The Weekly Masthead

News and information from our district and schools

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


Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment

Update on Concurrent Instruction for students testing positive for COVID-19

At the end of October, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) released new guidelines to provide students with concurrent instruction while absent from school because of COVID-19. Our District has made the decision to follow these new guidelines beginning Monday, December 12th. 

Therefore, beginning Monday, the District will NOT provide concurrent instruction to individual students who are absent due to COVID-19.  

We will continue to monitor our COVID-19 infection rates throughout the year. Should the district need to quarantine a classroom of students OR move to an Adaptive Pause, we will offer remote instruction to the affected students. These decisions will be made in consultation with the Skokie Health Department.

Department of Student Services

► If you would be interested in participating on the D73.5 Early Childhood Inclusion Team, please contact Angela DeMay at [email protected]. This team will work to ensure that our early learners with identified disabilities are included with their general education peers to the greatest degree possible.


► Check THIS FLYER for information about the first NTDSE Parent Group meeting on Thursday, January 12, 2023, at Molloy Education Center.

The executive functioning strategy/skill highlighted this week is SELF-CONTROL. Below are some strategies from that parents can use at home to help their children build skills. Another way self-control might be described is self-management.

Self-Control is the process of stopping and thinking before making a choice. Some strategies for practicing self-control at home include:

  • Practice coping strategies. It’s important to practice coping strategies when we are calm so we can use them when we are overwhelmed. Spend time practicing listening to calming music, exercising, coloring, and more.
  • Practice positive self-talk. Self-talk can be a healthy strategy to keep us calm and collected. Come up with some positive phrases that can help keep your cool. You can even make positive self-talk a morning ritual to start the day in a positive way.
  • Practice mindful breathing. One of the best ways to work on self-control is by practicing our breathing. Use these mindful breathing activities for kids and teens to get started.
  • Play games. So many different games align themselves to work on self-control skills, from Freeze to Simon Says. Read more about games you can use to practice self-control.
  • Discuss scenarios. Come up with problem-solving situations. For example, you might say, “You want to watch your favorite show, but your sibling is already in the room watching theirs. What can you do?” Think about the situation by discussing what the problem is, what your choices are, and how you might handle the situation. Use these free scenario cards to get started.

9 Easy Ways to Build Your Child's Language Skills from Scholastic NEWS! Communication blossoms when you and your child do things with each other. When you play and work together, you have something in common to talk about. Try these language-rich activities in English or your first language! 

  1. Bake together. Share the experience of measuring the ingredients, sifting and mixing, and then cleaning up. It's also a great opportunity to introduce related vocabulary: tablespoon, half a cup, stirring, mixing, liquid, solid, dissolve, rise, bake. 
  2. Take photos of yourself and your child engaged in different activities. Share the pictures and talk about them so she learns that you can communicate about things that happened in the past. 
  3. Share stories about when your child was a baby, when he said his first words, the food he liked best, and other fun things he did when he was little. Encourage your child to share his ideas of the same events.
  4. Tell stories about your own childhood. Show pictures of yourself at your child's age, and talk about the stories you loved, the games you played, what you liked, and what you were afraid of. 
  5. Respond to your child's emotions. When you greet her after school, you might say, "You have a happy smile on your face. Why?" Or, "You're frowning. What was sad about your day?" 
  6. Give your child verbal labels for his feelings: "You must be angry, angry, angry!" "Your happiness shows on your face." "I see that you are frustrated. Let me help." 
  7. Play language games, such as I Spy, or other games that involve communication, such as Red Light, Green Light, and Simon Says. 
  8. Read every day. As you read, ask your child to tell you which character she likes best and why, how she would feel if she were one of the characters, what she would do to solve the problem, and how the story makes her feel.
  9. Share poetry, songs, and chants. Ask your child's teacher for copies of poems and songs he has learned and enjoys, or share your own favorites.

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 if you are a registered parent, guardian, or staff member and your mobile number is already on file in PowerSchool.


LEARN MORE about how we use SMS text messaging.

PTO News

McCracken 8th grade parents and families, the PTO is looking for leaders and volunteers for the 8th Grade Graduation Event. 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!


Around Town


8th Grade Baby Pictures

It has been a tradition at McCracken Middle School to include 8th grade baby pictures in the yearbook. We need YOUR help securing these pictures for the yearbook. If you and your 8th grade student are interested in having their baby picture included in the yearbook please submit your student’s digital baby photo to [email protected]. Students can also bring a physical picture to school and give it to their advisory teacher. We need all the pictures by January 13th! 

Lost and Found 

Our McCracken Middle School lost and found section in the front lobby hallway is growing with multiple coats, sweaters, water bottles, and more! We have reminded students to look through the lost and found to locate any personal belongings on their way to and from classes and lunch and recess. We are planning to donate lost and found items to a local charity organization after winter break so any personal student items must be claimed by December 23rd. Please remind your child to claim and take home any of their personal belongings in the lost and found by December 23rd.

