not only for the valuable, hands-on experience it provides for our students, but also for the insight it gives them into worlds outside their own hometown.  A big part of teaching from a service perspective is incorporating the practice of empathy and the importance of compassion.  For the last few years, our students have heard constant reference to the phrase, "Choose Kind."  We hold tight to that theme as middle school educators as these adolescent years are the natural time for children to seek acceptance and even test boundaries in doing so.  

I write about this today with concern as I see growing themes in our news and throughout social media that are often beyond the understanding of a 10 to 12 year old.  Now, (more than was the case when we were children) access to the media is easy, immediate and everywhere.  What has not changed is that the minds of our young children are hungry for information and they will absorb what they can, when they can, both for good and not so good.  Having recently lived through a school day entirely dedicated to service in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the idea of serving others, and living with empathy and tolerance is fresh in our students' minds.  I encourage you to take a moment this weekend to have a conversation with your fifth or sixth grader about the big, but important practices of empathy, tolerance, compassion and service and how very powerful they can be.  Our Winnetka students have proven time again that they are a rare breed of great talent and gift (due in no small part to our parents and teachers that make it so) that we see spread out into the world in countless ways.  The community they began in is one to be grateful for, and one that provides a foundation for perspective on how to spread its values of service and empathy beyond.

Please scroll down through today's edition of The Home Scoop to see additional resources that you may be interested in using as you plan for conversations with your child around these topics.  Thank you as always for your support and partnership.  

Enjoy the weekend with your families.
 
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!
_____________________________________________________________________
 
   
CAREER DAY 2017
Thank you to all of our generous community members who have shown interest in supporting our first ever "Career Day."  At this time, we have confirmed with 43 presenters for February 22, and students spent this week selecting their preferred sessions.  Click on the link to view those who are confirmed to present.  If you volunteered, but we were unable to confirm your time with us, we hope we can call on you again in the future and are grateful for your support of our students!

District News

Valuable Resources for Parents

We value your support in helping us reinforce messages that ensure all students and staff feel welcome and safe in our community.  

 The Teaching Tolerance Project offers the following tips for parents to facilitate conversations with children.

Model it. Talking to your child about the importance of embracing difference and treating others with respect is essential, but it's not enough. Your actions, both subtle and overt, are what she will emulate.
Acknowledge difference. Rather than teaching children that we are all the same, acknowledge the many ways people are different, and emphasize some of the positive aspects of our differences - language diversity and various music and cooking styles, for example. Likewise, be honest about instances, historical and current, when people have been mistreated because of their differences. Encourage your child to talk about what makes him different, and discuss ways that may have helped or hurt him at times. After that, finding similarities becomes even more powerful, creating a sense of common ground.

Challenge intolerance . If your child says or does something indicating bias or prejudice, don't meet the action with silence. Silence indicates acceptance, and a simple command - "Don't say that" - is not enough. First try to find the root of the action or comment: "What made you say that about Sam?" Then, explain why the action or comment was unacceptable.

Seize teachable moments . Look for everyday activities that can serve as springboards for discussion. School-age children respond better to lessons that involve real-life examples than to artificial or staged discussions about issues. For example, if you're watching TV together, talk about why certain groups often are portrayed in stereotypical roles.
Emphasize the positive . Just as you should challenge your child's actions if they indicate bias or prejudice, it's important to praise him for behavior that shows respect and empathy for others. Catch your child treating people kindly, let her know you noticed, and discuss why it's a desirable behavior.

Additional resources to help parents discuss the important issue of tolerance can be found at

Whether or not you were able to attend the New Trier Township Family Engagement Night, Screenagers: Growing up in the Digital Age, on January 31, here is a resource from the creators of Screenagers intended to support families in finding balancing in their tech-filled worlds.

Parent Resources to Support Conversations on Tolerance
We value your support in helping us reinforce messages that ensure all students and staff feel welcome and safe in our community.   The Teaching Tolerance Project offers the following tips for parents to facilitate conversations with children.

