The Whittier Wildcat Word

Friday, May 27, 2022

A Message from Principal Robinson

Greetings, Whittier Wildcats,

I hope this newsletter finds all Whittier families and friends doing well!

Next week, we will officially enter the last full week of this school year. Our scholars have made tremendous growth this school year and are looking forward to an exciting end to the school year. Classrooms will have their end-of-the-school-year class picnics, grade-level field trips, and Olympic Day. We are excited to celebrate and reward our scholars for their perseverance this year.

Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

In partnership,

Principal Robinson

Whittier School - Where I Belong!

Big picture
Big picture

Whittier Wildcat Word Staff Spotlight

One of our goals this year is to strengthen the relationship between home and school. In particular, findings ways for the Whittier community to know the staff at Whittier. Therefore, each week, we will randomly pick a staff member from an envelope to spotlight.

Mr. Jason Lukehart: 4th-Grade Teacher

  1. Hello! My Name is Jason Lukehart.

  2. I am a 4th grade teacher, and this is my 13th year at Whittier.

  1. My favorite color is blue, but if I am playing a game and there's a red piece, I like to be red.

  2. What I like most about Whittier is that being here feels like being with family.

  3. If I could have a superpower, I would want the ability to fly.

  4. If I was an animal I would like to be an otter, because they get to swim, they like to play, and they have close friendships with other otters.

  5. My advice for the scholars of Whittier is find things you love to do, and figure out how to do those things as much as you can!

Upcoming Events

May 2022

30th - Memorial Day - No School


June 2022

1st - 5th Grade Award Assembly

1st - 4th & 5th Grade Art & Music Showcase

2nd - Kindergarten Art & Music Showcase

3rd - 1st ~ 3rd Grade Art & Music Showcase

5th - PTO End of the Year Bash

7th - Olympic Day & Last day of School

Whittier Art, Spanish & Music Showcase


From Mrs. Karia, Sra. Rodriguez, and Ms. Connell- We are so excited to present the Whittier Art, Spanish and Music Showcase Thursday June 2nd. Please fill out the RSVP form if you haven't yet. It has everything you will need to know! (New D97 COVID policy- Masks are required for guests and recommended for performers)

1st Grade

From Mrs. Karia and Ms. Connell- We are so excited to present the Whittier Art and Music Showcase Friday June 3rd. Please fill out the RSVP form if you haven't yet. It has everything you will need to know! (New D97 COVID policy- Masks are required for guests and recommended for performers)

2nd Grade

From Mrs. Karia, Mr. Jacobson and Ms. Connell- We are so excited to present the Whittier Art and Music Showcase Thursday June 2nd. Please fill out the RSVP form if you haven't yet. It has everything you will need to know! (New D97 COVID policy- Masks are required for guests and recommended for performers)

3rd Grade

From Mrs. Karia and Ms. Connell- We are so excited to present the Whittier Art and Music Showcase Friday June 3rd. Please fill out the RSVP form if you haven't yet. It has everything you will need to know! (New D97 COVID policy- Masks are required for guests and recommended for performers)

4th Grade and 5th Grade

From Mrs. Karia and Ms. Connell- We are so excited to present the Whittier Art and Music Showcase Wednesday June 1st. Please fill out the RSVP form if you haven't yet. It has everything you will need to know! (New D97 COVID policy- Masks are required for guests and recommended for performers)

Hephzibah Children’s Association

Grab your shoes and Hoof It for Hephzibah!

Join Hephzibah’s Western Auxiliary for their 22nd Annual HOOF IT for Hephzibah 5k Walk/Run and Kids Race on Memorial Day.

This in-person event will be held at Newton Park in Glen Ellyn. All proceeds from this race go to support Hephzibah's programs for children and families.

Register here >

The Buddy Bench will Return Next School Year!

We are excited to announce the return of the Buddy Bench! The new Buddy Bench will be replaced over the summer before the return of our wildcats. I know our wildcats will be excited about its return. Additionally, we are hoping to have some repairs done to our playground during this time before the start of the school year.

Registration Information for 2022-23

Online registration for the 2022-23 school year in District 97 will officially launch for all students on Monday, May 2!

This year, the registration window will be open May 2 through July 1 for ALL students—returning, new and kindergarten.

Returning Students

The parent/guardian listed as PG1 in PowerSchool will receive an email from with their student’s snapcode and instructions to register. Emails will be sent on Monday, May 2, 2022.