Social Justice Club Changemaker Series 

#The "Meet a Changemaker!" series came about as a result of feedback from last year's Social Justice Club students who absolutely loved it when we had special visitors and expressed a desire to connect with more people. With that in mind, the goal of these sessions is to show students that there are a variety of different ways to have a positive impact in your community, whether through a career choice, volunteer work, activism or other civic engagement. So far, we have welcomed a social entrepreneur & founder of Camp Indigo Point (Shira Berkowitz), a senior policy advisor who worked on the national suicide hotline (John Lee), and a juvenile justice reform activist & spoken word poet (Trey Baker). We look forward to hosting more Changemakers throughout the year!

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

December 12th & 14th

7th-8th Grade Cheerleading Clinic

3:10 to 4:00 p.m.

December 15th

7th-8th Cheerleading Tryout

3:10 to 4:00 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.

February 9th & 10th

8th Grade Niles North High School Counselor Appointments


Student Council Spare Change Fundraiser

#Student Council Members have completed their research on various charities, and they have selected Team Seas as this year's recipient of our annual Spare Change Fundraiser. Student Council Members are working on developing morning announcements in order to highlight the mission and purpose of the Team Seas organization, and to share more details about the community fundraiser. Donations will be collected December 19th to December 23rd in students' homeroom classrooms. Every penny counts and makes a difference! Thank you in advance for your support of this philanthropic event!

Second Session of Enrichment

The brochure for our second session of enrichment was sent out this week. This session begins in January and runs through May. In the brochure, you will see that there will NOT be a late bus during the second session. Our bus company is not able to accommodate us with a bus at the time we need it. Students who are enrolled in the winter/spring Enrichment session must have a way home ((car pickup, walk, or SPACE if registered) on the following days and times when enrichment is over:

  • Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday at 3:50 p.m.
  • Tuesday at 2:50 p.m.

Lost and Found

#Just a reminder that all lost and found items will be donated over winter break. The lost and found is located in the front by our office. If you are missing anything and want to stop by to look for it, please do so by December 23rd.

School Arrival

Student supervision begins at 8:15 a.m. each morning. Students may come to school after this time when adult supervision begins. There is no adult supervision before 8:15 a.m.

Our first bell rings to allow students into the building at 8:25 a.m. Students are expected to be in their seats ready to learn at 8:30 a.m. Please help us in supporting students with a prompt 8:30 a.m. learn time by getting students to school no later than 8:25 a.m. Thank you!

Student Pick Up

As a reminder, students end their day at 3:00 p.m. every day except Tuesdays, which is at 2:00 p.m. Cars should not arrive at  Middleton before 2:50 p.m. When you do pull up, please pull your car as far forward as possible so that our lines move quickly and safely when students exit the building. Additionally, the police department made us aware that some students are not wearing their seatbelts as they leave our property. Please make sure everyone in the car is buckled up!

Snow/Cold 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.
  • 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!
    • 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.

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.


What better way to remember this unique school year? The school yearbook costs $20. Orders may be placed online or via the paper order form sent home from school. Yearbooks will be distributed in May 2023. Place online orders through the Lifetouch website at using Yearbook ID Code 13556523.


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 2 hours one day a week. If you are interested please contact Principal Nikki Tammaru.


Meyer Parent Leaders Meeting

#Please join us for this month’s Meyer Parent Leaders (MPL) meeting. All parents/guardians are welcome!

Thursday, December 15, 2022

7:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Enter through the Multipurpose Room (Door 12E)

The month’s meeting agenda includes Coins for Kindness, Meyer Mart, and January’s Movie Night.

MPL Family Meet-up

#Looking to hang out with other Meyer Families? Meet up at the STEAM activities and crafts at the Skokie Public Library!


Saturday, December 17, 2022

10:30 to 11:00 a.m.

Skokie Public Library (South Courtyard)

Coins for Kindness

#Thank you to all the families who have donated to our district’s Coins for Kindness campaign so far! All proceeds are being used to purchase gifts for district families who need extra kindness and support this holiday season. We will continue to collect coins through December 13th.

Around Town

Meet the Author at Skokie Public Library: Saadia Faruqi, children’s book author

Thursday, December 15, 2022

6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Radmacher Room

#Saadia Faruqi is the author of Marya Khan and the Incredible Henna Party and several other children's books, including the popular series, Yasmin. Faruqi has also written middle-grade novels, including Yusuf Azeem Is Not a Hero, A Thousand Questions, and A Place at the Table. Light refreshments will be provided. For more information, please visit

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

December 1st - 13th

Coins for Kindness

December 13th

Board of Education Meeting

McCracken MPR

7:00 p.m.

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

January 10th

Board of Education Meeting

McCracken MPR

7:00 p.m.

January 16th

MLK Jr. Day

No School / District Closed

January 19th

Meyer Parent Leaders Meeting

7:00 to 8:00 p.m.


January 20th

Meyer Movie Night

6:00 to 7:30 p.m.

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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