Winnetka Parents Institute Opportunities

Parents as First Teachers: How to Cultivate the Whole Child
Thursday, February 9, 2017
7:00 p.m.
Carleton Washburne School, Little Theater
Family Action Network presents Parents as First Teachers: How to Cultivate the Whole Child
, an opportunity to learn about best practices for supporting your child's creativity, persistence, resilience, and emotional engagement. The discussion is moderated by Superintendent Trisha Kocanda and Liza Sullivan, Executive Director of The Alliance for Early Childhood and FAN's Early Childhood Chair Panelists including Judy Harris Helm, Founder of Best Practices, Inc.; Amanda Moreno, Assistant Professor at Erikson Institute; Laura Reischel, Arts and Cultural Engagement Specialist at Chicago Children's Museum; Jennifer Rosina, President of Kid Links Unlimited, Inc.; and Hedda Sharapan, PNC Senior Fellow at The Fred Rogers Center.

Learning About Erin's Law : Sexual Abuse Prevention Education
Monday,  February 13, 2017
7:00 p.m.
Carleton Washburne Resource Center
This WPI event that will outline Erin's Law ; an Illinois law that mandates public schools to implement age appropriate sexual assault and abuse awareness and prevention curriculum for grades K-12 (School Board 6:60, Curricular Content). The District is partnering with the Zacharias Sexual Abuse Center to share information regarding Erin's Law and how best to provide age-appropriate curriculum to our students.  District school social workers will also be present at this event to provide samples of curricular materials and to address any questions that parents may have at this time. It is our intention to share the curriculum with students in March of this school year, where students will learn among their classmates in their classrooms.  Instruction will be provided by our school social workers.  It is anticipated that curricular sessions regarding Erin's Law will be offered once annually and will not exceed 30 minutes in length.   Please RSVP here:
Featuring Emily Butler Smith Teachers College, Columbia University
Friday, March 3, 2017
9:00 a.m.- 11:00 a.m.
Hubbard Woods School
Targeted for parents of students in grades three through five.
How do I know if my child is 'getting it?' How can I support upper grade reading development at home? This workshop will help you to consider the books your children are reading and the ways you can support their comprehension of these texts. You will learn about the typical ways that texts become more complicated and the ways that readers' thinking needs to become increasingly sophisticated, as well. You'll also learn about ways you can support your child's progress through authentic conversations at home. The event is facilitated by District 36 staff and features guest speaker Emily Butler Smith, Associate Director for Professional Development , at the Teachers College, Columbia University.
To RSVP, visit
The Department of Student Services will be holding early childhood screenings in March 2017, with registration on February 24, 2017. If you are a Winnetka resident and have any concerns about your child's development in the areas of speech, language, coordination, hearing, vision, learning readiness, or emotional maturity, you are encouraged to register your child for an early childhood screening. The intent of the screening is to identify children who may have delays in their development and may require specific supports to address these delays. To be eligible for this screening, your child must be at least three years old. Click
full information about the registration process and screening dates.

Students Involved in Technology Conference (SIT)

SIT is a great opportunity for your child to learn from their peers or to step into a leadership role by sharing their expertise.  Space is limited and registration is accepted on a first come, first served basis.   For more information visit www.sitconference.org

Enrollment Balancing Project News
At the January 24, 2017, Board Meeting, the School Board unanimously approved the Board Advisory Committee's recommendation that All Crow Island Kindergarten students attend another District school . This will be effective starting with the 2017-2018 school year. This Phase I solution for the Enrollment Balancing Project is expected to be in place for one to two years as the Board identifies a long-term Phase II solution to address imbalanced enrollment.

The District is working to provide logistical information to Kindergarten families, especially those who live in the Crow Island attendance area, by February 24, 2017. The District is dedicated to collaborating with all families to ensure that our youngest learners are familiar with their new school environments in preparation for a positive Kindergarten experience.


Parents as First Teachers: How to Cultivate the Whole Child
Thursday, February 9, 2017
7:00 p.m.
Carleton Washburne School, Little Theater
Family Action Network presents Parents as First Teachers: How to Cultivate the Whole Child , an opportunity to learn about best practices for supporting your child's creativity, persistence, resilience, and emotional engagement. The discussion is moderated by Superintendent Trisha Kocanda and Liza Sullivan, Executive Director of The Alliance for Early Childhood and FAN's Early Childhood Chair Panelists including Judy Harris Helm, Founder of Best Practices, Inc.; Amanda Moreno, Assistant Professor at Erikson Institute; Laura Reischel, Arts and Cultural Engagement Specialist at Chicago Children's Museum; Jennifer Rosina, President of Kid Links Unlimited, Inc.; and Hedda Sharapan, PNC Senior Fellow at The Fred Rogers Center.

