The Weekly Masthead

News and information from our district and schools

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

Updated January 26, 2023


Literacy Month badgeSkokie School District 73.5 celebrates literacy throughout the month of February. Stay tuned to the website, Twitter, and Facebook pages to see how you can participate. Please share your enthusiasm and experiences by using the hashtag #LiteracyMonthSD735 on your social media posts!

Our Literacy Month continues this week with new activities! This week McCracken students will be participating in the first round of the All School Read Voting. The books in Round One were selected by students on the All School Read Team, which consists of all grade levels and literary tastes. Like the NCAA "March Madness" basketball tournament, the All School Read Voting will result in a "Final Four" at the end of the month, leading to the summer all school read.

In addition, join us at Meyer for Story Night on February 9th from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. Meyer Story Night is an opportunity for Meyer students and their families to come together and get cozy at school in the evening. Everyone is invited to come in their pajamas and enjoy stories read aloud by staff members that revolve around a central theme. This year's story theme is "friendship and kindness"!

Our preparation for the Monarch Awards is in full swing. Students in Kindergarten through 3rd grade continue to take part in read alouds of Monarch-nominated titles throughout the month during library time. The Monarch Award is an annual readers' choice award presented to the author of the book voted most outstanding by children in Kindergarten through 3rd grade in participating Illinois schools. All of our students are eligible to vote in early March. For more information and to see past Monarch Award winners and nominations, visit

Make sure you are sharing your story all month on social media using the hashtag #LiteracyMonthSD735.

 Parent-Teacher Conferences

Parent-Teacher Conference RegistrationTeachers will be available for your choice of in-person OR video conferences on the following dates and times:

  • Thursday, February 16th from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m
  • Friday, February 17th from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Online registration for February conferences opens on Monday, February 6th at 7:00 a.m. and closes on Monday, February 13th at 3:00 p.m.

Please visit our Parent-Teacher Conference Information web page for details. Be on the lookout for a NEW sign-up process for McCracken teachers and other new features to help you plan for conferences.

 Department of Student Services

REMINDER: Upcoming Events...

Coffee and Conversation InformationRestorative Justice is a current phrase that is often used in education when discussing strategies to allow students to repair any damage done by their words or actions. Did you know that Restorative Practices actually encompass both proactive and reactive strategies? Are you curious to learn more? Please join us on February 7th from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. in the McCracken Middle School Multipurpose Room for Coffee and Conversation with the SuperintendentSpecial guest Angela DeMay, Director of Student Services, will join the conversation to talk about Restorative Practices and how they are used in schools. RSVP is requested. The monthly PTO meeting will take place immediately following. We hope you can join us!

The next Bilingual Parents’ Advisory Committee (BPAC) has been moved to February 23rd at 6:30 p.m. in the library at Middleton Elementary School. We will discuss ACCESS testing and preparing for our community outing to the Skokie Public Library.

The Illinois Department of Human Services would like all SNAP families to know that pandemic-related exceptions and increases of SNAP allotments will end on March 1st. See this flyer for important information.

 School Calendar Update

Our district closed on December 22nd and 23rd in anticipation of the severe weather forecast. By state law, we must make up these 2 attendance days for teachers and students. Student make-up attendance days have been scheduled on March 3rd and June 2nd. Our students' last day of this school for the 2022-2023 school year will now be June 2nd. Our 8th grade students' last day will remain their graduation day. Staff make-up days will be June 2nd and June 5th. The updated at-a-glance school calendar is available on our website.

 Around Town

Tap a flyer below for more information about each program!


► The Skokie Park District Summer Camp Guide is now available on the website! Check the following direct links for more information about programs, registration, and fee assistance:

  • Summer Camps Information: Open House schedule, registration and information forms, policies, procedures, Summer Camp Guide
  • Fee Assistance Program: eligibility guidelines, how to apply, additional financial assistance resources

► The Niles North Dance Team invites students in 1st through 8th grade to participate in the Jr. Vikettes Dance Clinic for their 2023 basketball season. Click or tap the flyer for information and a link to registration. 

Skokie Baseball-Softball League signup is going on now through March 12th. The teams need coaches, too!

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!


