McCracken Weekly

May 2-6, 2016

Everyone, Everyday is Respectful, Responsible & Ready!

April 2016

Sunday, May 1

  • 8th Grade Car Wash (10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.)

Monday, May 2

  • MAP Testing / Bess Screening / RCBM Testing

Tuesday, May 3

  • McCracken Orchestra Concert (7:00 p.m.)

Wednesday, May 4 through Thursday, May 5

  • MCOMP Testing

Friday, May 6

  • Symphonic Band @ Superstate (University of Illinois)

Saturday, May 7

  • Rain Date for 8th Grade Car Wash

Monday, May 9

  • On to 6th Grade Parent Night (7:00 p.m.)

Tuesday, May 10

  • Board of Education Meeting (7:00 p.m.)

Hour of CodeWednesday, May 11

  • Family Night of Code @ Middleton (5:30 to 7:00 p.m.)
  • Sign up by May 4


Boys' Volleyball

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

  • Wednesday, May 4: Lincoln Hall @ McCracken
  • Saturday, May 7: Tournament @ Niles West (8:30 a.m.)

8th Grade (5:00 p.m.)

  • Wednesday, May 4:  Lincoln Hall @ McCracken
  • Saturday, May 7:  Tournament @ Niles West (8:30 a.m.)

Girls’ Soccer

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

  • Monday, May 2:  McCracken @ Lincoln Jr. High
  • Wednesday, May 4:  McCracken @ Old Orchard
  • Friday, May 6:  Lincoln Hall @ McCracken

Varsity (4:00 p.m.)

  • Monday, May 2:  Park View @ McCracken
  • Tuesday, May 3:  Old Orchard @ McCracken
  • Wednesday, May 4:  McCracken @ Lincoln Hall
  • Saturday, May 7:  Little 9 Tournament

Updated game schedules can also be found online at

Spring MAP Testing

Spring MAP testing in the areas of reading and math is scheduled from May 2 through May 11 (dates vary per grade level and content area). The MAP test is a measure of mastery used to set goals, monitor growth, and identify areas where support is needed. Please be sure your child arrives to school well rested and on time each day during testing. If you know your child will be absent during this time, please contact the nurse.

Camp MacLean

Camp MacLean Bee iconOur 7th graders will attend Camp MacLean May 18 through May 20. Camp MacLean is an outdoor education trip to Burlington, Wisconsin. 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. Students who are registered to attend will receive additional information regarding luggage drop off and what to bring. If you have any questions, please contact your student’s advisor or Mrs. Courtney Goodman, Assistant Principal.

Academic Screeners

McCracken students will participate in short screening assessments the week of May 2nd.  All students will participate in Reading-Curriculum Based Measure (RCBM) and Math Computation (MCOMP) screenings. These measures give us a brief look at your child’s progress in reading and math. Test results will be sent home to families later that month. If your child is absent during testing or make ups, you will not receive results for that measure.

Social/Emotional Screener

District 73 ½ students in grades 3rd through 8th will be completing a short self-report social/emotional screener this fall (10/5-10/09), winter (1/25-1/29), and spring (5/2-5/9). 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.

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! Copies are now available for purchase in the school office for $6.00.

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.

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!

Lost Eyeglasses

There is a growing collection of eyeglasses in the nurse’s office. If your child has misplaced his/her glasses, please ask him/her to check with the nurse. Glasses will be donated to a charitable organization at the end of the school year.

Hour of Code

Family Night Of Code
Wednesday, May 11
Sign up by May 4

Skokie 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.

District End of Year FlyerThe 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.

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. Check out this week's PTA flyer and mark your calendar for these upcoming events...

  • Teacher Appreciation Week
    Monday, May 2 through Thursday, May 5
    Sign up to volunteer at Middleton
    Sign up to volunteer at McCracken

  • Walk to School Wednesday (Middleton)
    Wednesday, May 4
  • Spring Carnival and Fun Fair (McCracken)
    Saturday, May 14
    11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
    Sign up to volunteer at the Fun Fair
  • 8th Grade Dance (McCracken)
    Saturday, May 21
    7:00 p.m.
    See PTA flyer for T-Shirt Order Form

A Special Message from the PTA

PTA LogoTeacher Appreciation Week is May 2-6. Our PTA is planning gestures of thanks for McCracken teachers: a box lunch on Tuesday and sweet treats and salads on Thursday. Food contributions for Thursday are welcome! Send cards and letters to show your appreciation to our dedicated, great teachers and staff!

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.

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.