Learning About Erin's Law: Sexual Abuse Prevention Education
Monday,  February 13, 2017
7:00 p.m.
Carleton Washburne Resource Center
This WPI event that will outline Erin's Law ; an Illinois law that mandates public schools to implement age appropriate sexual assault and abuse awareness and prevention curriculum for grades K-12 (School Board 6:60, Curricular Content). The District is partnering with the Zacharias Sexual Abuse Center to share information regarding Erin's Law and how best to provide age-appropriate curriculum to our students.  District school social workers will also be present at this event to provide samples of curricular materials and to address any questions that parents may have at this time. It is our intention to share the curriculum with students in March of this school year, where students will learn among their classmates in their classrooms.  Instruction will be provided by our school social workers.  It is anticipate that curricular sessions regarding Erin's Law will be offered once annually and will not exceed 30 minutes in length.   Please RSVP here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc4wi-lANeilouGUZegVcj1fYow1s1z_mGa7tBXydRqc-QG0Q/viewform

Reading: The Home-School Connection for Younger Readers
Featuring Emily Butler Smith Teachers College, Columbia University
Friday, March 3, 2017
9:00 a.m.- 11:00 a.m.
Hubbard Woods School
Targeted for parents of students in grades three through five.
How do I know if my child is 'getting it?' How can I support upper grade reading development at home? This workshop will help you to consider the books your children are reading and the ways you can support their comprehension of these texts. You will learn about the typical ways that texts become more complicated and the ways that readers' thinking needs to become increasingly sophisticated, as well. You'll also learn about ways you can support your child's progress through authentic conversations at home. The event is facilitated by District 36 staff and features guest speaker Emily Butler Smith, Associate Director for Professional Development , at the Teachers College, Columbia University. To RSVP, visit https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfCJtrYoMNQWEhjmuDQydMfYiLET0hgyPAZqtxBNPIRdCp9SA/viewform

Early Childhood Screening
The Department of Student Services will be holding early childhood screenings in March 2017, with registration on February 24, 2017. If you are a Winnetka resident and have any concerns about your child's development in the areas of speech, language, coordination, hearing, vision, learning readiness, or emotional maturity, you are encouraged to register your child for an early childhood screening. The intent of the screening is to identify children who may have delays in their development and may require specific supports to address these delays. To be eligible for this screening, your child must be at least three years old. Click https://docs.google.com/document/d/1nnmuZ5NCfX0dZY711zHC97ST0YeMHqIW5LrN-FDESvE/edit?usp=sharing for full information about the registration process and screening dates.

Students Involved in Technology Conference (SIT)
The Students Involved with Technology Conference (SIT) on February 11, 2017, is an annual conference for 3rd through 12th grade students. What makes the conference unique is that it is completely presented by students for students with adult volunteers from local schools and the community to help the day run smoothly.  

SIT is a great opportunity for your child to learn from their peers or to step into a leadership role by sharing their expertise.  Space is limited and registration is accepted on a first come, first served basis.   For more information visit www.sitconference.org .
 

Skokie Calendar
**********************
  February 9 & 10
      NO SCHOOL 
Conference & Reportin g
 
Replies to this email will be sent directly to Kelly Tess.

If you would like other family members to receive The Skokie School Home Scoop please hit reply.

Please note that by adding names to the The Skokie School Home Scoop  mailing list you are not updating any other mailing lists including your child's emergency contact information.  

If you unsubscribe from this email you will not receive important school information and your address will be deleted from all District electronic newsletter lists.

Please contact School Secretary, Rachel Owen, at 847-441-1750 to make changes to your child's records 
or if you have questions about other email lists.
 Like us on Facebook   Follow us on Twitter   View on Instagram   View our videos on YouTube   Find us on Google+