March 2019

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

Dear Parents, Staff, and Community Members,

Our community has a referendum vote on April 2nd that will affect the future of The Winnetka Public Schools and impact the learning environment for our children now and in the future. Although the community has taken great care of its schools (ranging from 50- to 106-years-old), the aging infrastructure continues to demand maintenance every year (over $2.6M annually). When examining our facilities via intense study over the past two years, more than 850 community members voiced their opinions and ideas. The School Board and administration listened. Ultimately, the plan before you is one of compromise and flexibility that maintains our neighborhood schools, yet addresses the long-term needs.

What does the plan address?  The plan prioritizes capital improvements that allow access for students and staff with disabilities, per the Americans with Disabilities Act. It also mitigates water sources with elevated lead levels.  Safety and security improvements are included to reflect recommendations by Winnetka police and fire officials. Upgrades are planned for mechanical systems and electrical structures that are at the end of their useful life. The additions and renovations in the plan allow young students to eat lunch in cafeterias versus foyers, auditoriums, and basements.  It also affords children multi-purpose learning space to be used for hands-on group projects throughout the day. We would be able to remove the portable trailers from Crow Island's campus and build a community-use gym and renovated library/STEAM space. The proposed learning space renovations at Washburne School mirror much of the intentional design imagined when Crow Island was built. And, Skokie School would remain an asset to the District, with an opportunity to develop a long-term plan for the historic structure over the next 3-5 years.

In anticipation of a referendum the School Board: eliminated more than $40M in taxes via abatements, deferred facilities projects to avoid unnecessary spending until a comprehensive plan was approved, reduced the overall project scope by $14M, and authorized $10M of reserves to lower the referendum to $90.6M.

Finally, I want to thank our community for your dedication to and participation in this process.  The community has demonstrated civil discourse, modeling what we want our children to emulate as they grow into active citizens. I encourage all voters to learn more about the referendum at prior to the vote on April 2nd.

Sinc erely,
Dr. Trisha Kocanda
Board Meeting Preview

The next School Board Regular Meeting will be held at Hubbard Woods School on Tuesday, March 19. The Regular Meeting begins at 7:15 p.m. and the following presentations are on the agenda:
  1. Professional Development-Winnetka University
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.  


Mark your calendars to vote on Tuesday, April 2 OR take advantage of in-person early voting (at Centennial Ice Rinks, Wilmette) beginning on Monday, March 18.  Both the D36 Referendum and School Board Candidates will be on the ballot. 

Not sure if you are registered in Winnetka or don't know where to vote?  Visit for information regarding voter registration, absentee ballots and polling locations.  

Winnetka community members are invited to attend an upcoming informational session to learn more information and ask questions on the following dates:
  • Monday, March 18, 6:30-8:00 p.m., Carleton Washburne Cafeteria (entrance on Elm Street)
  • Thursday, March 21, 6:30-8:00 p.m., Crow Island Auditorium
Did you know that...
  • Most classrooms support technology and equipment for (up to) 24 students with only 2-4 electrical outlets
  • 12% of water faucets/fountains tested have unacceptable lead levels and cannot be used for drinking
  • $200,000 of emergency pipe repairs occurred at Washburne alone in 2017
  • Students with physical disabilities cannot use all entrances to certain schools or gain access to upper/lower level classrooms/learning spaces
  • Elementary schools function with inadequate or no cafeteria/multipurpose space with 95% of students staying at school for lunch
  • Learning spaces for STEAM, MakerSpace, gym, and Library Resource Centers do not serve students equitably among schools
  • Safety and security enhancements for controlled visitor access, surveillance, or communications systems considered "best practice" in schools nationwide are not possible without modifications to century-old structures.
For more details about the April 2 Referendum, visit the D36 Referendum 2019 webpage .  A comprehensive newsletter recently went out to the entire Winnetka community. Note that FAQs are available as well.


"Understanding and Addressing Adolescent Mental Health and Depression"
March 21, 2019
7:00 - 8:30 p.m. in the Cornog Auditorium
New Trier Northfield Campus
At this event hosted by New Trier High School, you will have the opportunity to hear from several members of New Trier staff, representatives from some of the mental health organizations in our community (Willow House, Haven Youth and Family Services, and Erika's Lighthouse), and Dr. Jonathan Singer, an expert on adolescent depression from Loyola University.  After a short presentation, there will be an opportunity to ask questions of these experts. The goal of the event is to develop a deeper understanding of the varied signs of depression, learn strategies all adults can use to help connect with students who may be struggling, and expand our knowledge of the resources available to support students in our community.
You can find more information regarding the services offered through Willow House here , Haven Youth and Family Services here , and a parent handbook from Erika's Lighthouse here .

Kindergarten pre-registration for 2019-2020 is now open. Children who will be five-years-old on or before September 1, 2019, are eligible to enroll. The District's Kindergarten Committee and Central PTO unanimously approved shifting to an online process versus an on-site process. This shift minimizes the time needed to pre-register and respects the busy schedules of our families.  

The Registration process is completed in two steps:
  1. Complete an online pre-registration form
  2. Provide proof of residency (documents can be uploaded online): child(ren)'s original birth certificate and a parent photo ID will need to be provided in person. Opportunities to do so will be made available in Spring 2019.  The list of documents that will meet these requirements is here.
If you have any questions, please contact the District Office at 847-446-9400.


A webpage dedicated to Redistricting will continue to be updated regularly:

Adventures in Learning 2019 runs from June 17th-July 19th, 2019. There is no camp on July 4th. A decades-long tradition, this summer program includes classes as varied as Rock Guitar Band, Life Around the World, Zany Art Explosions, Drone Flight School, Camping Adventures, Make Your Own Music Video, Adventures in STEAM, Archery, The Wacky World of Water, Kitchen Magicians, Programming and Robotics, Tennis, Computer Animation, Improvisation, Yoga for Kids, Animal Care, Purposeful Repurposing and Spa-Licious to name a few!
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.
This year's program will be held at Washburne for the 2nd-8th graders and Hubbard Woods for the Pre-K (4 years old by June 1st, 2019), K Primary program (5 years old by September 1st, 2019) and 1st grade program.
Registration is available via

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In This Issue

Important Dates

Winter in  District 36...

Skokie students immersed themselves in studying historical figures from Ancient Greece, 
which culminated in 
their Greek Museum presentations  this week.

Washburne 7th & 8th graders in the Stagecraft & Centerstage classes 
recently performed a play 
created  from stories written  by  D36 3rd graders.

Crow Island students working on the scenery
 for their spring sing, 
which focused on 
Chicago landmarks & historic figures. 

Self portraits by Greeley students are on display. 

Hubbard Woods first graders 
engaged in a 
coding activity. 

Greeley Kindergarten students guess who will be their class  Mystery Reader.

Washburne students created art and also 
shared details on their  design process.

From the Archives...

Crow Island students are pictured in this  image.

View the goals along with an updated version of the District's 2015-2020 Strategic Plan here.

For a list of upcoming FAN 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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