McCracken Weekly

Mar 21-25, 2016

Everyone, Everyday is Respectful, Responsible & Ready!

March / April 2016

Friday, March 18

  • Student Council Dance (7:00 to 8:30 p.m.)

Wednesday, March 23

  • Drama Club Performance (3:30 p.m.)

Friday, March 25

  • End of Quarter 3

March 28-April 1

  • No school (Spring Break)

Monday, April 4

  • School Resumes

Wednesday, April 6

  • PARCC Testing Begins

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.)

A little snippet from the McCracken Choral Exchange

7th Grade Singers & Concert Choir sing "How Can I Keep from Singing" with the Lake Denoon Middle School (Muskego, WI) 8th Grade choir


Boys' Volleyball

6th Grade

  • No games scheduled this week.

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

Monday, March 21:  Golf @ McCracken

  • Wednesday, March 23:  Fairview @ McCracken

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

  • Monday, March 21:  Golf @ McCracken
  • Wednesday, March 23:  Fairview @ McCracken

Updated game schedules can also be found online at

Girls’ Soccer Tryouts

Jr. Varsity & Varsity
Monday, March 21 and
Wednesday, March 23 (3:00-4:30 p.m.)

All interested students must have an athletic participation form on file in order to tryout. Please contact the nurse to make sure you have all necessary forms turned in.

PARCC Testing

PARCC testing for math and English language arts will begin on April 6 for students in grades 6-8. Students are encouraged to bring a healthy snack with them each day during testing. 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

The time has come to select the next All School Read! A student committee has been hard at work narrowing down the options and presenting the top three finalists to the rest of the school community.  Now everyone, including parents and guardians, has the chance to vote for their top choice.  Students will be voting in their advisory classes and parents can visit the Learning Center's Moodle Page or use this link to cast a vote. The poll closes on March 25. We are eager to announce the results after Spring Break!

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. Click here for more information, class offerings, and to apply. 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.

District 219 News

District 219 is in the process of searching for a new superintendent. Please check the District 219 website for information. School community members are invited to complete an online survey.

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.”

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!

Hornet in a kayakCamp 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.

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.

construction head artSchool Additions & Renovation Information

Please see the attached Community Letter for information about renovation and construction projects at Elizabeth Meyer and John Middleton schools. Additional details are available in the Community Meeting Presentation.

The public is invited to attend a presentation on the proposed building additions for Meyer and Middleton Schools:

Thursday, April 7, 2016
7:00 p.m.
Elizabeth Meyer School
8100 Tripp Avenue, Skokie

Interested residents also are invited to learn more about facility issues by touring Meyer School. Public tours are planned for 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, April 7 and 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 14. In order to accommodate all those who wish to take one of the tours, advance registration will be required. Please call the school at 847.673.1223 during regular business hours to make your reservation.

District 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). More information regarding tuition cost will be available in the upcoming months. Teachers will be making recommendations for student attendance during conferences in February.

If you are currently planning your child's summer activities and would like to know in advance if your child should attend Summer School, contact your child's teacher.

Bus transportation is available to and from summer school at no additional cost.  Parents will identify bus pick-up and drop-off locations once registration is complete. 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. 

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 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. In the meantime, check out the PTA flyer for this week and be on the lookout for details about these upcoming events...

  • PTA Elections
    Tuesday, April 5 at 7:00 p.m.
    Middleton School
  • Scholastic Book Fair @ McCracken
    Tuesday, April 12 through Thursday, April 14, 2016
  • Buffalo Wild Wings Night
    Friday, April 15

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. 

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.

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.