November 2021

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A Message from the Superintendent

Dear Parents, Staff, and Community Members,

The rhythm of a typical school year beats again as we venture into the holiday season. We have restored many of our traditions and events that grant us memorable experiences for our students, families and staff. In turn, we have reset the educational and social demands more in line with pre-pandemic life. This deliberate path forward requires a careful balance of patience and persistence.

We have been listening carefully to our educators, parents, and students to be responsive to emerging needs. In all grades, there is a general consensus that the pandemic has had a greater impact on student behavior and social emotional wellness than on their academic readiness. [This is a widespread concern according to this October 20, 2021, New York Times article.] Students are rebuilding skills related to active listening with peers and adults. Teachers are also working with students to help them reacclimate to more collaborative group work.

Our District's commitment to acknowledging the very real impact that social emotional well-being has on academic performance and professional practice is evident as we continue to provide targeted professional learning for our staff and frequent engagements for our parents. Together, we offer the strongest support for our students to nurture critical empathetic and resilient dispositions, both identified in our Portrait of a Graduate.

We also encourage you to remember to have patience with yourselves and your families in the midst of the challenges we continue to face. You are not alone; there are resources available to better understand how to help children/teens regulate emotions. We are here to support you and our students in this journey. Extending grace to one another is a powerful antidote to some of our shared stress. With that, enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends!


Dr. Trisha Kocanda


School Board Meeting on Tuesday, November 16, 2021

The next School Board meeting will be held at the Carleton Washburne School Band Room on November 16, 2021. Those attending can enter the meeting through the Band Room entrance door accessible from the Hibbard Rd. parking lot. There will be a Work Session from 5:15 - 6:15 p.m. on Strategic Goal Area #2 with TrueNorth Educational Cooperative 804. The Regular Meeting is scheduled to start at 7:15 p.m. The following presentations are on the agenda:

  1. Tentative 2021 Tax Levy

  2. Fall 2021 Annual Assessment Report/District Improvement Plan

Seating for the public is on a first-come, first-served basis. All guests must wear a face mask* and social distance inside the meeting room. Any individuals who arrive after the room is full will need to join remotely.

To participate via Zoom:

Passcode: 353337

Or Telephone: 312 626 6799

Webinar ID: 880 9070 7037

Passcode: 353337

Public comment for the meeting will occur both in person and also by email. Those joining remotely and wishing to make public comments should email prior to 6:45 p.m. on November 16 and note if they want the email message read at the meeting. The Board may need to limit the amount of time dedicated to public comment (maximum of 30 minutes) in order to efficiently conduct business; this is in accordance with temporary rules adopted by the School Board.

*A mask mandate for Illinois schools is law. Pursuant to the Governor’s Executive Order, the wearing of a mask in school buildings is now legally required for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors who are two years of age or older and medically able to tolerate a mask, regardless of vaccination status.

Student Spotlight

A Pollinator Garden to support the local bee and butterfly population was recently dedicated at Greeley School. Scarlett Harper, a seventh grade student at Washburne, conceived of the idea and worked with Greeley staff to partner with Greenwise, a local landscaping company, to help install the new garden at no cost. In addition to providing a habitat for pollinators, the garden will also serve as a calming space for quiet reflection. Last spring, Harper testified in front of the Illinois Energy and Environmental committee in Congress regarding a bill she wrote with Representative Robyn Gabel on restricting a class of pesticides that are harmful to pollinators like bees and butterflies, and linked to health issues in children.
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Winnetka Parents Institute

Navigating Difficult Conversations Session

As the pandemic continues, many have found that communication has been the first to suffer in terms of personal and professional interactions, as well as a barrier toward productive movement forward in a variety of contexts. This webinar provides strategies and reflections meant to support productive communication practices.

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

For upcoming events, access FAN’s website here.

From our Partners at The Alliance for Early Childhood:

We are excited to share with you The Alliance's Fall/Winter 2021 Newsletter to learn more about the organization’s offerings to families.