LEARN MORE about how we use SMS text messaging.

PTO Meeting



Tuesday, February 7th
7:40 to 8:15 pm
McCracken MPR

The PTO is moving the regular monthly meeting to February 7th following "Coffee & Conversation..." with Dr. Hightower and special guest Angela Demay, Director of Student Services. Ms. DeMay will talk about Restorative Practices and how they are used in schools.


Caring Hearts Drive

Get ready! The Caring Hearts Classroom Drive is coming soon. Watch your inbox, text messages, and our website for more information!

Fee Waivers

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.


McCracken Book Fair

Scholastic Book FairWe are very excited to bring back the Book Fair at McCracken in February. Please save the date during the week of February 13th to support literacy at McCracken! Thank you to Tori Gammeri and parents for organizing and facilitating the book fair. Students will have an opportunity to visit the book fair in our Multipurpose Room during their ELA classes. See this flyer for more information!

Illinois Music Education Conference

Our Symphonic Band and 8th Grade Singers took an overnight trip to Peoria, Illinois to perform at the Illinois Music Education Conference last weekend. All students performed at their highest level and did an outstanding job representing Skokie School District 73.5 and McCracken Middle School. Special thanks to Ms. Amy Keipert and Mr. Chip DeStefano as well as all staff and parents who chaperoned and attended this trip.

World Read Aloud Day

World Read Aloud Day is an annual event in early February that celebrates the power of reading aloud to students of all ages! Each year McCracken librarian Tori Gammeri partners with Meyer librarian Amy Kelley and our Social Justice Club to share the love and lessons of reading with our youngest students. We had eager volunteers from all three grade levels who did a phenomenal job choosing positive stories promoting inclusivity and community. This is our first trip back in person to Meyer after multiple years of virtual visits due to COVID. Thank you to Tori Gammeri, Amy Kelley, staff chaperones, and members of our Social Justice Club for helping to build community within our district!

8th Grade Upcoming Important Events

Graduation Letter for Parents and Guardians

Please see this letter from the McCracken Administrative Team for important information and dates to know about 8th Grade graduation. Click or tap below for translations.

عربي . Arabic   •   ગુજરાતી . Gujarati   •   Español . Spanish   •   Tagalog   •   اردو . Urdu   •   Tiếng Việt  . Vietnamese

Diploma Cards & Graduation Gown/Tassel Orders
Due Friday, February 3rd

We are preparing to place orders for graduation diploma cards, gowns, and tassels for our Class of 2023 graduates! The forms below must be completed by February 3rd.

Registration Appointments with Niles North Counselors
Thursday, February 9th and Friday, February 10th

Niles North counselors will meet with students and parents to review class placement for the upcoming school year. Placement is based on PSAT scores and teacher recommendations. Families of students who receive Special Education services or English Language services may have alternate appointment dates for more individualized support. Your child’s appointment date and time will be shared with parents and guardians by Niles North High School.

Class of 2027 Course Registration Appointments
  • The PTC portal to sign up for Niles North course registration appointments opened on January 11th and closed on January 24th. Registration appointments are in person at Niles North.
  • Students are expected to attend school at McCracken on the day of counselor appointments before and/or after their appointments at Niles North.
  • Parents/guardians will sign out their child when picking them up to attend their scheduled counselor appointments.
  • Niles North High School will share appointment times with parents and guardians and with McCracken teachers and administration.
  • Student information packets were distributed to families at Curriculum & Activities Night on January 17th. Anyone who was not able to attend will receive the packet by mail.
  • Please email Niles North High School registration questions to Denise French at [email protected].
8th Grade Graduation Pictures
Wednesday, February 1st

Our 8th grade students participated in graduation pictures taken on Wednesday, February 1st at McCracken. One photo was taken in a purple graduation gown (provided by Lifetouch) and the other in their chosen dress clothes. When the photos are processed, Lifetouch will then send the proofs to the school to be distributed to students and families. Parents/guardians will have an opportunity to review the pictures and order any preferred photos from the delivered proof package. Payment will be due to Lifetouch when families select their preferred photos online. Picture retakes are scheduled to take place on March 16th only for students who missed picture day or are not satisfied with their original picture. Please see this flyer from Lifetouch for more information.

