HMS Headlines

August 20, 2021


The countdown is on!

This week has been busy at HMS as we welcomed new teachers into the district, we held 5th grade orientation on Thursday morning, and we enjoyed some time with families new to the district on Thursday evening. All of these fun events are getting us excited to start the school year next week!

Our new teachers are amazing, bring with them many different experiences teaching, and have quickly become part of the HMS family. Join me in welcoming them into their new roles! You can see a picture of them below from one of our new staff events this past week.

Sana Anwer: 5th Grade LBS

Justin Drexler: PE

Danielle Grenader: 6th Grade Accelerated Math

Kelsey Treon: Spanish

Sarah Raab: 5th Grade Math/Science/Social Studies

Elizabeth Zawa: Digital Media/Integrated Global Studies

We continue to plan for a fully in-person fall schedule at Highcrest, with some layered mitigation practices to keep our students and staff safe and healthy at school. See below for layered mitigation strategies that were approved by the Board of Education at this past week's meeting.

Finally, explore some of the pictures of fifth grade orientation below! Students had fun learning about lunch, their classes, and creative arts, world language, and PE. They are now official "HAWKS"!

Have a great weekend!

Kelly, Linda, and Susie

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As your child prepares for the first day of school, please remember to pack a few things in their backpack:

  • Masks (bring an extra in your backpack just in case)
  • Water bottle (we can use the water bottle fillers, but no water fountains)
  • A calculator (some examples are a Texas Instruments 30XIIS or a Casio FX-300)
  • Additional hand sanitizer (if they want it - there will be hand sanitizer in all classrooms)
  • School supplies if you did not order from PTO (EduKits will be in classrooms on the first day)

Fifth Grade Orientation


At this week's Board Meeting on Wednesday morning, the following details of our District 39 layered mitigation plans were presented. Some details include:

  • Universal Masking
    • All students, staff and visitors, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to wear a mask inside District 39 buildings, with some exceptions as outlined in Governor Pritzker’s Executive Order. At this time we are planning for District 39 to follow the Governor’s Executive Order and require all individuals to wear a mask while indoors. We continue to seek clarification from the CCDPH to help guide our planning in this regard.
    • In accordance with other CDC guidelines, masks will be required for all passengers on school buses.
  • Social Distancing
    • Classrooms will be configured to accommodate at least 3 feet of distancing between students as much as possible in all settings.
    • Lunch protocols for indoor dining will maintain classroom cohorts and provide structure and additional distancing between students. At least 3 feet of distancing will be provided within assigned indoor lunch areas, and outdoor lunch will be provided whenever possible.
  • Layered Mitigation Strategies
    • Frequent handwashing and hand sanitizer availability
    • Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting of classroom spaces and common areas throughout the school
    • Continuation of the District’s enhanced air ventilation and filtration district-wide
    • Support and reminders for students and staff to stay home when sick with symptoms of infectious illness including COVID-19
    • Contract tracing, quarantining and communication when COVID-19 exposure occurs at school
    • Access to COVID-19 testing through community partnerships
    • Monitoring of local COVID-19 community infection rate metrics as well as cases/potential exposures reported by D39 students and staff


Great news! The Village has been working hard all summer to finish paving the Hunter and Illinois intersection, and it will be opened up and ready to go for arrival and dismissal next week! We are so grateful for their hard work to make our roads and intersections in Wilmette better for us all!

One note: Washington Ave will not be paved and open by next Wednesday. All vehicles should plan to head north to Birchwood, to proceed east. Washington will be fully paved and open by Friday Sept. 3rd, before Labor Day. Please use Birchwood until then.


When students arrive at school in the morning, they should plan to arrive between 8:20 and 8:30 AM. Fifth graders will head to the playground for some unstructured time to play and meet up with friends. Sixth graders will move to the front of the building where they can mix and mingle until the bell rings and they line up to come into the building.


Students will enter through assigned doors to limit exposure and provide a straight path to their homerooms. They must be wearing a mask when they enter the building.

