Harper Happenings

December 16-20

What's Happening

Important Upcoming Dates-

  • 4th Grade enrichment: December 18th
  • Winter Break: December 23-January 6
  • Kindergarten Registration Dates at Harper: January 13 & 14
  • Open Gym: Open Gym: January 13 through to Monday, March 16, 2020. Open Gym will be in the school gymnasium between 630-8 pm. All children must be accompanied by an adult. A change of shoes is a MUST for inclement weather. This event is funded by the PTO and open to ONLY Harper students.
  • PTO General Meeting: January 15, 9-10:30 am. We will host a Mindfulness Session to help you restore inner peace, following the winter break. ALL WELCOME.
  • PASS39 Parent Education Evening: Wednesday, January 15th, 7:00 - 8:30 PM (MEC). All Parents Welcome! Topic: Supporting your child's and your own mental health needs. *Parents Night Out to follow (Location TBD)

Principal's Message

Hello Harper Parents/Guardians,

As a district, we are excited to offer a variety of educational sessions for our parents this year focused on strengthening partnerships with our families and offering insight and information on topics of interest to our school community.

Last week, there was a technology themed presentation titled How to Support Your Child’s Physical Health in a Digital World. The panelists discussed information related to vision, weight, posture, hearing, and electromagnet frequency. Here are a few quick highlights that stood out to me:

  • Limiting blue light exposure, especially at night

  • Limiting or not allowing devices in the bedroom during evening hours

  • Conduct regular breaks so that there is not extended screen use

  • Make sure to have movement breaks at least once per hour

  • Teach and practice proper keyboarding skills and posture

  • Purchase kid safe headphones which have lower maximum volume levels or an ability to limit volume

  • Monitor kids by listening while walking by and if you can hear it, that is a sign that the volume is too loud

In the future, we will be having more conversations and presentations around technology. Specifically, in March, we have a night titled Parenting in the Digital Age.

We are excited to share that next week, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is coming to WJHS on Wednesday night at 7:30pm for a parent presentation titled “Allyship in the Face of Hate”. This community discussion will focus on topics such as hate, bias, diversity, and supporting an inclusive culture for all. Our goal in facilitating these conversations is to ensure Wilmette Public Schools remains a place where all students and families feel welcome and accepted as part of our school community. We know that these topics are more widely discussed at the upper grades, but making sure our elementary schools, and in general our community, is a welcoming and inclusive place is critical which is why this topic is important. Please RSVP for this event HERE.

Lastly, HERE is a list of many of the remaining events for the school year. We hope you can attend some and come learn along with us.

Congratulations to all of the students in chorus for their outstanding performances this week. On Wednesday, we had our in school winter choral concerts and then Thursday night, the students performed for parents and the community. Great job singers!

Have an excellent weekend,


Parent Planning Notes:

  • Next week, we will be having an all school Maker Day in the Learning Commons on Thursday, December 19. Students will participate in one of five possible 30-minute Novel Engineering challenges lead by our 4th grade students.

  • The Illinois 5Essentials Parent Survey

    The 5Essentials Survey provides school districts with detailed data on school culture and climate. As a parent, you have an opportunity to share your thoughts on the important elements of school effectiveness about your child’s school. Your identity and survey responses will be completely confidential. The Parent Survey Supplement will be open from December 16, 2019 through January 17, 2020.

  • Kindergarten and KEEP39 (Kindergarten Enrichment and Enhancement Program) Registration is in January. HERE is an informational flyer that explains more about this half day enrichment program. Save the dates of January 13 and 14 for Kindergarten registration open house at Harper where we will be happy to assist you in the registration process. January 13: 9:00am - 7:00pm or January 14: 8:00am - 3:30pm. The deadline to register is January 31. For more information or questions, please email Aaron Dubnow at dubnowa@wilmette39.org.

  • After school clubs registration is open. See the attachment for information about clubs and sign-ups.


  • A huge thank you to all the parent volunteers who assisted at Movie Night, on Friday. We could not host this event without your help. THANK YOU. Also thank you to all the children who attended. The next PTO Movie Night will be on Friday, April 17, 2020. Registration will open in March

  • Harper will be participating in Girls on the Run this spring. The program is 10 weeks with practices twice a week after school leading up to a 5K run event. It is open to third and fourth grade girls. Sign-up runs until 2/14 at the GOTR website (gotrchicago.org) Also, if you or someone you know is interested in volunteering to be one of the coaches for the team, you can sign up for that as well at gotrchicago.org.

  • Yearbook: Thank you to all the wonderful entries into the (4th grade only) Cover Competition. We have a lot of wonderful artists at Harper. The winner and finalists will be notified before the Winter Break. Thank you for taking the time to get your creative on and enter!! And FOURTH GRADE PARENTS: PLEASE get your baby photo in to yearbook@harperpto.com . The deadline is 3 weeks away and we have only about 50% of fourth grade represented!!

