The Skokie Home Scoop - April 7, 2017 

Dear Skokie Families,

This past week, I had the privilege of attending the NCSM/NCTM (National Council for Supervision and Teaching in Mathematics) National Conference in San Antonio, Texas.  This nationally and internationally recognized research organization of teachers and administrators leads the way in promoting instructional practices, resources and interventions based on the experience, extensive research and expertise of its members.  It was with great pride that I sat in the audience of one of the week's presentations, led by five of our very own Winnetka Math Facilitators:  Judith Campbell, Eileen Goodspeed, Allison Greer, Chi Quach and Sam Yusim.  Their presentation, entitled "From Vision to Reality:  Reflections on the Transformation of a K-8 District," chronicled the timeline of work done within the district over the years since the implementation of the Common Core State Standards, the incredible journey that it has been, and the ways in which we continue to adapt and evolve as a leading district in Math Education.  The presentation itself was engaging and honest, and an incredible testament to the hard work done in our small, but mighty district.  If you follow me on Twitter, you will have seen several tweets on the presentation (And if you don't---follow me!  It's a great way to get quick snippets of information on our school!).  Congratulations to this great team of educators leading the way and taking a risk by presenting on the national stage.  You make us proud and represent us so well.

Each time I have the opportunity to attend a conference like this, I am always overwhelmed by feelings of pride, gratitude and humility when I listen to and speak with educators from other parts of our country.  In one session, I sat next to a district administrator from Kingston, Jamaica.  The session we attended together was given by a K-12 educator from St. Louis who had experienced the district-wide process of moving away from letter-grade-based report cards to a standards-based report card as well as standards-based rubrics for all assignments and assessments.  Their main motivation for moving this way was based on high failure rates and poor performance on state and national assessments.  The woman next to me was amazed to hear the brief story of Winnetka that I shared with her, in that we do not give grades until 7th grade and promote problem-solving, collaboration and analysis of thought.  When she asked me how many years we had been doing this, and my answer was, "Since about 1860," I don't think I've seen a jaw drop lower.  She told me the story of her impoverished district with uninvolved parents, high drop-out rates and a staff of teachers unwilling to read and practice (or even be exposed to)  based on the incredible research that supports this type of practice in mathematics.  Like all districts, we are not without our challenges in Winnetka; however, we manage to lead the way in our dedication to student learning and mathematical thinking and that was incredibly evident as I spoke with this kind and discouraged educator from Jamaica.  It is healthy and important to be reminded of that during the school year, as it is easy to get lost in the current efforts and forget to celebrate the journey thus far.

Attendance at NCSM/NCTM has led to many great innovations here at The Skokie School:  Math Counts, Intervention Materials for our students like ST Math, Bridges and iReady, collaborative team practices for our teachers, Number Talks in the classroom, the Math Forum and much more.  Keeping our foot on the national stage and our voice in the national conversation around Math is a privilege far too many districts do not enjoy and one that our district has consistently experienced and supported in its commitment to professional development and a staff of life-long learners.  

Congratulations again to our presenters, and thank you to the five Skokie Staff members who took time away from their work to attend this important conference. 

Enjoy the weekend together with your families.

Most Sincerely,
Kelly Tess

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K-6 and 6-8 Parent Presentation on the Placement Process 
Please plan to join the Winnetka Principal Team in The Skokie School Community Room on Monday, April 10 for a presentation on the extensive and detailed classroom placement process that we follow in planning for students and the coming school year.  K-6 Parents can plan to join the Elementary Principals and The School School Principal beginning at 9:30.  Washburne and Skokie parents can plan to join these Principals beginning at 10:30.  We hope you are able to make the time for this presentation as you will find it to be informative and insightful.

5th Grade Orientation

Families coming to us with a fifth grader next year are invited to two orientation opportunities: 

- Tuesday, April 18th at 6:30pm, all incoming 5th Grade Families for the 2017/2018 school year are invited to a one hour orientation at The Skokie School.  Students and parents are invited to come and enjoy a tour of the school with a current fifth grader and a welcome presentation given by Mrs. Tess and Mr. Swanner. 

- Monday, April 17 at 6pm, 5th grade families with a student on an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) are invited to a presentation given by Mrs. Tess and members of our Special Education team to review our continuum of services offered to students with an IEP at The Skokie School.  This comprehensive presentation is a great introduction to receive prior to spring transition meetings, which will take place in May.  You do not need to plan to attend this presentation if your child will not be a fifth grader next year and does not have an IEP.
Village Adding Street Signage

With the safety of both students and drivers in mind, Winnetka Public Works will be making some adjustments to street parking signage effective Monday, April 10th. During drop-off and pickup hours, there will be no parking, stopping, or standing permitted on the west side (school side) of Glendale Avenue, south of Oak Street. The goal of this change is to free up traffic and encourage drivers to head south on Glendale rather than turning east (left) on Oak Street. Please note: drop off and pickup will still be permitted directly in front of the school.   

