The Whittier Wildcat Word

Friday, May 6, 2022

A Message from Principal Robinson

Greetings, Whittier Wildcats,

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

We wish everyone an extraordinary Mother's Day weekend on behalf of the Whittier staff! Thank you for all that you do for our wildcats!

Have a wonderful weekend!

In partnership,

Principal Robinson

Whittier School - Where I Belong!

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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.

Staff Spotlight

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Ms. Anitra McGee - Administrative Asst.

  1. Hello! My Name is... Ms. Anitra McGee
  2. I am... an Administrative Assistant and how long have you worked at Whittier? I'm not sure, lol!
  3. My favorite color is... Orange
  4. What I like most about Whittier is... Whittier is a family. The entire staff and community are very welcoming.
  5. If I had a SuperPower it would be… Why? My superpower would be to teleport. I love to travel and explore different places.
  6. If I was an animal I would be a/an… because... I would be a Jaguar. They come in many shades(even orange)! They are the largest of South America's big cats and the third-largest in the world.
  7. What advice would you give the scholars of Whittier? I would tell you to hold on to your dreams. You can accomplish anything you put your mind to as long as you work hard and stay determined.

May 2022 -

2nd - Registration Opens

10th - Board Meeting

15th - Fun Fair

16th - 18th Book Fair

24th - Brooks Concert

24th - Board Meeting

30th - Memorial Day - No School

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


On Friday, May 13, BINGO BASH, Oak Park Education Foundation’s first in-person fundraiser in 3 years, is back and it’s going to be especially meaningful this year. We have all just experienced some of the toughest years of our lives, and we want to bring back some joy, laughter and fun! This year’s event we will be honoring John Hodge, Irving’s principal and will feature guest MC Joel Blecha, kindergarten teacher from Irving as well! Don’t miss out on the opportunity to buy tickets, before they sell out! There will be food, drinks, a wine raffle, a silent auction…and the priceless chance to be with friends, give back to the community and support OPEF in our efforts to bring STEAM education to every child in D97 and beyond! Buy tickets at

Footloose The Musical!

Join us for our All-School Musical of "Footloose The Musical!" Get ready to be dancing in the aisles to some of these iconic songs from the 80's! Congratulations to our 110 cast and crew students who are working hard to bring this production to life! "Everybody cut footloose!"

  • Friday, April 29, 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, April 30 at 2:30 p.m. & 7 p.m.
  • Friday, May 6 at 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 7 at 2:30 p.m. & 7 p.m.

Bingo Bash is Back!

Love Bingo? Love supporting Oak Park Education Foundation? Love Prizes? You’re in luck! Bingo Bash is Back! Friday May 13 is the night to join your fellow OPEF supporters in a night of fun, fabulous food + drink, bingo and the chance to win amazing prizes! Get tickets or tables at and join us, so we can be together again. Your support will allow us to continue offering our amazing STEAM programs and camps. We can’t wait to see you!

District 97 to Resume Hot Lunch on April 11

District 97 to Resume Hot Lunch on April 11 - Menus Now Available
Beginning Monday, April 11, all District 97 schools will resume serving hot lunch. The new menus and nutritional information are linked below.

The current cold breakfast/lunch menu will be in place through Friday, April 8.

Lunch Reminders

  • Meals brought from home must be nut-free.
  • Lunch will continue to be served at no cost to families.
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This year our school is sponsoring the CAN DO Drive for our local Food Pantry, Beyond Hunger, again! With job and work losses amounting amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, Beyond Hunger has even more people visiting their pantries. Now more than ever they need our support to meet this growing need. Online donations allow Beyond Hunger to offer the essential nutrients that people need right now. Just $1 allows Beyond Hunger to provide 3 meals. Whittier will be collecting these specific foods at school. Please ONLY bring these items:

• Jelly
• Peanut Butter
• Canned Chicken Soup
• Cheerios’ Cereal
• Canned Mixed Vegetables (low sodium)
• Diced Tomatoes
• Tomato Paste
• Bagged Rice (White or Brown)
• Refried and Dry Beans (Pinto and Black)
• Canned Pineapples

You can donate to the Whittier School CAN DO online fundraiser page by clicking here. Feel free to share this link on social media to help Beyond Hunger. Our fundraiser runs from April 1st-30th.

Feel free to contact Mrs. Weiss ( with questions.

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.

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Week of May 2nd

This week our kindergarten and first-grade students learned about the fair ways to play. The fair ways to play offer three solutions when children both want to play with the same thing. Sharing, trading, and taking turns promote fairness and mutual enjoyment so students are less likely to use aggressive solutions. Our second graders learned about taking responsibility when they have hurt someone else’s feelings or upset them. They learned that taking responsibility means admitting what you did, apologizing, and offering to make amends. Our third through fifth graders are continuing to apply the problem-solving steps. Learning new skills requires review and practice! Students are further cementing their knowledge of the problem-solving steps by using them to come up with positive solutions to interpersonal problems and identifying when they need to ask an adult for help. Below are the home links for this week:

Kindergarten- Fair Ways to Play

First Grade- Fair Ways to Play

Second Grade- Taking Responsibility

Third Grade- Solving Classroom Problems

Fourth Grade- Solving Playground Problems

Fifth Grade- Seeking Help

(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!

