January 2020

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

Dear Parents, Staff, and Community Members,

Happy New Year and new decade!  I am hopeful the first few weeks have been positive for you and your family.  As I was reminded when visiting one of our second grade classes this week, the word January comes from Janus, the Roman god of beginnings and endings.  
With a new year, comes an opportunity to reflect back and look forward.  Our students in this class were asked to describe accomplishments from 2019 and dreams for 2020. Observing them served as my inspiration for this month's Wire article.  

As far as looking back on a monumental 2019, please refer to the Winnetka Current article that was published earlier this month .  It highlights much worth celebrating. Looking ahead, I want to preview what is on the horizon for The Winnetka Public Schools in 2020.
  • Celebrating 100 years of Progressive Education!  You are invited to join us for an interactive community celebration on March 10th from  6:00 - 8:00 p.m. at Carleton Washburne School.  The event is meant to be an experiential opportunity to celebrate our remarkable history and exciting future as a progressive school district.  Expect interactive sessions, student performances, and more.
  • The Future of Facilities. The School Board approved a 3-year Capital Plan for required and prioritized maintenance (inclusive of lead mitigation). Since the 2019 referendum, the District has also been analyzing options to move forward with a modified, leaner Educational Master Facility Plan building upon community feedback. After working with the new architectural firm, Perkins + Will, and evaluating financial levers, the Board is prepared to have a vision and plan in place in the coming months. This plan will reflect feedback from our community that has been shared since last April.
  • Renewed Vision and Strategic Plan. The current 2015-2020 strategic plan includes some remarkable accomplishments, such as implementing Extended Day Kindergarten, propelling the maker/STEAM movement across all five schools, and building Winnetka University, a state-of-the-art professional learning platform for our teachers.  With the sunset of the current plan in June, the District is positioned to reset our vision for the next five years and target new priorities. Staff, students, parents, community members, and business leaders will be involved in the development of our next plan starting in March.
  • Continued Intergovernmental Collaboration. The School Board recently approved an intergovernmental agreement with the Village as part of a master plan to address the Village's century-long stormwater issues.  The Village is set to approve this agreement this month, allowing them to use a portion of the Crow Island property for underground stormwater management (without impacting school operations and future use).  We also look forward to updating an intergovernmental agreement with our Park District. The District recognizes the importance of working efficiently and effectively with our community partners and resources. 
Further communication is forthcoming for these areas. We remain committed to ensuring that our entire community is well-informed and able to actively partner with us as we plan for the future in The Winnetka Public Schools. Together we look forward to a productive and exciting spring ahead!

Dr. Trisha Kocanda

Board Meeting Preview

The next School Board Meeting will be held at Greeley School on January 28, 2020. The Regular Meeting is at 7:15 p.m. 

Presentations will include:
  1. Strategic Goal Update: Hiring & Recruitment Practices
  2. Facility and Finance Committees: Educational Master Facility Plan (EMFP) Progress
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, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at Carleton Washburne School, 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). 

Winnetka residents will receive a Save the Date in the mail by late January. For details, visit our District website. RSVP here.


Social emotional learning (SEL) is a key element of the Winnetka Experience and integral to our students' success in the classroom and in life.  This year, we established SEL as a District-wide goal focusing on building a community-wide understanding of Social Emotional Learning and its impact on students and adults.  As part of this initiative, we will be featuring a parent corner article from members of our Parent SEL committee. Click here to read this month's article.

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.
  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

Congratulations to the middle school students who competed in the First Lego League State Championship in January 2020. Skokie's "Cyber Storm" received the "Presentation Award."  Washburne's "Nerd Herd" received the "Spirit Award" and "Alliance Robot Round High Score Award." 

Reflecting on the team's success this past few months, "Cyber Storm" coach Mr. Martinsen says, "This group of 10 and 11 year olds came together and put team before all else to pull off an incredible victory.  It was truly remarkable." According to "Nerd Herd" coach Mr. Selgrat, "I'm proud to have been part of the Washburne Nerd Herd.  They are a wonderful group of problem-solvers who exemplify our core values as a District and those of First Lego League."

Winnetka Parents Institute Events

Social Emotional Learning Session
CASEL Competencies:  Focus on Social Awareness & Relationship Skills 
January 30, 2020
9:30 a.m. to 10:30 am 
The Skokie School Community Room
Join District educators and parents as we explore the key SEL competencies of social awareness and relationship skills and their impact on learning, wellness, and success. Learn how these important competencies strengthen one's ability to understand others, communicate, build relationships, and collaborate as a valued member of a team. This is the second in a series of WPI's workshops that the District is offering this school year focusing on the important District-wide initiative of SEL.  RSVP here.

Not Quite Little Kid, Not Quite Teenager: The Developmental Progression of the Middle School Child
February 5, 2020 
9:30 a.m.
The Skokie School Community Room
Join Principal Weir and Assistant Principal Joynt (The Skokie School) and Principal Fenton and Assistant Principal Horwitz (Carleton Washburne School) for an informational 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.  RSVP here.

A New Trier Township Event

Family Action Network Event

In the News

The Winnetka Current featured a Year-in-Review article including highlights from 2019.

Winnetka Wire Logo
In This Issue

Important Dates

Winter in 
District 36...

Hubbard Woods School partnered with The Kindness Connection on a service project in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Students helped assemble gift bags for hospitalized youth. 

Skokie students enjoyed reading around a virtual campfire, an annual World Language tradition.

Crow Island students participated in a BreakoutEDU activity.

Thank you, 
Winnetka Public 
Schools Foundation! At this week's annual Carlson Event, students were able to showcase exciting new resources grants have provided, such as earthquake shake tables. Keynote Speaker, 
Dr. Matthew Dewar, 
shared a message 
about the  impact of 
SEL on both 
adults and children.

From the Archives...

Experiential Learning is in action in this vintage photo from Crow Island School.

The Winnetka Public Schools is one of only 150 organizations that has been named a Top Workplace in Chicago. 

The list was announced 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.  

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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