The Skokie Home Scoop

Dear Skokie Families,


A few newsletters ago, I highlighted several spring events that we are looking forward to co-hosting with our neighbors at Washburne School!  One of these began as a Skokie tradition that we are now opening up to our entire Winnetka Community this year.  Five years ago, The Skokie School was seeking ways to bring our greater school community in to connect with our building and staff.  One of the ways we accomplished this was with the start of a 5K Run/Walk.  Each year it has grown in popularity, so much so that this year we are working with the race company Carpe Diem, and expanding the race to invite families in all 5 schools to participate.  


This year's race, The Winnetka D36 Jungle Jog, will take place on Saturday, March 16.   It has been aptly named for our variety of school animal mascots! The race will begin at the Winnetka Train Station and make a 5K out and back loop via the Green Bay Trail.  Proceeds from registration will benefit The Live Like Leah Foundation, a cause near and dear to our hearts as its founder is Ms. Shannon Anderson, one of our beloved teachers.  As a race participant, you will receive an official Jungle Jog t-shirt and the opportunity to come together as a community for a fun, outdoor event.  Being that the race is adjacent to St. Patrick's Day, we encourage participants to come to the race in festive attire:  costumes, face paint, signs, etc.  This is a Run/Walk, so strollers are welcome and all levels of fitness can feel comfortable participating.  


You will receive a separate email to register for the Jungle Jog, and so please mark the date on your calendar! We look forward to another successful event, and a chance to see our district community represented on the course!


On another note, winter conferences are around the corner.  The window for conferences is Monday, January 28 through Friday, February 8.  Links to sign up for conferences will be included in next week's Home Scoop.  Each family will have 20 minutes of time with their child's team.  This is an opportunity to reflect on growth since the start of the year and set goals for the remainder of the school year.  Keep in mind that our teachers value their time with each of you, and take time to plan for meaningful, reflective conversations.  Sixth graders attend conferences with their parents and teachers, while fifth graders do not.  We look forward to welcoming you all into the building in the next couple of weeks.


In the meantime, stay safe and warm this weekend.  Snow is in the forecast, and the temperatures will remain quite chilly.  Above all, enjoy the time together with your family.  We look forward to seeing everyone back on Monday.



Most Sincerely,



Kelly Tess





#beatree  #everybodyin

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.

Collaboration at Skokie School
As I have stopped into classrooms this week, I have been so impressed by the ease with which our students and teachers have re-entered the learning mode. I've seen students engaged in critical conversations about the difference between grouping and sharing when it comes to division, what surprised them after reading an article about the water crisis in Flint, MI, brainstorming ideas for a new project about researching a country of interest, and writing an informational piece as a pre-assessment. Our students love to learn, and we appreciate all that you have done at home to partner with us in instiling this love of learning in them.
One of the long standing core values of our educators in WInnetka Public Schools is a commitment to  lifelong learning. Our team of educators pride themselves on continuously engaging in the learning process, whether it be related to pedagogy or the content they are teaching, in order to give our students the best possible experience. You may wonder, What does this look like? How do my children's busy teachers find time to continually grow and learn?
One way our teachers engage in this process is through the work they do and conversations that take place during our weekly collaborative team meetings (or CLTs). Our math/science and language arts/social studies teachers formally meet once a week to discuss curriculum, look at student work, design assessments, and plan together. All of our teachers meet informally throughout the week to share ideas and  provide each other with feedback.
At this week's language arts and social studies CLTs, our teachers discussed the social studies curriculum that they are in the process of designing. Teachers are intimately involved in the curriculum writing process, bringing their expertise of child development, as well as teaching methodologies and content knowledge, to the development of what students will learn in each grade level. The conversations our teachers had this week delved into how we balance teaching our students important historical content, while at the same time providing opportunities for inquiry and exploration of a variety of cultures and countries.
Our staff is incredibly thoughtful and deliberate when they consider what and how we will teach our students. Engagement is always at the forefront of the discussion, as well as how the curriculum aligns with a child's K-8 experience. The work our teachers did this week will be reported back to the district level social studies committee at the end of the month when they meet. The committee will continue to refine and revise the work based on their collective thought process and the end product will be a rich learning experience for your children.

