HMS Headlines

January 7, 2022

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Dear HMS Families,

Welcome back from Winter Break! We have had a busy week back, and are excited to be starting this new calendar year with your children. Kids have been reviewing safety protocols this week as they have jumped right back into learning.

A couple of reminders to help support all of our students in the coming weeks at school:

1. DRESS WARMLY! Temperatures have been extremely cold this week! We will still go out for recess if it is 5 degrees or above, so it is important that students are prepared for the weather. Please also be sure to send boots with your child in case of snow. This will allow them to be outside in the snow-covered areas during recess.

2. WEAR A MASK! Please remind your child to pack a back-up mask for school in case they lose the one they wear. Masks continue to be required throughout the school day, and are important as we combine them with distancing to ensure optimal safety during school hours.

3. BRING A WATER BOTTLE! Due to the cold temperatures and the heat being on in our classrooms, the air can get dry. Please make sure your child has a water bottle to use during the school day, preferably a water bottle with a straw so they can use it while wearing their mask.

Thank you for all you are doing to help us safely be in school and to support your children and their learning. We are grateful for your partnership!

Have a great weekend,

Kelly, Linda, and Susie

Student Support Groups/Communities at HMS - Starting Soon

This year as we consider the many traumatic events of the past two years since the pandemic took hold, and as we work to address the second goal area of our District 39 Strategic Plan (Cultivate a supportive and inclusive learning community that is responsive to the social, emotional, and behavioral needs of each student), we are excited to offer five opportunities for students to become engaged, feel represented, and hopefully enhance their sense of belonging at HMS. These groups will begin at different times in the coming weeks.

Participation in the different groups outlined below is voluntary, and students may drop in when they would like to attend. Group leaders are staff members from Highcrest with expertise in the areas they are supporting, and will share information with students via Schoology about where the groups are taking place, when they are available, and how to let the group leaders know they are attending. Take a look:

Emotional Support Club: The Emotional Support Club is a place for students to come if they want to talk about anything that is causing them stress or anxiety! We come up with helpful tools for our emotional "toolbox" and help each other with any issues we are facing!

PRIDE: The PRIDE group is a safe place for students who identify LGBTQ+ and their allies to share experiences, learn how to advocate, and understand how to create a more inclusive environment. Students meet new friends, provide support to one another, and connect to each other in community.

Shades of Highcrest: This group creates a safe place for students of color to come together and share experiences as racially minoritized students in a predominantly white setting. Students meet new friends, provide support to one another, and connect to each other in community.

Grief Support Group: Staff from HMS will partner with staff from Willow House ( a local community organization focused on grief support) to provide a safe place for children, especially in this period of increasing grief and trauma, to share their thoughts and feelings with other children who are experiencing death, illness, or loss. Topics covered may include grief education, identifying and expressing emotions, coping strategies, and building connections with one another.

No Place for Hate: The No Place for Hate group grew out of the partnership between D39 and ADL. This is a student-led group committed to positive change and action toward a more inclusive environment at school and in the community. Students will work together to plan activities that bring students together, advocate for a positive community free of hate, and support all students in learning tools to be upstanders who promote social justice. We have had many students already apply to be a part of NPFH, but are re-extending the opportunity for more engagement.

In addition to these supportive groups, the PTO continues to offer opportunities to students to get involved through Chess, Debate, High Five, Math Counts, and more interest-based activities. We also have seen a lot of success with the implementation of our HMS Homework Club, which happens in the LC from 3:45 - 4:45, Mondays through Thursdays.


Please upload your child(ren)’s vaccination status information via the PowerSchool Parent Portal. The information you provide helps make contact tracing more efficient and will assist us as we review health and safety protocols later this month. As of today, approximately 75% of our 12+ aged students and 40% of our 5-12-year-old students have submitted proof of full vaccination to their school.


Please see this letter regarding the roller skating unit, as well as additional options for students, set to begin Feb. 11 in HMS PE classes. The letter shares information about that unit, as well as other options available for students not wanting to do roller skating.


Thanks to those who attended this week's Parent Education Event:

Making Room for Ambivalence/Sadness and Silver Linings of COVID. In case you missed it, the presentation recording can be found here.

Our next parent education event is Wednesday, January 12th at 11am. It is titled Parenting in a Digital Age presented by Tony DeMonte, District 39 Administrator for Technology, Information, and Safety. Please Register Here. There are multiple ways to participate - onsite at the district office, live over Zoom, or watch the recording on our YouTube channel.


