The Winnetka Wire
Monthly News from The Winnetka Public Schools
Dear Parents, Staff, and Community Members,
As noted in the September Wire article, The Winnetka Public Schools has dedicated itself to a whole-child approach for 100 years. Our educators recognized that tending to children's social and emotional well-being was just as important as academic growth long before empirical evidence was available to prove it. We are often asked why we are noticing an increase in student social and emotional health needs in recent years. Although not an exhaustive list, we are aware of these contributing factors:
Children's brains have not changed but childhood has.
There are expectations placed on children that run counter to brain development. This misalignment cause dissonance for our youngest learners who are asked to achieve something their brain is biologically not yet ready to master. We are fortunate the District has maintained a developmental approach, including a play-based kindergarten, but that is not standard in most school districts.
Children live in a face-to-phone world.
In our society, our use of technology is constantly evolving. Using devices to communicate can be powerful; however, face-to-face socializing remains most important. Human interaction allows for questions to be asked, conflicts to be resolved, and emotional connections to be developed. Learning is a social process that depends on human interaction.
Children are more than a score...a "like"...or a win.
I am proud of the many parents I interact with who understand that importance of reinforcing effort, resilience, and growth in their children. It is important to be cognizant of
we need to counterbalance the
messages children receive from various sources, such as social media, that tend to promote an unrealistic and harmful goal of perfection.
It is certainly challenging to be a parent and educator, as I know too well first-hand. The District truly sees itself as a partner on the journey through childhood. Our strategic goal this year is to "Build a community-wide understanding and commitment to the value of Social Emotional Learning and its impact on
students' holistic success and well-being." Together, it is important that we foster productive dialogue and offer shared learning experiences to support our children during these formative years.
Dr. Trisha Kocanda
After three years of evaluating redistricting scenarios, The Winnetka Public Schools Board received a recommendation from Superintendent Kocanda at the School Board Meeting on September 24, 2019 endorsing Option 2 as the option best aligned to the Board's Redistricting 2020 Guiding Principles. The Board will make final approval of a change in attendance boundaries at the October 22, 2019 School Board meeting.
The September 24 meeting included a presentation from Cropper GIS, the District's demographer, summarizing data from a newly updated forecast model on student enrollment in the district. This updated forecast suggests a stabilizing enrollment for the district over the next ten years, and a continued imbalance amongst our three schools without a change in attendance boundaries.
Feedback from the community as well as input from the Village and Winnetka Police Department was reviewed at the meeting. Community concerns largely centered on changes in traffic patterns and the need for safety measures (signage, lighting, crossing guards) at the newly traveled intersections. The Village and Police are committed to partnering with the District in efforts to make this transition a safe one for families.
The School Board
also continued discussions on "phasing-in". Phasing-in allows a subset of students to remain at their current school AFTER new boundary l
ines go into effect. The Board gained consensus on
phasing-in the following students who reside in the redistricted zone (representing 2020-2021 grade levels):
- All 4th graders
- 2nd and 3rd graders who attended D36 Kindergarten
- 2nd and 3rd graders who did not attend D36 Kindergarten
- 1st graders who attended D36 Kindergarten with an older sibling who attends Crow Island
Students who will not be given phase-in consideration are as follows:
- Any newly enrolled students (even those with siblings already attending Crow Island)
- 1st graders who attended D36 Kindergarten with no older sibling at Crow Island
Community members are invited to attend the following upcoming meetings:
7:15 p.m. at Greeley School
School Board Meeting
The School Board will approve the plan for Redistricting 2020. New attendance boundaries and "phase in" accommodations will be approved at this meeting.
The next School Board Meeting will be held at Greeley School on October 22, 2019. There will be a 5:30 p.m. Work Session on School Board goals, focused on high readiness learners. The Regular Meeting is at 7:15 p.m. and includes the following presentations on the agenda:
Fall 2019 Assessment Report/District Improvement Plan
At the Regular Meeting, the Board will also approve the plan for Redistricting 2020.
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.
The 100th Anniversary of
Progressive Education in Winnetka
On March 10, 2020, the District is hosting an event celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Progressive Education in Winnetka (to coincide with Carleton Washburne's arrival in Winnetka in 1919).
Have you been positively impacted by the District's progressive philosophy?
Are you interested in helping us celebrate our century-long commitment to Progressive Education?
The District is forming a Committee of Winnetka Public Schools alumni, current and former parents, current and retired educators, community partners, and/or anyone who is proud of our schools and wants to help us plan a celebration for the Winnetka community to enjoy.
Skokie School Students Gain
With ScootKnees™ Invention
Skokie School students Philip Baker, Brett Hannafan, and Anthony Hartman are gaining national attention as the masterminds behind an
innovative new product called ScootKnees™. In fall 2018, Philip and Brett sparked an idea of skating on their knees. According to Brett, "We were in the car coming home from hockey practice. Philip's dad played street hockey and told us about pads that make him slide and it gave us an idea." They immediately contacted their friend Anthony, who began tinkering with sports equipment and designed a prototype for ScootKnees™ within 24 hours. After refining their design, creating a business plan, developing marketing and financial strategies, and filming infomercials, the students shared their invention during The Skokie School's Career Day. In summer 2019, the students participated in the
Winnetka IDEA Tank
, created by Lowey Bundy Sichol, an alum of The Winnetka Public Schools. Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz served as the students' mentor in the competition; they ultimately won first place and received a check to further their entrepreneurial endeavors.
Over the past several months, the students have been featured in
and have appeared on
and on the
Steve Cochran Show on
WGN Radio during the "Kids of the Week" segment
. The students share that the product is not limited to hockey players. ScootKnees™ is a fun, low-risk device that allows children to move around on their knees while racing or playing a multitude of games.
Anthony, Brett, and Philip are adamant that having a growth mindset, finding joy in tinkering, and learning from (rather than being discouraged by) mistakes is the key to their success. They referenced Thomas Edison as an inspiration as they continued to develop their invention. When asked what advice they may share with other budding entrepreneurs, Anthony notes that there is no need for expensive tools: "Your brain is your material to use." Philip shares, "If you have an idea go for it...run with it...it could change your life." Anthony echos "Don't let anyone push back ...you can do anything if you set your mind to it!"
The students, who first became friends at Crow Island School, shared that their strong friendship and rapport with one another was an asset to their business idea. According to Philip, "The good part about working with your friends is complementing each others' strengths." The District is proud of these students for their ingenuity!
The Winnetka Current ran the below story following a joint message from Superintendent Kocanda, The Winnetka Police Department, and the Central PTO.
Connect with The Winnetka Public Schools on social media by
clicking on the icons
at the bottom
use the hashtag #WE36, which
For a list of upcoming speaker series events,