Whittier Wildcat Word!

Friday, January 27, 2023

Big picture

A Message from Principal Robinson

Greetings Whittier Wildcats,

I hope this communication finds all families doing well!

As a staff, we are looking forward to meeting with all our families to discuss the progress of your scholar(s) during P/T Conferences on Thursday, Feb. 9th and other days the teacher has specified. If you have not already done so, please sign up for a date and time to meet with your scholar(s) teacher(s). Teachers have sent out directions on how to sign up via their communication formats.

Have a wonderful weekend!

In partnership,

Principal Robinson

Whittier School - Where I Belong!

Big picture


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.
Big picture


  1. Hello! My Name is Christy!
  2. I am one of the kindergarten teachers, and this is my first year teaching at Whittier! Before teaching here, I taught 3rd grade for three years in China. I also taught 2nd Grade and Kindergarten in the Southshore neighborhood in Chicago!
  3. My favorite color is dark green!
  4. What I like most about Whittier is the incredible staff. I feel so privileged to join such a welcoming team.
  5. If I had a superpower, I would be able to teleport. I would love to travel more and experience new places!
  6. If I were an animal, I would be a giraffe. I’m 5’1 and could use a few extra inches. :)
  7. What advice would you give the scholars of Whittier? It’s ok to fail! Even if you try your best, you may still make mistakes! Growth mindset is a lifelong lesson that takes practice!
Big picture

Around the World at Whittier

Over 150 travelers from Whittier Elementary School explored the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Scotland, Israel and Guatemala, as well as holidays like Hanukkah, during their Around The World event last month. Put on hold due to the pandemic, this longtime Whittier tradition returned to connect families and staff and celebrate the diverse backgrounds, traditions and cultures that make up their school community.

Spearheaded by the Whittier staff with support from Whittier PTO and community members, highlights included a traditional Highland dance performance, a taste of traditional food from the represented countries and a read aloud from Superintendent Ushma Shah of “Our Table” by Peter H. Reynolds. Whittier looks forward to hosting many more events in the future celebrating its diverse community!
Big picture

Illinois 5Essentials Parent Survey

The parent survey will take approximately 10 minutes to complete. You may skip questions you do not wish to answer, but the survey must be completed in one sitting and cannot be retrieved once it is submitted. If you have more than one child enrolled in a building (i.e., two students who attend the same school), you have the option of completing multiple surveys for that building. In addition, if you have children enrolled in multiple schools (i.e., a District 97 elementary school and middle school), you may participate in the survey for each school.

However, only one parent/guardian per household may fill out the survey.

As with the student and teacher surveys, your identity will be kept completely confidential and your responses will not be linked to you. In addition, school-level reports will only be generated if at least 20 percent of our parents/guardians complete the survey, which can be accessed until March 31, 2023, by visiting http://survey.5-essentials.org/illinois/survey/parent/. This percentage will be based on the total number of students enrolled at each school. If we successfully meet this requirement, we will receive our reports in Spring/Summer 2023.

You can access general information about the Illinois 5Essentials Survey by visiting https://www.uchicagoimpact.org/our-offerings/5essentials.

Thank you for participating in this important endeavor, and for your continued support of our schools and the children we serve.

Big picture

Black History Month Family Night! Feb 23rd, 2023

Upcoming Dates

January 2023:

Jan. 6th - Institute Day - No School

Jan. 9th - School Resumes

Jan. 16th - MLK Day - No School

Jan. 27th - Opera for the Young

February 2023

Feb. 9th - Parent/Teacher Conferences (Dismissal @ 11am)

Feb. 10th - Parent/Teacher Conferences ( Dismissal @ 11am)

Feb. 20th - President's Day ( No School)

Feb. 23rd - Black History Month Family Night


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 your scholar(s) is in need of school supplies or Whittier Wear, please take a few minutes to help us better understand how we can support your family's current needs by filling out the google form below. 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.

Beyond Hunger

Big picture

SECOND STEP: Week of January 16th

All of our students are learning to stop, name their feelings, and calm down as part of our school-wide social emotional learning. This week they applied that skill to different types of feelings and emotions. Kindergartners learned about frustration, first graders learned about disappointment or sadness, second graders learned about embarrassment, third graders learned about test anxiety, fourth graders learned about anger, and fifth graders learned about frustration. Being able to recognize feelings in our bodies and naming them are two skills that are foundational to managing emotions. Only fifth graders have a home link this week!

