McCracken Weekly

Apr 11-15, 2016

Everyone, Everyday is Respectful, Responsible & Ready!

March / April 2016

Tuesday, April 12 - Thursday, April 14

  • Book Fair

Tuesday, April 12

  • Report Cards Mailed Home
  • Board of Education Meeting (7:00 p.m.)

Thursday, April 14

  • Author Visit for 8th Graders
  • April Show-ers (7:00 to 8:30 p.m.)

Friday, April 15

  • Honors/Buzz Buck Assembly (2:00 p.m.--Tuesday Schedule)
  • 4.0 Pizza Lunch

Wednesday, April 20

  • Niles North Orchestra to visit 6th & 7th Graders during lunch
  • 7th Grade Film Festival @ Skokie Public Library (7:00 p.m.)

Tuesday, April 26

  • Holocaust Museum Trip for 7th Grade (9:30 a.m.)
  • Committee of the Whole Meeting (7:00 p.m.)

It's time to get your Wonka tickets


Boys' Volleyball

6th Grade (4:00 p.m.)

  • Monday, April 11: Fariview @ McCracken
  • Wednesday, April 13: McCracken @ Old Orchard

Jr. Varsity (5:00 p.m.)

  • Monday, April 11: McCracken @ East Prairie
  • Wednesday, April 13: Lincoln Jr. High @ McCracken
  • Friday, April 15: Old Orchard @ McCracken

8th Grade (4:00 p.m.)

  • Monday, April 11: McCracken @ East Prairie
  • Wednesday, April 13: Lincoln Jr. High @ McCracken
  • Friday, April 15: Old Orchard @ McCracken

Girls’ Soccer

Jr. Varsity (4:00 p.m.)

  • Monday, April 11: McCracken @ Culver
  • Thursday, April 14: Old Orchard @ McCracken

Varsity (4:00 p.m.)

  • Monday, April 11: McCracken @ Park View 
  • Wednesday, April 13: Lincoln Hall @ McCracken
  • Friday, April 15: McCracken @ Golf

Updated game schedules can also be found online at

April Showers

Hornet showerWe are looking forward to hosting McCracken families for April Showers on the evening of April 14. The purpose of April Showers is to share our students’ learning, and to connect with members of our school community. Our event promotes community engagement and pride! This year, we are sharing a menu of student-led activities, presentations, and events for parents to attend with their children. Check out students’ electromagnetic wave models, enjoy a family integer game, participate in a Spanish language virtual tour, play Amazing Race or Mystery Skype, attend our poetry slam, and more! We are looking forward to seeing you!

My Race, My Pace: McCracken Running Club

Students are invited to join Ms. Simon after school on Mondays & Thursdays from 3:00 to 3:55 p.m. for the McCracken Running Club. Practices start on Monday, April 4. The club is for any student (boys and girls, grades 6-8) who are interested in learning about the proper techniques of running, breathing, pacing, goal setting, and reaching their goals. Our ultimate goal is to run in a 5k on June 5 (visit for more information about the race). There is a $45 activity fee, and an additional $20 fee for the 5k registration (running in the 5k is optional). Contact Ms. Simon for a permission slip, or if you have any questions.

PARCC Testing

PARCC testing for math and English language arts is scheduled from April 6 - April 13 for students in grades 6-8. Students are encouraged to bring a healthy snack with them each day. Students will learn more about their daily schedules from their advisors; each day, students will attend some academic classes, a specials class, lunch, and recess. If you have questions, please contact one of our school administrators. Please click this link to read important information about the PARCC assessment.

All School Read

Special thanks to all of the students, parents, and staff who voted for the 2016 All School Read at McCracken. We are happy to announce the winner: The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate!  This is a Newbery Award winning book about a captive gorilla and his friends, and is based on a true story. We are very proud of our dedicated student committee for working hard on the selection process this year!

Author Visit

In April, McCracken is fortunate to be hosting an author visit for 8th graders!  Young Adult writer James Klise’s mystery novel The Art of Secrets won the most recent Hot Summer Read contest at Skokie Public Library, and as a result he will be visiting area schools on April 14. The novel, full of diverse characters, takes place in Chicago and is described as a mystery that “will stay on readers’ minds long after the last page.”

The Center For Gifted Summer Program

The Center for Gifted will once again be offering its Worlds of Wisdom and Wonder summer program at McCracken School. Use code HOSTSKOS16 for a 10% tuition discount.

