McKinley Monthly

January 2021

Dear McKinley Families,

Happy New Year to all, and welcome 2021! Thanks to all of the families for the wonderful cards, gifts, and treats—the staff has asked me to express their deep gratitude to this amazing, supportive community. I personally want to express my thanks as well—our families provide support in so many ways throughout the year. It is heartwarming and humbling! This year, more than ever, with our sense of normalcy challenged at each step of the journey, I realize the importance of community and understand what a precious place McKinley is for all of us. I look forward to the months ahead with questions about the opportunities that will arise rather than the usual sense of anticipation that I felt in years past. I recognize that each day is a gift, and each shift that I am faced with gives me the chance to pause and think. Slowing down and approaching each day with intentionality has become the norm.

So, what do we have in store for us coming up? Beginning Wednesday, January 6th, elementary Phased in Learning students will join cohorts, and some students will find themselves in new classrooms with new teachers. Tosa Connected students, too, will have expanding classroom communities and some will have new teachers. All students will be faced with more face to face instructional time, which will mean that everyone will be working on increasing their stamina. Adults, do not be surprised if your elementary students experience exhaustion, tears, or meltdowns these first few weeks. We always expect an increase in dysregulation in September as we adjust from the summer break, so we will need to remind ourselves that some of this will be normal during this transition as well. Hopefully, if we can keep things moving forward by practicing our COVID-Cautious measures, within a few weeks we will be rolling along smoothly.

I want to thank families for their diligence in reporting illnesses and following quarantine guidelines when the situation arises. At the announcement of moving to the Phased in Learning Five-Day plan, some students came to school and announced that COVID was over and they could throw away their masks. Please help to reinforce the message that even more than before, masks and proper handwashing are going to be crucial to keeping us all learning safely together.

Our soft-start and staggered pickup schedules will continue. You may drop off students beginning at 8 a.m. Students should enter the building and go directly to their classrooms. The first bell rings at 8:15, and students are expected to be in the classroom ready to begin learning at the 8:20 bell. A reminder to everyone about drop off and pick up: In the morning from 8 to 8:30 and in the afternoon between 3 and 3:30, traffic around McKinley is one way only: clockwise. Please adhere to this and let anyone who will be dropping off or picking up children know that this is important for the safety of our students.

At the end of the day, SK, 1st, and 2nd graders will be dismissed on the west side of the building (90th Street). Students in 3rd, 4th, and 5th will be dismissed on the east side of the building (89th Street). The Hug-and-Go lanes are for active pick up only. Adults should not exit their cars if in a Hug-and-Go lane. If you (or whoever is picking up) need to get out of the car, please park in a legal parking area and walk up to the sidewalk. It is illegal to park in the Hug-and-Go lanes between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Afternoon release times

PM JK, SK and 3rd: 3:15 p.m.

1st and 4th: 3:18

2nd and 5th: 3:21

(Beginning January 13th, Wednesdays will resume early release so 2:15, 2:18, and 2:21)

Another important reminder: Students go outside every day for recess and a minimum of 3x a week for physical education, except when the temperature outside is below zero or there is a brutal storm outside. Please be sure to send your child with appropriate outdoor clothing: hat, coat, mittens or gloves, snow pants, and boots. If you need assistance in providing these items, please contact me or our school social worker, Rachel Kumferman.

Coming up this month:

  • The next PTO meeting is on January 14th at 6:30 p.m. Please see the PTO newsletter for details.

  • January 18th is a no school day JK-12

  • January 20th Kindergarten Registration begins for the 2021-2022 school year

  • January 22nd We will have our first all school Zoom assembly with our construction team

As always, I encourage you to stay in touch with me moving forward. I appreciate your partnership as we navigate the ever-changing circumstances of this school year!

Dr. Hoffmann

Upcoming Dates to Know

Jan 6 - School resumes

Jan 14 - PTO Meeting at 6:30 p.m.

Jan 18 - MLK Day; No Classes JK-12

Jan 20 - JK Registration for 2021-2022

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McKinley Afternoon Release Times

PM JK, SK and 3rd: 3:15 p.m.

1st and 4th: 3:18

2nd and 5th: 3:21

(Beginning January 13th, Wednesdays will resume early release so 2:15, 2:18, and 2:21)

Soar into Reading with Sora!

Students can access digital books 24/7! (Formally Overdrive.)

From Our Equity Coach, Tracy Carus

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?” This quote from Martin Luther King Jr, in 1957 is powerful. January 18, 2021, is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a federal holiday designated as a national day of service. Let’s think about how we can serve others, how we can come together and stand up for what is right.