Register Now for Parent Education Event

Registration is open for our next Parent Education event, Parenting in a Digital Age, presented by District 39’s Tony DeMonte, next Wednesday, Jan. 12 at 11 am. There are multiple ways to participate - onsite at the district office, live over Zoom, or watch the recording on our YouTube channel. Click here to reserve your space now!

SHIELD Testing and Other COVID-19 Testing Resources

Thursday afternoon, 395 students and staff participated in SHIELD testing. We also appreciate those who have tested at other locations throughout our community. COVID-19 metrics from our community and region are updated daily on our COVID-19 Metrics page. If you are in need of COVID-19 testing this weekend and next week, free testing is available at the following locations:

  • SHIELD testing at Wilmette Junior High, Saturday mornings (8-11 am). Open to registered D39 students and staff only. No appointment necessary.

  • NorthShore Clinical Labs is offering testing at Marie Murphy School, Saturday (9 am-2 pm). Open to students, staff, parents/guardians and siblings. Click here to schedule an appointment.

  • Visit Healthcare Labs is offering testing at Central School (620 Greenwood Ave., Glencoe) next Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday (Jan. 10, 12-13, 3:45-7 pm). Open to the public with no appointment necessary.

  • Additional testing locations throughout our community. See information provided on our D39 COVID-19 Testing Site.

Adjustment to COVID Communications

In an effort to streamline our communication, District 39 will be slightly modifying its COVID communications. Families will continue to receive direct communication via an email or phone call if their child is considered a close contact to a positive case and an email if a positive case was present within their child’s homeroom. However, schools will no longer send an email to communicate positive cases within the building. In lieu of these school-wide communications, positive cases within the building will continue to be tracked on our COVID-19 metrics page. Updated daily, our metrics page displays local and regional trends as well as a breakdown of COVID cases by school.

COVID-19 Booster Shot Approved for 12-15 year olds

New Trier will partner with Jewel to host a Pfizer booster clinic for those age 12+ at the Northfield Campus on Wednesday, January 12 from 3-8 pm in the student cafeteria. The CDC is recommending COVID-19 booster vaccines for people ages 12 and up who are 5 months past their second dose of Moderna or Pfizer dose or 2 months past the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Anyone (parent, student, community member) who meets the above criteria may get a booster at this clinic. Please click this link to register for an appointment and for more information about the clinic.



The Village of Wilmette & 'Ready Set Wilmette' Comprehensive Planning Team want to hear from Wilmette residents. Help ensure Wilmette is welcoming, thriving and vibrant for years to come. A series of polls focused on plan themes, an online comment map, and ideas wall. Provide input at your leisure and as ideas come up: feedback shared to date is highlighted in this recent online post.Check out the Facebook Page

The Volunteer Center is offering many volunteer service opportunities. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service Event will be held on Monday, January 17, 2022. Participate in a variety of service projects in support of over a dozen area nonprofits. Good for all ages and abilities.

The Trevian Girls Softball Association is adding 8-10 year olds to their spring and summer teams. Contact Kelsey Farmer 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.

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Highcrest After School Clubs

There is still space available in select After School Clubs at Highcrest… CLICK HERE to register!

The Highcrest PTO has worked with several vendors to offer a variety of fun and educational clubs. Registration for Winter Session is open:


• Aces Debate Club

• Chess-Ed

• High Five Junior Choir Club

• Yearbook (WAITLIST)

Appreciation Certificates Available

Looking for a holiday gift to say thank you to a special teacher, staff member or administrator? For your $39 donation, the staff member(s) of your choice will be honored with a personalized certificate sent via email and their name posted on our website's virtual Wall of Honor. All donations will benefit our schools by funding the D39 Educational Foundation's Gripp Grant program. Purchase your Appreciation Certificate here.

Highcrest Spiritwear

Show your Hawks pride with a variety of spiritwear options! Please contact Jen at to get your orders in!
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Trex Plastic Bag Challenge

The Trex Plastic Bag Challenge is happening from November 15, 2021-April 15, 2022. Students, teachers and families (and the community at large) are asked to dispose of their plastic bags at conveniently located bins by the front office. Collections will be weighed and logged each week and will help HMS to compete against other middle schools nationwide. Plastic MUST be clean and dry. Questions? Please contact

Order your 2021-22 HMS Yearbook!

CLICK HERE to order today!

Membership Toolkit

AtoZ Connect is now powered by Membership Toolkit to bring you the best directory experience available. PTO memberships, directories, communications, online store, and more will all run through the newly improved online software. Click here if you haven’t already signed up!

To access the new 2021-2022 Highcrest PTO Directory, please visit Bookmark this site now!

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