A Message from the Superintendent
Dear Families, Staff, and Community Members,
I hope this letter finds each of you safe, healthy and enjoying the summer break. This communication is meant to provide you with some highlights from the summer and dates to keep in mind as we plan for the start of a new school year in August. When I last reached out it was in response to the unthinkable tragedy to our north in Highland Park. Many of our own staff call Highland Park home, and while we are grateful that each of them are safe, we know the experience of a trauma in your home community has a broad and deep impact. It is moments like these when the connections built between neighbors, friends and community organizations have the power to provide healing and solace.
It’s important to acknowledge the fact that we have experienced an incredibly challenging 28 months together with the reality of a pandemic and the many subsequent unsettling events that continue to play out in the world at large. It is all too easy to find bad news without looking very hard. And yet, the good stuff is still there, simple in nature and just waiting for us to notice. It’s alive and well in our Adventures in Learning classrooms where students are eagerly connecting with each other and their teachers, making memories that will stick with them into adulthood. It’s in the face of a child eagerly awaiting the hand-off of a scoop of ice cream at Graeter’s, in the excitement of a young bike rider hearing the echo of their laugh in the pedestrian tunnel as they ride through. It was thriving on the Village Green during the celebrated Winnetka Children’s Fair and in the relief of all the parents grateful to see traditions like these return to the Village they chose to raise their children in. These moments are simple to be sure, and yet the ones we missed most.
This is when I invite you to notice these moments, and join with us as your Winnetka Public Schools in celebrating the simplicity of community and the power it has over our emotions and our ability to feel inspired. A climate rich with distrust is ripe for divide, but a close-knit community like ours has the ability to build a safe, warm and healthy place for us all to thrive, grow, learn, play and connect. That is my hope for our students, staff and school communities this year. I am excited to see our schools reopen in the ways we remember, to see the bike racks full and the playgrounds busy again. I look forward to getting to know each of you, and for the opportunity to work together to reconnect.
I wish each of you good health, rest and fun in these remaining weeks of summer. We will be ready to welcome you back into our buildings in August! Until then, be safe and enjoy the gift of summer!
Dr. Kelly Tess
2022-2023 Calendar, Go to School Nights Schedule & Other Important Dates
Go to School Nights Schedule:
Crow Island, Greeley & Hubbard Woods
Thursday, September 15 - 6:00-7:30pm
30 minute sessions (2x) parents can choose
Thursday, September 1 - 6:00 - 7:30pm
Wednesday, August 31 - 6:00pm - 7:30pm
New Administrators in The Winnetka Public Schools
This summer we have welcomed several new highly qualified administrators who will make tremendous additions to our leadership team. Please join me in welcoming:
Ms. Michelle Cooney, Principal of The Skokie School
Mr. Patrick Dawson, Instructional Technology Coordinator
Mr. Jeff Knapp, Assistant Superintendent, Professional Learning and Human Resources.
Ms. Melissa Lind, Assistant Director of Student Services, Equity and Inclusion
Dr. Becky Mathison, Director of Innovation, Teaching and Learning
Our new administrators will be available at the Fall School events to get to know our students, staff and families.
Downsized Capital Improvement Plan Update
As was announced at the May 2022 Board meeting, it is anticipated that the Board will approve a resolution for the November 8, 2022 ballot at the August 16 School Board meeting. The Board and District remain committed to investing in all five of its schools to extend their useful life and reduce costly emergency repairs in a fiscally prudent manner. For an update on the status of the 2022 Downsized Capital Improvement Plan, please see this letter that was sent to the entire Winnetka community.
Safety & Security Updates for the 2022/2023 School Year
The District is currently investigating vetted third party resources for a reporting mechanism that any student, staff or community member can easily access to report out on concerns over an individual, suspicious behavior or situations. It is our intent to have a highly accessible resource that can only be used by anyone, but also has the ability to connect the user with meaningful resources of support, regardless of the situation. We will ensure that our Village partners are aware of what resource is selected so they are able to cross-promote the tool and its use. Look for more information to be shared out in District communication in the fall. Additionally, the Board will receive a safety and security presentation at its August meeting with updates from the schools on ways in which the District is increasing its protocols to proactively keep our buildings safe and secure places to learn and work.
Support for our Staff and Neighbors in Highland Park
Victims and any community members affected by the tragedy can speak to a mental health professional and pick up any belongings that may have been left along the parade route.
Victims are not just those physically injured by the July 4th event, but also those experiencing emotional distress.
English and Spanish bilingual services available
Organized by FBI and American Red Cross
Highland Park High School (433 Vine Ave, Highland Park, IL 60035)
Individuals should enter the High School through the H-Entrance. The H-Entrance is located on the north side of the school, near St. Johns Avenue and Woodpath Lane.
