The Skokie Home Scoop

Dear Skokie Families,

This week the Skokie and Washburne choral groups came together for a holiday concert.  It was incredibly well-attended and a fantastic way to kick off the coming winter break.  I enjoyed the opportunity to sit with my fellow middle school administrators and listen to our talented students perform.  For the last few years, Skokie has adopted the song "Always Sing." The lyrics invite you to rise up above the complications that arise in life, and use your voice. 
"When you start to think that maybe you don't have a voice.
Go on and let your feet stomp
Till your heartbeat feels that beat drop.
Yeah, you just gotta stand up and make some noise."

Their spirited young voices moved many in the audience!  Thank you to Ms. Balkin and Ms. Schroer for putting together a fantastic concert!  (You'll notice Ms. Weir talk about it in her AP Corner this week too!)

One of the reasons why Winnetka is so incredibly special is because of its high level of dedication to its schools.  Our parents are invested in every way, ready to support our teachers and students in the interest of providing them with the best possible experience.  Our community is well connected, integrated with each other in working to ensure that our schools, neighborhoods, places of worship, business and recreation are safe, healthy and alive.  Despite that, even the strongest communities will find themselves in moments of challenge. Earlier this week, I shared a message with you regarding a shift in staffing at Skokie. This particular instance does not need to be one that interrupts our school community, as it is one that was addressed swiftly by our administrative team, with the added support of our Winnetka Police Department.  Our decision to partner with the Winnetka Police Department was one made in the interest of covering all bases, ensuring that we were not overlooking any detail. We continue to field questions from parents regarding rumors that are circulating. If you have specific questions about the staffing change or the events of this week, please contact me or Dr. Kocanda directly. Our goal is to ensure our learning environment is no longer disrupted by information that is inaccurate and upsetting.  The best information comes from the Administration directly. We pride ourselves in being an active partner to our parents and can only do so successfully when you engage with us.

Please enjoy the time together with your families this weekend.  It is a festive and exciting time, with one week until break! We look forward to seeing everyone back at school on Monday.

Most Sincerely,

Kelly Tess

#beatree  #everybodyin

This year's Home Scoop will feature the "AP Corner," giving our Assistant Principal, Betty Weir, an opportunity to share information each week. You can follow Betty on Twitter at @BettyWeirEdu.

On Wednesday evening, I had the pleasure of attending the Skokie/Washburne chorus concert. As our students took the stage, they walked with an extra spring in their step, like they knew they were about to be a part of something special. The joy they were feeling on the inside was apparent as I watched them sing their hearts out.
The final song the students performed was called "Always Sing." I loved watching the students bob along to the rhythm as they sang the lyrics:
"We're all microphones
With songs all of our own
And everywhere we go
They know who we are
Cause we know who we are"
It was a beautiful paradox to see the children singing about owning who they are as an individuals, while at the same time harmonizing with each other to make beautiful music. And this made me think about the work we do with our students at Skokie.
We encourage students to get to know themselves as learners and as people. As our middle schoolers are getting more independent, we support them in understanding their strengths, challenges, likes, and dislikes. We want to help them all discover that song of their own, that drives them and inspires them.
At the same time, we invest a great deal of time in giving students collaborative experiences. We coach them on how to work with one another, hear each other's voices, respectfully challenge each other, and come to agreements. Just as we want them to discover their own song, we also seek to find a harmony with each other. This allows us to create a safe learning environment and encourages the children to show respect and kindness to others, even if their songs might be a bit different than our own.
Thank you to the Skokie chorus and to Ms. Balkin and Ms. Schroer for inspiring this reflection! Students: you lit up the stage and made me feel your joy. Always sing!

Coffee and Conversation with your Middle School Principals--

We hope you will consider joining joining us on Friday, January 18 morning at 9:30am in the Curriculum Office Conference Room at Washburne for an informal, but guided conversation around social media and adolescents. This is a great opportunity to connect with your neighbors across the district and hear from your middle school administrators on a topic we all face in raising our middle school children. We hope to see you join us for a great conversation.