8th Grade End of the Year Event
Saturday, May 20th

McCracken PTO, in collaboration with parents and staff, will host an 8th grade end of the year event at McCracken Middle School on Saturday, May 20th from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Please complete this form if you are interested in helping to plan this fun celebratory event with other 8th grade parents and guardians. We need assistance with decorations, food, games, supervision, fundraising, and more. Thank you in advance for helping to make sure our graduates receive the sendoff they deserve!

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).



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.

stay warm in cold weather

Dates to Remember

February 3rd

Graduation Gown/Tassel & Diploma Name Forms Due

February 9th & 10th

8th Grade Niles North High School Counselor Appointments

Week of February 13th

McCracken Book Fair

February 13th

Concert Band SuperState Recording Sessions

February 16th

Parent Teacher Conferences

5:00 to 8:00 p.m.

February 17th

Parent Teacher Conferences

8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

No School for Students

February 20th

Presidents' Day

No School / District Closed

March 16th

8th Grade Picture Retakes

Please check our public calendar on the district website for athletic game times and locations.


Movie and Dance Night

Last Friday's Movie and Dance Night was VERY well attended! Thank you to all the parents who attended or volunteered with their students!

Purchase Your Yearbooks!

It's time to pre-order your 2022-2023 yearbook! What better way to remember this unique school year? The Middleton yearbook costs $20. Orders may be placed online or via the paper order form sent home from school. Place online orders through the Lifetouch website: ybpay.lifetouch.comThe Yearbook ID Code is 13556523. Yearbooks will be distributed in May.

Upcoming Spirit Days

February 16th: Kind Day. Spread random acts of kindness around Middleton!
March 24th: Rainbow Celebration

  • STAFF: Purple
  • 5th: Blue 
  • 4th: Green 
  • 3rd: Yellow
  • 2nd: Orange
  • 1st: Red

April 28th: Physical Education Day. Wear sports or athletic wear!


More from Middleton


Please remember that the parking lot across the street on Madison Avenue is not for Middleton families. This is a private parking lot. We have received concerns from the tenants that their staff have been blocked in by Middleton families parking there before school and at the end of the day. Thank you for your cooperation.


Please check your student's backpacks today for Winter MAP scores in a manila envelope. Your child's classroom teacher will review these results with you at the upcoming Parent-Teacher Conferences.

Do you want to be a substitute teacher? See THIS LINK for more information!

The Substitute Cooperative logo


World Read Aloud Day

Meyer celebrated World Read Aloud Day on Wednesday, February 1st. McCracken students in the Social Justice Club visited Meyer to read to our Shining Stars. The books, with themes around justice and helping us build a stronger community, were hand selected by Social Justice Club members. Thank you to the McCracken Social Justice Club!

Meyer Story Night and Pajama Day

photo of bear in pajamasMeyer families are invited to join us for Meyer’s Story Night on Thursday, February 9th from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Meyer School. Stay for snacks and a cozy story hour featuring stories about friendship and kindness.

February 9th is also Pajama Day, so students are encouraged to wear pajamas to school and then to Story Night. We hope to see all Meyer families there!

Save the Date: Preschool Open House for New Families

Meyer School will host a Preschool Open House for new families interested in the 2023-2024 school year on Sunday, March 5th from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. If you have neighbors and friends who have children turning 3 or 4 years old on or before September 1, 2023, please help us spread the word!

Meyer Moments


Dates to Remember

February 9th

Meyer Story Night

6:00 to 7:00 p.m.

February 13th

Board of Education Meeting

7:00 p.m.

McCracken Cafeteria

February 16th

Parent/Teacher Conferences

5:00 to 8:00 p.m.

February 17th

Parent/Teacher Conferences

8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon

No School for Students 

February 20th

Presidents' Day

No School / District Closed

February 23rd

Meyer Parent Leaders Meeting

7:00 to 8:00 p.m.

via Zoom

March 2nd

Meyer Parent Leaders Game Night

6:00 to 7:30 p.m.

Meyer School

March 5th

Preschool Open House for New Families

10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Meyer School

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

This site provides information using PDF, visit this link to download the Adobe Acrobat Reader DC software.