STEM-Focused Extra Curricular Club

Is your child interested in science, math, engineering, or technology? Sign up for a new extracurricular offering here at McCracken. High Touch High Tech will run an eight-week class, beginning April 6 on Wednesdays from 3:00-4:00 p.m. See the attached registration form for more information! Questions? Contact Mrs. Courtney Goodman, Assistant Principal.

Maker Mondays At McCracken

It’s a new year with new opportunities for students! Starting Monday, January 11, during all lunch periods, students can join Ms. Gammeri and Mrs. Monak for Maker Mondays. These sessions will be a chance for students to explore STEM topics by tinkering, building, and collaborating in a flexible environment. This program hopes to transform our community into “makers” who are agents of change and creation!

Camp MacLean Bee IconCamp MacLean

Camp MacLean permission slips and information were distributed during February parent-teacher conferences or mailed home the week of February 15. Forms and payment are due by April 22. Camp MacLean is an outdoor education trip to Burlington, Wisconsin on May 18 through May 20. The purpose of the Camp MacLean trip is to provide our students with an outdoor education experience that promotes team building and independence, aligned with content standards. McCracken staff will facilitate a variety of classes, evening events, and serve as chaperones. The cost of the trip is $178 per student, which includes two nights lodging, seven meals, transportation, and nine classes. Families that are in financial need should contact our main office at 847.673.1220 to request a fee waiver form and Ms. Laura Brogan in the Business Office at 847.676.8313 to establish a payment plan. It is our goal that all 7th graders attend this worthwhile, educational experience! If you have any questions, please contact your student’s advisor or Mrs. Courtney Goodman, Assistant Principal.

Summer School LogoDistrict 73.5 2016 Summer School

District 73.5 will offer Summer School for:

  • Students entering grades 1-8 who are in need of academic support
  • Students who fail a class (attendance is mandatory)

Summer School will be in session from Monday, June 13th through Friday, July 8th (no class on Monday, July 4th) at Oliver McCracken Middle School, 8000 East Prairie Road. The program runs from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (times vary according to selected classes). Teachers communicated summer school recommendations to parents and guardians during February conferences. Official summer school registration letters were mailed home the week following spring break. Please complete the registration paperwork and return it to your child’s school by Friday, April 29. Individual student registration fees will be included in the official letter mailed home in April.

2016 Summer School Fees

There will be no fee for summer school for incoming 2nd through 6th grade students. The Title I grant will be funding these fees for summer school 2016.

  • Current Kindergarten (incoming 1st grade) fees are as follows:
    • Language Arts (2 hours): $245
    • Math (1 hour): $135
  • Current 6th-8th grade (Incoming 7th and 8th grade) fees are as follows:
    • ELA (1½ hours): $190
    • Math (1½ hours): $190

Bus transportation is available to and from summer school at no additional cost. Parents must identify bus pick-up and drop-off locations on the invoice statements mailed home the week of May 23rd. The park district offers a section of Camp Iwannago to align with Summer School. It is the afternoon session 220532-05. The district bus can pick up and drop off at Oakton Community Center. Contact Mrs. Nancy Ariola at 847.676.8234 or by email to find out more information. Please contact your child’s teacher with specific academic questions.

Northlight Summer Camp

McCracken families, we are excited to announce that Will Quam, who has been teaching the Northlight on Campus after-school drama club at McCracken the past few years, will be Northlight's Senior Camp Director for the summer! A new two-week option focuses on theatre skills in voice and movement, while giving campers the exciting opportunity to devise their own new work! This shorter commitment is a perfect way for families planning summer travel to have a camp experience without filling your summer schedule, for new students to test out camp offerings, or to combine with the four-week program for a full summer of theatre! Register online at or by phone at 847.324.1607.

High Speed "Internet Essentials"

Income-eligible families may qualify for low-cost home Internet access through a program offered by Comcast. The program is called Internet Essentials and makes wired and wireless internet access available at a rate of $9.95 per month. A family may qualify for this reduced rate if any child in their household meets eligibility requirements for the National School Lunch Program. In addition, a community college student eligible for the Pell Grant program could qualify for this program. Please see the attached letter from the Village of Skokie for more information about the Internet Essentials program.

McCracken Learning Center Is Going Green!

All students will now receive notices regarding fines, overdue books, and holds directly to their school email account. There will also be a weekly morning announcement that reminds students to check their email for this communication. We hope this will enable our students to be more responsible and independent.

