The Weekly Masthead

News and information from our district and schools


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 kicks off next week with World Read Aloud Day (WRAD) on February 1st. Founded in 2010, World Read Aloud Day celebrates the power of literacy and reading aloud to each other. Reading and listening to stories brings us together as a community. World Read Aloud Day also advocates for literacy as a fundamental human right. Since 2010, World Read Aloud Day has grown into a global phenomenon with millions of readers and authors sharing their stories with communities around the world. Learn more about WRAD and activities you can join at and at Scholastic.

This year, like many years prior, the McCracken Social Justice Club will visit Meyer School to read to Preschool and Kindergarten students. The books are hand selected by Social Justice Club members and feature themes of justice and helping us build a stronger community. The Social Justice Club will also make some of these read alouds available online for Middleton classes to view as part of the World Read Aloud Day festivities.

In addition to the celebrations for World Read Aloud Day, District Office Administrators will share their favorite books with students across the district. Watch our Twitter and Facebook pages and don’t forget to follow the hashtag #LiteracyMonthSD735.

 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.

 Department of Student Services

The executive functioning strategy/skill highlighted this week is PERSEVERENCE.

Perseverance is working through to complete a goal despite challenges that pop up along the way. Below are some strategies from that parents can use at home to help their children build skills.

  • Develop a goal. List off a goal you want to accomplish. Then, list the steps it will take you to get there. Post this somewhere as a reminder.
  • Discuss problem-solving situations. Come up with “road blocks” and discuss what you might do. For example, you might say, “Imagine you are going to start a collage for an art project, but you can’t find the scissors. What can you do?”
  • Start a daily reflection time. At the end of the day, talk about one thing you did well and one thing you could improve. This practice of reflection helps encourage perseverance and growth.

Restorative 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.

 News from the Business Office

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.

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

This brief business meeting follows the 6:00 p.m. "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.


Around Town


Local museums offering free admission


Free and reduced admission with SNAP EBT card


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!

8th Grade Singers Concert

Our 8th Grade Singers performed for families on Monday, January 23rd in the McCracken gymnasium. Students have been working hard preparing for the Illinois Music Education Conference performance in Peoria this weekend. We wish both our Symphonic Band and our 8th grade Singers the best of luck this weekend. Thank you to Ms. Amy Keipert and Mr. Chip DeStefano and all of our staff and parent chaperones for their support.

NEW McCracken Parent-Teacher Conference Sign Up Process

Our February Parent-Teacher conferences are coming up soon!

Due to the number of students that McCracken teachers serve, the conference day time constraints do not allow enough appointment slots to schedule every family. As part of our work to improve and create systems to increase equity of access, the Systems strand of our District Equity Leadership Team (DELT) reviewed conference registration across the district. In an effort to distribute appointments equitably among middle school families, McCracken will pilot a new registration process in February to increase access to conferences with middle school teachers:

  • Families may schedule up to three appointments with McCracken teachers when registration opens at 7:00 a.m. on February 6th.
  • On February 9th, the appointment limit will be removed. Families may sign up for additional conferences with available teachers until registration closes on February 13th.

The district will send more information as we get closer to conferences, including how and where to get help with registration.

Thank you for supporting our efforts to increase access and make conferences available to more McCracken families.

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 will have their graduation pictures taken on Wednesday, February 1st at McCracken. One photo will be taken in a purple graduation gown (provided by Lifetouch) and the other in the student's chosen dress clothes. When the photos have been 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. There is no money due on Picture Day. Payment will be due to Lifetouch when families select their preferred photos online. 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!

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).


Dates to Remember

January 27th & 28th

IMEC Music Conference (Symphonic Band & 8th Grade Singers)

February 1st

Graduation Picture Day

World Read Aloud Day

Niles North 8th Grade Band Day

February 2nd

8th Grade Choral Exchange Festival

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 & 17th

Parent Teacher Conferences

February 20th

Presidents' Day

No School / District Closed

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


Dr. Hightower Reads to 2nd Grade

This week Dr. Hightower made time to read in some of our classrooms. Mrs. Domingo captured the photos here!

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!

GSA Club

Middleton GSA Club will begin in February. If you are interested in learning more about the GSA Club you can see our mission statement here. 


More from Middleton

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

The Substitute Cooperative logo


Meyer Movie Night

Thank you to the Meyer Parent Leaders for planning such a fun night for Meyer families last Friday! Students, families, and staff enjoyed watching the movie, “DC League of Super-Pets” while spending time with one another and munching on popcorn. It was wonderful to be together! Special thanks go to Odessa Molina, Karen Chan, Taylor Crittenden, Annie Bhurya, Kathryn van der Vliet, Balikis Davies-Olatunji, Victor Elarde, Joseph Miller, Eunice Miller, and Ryan Fleishhacker.

Meyer Story Night and Pajama Day

Meyer 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

Meal Menu


Breakfast: Bagel & Cream Cheese, Fresh Fruit & Milk *Kosher meals available upon reques...


Breakfast: Breakfast Bar, Fresh Fruit & Milk *Kosher meals available upon request Kosh...


Breakfast: Yogurt & Graham Crackers, Fresh Fruit & Milk *Kosher meals available upon re...


Breakfast: Cereal Bowl, Fresh Fruit & Milk *Kosher meals available upon request Kosher ...


Breakfast: Whole Grain Muffin, Fresh Fruit & Milk *Kosher meals available upon request ...

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