HMS Headlines

August 19, 2022

Big picture

A Message from the Administrative Team

Dear HMS Families,

The last couple of days have been filled with teachers reconnecting, learning about new instructional tools and strategies for the coming school year, and just remembering what it is like to be all together at school. We also had a wonderful Fifth Grade Orientation this morning, where students had the opportunity to go to their classrooms, find their desks, and meet their teachers for the first time. We saw many thumbs up and smiling faces as they left the building with their locks (be sure to practice this weekend)! We want to thank our HMS PTO for coming and hosting a coffee for our fifth grade parents, and for supporting all of our fun events this year. It is sure to be a good one!

As you prepare for our FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL on Monday morning, please read carefully the information about arrival and dismissal, the special message about road closures from the Village of Wilmette, and information about upcoming events. This is the first PTO newsletter for the year, so you will want to check out information about upcoming PTO events and ways to get involved!

Enjoy this last weekend of summer, and we will see you Monday!

Kelly, Linda, and Susie



It is important to remember to follow the traffic patterns at school so that we can ensure the safety of each and every student as they arrive and leave for the day. We expect all of our parents to exercise flexibility and understanding during arrival and pick up so that our students are safe, and so that our staff members directing traffic are respected and understood. They have all been trained and have been doing traffic duty for several years, so please look for their direction when entering and exiting the parking lot.

ARRIVAL: Supervision at HMS starts at 8:20 am. The closer you arrive to 8:20, the better chance you have of your child getting to homeroom on time, and you exiting the car line quickly.

Students arriving by car should be dropped off at THE DROP OFF POINT by Gym C. There will be cones to indicate this drop off point (shown in a blue box on the map below). Pull up to the cone and drop your child off as quickly as possible to keep the line moving. PARENTS SHOULD REMAIN IN THEIR CARS during drop off.

Your child will be directed to head to the playground area of the school in back. In the event of inclement weather, your child will be directed to wait inside out of the weather. Staff will be on hand to direct your child to the correct spot and to ensure all students’ safety. In all cases, it is important to keep the line moving, and to maintain one line of traffic.

After dropping off your child, and exiting the car line, please turn right onto Hunter Road. This will help to keep traffic moving smoothly, and will ensure the safety of our students who might be walking to school. Also be aware of students crossing both at Hunter and Illinois, as well as at the crosswalk from the corner to the main walkway in front of the building.

Big picture
Students who walk or bike to school should follow the path around the building to the supervised playground area (see map below). They will remain there until 8:40 am when the bell rings, and students enter the building. In the case of inclement or cold weather, students will be brought into the building to wait for the first bell.
Big picture

DISMISSAL: School is dismissed at 3:35 pm. Students who are picked up by car, should exit through the front of the building and meet their car in the car line. The car line after school loops around the parking lot and utilizes the drop off area next to the visitor entrance. Please be patient in the line, and wait for it to move. We can not allow cars to bypass the line, as it creates an unsafe situation for our students.

For their safety, we ask that students stay on the sidewalk and wait for their car to advance to the front of the line. Crossing the parking lot causes opportunities for accidents and unsafe situations. PARENTS, PLEASE STAY IN YOUR CAR IN THE CAR LINE.

When your child is safely in your car, and you are in the circle drive, please proceed efficiently out of the drive, waiting your turn in line. Exit the drive by turning right onto Hunter Road. Please also allow for the buses to enter and exit the upper lot, as it is important that they get on their routes efficiently.

Some families choose to meet their HMS students at a location away from the school drive. If this is your preference, please communicate that to your child clearly, and be aware of students who may be walking home or other cars who are traveling on the side streets. See the diagram below for more information about dismissal.

Big picture


Please see this detour map for Hunter Road which is still under construction through the 29th. Plan accordingly for your Monday commute!

Curriculum Night

This year Curriculum Night will be held in-person! We are excited to welcome our families back into the building to learn about our curricular programming for the year. More specifics will be sent in stand alone emails to each grade level.

For your planning:

*Optional Band/Orchestra/Choir meeting and Special Education/Instructional Classes meet at 6:00 - 6:15.

You can come join the gallery walk for Creative Arts, Student Services, and PE or stroll through our newly refurbished garden areas from 6:20 - 6:35.

A full schedule is available at the links below



5th Grade News


Please join us for Curriculum Night this Thursday. A detailed email will be sent to all fifth grade families early next week so you can plan accordingly. We look forward to seeing you there!

See below for information about our Fifth Grade Connections event happening this week for fifth graders. They will also receive a special gift this week from our HMS PTO!

6th Grade News

PHYSICALS for 6th GRADERS: All sixth graders are required to bring documentation of a current physical to the nurse's office to start the school year. As you are preparing to return to school, please make sure you stop by your doctor's office, get checked out, and have them fill out this form. For more information about the health requirements for sixth grade, please refer to the D39 Health Information page.

NEW TRIER MATH QUALIFYING: Later on this fall, all sixth graders will be invited to take the New Trier Math Qualifying Test. This year we will be holding the test (it is optional for 6th graders only) at Highcrest on NOVEMBER 17. This is a non-school day during parent-teacher conferences. More details will come later this fall, but we wanted to highlight the date for your planning purposes.


September 13 is Picture Day! Makeups will be September 16.


This year we will be back to having all students eat in the cafeteria for lunch! Fifth graders will eat during 4th period (11:20 - 12:00) and sixth graders will eat during 5th period (12:03 - 12:43).

All students may purchase a lunch daily, and the lunch menu will be available online monthly on our HMS website. To start the year students will be learning lunch processes, how to go through the lunch line, and how to purchase items.