Doors are assigned by House OR Homeroom teacher, and you will be able to see your child's door assignment using THIS MAP. HOUSES and/or TEACHERS, and ROOM NUMBERS will be listed on signs on the correct entry door.

For your reference:


House 1: Sarich, Essary, Golden, Konicek

House 2: Albrecht, Batzer, Prorok, Raccuglia

House 3: Belconis, Towson, Martino, Taylor

House 4: Gontovnick, Corrigan, Deininger, Raab


House 1: Alperstein, Zorger, Macfadden, Brisky

House 2: Gust, Jansyn, Espinoza, Dubs

House 3: Facchini, Eakley, Heyde, Flintz

House 4: Bartsch, Flanigan, Bishop, Everhart


Students will exit the building out of their assigned doors, starting with bikers and walkers, followed by the car line. This order will be announced on the PA system. Buses will be also called on the PA, and bus riders will be dismissed when their buses arrive.

If you are picking up by car, please follow this map for pick up. You will drive into the drive by the main entrance in the afternoon for pick up. Advise your child to wait on the sidewalk until they see your car, at which time they may enter. Students may not cross the parking lot at any time.


All 6th grade students are required to submit proof of a physical exam to the school nurse, Mary McLone, by September 10, 2021. Please email Mary at if you have any questions.

HERE is a link to find the required forms.


This year we are excited to be partnering with the Wilmette Park District for our Before and After School Childcare programming.

Before School we will continue to have before school care housed at HMS from 7 AM - 8:40 AM. Students attending before school child-care will register through the Park District.

After School the Park District will be opening up their building for students for after-school child care as a part of the C.A.R.E. programming. At HMS dismissal, students will be bussed over to the Park District building for the remainder of their day. At the Park District, there will be opportunities to complete homework as well as participate in other activities.

These programs are available for registration through the Wilmette Park District HERE. All information and inquiries will be managed by the Park District for before and after-school care.

There will be NO after-school childcare AT HMS this year.


Cross Country Season this Fall!

—Open to 5th and 6th Graders!

—Practice: Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays (Come when you can!) 3:45-4:45

—Competing is Optional (5th grade: home meets/ 6th Grade: home and away meets)

—No experience necessary!

—First Practice: Monday, August 30

Go to the Athletics website: for information on protocols, fees, and how to sign up through Power School.


We are excited to announce that Late Activity Buses will be serving students attending clubs and athletics at both WJHS and HMS. This is a wonderful option if your child has decided to stay for cross country.

All the buses will depart from the front of WJHS at 4:45. They will then proceed to the upper deck of HMS to pick up those students.

  • Bus #1 will then take the students to Central School (9th Ave entrance)
  • Bus #2 will then take the students to MCK School (15th St entrance) and then continue on to Harper School (front entrance)
  • Bus #3 will then take the students to Romona School, the Rec Center, Indian and New Glenview (serving the northside students), and then Indian and Glenview (serving the southside students).

You do not have to be a bus rider to use this service at the end of the day.


August 23 & 24: Teacher Institute Days

August 25: First Day of School (Half Day, HMS Dismissal at 11:46 AM)

August 26: First FULL Day of School

September 2: VIRTUAL Curriculum Night, both grades (6-7 PM)

September 6: NO SCHOOL: Labor Day

September 7: NO SCHOOL: Rosh Hashanah


Welcome to the 2021-2022 School Year!

2021 Fall Return to School Plan

We are excited to return to full in-person instruction for all students next week with pre-pandemic programming to the greatest extent possible while also incorporating important guidance to protect the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff. Please review the approved Fall 2021 Return to School Plan (and video presentation) that will be in effect for the start of the 2021-22 school year. Please visit our 2021 Back to School page for additional information, resources for parents and our recently published FAQs for our return to school. As always, we will continue to rely on guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), the Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH), the Governor’s Office and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), and to collaborate with other public health professionals as we navigate the early part of the school year.

