The Skokie Home Scoop

Dear Skokie Families,

I hope you are staying warm and dry inside today, as the snow falls.  There's always something exciting about the first snow (even though we usually resent it by February).  This particular weekend is one to note as it is Veteran's Day weekend.  We have a number of Veterans in our district, and a few on our staff at The Skokie School.  Thank you to Mr. Michael Martinsen and Ms. Eunice Walters for your service to our country.  As a military spouse, and a former educator in a Department of Defense school, I have seen and experienced the sacrifices these families make.  In addition, I have seen and experienced the ways families of military members support each other, flex in the face of change, accept and adapt, and balance the difference between discomfort and true misfortune.  These are lessons many of us do not accept easily, and even take for granted.

The Skokie School is currently in its first trimester Inquiry Period, in which we spend the final period of the day dedicated to helping students develop or explore an inquiry question, and eventually pursuit of a learning opportunity connected to that question.  One of our classrooms has chosen to explore the act of service, and had a conversation around supporting our troops in turn for their support of us.  As you head into the weekend, invite your 5th or 6th grader to identify moments in their week that were a challenge or even a personal sacrifice, and how they might find a way to be grateful for the challenge.   The idea of sacrificing comfort is not something any of us do easily in this era of instant gratification, but there can be learning in the act. Additionally, the practice of gratitude, is not only a powerful way to shift our mindset toward all challenges, but has a notable scientific impact on our health. 

Thank you Veterans, everywhere.  And thank you to our school community for the ways in which you show your appreciation for our Veterans.  Enjoy the time together with your families this weekend, and we look forward to seeing you all back 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.

Inquire and Inspire: Skokie's Inquiry Period

Towards the end of each trimester, Skokie students have a unique opportunity to participate in what is called our "Inquiry Period." During these two weeks, students spend the last 45 minutes of their days engaged in the inquiry process. Specifically, in these two weeks, students are learning how to ask beautiful questions that stem from curiosity and lead to a desire to explore.

As educators, we greatly value the power of inquiry. As we shared on Go To School Night, we opened our school year with the theme "Inquire and Inspire." We encourage students to ask questions and to be curious about the world around them. In math class, students are often asked to examine an image or a mathematical representation and share what they notice and wonder. In language arts, students generate questions about characters and theme as they make their way through a novel. Our young scientists generate questions as they carry out experiments and observe what occurs. In social studies, students wonder about the motivation behind historical figures' actions and the impact of various events on civilizations and societies. Each content area holds ample opportunity for our students to wonder.

Over the course of the year, our hope is that we can encourage students to generate questions that are close to their hearts and allow them to further explore their passions. One inspirational story some teachers are sharing with students is about a college student named Maria Rose Belding, who created an app that helps to feed those in need. Take a moment to watch this short news clip ( about Maria's work to get a better idea about the type of ideas and actions we are hoping to inspire students to pursue.


CLICK HERE to place an order for Skokie School Spirit Wear.  Sales end on November 16!
District News

Future Ready D36 Update

This letter was shared on Friday, October 26 from Superintendent Kocanda and School Board President Kristen Hertel:
Dear Winnetka Public Schools Community,

We would like to share some exciting news.  As a result of the October 23 Board Meeting, we have an approved Educational Master Facility Plan (EMFP).  The EMFP is a facility plan and vision to guide our decision-making and priorities over the next 10 years. The implementation planning has commenced.

The Board committed to include the following components in the EMFP:

  • K-4; 5-8 Grade Level Configuration with consolidation to a single (1) 5-8 grade campus at Carleton Washburne School and a 5-year utilization plan for The Skokie School. This model upholds the neighborhood schools configuration.
  • Baseline facility needs that recognize priorities for:
    • Health, Life Safety items/projects
    • Safety and security enhancements
    • ADA accessibility upgrades
    • HVAC upgrades with improved indoor air quality and temperature regulation
    • Domestic water pipe replacement
    • Electrical capacity upgrades
  • Updated and multi-tiered modernized instructional and common spaces to afford greatest flexibility in future planning. This includes multi-purpose cafeteria and gym space renovations or additions to serve District needs and community use.
  • Sustainability planning for Air Quality, Student-Centric Design, Sustainable Operations, and Energy Consumption as some of the high priority items among a range of important topics addressed in the EMFP.
  • Redistricting Plan (shared no later than spring 2019)  in consultation with School Board, District administrators, community leaders, and Village and safety officials, to determine changes to the elementary school attendance boundaries and the implementation timeline to achieve optimal enrollments and elimination of the short-term Kindergarten plan.  

