December 2019

The Winnetka Wire
Monthly News from The Winnetka Public Schools
Superintendent's Message

Dear Parents, Staff, and Community Members,

This year, we have been studying the research of positive psychology as part of our Social Emotional Learning goal.  The research demonstrates happiness and gratitude are tightly linked .  When we reflect on what we are thankful for and share that with others, our own happiness and well-being gets a boost. It creates a  virtuous cycle of positive emotions which leads to healthier relationships, resilience, and optimism.  Knowing how this simple act of gra titude can have so many benefits, we have been finding times for both adults and children to cultivate this practice.  
Coupling our gratitude work with the spirit of the holiday season, we asked some educators, parents, and students to share what they are grateful for in The Winnetka Public Schools and our community...enjoy and please take a moment to share your own gratitude with others:
  • For everything! (student)
  • To work in a district with such passionate, motivated and generous peers. I am also grateful that our administration values the importance of teachers receiving consistent professional development so that we remain inspired and give our best to our students. (Faith Laux, Spanish Teacher at Washburne)
  • Being loved. (student)
  • This season, I'm especially grateful to be a part of the Winnetka Community and for all those who give our children guidance, encouragement and support every day.  This extends beyond our incredible faculty and schools, to those beyond - our coaches, music teachers, caregivers, neighbors, and friends with whom we share this wild parenting journey.  Each connection counts, each person makes a difference, and in our community our blessings truly overflow. (Emily Reynolds, Parent of sixth grade students at Skokie and a first grade student at Crow Island)
  • My family and my dog. (student)
  • That D36 values the social-emotional learning of both students and adults. A rich and vibrant support network makes Winnetka 36 a wonderful environment to teach and learn! (Jason Bozonelos, Student Services at Hubbard Woods)
  • My teachers! (student)
  • I am grateful to be a part of a District that cares for all children. (Victor L. Cooper, Kinetic Wellness Teacher at Washburne)
  • Constant opportunities for professional growth, supported by the district! Fabulous all-school assemblies, through which community and respect are felt. Students! (Judith Campbell, Math Interventionist at Greeley and Hubbard Woods Schools)
  • For a great school because we have friendships. (student)
  • Having the opportunity to teach and learn alongside such amazing young men and women and dedicated colleagues here at Washburne.  I love how it is a team effort here, and that we are all trying to make the school the best that it can be. (David Hovis, Social Studies Teacher at Washburne)
  • All the people who love me. (student)
  • We are grateful that the WPS focus on giving back to our community and help us to instill that into our children.  We are grateful for their teachers' focus on their whole being. We are grateful that in a world that seems to be going so fast, their education is grounded in its progressive roots, hands-on learning, collaboration, research based curricula, and tradition. (Swope and Maxie Clarke, Parents of 
    students at Crow Island and The Skokie School)
  • So many things!  Mostly the health of my family.  Every healthy day is a good day! (Byrd Rhyne, Fourth Grade Teacher at Hubbard Woods)
  • My friends and my family (student)
  • For the dedication and support of our district, staff, and parents in making social emotional learning a priority for our students, staff, and community. (Larry Joynt, Assistant Principal at The Skokie School)
  • When we come together as a community. At our Thanksgiving assembly, the students of Crow Island and the PTO donated a portion of their Run-A-Thon proceeds to Misericordia. We are also in the process of running a book drive for Bernie's Book Bank. It is really special to watch the look of joy and excitement on the students' faces as we give back to the community. (Bob Sweene, Kinetic Wellness Teacher at Crow Island)
  • Lots of time to enjoy our great life! (student)
We have an incredible community of families and staff at The Winnetka Public Schools. I am grateful that our schools are places where children have a valued voice, teachers bring passion, and principals love what they do. This holiday season, work to cherish the beautiful moments with families and loved ones in the midst of the chaos and busyness.  Wishing you a peaceful holiday season and a Happy New Year!

With gratitude,
Dr. Trisha Kocanda

Board Meeting Preview

The next School Board Meeting will be held at Greeley School on December 17 , 2019. There will be a 5:30 p.m. Work Session on Strategic Goals: Meeting the Needs of all Learners (Part 2). There will be a Public Hearing at 7:00 p.m. on the 2019 Final Levy. For more information, click here for the 2019 Levy FAQsThe Regular Meeting is at 7:15 p.m. 

The Board welcomes public comment at meetings. Each speaker is given three minutes to speak.  The speaker will be notified when the time limit is reached. Please note, the Board uses this time to listen to community questions and concerns, but will not respond immediately to individual requests and cannot take formal action on non-agenda items.  

On March 10, 2020, the District is hosting an event celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Progressive Education in The Winnetka Public Schools (to coincide with Carleton Washburne's arrival in Winnetka in 1919). 

