January 2022

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A Message from the Superintendent

January 2023

Dear Families, Staff & Community Members,

Happy New Year! As we begin a new year together, we continue to expand upon the opportunities we have to foster our students’ academic achievement and social and emotional needs. We continue to use our Strategic Plan 2021-2025 to propel us forward. At the February 2023 Board Meeting, our administration looks forward to sharing a mid-year update on our four goal areas:

Intellectual Engagement & Motivation to Learn

Positive Culture & Well-Being

Local & National Leader in Progressive Education & Talent Development

Financial Stewardship & Facility Improvements

Our Strategic Planning process also included the development of the District’s Portrait of a Graduate, which outlines the unique characteristics, skill sets, and mindsets we strive to develop in every student over time in the District:



Global Citizens

Effective Communicators

Lifelong Learners


We are launching a new series called “Painting our Portrait,” highlighting each of these areas along with examples of how the Portrait of a Graduate is coming to life in our schools. Follow along on our website, in the Winnetka Wire, and on social media to learn more about how our educators infuse these competencies into our students’ learning experiences.

On January 24, 2023, we launched our Portrait of an Educator process, which will mirror the Portrait of a Graduate by delineating the ideal competencies Winnetka educators will value and uphold.

We are truly grateful for the role every individual in our school community plays to support teaching and learning each day. In 2023, we look forward to sharing many stories on how our students are growing as a result of your efforts.


Dr. Kelly Tess, Superintendent

Winnetka Voices: NEW EPISODE!

Winnetka Voices Podcast Episodes

Winnetka Voices is a podcast hosted by The Winnetka Public Schools, featuring candid conversations on issues relevant to education and shared resources to support our students and families.

NEW! Episode #3:

Supporting Literacy Needs & Fostering a Love of Reading

Dr. Kelly Tess, Superintendent, is joined by Dr. Becky Mathison, the District’s Director of Innovation, Teaching and Learning, Ms. Missy Parks, second grade teacher at Crow Island School, and Anna Karwowska, Youth Services Manager of The Winnetka-Northfield Public Library. Topics addressed include how we've seen students' needs evolve following the result of the pandemic, how the District approaches supporting students in their reading skills, and tools that may help parents and caregivers support an interest in reading at home.

Listen here:

Apple Podcast



iHeart Radio

Episode #2:

Prioritizing Social Emotional Learning & RULER in our Schools

Dr. Kelly Tess, Superintendent, is joined by the District’s Social Emotional Learning coaches, Sachiko Kawata-Burke, Jennifer Knudson, Danielle Leitner, and Allison Szczecinski. The SEL coaches discuss the role they play in supporting students and teachers, particularly in the wake of the pandemic. The coaches also share the concept behind RULER, a research-based tool from the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, that is currently being implemented in our schools.

Listen here:

Apple Podcast




Premiere Episode:

Fostering Post-Pandemic Growth & Resilience for our Children

Dr. Kelly Tess, Superintendent, speaks with Ms. Carly Andrews, Executive Director of The Alliance for Early Childhood, on how we can best support our childrens’ social and emotional needs, academic growth, and socialization in the wake of the pandemic.

Listen here:

Apple Podcast

iHeart Radio




Click here for resources and events from The Alliance for Early Childhood.

Board Meeting Preview

The next School Board meeting will be held at Carleton Washburne School on January 31, 2023. The regular meeting is at 7:15 p.m.

The following presentation is on the agenda:

  1. Fiscal Year 2022 Auditors’ Report

In-person seating for the public is on a first-come, first-served basis.

To observe via Zoom:


Meeting ID: 880 9070 7037

Passcode: 353337

The meeting will include an opportunity for in-person public comment. Please note, the Board will be following policy 2:230 and limit public comment to three minutes - however, if there is a high volume of public comment, the Board may need to limit the amount of time dedicated to public comment in order to efficiently conduct business. Community members can send communications to board members at board@winnetka36.org which will be individually reviewed by each board member prior to the meeting.

Winnetka Parents Institute

The District offers an array of upcoming educational sessions for families and community members. Click here for a complete list of session dates and more information.


From Washburne to New Trier: (Paul Waechtler, Principal)

A D36 Parent's Guide to the New Trier Transition

March 7, 2022 (confirmed)

9:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m.

Carleton Washburne School, 515 Hibbard Rd.

Paul Waechtler, Principal at the New Trier High School Freshman

Campus, and Lori Worth, 8th Grade Transition Faculty, will discuss the New Trier freshman placement process and the efforts made to ensure a smooth transition to high school. A Q & A will provide an opportunity for parents to learn more about how to best support their child(ren) as they prepare for their New Trier experience.


RSVP here.

If you missed it:

View the Acceleration in Winnetka 36 Presentation here.

Director of Innovation, Teaching, and Learning Dr. Becky Mathison hosted this information session about the acceleration policy. The acceleration policy provides the opportunity for parents, students, and licensed educational professionals to request that accelerated programming be examined for an individual student. The policy identifies acceleration as: early entrance in Kindergarten, early entrance into 1st grade, single-subject acceleration (any subject), and grade-level acceleration. The content included a review of the purpose of the acceleration policy and a preview of updated procedures this year. Please note that the New Trier Math program and Washburne accelerated math are not a part of this policy. Thank you to the parents and community members that attended the WPI event about the acceleration policy on January 25.