Lunches will be limited to one option to start the year, and as we continue through the year, we are hopeful we will be able to add our a la carte line and additional options for lunch.

Students are always welcome to bring a lunch from home.


To add money to your child's lunch account and for more information about lunch in District 39, please see the instructions HERE. The lunch menu is available HERE.


Important Dates for the Start of the 2022-23 School Year

District 39 is planning for full in-person instruction and typical school hours to start the new school year. The District 39 2021-22 school year calendar is available online. Below are some important dates to note for the start of the new school year:

  • Monday, August 22 – First Half-Day of Student Attendance (AM)

  • Monday, August 22 - Board of Education Regular Business Meeting (Agenda)

  • Tuesday, August 23 – First Full Day of Student Attendance

  • Monday, September 5 – Labor Day (No School)

  • Friday, September 23 – Teacher Institute Day (No School)

  • Monday, September 26 – Rosh Hashanah (No School)

District 39 Safety Information

Parents are encouraged to review the District email sent last week on Wednesday, August 10 for District safety updates ahead of the start of the school year. Please check your inbox for an email titled “District 39 Updates: Preparations for a Great School Year Ahead” for information, including safety plans, training, and education, See Something/Say Something, ongoing training and education, mental health awareness and support, and responsible firearm safety are all key elements of our D39 approach to safety.

Parent Education Event

Please make plans to join us next Wednesday (Aug. 24) for our first Parent Education event of the year, titled “Feeling Safe in District 39 Schools”. The presentation will begin at 11 am over Zoom and be posted to our YouTube channel afterward. Please register here for this presentation by District 39, the Wilmette Police Department, and Family Service Center.

Board of Education Meeting

On Monday evening, the Board of Education will host its regular monthly meeting. The Board will hear budget presentations from District 39 and the Wilmette Community Special Education Agreement (WCSEA) as part of a public budget hearing, and receive administrative updates from the superintendent, including an enrollment update. Click here for access to the complete meeting agenda and materials posted Friday afternoon.

We hope that you had a safe, fun-filled summer and we are incredibly excited to be welcoming your children back to school Monday!



The Village of Wilmette’s Sesquicentennial Celebration includes many fun activities and projects. Donations of $25 and up will receive recognition in the Commemorative 150th Edition of the Wilmette Communicator. See flyer for details or go to

New Trier Township offers a Food Pantry 10am - 4pm weekdays for families that live/work in the township. NT Township also offers Emergency Financial Assistance, Legal Aid Clinic, property tax assistance, social service referrals and other available resources. Go to for more information.

Wilmette Food Pantry is open every Tuesday 10:00-11:00 am at Trinity United Methodist Church.

"Best Step Tutoring” offers free online tutoring for PreK-12 grades.

Big picture

Welcome Back!

Welcome to the Highcrest Middle School 2022-2023 school year! For those of you unfamiliar with us, the Highcrest PTO is an 80+ person volunteer organization whose purpose is to help link together parents, teachers, and students to further enrich HMS experiences for our kids. We accomplish this in close partnership with HMS Administration and District 39 Leadership. Click here for the Back to School Checklist.

What We Do

Highlights of our work include student-favorite events like 5th Grade Connections, Freaky Friday and the Spring Party; Parent Speaker Series (in place of General PTO Meetings), After School Clubs (i.e. Skyline Theater, High-Five Choir/Debate/Chess/Yearbook), Fall Book Fair, Enrichment, Make a Difference Day, Environmental Awareness, and School Store.

How We Get Things Done

Much of what we do is based on volunteers. Looking to get involved? We have tons of opportunities listed here:!/showSignUp/4090a48ada82ea3fe3-getinvolved

Also, more sign up opportunities to come out shortly for Freaky Friday & see below for 5th Grade Connections – Watch for opportunities in future Headlines!

Please email Megan at for more information on any opportunities.


Big picture


5th Grade Connections is a field day just for the 5t h graders and a great way for the kids to get to know each other. The event is volunteer driven and we need your help heading organized games and team building activities. The day will be divided up into two groups, please sign up for a slot based on the house your child will be in HERE:


Friday, August 26, Highcrest Middle School

House 1/House 2 8:50am-12:00pm

House 3/House 4 12:00pm-3:35pm

MEMBERSHIP TOOLKIT DIRECTORY: Next week you should receive an email from Membership Toolkit Directory which will outline how to join the PTO which gives you access to the school directory (including class lists). For convenience sake, you will also be able to contribute to iGNITE (our main fundraiser), purchase Birthday Books and contribute to the Teacher's Holiday Gift Fund, which is a one-time gift given before winter break. One stop shopping! If you don't receive this important email, please contact


Calling all 5th & 6th Grade Thespians!

Skyline Studios and Highcrest School are pleased to announce Annie Jr. coming this fall. Bet Your Bottom Dollar you will have a ball! Get ready to sing, dance, and act all the way down Easy Street! Your script and music will help you keep the beat. Each actor will shine on stage at the end. Best of all, everyone is sure to make a new friend! First rehearsal starts 8/31 & all classes and final shows are at Highcrest.

ALL OTHER PTO SPONSORED AFTER SCHOOL CLUB REGISTRATIONS WILL GO LIVE ON 9/2 – be on the lookout for details on Debate, Chess, Yearbook & High Five Choir returning to Highcrest this fall. Class descriptions will be communicated in Headlines next Friday, Aug 26.


Megan Gemp

HMS PTO President 2022-2023

All announcements to be included in Headlines must be submitted via the Communications Request Form by Wednesdays at 2pm.