Please save the date. Additional information will be forthcoming. We hope you will join us as we celebrate our legacy of experiential learning. 

Pre-registration for Kindergarten and students new to The Winnetka Public Schools in 2020-2021 is now open on the District website and via this link.  Children who will be five-years-old on or before September 1, 2020, are eligible to enroll. 

The  new student registration process is completed in three steps:
  1. Complete new student pre-registration forms online beginning December 6, 2019.
  2. Provide proof of residency. Click here to view the list of documents that will meet these requirements. For your convenience residency documents may be uploaded during online registration. 
  3. Visit the District Office to provide a certified copy of your child(ren)'s  birth certificate and a parent photo ID and complete the paper portion of registration.
Children will not be considered enrolled until both the online and paper portion of registration has been completed and residency documentation is verified. If you have any questions, please contact the District Office at 847-446-9400.

Student Spotlight

The District is incredibly proud of Yvette Hermann, an eighth grade student at Washburne. This month, Yvette won 1st place in the Anti Defamation League first amendment essay contest, received a $5,000 scholarship, and was recognized at an awards dinner attended by more than 400 people.  
In her essay which reflects on freedom and references a poignant family story, Yvette states, "Silence is complicity in allowing for those who hate to gain power." Prior to the experience, "I did not fully grasp the extent to which I take the Five Freedoms for granted. Having grown up under their protection, I rarely gave thought to what my own life would have been like without them," says Yvette. "While I wrote the essay, however, the interviews with my parents as well as independently researching, it became all the more evident that others are blatantly denied their rights in ways that I couldn't even imagine. Additionally, it further cemented my idea to become a lawyer in the future."
According to Mr. Rice, Yvette's social studies teacher these past two years, "One of our main goals is to empower students to understand the world around them and use their voices to make a difference.  Having Yvette enter this contest to express her views about the first amendment and how it impacts her life is a great example of a student taking what they have learned and reaching out to the wider community.  Regardless of whether she had won or not, the act of taking the risk to tell people what she thinks is something that makes us proud. The positive feedback of having her work validated and celebrated is a great confidence builder for a student trying to find their voice."


The Winnetka Public Schools is one of only 150 organizations that has been named a Top Workplace in Chicago. The list was announced on November 8 in a special section of The Chicago Tribune. The Top Workplace award is based solely on the feedback that District staff offered through an employee survey administered by a third party. We are proud to receive this honor.

In the News

Winnetka Talk and The Winnetka Current featured stories on the first grade Farmers Markets at Crow Island and Hubbard Woods. The Winnetka Current covered Bring A Neighbor to School Day at Greeley School. The Winnetka Current featured the District's Top Workplaces honor. 

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In This Issue

Important Dates

Autumn in 
District 36...

Experiential learning was in action as first grade students at Crow Island & Hubbard Woods hosted a Farmers Market, the  culmination of their study on farming.

Middle school students had a successful First Lego League event! 
Skokie's " Cyber Storm" received the "Champion's Award" which means they 
were the overall winner.  Washburne's "Nerd Herd" also performed well. Both teams will advance to the 
State Championship Tournament in January.

These Skokie School students volunteered their time to help customers at the Holiday Tree Lot on Hibbard Road, which 
raises funds supporting 
Scout Troop 20's 
many endeavors. 

Greeley first grade
students worked 
on a coding activity. 

Prior to Thanksgiving, Crow Island PTO leaders presented a check for 
$7,500 to help 
support athletes 
at Misericordia. 
Students raised this money with community support during Run-a-Thon earlier this autumn. 

District families attended the annual Hour of Code event, where students helped facilitate 
technology activities. 

District students have been engaged in a variety 
of service projects to help others in need this 
holiday season. 
Washburne's Team Possibility wrapped gifts  that will 
be provided to the
Northwestern University 
Settlement House.

Greeley students used virtual reality to learn 
about bees.

Middle school band and orchestra students performed concerts. 

Crow Island students designed holiday cards to share with others.

From the Archives...

Hubbard Woods students went skiing in this 
historic photo.  

Our annual District magazine, Learners, was mailed to all homes in Winnetka this fall. To read Learners, click here  

Connect with The Winnetka Public Schools on social media by 
clicking on the icons  at the bottom  of  this message. 

We  use the hashtag #WE36, which  stands  for 
"Winnetka Experience." 

For a list of upcoming speaker series events, 

The Winnetka Public Schools community empowers every student 
to flourish in an innovativeexperiential environment. 
We support and challenge all learners
 to actively engage in their continual growth and achievement 
to make a meaningful difference in the world.

The Winnetka Public Schools

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