(NEW) Communicating COVID Positive Cases to Families

To effectively streamline our Covid related procedures and policies, starting the week of January 17, all communications regarding positive student cases and close contacts will happen vis email. Due to the number of cases and the amount of contact tracing, we will no longer be able to call all families of positive cases or close contacts. Please continue to check your email regularly for communications from the school.

All communications will have detailed information regarding the following steps, quarantine/return dates, and other pertinent information. If families have additional questions after receiving a communication, please continue to reach out with questions and concerns. We hope the adaptive format and procedures will help us as a school community better mitigate the spread of covid and better serve our students, staff, and community.

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!

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Book Fair News

The Book Fair is nearly here: May 15 - 18! Just like last fall, weather permitting the Book Fair will be OUTSIDE near the Greenleaf Garden. Here is how you can participate:

1. Load an eWallet for your child(ren): Set up a free account simply and easily and have funds available for your child(ren) to shop at the fair. No physical card needed! The digital dollars will be in the system under the child’s name. Load it up today:

2. Helpers Needed: The legendary Scholastic Book Fair CANNOT happen without you! We need (vaccinated) helpers to set up, cashier and pack up at the end of the day. Please take a moment to find a volunteer slot that works for you: This is a fun and easy way to help the school and watch the kiddos get excited about reading. Our school receives 55% of the sales from the Fair! Please support this valuable fundraiser by pitching in for an hour or two.

3. Shop Online: Can’t get to the in-person Fair? Online sales run May 16 – 29. Follow the link from our Book Fair home page and shop from a huge selection of educational products, games, crafts, and kits. All book orders ship home for free, and we'll earn 25% in rewards on purchases made during the Online sales window. Share that news with friends and family! It is a great way to purchase gifts and support our school!


I think I had leftover funds on my child’s eWallet last time? Now what?

Whomever created the eWallet will receive a monthly email reminder of their Scholastic balance to ensure it is not forgotten. The funds become an eGift card balance and can be used throughout Scholastic online or to fund an eWallet for a future Book Fair.

Can we contribute to our classroom’s library?

Yes! By next week your classroom teacher will update us with a new eWallet account for you to add funds to. Then they can spend that at the fair for the classroom library! We will share those widely as soon as they start coming in.

Questions? Email us at

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Green Team Offer

Through the end of April - we have partnered with Periwinkle Peacock, an Oak Park company who makes reusable snack and sandwich bags (amongst many other things) and who will give us 20% of sales with the code 'WHITTIER-PTO'.

Rai$e The Rims

Basketball Court Q&A Sessions

Although the membership voted to move forward on raising money to add three new hoops and courts to the blacktop, the PTO will continue to gather feedback and ideas throughout April. Register for our Wednesday 6:30pm Q&A sessions here. Review our initial proposal here.

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.

OPEF Bingo Bash

The time is now...for Bingo! Early Bird Pricing for Bingo Bash ends April 15! Register now to get special pricing for tickets and tables. You can also choose to donate to our Bingo Prize fund, which helps local small businesses, and buy raffle tickets to win an Instant Wine Cellar (24 bottles of wine selected by Anfora Wine Merchants). We can't wait to see you, and celebrate this year's Staszak Outstanding Educator Award winner, John Hodge, Principal of Irving! Visit for tickets and details!

Could your child benefit from extra practice in math?

Most students could, so several PTOs in Oak Park are collaborating to offer a 6-week

program to give 2nd through 5th graders a boost in math, starting the week of April

11th. Weekly sessions will be led by D97 teachers over Zoom and are meant to

supplement in-school instruction. Students from any elementary school in Oak Park are

welcome. Total cost is $72 for the sessions. Financial aid is available for those who

need it.

For more information and to register by March 26, visit

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!
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"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 >

OPRF Summer Sports Camps - Registration Opens April 25

District 97 students are invited to participate in Huskie Sports Camps this summer! Registration opens Monday, April 25, at 10 a.m. CLICK HERE for the program flyer >

Imagine OPRF Project 1 Open House - Monday, May 9, 2022, 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.

See the high school's most significant renovations in 50 years! Join OPRFHS to tour their newly renovated spaces, as well as physical education spaces slated for Imagine OPRF Project 2. CLICK HERE for the event flyer >

Menstrual Products and Diaper Drive - April 8 - May 13

The Women in Business group is sponsoring a menstrual products and diaper drive from April 8 through May 13. Drop boxes are located throughout the community, including the District 97 Administration Building, 260 Madison St. For more information, visit

Click here to view the Women in Business Menstrual Products and Diaper Drive registry on Amazon.

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

John Greenleaf Whittier Elementary

Where You Belong!

Patrick CL Robinson


Twitter: @PCLRobinson

Chasity McComb-Williams

Assistant Principal

Twitter: @mccombwilliams