The Skokie Home Scoop

Dear Skokie Families,

Two years ago, we began a new biennial tradition at The Skokie School that we are looking forward to returning to this year--Career Day--set for Friday, January 25, 2019!  This event is an opportunity for our students to spend a day dedicated to attending sessions led by community members from a wide variety of career fields.  While our hope is to expose our children to the broad professional world beyond their school-age years, we also look at this as an opportunity to highlight the ways in which their natural interests and curiosities can develop into a professional pursuit later in life.  We sent the following communication out to past presenters this week, and are including it here this week in the hopes of recruiting new presenters for this year's event.  If you or someone you know is active in a unique career field and willing to present in front of our students, please feel free to copy and past the letter below, and have them click on the link to indicate their interest.  We look forward to partnering with our community in this year, and inviting you into the building to add to our students' experience.

Dear Winnetka Community Member,

On Friday, January 25, 2019 we are excited to host our biennial Career Day at The Skokie School.  This is a day for our students to be exposed to a variety of occupations they may want to pursue and connect their current interests to what could become a future career.  We are looking for speakers with the ability to speak to groups of students about how their interests and school experience led to later career choices and professional experiences.  

This is where you come in!  We'd love to have you join us on January 25th to present to our students about your chosen career path in life.  We're looking for speakers willing to:

  • Provide a hands-on, engaging experience for kids (complete a project, experience a "day in the life," expose students to products, tools or materials of your career field)
  • Present to students
    • the path you chose to pursue
    • how your chosen field relates to an interest you had as a child
    • a story that got you to where you are
    • influences on your career path
    • the school/profession connection for your career

We ask that all interested volunteers fill out the following form by Friday, November 30.  Click here to volunteer your time (for part or all of the day) on January 25, 2019: 

Most Sincerely,

The Skokie School Career Day Committee
Jon Blaeser
Ninorta Gabriel
Stefanie Gehrig
Marla Goldberg
Andrea Graf
Angela Nigliazzo
Kelly Tess
Eunice Walters
Betty Weir
Gina Wild

Thank you in advance for spreading the word about this event.  Have a beautiful fall weekend and enjoy the time together with your families.  Take a moment to notice the fall colors too!

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.

The Value of Social Mistakes

At today's WPI: Not Quite Little Kid, Not Quite Teenager, my fellow middle school building administrators and I discussed some of the unique qualities of 10-13 year olds. One topic we addressed is middle schoolers' quest for their identities as they begin to separate from their family unit and wander into independence and social groups. At this stage in their lives, social factors influence just about everything children do. This often leads to our students saying or doing things that are "out of character."

When we teach reading, we introduce our students to the idea that main characters change over the course of the story. We encourage them to keep an eye out for times when the character acts "out of character," and to think about the motivation behind this. Over the course of the novel, we expect main characters to encounter controversial or difficult situations. The way in which the character responds to, reflects upon, and learns from these challenges leads to growth. The arc of the story in middle school literature reflects the lives of our adolescent students at Skokie and Washburne.

During their tenure at our schools, we expect students to make mistakes and to have moments when they act "out of character". This may come in the form of saying something unkind, overreacting physically, or engaging in a risky behavior. We do not see these "out of character" moments as defining the child. Rather, we see them as inevitable opportunities that accompany growing up. These mistakes lead to opportunities for reflection and growth.

When a child encounters a moment in which another child makes a poor choice, it is helpful to guide our students to reflect on the learning opportunity from the situation. Rather than define these "characters" in our children's lives as "bad," we can help our child remember that everyone makes mistakes and one action does not define an individual. Through engaging our adolescents in a reflective process, we can strengthen our community and our children's social-emotional growth.

Morning Arrival of Students

As the weather turns colder, we wanted to remind everyone of school supervision hours.  Supervision does not officially begin in the building until 8:00am.  Students arriving early may do so if they have made an arrangement with a teacher (the teacher will meet them at the door), and/or are participating in a morning club/activity (again, teacher will meet them at the door).  Due to supervision and security reasons, the front door will not be unlocked for student arrival prior to 8:00am.  
Halloween is around the corner and the excitement is growing!  In order to ensure that everyone is able to enjoy their day at school, we are having the following rules in place to keep everyone safe:
  • We do not allow students to wear costumes until "party time," so plan to have your 5th or 6th grader bring their costume to school. 
  • No weapons or fake blood are allowed at school. 
  • Costumes including face masks or head coverings are allowed inside classrooms.
  • Any hair spray/color needs to be applied prior to coming to school as it has caused messes in our bathrooms and takes away from your celebration time in the classrooms.  
  • Allergy procedures still apply to any treats brought to school to share.  A clear, printed label must be on all treats indicating that the ingredients do not include tree or peanuts, and are not made in a facility that processes these.  See Carol Zalinski or Marianne Siegel for more information
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 #HourofCode.  RSVP here: .

National Bullying Prevention Month - Update to the District's 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.

Typing Club Keyboarding Program
The Winnetka Public Schools District 36 subscribes to a typing program, Typing Club . Our subscription is for students in grades K- 6.  Students can login with their District email address and password via the Typing Clu b link listed under "Students" on each school's website.  The Resource Center Directors will be introducing students to Typing Club and teaching students to login.  Typing Club is available at school and home. We are encouraging students to practice at home as keyboarding success requires regular practice.  Students can also access Typing Club via this link:

***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 


October 31, Wednesday
Halloween!  See costume guidelines in this week's newsletter!
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