District News

Update on Educational Master Facility Plan (EMFP): Future Ready D36
Future Ready D36 (EMFP) Update-Recap of School Board Work Session on December 10

On December 10, 2018, the School Board finalized priority facilities projects for a spring 2019 referendum and reviewed total cost and associated tax impacts to address needs and components of the long-range Educational Master Facility Plan (EMFP).

Supported by Dr. Trisha Kocanda, Superintendent, and members from Pepper Construction and DLR Group. the Board reviewed major projects identified for each school along with requested reductions to the gym addition and renovation options in lieu of a new library resource center (addition), both at Crow Island. The proposed projects would cost approximately $100.6 million.

In consultation with Tammie Beckwith Schallmo and Bob Lewis of PMA Securities, Inc., the Board confirmed financing assumptions and the intention to use $10 million dollars of reserves from the General Fund to offset the total project cost and reduce the overall tax impact to District residents. If approved by the community, the proposed facilities plan would increase taxes over the current bond obligation-tax levy by approximately $276 annually per $1 million of property value.

In preparation for approving ballot resolutions at the December 18, 2018 School Board Meeting, Board members reviewed draft ballot resolution language as presented by Anjali Vij, bond counsel from Chapman and Cutler LLP. Ballot resolutions must be approved no later than January 14, 2019 in order to meet required deadlines for an April 2, 2019 election.

Mr. Steve Richart of HLERK, LLP, provided a legal perspective on permitted and prohibited referenda campaign actions and law that supports specific activity and obligation to inform the electorate in advance of any referendum.

Ms. Kate Hughes, Communications Coordinator, was joined by referenda communication specialist, Jill Huskisson, providing a summary of communications and outreach initiatives that will be finalized following Board approval of resolutions. The Plan calls for fact-based materials and broad community opportunity to learn about the proposed facilities plan beginning in mid-January.  

Mr. Goldstein concluded the meeting with a review of the Architect Request For Qualification (RFQ) and timeline. He thanked community architects and advisors for providing review of the RFQ and guidance to the process that will be used to select a firm(s) by April 2019.

For comprehensive facilities planning information, upcoming meeting dates, and FAQs please visit .

Please take a moment to read this letter , which went out to D36 families on Friday, Nov. 30. A webpage dedicated to Redistricting has been launched and will be updated regularly: .

Winter MAP Testing
We are approaching our second testing window for the Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) test, which will take place between January 14 - 25, 2018 .  Your child's school or teacher will inform you of his or her specific testing dates.

Similar to the fall, all students  in Grades 3 - 8 will take one Reading Test and one Math test.   MAP is a computer-adaptive test, which means every student receives a unique set of test questions based on responses to previous questions.  This provides a personalized assessment experience by adapting to each student's learning level. The purpose of the second testing session is to provide teachers with midyear progress data that will help inform their instruction as they move forward into the school year. Student Reports are sent home at the end of the school year with fall to spring growth measures. Additional information on the MAP assessment may be found on our district website at .

Kindergarten Registration
Kindergarten pre-registration for 2019-2020 is now open. Children who will be five-years-old on or before September 1, 2019, are eligible to enroll. The District's Kindergarten Committee and Central PTO unanimously approved shifting to an online process versus an on-site process. This shift minimizes the time needed to pre-register and respects the busy schedules of our families.  

The Registration process is completed in two steps:
  1. Complete an online pre-registration form
  2. Provide proof of residency (documents can be uploaded online): child(ren)'s original birth certificate and a parent photo ID will need to be provided in person. Opportunities to do so will be made available in Spring 2019. The  list of documents that will meet these requirements is here:
If you have any questions, please contact the District Office at 847-446-9400 .

Winnetka Public Schools Foundation Annual Report
The District is incredibly grateful for the generosity of the Winnetka Public Schools Foundation. The Foundation's Board is committed to raising funds that enable District 36 to go above and beyond what is possible with tax dollars alone. Please review the 2017-2018 Annual Report to learn how Foundation grants support innovation in our schools :

Thank you, Winnetka Public Schools Foundation, for the incredible opportunities you continue to provide for our students!

Dates to Note 

Trimester I Progress Reports Mailed Home This Week!

Winter Break Begins
Upon Dismissal--
Friday, December 21

Return from Winter Break
Monday, January 7
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