Dr. Bernice A. King, CEO, The King Center, telling NBC News BETTER in an email: “My father’s ultimate dream was to have people from all backgrounds come together and celebrate our differences as well as our commonalities. My mother, Coretta Scott King, put that dream into action by establishing The King Center. There are many ways to give back and honor the spirit of my father not only on this King holiday, but every day, and make this time of commemoration meaningful.”

Some ideas:

"As a child in Pakistan, Malala made a wish for a magic pencil. She would use it to make everyone happy, to erase the smell of garbage from her city, to sleep an extra hour in the morning. But as she grew older, Malala saw that there were more important things to wish for. She saw a world that needed fixing. And even if she never found a magic pencil, Malala realized that she could still work hard every day to make her wishes come true"

  • Through My Eyes by Ruby Bridges

Ruby Bridges recounts the story of her involvement, as a six-year-old, in the integration of her school in New Orleans in 1960.

  • Separate is Never Equal by Duncan Tonatiuh

Describes how the Hispanic American Mendez family challenged the segregated California school system in 1947 after their daughter Sylvia was denied entry to Westminster School due to her ethnicity.

As always, please feel free to reach out to Tracy Carus with any questions or comments.


Be in the know! Check out the McKinley and community flyers on our website!

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Welcome, Ms. Berg!

Hey McKinley! My name is Kallie Berg and I am excited to be joining the team at McKinley as a special education teacher! I was born and raised in South Milwaukee, WI. I went to college at Cardinal Stritch University where I earned a degree in Elementary Education and Special Education. After graduating in 2017, I moved up to Sheboygan, WI where I taught elementary special education for 3 years. I am excited to be back in the Milwaukee area and be closer to my family and friends! I have a passion for making learning fun and building strong relationships with students. I have a bucket list filled with places I want to travel to someday, and am always taking suggestions on new places to explore! My very active dog, Augie, and I spend a lot of time going on walks and playing outside. I have wanted to be a teacher since I was a little kid and I can’t wait to continue my teaching journey at McKinley!

Ms. Kumferman’s Korner- News from your School Social Worker

Hi Everyone-this is Ms. Kumferman. I know it’s been a different type of year with more changes in store for many students and staff in the new year. There are lots of shifts and adjustments happening and it can be an unsettling time for many. I just wanted to reach out and let you know that my intern and I are still out here to support the students from McKinley. If your child will be doing virtual learning with a teacher who is not from McKinley (TC or WVA), this is still their home school so you can always reach out if you need anything! Please don’t hesitate to contact us for resources for you or your children. Ms. Kumferman ( & Mrs. Mals ( are here to try to help!

Hello, this is Mrs. Mals the school social work intern here at McKinley! It has been a pleasure getting to know many of the students this school year and getting a chance to be in some of the classrooms. Looking forward towards 2021 it’s important to remember the power of positive self-talk, especially in times of potential uncertainty. Talking with kids and promoting positive self-talk can be a valuable tool in helping to build resiliency. Self-talk can be as simple as (“I can do this” or “I’m proud of myself” or “It will be okay”).

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Welcome, Mrs. Oberdries!

Mrs. Oberdries has joined the McKinley staff as an educational assistant. Here is a little bit about her:

I grew up in Milwaukee but have lived in Wauwatosa for about nine years. I have been married to my husband Keith for nine years, and we have a seven year old, Analise, who attends McKinley and a 3.5 year old, Maddox, who will attend next year. We also have a dog named Challenger.

I graduated from UW Milwaukee in 2008 with my degree in elementary education. I have worked with children since 2008 but started in daycare working with all different age ranges. From 2010 to 2016 I was a title 1 reading/math teacher. Before I started at McKinley this November, I was a toddler teacher for the past 2 years. I am excited to be back working in the school district which I live in and that my daughter attends. I love seeing the excitement the children have for learning and working with me.

When I am not working, I love to spend time with my family, and go on different adventures. This time of year, we make lots of trips to see different Christmas lights all around town. I also love to bake, read, and take pictures. We are also a family of bowlers =) It is about the only sport I am any good at.

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Welcome, Mr. Fetzer!

McKinley welcomes Chris Fetzer as our Elementary Building Lead!

Chris grew up in Thiensville, Wisconsin and lives there now with his fiancé Jennie and their 3 year old Doberman Pincher, August. Chris went to Homestead High School and was Homecoming king his senior year! If there were 25 hours in a day, Chris would spend that extra hour fishing. One of his favorite quotes is from the Dave Matthews band, “Turns out, not where, but WHO you’re with that really matters." Chris has seen over 100 shows. You could say he is a big fan!

Student Medication

If student will be attending school five days in person, please make sure all medication and forms are up to date. Forms can be located with the link below.

