Welcome Back


Principals Message

Hello Harper Families,

Welcome to the 2021-2022 school year at Harper! I hope your family had an exciting yet rejuvenating summer and most importantly everyone continues to be healthy and safe.

I am excited for the upcoming school year! I cannot wait to see our Dolphins around the building again, re-connecting with friends, meeting new classmates, and of course meeting their teacher. As we continue to adjust to our new normals living through COVID-19, here at Harper and in District 39 we have had a busy summer preparing for this school year and continuing to prioritize keeping students and staff safe. As we get ready to open our doors again, I officially want to say it is Back-to-School time and we cannot wait to have ALL our Dolphins back in this building this school year for in-person instruction.

Substitute Principal - Welcome Melanie: My wife and I are expecting our 2nd daughter in early September. I plan on taking paternity leave for 3 weeks at that time in September. We have a great plan in place to support the school in my absence. Melanie Horowitz, retired District 39 Principal at Central and former Administrator for Curriculum and Instruction, will be filling in for me. She also served as the substitute principal for me at Harper in 2019 when my first daughter was born, so she is already part of the Harper family. I have been transitioning with Mrs. Horowitz throughout August (as well working with administrators across the district), so she will be ready to support the Harper students, staff and families when the time comes. Please join me in welcoming Melanie back to the Harper community!

AP Update - Welcome Jackie: As early announced, Mrs. Ryan is no longer with us after taking a job as a principal at another school. We continue to wish her well in her new position and know she will do great! Our rigorous interview process to identify our next outstanding Assistant Principal has been a priority this August. Now, I am ecstatic to announce again that Jackie Brennan will be our new Assistant Principal! We cannot wait to have her meet the Harper community.

I look forward to partnering with you this year! Our commitment to our students remains our focus, as we adjust back to school with similar yet updated routines and expectations. Safety is still the priority. It will continue to take ALL of our efforts to keep everyone safe so I thank you in advance for your help and support now and throughout the school year. My goal is to work collaboratively with parents, students, and staff to ensure all our students have a positive school year. Please email or call me with any questions, concerns, or suggestions throughout the year. Our partnership is what helps make Harper so great!

Dr. Cremascoli will be sharing more information next week about the fall plans for this school year. And next week check out our back to school website for all the updated information.

Enjoy the end of summer, stay well, and be safe!


Harper Happenings

I encourage you to read the Harper Happenings that is emailed out each week on Friday. The Happenings is sent in coordination with the Harper PTO. It includes information about what is happening within Harper, updates, upcoming events, and more.

The first Happenings will be August 20 which will include spirit wear and AtoZ information!

Upcoming Dates

Wednesday, August 18: Teacher Assignments
  • Teacher assignments will be available on Wednesday, August 18 in the afternoon.

Monday, August, 23: New Family Orientation

  • NEW FAMILIES (Grades 1-4): Join us Tuesday, August 23, from 6:00pm-6:30pm for a Virtual New Family Orientation Night for families with students in Grades 1-4. Aaron Dubnow and PTO president, Laurel Nelson will hold a virtual meet and greet and answer any questions you may have. We will send out the Zoom link on Monday but email Aaron Dubnow if you do not receive it or for further questions.

Wednesday, August 25: First day of school

  • Grades 1-4 have school from 8:35-11:55am
  • Kindergarten students will have a meet and greet (information below)

Thursday, August 26: First FULL day of school

  • Grades 1-4 and KEEP: 8:35-3:15

Edukit Distribution: In school on first days

  • If you ordered an EduKit supply kit, it will be in your child's classroom on the first day of school. For everyone else, please do your best to get the items on the school supplies list.

Thursday, September 9: Curriculum Night

  • Join us virtually (on zoom) the night of September 9 for Grades 1-4 curriculum night to meet your teachers and learn all about this school year! (More information to come)


Masks are required by all students and staff in the school. Therefore, we highly encourage students to start practicing wearing a mask again and for long stretches of time, so they are prepared for class time.

Reminder that masks must worn properly over their mouth and nose. Students will have opportunities for mask breaks through their day just like last school year but students must wear a properly fitted mask while in the school building. We suggest students having 3 masks with them each day (left in their backpack, desk, locker).

General Reminders...


Parents, visitors, and outside vendors will be limited within the building to begin this school year, only allowing visitors for essential needs and requiring prior approval. If you need to drop something off, you may come to the front lobby anytime, like normal. The secretaries are happy to assist. All visitors, vaccinated or unvaccinated, must wear a mask inside the building!

