The Weekly Masthead

News and information from our district and schools

McCRACKEN. MIDDLETON. MEYER. Dates to Know. Meal Menu.



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Scroll one Weekly to read about what's happening in the District and at McCracken, Middleton, and Meyer schools. Learn more about the redesign on our Newsletters landing page.

ELL Parent Mentor Program

We are so excited to have the Parent Mentor Program back this year! The Parent Mentor Program is a nationally recognized model that builds deep and lasting relationships between students, teachers, and families. Parent mentors would receive training from the ELL Parent Center and then work in a classroom to support students. The program is a wonderful way for families to gain an understanding of the U.S. school system. It is a paid opportunity with no previous work experience needed. Please see the ELL Parent Mentor Program flyer for more information. If you have any questions feel free to email Lyla Nissan at [email protected].

Department of Student Services

Welcome to the 2022-2023 School Year! The Department of Student Services supports any child with differentiated learning needs. This includes students that have identified disabilities and students that are English Learners (EL). The main point of contact, should you have any questions about services and supports in District 73.5, would be Angela DeMay for neurodiverse learners and Lyla Nissan for multilingual learners. Please visit our new and improved Student Services website section for additional information and resources.

PSAT testing for current 8th grade students is on October 1st at Niles North High School. Make-ups are on October 16th. The PSAT is administered through D219 and not through District 73.5, so we do not have any control over scheduling or if/how accommodations are provided. 

If you would like an overview of the Student Services Department, or to better understand how neurodiverse students are supported, please plan to attend a special PTO meeting on the evening of October 17th. Angela DeMay and Lyla Nissan will be the guest speakers, and will help parents better understand the continuum of supports available through the District. More information will be shared by the PTO about the meeting time and location in the near future.

District Equity Cohort with Dr. Dubiel

District 73.5 is excited to partner with Dr. Ivette Dubiel in a year-long cohort for District 73.5 staff and community to learn and discuss equity. This course will meet once a month via Zoom from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. throughout the year. The meeting dates and topics are listed on this chart.

Due to the nature of conversations and level of sharing that takes place during these learning opportunities, it is important for participants to be present at all sessions. We understand that things arise sometimes; participants are allowed one absence during the cohort. 

To register, please complete the District 73.5 Equity Cohort form.

If you have questions, please feel free to reach out to Dan Swartz at [email protected].


Welcoming Environment. All students, staff, parents, and community members will feel welcome in our District.

Hiring and Retention. Our community's diversity will be represented in our staff and we will create systems to ensure we retain our staff.

Instruction. We will accelerate learning for all students through a strengths-based approach to grow each student from where they are.



The Niles Township ELL Center offers English language learning classes for adults in our community. Classes begin in September and are FREE to register.


Greetings and Welcome!

A heartfelt welcome to all of our students and families to a brand new 2022-2023 school year at McCracken Middle School! We are fortunate to continue to serve the students, staff, and families in our wonderfully diverse Skokie 73.5 community! We have had a tremendous start to the school year and are looking forward to a successful year ahead. Go, Hornets!

During our first week of school, students participated in:

  • a welcome assembly that highlighted opportunities to participate in our athletic and enrichment programs
  • advisory programming that included orientation to our new school year, advisory team building activities, and a review of our student handbook.
  • a comprehensive review of social and emotional support services and resources available to students at McCracken.
  • PBIS learning stations to practice the "Buzz Behavior" expectations we have throughout our building.

Purple Pride Week

McCracken students will participate in benchmark assessments three times per year (fall, winter, and spring). It was Purple Pride Week at McCracken! Your student(s) had the opportunity to show us what they know by doing their best on a variety of assessments. They completed the MAP test for Reading and Math on Wednesday and Thursday. They also completed the FastBridge CBMmath Automaticity assessment in an extended advisory on Friday. In addition, some students were invited to take the FastBridge CBMreading assessment. Thank you for enncouraging and supporting your student(s) by making sure they arrived to school on time on testing days with a charged Chromebook. Thanks, as always, for your support of Purple Pride Week! Students who were absent on testing days will participate in make-up testing sessions next week. If you have any questions about assessments, feel free to connect with Mr. Marty Behm, Assistant Principal, at 847-676-8234.

