The Weekly Masthead

News and information from our district and schools

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

The Weekly will take a fall break on November 25th. We'll be back on December 2nd.


Department of Student Services

► Early Childhood Screenings

If you are concerned about your preschool-aged child’s development, please make an appointment to attend one of the following screening dates:

  • November 21, 2022
  • December 12, 2022
  • January 30, 2023
  • February 13, 2023
  • March 20, 2023
  • April 10, 2023
  • May 1, 2023

Child must be 3-5 years of age. Appointments are necessary. Please contact Melissa Hughes-Smith at 847-965-9040 x1104. Contact Francesca Pilati 847-676-8463 with questions regarding screenings.

► The executive functioning strategy/skill highlighted this week is TASK INITIATION. Below are some strategies from that parents can use at home to help their children build skills.

Task Initiation is the process of getting started on tasks right away. This includes overcoming procrastination and staying motivated, even when it’s something we don’t want to do. Some strategies for working on task initiation at home include:

  • Practice rocket ship 5-4-3-2-1. Discuss how starting, or initiating, a task is like a rocket ship blasting off. This is a strategy to help you get up and going, even when you’re not very motivated. Sit and count down 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. At the end of the countdown shout, “Blastoff!” and hop up.
  • Break down the task. Choose one daily task or chore that you need to accomplish. Break it down step-by-step. This can be a helpful strategy to “get going” when a task seems daunting or too long.
  • Make a reward list. Come up with small rewards to give after finishing a task. These can be really simple rewards, like time watching a favorite show, time outside, getting to play videogames, or anything else. Identifying these incentives ahead of time can help us stay motivated and ready to go.

► Learn about why reading to your kids in your home language will help them become better readers in this article from Colorín Colorado, a bilingual website for educators and families of English language learners.

#"As a parent, you may be wondering whether you should be reading to your children in Spanish or English. You may be afraid that reading to them in Spanish will confuse them as they try to learn English, and that it will make it harder for them to read in English. You may also be concerned that you shouldn't read to them in English if you don't feel comfortable with your own English skills. While it is important to encourage and support your child's efforts to learn English, research shows that children who are read to in their native language (such as Spanish) will have an easier time learning to read in their second language (such as English)...."  Continue reading ⇒


Coming in December

Help your children start saving change now for two winter fundraising events that give back to the community!

  • Coins for Kindness, a partnership with Meyer School. See the MEYER NEWS section below for more information.
  • Spare Change Fundraiser, a partnership with the Middleton Student Council. See the MIDDLETON NEWS section below for more information.

Watch for more information to be announced in December, including how families can donate online.

Middleton parents and families, check your child's backpack! Look for information from the Middleton Parent Committee about how to get involved and help with upcoming events including a student dance, movie night, and more!

McCracken 8th grade parents and families, the PTO is looking for leaders and volunteers for the 8th Grade Graduation Event. Please contact Karen Hayes at [email protected] to help with this annual event that celebrates the students’ accomplishments!

Are you a DJ? Do you know a DJ? Contact Karen Hayes to help the PTO provide a DJ at some upcoming events!

SD73.5  Priorities

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.

Get the (TEXT) Message!

PARENTS, GUARDIANS & STAFF! Snap the QR code OR text Y or YES to 67587 to authorize SMS text messages from SD73.5 to your mobile device! You will receive future SMS text messages ONLY if you are a registered parent, guardian, emergency contact, or staff member AND your mobile phone number is already on file in PowerSchool.


PTO Dates


Monday, December 5th

6:30 to 8:00 p.m.

McCracken MPR

TOPIC: Skokie Park District Summer Programs


Around Town


NTDSE Parent Events

NOV-DEC 2022

View dates, flyers, and registration information.