Attendees were provided a draft copy of the acceleration request form in order to provide feedback before the form goes live on March 6. If you would like to provide feedback, please review the draft of the form here. Feedback that is specific and aligned to a particular question would be most helpful. Consider which items need to be changed, looked at further, or improvements. Please share your feedback with Dr. Becky Mathison at beckymathison@winnetka36.org by Friday, February 10.

Online Registration Open for Incoming Kindergarteners & New Students for the 2023-2024 School Year

Registration for incoming kindergarteners and students new to The Winnetka Public Schools in 2023-2024 is now open on the District website and here. Children who will be five-years-old on or before September 1, 2023, are eligible to enroll.

The new student registration process is completed in three steps:

  1. Complete new student pre-registration forms online

  2. Provide the original or certified copy of your child(ren)'s birth certificate and a parent photo ID. The certified copy can be submitted in person at the District Office. If you have the original birth certificate, you may bring it to the District Office to be photocopied. The District Office is at 1235 Oak St., Winnetka.

  3. Provide proof of residency and paper registration forms. For your convenience, all required residency documents may be uploaded during online registration. Click here to view the list of documents that will meet these requirements as well as the other forms required for registration (Registration Forms & Information).

Children will not be considered enrolled until both the online and paper portion of registration has been completed and residency documentation is verified. If you have any questions, please contact the District Office at 847-446-9400.

Adventures in Learning: Summer 2023

The Winnetka Public Schools will offer its Adventures in Learning summer program from June 14th to July 19, 2023. There will be no classes on June 19th or July 4th. Our General Program is designed for students entering 2nd grade through 8th grade and will be held at Washburne School. Our Primary Program provides activities for children Pre-K (4 years old by June 1st, 2023) and K-1st grade (5 years old by September 1st, 2022) and will be held at Crow Island. Classes will be as varied as wilderness skills, archery, tennis, science, cooking, and many types of crafts​...along with the annual favorite, Animal Care. Registration will go live in March.

New Trier High School Wants to Hear from Elementary School Families!

New Trier High School is always seeking to improve its communication with community members. The District is asking all community members to take the time to fill out a

brief online survey about communications preferences: https://bit.ly/newtriersurvey

The survey includes questions specific to parents with children in New Trier Township elementary schools. It should take only a few minutes to complete. The survey link will close on Friday, Feb. 10.

New Trier encourages all sender school families to take the time to complete this very brief survey. Thank you!

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

Instagram: @WinnetkaPublicSchools

From Our Partners at The Alliance for Early Childhood

  • READ: Alliance’s Fall/Winter Newsletter

  • REGISTER: Let’s Play! Let’s Play! Cardboard Design Experience on Saturday, January 28, 10:00am-12:00pm, Joseph Sears School, 542 Abbotsford Rd, Kenilworth, IL 60043

  • REGISTER: Virtual Parent Series: Using Connection, Compassion, and Co-Regulation to Address Challenging Behavior in Young Children with Cari Ebert, February 9, 7-8:30pm

  • REGISTER: Let’s Play! Let’s Play! Winter Woods Exploration Saturday, February 11, 10:00am-12:00pm, Crow Island Woods, 1140 Willow Rd, Winnetka

  • REGISTER: Virtual Parent Series: Attachment and Your Young Child’s Mental Health: How You Can Make a Difference with Kate Blaker and Sarah Eastburg in Conversation with Carly Andrews, February 23, 7pm

Parent Education Sessions from District Partner Family Action Network (FAN):

For upcoming events with an array of highly-regarded authors, educators, and more, access FAN’s website here.

Composting in District 36

Composting is in full swing at Greeley, Hubbard Woods and Washburne Schools. A plan is underway to introduce composting at Crow Island and The Skokie School.

Please note that items that are not on the lists below are not eligible for composting. This includes dog waste, scrap wood, and yard waste. While leaves and other organics are compostable, this service is not intended to take the place of the current Winnetka community systems and home composting solutions. If you notice composting bins are full, the District is unable to accept the materials and kindly requests that you do not place items outside of the bins for health and safety reasons. We also ask that residents abide by the hours designated for our schools. Further information on hours and bin locations is available on the Village website.

Food Products:

• Baked goods

• Bones

• Breads

• Candy

• Cereal

• Coffee grounds

• Dairy products

• Egg shells

• Fish/seafood

• Flower/plant cuttings

• Fried food

• Fruits

• Grains and grain products

• Meats

• Vegetables

• Spices/herbs

• Sugars/syrups

Paper Products:

• Blue painters tape (it’s paper!)

• Cardboard (pizza boxes!)

• Coffee filters

• Sugar/salt/pepper packets

• Egg cartons (paper only)

• Microwave popcorn bags

• Napkins

• Newspaper

• Paper food packaging

• Paper towels and wrap

• Tea/tea bags (no staples)

• Untreated wood products/sawdust

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