School hours

  • Grades 1-4: 8:35 - 3:15 (Monday-Thursday) and 8:35 - 2:15 (Friday**)

  • Kindergarten: 8:35 - 11:10 (Monday-Friday)

  • KEEP39: 11:10 - 3:15 (Monday - Friday) and 11:10 - 2:15 (Friday**)

** Please note the early dismissal time on Fridays

Attendance Line

Please call the attendance line before 8:30am any time your child is absent from school. Harper Attendance Line: 847-512-6250. This applies for any absence related to COVID-19 or otherwise.

The D39 Parent Handbook

HERE is the D39 Parent Handbook, also posted on the D39 website. Please read through this valuable information. Specifically, please refer to Page 35 to see our practices and Board of Education policy on bullying and teasing.

Health Forms

  • Make sure all of your health forms are ready to be turned into our nurse, Val Morse. Please contact her at morsev@wilmette39.org with any questions or call her at 847-512-6202.
  • Kindergarten students: Vision, dental, & medical forms
  • All students: Medication & health updates
  • Next week we will send out the updated health letter from Mrs. Morse

Class Assignments

Teacher assignments are sent in batches, therefore everyone will not receive the generated email from the District at the same time. If you do not receive an email by Thursday, August 19 at 3:00pm, please call Harper’s office and we will happily assist you. Thank you for your patience.

Thank you for your understanding of the work our schools are doing to best serve our community of learners. Please note that all student placements must remain final due to the complex factors related to enrollment and scheduling.

Kindergarten Meet and Greet

On Wednesday, August 25, Kindergarten students will have an opportunity for a meet & greet with their teacher in their classroom. Each student will sign up for a 25 minute time-slot starting on August 18 after class assignments are sent out. Meet & Greet will be in small groups throughout the morning (8:35 - 11:55) and we ask only 1 parent to attend with their child to keep the group sizes smaller. The student and parent will meet the teacher at the Kindergarten playground (south side of school).

We are excited to meet our newest Dolphins and help them get acclimated before the first day of Kindergarten on Thursday.

Morning Care and After School Information

Morning Care: The Wilmette Park District is offering morning C.A.R.E. at Harper this school year. Before C.A.R.E. offers a 2, 3, and 5 day option. The program is ran from 7-8:30 a.m. The program provides a safe, supportive, fun, interactive experience at their home schools before students attend class. If you are interested, please visit the Park District's website to sign-up.

After School Clubs: The Park District will be offering after school clubs this year starting September 9 - December. There are some great options! If you are interested, please visit the Park District's website to sign-up.

After School C.A.R.E: Formerly known as After School Recreation, there are 2, 3, and & 5 days a week options located at the Community Recreation Center (CRC). If you are interested, please visit the Park District's website to sign-up.


Please help me welcome our new staff members to the Harper. I cannot wait for you and our students to meet them. They are awesome and so excited for this school year!

  • Jim Grimes: PE - Mr. Grimes comes to Harper after working the last 16 years at Highcrest in D39. He is ready to instill a love of PE in elementary school students!
  • Teresa Alfaro: Spanish - Mrs. Alfaro started her career in D39 as a Spanish teacher. The past 8 years she has been a classroom teacher at McKenzie. She is ready to be back to what she loves, teaching Spanish!
  • Catherine Tromp: Art - Ms. Tromp has had opportunities to teach elementary through high school students in Illinois, Indiana, Myanmar, and South Korea over the past few years. She cannot wait to see the artistic abilities of our Dolphins!
  • Sara Salomonsson: 1st Grade - Ms. Salomonsson will be entering her tenth year teaching in the primary grades and has an Ed.S. in Curriculum and Instruction and M.ED. in Literacy Education. She is ready to be a Dolphin and help our kids love to learn while having fun!
  • Wendy Allen: 4th Grade - Ms. Allen has been in education for 20+ years in a variety of roles including teaching 1st-4th Grade, including a little time at Harper in 2019. Last school year she taught 4th grade in Northbrook. She is excited to be back home in D39, where she started her career, and be part of the Harper family!
  • Maddie Gannon: SLP - Ms. Gannon has been working as a SLP for the past 3 years in a self contained special education school. She is ready to make Harper her home and be a resource to all students!
  • Melanie Eckert: LBS - Ms. Eckert has worked at Romona in D39 for the past 5 years, worked at Harper to end last school year and has taught summer school. She is ready to bring her energy and passion to Harper!
  • Kirsten Gillespie: LBS - Mrs. Gillespie has been teaching for 14 years in a variety of settings, serving as case manager and special education teacher for early elementary students, most notably in Buffalo Grove. She is ready to help all students reach their full potential!

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