April 2022

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A Message from the Superintendent

Dear Families, Staff and Community Members,

The strong foundation of the District’s Strategic Plan, along with the Portrait of a Graduate, continues to focus our efforts on putting students at the center of our work. With that, this message focuses on Strategic Plan Goal One, Intellectual Engagement & Motivation to Learn. A component of this goal is aligning grade 5-8 practices (academic, extracurricular, advisory, etc.) across the Skokie and Washburne campuses to foster a more cohesive student experience while increasing student engagement. The ambitious goal of reimagining the middle school experiences is guided by design-thinking principles to inspire creativity and innovation.

A team of teachers and administrators initiated the work by listening to our students, shadowing them for a full day, meeting with recent graduates in focus groups, and gathering student insights via surveys. This encompassed the empathy stage of the design thinking process, honing in on areas of the student experience that are ripe for improvement. These areas were then cross-referenced with current research to prioritize our efforts related to the following questions:

  • How do we define rigor and calibrate academic experiences to prepare our students for high school and beyond?

  • How can community building and social emotional learning continue to support student wellness and success?

  • How can project-based learning foster higher levels of intrinsic motivation and prepare students to take on meaningful real-world challenges?

  • How can we facilitate greater levels of student voice and choice to capture student interest and enhance student engagement?

Following the design thinking process, educators at Skokie and Washburne schools were able to immediately make modifications to transition efforts, clubs and activities, as well as curricular alignment. More intensive work, such as reimagining the students’ day and school schedule, is currently underway for a target of Fall 2023 implementation. We are taking time this summer, in partnership with the Winnetka Public School Foundation, to offer a Summer Institute with The Buck Institute, a national leader in project-based learning.

We are proud of our educators for their passion for innovating the student experience. Further details on progress made toward this goal will be shared at the April 26 School Board Meeting. Thank you for your partnership as we continue to make strides toward the goals outlined in our Strategic Plan.


Dr. Trisha Kocanda


School Board Meeting on Tuesday, April 26, 2022

The next School Board meeting will be held at the Carleton Washburne School Band Room on April 26, 2022. Those attending can enter the meeting through the Band Room entrance door accessible from the Hibbard Rd. parking lot. The annual Transition meeting (School Board officer elections, 2022-2023 School Board committee assignments, and dates) will begin at 7:15 p.m. The Regular Meeting is scheduled to start immediately thereafter.

The School Board will provide an announcement on the Superintendent Selection Plan as well as hear the following presentation:

  1. Strategic Goal 1.2 Update: Align grade 5-8 practices

To observe via Zoom:


Passcode: 353337

Or Telephone: 312 626 6799

Webinar ID: 880 9070 7037

Passcode: 353337

Public comment for School Board meetings will now exclusively occur in person (limited to 3 minutes) as a rollback in pandemic mitigations has occurred. Community members can send communications to board members at board@winnetka36.org which will be individually reviewed by each board member.

2022-2023 Online Registration for New and Returning Students is Now Open

Registration information for next year was sent via regular mail and email this week. Look for these materials in your mailbox and inbox. Once you receive this information, you may contact District Registrar, Carolin Huh, at 847-446-9400 or carolinhuh@winnetka36.org, if you have any registration questions, or did not receive notification.

Please register early! Parents are asked to complete registration at their earliest convenience to help inform planning for the 2022-2023 school year.

Adventures in Learning Registration is Now Open

The Winnetka Public Schools is returning to its traditional Adventures in Learning summer program following a two year hiatus. Our General Program is designed for students entering 2nd grade through 8th grade. Our Primary Program provides activities for children Pre-K (4 years old by June 1st, 2022) and K-1st grade (5 years old by September 1st, 2021). Registration is open to both residents and non-residents of Winnetka via this link.

In Partnership with The Alliance for Early Childhood

Let’s Play! Cardboard Fort Building

Saturday, April 23, 10:00am-12:00pm

Skokie/Washburne field (parking can be found at 515 Hibbard Road)

Register Here.

Join The Alliance for Early Childhood, Member School District The Winnetka Public Schools District 36, and Community Partner Winnetka-Northfield Public Library, to think outside of the box and get creative at our first cardboard fort building experience. Children are welcome to bring their own inspiration and ideas to create something meaningful. Intended Age Audience: All ages are welcome. Registration is preferred but drop-in attendees are welcome.

Bike Safety Initiatives

As we enjoy more spring-like weather, more students will be riding bikes and walking to school. The District and Winnetka Police Department recently sent this letter to our school community on Bike Safety efforts.

In the letter, we shared information on safety pledges for students, safe route maps for each elementary school, and noted we are reintroducing the elementary “Bike Rodeo” event for second grade, hosted collaboratively with Scout Troop 20, Green Bay Cycles, and our school PTOs on the following dates:

  • Greeley: Wed, 5/4, 4:00pm (5/5 rain date)
  • Hubbard Woods: Wed, 5/11, 4:00pm (5/12 rain date)
  • Crow Island: Wed, 5/18, 4:00pm (5/19 rain date). The Winnetka Police will be present at this particular event for community engagement and photo opportunities.

At this event, students will learn basic guidance about proper bike and helmet use. If your family is unable to attend the event at your child(ren)’s home school, you are welcome to attend another event.

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

For upcoming events, access FAN’s website here.