The Skokie Home Scoop - October 14, 2016

Dear Skokie Families,

Next Monday marks the start of our conference window, at which time we will look forward to having parents visiting in the building.  During this conference period, you will have an opportunity to hear from your child's teachers about how the transition to the new year has gone, as well as what is being done in the classroom.  As we take this year to study a new schedule model and its potential benefits, I wanted to take a moment to expand a bit on two new uses of our school day that you may hear about during these fall conferences:  Student Skills and Enrichment and Inquiry.  

The Enrichment and Inquiry time has been designed to be an extension of the existing afternoon advisory period.  This time is intended to be an opportunity for students to explore projects that revolve around service, interest, and inquiry.  The words "enrichment" and "inquiry" were chosen for this time as a means of highlighting the enriched experience and learning that comes with hands-on application and practice.  To give you a sense of how some advisories are utilizing this time I am excited to share a few examples:  one advisory is currently utilizing space in the south courtyard to not only enhance our garden, but design, plan for and build a green roof prototype.  Students in this advisory are applying math and science concepts to this project, as well as connecting with resources in the community and beyond on best use of materials and design.  In addition, we have advisories involved in philanthropic projects ("Sock"tober--collecting new socks for homeless and under-privileged people; The Nina Project--a program that pairs students with a special needs child and their family to work toward the production of a documentary).  Other advisories are establishing a model in the classroom that mimics a version of the project exploration currently experienced at HackStudio in Evanston.  Teachers were invited to participate in a professional development opportunity at HackStudio last week, learning about the ways in which a teacher can facilitate an authentic pursuit with a student and see them through the steps of the project to completion.  Advisors have shared that some of the projects emerging from this model are building a radio, the design and build of a waterproof phone case, exploration of photography, exploration of the culinary arts, writing and producing a short film, and much more.  The value of this type of learning goes beyond the final product and lies within the problem solving, perseverance, reaction to failure and success and creative design process along the way toward the final product.

The Student Skills period is a new addition to our day. The primary difference that this brings to our schedule is that it allows students receiving an intervention in Math or Reading to be supported during this period as opposed to forfeiting an arts class (which had been the case with our previous schedule model).  In addition, students who do not need to receive an intervention during this period can benefit from targeted supported in their general education classroom.  This could take shape as a time for reteaching, review or targeted support in the areas of executive function, editing or concepts specific to current units of instruction.  This period may also be a time for students showing a need for challenge or extension to receive that level of support.  Often the word "enrichment" can be mistaken as a synonym for the challenge I am referring to here, and it is important to note that challenge would fall most appropriately into this skills period.  Also important to note is that challenge does not mean acceleration, but rather a deeper dive into developmentally appropriate content.

You may be interested in reading more about current chatter in the educational world on both of these topics.  The Skokie School is not the only place exploring the possibilities of inquiry, enrichment and intervention, as there is a national conversation underway around the impact of experiential learning opportunities.  The following articles are great resources for a deeper read:

I look forward to sharing pictures and stories of the projects that emerge in the coming weeks and months.  This is an exciting opportunity for all, but one that requires a great amount of flexibility and an open mindset on the part of all members of our school community.  As you head into the weekend, as your fifth or sixth grader what they might be interested in exploring and how you might weave that into your conversations at conferences next week.  Enjoy the time together with your family this weekend.

Most Sincerely,

Kelly Tess


WANT A QUICK WAY TO GET PICTURES AND UPDATES FROM SKOKIE? FOLLOW SKOKIE ON TWITTER @skokie36  Use #lookforthes and tweet @skokie36 with pictures or messages of service!
Saturday, November 5th, 8:00am

This year, Skokie will be hosting its third annual 5K, The Skokie Shuffle.  We've moved it up from the Spring and into the Fall!  Click on the link below to register.  We welcome all walkers and runners for a fun event, and a great way to come together as a school community!

Click here to register for The Skokie Shuffle



Due to high demand, we are opening a Tuesday afternoon session for Art club! This year, the Skokie School Art Club will be working on a variety of projects, some independent and some collaborative, including the creation of our very own art history walk. We will meet in the Art Room on Tuesdays, from  3:45-4:45 pm.  There will be 10 available openings for this club. Our first session will meet on  October 25th and our final session will meet on January 24th (There will be 12 sessions in all).

This year, the Skokie School Art Club will be working on a variety of projects, some independent and some collaborative, including the creation of our very own art history walk. We will meet in the Art Room on Wednesdays, from 3:45-4:45 pm.  Our first session will meet on October 26th and our final session will meet on February 1st.  (There will be 12 sessions in all.)  There are 10 available spots for this club, but if interest exceeds the limit - a second day may be added.

