Whittier Wildcat Word!

Friday, October 7, 2022

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A Message from Principal Robinson

Greetings, Whittier Wildcats,

We had another fantastic week of school. As we enter October, teachers are starting to prepare for Parent/Teacher Conferences on Thursday, October 27, 2022. We are encouraging all families to sign up for conference time to have the opportunity to learn how your scholar(s) is doing and hear how teachers are supporting their academic and social-emotional growth. Our goal is to have 100% family participation. Teachers are willing to work with families who might need to meet on a different night due to other circumstances.

Don't hesitate to contact us (708-524-3080) if you have any questions. If you need to schedule a meeting with Mrs. McComb-Williams or me, please contact Ms. McGee (amcgee@op97.org) or Mrs. Alexander (ljohnson1@op97.org) at 708-524-3080 to schedule an appointment.

I hope you and our Scholars have a fantastic 3 day weekend.


Patrick CL Robinson

Whittier School Principal

Whittier School - Where I Belong!

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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.
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  1. Hello! My Name is Annie Darley.

  2. I am one of the 4th grade co-teachers and this is my 27th year at Whittier! In that time I've taught 5th & 6th grades, 4/5th Multiage, and now 4th grade for a bunch of years.

  3. My favorite colors these days are the fall reds and greens.

  4. What I like most about Whittier is that it has a pretty positive, relaxed vibe for all the craziness in our teaching lives.

  5. If I had a SuperPower it would be to time travel back to different parts of my life for just a few hours each time.

  6. If I was an animal I would be my dog Archie or maybe a horse.

  7. What advice would you give the scholars of Whittier? Get off your screens and spend a lot of time outdoors.

Upcoming Dates

October 2022

Oct 5th

  • No School - Yom Kippur

Oct 10th

  • No School - Indigenous People day

Oct 12th

  • PTO Fun Run

Oct 14th

  • Law Enforcement Drill - Hard lock down

Oct 21st

  • Picture Day

October 24th - 28th

  • Book Fair
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Celebrating National Principals Month

October is National Principals Month! Take a minute to tell us what makes your principal or assistant principal so special. You can tweet us @OakPark97 using the hashtags #ThankAPrincipal and #MyD97 or email us at d97feedback@op97.org. Share your shout out by Friday, Oct. 21, 2022, Principal Appreciation Day in Illinois, to celebrate with us.
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Let's Celebrate Hispanic/Latinx Heritage at Whittier!!!

This year, I would like to highlight our school's Hispanic/Latinx heritage on one of the school's bulletin boards or on the display case in front of the school. Therefore, if your child/children have Hispanic/Latinx heritage, please email me by Sept. 30th at laguirre@op97.org with the following:

1- Share which country your child/children's heritage is from.

2- Write something from their heritage they would like to highlight.

3- Email me a picture & names of your child and other family members. Please include who is your child/children's homeroom teacher(s).

At school, we will celebrate our annual Hispanic/Latinx Heritage week in October. Details coming soon!

Muchas gracias,

Sra. Aguirre


¡Ofrendas en Whittier!

2022 Ofrendas de Día de Muertos

Is a beautiful celebration of life where loved ones are

honored and celebrated. This event is organized by members

of the community of Oak Park and River Forest. Students from

Whittier in 3-5 grades are welcome to participate this year by

making a Day of the Dead Shoebox sized ofrenda.. Here is an

example: Mini Ofrenda. Students are encouraged to bring the

mini ofrendas between the week of October 10th - 28th. Sra.

Aguirre will display the mini ofrendas outside of our school

during the weekend of Oct. 31-Nov.2. Many visitors take part

in viewing the ofrendas around the community.

***Please be mindful and do not send items sensitive to the

inclement weather. Reach out to Sra. Aguirre for any

questions or concerns.

¡Muchas gracias por participar!

Sra. Aguirre - laguirre@op97.org

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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 your scholar(s) is in need of school supplies or Whittier Wear, please take a few minutes to help us better understand how we can support your family's current needs by filling out the google form below. 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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Fun Run

Whittier PTO's annual Fun Run Fundraiser went Live September 12! Join us in our annual fundraiser with a variety of prizes(We need a Prize Sourcing Volunteers!) and on October 12th the kids run, take on the obstacle course with music and fun. Learn More and register today!

Grade Level PlayDates Are Here!

New this year, each Sunday through October the PTO Liaisons will be hosting a meetup at Field Park. More details to come:

September 18th - Kindergarten

September 25th - 1st Grade

October 2nd - 2nd Grade

October 9th - 3rd Grade

October 16th - 4th Grade

October 30th - 5th Grade

WISE Registration is still open!

