September 2023

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A Message from the Superintendent

Dear Families, Staff and Community Members,

As we approach the first month mark of our 2023/2024 school year, I have enjoyed visiting our schools, observing students engaging in project-based learning, getting to know one another and their teachers, and participating in an array of extracurricular activities. Our staff has been implementing important work outlined within our District’s Strategic Plan, and you will soon hear more about our Annual Goals from our administrative team (both at the School Board Meeting on September 26 and in the District’s Biannual Message) later this fall. Thank you to all who attended Go to School Nights to learn more about your child(ren)’s experiences. I am grateful for all of your efforts to support our schools!

One such effort has been the development of our Portrait of an Educator, a process which began last year to complement our Portrait of a Graduate. A team of 35 educators, students, parents and School Board members convened throughout the 22/23 school year to identify the attributes ideally embodied by Winnetka educators. A Winnetka Educator is:

A Relationship Builder


A Learning Designer


A Lifelong Learner


An Advocate

I ask that you please take 10 minutes to view this video, wherein our educators and students describe what it means to be a learner in The Winnetka Public Schools. Below, you’ll find a new logo created to share our Portraits of a Graduate and Educator, as well as highlight the tenets of Progressive Education, the philosophy in which the District has been rooted for over 100 years. As we progress through our school year, we will continue to move forward in this legacy and model these important attributes to our students and colleagues.

Most Sincerely,

Dr. Kelly Tess

Superintendent of Schools

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2023/2024 Calendar

To view the calendar for the 2023/2024 school year, please click here.

Board Meeting Preview

The next School Board meeting will be held at Carleton Washburne School on September 26, 2023. The Regular Meeting is at 7:15 p.m.

The following presentations are on the agenda:

Perkins & Will - Crow Island Design

Annual Plan 2023-2024

In-person seating for the public is on a first-come, first-served basis.

To observe via Zoom:

Meeting ID: 880 9070 7037

Passcode: 353337

The meeting will include an opportunity for in-person public comment. Please note, the Board will be following policy 2:230 and limit public comment to three minutes - however, if there is a high volume of public comment, the Board may need to limit the amount of time dedicated to public comment in order to efficiently conduct business. Community members can send communications to board members at which will be individually reviewed by each board member prior to the meeting.

Safety Bulletin

The Winnetka Public Schools, Village, Police, and Fire Departments work to proactively refine safety practices on an ongoing basis. We are grateful for our collaborative partnership, and have worked together to compile a Fall Edition of our Safety Bulletin as we begin the 23/24 school year. You’ll find general information on a variety of safety-related topics and resources to support the safety of our entire community.

Transportation Safety

In order to prevent traffic-related incidents from occurring in our community, it is important to be vigilant as a bike rider, pedestrian, or driver when traveling through town. Our principals review bike and pedestrian safety practices with students at the start of the school year. We ask that you also take a moment to review the following information with your family:

  • Illinois law prohibits the use of cell phones or other electronic devices while driving in a school zone, even if it's hands free. It is dangerous and is enforced as a moving violation by the police.

    • Please do not use pick up and drop off time to check texts, etc. This potentially endangers others.

    • Please remind your students that they should not be using cell phones or other electronic devices while biking.

  • Crossing guards are present at busier intersections near our schools to assist with safety. Please respect the authority of the crossing guards and follow their directions

  • Please talk to children to ensure that they understand the importance of using caution and following all traffic signals.

    • Note that there are not stop signs at every intersection, especially on Oak and Elm Streets, which are heavily used thoroughfares to Crow Island, Skokie, and Washburne.

  • We STRONGLY recommend that all students who bike, skateboard, or scooter to school wear a helmet, regardless of age.

  • Students should bike on the sidewalk wherever possible, and be respectful to pedestrians. Also, children are expected to walk their bikes through crosswalks and while traveling in Winnetka business districts.

  • When riding on sidewalks, students should be cautious approaching driveways to be sure there is not a vehicle exiting.

  • In order to prevent theft or damage, please encourage your child to securely lock their bike to the bike racks available at school.

  • Each elementary school also has specific traffic procedures and parking restrictions that are enforced by police. We encourage you to review these procedures and contact your building administrator if you are unclear.

  • The speed limit in our school zones is 20 miles per hour during school days. For the safety of all, please follow the posted speed limit.

Monthly Observances

As part of the District's ongoing commitment to equity by fostering connection and belonging, the District will take time each month to recognize the contributions of people of diverse backgrounds. The goal of these monthly observances is to provide resources and support for teachers in order to bring awareness and appreciation to the diverse population of students in our community. Observances will look different at all schools and even at different grade levels. Some activities might include art, music, book studies, research projects, sharing cultural holidays and celebrations, and other school activities. As materials are developed for these observances, we will make them accessible.
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The District offers regular sessions for families to learn more about a variety of topics. Please view the fall schedule here. If you were unable to attend “The Winnetka Experience: Portrait of a Graduate, Portrait of an Educator, and Progressive Education” please view the session here.

Coming Soon:

District 36: Benchmark Assessments

October 19 2023

9:30 A.M.

Location: Skokie Community Room

Join Dr. Becky Mathison, Assistant Superintendent of Innovation, Teaching and Learning, to hear about the standardized academic assessments administered in the areas of reading and math. Learn about what skills are assessed at each grade level, how staff use this information, and when parents can expect to receive assessment results following each of the three benchmarking periods (fall, winter, and spring)


RSVP for this event here

Following the event a link will be provided to the recorded presentation on the website.

Feedback Link

Introducing The Winnetka Public Schools App

Download the District’s app by searching “The Winnetka Public Schools” on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. The app will serve as a convenient way to report absences, view and manage your school calendars, and see at-a-glance District news.

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An Invitation from The Green Team

The Green Team is ready to kick off the school year but we need help from each school to make a tangible difference. Here are some ways that you can be involved:

  • Attend our monthly meetings! Our first meeting is scheduled for October 6, 8:45-9:30 a.m. over Zoom. Meetings will take place the first Friday of each month at 8:45 a.m., all over Zoom. Email Patrick Dawson if you're interested in attending, even if you can't make it every month!

  • Sign up to empty out our plastic bags collection boxes! Can't make our meetings? Prefer to have more of a behind-the-scenes role? Sign up HERE for a month or two at your building to empty out the plastic bags collection. We ask that you complete it at the end of the month unless the box is full before that. You're only responsible for emptying it that one time in a month! If the end of the month comes and it's still not full, please do still empty it though.

Interested in helping with a project? Contact Liz Kunkle and we'll keep you in mind as projects arise!
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Winnetka Voices is a podcast hosted by The Winnetka Public Schools, featuring candid conversations on issues relevant to education and shared resources to support our students and families.

New episodes will be released this fall. Listen to all seven episodes from our inaugural 2022/2023 season here!

Apple Podcast



iHeart Radio


Follow us on Social Media!

Please follow the District via the following social media platforms in order to see day-to-day happenings and more.

Facebook and Twitter: @Winnetka36

Instagram: @WinnetkaPublicSchools

Parent Education Sessions from District Partner Family Action Network (FAN):

For upcoming events (& videos of past events) with an array of highly-regarded authors, educators, and more, access FAN’s website here.

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