December 2020

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

Dear Parents, Staff, and Community Members,

The final Wire message of 2020 focuses on a few (among many) examples of how our students, educators, and families have lifted each others' spirits and creatively reimagined lessons and school traditions. We remain grateful to our school community for our collective resilience and dedication to our students.  May we focus on and celebrate what we were able to accomplish and experience as a school community in this year like no other... 
  • The Hubbard Woods student-produced World's Greatest Student Television (WGST) celebrated its 2,500th episode this fall.  Early 7:30 a.m. Zoom meetings now take the place of live rehearsals with the student anchors, meteorologist, and a student director running the show from home.
  • Greeley students elect a new mascot with every Presidential election - this year was no exception. A Zoom assembly kicked off election season, campaigning was conducted virtually, and students in the remote learning program used mail-in ballots to cast their votes. The primary election narrowed five candidates (all endangered species) down to three before the school-wide election named the Giant Panda the new mascot for the 4-year term.
  • Crow Island students engaged in a weeklong drama experience with Filament Theatre, thanks to an "Artist in Residence" grant from the Winnetka Public Schools Foundation (WPSF).  Students virtually collaborated, imagined, and created a play based on a mission to Mars. Hubbard Woods students will have a similar experience next week.
  • Skokie students supported the Bunkers in Baghdad organization in coordination with Veteran's Day.  Students decorated approximately 400 cards and golf balls with notes of support and appreciation to servicemen and servicewomen overseas. Additionally, students are bringing in hats, gloves and cleaning supplies as part of the "Warm Heads, Clean Hands, and Full Hearts" drive to support Northwestern Settlement House.
  • Washburne students in Mr. Rice's class last winter interviewed Holocaust survivors, veterans, and longtime Winnetka residents in partnership with the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, the Winnetka Historical Society, and the First Division Museum at Cantigny Park. During this integrated learning project, the students created written biographies and artwork to preserve the individuals' stories. After a delay due to the pandemic, the artwork depicting the experiences of veterans is currently on display at the First Division Museum at Cantigny Park in Wheaton. See the link to the exhibit here.
Finally, I wish you meaningful time with loved ones this holiday season. Although much has changed for us this year, this holiday time may allow us to cherish the moments that matter most.  Please stay healthy and unwind and refresh. There is much to be hopeful for in brighter days ahead in 2021. 


Dr. Trisha Kocanda

Board Meeting Announcement

The Regular School Board meeting will be held on Tuesday, December 15 at 7:15 p.m., limited in person and via Zoom. There will be a Public Hearing at 7:00 p.m. on the 2020 Final Levy. The Regular Meeting includes the following presentations on the agenda:


  1. FY2020 Financial Audit
  2. World Language Curriculum Review


Public comment for the meeting will occur by email and in person. Those joining in person should go to the Carleton Washburne School Resource Center.  Please note: space is limited to 8 attendees, masks and social distancing requirements will be required. Those joining remotely should email prior to 6:55 p.m. on December 15 and note if they want the email message read at the meeting. Please note, the Board will be following policy and limit public comment to three minutes.

To participate via Zoom:

Passcode: 035078
iPhone one-tap: 
1 312 626 6799
Or Telephone:
1 312 626 6799  
Webinar ID: 890 5312 8972
Passcode: 035078
Schedule Following Winter Break

The post-winter break schedule is as follows:
  • Monday, January 4 - Remote Planning Day (non-student attendance day)
  • Tuesday, January 5 - Friday, January 8 - K-8 Remote Learning
  • Monday, January 11 - AM Remote Learning (AM/PM pods will merge), PM Teacher In-Service (non-student attendance)
  • Tuesday, January 12 - Friday, January 15 - Remote Learning
  • Monday, January 18 - NO SCHOOL (MLK Day)
  • Tuesday, January 19 - Return to Hybrid In-Person model 
The best way to return to campus safely after break is to have families and staff limit exposure to others and return home no later than January 3 in an effort to prevent the return of the virus on our campuses.  The 2-week remote learning transition plan is intended to afford the recommended 14-day quarantine for those who travel or become close contacts.  This should not be viewed as a window of time to extend vacations.  If you do extend travel, there will not be capacity in our remote classrooms for temporary enrollment due to travel-based quarantine.  Parents will be responsible for supporting student learning while away on travel and any related quarantine Teachers have limited ability to assist students prior to and returning from vacations given the demands of the current context.  

Please instruct your student to gather personal belongings needed for winter break BEFORE break begins on December 18. Buildings will be closed during the break and we will be unable to grant access; there will be no exceptions provided as deep cleaning will occur during this time.

Importance of Adhering to Health/Safety Protocols

First, we recognize that the vast majority of families are following our processes.  Thank you.  Unfortunately, there are some who have not followed protocols and have risked potential exposure to others when it could have been prevented.  The District reserves the right to move students from in-person learning to the remote environment for the duration of the Trimester should a family break safety protocols. Circumstances warranting action include sending a child to school while symptomatic, while awaiting test results, or while awaiting a family member's test result, etc.  These are avoidable risks that compromise the District's ability to maintain in-person learning. Thank you for understanding our collective responsibility to maintain a safe environment for in-person learning under increasingly challenged circumstances.

Kindergarten & New Student Registration

Registration for Kindergarten and students new to The Winnetka Public Schools in 2021-2022 is now open and can be accessed from the District website. Children who will be five-years-old on or before September 1, 2021, are eligible to enroll. 
Please note: children will not be considered enrolled until both the online registration and all supporting documents (steps 1-3) have been completed.  We look forward to welcoming you to The Winnetka Public Schools.

Environmentally-Friendly Activities for Families

The District's Green Team has compiled family-friendly outdoor activities, virtual field trips, and parent resources focused on environmental stewardship and outdoor learning. Please click here to access these resources. If your child participates, we'd love to hear from you and feature the activity on our District social media. Please email your photos to
Upcoming Parent Education Events

In partnership with The Alliance for Early Childhood:
  • Pandemic Parenting: Tools and Tips, February 18,  7-7:45pm Register Here
Additionally, families are invited to participate in Let's Play! 2020-2021 Ongoing Community Programs. Upcoming events are as follows:
  • Let's Play! Winter Woods Exploration, Crow Island Woods, February 20, 10am-4pm
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In the District...

Our learners continue to make the best of our unique school year.

We would like to share photos of our remote learners' experiences, too! Please submit photos with
a short caption to

 Family Action Network features an annual series of free events with renowned speakers, authors, 
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The Winnetka Public Schools

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