We are extremely grateful for the many ways parents, staff, and community members have dedicated time and expertise to help the Board reach this decision. We would especially like to acknowledge those who served on the Core Team to help the District address complex challenges and determine wise solutions.

As planning begins immediately to define the first phase of our long-range EMFP, we are also looking ahead to an April 2, 2019 referendum. You may continue to follow the process by accessing future dates and meeting materials at

Again, thank you for the collective energy you have invested on behalf of our students. The District and School Board believes the EMFP will help support the needs of all students for many years to come.


Trisha Kocanda            Kristen Hertel
Superintendent            School Board President

Winnetka Parents Institute Events

From Washburne to New Trier:
A D36 Parent's Guide to the New Trier Transition
Thursday, November 15 at 9:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m.
Carleton Washburne School, 515 Hibbard Rd .
Paul Waechtler, Principal at the New Trier High School Freshman
Campus, and Lori Worth, 8th Grade Transition Faculty, will discuss the New Trier freshman placement process and the efforts made to ensure a smooth transition to high school.  A Q & A will provide an opportunity for parents to learn more about how to best support their child(ren) as they prepare for their New Trier experience. RSVP here: .

D36 & Winnetka-Northfield Public Library: What Can We Do for You?
Friday, November 16 at 9:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m.
Winnetka Library, 768 Oak Street
Our school and Village libraries aren't quite like the libraries many adults remember as children--they are dynamic learning environments that include opportunities for creating and collaborating--from exploring a vast collection of books and digital materials to experimenting with 3-D printing and embroidery. D36 Resource Directors and leaders at Winnetka-Northfield Public Library will share resources that are available to enhance reading and creating at home, school and the public library. All community members are welcome to attend! RSVP here:

Hour of Code
December 5, 2018
4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Crow Island School MakerSpace, 1112 Willow Road
December 3-9 is Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek), an annual program dedicated to inspiring K-12 students to take interest in computer science. CSEdWeek is held in recognition of the birthday of computing pioneer Admiral Grace Murray Hopper (December 9, 1906).  Each year, millions of people participate in #HourofCode, the largest learning event in history, to promote the importance of Computer Science Education. We encourage families and community members of all ages to join us as our students guide various coding and technology activities as part of the international event #Hour of Code.  RSVP here: .

Hold your phone camera up to the QR code to open the RSVP or visit this link-

Update to the District's Bullying Prevention Plan

The District's Bullying Prevention Plan, first piloted in 2015-2016, educates students on how to identify bullying behavior and how to report an incident. When the Plan was piloted, two mechanisms for reporting were provided. Paper forms were made available within classrooms and a collection box for those forms placed in a centralized location providing access for all students. Alternatively, an online communication form was placed on each school's website (Students/School Documents/Bullying Communication)  and accessible from the District's home page (Parents/Registration & School Forms/Bullying Communication)

Each year since the plan was piloted, an end-of-year review has been held to ensure that the objectives of the Plan are being met. Last year, we heard from students, staff and parents of middle school students that paper forms were not being utilized and that accessing the form from the website required too much intentionality.  To ensure that middle school students have a method of reporting bullying behavior, they will soon have access to the communication form via an "app" on their iPad.

And now, in conjunction with Bullying Prevention Month, students in grades 5-8 will be informed, in their advisories, of this new system. This information will be part of an ongoing conversation with students about bullying prevention, identification, reporting, and taking a stand to do their part to stomp out bullying.

***A Note from KW for our 6th graders: 
As the weather cools down, please be sure to bring sweats for KW as we will still be outside for class.***

Dates to Note 

Thanksgiving Break
November 21-23
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