Mrs. Tess, Mr. Swanner and Mr. Kanne will be providing another opportunity for parents to attend their WPI presentation, entitled "Not Quite Little Kid, Not Quite Teenager:  The Developmental Progression of the Middle School Child," on April 28 at 9:30 am in The Community Room at The Skokie School.  This is a chance for those who missed prior presentations to attend, especially after the 5th grade orientation on April 18th.  Please mark this on your calendar as it has been a popular and informative presentation for parents with soon-to-be adolescents!
St. Baldrick's and Wigs for Kids
Who:          The Skokie School Baldies (St. Baldrick's)
                   The Skokie School Clippers (Wigs for Kids)
What:         Shaving our heads and cutting our hair.
When:        Monday May 1st from 2:45 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Where:       The Skokie School Auditorium
Why:          To raise money in support of childhood cancer research and to                            provide wigs for children who have no hair.
See Mr. Hynes, Ms. Goldberg, or Mr. Rowe.

Bernie's Book Bank Donations
Do you have any books you don't need or read? Why not donate a book to Bernie's Book Bank, a company that gives children who don't have books a chance to read and have a book at home.
Take a visit to the box in the front of the school and donate a book. Donations will start April 10th and end on April 21st. We take books grade K- 5 reading level.  As little as one book would make a huge difference for a child in need!

District News

PARCC assessment
The PARCC assessment will be administered to students in grades 3 through 8 through April 28, 2017.   Grades 3 - 5 will complete 7 testing sessions (3 Language Arts and 4 math) and Grades 6 - 8 will complete 6 testing sessions (3 Language Arts and 3 Math).  Individual teachers or schools will be sending details concerning specific dates and times of testing sessions. In order to ensure that students feel comfortable in the testing environment and understand the nature of the questions that will be presented on the exam, teachers will be familiarizing students with the testing platform and expectations. Approximately four instructional hours will be spent on test preparation. Regular curriculum will continue to be taught during this time. Moreover, our approach holds that students are best prepared for PARCC exams by participating in learning activities that reflect current state standards throughout the year. The Illinois State Board of Education requires all public school districts to administer the PARCC exam. For a list of Frequently Asked Questions, please visit .

Water Testing for Lead in District 36
Earlier this week, an email went to our school community regarding
the District's efforts to continually monitor the water quality in our facilities. The District commissioned comprehensive testing for lead throughout our school buildings again this spring (225 samples thus far). Testing was conducted at Crow Island, Greeley, Skokie and Washburne Schools on March 25.  Samples were collected at Hubbard Woods School on April 6. Less than 10% of the sources tested produced lead levels above the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) threshold of 5 parts per billion. The District has taken immediate steps to address the water sources above 15 ppb. The final testing report along with further information about the District's water testing results and drinking water safety may be viewed on the District website at: 
We are committed to ensuring that all of our facilities remain a safe and healthy environment for students and staff.

Winnetka Parents Institute Opportunities
The Transition to Kindergarten in D36
Thursday, April 27 at 9:30 a.m.
Greeley School Resource Center
Hosted in Partnership with The Alliance for Early Childhood
District 36 administrators and elementary principals will share the rich history of our nationally-recognized schools and how teachers effectively apply the Progressive philosophy in classrooms.  Find out how you can partner with our schools to support your child's educational journey.  Hear about the Extended Day Kindergarten program and ask questions about what to expect as your child enters school in the fall.

Not Quite Little Kid, Not Quite Teenager: The Developmental Progression of the Middle School Child
Friday, April 28 at 9:30 a.m.
The Skokie School Community Room
Join Principal Tess and Principal Kanne for an informational morning session focusing on the ins and outs of the growing middle school child.  We will spend time exploring both the academic and social-emotional needs appropriate to 5th-8th grade children, how they change over that four year span, as well as the neurological changes that contribute to these needs.  Parents with current middle schoolers, or soon-to-be middle schoolers, are encouraged to join us for an engaging, encouraging and educational hour together. To RSVP visit 

Adventures in Learning
A decades-long tradition, this summer program includes classes as varied as Rocket Engineering, Camping Adventures and S'more Fun, Archery, Kitchen Magicians, Lacrosse, Computer Animation, Yoga for Kids, Animal Care, and the Wonders of Science. 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.

Adventures in Learning runs from June 12 to July 14, 2017. 
Skokie Calendar
**Tuesday, April 11 
      District Choral Festival 
      7:00 p.m. - Skokie Auditorium
**Thursday, April 13 
      Washburne Jazz Night
       7:00 p.m. - CW Little Theatre  
**Friday, April 14 
**Thursday, April 27
     Class Pictures 
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