The Skokie Home Scoop

Dear Skokie Families,

Earlier this week it was announced that I will be moving into a new role next year as Assistant Superintendent of Professional Learning and Human Resources within the district.  I am humbled and honored to be trusted with this role, and look forward to the work ahead.  At the same time, it is bittersweet for me, as Skokie has become an incredibly special place.  I have truly treasured the past six years, working with a staff that is beyond dedicated to doing the best for its students.  As we look ahead to the coming school year, it will be important to have both staff and parent feedback as we prepare for a Principal search this spring.  Please take a moment to complete this feedback form, providing us with the competencies you most value in a principal candidate.  In the meantime, we still have three full months of school left together, and a third trimester to complete!

On another note, many of you approached Betty and I this week with concern after seeing a news report about an online phenomenon known as the "Momo Challenge."    This Washington Post article from last fall reports on the "Momo Challenge" and the risky behavior that social media can invite.   This Washington Post article from today talks about a resurgence of this viral trend, which was referenced in this week's television news story.  I mention this to you this week for two reasons:  1.)  It continues to be incredibly important that parents monitor their children's social media engagement, AND  2.)  It is often stories like these that are born out of the creator's intent to stir up fear and sensationalism around a social media trend.  You will find that the articles linked above encourage precautionary practices when allowing children access to social media or the internet; however, it also talks about how this particular story may be an "urban myth" altogether, with the intent to introduce the topic into conversations at home, thus stirring curiosity amongst children who will then seek it out on their own.  As parents, we are navigating a world very different from the one in which we grew up.  Our children have access to so much more information, both for good and bad.  That requires us all to be more vigilant in the ways in which we protect and educate our children.  The more we partner together to stay informed, the better off we may be at helping our children to make good decisions about the ways they engage in online activity.  

We look forward to seeing our 5th-8th graders at Dance Marathon tonight.  A message went out to parents earlier today indicating that doors will be open at 6:00pm, and students will not be able to leave without a parent prior to dismissal at 8:00pm.  We anticipate a great turn out and lots of fun!  Thank you for supporting this first-time event.  Enjoy the weekend together with your family, and we'll look forward to seeing everyone back at school on Monday!

Most Sincerely,

Kelly Tess


#beatree  #everybodyin

St. Baldrick's and Wigs for Kids Event

Dear Skokie / Washburne Students, Parents, and Staff - 

Save the date of  March 11, 2019, for the 16th annual St. Baldrick's, 7th annual Wigs for Kids, and 2nd annual Hair Extensions for a Cause event!  Skokie and Washburne will be coming together to support pediatric cancer awareness.  For more information on these organizations, please watch the short videos below:

There are lots of ways you can get involved! 
  1.  Shave your head for St. Baldrick's.  If you are interested in participating, sign up here .
  2.  Donate your hair to Wigs for Kids.  If you are interested in participating, please grab a form from the front lobby. 
  3. Receive a temporary green hair extension.  If you are interested in participating, please grab a form from the front lobby. 
  4. Cheer on participants on Monday, March 11th!
If you have questions, please feel free to reach out to Mike Hynes ( or Marla Goldberg (

Winnetka D36-- JUNGLE JOG--5k, Run/Walk:  Saturday, March 16

The Skokie School and Carleton Washburne School are thrilled to co-host this year's Jungle Jog on Saturday, March 16 at 8am.  This is the 5th year that Skokie has helped to organize this race, and now we look forward to expanding our invite to the Winnetka Public Schools Community at large.  The race begins at the Winnetka Train Station and runs a 5k loop along the Green Bay Trail.  Click here to register, and start planning your race costume!

AP Corner

Inquiry Strikes Again!

This week, our second round of the Skokie Inquiry Period began. Teachers have been working in collaboration with each other in order to plan for powerful learning experiences for students during this two week period.

During the Inquiry Period, students are able to explore questions that interest them as an entire class, in small groups, or as individuals. For example, some questions our students are exploring include:

  • Can we control our dreams?
  • Which type of jump shot is the best to use with three point shooting?
  • How does one capture the essence (and history) of a town in a single creative composition?
  • How do different frostings affect the taste of cake?
  • Why is there a lottery? Is there a way to buy enough tickets to ensure that you win some money? Why are people obsessed with it?
  • I wonder if there is a way to make ski lifts slower when they come to pick you up but faster when they are bringing you to the top?

Inquiry-based  learning stimulates curiosity, and leads to more critical thinking. Brain science shows that students are more engaged and retain more learning when participating in this style of learning. This is in large part due to the fact that students are generating questions that they are interested in exploring, increasing their motivation to be problem-solvers. Students integrate and make sense of what they learn during the research process in order to create or do something with what they learned. In this way, creativity is a big piece of inquiry based learning, as well.