Hours of Operation: https://go.usa.gov/xSqeu
Community members seeking support will continue to have access to these resources online.
No proof of citizenship is required to access services:
Illinois Attorney General Crime Victims Compensation Program: 1-800-228-3368
Red Cross Casework Hotline: 312-729-6258
Community Counseling Team
Though a call for blood donations has not been made specifically in conjunction with this emergency, the need for blood donation remains constant. Those interested in donation can reach out to local blood collection agencies or visit redcrossblood.org.
Superintendent Staff and Community Survey Open Through August 1, 2022
I look forward to collaborating together to meet the needs of our students, uphold our Strategic Plan, and foster our legacy of Progressive Education. To that end, I am asking for all community members and staff to please complete this brief survey by August 1, 2022. Feedback from the survey will help develop a broad understanding of the dynamics, values and priorities of our school community, especially in the wake of the pandemic. I look forward to meeting many of you in person over the course of the coming months, and being present at our beginning of the year events to meet you in person.
Adventures in Learning Summer 2022
The District has been pleased to offer a traditional Adventures in Learning experience this summer 2022 following a two year hiatus from typical programming. Adventures in Learning has a long standing tradition of providing engaging experiences designed by certified teachers and staff. Students may find themselves testing their shelter-building abilities in Wilderness Survival class, bonding with, and later adopting, a live animal in Animal Care, or designing and making their own music video in our Make Your Own Music Video class. This summer 78 children attended our Primary Program located at Crow Island School and over 300 children participated in our General Program at Skokie School!
Summer Work Update
Our schools are undergoing regular maintenance related to Health/Life Safety facility needs this summer as part of our Educational Master Facility Plan. Highlights include:
Carleton Washburne School
HVAC and electrical improvements
Other miscellaneous Health/Life Safety work
The Skokie School
Fan coil unit addition
Completion of domestic piping
Exterior doors replaced
ADA-compliant classroom exit added
New Resident Survey from The Winnetka Public Schools and Winnetka Park District is Extended through August 1
On behalf of The Winnetka Public Schools and Winnetka Park District, we would like to welcome you to the Winnetka community! In order to best serve the needs of you and your family, we hope you will share some information with us via this brief survey, now extended through August 1, 2022.
Registration/Enrollment for 2022-2033 for Returning and New students
The registration deadline for the 2022-2023 school year has passed. If you have not completed registration for your child(ren), please do so as soon as possible https://www.winnetka36.org/domain/129. Placement will not occur until your child’s registration has been submitted and activity fees paid (for grades 5-8 via RevTrak*) https://winnetka.revtrak.net/. Activity fees for grades K-4 have been waived for this school year only.
ALL required/optional fees, programs or services are accessed via RevTrak https://winnetka.revtrak.net/. These include:
Activity Fees (required for grades 5-8)
Transportation Services (see below - deadline July 15, 2022 to avoid late fee)
Elementary and Skokie Milk Fees
Kindergarten Stay & Play (registration deadline September 30, 2022)
Before/After School Care - Right at School Program
Central PTO Dues
*If you are unsure whether you have paid for any of the items listed above, email Amy Huisel (firstname.lastname@example.org)
For Incoming Kindergarten Families 2022-2023
A letter with important information for Kindergarten families was shared in June. Please reference the letter here. We also invite our Kindergarteners to Ride the Bus on Friday, August 19th from 8:00 - 9:45 a.m. (details forthcoming).
Transportation Registration--DEADLINE TODAY!
In order to complete routing and ensure we have enough buses and drivers, please register by this Friday, July 15, 2022. After Friday, you will be assessed a late fee of $100 for round-trip or $50 for one-way transportation. As a reminder, if you are registering Kindergarten students for round-trip, they have to be enrolled in Stay & Play to ride the bus.
Parents have the option of selecting one-way transportation at $510; $470 for each additional rider or round-trip at $875; $825 for each additional rider. One-way is limited to providing bus service in the morning only or in the afternoon only (not in combination).NOTICE: You are not fully registered until you've completed the registration form for all students riding the bus AND submitted payment through RevTrak.
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
Back to School Summer Celebration: Sponsored by the Winnetka Public Library
Please mark your calendars for an exciting new event sponsored by the Winnetka Public Library on Sunday, August 21 from 1-3 p.m. in Crow Island Woods (rain location to be determined). This event will include lots of fun activities for children including the Kona Ice Truck, temporary tattoos, face painting, balloon animals and more. The Schmidt-Burnham log house will also be open for tours by the Winnetka Historical Society. Please consider joining in on the fun!
District leadership celebrated a years-long collaborative effort with the Village at the July 13 Stormwater Groundbreaking event.
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Summer Health/Life Safety work is occurring at our schools.