WISE Registration is still open!

Jewelry Making, Yoga and more still have open slots. Review the courses here and register here.

SMART Math Tutoring

Looking for extra math practice or enrichment? SMART will be offering a 6-week fall program to give current 2nd through 5th graders an extra boost in math, in the early evenings starting the week of October 10th. New this year based on feedback from parents and teachers: SMART will have both “regular” and “advanced” math classes this fall. The “regular” classes will practice and reinforce grade-level material and the advanced classes will go beyond grade-level material. Sessions will be taught by D97 teachers over Zoom. For more information and to register by Friday, September 23, visit www.smart-oakpark.org.

Team Owen’s Virtual 5K October 1

Horace Mann Elementary student Owen Petrzelka lost his DIPG battle in October 2020. Since

2020, his family has organized a virtual run in conjunction with the ChadTough Foundation to

raise funds for DIPG and childhood brain cancer research. This year’s 3rd annual virtual run is

scheduled for Saturday, October 1. Participants may run/walk/bike/swim-you name it!

We want to make this day a big community event that lives up to one of Owen’s mottos of

“making someone happy is our job”. To that end, Owen’s parents, Amanda and Adam, have

plans to turn their street into a community fun zone the day of the event where community

members, whether they are running or not, can stop by throughout the day for some fun kids

activities (free), food, and live music.

  • Donate to your school’s

team: https://www.teamowen.org/Race/92431/Donate/z5MoZKIuCl5NpO2R

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Reminder: No School Monday, Oct. 10

All district schools and offices will be closed on Monday, Oct. 10, in observance of Indigenous Peoples' Day. School will resume on Tuesday, Oct. 11. Have a safe and restful weekend!

Click here to view the 2022-23 calendar >>

Next Board Meeting: Oct. 11, 2022

As of Sept. 13, District 97 has resumed holding board meetings in person for those who wish to attend. The district has also resumed pre-pandemic public comment procedures. Click here for more information >>

As a reminder, all public board meetings are streamed live on the district's YouTube channel. Meeting dates, agendas and protocols can be found at https://www.op97.org/boe.

Mindful Middle-Schoolers and Mindfulness Matters" Community Talks - Spring 2023

DePaul University, in partnership with the Oak Park Township Community Mental Health Board and District 97, is offering a series of free community talks to the District 97 community as part of the Mindful Middle Schoolers and Mindfulness Matters Program. The next community talk, "Mindfulness-Based Strategies and Their Applications at Home and School," will be held on October 19 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The session will focused on how mindfulness practices can be helpful in supporting youths' academic and emotional functioning at school and at home. Please go to this link to register.

D97 Family University on Student Assessments

D97 to Host 'Family University' Session on Student Assessments - Tuesday, Oct. 18
Join us to learn about student assessments in District 97!

The district will host a virtual Family University session from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 18. Families will receive a Zoom link once they register.

The session will help parents learn about the student assessments given across District 97 schools, how the results are used to support teaching and learning, and how you can use the information to understand your child's progress and next steps. Please use this form to register and submit any questions you have to our team ahead of time; we will address the most common questions submitted.

Please note that the session will be recorded and shared on the District 97 website for future viewing. We look forward to seeing you there!

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 and our teachers, staff and community have begun to celebrate and pay tribute to the contributions and history of Hispanic Americans. We'd love to hear how you are honoring the unique achievements, contributions and histories of Hispanic Americans this month! Tweet us (@OakPark97, using the hashtags #MyD97 and #D97Joy) to share stories and photos or email us at d97feedback@op97.org.

Looking for ideas of how to celebrate with your family? Learn about Latinx culture at the first annual Convivencia: Hispanic Heritage Month Festival, Saturday, Sept. 17, 12-4 p.m., Taylor Park, 400 Division St., Oak Park. This free event is hosted by the Oak Park Regional Housing Center in partnership with the Oak Park Public Library, Park District of Oak Park and the Village of Oak Park. Enjoy Latin American foods, live music in Spanish, cultural dance, face painting, loteria, a resource fair, and more. Visit oprhc.org/convivencia/ to learn more.

District 97 Halloween Letter 2022

Dear District 97 Families,

For those of our families who celebrate Halloween, many of you are starting to discuss costume choices with your child. Although students are not required to wear costumes, we recognize that they are a fun and creative part of our schools' Halloween activities.

Our goal is to create a positive learning environment where all students, staff and families feel a sense of belonging. In that spirit, we ask that you take care to ensure that your child’s costume choice does not portray a stereotypical image of any group of people or culture, or be offensive to any one racial, ethinic or religious group. We appreciate you being proactive with your child in making thoughtful costume choices.

