McCracken Weekly

Jan 25-29, 2016

Everyone, Everyday is Respectful, Responsible & Ready!

January 2016

Friday, January 22

  • Spelling Bee (2:00 p.m.) (Tuesday schedule)

Tuesday, January 26

  • Report cards mailed home
  • 8th Grade Choir to Niles North Choir Festival

Thursday, January 28

  • Graduation Picture Day
  • Niles North Hosting Middle School Art Reception (6:30 p.m.)

Friday, January 29

  • Honors Assembly (8:10 a.m.)
  • Parent Visit Day
  • 4.0 Lunch
  • Minecraft Mania (5:30-7:30 p.m.)

Photo highlights from the 2016 MLK Day of Service


Boys' Basketball

Varsity (4:00 p.m.)

  • Tuesday, January 26: McCracken @ Lincoln Jr. High

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

  • Monday, January 25: McCracken @ Lincoln Jr. High
  • Wednesday, January 27: McCracken @ Old Orchard

6th Grade (5:00 p.m.)

  • Monday, January 25: McCracken @ Lincoln Jr. High
  • Wednesday, January 27: McCracken @ Old Orchard

Updated game schedules can also be found online at

Martin Luther King Jr. - Day of Service

Thank you to all the students who participated on Monday, January 18 for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. We are so proud of your efforts, and appreciate your interest in volunteering!

Graduation Pictures

On Thursday, January 28th, all 8th grade students will have their picture taken for graduation. No money is needed at this time. Soon after Graduation Picture Day, your child will receive proofs, a price list, and an order form to bring home. Please ask your child for the small flyer distributed by their advisory teacher.

Winter Screening

District 73.5 students in grades 3 through 8 will be completing a self-report social/emotional screener this fall (10/5/15-10/09/15), winter (1/25/16-1/29/16), and spring (5/9/16-5/13/16). The purpose of this screening tool is to identify and proactively address students’ social/emotional needs. The screener will identify behavioral or emotional strengths and areas for growth. Data gathered from this screener will be used in conjunction with teacher and parent information to identify students in need of additional social, emotional, or behavioral support. If a student self-reports areas for growth, parents/guardians will be contacted by a member of student support services.

McCracken Yearbooks On Sale

The yearbook staff is hard at work creating a spectacular yearbook. All students will want a copy of this wonderful book of memories. Yearbooks are on sale for $20. All students will receive an order form from their advisor. All orders are due by February 19. Get yours now!

8th Grade Dance Committee

The 8th Grade Dance Committee will meet February 16 from 7:30-8:30 p.m. at Starbucks on Dempster at Kedvale. Volunteers are needed to help planning, decorating, chaperoning, and more. We hope you will consider joining us to help make the 8th Grade Dance a success on May 21.

Minecraft Mania

McCracken will be hosting Minecraft Mania on Friday, January 29, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Students will have the opportunity to learn new Minecraft skills such as coding using command blocks, participate in Minecraft competitive challenges like Hunger Games, and/or continue to build existing Minecraft realms. Admission is $3 which includes pizza, a drink, and dessert. Permission slips will be distributed in advisory and are due back no later than Tuesday, January 26. There are 30 computers available for student use or students can bring their own device if parents give permission. Extra permission slips are available in the office.  If you have questions, please contact Lisa Westman by emailParent attendance is encouraged but not mandatory.

Art Crew

Does your child like to draw, paint, build, or create? Consider joining Art Crew, an after-school enrichment program that meets on Wednesdays from 3:00-4:00 p.m. The second session will begin January 27More information can be found on our website at

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!

Winter Weather

Please make sure your child is dressed for recess in winter weather with a jacket, hat, and gloves or mittens. Students participate in outdoor recess throughout the school year, unless there is a significant weather-related or other factor that necessitates an indoor program. Thank you, in advance, for helping to ensure that your child is prepared for the winter weather so that he/she is more comfortable during outdoor recess!

Skokie District 73.5 Participates In The 5Essentials Parent Survey 2016

Beginning on January 11 teachers, parents, and students across Illinois have an opportunity to participate in the fourth annual statewide Illinois 5Essentials Survey. This survey is designed to generate a detailed picture of the inner workings of our schools.

5Essentials Parent Survey LogoThe Illinois 5Essentials Parent Survey will be conducted January 11 through March 11, 2016. To take the survey please visit and click the “Parent Survey” to begin. There are 17 questions and the survey should take approximately 15 minutes. If you have children in multiple buildings please complete one for each school.

Your participation in the parent survey will help us better understand our schools and guide improvement. Your identity and survey responses will be kept completely confidential and will never be connected to you or your child. If at least 20% of parents complete this survey, a parent supplement will also be generated. This will allow us to access to your valuable feedback.

Please help us reach at least 20 percent and participate! We will post updated participation rates in our Weekly and on the website during the survey window. Additionally we will have devices available for parents to complete the survey at events such as parent visit day and PTA meetings. Thank you in advance for participating!

Participation Update: As The Weekly went live on January 22, our reports show that 10% of parents have taken the survey!

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!

Drama Club

McCracken Middle School is excited to announce the opportunity for students to participate in an after school “Drama Club” program facilitated by the Northlight Theater! Students will learn the fundamentals of acting, improvisation, storytelling, and character and scene work. This club will meet from 3:00-3:50 p.m. on Wednesdays beginning January 27 through March 23. Space is very limited and will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Please see the flyer titled McCracken Middle School and the Northlight Theatre Present: Drama Club for more details and a registration form. Forms are also available in the McCracken Main office. Completed forms and payment are due no later than January 22.

Emergency School Closing Information

In the event of severe weather conditions or a building emergency which necessitate school closings, closings will be announced on the following radio and television stations:

  • AM Radio Stations: WGN 720, WBBM 780
  • Television Stations: CBS Channel 2, NBC Channel 5, ABC Channel 7, WGN Channel 9, FOX Channel 32, CLTV Channel 41

Listen for "Skokie School District 73½"

In addition, school closings will be posted on the District’s website You can also check online at

In the event our schools are closed, the District will activate the District's automated phone messaging system, which will call each family with a recorded message.

Please make sure the school offices have your most current contact information.

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. 

Extended Learning Program

Our Extended Learning Program provides honors classes for students in math and English language arts in grades 4-8. Students qualify for these classes based on a variety of measures. Families are notified of this information in June (for class placement for the upcoming school year). Parents may complete a Parent Inquiry Form if they believe their child may benefit from a more rigorous curriculum. The window for submitting Parent Inquiry Forms opened October 1 and remains open until April 1. Parent Inquiry paperwork is available in the main office of Middleton and McCracken, or by contacting your school’s Assistant Principal.


Calling all Volunteers! Be on the lookout for more information from the PTA about volunteer opportunities! We are creating an online sign-up sheet and will pass along all links as soon it is up and running. Opportunities include committee chairs, volunteers for school events, helpers in the school, and more. With your help, we know it will be a great year.

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.

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.

PTA LogoPTA 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.