Complete details can be found at

New Students and Kindergarteners

This year, we have streamlined the process for registering kindergarteners and new students to make it easier for families. Registration can be completed entirely online—no appointments necessary!

  1. First, gather all required documents. Click here for the list >
  2. Next, you will need to create an account in InfoSnap.
  3. Continue in InfoSnap by completing the online registration forms and uploading all your documents. Once you’re finished just click submit.

Please click the links below to learn more about the registration process for kindergarteners and new students.

Remember that the "ABCs" of registration are "D-E-F."
  • D - Documents: All required documents must be scanned and ready to upload before starting registration.
  • E - Early: Registration is a detailed process and we ask that families register early!
  • F - Finish: Registration is finished once you receive a confirmation email from the district.

CLICK HERE for a brief video that outlines the District 97 registration process!

Detailed information about the registration process is available on the district website at

Early Childhood Blended Classrooms

District 97 is currently accepting applications for the early childhood blended classrooms at Whittier Elementary School for the 2022-23 school year. We will have a limited number of spaces available.

We are seeking students who:
  • Are non-IEP students who will be between the ages of 3 and 4 years by Sept. 1, 2022;
  • Demonstrate age-appropriate language and social skills;
  • Are Oak Park residents;
  • Are not enrolled in a preschool program.
The registration window will be open through May 13, 2022. For more information about the Early Childhood Blended Program, please visit


Summer is so close, and so is OPEF’s BASE Camp! Did you know that BASE is an acronym for Build a Summer Education? Your child can do just that, this summer!! We have openings in many camps still, such as Shoe Drip Art, Tinker Lab, Anime Quest, Pattern & Print, Girl Power Frisbee Physics & many more! We guarantee a wonderful STEAM education opportunity for your child. Check out what’s still open at!

Whittier Advocacy Fund- Family Support Survey

At Whittier, we want to support each student as best we can during these challenging times. Our PTO received financial funds from an anonymous donor that we can use to support our students and families in need.

If you are in need of additional support, please take a few minutes to help us better understand how we can support your family's current needs by filling out a google form ( If your child is identified as needing additional support, someone from our school will be in touch with you within the week. Please fill this out for EACH child in your family. Thank you in advance.

Please note - ALL these responses will be kept confidential and can only be accessed by school social workers, the assistant principal, and the principal.

Big picture

Second Step: SEL Curriculum Summary for the week of May 23rd

Our goal in this last unit of Second Step is to help students learn how to solve peer conflicts. Conflict is a natural part of being human and a natural part of life, yet the struggle to solve the conflict in prosocial ways is real! Our kindergartners learned how to share and compromise when conflict arises so they can have fun and are less likely to resort to more aggressive solutions like grabbing or name-calling. The goal is not to dominate others when we’re playing, the goal is to have fun together and when we play in fair-ways everyone has fun. Our first and second graders learned about noticing when people are left out and inviting them to play. Our third graders used the problem-solving steps to cope with being left out. Our fourth graders learned how to take responsibility for their actions by apologizing and offering to make amends and our fifth graders learned about how to avoid gossip, which is a common source of conflict. Below are our home links for this week!

Kindergarten- No home link

First Grade- No home link

Second Grade- No home link
Third Grade- No home link

Fourth Grade- Taking Responsibility for Your Actions

Fifth Grade- Dealing with Gossip

As always, we strongly encourage you to continue these conversation at home with your scholars(s) to support the ongoing learning at school.

(NEW) IMPORTANT: Calling Your Child In Sick from School

Please support Nurse Winkelhake by LEAVING A REASON when you call your child in sick from school. Our nurse follows up on every absence call when a specific reason is not provided. If your child is staying home due to reasons unrelated to COVID-19, sharing that information in the message helps the nurse determine whether a call is necessary. When calling please slowly state:

  1. Your Name
  2. Your Child’s Name
  3. Your Child’s Grade and Homeroom/Advisory Teacher
  4. Reason for the Absence
  5. Best phone number to reach you
We appreciate your assistance with this process!

Submit Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination After Second Dose

According to the Centers for Disease Control and state/local health officials, fully vaccinated individuals do not have to quarantine due to potential COVID-19 exposure as long as they are asymptomatic. Additionally, achieving a high rate of vaccination will strengthen our overall safety plan and will put the district in the best possible position to reconsider other mitigations as conditions improve in our community.