Middle School Parents Still Make The Difference 

Visit our website to access a monthly parent Newsletter titled, “Middle School Parents Still Make a Difference!” This resource provides tips for helping your student succeed in school, and suggestions for communicating with your young adolescent. Each edition also includes a monthly calendar of ideas for you and your middle school student. Enjoy!

PTA News & Information

The PTA is live on! Look up in the bookmark bar for the PTA link and then click it to get to know your PTA, find out how you can get involved, learn about events, download/print PTA flyers, and more. In the meantime, check out the PTA flyer for this week and be on the lookout for details about these upcoming events...

  • PTA LogoScholastic Book Fair @ McCracken
    Tuesday, April 12 through Thursday, April 14, 2016
  • Buffalo Wild Wings Night
    Friday, April 15
  • Walk to School Wednesday
    Wednesday, May 4

Community Pages

Visit the Community section of our website for links to Community Pages, an archive of "frequent flyer" handouts shared by our community partners for students to take home in their backpacks and folders. There's a little bit of everything for everyone: park district and public library news, scouts, athletics, community events and services, and more. This week, watch for information from the ELL Parent Center about the upcoming Parent Resource Fair.

Visitor Reminders:  All visitors must check in at the main office during regular school hours for the continued safety and security of all district students and staff. Valid identification (driver’s license or state I.D.) should be available to present to office staff prior to entry approval. Once you receive your visitor’s pass, please restrict your movement in the building to your pre-arranged purpose. Visitors entering the building after hours must be escorted by a district staff member to and from their meeting location. Also important to remember, is that students have been directed never to open exterior doors for any visitors, known or unknown, during regular or after school hours. This policy is to limit the risk of any individual entering our building without checking in to receive proper approval. We continue to welcome visitors at each of our district buildings, but ask that you respect our safety procedures and policies.

Outstanding Fees

If a student has any outstanding fees, such as instructional, bus, lunch, library, etc., which are over $6.00, the student will not be allowed to participate in the Athletics/Enrichment/After-School Activities/Swing Choir and any other student paid activities, until these fees are paid. This policy went into effect on Monday, November 30.

Camera Apps Parents Should Know About

Teens can use apps with names such as Private Ninja Cam and Best Secret Folder to ensure privacy and independence from parents who may be monitoring their online behavior. Visit Common Sense Media for information about these and other apps. 

Peanut and Nut-Free Classrooms

As part of our ongoing effort to ensure a safe learning environment for all students, classrooms and other learning spaces in our building are peanut and nut free. (Students travel to multiple classrooms each day, so it is not possible to designate only some classrooms as "peanut and nut-free zones.") Therefore, when selecting snacks or meals for your child to eat during activities or events meeting outside of our cafeteria, please send peanut and nut free options. Your child may continue to bring peanut and nut products for lunch in our cafeteria, as we have a peanut and nut free table in that location. Thank you for your support and cooperation!

Reminder: Arrival and Dismissal Safety Guidelines

Ensuring the safety of all students during arrival and dismissal is a collective effort. Please review the Skokie Police ordinances, McCracken Middle School regulations, and safety reminders outlined on the website and distributed to all students on Schedule Pick Up Day so that we may work together toward improved student safety. Please also remember not to block the driveways of homes on East Prairie to ensure that our neighbors may enter and exit safely. Thank you! 

Learning Center

The Learning Center will open for students at 7:30 a.m. every day before school, and remain open until 4:00 p.m. after school on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. (After 7:40 a.m. students must wait to enter the building until the bell rings at 7:50 a.m.) The Learning Center is closed after school on Tuesdays and Fridays.


The cafeteria is open at 7:30 a.m. for students to purchase breakfast. (After 7:40 a.m. students must wait to enter the building until the bell rings at 7:50 a.m.)  The Learning Center is closed after school on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Early Dismissal

Every Tuesday students are dismissed at 2:00 p.m. so that teachers may participate in professional development and collaborative planning sessions.

Late Bus

We offer late bus service again this year. If your child is a current bus rider and has paid for service, there is no extra cost and he/she may use our regular bus pass to ride the late bus. If your child is not a current bus rider, you may pay a $70 fee in the McCracken office to secure a late bus pass. Students must show the driver their late bus pass to ride this bus. The late bus runs on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and leaves McCracken at 4:00 p.m.. If you have questions, please call the office.

Student/Parent Email Registration:

To receive alerts via email, please register your email address with the district via PowerSchool.