Dear McKinley Families and Staff,
The new school year is upon us and we are feeling refreshed and excited to be in our new building. The abundance of natural light is a definite mood lifter! It was fabulous to see so many of you at our “Meet the Teacher” night. Thank you to Mike Hansen, Kayla Merker and the PTO for the wonderful celebration and introduction of staff. In case you missed it, here is the link to the staff introductions with walk up songs. So much fun!
These first few days are going well. We are adjusting, making a few tweaks here and there as we learn how to use our new spaces, but overall it has been a wonderful start. After the long weekend, next Tuesday we will welcome in our new Junior Kindergarteners and Tosa Tots as well!
I want to call your attention to the new Wauwatosa School District communication plan for important information. Now you will receive District news from McKinley rather than from the District. We will continue to offer the PTO newsletter every Monday. Each Friday, you will receive District news. On the first Friday of each month when the McKinley Monthly comes to your inbox, the District news will be included in the McKinley Monthly newsletter so that you don’t receive two communications from us that day. I know it is a lot to absorb each week, but please take the time to check it out so you do not miss anything. Also, when you have questions, please contact me or Ms. Garder. We are always willing to help, and we understand that sometimes what seems clear to us may not be clear to everyone.
One topic of interest for families new to McKinley is our drop off and pick up procedures. We ask that all drivers please respect the one way signs during drop off and pick up. We travel only clockwise around the building between 8 and 8:30 a.m. and between 3 and 3:30 p.m. We drop off and pick up SK-2nd graders on 90th Street; 3rd through 5th graders on 89th Street. Here is a link to the Safe Routes to School drop off and pick up rules. Please review them. Some of you will have others picking up or dropping off your children. Here is a video that you can share with others who need this information. One correction should be made in the video: we ask you to please remain in your car when in the hug and go lanes. Also, we now have handicap segments in the middle section of the Hug and Go lane. Please be aware and pay attention to the signage.
Our staff has been working tirelessly to prepare for the school year, and as many of you saw Tuesday night--teachers are ready and our building is set. Remember, children and adults will have an adjustment period as we move back into school mode. Be patient with one another and honor the time it takes to get back into routines and to build stamina. I look forward to continuing to foster relationships with our returning families and forming new relationships with those of you who are new to our school. You will see what a special place this is to learn and grow!
Welcome to September, and welcome to School!
Please make sure you are aware of important things going on in the district!
School Picture Day
Welcome to McKinley!
Hello! My name is Alexis Johnston. I am the Teacher for English Language Learners at McKinley, Wilson/WSTEM, Madison, and Roosevelt Elementary Schools. I taught English Learners in Monroe, WI for 5 years, and joined the Wauwatosa School District in 2018. I am so excited to be a part of the McKinley Community! When I'm not working, you can find me outside walking my dog listening to podcasts.
Welcome to McKinley!
Hello McKinley! My name is Jenna Bloch and I couldn’t be more excited to be an official part of McKinley Elementary as a special education assistant. Last school year I spent roughly six months substitute teaching in the special education department at McKinley and I enjoyed it very much!
I have lived in the Milwaukee area since the age of 10, and currently live in Wauwatosa. I attended Pius XI Catholic High School. After graduation, I attended UW-Milwaukee for undergrad, where I received my bachelor’s degree in conservation and environmental science. After substitute teaching this past school year, I realized that I have a passion for working with children, in particular those in special education. I am currently enrolled in a program through UW-Stevens Point to earn my special education licensure and master’s degree.
One thing on my bucket list is to travel and spend a night in all 50 states before I am 30 years old. So far I have spent the night in 17 states, but I have driven through several others. I have also traveled out of the country to Spain, Portugal, and Puerto Rico! Other than traveling, my free time is spent working out, caring for my indoor house plants, taking pictures, and walking the trails with my dog, Jericho.
Welcome to McKinley!
Hi everyone! My name is Nina Duric and I am an Occupational Therapy Doctoral student from Midwestern University in Downers Grove, IL. Prior to OT school, I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and earned my Bachelors of Science degree in Kinesiology from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. I left my home in Chicago and will be living in Milwaukee for the next 3 months during my rotation in the Wauwatosa School District and learning from my fieldwork supervisor, Kelly Norton, OTR/L. I love running, yoga, Chicago sports, and spending time with my loved ones (especially my baby niece Mia)! I am incredibly excited and grateful to be a part of the McKinley community, and looking forward to meeting you all soon!
Welcome to McKinley!
Hello McKinley! My name is Kathy Meinecke and I am excited to be joining the McKinley staff as an additional speech/language pathologist. My days will be shared with Jefferson Elementary where I have supported students with communication needs for 18 years. I also provide program support to the 17 amazing speech/language pathologists throughout the Wauwatosa School District.
I am originally from Waukesha and attended college and grad school at UW-Madison. Go Badgers! I am married and have 2 children, of who I am very proud. In my spare time, I enjoy traveling (Boston is a new favorite!), gardening, kayaking, reading, and cheering on any Wisconsin sports team. I am looking forward to meeting many new students, staff, and families at McKinley!
Welcome to McKinley!
