The Weekly Masthead

News and information from our district and schools

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

The Weekly will take a winter break on December 30th and January 6th. We'll be back on January 13th.


Strategic Planning Survey

Strategic Planning SurveySkokie School District 73.5 is in the process of developing our 5-year strategic plan. As a valued member of our school community, we would like you to be part of the process by completing the Strategic Plan Survey. Your feedback will be helpful to assist us with developing goals for school years 2024-2029. Please watch your home mailbox for a postcard from the district or click the postcard image here for more information. The survey is open now through January 6, 2023.

Coffee & Conversation with the Superintendent

Conversation with the Superintendent flyerJoin Dr. Zipporah Hightower for morning coffee and conversation on Tuesday, January 17th at 8:45 a.m. in the Board Room at McCracken Middle School.

RSVP is requested. Tap the flyer for more information and a link to let us know you'll be there!

Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment

As we head into our winter break, the CIA Department wishes everyone a safe new year. Learning does not have to stop while school is not in session! Everyday, encourage your child to read, write, and have time to be creative! We look forward to seeing our students in the new year!

Department of Student Services 

#Starting in January, Enrichment at Middleton will include an EL homework help session. This class offers your child the opportunity to work alongside EL-certified teachers to develop their skills related to listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Students will work collaboratively on group activities, and they will also have access to homework assistance if needed. Please complete this permission form. Reach out to your child's teacher if you have any questions, or EL Coordinator Lyla Nissan at [email protected].

► If your family is experiencing financial hardship, including homelessness, please contact Angela DeMay at [email protected]; the District may be able to provide resources and/or support. If you would like to explore resources on your own, please visit our Student Services web page.

News from the Business Office

The Business Office was advised that the final round Summer 2022 P-EBT benefits was issued in December. If you believe you qualify and have not received benefits, or you have questions about Summer P-EBT, call the toll-free P-EBT Helpline number at 1-833-621-0737. Operators are available from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday thru Friday, excluding State holidays. Please know the estimated call wait time is approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour. 

Fee Waiver Information

Skokie School District 73.5 waives school fees for eligible families. A "waiver" means that students will not be charged registration fees, school activity/club fees, or field trip fees. A fee waiver application must be completed to receive a waiver, and only one application is required per year. If you have any questions concerning fee waiver eligibility or the application process please contact Karen Hayes in the Business Office at [email protected] or by phone at 847-676-8317.

Get the Message During Emergency Closings!

Please check the following places for information as it becomes available:

  • YOUR MOBILE PHONE. A text message will be sent to the parent/guardian mobile phone number(s) on file in PowerSchool. The text message will be delivered ONLY if the phone number accepts text messages from Skokie 73.5. If you haven’t already done so, please opt-in to receive text messages by following these instructions (also available HERE in Arabic, Spanish, Tagalog, Urdu, and Vietnamese).
  • YOUR EMAIL INBOX. An email will be sent to the parent/guardian email at the address(es) on file in PowerSchool. The email will be delivered ONLY if the mailbox accepts emails from Skokie 73.5.
  • LOCAL MEDIA. Our Emergency School Closing Information web page lists the media outlets where school closing information is shared.
  • FACEBOOK AND TWITTER. Find us at and
  • OUR WEBSITE. News and banner announcements will be posted prominently on our District website,

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


Monday, January 9th
6:30 to 8:00 p.m.
McCracken MPR
Guest Speaker: Skokie Park District
Topic: Summer Programs

Please see the McCracken and Middleton sections below for school-specific PTO information.


Winter Warming Centers


Purple Pride Week

Purple PridePurple Pride Week will take place when students return from winter break during the week of January 9th. Students will have a chance to show us what they know by doing their best on a variety of winter benchmark assessments. They'll complete the NWEA MAP test for Reading and Math on Wednesday (1/11) and Thursday (1/12). Their advisors will tell them more about their special schedule for testing. Students should make sure to bring charged Chromebooks on these days. They will also complete the R-CBMmath assessment on Friday (1/13) in an extended advisory. They will need wired headphones or earbuds for this test! Some students will be invited to take the CBMreading assessment throughout the day. Their advisors will give them their testing locations. Students should be sure that they continue to get a good night’s sleep, eat a good breakfast each morning, and come to school ready to learn! Help your students to be proud to be a Hornet and show their purple pride!

MLK Jr. Day of Service and Food Drive

MLK Day of ServiceOn Monday, January 16th, McCracken will hold the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service and Food Drive. This is an opportunity for students to honor the legacy of Dr. King by volunteering their time to help our school and community. Participants will complete various service projects in the school as well as facilitate a food drive to benefit the Niles Township Food Pantry. Donations of non-perishable food items, toiletries, and cleaning products can be dropped off in the circle drive in front of McCracken on January 16th from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. Students who are volunteering need to complete a permission slip which they can pick up outside room 222. There will not be bus service.