McCracken Musical Performance

#Our 2022 McCracken musical, Mary Poppins Jr., was an amazing success! The cast and crew did an outstanding job transporting us to London in 1910, telling the story of the Banks family and the valuable lessons they learn from their mysterious new nanny. We are especially proud of our school musical, as students are involved in every detail of the production. These dedicated, creative, and talented students are to be congratulated for their efforts. We also extend our appreciation to our adult sponsors, who have dedicated an incredible amount of time and energy to our production. Special thanks to our Director, Ms. Amy Keipert; Producer, Ms. Bethany Fagan; and Crew Director, Ms. Sally Alvarado. In addition we would like to thank Mr. Rich Neumann for sound design and Ms. Carol Keipert for costume designs. Finally, thank you to the many community members who have volunteered their time and energy to the success of this production. Your support and generosity is greatly appreciated.

Purple Buzz Bucks 

#Our MTSS team recently planned to incorporate special purple buzz bucks to reward McCracken students who are exhibiting expected behaviors during specific periods of time during the school year. Purple buzz bucks are worth two regular buzz bucks which can be collected and redeemed for fun prizes in our redemption center. Staff was on the lookout for students who were displaying respectful, responsible, and ready behaviors with a focus on positive participation from Monday, November 14th to Friday, November 18th. Staff who distribute these special buzz bucks will also be entered in a special raffle. Go Hornets!

District 219 New Assyrian Course 2023-2024

#In September 2021, an Assyrian Language & Culture course proposal was submitted to the District 219 Curriculum & Instruction Committee by Assyrian staff to advocate for students to study Assyrian during the academic school year in order to fulfill World Language credit requirements for graduation. Families who self identify as Assyrian make up approximately 30% of the D219 school district. For details on the timeline of the course proposal, please read this letter. At the November 2022 District 219 Board of Education meeting, approval was given to offer this course as a world language for the 2023-2024 school year. Feeder schools are helping to communicate this new Assyrian course information to middle school families as they make decisions about high school classes for their students. Eighth grade teachers will be distributing an interest survey to students in the near future. Please reference this FAQwhich provides some guidance on the questions that may surface as well as the next steps in the process. Please contact Niles North High School with any questions about this new course.

Outdoor Recess Weather Reminders

#Students participate in outdoor recess throughout the school year, unless there is a significant weather-related or other external factor that necessitates an indoor program. Here at McCracken, we use the Child Care Weather Watch system to determine students’ participation in outdoor recess. This guide uses a combination of temperature and wind speed to calculate year-round weather safety for our students. Thank you, in advance, for helping to ensure that your child is prepared with appropriate outerwear for recess so that they are comfortable during our outdoor programming! Families in need of outerwear for their child should contact administration for additional resources.

Student Arrival and Dismissal Reminders


  • Please drive slowly and carefully when picking up or dropping off students.
  • 6th Grade parents dropping off by Door 12 should pull all the way over to the curb on the right and quickly and safely allow their child to exit the vehicle so other cars can continue to Circle Drive. Please use your hazards to alert cars behind you.
  • Please do not make U-turns on East Prairie. Use the McCracken Circle Drive to turn around.
  • Students cannot cross the Circle Drive in front of cars to get into a vehicle parked on the street. Drivers must pull into the Circle Drive to maintain safety and drop off in the right lane only. 
  • Students must cross the intersection of Crawford and Oakton assisted by our crossing guards for their safety. Students are not allowed to cross East Prairie and Oakton without an adult before or after school.
  • Please be sure to communicate with your child about their after-school plans before school. Are they walking home, taking the bus, or staying after school for sports or a club? 

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).


More from McCracken


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.

Dates to Remember

October 3rd - November 18th

Niles North High School Online Registration (current 8th grade)

D219 Parent/Guardian Registration Letter

November 23rd - November 25th

Thanksgiving Break

November 23rd: No school

November 24th-25th: District closed


December 3rd

Concert Band Winter Invitational

December 6th

Symphonic & Concert Band Concert

7:00 p.m.

December 19th

Winter Orchestra & Choir Concert

Niles North High School

7:00 p.m.