A Message from the Volunteer Center...
MLK DAY OF SERVICE - Monday, January 21.
As promised, here is information about the Volunteer Center, The Kindness Connection and The Winnetka Community House' annual Service Day on Martin Luther King Day, Monday, January 21. The event is held at the Winnetka Community House where volunteers of all ages and abilities are invited to drop by any time between 1 and 4pm to complete hands-on projects that benefit over a dozen nonprofits representing the homeless, veterans, refugees, youth, seniors and orphaned animals. There is something for everyone! Each year hundreds of people all over the North Shore and Metro Chicago attend this event and work side-by-side in unity to honor Dr. King.

What may be of particular interest to you as educators, is during the afternoon, all volunteers - young and old, are invited to speak out and share their thoughts about Dr. King and his message of service, equality and social justice and how we might work together as a nation to achieve this ongoing mission. Volunteers of all ages may prepare remarks or poetry or song in advance, or share a piece of work from another author - Dr. King himself. We welcome all civil discourse during this special part of the afternoon and hope some of your students will share this year. 

There is no registration or fee required, unless your students or families would like to make a no-sew blanket for the homeless, then they should bring 4 yards of fleece fabric per blanket. Laundry Detergent for the NTT Food Pantry and umbrellas and warm coats for veterans and refugees also welcome. More info

KIDS AGAINST HUNGER - Saturday, March 16, 2019
This is a perfect service project again for your families, students or service groups. Help feed over 100,000 starving Nicaraguans by selecting a two hour shift collating food and preparing for shipment. The Volunteer Center has worked with the Rotary Club to put this project on for 8 years. Additional information may be found here: We need 500 volunteers to make this happen. Each year we achieve it and spaces fill up. 

District News

Update on Educational Master Facility Plan (EMFP): Future Ready D36
On December 18, the District 36 School Board unanimously approved a $90.6 million referendum for community vote on April 2, 2019. With the total cost of the proposed facilities projects estimated at $100.6 million, the School Board committed $10 million from reserves to offset the cost of the referendum and lower the overall tax impact. If approved, the estimated tax increase over the current bond obligation-tax levy would be approximately $276 (annually) per $1 million of property value.
This plan was reviewed from a teaching and learning perspective, from a facilities perspective, and through the lens of what is fiscally responsible. It aligns with our community's value for neighborhood schools, our commitment to remain good stewards of taxpayer resources, and our community's high expectations for progressive schools.
Please see this letter that went to the school community in December:

A fact sheet with additional information will be mailed to all Winnetka residents later in January.

For additional information please visit .


On Tuesday, January 15, our partners at NSSED are offering an opportunity to learn about supporting children struggling with anxiety and/or school refusal featuring Jackie Rhew, co-author of Successful Parenting-Create Your Custom Plan for Raising Independent Children into Adulthood and co-founder of Center for Emotional Wellness. The District will host a similar event with Ms. Rhew, LCPC, on Wednesday, February 27, 2019  at 9:30 a.m. at the Skokie School Community Room. More information to follow.

From our Partners at The Alliance for Early Childhood:

Play Time: How Prescribing Parks Has Changed the Lives of Children
Wednesday, February 6, 2019, 7:00-8:00pm
Little Theater, Washburne School, 515 Hibbard Rd, Winnetka
This event is free and open to the public

PARENTS AND CAREGIVERS are invited to an evening with Robert L. Zarr, MD, MPH a nationally recognized pediatrician recently featured in The New York Times and TIME Magazine . Dr. Zarr will share his personal experience as a pediatrician on the front lines of treating a growing epidemic of chronic disease in children.  Come hear the science and practice behind his innovative park prescription program. Click here to RSVP.

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 Carlson Event: Thursday, January 17

A webpage dedicated to Redistricting has been launched and will be updated regularly: .


Upcoming FAN Events


Dates to Note 

Winter Conference Window
January 28 - February 8

Sign-ups for Conferences 
Available:  Friday, Jan. 18

Monday, January 21

MAP Testing Window
Monday, January 14- Friday, January 25

Dance Marathon
Friday, March 1

St. Baldrick's/Wigs for Kids
Monday, March 11

Winnetka D36 Jungle Jog (5k)
Saturday, March 16

Spring Break
March 23-31
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