Student Support Newsletter

Social, Emotional & Mental HealthWe have had a positive start to our school year, and have built a sense of community by supporting students’ social-emotional development.  We have been working with students through various initiatives and programs. As winter break gets closer, our Student Services Team wants to provide families with resources to support our students’ social and emotional health. With this in mind, our student support staff has created this newsletter to inform parents and guardians about ways to support their children's mental and emotional health at home during the extended break.

Learning Center and Social Justice Club

Social Justice ClubStudents had the opportunity to participate in decorating Niles Township’s Tree of Peace. Ms. Gammeri provided strips of paper to be used for students to write any hopes, wishes, or dreams. These written statements were then placed in a clear sphere to be delivered to Niles Township. The Social Justice Club is also working on a special project to add on a food pantry kit to our existing Little Free Library in front of McCracken. This will be an opportunity to share non-perishable food items with our school community. Social Justice Club students will be painting and decorating the pantry addition after winter break.

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! 

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 and founder of Camp Indigo Point (Shira Berkowitz); a senior policy advisor who worked on the national suicide hotline (John Lee); a juvenile justice reform activist and spoken word poet (Trey Baker); and our very own teacher Laura Williams, who is the president of a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about gun violence. We look forward to hosting more Changemakers throughout the year!

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? 

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.


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 2022 Extracurricular Slideshow (with videos and important links) and Brochure for information, registration links, and the payment link (for a small number of activities).


PTO News


Sign up HERE to help the PTO plan 8th Grade end-of-year celebrations!

Dates to Remember

December 26th - January 6th

Winter Break

No School

January 9th

Students return from Winter Break

Hornet’s Hive Assembly

(rescheduled from December 23rd)

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


Drake Alley Turning

If you pick up or drop off your children at Drake Alley, please adhere to the following guidelines to ensure student and family safety. We pride ourselves on being a kind, caring community.

  • There is no LEFT TURN into Drake Alley during arrival and dismissal hours. This is a posted sign and is against the law.
  • Wait in line patiently along Drake Alley and when waiting on Main St. Please refrain from honking or passing other cars while waiting in line.
  • Please pull forward as far as possible to the end of Drake Alley when picking up students so that we can fit as many cars as possible at one time.

School Movie Night and Dance

On January 27th from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. we will have a school movie night for grades 1-3 and a school dance for grades 4-5. All students are required to turn in their permission slips upon entry to the building. Do you want to volunteer to help chaperone this event? Please complete this survey!

Social Justice

Our social justice club met this month and created posters to welcome ALL our students!

Winter Break

View some fun activities for you and your family over break! If your child completes the BINGO board, bring it to Mrs. Larenas after break for a prize!

We wish you and your family a healthy and relaxing winter break. Thank you for your partnership to make Middleton the special place it is.


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.

PTO News


One day, two amazing events!

January 27, 2023

4th & 5th Grade Dance


1st, 2nd, & 3rd Grade Movie Night

Register to volunteer
or email [email protected].


Happy Winter Break!

Meyer families, thank you for your partnership and support! The Meyer Staff would like to wish you a happy, healthy, and safe Winter Break and New Year. We look forward to seeing our Meyer Shining Stars back at school on Monday, January 9th.

Meyer Mart

Meyer had another successful Meyer Mart on December 20th. Preschool and kindergarten students visited Meyer Mart with their classes and "purchased" gifts for their assigned families. 

We are grateful to everyone who contributed to Coins for Kindness and the Meyer Mart! Special thanks go to parent/guardian volunteers who helped shop for our district families: Karen Chan, Odessa Molina, Annie Bhurya, Taylor Crittenden, Kathryn van der Vliet, Jasmina Nuhbegov, and Kim Ky. Thank you!

Dressing for the Weather

clothingWith colder weather here, it is very important that Meyer students are dressed properly for outdoor weather. We will have recess outdoors whenever it is not raining or sleeting and it feels like 15 degrees or above with the wind chill. Please send your child in a warm coat, hat, gloves or mittens, and boots, and include snow pants for snowy weather. 

Also, please be sure your child has a set of cold-weather emergency clothes in their lockers in case they get wet while playing outside in the snow. Please place the extra set of clothes in a bag, labeled with your child’s name. Thank you for your help!

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 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.

January 26th

Parent/Guardian Workshop

6:00 to 7:00 p.m. Save the date!

Registration and details will be shared after Winter Break

February 9th

Meyer Story 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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