To help us reduce any unnecessary quarantines and accurately track our student vaccination rate, District 97 requests that families submit proof of vaccination for their students as soon as they have received their second dose. There are two options:

  • IF YOU HAVE A GOOGLE ACCOUNT: Fill out a brief Google Form and upload a copy of the student’s vaccination card. CLICK HERE to access the Whittier vaccine form.

  • IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A GOOGLE ACCOUNT: Email a copy of your student’s vaccination card to Nurse Hilary Winkelhake ( Please include the child’s full name and grade.

Students Who Participated in Clinics at District 97 Schools
If your student completed their vaccine series at one of the school-based clinics, a staff member should have taken a photo of their vaccination card following the second dose.

  • If your child's card was documented, no further action is needed.

  • If your child's card was not scanned or photographed, or if your child did not receive their second dose at a school clinic, please email a copy of the card to your school nurse.

If you have any questions, please contact Nurse Hilary. Thank you for your support and partnership in keeping our schools safe!

Big picture

Let's Canvas The Block for Campus Beautification!

At only 35% of our fundraising goal, the PTO is asking families to sign up to canvas your block and other blocks by putting flyers in mailboxes to promote our Rai$e The Rims initiative. Please sign up here and we will connect next week on picking up flyers!

Big picture

Limited Edition Whittier T-Shirt

A limited edition Whittier t-shirt in support of Rai$e The Rims! Purchase your one of a kind t-shirt here.

Mark Your Calendar For The End Of The Year Bash!

Let's end this year, and head into summer with some blacktop fun! Mark your calendar for Sunday June 5th, from 1pm-4pm for Second City Outlaws, Dunk Tank, Balloon Artist and more!

Big picture

Looking for extra math practice over the summer?

SMART will be offering a 7-week summer program to give current 2nd through 5th

graders (rising 3 rd through 6 th graders) a preview of key parts of the next grade’s

curriculum, starting the week of June 20th. Sessions will be taught by D97 teachers

over Zoom and are meant to supplement in-school instruction. The curriculum for each

session will be stand-alone, so students won’t be lost if they miss a session. Students

from any elementary school in Oak Park and River Forest are welcome. Total cost is

$72 for the full term. Financial aid is available for those who need it.

Join the nearly 200 students who participated in the SMART program this year. For

more information and to register by May 31, visit

Big picture

May Greenleaf

Your May Whittier Greenleaf is ready! Take a peek inside to see some pics from Teacher Appreciation Week and Service Day, hear from our fantastic first graders about their trip to the Shedd, learn about upcoming events and find fun ways to get involved.
Big picture

Free Compost

Making plans for your spring gardening? Whittier Garden Team has a pile of compost leftover from our first Service Day. The compost is located under a large blue tarp next to the Greenleaf Garden. Bring your buckets, wheel barrels and shovels and take what you need. First come, first serve.

Interested in a PTO Leadership Positions?!

Whittier PTO is looking for your time and talent next year with several positions open. This includes co-President to support our membership, Secretary to keep the record, GreenLeaf News Editor to connect our community in print, and a VP of Enrichment to support our in school activities. Please review the positions here and find Dominique or Vince on the blacktop to learn more!

Bravo Summer Camp

Register For Bravo Summer Camp Today!
3-Week Sessions for Actors: June 13 - July 2 & July 5 - July 23
2-Week Sessions for Crew: June 20 - July 2 & July 11 - July 23

Open to Current 4th - 8th Graders
Registration Deadline - March 12, 2022
Register Here

Whittier Wildchat

The Whittier PTO breaks down The Rundown on our weekly Whittier Wildchat podcast and has a weekly special guest to help you stay in the know. Subscribe today!

Rai$e The Rims

Rai$e The Rims is on! Thank you to all who donated and the excitement building around this exciting opportunity.

PTO Needs Your Help to Rai$e The Rims!!!
To make these hoops happen we will need the time and talent of those who are interested in bringing these hoops to Whittier. If you or your kid(s) would like hoops at Whittier, can you help with:

  • Flyer and Signage Design - Designers and artists! Advertising to the Whittier boundary community and signage at the school.
  • Flyer Distribution Lead - will need to coordinate getting flyers to families to distribute on blocks
  • Fundraising Tracker - keep communication channels updated with where we are with our goal
  • Community Communications - Marketers! Talk with and coordinate with local businesses and news outlets on our efforts.
  • Basketball Hoop Installation - Artists! We would like an onsite installation to show our progress and how much we have to go.