Inquiry is not only taking place during our three Skokie Inquiry periods, it is also alive and well in our classrooms throughout the year. Our teachers find opportunities for students to generate questions about all curricular areas. For example, recently in sixth grade, one of our social studies teachers collaborated with our art teacher in order to explore creation myths from a variety of cultures. This particular sixth grade class showed a large interest in art, so the social studies teacher designed an inquiry experience in which the students could learn about a creation myth with peers, and then create a piece of art to represent that myth. The students not only worked together within their groups, but they also collaborated across groups in order to develop a design for the mural based on the individual art pieces they had imagined. The mural they created is now hanging in our hallway for our school community to enjoy.

Another example of inquiry based learning in our classrooms is an engineering unit in which all of our 5th graders participate. The students are asked to build the strongest possible bridge with a given set of materials, including straws, paperclips, and tape. Students collaborate with a partner to design, test, and re-design based on what they learn from the flaws of their bridge during the testing phase. This is a case of students exploring a common question, but using their own creative process and problem-solving abilities to successfully engineer a solution. This project culminates in the students presenting the thought process that went into their process and testing their bridge live, in front of their classmates.

Take a moment to ask your child about their experience with inquiry period this weekend. You never know what you might learn about their curiosity!

Adventures in Learning 2019 runs from June 17th-July 19th, 2019

No camp on July 4th.

A decades-long tradition, this summer program includes classes as varied as Rock Guitar Band, Life Around the World, Zany Art Explosions, Drone Flight School, Camping Adventures, Make Your Own Music Video, Adventures in STEAM, Archery, The Wacky World of Water, Kitchen Magicians, Programming and Robotics, Tennis, Computer Animation, Improvisation, Yoga for Kids, Animal Care, Purposeful Repurposing and Spa-Liscious to name a few!

Students in grades 2-8 may choose up to four classes from over 100 options. Younger children (pre-Kindergarten through grade 1) will explore educational concepts through guided play and outdoor activities.

This years program will be held at Washburne for the 2nd-8th graders and Hubbard Woods for the Pre-K (4 years old by June 1st, 2019)and K Primary program (5 years old by September 1st, 2019). 

Registration begins March 1 for Winnetka residents and is open to the general public on March 8.

District News
Referendum Informational Session Dates, Building Tours & Personal Meetings with the Superintendent
To ensure that our community is well-informed on this topic, a Fact Sheet was mailed to all residents. School-specific Fact Sheets are here.  Additionally, the District's Referendum 2019 webpage is updated regularly and is dedicated to facts surrounding the referendum : . On the website you will find FAQs (updated every 7-10 days).

Upcoming WPI Opportunity
Screening of the Documentary "Angst"
Thursday, March 7 at The Skokie School Auditorium
6:00-8:00 p.m., followed by panel discussion/questions


Friday, March 8 at The Skokie School Auditorium
9:30-11:30 a.m., followed by panel discussion/questions
Families and community members are invited to a special screening of Angst, a documentary designed to raise awareness around anxiety. The film includes interviews with kids, teens, educators, experts, and parents. The film centers around helping people identify and understand the symptoms of anxiety. It provides tools and hope for those in the midst of angst. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion and Q & A led by educators.

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 .

A webpage dedicated to Redistricting will continue to be updated regularly: .

Apple Pencil/Logitech Crayon- Available for Purchase
Great news!  The Winnetka Public Schools Technology department is now able to offer discounted Apple Pencils and Logitech Crayons for sale via the newly launched web store.  Schools and classrooms across the district have Apple Pencils and Logitech Crayons available for sharing, this offer is to purchase a personal pencil or crayon. The pencil is compatible with iPad (6th gen) and iPad Pros (not 3rd gen), the Logitech crayon is only compatible with the iPad (6th gen).
To purchase an Apple pencil or Logitech crayon, visit the web store .  You will need to set up an account to complete your order.  Your account only needs to be created once and can be used for future purchases from the Winnetka Public Schools.  Credit cards purchase only.
Webstore (RevTrak) FAQ

A Note from The Winnetka Public Schools Foundation...

It's time to beat the call! 

The Winnetka Public Schools Foundation's Phone-A-Thon is coming up on Sunday, February 24. Beat the call by  donating now!  Dollars raised during the Phone-A-Thon fund teacher-driven grants that explore the newest ideas across all subject areas. Your donation helps to bring innovation to our schools. Join us and be a Catalyst of Innovation!



Dates to Note 


Dance Marathon
Friday, March 1

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

Parent Orientation 6th grade to Washburne
Tuesday, March 12
6:00pm - 6:50pm meeting for parents of current 6th graders with IEPs - Resource Center
7:00pm meeting for all parents - Little Theater

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

Spring Break
March 23-31
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