Hello McKinley! My name is Natalie Deleon, and I am very excited to be joining the team. I will be the lead teacher for the Tosa Tots program. I was born in Milwaukee, WI, but raised in Pacific Grove, California where I lived until recently relocating back to Milwaukee with my husband and our two children. I am very happy to be back in Wisconsin and we have fallen in love with this state! I have always had a passion for working in education and have had the pleasure of working as a classroom assistant, special education behavioral specialist, and as a preschool teacher. I graduated from Monterey peninsula college with a specialty in early childhood education, and have worked with young children ages 3 to 5 for the past three years. I absolutely love working with this age group! Besides teaching I enjoy spending most of my time with my family and extended family. My father is one of 13 and we get together for family functions quite often. I am looking forward to seasonal fun like Packer games and lots of winter activities since my children and I have not lived in snow ever.
Ms. Kumferman’s Korner –News from your School Social Worker
Welcome back to a new school year! I am really looking forward to starting my 21st year at McKinley and continuing my work with students and families. It has been so fun to see all of the reactions to the new school building and we are all finding our way around together. I will soon be getting ready to teach bullying prevention lessons in SK-5th grade classrooms starting the end of September. I am also in my 12th year as the District Homeless Liaison so much of the early start to the school year is focused on making sure students around the district are enrolled and can access resources. I look forward to another exciting school year!
Did you know that homelessness affects families who attend Wauwatosa Schools?
As the District’s Homeless Liaison, it has been eye-opening to many that there are students in Wauwatosa who meet eligibility under the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Act. There are different definitions of ‘homelessness’ and each situation is reviewed individually. Numbers have grown on a yearly basis and are impacted by economic changes, ever-changing family situations, and a variety of other reasons. Last year, student services staff served over 70 students and helped them with various resources to provide stability in order to keep the students in their school of origin. With all the changes a homeless student/family may encounter, we know that this piece is essential.
SECOND STEP PROGRAM
Second Step is a social skill building program developed by the National Committee for Children. McKinley stated using this curriculum many years ago and it remains a teacher-led program in all classrooms from SK through 5th grade. Lessons will be taught consistently throughout the school year.
The Second Step Program teaches skills that can help all children get along with others and do better in school. Its main purpose is to increase the student’s level of social competence by helping to develop empathy, problem-solving skills, and an understanding of their own feelings. It also teaches students how to build active listening skills. These concepts are taught throughout the school year by using: songs, puppets, role play and other activities. *Each year the concepts and skill-building remain consistent but is adjusted per grade level.
The SECOND STEP PROGRAM is divided into 4 main areas:
1. EMPATHY- Children will learn about feelings and ways to show understanding towards others.
2. PROBLEM SOLVING- Children will learn new ways to solve problems and practice skills such as apologizing, interrupting politely, and making new friends.
3. EMOTION MANAGEMENT- Children will learn to manage their emotions and learn how to positively express them in a safe way.
4. SKILLS FOR LEARNING- Children will learn techniques to build positive active listening skills such as focus and attention.
5. To learn more about SECOND STEP, please ask your child’s teacher, or go to www.cfchildren.org
BULLYING PREVENTION CURRICULUM
All of the elementary schools in the Wauwatosa School District utilize the Bullying Prevention Curriculum created by Committee for Children. This is a national, research-based curriculum that helps students Recognize, Report, and Refuse bullying behavior. It also teaches about Bystander Power. Through use of videos and activities, it also focuses on promoting issues of diversity and equality. This curriculum is delivered throughout fall to grade levels SK-5th via a series of interactive DVD lessons and activities. While each grade level has different videos and lessons, the message remains consistent year to year.
Hello Wauwatosa Community
On August 24, 2021, I will be kicking off a Listening Tour to gain insight into the opinions and perspectives of our community members, including staff, students, district- and non-district families. The tour will consist of 15 public community sessions, which will be held at various locations throughout Milwaukee County. Each 90-minute session will include a brief presentation, followed by small-group discussions and time for sharing key takeaways.
I strongly encourage you to attend a session and provide honest feedback. Your input will help enhance our work and allow us to best serve members of our educational community.
Please review this web page and sign up to attend a session that best fits your schedule. You do not need to attend the session held at your neighborhood school..
I look forward to meeting you, learning more about your experiences in the Wauwatosa School District and discussing your opinions.
Dr. Demond Means, Superintendent
This is an unprecedented and challenging time for us all. But together, we will get through this. Taking care of your mental health is equally important as your physical health during this time.
Student and Family Assistance Program: District students and their families have access to six free counseling sessions through our Student and Family Assistance Program. They are teleservice at this time. Learn more.
DHS Counseling Hotline: Call 1-800-985-5990 to speak with a trained crisis counselor 24/7 provided through the Department of Health Services.
211 Info Hotline - Dial 211 for information about COVID-19 in Wisconsin
CDC Hotline - Get facts by calling 1-800-CDC-INFO
This is a rapidly changing situation and we will continue to keep you updated as information is shared.
For now, Stay Safer At Home and remember, we’re in this together.
* * Tosa Cares * *
Due to the spread of COVID-19, and social distancing, group distributions have been cancelled for the near future. If you need to schedule or change an appointment call, text or email Linda to leave a message for a drive-thru appointment.
Call: (414) 258-0456 x 410
Call or text: (414) 861-4725
Visit: https://www.tosacares.org/post/tosa-cares-and-covid-19 for more information.