To support you in your conversation with your child and to build your understanding around this topic, we have compiled links to resources that you may find helpful:

Thank you for your continued support of our students and schools.

Oak Park Elementary School District 97

School Lunches - Milk Only Charge

As a reminder, if your student takes milk only during lunch, there is a cost of $.45 per carton, regardless of your family's school meal eligibility status. If you have not already done so, please add funds into your student’s meal account to accommodate the milk only charge. If your student takes the full school meal, milk is included. Thank you!

School Fees

The district is currently accepting fee payments for the 2022-23 school year. Full payment is due by September 30, 2022. You can access the fee information by visiting https://www.op97.org/business-office/fees.


The Intergovernmental Committee of Oak Park (IGOV) is hosting an informational workshop called "Plug into the Climate Action Going On in Oak Park" in the cafeteria of Oak Park and River Forest High School, 201 Scoville Ave, on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, at 9:30 a.m. All are welcome!

Learn about green transportation, lowering energy bills, planting native gardens and more. Click for more details >> https://bit.ly/3DnGM1u.

Imagine OPRF Project 1 Tours and IGOV Meeting

Oak Park and River Forest High School District 200 is hosting another round of Imagine OPRF Project 1 tours on Saturday, Sept. 24, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The tours will follow the iGOV meeting which will take place that same morning at the high school. Similar to our Open House last May, the tours will be self-guided, and visitors can see the new Student Resource Center, new classrooms, and the revamped South Cafeteria, Student Commons, and Welcome Center. Click here to view the event flyer >>

Strengthening Families Program

The Strengthening Families Program is a free, evidence-based prevention program for families with children ages 7 to 17. The 12-week program will teach effective parenting skills, healthy communication, stress management skills, conflict resolution and more. The program will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. every Tuesday from Oct. 4, 2022, through Dec. 13, 2022. Click here to view the program flyer >>

Places and Faces Event: People You Should Know to Help Our Community Grow

The OPRF Office of Equity and Student Success is pleased to invite you to "Places and Faces: People You Should Know to Help our Community Grow" at Oak Park and River Forest High School on Sept. 27, 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Meet teachers, administrators, support staff, and student leaders of color. Learn more about activities and resources for students. Take a student-led tour of recent facility updates and more! Light refreshments will be served. If special accommodations are needed, please contact tgarland@oprfhs.org by Sept. 20. (The event is geared toward parents, but anyone in the community may attend.) Click here to view the event flyer >>

Community Voices Report

Families, students and neighbors are invited to Community Voices, a series of free, public events driven by and for the community to pursue lasting change. The Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation will be sharing our community needs assessment, which reveals the most pressing needs in our area, what the data tells us, and how the power of our community will guide our future to a racially just society.
  • Saturday, Sept. 17, 9-11 a.m. @ Proviso East High School
  • Saturday, Sept. 24, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. @ Oak Park Public Library Main Branch
  • Tuesday, Sept. 27, 6-8 p.m. online
More information is at https://www.oprfcf.org/community-voices.

NEW Combined Student and Family Handbook for 2022-23

This year, the district worked to merge the Effective Student Behavior Handbook and Family Handbook into one comprehensive resource, the Student-Family Handbook, in order to streamline information for families and staff. The new handbook contains important information regarding school policies, procedures, student rights and responsibilities, and important notifications required by state and federal law.

The purpose of this handbook is to outline the expectations for building an educational community where everyone feels safe, included and able to learn. Having shared expectations, procedures and policies helps us respect all members of the school community in which we learn and work every day. Please take the time to read through the handbook and review it with your child.

Technology Update

Please visit https://bit.ly/3pxoN0I for information from the district’s technology department about the deployment of student devices, online filtering at home, the district’s acceptable use policy, and the procedures and protocols that are used to set up accounts for students.
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*NEW* Process for Reporting Positive COVID-19 Cases to D97 Schools

If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, they must complete the following steps:

1) To notify the school nurse and receive a return-to-school date, families/staff must complete the confidential COVID-19 Positive Case Notification Form as soon as possible following the positive test. Information provided will also be shared with the Oak Park Department of Public Health.

2) Families must continue to report student absences via the school attendance line, and staff must enter their absences in Frontline.

To see the rules for isolation and quarantine, click here. Additional resources are linked below.

As always, thank you for your continued collaboration and support. Enjoy your weekend!

John Greenleaf Whittier Elementary

Where You Belong!

Patrick CL Robinson



Twitter: @PCLRobinson

Chasity McComb-Williams

Assistant Principal


Twitter: @mccombwilliams