A new math and logic game club for Skokie 5th graders. Whether your child can't get enough of all things math or wants to build math confidence and skill, this club is the perfect fit! Each week, engaging new games will be introduced that grow perseverance, strategic thinking, and computational fluency. Our club will provide a relaxed environment for building both friendships and mathematical thinking! Club meets 7:30 - 8:25 a.m., October 27 - May 18 (not in session 11/17, 11/24, 12/22, 12/29, 2/9, and 3/30) in the Skokie School Loft.

Join this adventurous crew as we experience the challenges suggested for The First Lego League. We will determine if we are ready to compete or if we want to pilot the experience for next year's competition. The Team will meet on Wednesdays, from 3:30 - 4:30 p.m. November 2 through December 14, 2016, in Room 142.

We are pleased and excited to be offering, for the upcoming 2016-2017 school year, our After School Sports Clubfor fifth and sixth graders, and   Skokie Climbing Club . The Skokie Climbing club is for students who would like to climb the Skokie High Ropes Course after school. 6 - 8th grade students along with 5th grade Adventure Climbers are allowed to enroll during the first semester.

COMING SOON:  Cereal Club, Science Olympiad, and Math Counts (Science Olympiad and Math Counts are November/December through April Clubs)!

Breakfast With Friends, where you can start the day with  
conversation, cereal, and relaxation in a stress-free environment.  This club will meet Thursday mornings, November 3rd through December 15th from 7:40-8:10am in Room 159. The club will be free of charge, however, we will ask that the students bring in one box of cereal each. Students may sign up outside of Mrs. Martinsen's Room 159 or outside Ms. Keane's office Room 125. 
Cereal Club was originally established at New Trier in 2002.  Students at New Trier have said they enjoyed the departure from the busy and bustling atmosphere (experienced) during the rest of the school day, so we are hoping to create a similar environment at Skokie!
 If you have any questions, please feel free to contact:, or
Parent Education Opportunities

Get Googley
Monday, October 17 at 9:30 a.m.
The Skokie School Community Room
Maureen Chertow Miller, Director of Technology, leads this orientation on Google Apps for Education, and how you can use these tools to support your child at home.

STEAM in District 36
Thursday, November 3 at 9:30 a.m.
Greeley School Resource Center
Learn more about the STEAM experience and the purpose behind the makerspace environments in District 36 with Maureen Chertow Miller, Director of Technology.

From Washburne to New Trier: A D36 Parent's Guide to the New Trier Transition
Tuesday, November 8 at 9:30 a.m.
Resource Center at Carleton Washburne School
Dave Kanne, Principal at Carleton Washburne School, and Paul Waechtler, Principal at the New Trier High School Freshman Campus, will discuss how D36 works with leaders at New Trier throughout the freshman placement process 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. To RSVP, click here.

Math Program Evaluation Informational Session Video
A comprehensive study of the District's Math Program was conducted by Northwestern University's Dr. Miriam Sherin and University of Illinois at Chicago's Mr. Jim Lynn over the past six months. The final report was presented to the School Board at a special meeting on Monday, October 10, and a parent follow-up session with Dr. Sherrin and Mr. Lynn took place on Thursday, October 13. To view the presentation shared with parents, click here

CAREER DAY AT SKOKIE:  November 15, 2016

 The Skokie School is excited to launch its first ever Career Day on Tuesday, November 15.  We are looking for volunteers to spend time with our students to share information about what they do for a living, and how that chosen career was inspired by a learning experience in school.  If you are interested in sharing your time and experience with us, please CLICK HERE to give us some basic information.  A member from our Career Day Committee will contact you with the details.  
Donate your Extra/Unwanted Halloween Candy
Skokie School will be hosting a Halloween Candy Drive!  Extra candy can be dropped off in the Skokie School foyer onTuesday, November 1st  through Thursday, November 3rd or directly at McClellan Orthodontics on Green Bay Road (just remember to tell them the donation is from Skokie School).  

Candy will be sold for $1/pound at McClellan Orthodontics.  Candy sale proceeds will be donated to Lurie Children's Hospital and Skokie School.  In addition, the top schools with the most candy contributed receive cash prizes.  And we won the GRAND PRIZE last year.  So let's do it again!  Spread the word and please help Skokie and Lurie Children's by donating your extra Halloween candy - THANK YOU!
Any questions, please email Karen Hawkins at

October 2016
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. Last year Skokie collected over 50 pounds of was quite amazing.
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

Skokie Calendar
October 20, Thursday 
Early Dismissal at  
11:50 a.m.
October 21, Friday 
Conference Day 
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