Big picture

Celebrating Juneteenth

District 97 staff and families are invited to join in the Village of Oak Park’s celebration of Juneteenth.

Juneteenth Flag-Raising Ceremony - June 11, 2022Oak Park's Juneteenth festivities begin about a week prior to the holiday with a flag-raising ceremony from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 11, in the courtyard at Village Hall, 123 Madison St.

Juneteenth Parade and Community Picnic - June 19, 2022
Oak Park's Juneteenth parade steps off at 11 a.m. from Longfellow Park near Jackson Boulevard and will march north on Ridgeland Avenue to Augusta Street. Following the parade, a community picnic will be held throughout the afternoon at Taylor Park, 400 Division St. CLICK HERE to register as a parade participant >

"Mindful Middle-Schoolers and Mindfulness Matters" Community Talks - Spring 2022

DePaul University, in partnership with the Oak Park Township Community Mental Health Board and District 97, plan to offer a series of community talks to the District 97 community as part of the Mindful Middle Schoolers and Mindfulness Matters Program.

Below is a list of upcoming VIRTUAL talks, which will be held via Zoom. Registration via the Eventbrite links below is requested. Once you register, a link will be emailed to you prior to the start of each event.

"Mindful Middle-Schoolers" Spring 2022 Community Talk Flyer

Upcoming Virtual Community Talks (Open to All)

SURVEY - Resources to Support COVID-19 Recovery in D97 Schools

The American Rescue Plan Act, passed in March 2021, provided an additional $122.7 billion for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, known as ESSER III. Under this law, school districts around the country will receive additional funding to address the impact of COVID-19 on students’ academic, social, emotional and mental health needs, as well as the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on underrepresented student subgroups.

District 97 anticipates receiving approximately $2.9 million in ESSER III funds, of which 20% must be spent on learning loss. Funds may be used for pre-award costs dating back to March 13, 2020, when the national emergency was declared; they are available for obligation through September 30, 2024.

We are seeking feedback from all district and community stakeholders to help determine how we should best utilize these resources to address ongoing COVID-19 recovery in our schools. Please take time to let us know your opinion by completing a brief survey by Friday, May 13:

West Cook YMCA Swim Program

West Cook YMCA Offering Complimentary Sessions for Access to Swim Program
The West Cook YMCA is offering District 97 families a complimentary session in its Access to Swim program, which will include a swim assessment of all children and placed in an appropriate class based on swim level and the skills of the children. The program is designed to increase the opportunity for swimmers to gain access to water safety and swim lessons for all of our communities and families. The Access to Swim program is for children ages 3 to 12 years old in Oak Park, River Forest, Forest Park, Melrose Park, and Maywood and/or who are students in Maywood-Melrose Park-Broadview School District 89, River Forest School District 90, Forest Park School District 91, or Oak Park School District 97. CLICK HERE for more details >

District 97 to Continue Nut-Free Lunches

All District 97 schools are currently operating as nut-safe facilities to ensure student safety. This has been a critical measure in protecting our students with severe nut allergies, particularly during a time in which our lunch procedures have an added layer of complexity due to COVID-19.

As the district eases mitigations in the coming weeks, and as we prepare for the return of hot lunch after spring break, we are mindful that schools may continue to utilize classrooms and/or modified lunch procedures. In order to maintain safe environments for all of our students, all of our schools will continue to be nut-safe. Please assist us in this endeavor by refraining from sending your child to school with nuts or nut-related products for lunch or snacks.

Please contact your child’s school nurse if you have questions about the safety of any food products that you may be considering sending to school with your child. Thank you for your support with this preventative measure!

COVID-19 Symptom Checklist and Instructions for Symptomatic Students

In October, the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Illinois State Board of Education released updated guidance and an updated exclusion decision tree. As a result, we have updated some of our protocols and required documents for symptomatic students. CLICK HERE for a one-page summary of the required steps and testing for students who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
Big picture

As always, thank you for your continued collaboration and support! Have a wonderful weekend. We look forward to seeing our scholars bright and early next week!

John Greenleaf Whittier Elementary

Where You Belong!

Patrick CL Robinson


Twitter: @PCLRobinson

Chasity McComb-Williams

Assistant Principal

Twitter: @mccombwilliams