Anytime a student needs medication at school, a parent or guardian must provide the medication in its original container along with a completed and signed Medication Request Form. For more information on medication, please see "Medication Information for Parents." We cannot use old forms, and must receive a new form at the start of every school year.

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Welcome Back, Ms. Wilson!

Hello McKinley!

My name is Catherine Wilson and I am an occupational therapy graduate student from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. I will be completing my occupational therapy fieldwork experience for the next 6 weeks here in the Wauwatosa school district under the supervision of Kelly Norton. I actually started this experience in February 2020 (so I may be a familiar face to some J) but due to the COVID-19 pandemic was unable to complete the 12 weeks required last spring. I am so excited to be back and continue on in my learning here at McKinley!

I grew up in McFarland, WI – a small town right outside of Madison. I have lived in Milwaukee for the past (going on) 7 years. My family includes my boyfriend Jacob and my sweet puppy Brewer. I attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee for both my Bachelor’s degree in Occupational Studies with a minor in Psychology and my Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy. I have known I wanted to be an occupational therapist since high school and as I continue my journey towards becoming a practitioner, the more I realize this is the profession I’m meant to be in. You may not know this about me but during my undergraduate years I was on the UWM dance team. It was such a fun experience as I was able to participate in something I loved with a group of people who became my best friend’s. We also competed each year at Disney World in Florida, so each year I looked forward to our Disney trip!

Right at School

Happy 2021!

As we approach the return to 5 days of in person learning, I wanted to send out a reminder that Right at School registration is open for before and after school as well as JK Wrap. The link here provides all the details around getting signed up.

As a reminder: all students who were signed up for programming in 2020 WILL need to re-register due to the shift from hybrid learning to 5 days per week in person learning. All participants need to be fully registered in order to attend beginning January 6th.

If you're experiencing any issues getting registered, please reach out to our Customer Service team at 855-287-2466, and they will be able to assist you. If you have any other questions, feel free to also reach out to me.

See you soon!

It's Not Too Late!

It's not too late to purchase Chromebook insurance for your child's Chromebook. Insurance is $22 and is definitely worth it. For example, screen repair for a Chromebook is $40. Screens are not too difficult to break. Call the school office to find out how to purchase. Insurance takes effect 21 days after purchase.

Family Info At Your Fingertips






Step-by-Step Visual Directions



Video How To (no voiceover)

Visual Directions

Video (talks you through navigating the website)


Step by Step Directions



Step by Step Directions





OT Update: Handwriting

As we begin a new school year after some extended time away, students may be having some difficulty with handwriting. If you have a student who is having some struggles, here are a few strategies and resources to consider. Feel free to pass these along to parents as well!

At Home Handwriting Practice Resources:


Simple Tips to Support Handwriting:

  • If a child needs more room to form letters or add edits, encourage them to place an “X” at the margin of every other line. This visual reminder can encourage them to skip lines.

  • If a child is struggling to stay on a line, consider highlighting the line as a visual reminder to stay close to the line.

Please let us know if you have any questions!

District OT Department

PTO Newsletter

Click here to read our PTO's newsletter.

Family Resources

This is an unprecedented and challenging time for us all. But together, we will get through this. Taking care of your mental health is equally important as your physical health during this time.

Student and Family Assistance Program: District students and their families have access to six free counseling sessions through our Student and Family Assistance Program. They are teleservice at this time. Learn more.

DHS Counseling Hotline: Call 1-800-985-5990 to speak with a trained crisis counselor 24/7 provided through the Department of Health Services.

DHS Coronavirus Resources

211 Info Hotline - Dial 211 for information about COVID-19 in Wisconsin

CDC Hotline - Get facts by calling 1-800-CDC-INFO

CDC Website

This is a rapidly changing situation and we will continue to keep you updated as information is shared.

For now, Stay Safer At Home and remember, we’re in this together.

* * Tosa Cares * *

Due to the spread of COVID-19, and social distancing, group distributions have been cancelled for the near future. If you need to schedule or change an appointment call, text or email Linda to leave a message for a drive-thru appointment.

Call: (414) 258-0456 x 410

Call or text: (414) 861-4725


Visit: for more information.

Office Max / Office Depot Gives Back

Office Max and Office Depot stores are offering local schools the opportunity to partner in a fundraising activity. For McKinley, 5% of all purchases made by parents or teachers for the entire year will be donated to the school in the form of a merchandise credit. Our master ID # is 70113794.


The Wisconsin Department of Justice is thrilled to introduce the SPEAK UP, SPEAK OUT (SUSO) Resource Center! SUSO was created to help keep students safe by offering a comprehensive, one-stop place to turn with safety concerns, including a threat reporting system.

Visit to learn more. #SpeakUpWI

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