December 23rd

Hornet’s Hive Assembly

December 26th - January 6th

Winter Break

No School

January 9th

Students return from Winter Break

January 17th

8th Grade Niles North High School Curriculum & Activities Night

6:00 to 7:30 p.m.


Parent Volunteers Needed

We are looking for parent volunteers to assist with our Letter Lab. This lab supports our first and second grade students that need additional support in forming and writing their letters. The time commitment would be two hours one day a week. If you are interested please contact Principal Nikki Tammaru.

Spare Change Fundraiser

#Student Council will be hosting their annual Spare Change Fundraiser during the week before winter break. Members are currently researching and voting on this year’s selected charity. More information will be announced soon! We look forward to supporting our community with this annual giving tradition.

Snow at Recess

As we enter into some snowy days, please take a moment to read through our snow play expectations. Please review these with your child so they know what to expect during our winter season.

  • Students should bring a coat, hat, and gloves to school each day. 
  • Students must have boots to play in snow. Snow pants are strongly encouraged, but not required. 
  • We use the Child Care Weather Watch system to gauge indoor/outdoor recess. PLEASE NOTE: We go outside at lower temperatures!
  • #Students should not play on icy patches and will be asked to stay away from dangerous areas. We will not go outside for recess if there is significant ice on the playground or on the blacktop.
  • Snow can be thrown up and away, but not at others. Ice or snowballs should not be thrown at all to avoid injury.
  • Students should work to support other students’ snow builds; They should not destroy others’ builds within the same recess period. Ask a peer if they are done and if it is okay to destroy it if other students are nearby.
  • Remind students that we all share the snow outside, just as we have with the sticks and the leaves. If you build something today, it may not be there tomorrow! 

More from Middleton


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.


The next PTO meeting is on December 5th at 6:30 p.m. in the McCracken MPR. Skokie Park District staff will be here to discuss summer programming and camps. Information will also be shared about the upcoming Middleton School dance. Snacks will be provided. We hope to see you there!


Meyer’s Coins for Kindness

#Meyer will be collecting Coins for Kindness from December 1st to 13th to benefit district families who need extra kindness and support this holiday season. Meyer Shining Stars may bring loose change or coins to school for our collection, which the Meyer Parent Leaders will then use to purchase gifts for our selected families. Preschool and Kindergarten classes will then have the chance to "shop" for gifts for families at the Meyer Mart on December 20th to learn about "needs" and "wants." We hope our students will also learn that small acts of kindness can add up to a whole lot when we work together!

Dressing for Snowy Outdoor Recess

#On snowy days, please send your child to school in a warm jacket or coat, hat, gloves, winter boots, and snow pants. We go outside for recess as long as there is no rain or heavy snow and if it "feels" like 15 degrees or above. Please see the Child Care Weather Watch chart that we use to guide our decisions.

Winter Assessments

#Every winter, we use formal assessments to gauge student progress in early reading and math skills. This information helps teachers plan lessons and monitor student growth. Assessments are given one-on-one with a teacher. We will begin assessing our PreK-4 and Kindergarten students the week of December 5th and will continue after winter break. For more information on assessments we use in the district for each grade level, please visit the Assessment of Student Progress and Family Assessment Walkthrough Videos websites.

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. 

Meyer Moments


More from Meyer


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.

Dates to Remember

November 22nd

End of Trimester 1

Fall Classroom Celebrations

November 23rd - November 25th

Thanksgiving Break

November 23rd: No school

November 24th-25th: District closed

December 1st

Fall Enrichment Classes End

December 1st - 13th

Coins for Kindness

December 13th

Board of Education Meeting

7:00 p.m.

McCracken MPR

December 15th

Meyer Parent Leaders Meeting

7:00 to 8:00 p.m.

December 17th

Meyer Parent Leaders Family Meet-up

December 20th

Meyer Mart

December 26th - January 6th

Winter Break

January 9th

Students return from Winter Break

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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