Curriculum Night

We hope you will join us for our Curriculum Night program on Thursday, September 8th at 6:00 p.m. Upon arrival, you will receive a copy of your personalized schedule and locate your child’s advisory class. We will help you find your way! Our schedule includes periods lasting approximately seven minutes so that you may have an opportunity to meet and greet each of your child’s teachers. We are looking forward to connecting with you! Our doors will open at 5:45 p.m. on Thursday, September 8th so parents and guardians can sign in and pick up their schedule. This event is for parents and guardians only. The first advisory session will start promptly at 6:00 p.m. so please arrive a little earlier at 5:45 p.m. to allow yourself time to check in and locate your first class. Here is the Curriculum Night Parent/Guardian Letter which will be emailed home to families next week!

Free Oakton Community College "Girls Who Code Club"

Oakton Community College is offering a free VIRTUAL club for Middle Schoolers. The virtual Girls Who Code Club runs from September 13th through December 13th on Tuesdays. For new coders, the session runs from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. For experienced coders, the sessions run from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. On a weekly basis, the students can choose which session they would like to attend or they can attend both sessions. Parents can use this form to register their student.

McCracken Extracurricular Programming

Here at McCracken, we are proud to offer a variety of student athletic and enrichment programs. These programs allow students to exercise their strengths, tackle areas of growth, and socialize with peers. Be sure to sign up your student for one of our great extracurricular activities clubs or activities! Review the Fall 2022 Extracurricular Slideshow (with videos and important links) and Brochure for information, registration links, and the payment link (for a small number of activities).

McCracken Orchestra Program

Are you interested in having your student sign up for the McCracken Orchestra to play violin, viola, cello, or bass? Jennifer Page will present a demonstration at McCracken during grade-level lunch periods on Monday, September 12th. Fill out the 2022-2023 Middle School Orchestra Registration form if your child is interested in registering for Orchestra. Practices begin Thursday, September 22nd.

8th Grade PSAT Assessment Information

  • The PSAT 8 assessment for our 8th grade students will be administered at Niles North High School on Saturday, October 1, 2022, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (approximate end time)
  • All 8th graders planning to enroll at Niles North High School are expected to take the PSAT 8, the first high school level exam in the SAT Suite of Assessments. The PSAT 8 establishes a baseline measurement for college and career readiness as a student enters high school. The exams in the SAT Suite of Assessments measure a student's strength in reading, writing/language, and mathematics. Monitoring these same skills at different grade levels allows students, parents, and educators to monitor a student's progress.
  • This assessment is free of charge and given to junior high (middle school) students in the fall of the year prior to high school registration. Results from this test, along with other metrics, will be used for proper 9th grade course placement.
  • Please access the Niles North High School PSAT 8/9 - 8th Grade website for additional information.
  • If you have any questions, please contact Niles North testing coordinator Marija Markovic at 847-626-2177 or by email at [email protected]. A letter was mailed to families from Niles North High School on August 22, 2022.
  • PSAT 8 FAQ Sheet

More from McCracken


Are you interested in supporting our dedicated and hard working teachers and staff? Help us to “Stock the Staff Lounge” with donated goodies throughout the year. We FINALLY re-opened the staff lounge after almost three years and we want to roll out the red carpet for McCracken staff. Drop off bagged snacks, drinks, K-Cups, tea, hot chocolate packets, candy, mints, and more to the school office throughout the year so we can show staff our support. Thank you for considering and thank you to the families who dropped off donations this week!


Here at McCracken, we are proud to offer a variety of student athletic and enrichment programs. These programs allow students to exercise their strengths, tackle areas of growth, and socialize with peers. Be sure to sign up your student for one of our great extracurricular activities clubs or activities! Review the Fall 2022 Extracurricular Slideshow (with videos and important links) and Brochure for information, registration links, and the payment link (for a small number of activities).

Dates to Remember

Monday, September 5th
District Closed for Labor Day

Thursday, September 8th
6:00 to 7:45 p.m.

Curriculum Night (See information above)

Friday, September 30th
All School Read Student Assembly

Saturday, October 1st
Niles North High School

8th Grade PSAT Assessment

Thursday, October 6th
McCracken Fall Picture Day (corrected date)

Tuesday, October 18th
McCracken Middle School
7:00 p.m.

Symphonic and Concert Band Fall Concert


Arrival & Dismissal Clarification

First Grade Students and Families: As a reminder, when dropping off or picking up 1st grade students, please drive south down Kimball and turn right onto Madison Av. St. Louis Av. is not a drop-off location during regular arrival and dismissal. Please see the map below.

Middleton Traffic Map

Thank you for your patience in our arrival and dismissal lines. To ensure safety for students and as a courtesy to other community members, please do not drive around cars or drop students off at undesignated areas.