  • Coming to our Fourth Graders on 12/18! SCARCE: an award winning environmental non-profit dedicated to creating sustainable communities is coming to Harper. Our kids will have an interactive educational experience covering their Watershed program. Brought to them by iGNITE!

  • Birthday books: Calling all December birthdays! We will be celebrating in the Library next Wednesday, December 11. Forgot to sign up for your child's birthday earlier in this school year? No problems - register at the link below and we will include them this month! Commemorate your child's birthday by donating a book to the Harper Library. The average cost of a new library book is $20 - after your payment has been received, your child will be able to select his / her book during Library time. A personalized bookplate placed inside the book will show everyone that your child has added this special book to the Harper library! Sign up here http://harperpto.com/birthday-books/

  • Amazon Smile- This holiday gift-giving season, please consider shopping on smile.amazon.com and choose Harper PTO for your charity. 0.5% of your total order will benefit Harper School. #twicethegiving

Community Service Corner


Action: Giving gifts can be a joyful thing. It gets us to think deeply about loved ones and consider their interests, personalities, and needs. We get to imagine what others might enjoy receiving. For kids, giving gifts is important for teaching generosity and empathy. But how do you offer children the undeniable pleasure of giving without encouraging consumerism?

  • Give mindfully. Choosing gifts is an ideal opportunity for children to practice empathy. Have them put themselves in another's shoes, reflecting on the receiver's passions or a problem you might solve for them. (What's your sister's favorite book or movie character? What's hard for Grandma that our gift might help her with? What does Grandpa like to do for fun?)
  • Give kindness. What could be better than a gift that's fun and also spreads compassion? DGT Shop Kind store.
  • Give a lesson in charity. When your family gives charity gift cards, you supply the funds and the person on your gift list chooses the charitable recipient. It's a great gift for kids because they learn to determine their charitable interests and evaluate charities.
  • Give experiences. Research shows that people prefer experience gifts. Your family could consider giving painting or cooking lessons; one or two pilates classes or a massage; or a trip with you to a zoo, museum, bowling alley, skating rink, or indoor playground.
  • Give back. If your budget allows, sponsoring a family or child for gift giving can be especially meaningful.
  • Give handmade gifts. Be assured that handmade gifts don't require artistic talent or oodles of time. Kids can make coupons to help with chores or babysitting. Write a heartfelt letter. Bake a favorite dessert. Frame a personalized word cloud, decorate a cloth shopping bag or potholders with fabric markers, or create watercolor bookmarks.
  • Give presence. Consider gifts of time and attention, especially during the hectic holidays. Small moments of kindness are what make people feel most loved and bond us more closely to one another. Have every family member create a "kindness list" alongside their wish list, outlining what they'll be doing for others during the holidays. This might include things like: inviting friends over to bake holiday cookies, leaving surprise notes in a friend's locker, reading with a younger sibling (or pet), doing extra chores around the house, or making a funny video to send to grandma and grandpa.
  • Give outside the toy box. Give your child memory-making gifts instead of toys, such as: a coupon offering a kindness date; a monthly subscription box; a framed photo of you and your child; or a calendar you've marked with special dates for celebrations and outings

Talk to your child:

  • What's nice about gift-giving? What's hard about it?
  • How would you feel if someone told you they didn't like a gift you gave them? How should you react if someone gives you a gift you don't especially like?
  • How can we make our gifts to friends and family special this year?

Book to share: The Gift of Nothing by Patrick McDonnell. Ages 4 to 8. What do you get for a friend who has everything? Nothing, of course! This light-hearted tale tells of one dog's quest to find just the right nothing to give his special friend.


Don't forget to donate to Ignite before the end of the year for your tax deductible contribution.

If you have any questions or can’t remember if you made a donation, please reach out to Jill Huebsch. jillhuebsch@gmail.com

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Community News

LINK: http://www.wilmette39.org/news/community_events

  • Wilmette Park District Saturday Basketball is back! For boys & girls grades 4-8.
  • Sunday Youth Basketball for boys & girls grades 1-3. Contact Sara Hilby for information at shilby@wilpark.org
  • Center Fitness Club presents the YETI CHALLENGE Nov. 18 - Dec. 31
  • The Center for Gifted hosts Fall, Winter and Summer programs. View flyers for details.
  • Girl Scouts host Discovery Night for all D39 girls on Wednesday, January 15th, 6:30 - 7:30 pm at McKenzie Elementary School.
  • Loyola Ramblerettes host Santa’s Dance Workshop TODAY, December 13th for 1st-6th grade girls.
  • Wilmette Food Pantry is open every Tuesday 10:30-11:30 am at Trinity United Methodist Church.

All announcements to be included in the Harper Happenings should be sent to Kelly Maggio via the Communication Request Form by Mondays at 9 am. If you do not receive an email response within 24hrs, please send an email to kwmaggio@gmail.com to confirm your Communication Request Form was received.

For more school information, visit the Harper PTO website.

For additional D39 community events, visit wilmette39.org