Vaccination Information

District 39 invites students, staff and visitors to voluntarily submit vaccination status information. Having this information in advance will allow the District to more efficiently implement public health guidance as we navigate the 2021-22 school year. Providing proof of vaccination is not required; however, those without a record of vaccination on file will be required to follow the health protocols for unvaccinated individuals. Current health department guidance excuses fully vaccinated individuals from quarantine unless they are symptomatic. Highcrest and Wilmette Junior High families, please review the email titled “Student COVID Vaccine Information” for more information and navigate to the Power School Parent Portal to submit your child’s vaccination status information before school starts on Wednesday.

Update on New Lunch System

This fall, students may bring lunch from home or purchase cold boxed lunch from our school cafeterias. Our new District 39 lunch system allows parents to set up auto-replenish for their student’s lunch accounts. Look for an email today titled “[D39] Lunch Deposit Instructions” for instructions and credentials for linking your child’s account. The new system uses integration with PowerSchool and RevTrak to make this process easier for parents.

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Welcome Back!

Welcome to the Highcrest Middle School 2021-22 school year! For those of you unfamiliar with us, the Highcrest PTO is an 80+ person volunteer organization whose purpose is to help link together parents, teachers, and students to further enrich HMS experiences for our kids. We accomplish this in close partnership with HMS Administration and District 39 Leadership. Click here for the Back to School Checklist.

What We Do

Highlights of our work include student-favorite events like 5th Grade Connections, Freaky Friday and Aloha Spring; Parent Speaker Series (in place of General PTO Meetings), After School Clubs (i.e. Skyline Theater, High-Five Choir/Debate/Chess/Yearbook), Fall Book Fair, Enrichment, Make a Difference Day, Environmental Awareness, School Store, and Student Council. We will try to run as many of these programs this year as we can.

How We Get Things Done

Much of what we do is based on volunteers. Looking to get involved? We have tons of opportunities:

  • 5th Grade Enrichment Coordinator
  • 6th Grade Enrichment Coordinator
  • Environmental Awareness Coordinator
  • 5th Grade Yearbook Coordinator

Also, more sign up opportunities to come out shortly for 5th Grade Connections & Freaky Friday – Watch for opportunities in future Headlines!

Please email Megan at for more information on any of the above.

What's Happening and When?

Check out the HMS calendar HERE. It includes important upcoming events sponsored by the PTO!

When Will You Hear from Us?

Stay tuned for PTO updates via Highcrest Headlines which will be included in a weekly email from Principal Kelly Jackson or Grade Level Administrators, Linda Moric and Susie Carlson. We also send occasional emails with important deadlines and dates throughout the year.


A TO Z DIRECTORY: On Friday, August 20th you should receive an email from AtoZ Directory which will outline how to join the PTO which gives you access to the school directory (including class lists). For convenience sake, you will also be able to contribute to iGNITE (our main fundraiser), purchase Birthday Books and contribute to the Teacher's Holiday Gift Fund, which is a one-time gift given before winter break. One stop shopping! If you don't receive this important email, please contact

SKYLINE THEATER Program is back! The PTO is excited to offer the Skyline theater program back this fall featuring Little Mermaid Jr. starting September 1. Rehearsals will be Wednesdays 4:00 – 6:00pm at school. Final show is TUESDAY, November 16th.

Is Under the Sea where you want to be? Then join Skyline Studios and Highcrest Middle School to see. The Little Mermaid Jr. is coming to you. Lights, Camera, Action on Ariel, Sebastian and crew. Don’t be a Poor Unfortunate Soul. Sign up now to discover your role. Become part of our world in this exciting show, make new friends and shine like a pro!

Sign up here:

AFTER SCHOOL CLUBS REGISTRATION will open in late August. In an effort to continue to provide a wide variety of clubs, the PTO has partnered with the Wilmette Park District starting this fall. Available programs for 2021-22 will include, but not limited to Yearbook, Debate Chess, High Five Choir, and many other Park District options. Be on the lookout for class descriptions and the go-live registration email.

PARENT SPEAKER SERIES: In place of our regular General PTO Meetings, HMS has partnered with WJHS and D39 to bring parents relevant speakers on current issues/topics. Stay tuned for more information and dates!


Megan Gemp

HMS PTO President 2021-2022