The Skokie Home Scoop - August 31, 2018 

Dear Skokie Families,

If you are a Cubs fan like me, you've been paying close attention to the games this past week as we get closer to October.  On Monday night, Wilmette resident, Stefan Xidas, was featured as the National Anthem singer.  Stefan, a New Trier graduate, reached out to the Cubs, asking to sing the National Anthem should he successfully raise $5,000 for the Special Olympics.  Stefan not only reached his goal, but surpassed it, raising over $18,000 through a GoFundMe campaign.  As a result, he stood in front of a packed Wrigley Field and sang with confidence to start the game.  

How does a Monday night Cubs game connect to The Skokie School?  As middle school educators, we dedicate so much of our time with students to ensure that they are supported both academically and social-emotionally.  Our school-wide theme this year is "Be A Tree," and I mentioned in last week's newsletter its invitation to all of us to be a support to someone that may need it.  The Cubs are following a similar theme this year: "Everybody In"--acknowledging that a winning team is only possible when all of its players, leaders, fans are playing a supportive role; when there is a place for everybody to be in. 

What you may not know is that Stefan Xidas is an adult with down syndrome.  He is an amazing person with an equally amazing family, and an inspiration to many.  He is also a close friend of one of our teachers, Mr. Rosinski.  Mr. Rosinski, like all of the Skokie staff, lives by the motto "Everybody In."  As a school, we have worked closely together in the past few years to create more inclusive and collaborative learning environments for the broad range of learners that we support in our district.  Our classrooms have evolved to include furniture, learning spaces and materials that adapt with the varying needs of our students.  Our teachers have attended conferences, led workshops, dedicated hours of time with each other to build an environment for students that embodies an "everybody in" attitude.  It is important to us that every student in our school feels supported to pursue a goal or take a risk, no matter their age, gender, disability, etc.  It is our job to make sure that each child has a friend or teacher who would encourage them to pursue that goal or take that risk, with an "everybody in" attitude, like Stefan and Mr. Rosinski.

While Stefan is the example I offer for this week, I would invite you to talk to your 5th or 6th grader this weekend about someone they have connected with since the start of the school year who either exemplifies that "everybody in" motto or inspires them to "be a tree" for someone else.  We all need positive, uplifting stories like Stefan's to motivate us to be that tree, be that support, be that example of inclusive, tolerant, compassionate models to our children.  These stories live in our classrooms and hallways, and it is important to celebrate them.  They give us energy and motivate us to find ways to do good for others.

Enjoy the beautiful weather this weekend and the time together with your families.

Most Sincerely,

Kelly Tess


The first Chorus rehearsal will be
Tuesday, September 18th  
at 7:30 a.m.

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 Power of Gratitude

"If you want to change your state of being, start to be grateful." - Oprah Winfrey

Research shows that taking time to reflect on the things in your life for which you are grateful can significantly impact your happiness and productivity. How can you make gratitude a part of your daily life?

Consider these ideas:
  • Dedicate a special time each day to reflect  upon 2-3 gratitudes. Maybe it is on your drive home from work, laying in bed before you fall asleep, or while you brush your teeth.
  • Start a gratitude journal. Write down three things you are grateful for each day. The act of writing it down helps you to re-live it and feel those good vibes.
  • Write a gratitude note each day. Set aside time each day to write a note of gratitude to a family member, peer, colleague, or student.

As you begin to make this a habit, you will notice that you will start to look for the positives in your day so you can tuck them away for your daily gratitudes. Oprah refers to this idea in this video about the impact her gratitude journal has had on her.

District News

Educational Master Facility Plan (EMFP): Future Ready D36
The School Board affirmed current working assumptions and agreed to a 2018-2019 timeline leading to a potential facilities referendum in spring 2019. Key milestones reviewed included a September survey-poll to collect data on community priorities and funding level support, finalization of the EMFP in late October, and Board Work Sessions to define an implementation plan and potential Phase I facilities project.

A review of the 10-year vision for the EMFP focused on a potential K-4; 5-8 Concept which would restore all (3) neighborhood elementary schools to a grade K-4 configuration and consolidate to a single (1) grade 5-8 campus. All planning options considered would require change to the elementary school attendance boundaries in the least disruptive manner for students, families and households. The timeline of late spring 2019 was established for making decisions regarding boundary changes - and following the definition of a potential Phase I facilities plan and community approved referendum.

The District reviewed costs associated with modernization to address aging buildings, systems, and outdated instructional spaces. Estimated 30-year costs to address items identified in the Health Life Safety Plan (alone) totaled approximately $127 million; in comparison, the estimated 30-year cost of implementing the K-4; 5-8 Concept totaled approximately $160 million. 

D36 Communications
Our annual publication Learners , should have arrived in your mailbox this week. We hope you'll enjoy reading more about our District goals, highlights from 2017-2018, and alumni stories. Learners also contains our annual Financial Report. The online edition is here .

Please follow D36 on Social Media if you'd like to see photos (including from our first week of school!), videos, and news. You may access these platforms from the icons at the bottom of this email.  We look forward to connecting with you throughout the year!

Mobile Learning Initiative (MLI) Device Coverage for accidental damage or loss  
We encourage parents to purchase device coverage for student iPads $25/year. If you missed purchasing Device Coverage at registration, you may still purchase coverage through September 30th.  Cash/check payments can be dropped off with your school secretary or at the District Office (attention: Amy Huisel).

We are in the process of pulling together this year's after/before school club offerings.  At this time, we are accepting registration for After School Sports, Climbing Club, Chorus and First Lego League.  Stay tuned for more information on our wide variety of other clubs, coming soon!

September 2018
Skokie Family,
This year, Skokie is again collecting tabs for the Ronald McDonald House (RMH) near Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago. Ronald McDonald House's mission " to care for families of children with complex medical needs by providing comfort, compassion and a sense of community... by keeping families of hospitalized children together in a 'home away from home'." For more information, visit
Why tabs? United Scrap Metal, a local recycling company picks them up from RMH. They recycle the metal and then pay them the market value, plus a charitable match on a percentage of their profit. United Scrap Metal recycles all types of metal; however, they focus mostly on pop tabs since they are clean, compact, easy to collect and the aluminum in the tab is a higher-grade so it has a higher recycling value. All types of tabs are accepted - from juice cans, pop cans, to cat food cans.
This year, we are hosting a competition between the advisories. The advisory with the most tabs, as determined by the weight, will win a prize.
Thank you for your support of this program.
Marla Goldberg

Dates to Note 


September 11-21
District Wide MAP 
Testing Window

September 19, Wednesday
NO SCHOOL-Yom Kippur

October 26, Friday
WPI: "Not Quite Little Kid, Not Quite Teenager:  The Developmental Progression of the Adolescent Brain"  Hosted by the Washburne and Skokie Principals, 9:30am--Skokie Community Room
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