As a reminder, Skokie signage indicates that there are no turns from Central Park Av. heading east down Madison Av. during arrival and dismissal hours. This will ensure students are safe and not crossing the street against the flow of traffic.

Assessment Window

Our 2-week assessment windows allow staff to gather crucial data to support instructional decision making. Our fall benchmark assessment window will run through Friday, September 9th. Students take various assessments that help teachers determine next steps for learning:

  • Grades 2-5
    • Measures of Academic Progress (MAP)
  • Grades 1-5
    • FastBridge CBMmath Automaticity
    • FastBridge CBMreading (fluency)
    • Fountas & Pinnell BAS

If you have any questions, please connect with your child’s teacher.

Student Handbooks

Please read the Student / Parent Handbook thoroughly. You will receive a print copy in the coming weeks. Once you receive it, please sign the form indicating that you have read it and understand the contents of the document. You can turn the form in to your child's classroom teacher. 

5th Grade White Pines Outdoor Education Overnight Trip

We will take our annual overnight trip to Oregon, IL at White Pines Ranch! Students will experience engaging activities such as orienteering with compasses, digging for fossils, hikes, team building, and more! Meals and sleeping accommodations are provided. This year, the trip will be October 19th through 21st. A packet of information was shared with families during the White Pines Information Session before Curriculum Night OR in student backpacks. Please look over the packet and turn in the required forms as soon as possible. All forms and fees are due by October 7th. We look forward to a great trip! If you have any questions, feel free to contact your child’s teacher or Assistant Principal Mrs. Stephanie Larenas, who will also attend the trip.

More from Middleton


Please note that the date for Middleton Picture Day has changed to October 12th. 


We are so excited to have our Middleton students back in the Media Center this year! Each week, students will have the opportunity to check out books. First grade students can check out two books at a time for one week. Second through 5th grade students will be allowed to check out two books at a time for 2 weeks. There are no overdue book fines, but lost books cost $15 to replace. See the Library Welcome Letter for more information about book checkout policies and procedures. Thank you!


SHIELD testing is OPT-IN this year. Please complete the OPT-IN consent form if you would like to opt in your child for testing. Return any OPT-IN forms by September 7th for the student to be included in the first SHIELD testing on September 14th.

Thank you!

Curriculum Night was very well attended. Thank you for partnering with us to ensure a great year for your student(s)!


Welcome to the 2022-2023 School Year

We have had a wonderful beginning to the 2022-2023 school year! Meyer staff have taken an all-hands-on-deck approach, providing extra support for all of our classrooms and helping our Shining Stars settle into routines and procedures. We’re off to a great start!

Fall Assessments

Every year in the fall, we use formal assessments to understand students’ early reading and math skills. This information helps teachers plan lessons, identify students who need extra help, and monitor student growth. These assessments are conducted one-on-one with a teacher. We will be assessing our PreK 4 and Kindergarten students in early literacy and math skills, for teaching and learning purposes, September 6th through 16th. For more information about assessments we use in the District for each grade level, please go to If you have questions about these assessments, please contact your child’s teacher or our school psychologist, Dr. Kristen McCann, at [email protected]. Thank you for your continued support and partnership.

Curriculum Night

Meyer families, thank you for joining us for the Meyer Curriculum Night on September 1st. If you were unable to attend the Principal’s session, please see the presentation slides. If you have further questions, feel free to reach out to your child’s teacher or the Meyer principal, Dr. Helen Wei, at [email protected].

Scholastic Book Fair

In addition to our in-person book fair this past week, Meyer School is also hosting an online Scholastic Book Fair through September 11th. Shop online at Books will be shipped directly to your home. Meyer School will receive a share of the profits to help us buy more books and supplies for the Meyer Library. Thank you for your support!

The Week in Pictures

Dates to Remember

September 5th

District Closed for Labor Day

September 14th

SHIELD Testing Begins

September 20th
9:00 to 9:30 a.m. and
12:30 to 1:00 p.m.

PBIS Kick-off

September 23rd

Meyer Picture Day

October 6th

5:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Parent/Teacher Conferences

October 7th
8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon

Parent/Teacher Conferences
No School for Students

District Events

DIST: End of Trimester 3

All Day Event

DIST: Last Day of School

All Day Event

DIST: Last Day of School

8:00 AM - 3:00 PM

PTO: Monthly Meeting

6:30 PM - 8:00 PM


Meal Menu

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