March 2020

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

Dear Parents, Staff, and Community Members,

As we all make sense of an unprecedented global situation impacting our local community, we appreciate your patience, understanding, and support.  Our priority is, and will continue to be, the health and safety of our students, staff, and community. Yesterday, the District announced school closures as we transition to remote learning plans starting Monday, March 16.  This decision was made in concert with the New Trier Township districts in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. 

When the World Health Organization announced the pandemic status on Wednesday, March 11, advisory guidelines rapidly evolved.  We swiftly evaluated the benefits and consequences of closing schools, including the impact of this decision on the daily routine of our families and staff.  By closing schools to slow the spread of COVID-19, we help address numerous concerns such as lessening the burden on our hospitals, which will need to focus their energy on people who are ill.  School closure also helps us implement social distancing, one of the most effective ways to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. According to Centers for Disease Control, "social distancing strategies increase the space between individuals and decrease the frequency of contact among individuals to reduce the risk of spreading a disease. Keeping individuals at least 6 feet apart is ideal based on what is known about COVID-19."  We strongly encourage all of our students to practice social distancing to avoid large events and gatherings until public health officials advise otherwise.

We care deeply about our community and are taking significant measures to uphold our commitment to health and safety.  We will miss having our students and staff in our schools, but we believe it is in the best interest for all. Our shift to e-learning is new to us, but we have dedicated hours of planning over the past week to prepare our launch.  Our focus remains on progress over perfection, so please be patient with our implementation. We are committed to swiftly addressing challenges along the way. In anticipation, dedicated helplines and tech support will be available to students, parents, and staff We also want to recognize our staff who have demonstrated incredible flexibility and positivity to ensure effective learning plans are in place for our students.
Finally, we recognize that we may not have answers yet to all of the questions that are surfacing; please know we are diligently evaluating information that comes our way.  The District has also been coordinating with other fellow community partners, such as the Village, Police and Fire Departments, Park District, Library, and private schools to ensure our response to COVID-19 is coordinated and includes consistent messaging and support.  We are not in this alone in our effort to support you. We believe it is our shared responsibility to prioritize the safety and health of our community-at-large and will continue to make decisions using this lens. You can also expect continued communication, as it is a priority to keep you apprised on new information as it is available.  Thank you, again, for your partnership.


Dr. Trisha Kocanda          Ms. Dawn Livingston
Superintendent                 School Board President
For prior communications regarding this situation and steps the District has taken, you may also access our webpage dedicated to COVID-19 information.
Board Meeting Announcement

The School Board meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, as regularly scheduled at Greeley School Resource Center.  The meeting will be open to the public in compliance with Open Meetings Act and include public comment. The agenda will be abbreviated to focus on mandatory actions and essential updates with School Board members and key Administrative staff in attendance, during which they will practice social distancing. 

7:15 pm - Public Hearing (e-learning plan) & Regular Meeting (no presentations)

Per our typical protocol, a video of the meeting will be posted on the District website within the week.

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

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