Kindergarten- No Home Link

First Grade- No Home Link

Second Grade- No Home Link

Third Grade- No Home Link

Fourth Grade- No Home Link

Fifth Grade- Managing Frustration

Big picture
Big picture
Big picture

Single Subject and Whole Grade Acceleration - Family Information Session on Feb. 8

For families of children who are seeking single subject or whole grade acceleration to an advanced grade, the district will be hosting a Virtual Family Information Session on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. The session will include a presentation that outlines the process and requirements.

Click here to view the event flyer and the link to register >

For more information about the process for single subject and whole grade acceleration, please visit https://www.op97.org/teach-learn/acceleration.

Low and Negative Balance Lunch Robocalls/Emails

In an effort to streamline communication for families, starting Jan. 15 automated low or negative lunch balance calls/emails from District 97 will go out to families once a week on Sundays around 5 p.m. If you have any questions, please reach out to food service coordinator, Carla Ellis, at cellis@op97.org.

Be Safe and Healthy: Preparing for Winter in District 97

As we head into the winter months, it’s important that we all continue to work together to keep our schools safe and healthy for learning. Please take a moment to review the district’s Winter Preparedness 2022-23 deck, or watch the presentation from the Nov. 15 board of education meeting.

Winter Illnesses and Everyday Preventative Strategies

This year, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), has noted an increase in individuals getting sick from respiratory viruses, including the flu, RSV and COVID-19. Health officials are urging individuals and families to take basic precautions to protect themselves this winter—stay home when you are sick, wash your hands frequently, cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough, and stay up to date on your vaccines. CLICK HERE to watch a brief video of everyday strategies to keep our schools healthy this winter >>

Emergency Closings and E-Learning Days

Emergency Closings and E-Learning Days
District 97 always strives to have schools open. However, if heavy snow or extreme cold make it dangerous to travel, we may need to close schools. The district’s emergency closing procedures are outlined at https://www.op97.org/communications/emergency-closings.

In July 2021, the District 97 Board of Education approved an E-Learning Plan for students to receive instruction electronically in lieu of traditional emergency days (or inclement weather days). This means that instead of canceling school, the superintendent now has the option of calling an “E-Learning Day” where students and staff learn and work virtually at home. This provides a continuation of learning and prevents the loss of critical instructional days, particularly in our first and second trimesters.

If the superintendent decides to close buildings and hold an E-Learning Day, the information is shared through multiple channels, including email, the district website, our Facebook and Twitter social media pages, and the Emergency Closings website. Staff and families are also encouraged to OPT IN to text messages from the district by texting YES to 87569.

SAVE THE DATE: Middle School Math Enrichment Program 2023

In 2023, District 97 will be offering Math Enrichment Bridge Courses for Acceleration and Summer Math Review Courses for students in grades 5 through 7. Families should SAVE the DATE if their student is interested in participating in these courses (CLICK HERE to view the program flyer>>).

Registration information and additional details about this program will be shared with families in January.

NEW Combined Student and Family Handbook for 2022-23

This year, the district worked to merge the Effective Student Behavior Handbook and Family Handbook into one comprehensive resource, the Student-Family Handbook, in order to streamline information for families and staff. The new handbook contains important information regarding school policies, procedures, student rights and responsibilities, and important notifications required by state and federal law.

The purpose of this handbook is to outline the expectations for building an educational community where everyone feels safe, included and able to learn. Having shared expectations, procedures and policies helps us respect all members of the school community in which we learn and work every day. Please take the time to read through the handbook and review it with your child.

*NEW* Process for Reporting Positive COVID-19 Cases to D97 Schools

If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, they must complete the following steps:

1) To notify the school nurse and receive a return-to-school date, families/staff must complete the confidential COVID-19 Positive Case Notification Form as soon as possible following the positive test. Information provided will also be shared with the Oak Park Department of Public Health.

2) Families must continue to report student absences via the school attendance line, and staff must enter their absences in Frontline.

To see the rules for isolation and quarantine, click here. Additional resources are linked below.

As always, thank you for your continued collaboration and support. Enjoy your weekend!

John Greenleaf Whittier Elementary

Where You Belong!

Patrick CL Robinson



Twitter: @PCLRobinson

Chasity McComb-Williams

Assistant Principal


Twitter: @mccombwilliams