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District 29 PTO Monthly Matters! | September

September 13, 2021

President’s Welcome Hi Everyone! Welcome back to the PTO Monthly Matters Newsletter! For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Bridget Kennedy, and I’ll be serving as your PTO President this year. I have four boys (yes, you read that right) in grades 7th, 5th, 2nd, and Jr. Kindergarten. Needless to say, my house is very loud, but very fun! The PTO stands for the Parent Teacher Organization and is made up of 7 Executive Board Members and nearly 50 Board Chairpersons who work together with teachers and the administration to bring programs to enhance our children’s experience in the district. Our members have been working hard over the summer to get moving on a great school year by providing a lovely Welcome Back Luncheon for teachers and staff, delivering school supplies for all the classrooms, and staffing the lunchrooms with volunteers so our kids were ready to purchase and eat lunch on that first day of school. The PTO is able to provide opportunities like these for families and staff in the district through contributions from parents and community members – this is why it’s so important to pay your PTO dues at the start of the school year. We want to keep providing the same great programs we’ve always had, including coding at Middlefork, AM Rec at Sunset Ridge, Author Visits, and staff conference meals, just to name a few. As a reminder, PTO Dues are $25 per FAMILY. The PTO also helps to collect money for classroom fees – these fees cover classroom parties your children will have for various holidays over the school year. The classroom fees do not go to the PTO fund. Classroom fees are $25 per CHILD. If you haven’t paid these already, please head to and click on the PTO icon to pay. Easy peasy! Thank you to all the families who have paid their dues and fees already – way to go! The PTO is kicking off the school year with a very fun Movie in the Park Night at Clarkson Park! Please join us on Friday, Sept. 24 from 6 – 9 p.m. There will be a DJ, balloon animals, popcorn, and candy. Bring chairs, blankets, a picnic, and settle in for a fun night. Finally, I would like to invite everyone to join us for our regular PTO meetings which are held on the 2nd Tuesday of the month at 9am via Zoom. The meetings are great because it’s PTO board members, Mrs. Kiedaisch, Dr. Sukenik, Dr. Stange and Chief Lustig all giving reports and updates about what’s going on in the district. Zoom link info can be found on our website,, under Meetings. Hope to see you online tomorrow! Best, Bridget Kennedy


PTO Communications

Stay Informed/ Be Involved:

• Don’t forget, the next PTO meeting is TOMORROW, September 14th at 9am via Zoom. Meeting ID 735 957 3302. All are welcome!

• The upcoming Parent Connections Meeting, a monthly meeting for parents with Dr. Stange to discuss relevant district initiatives, is Tuesday, September 21st at 9am via Zoom. The main topic will be the District 29 Discipline Policy. All District 29 parents are invited to attend.

Meeting ID 872 5084 3918

• If you are interested in being added onto the sub list as a lunchroom volunteer, please contact Laura Hendricks for Middlefork at, or Justine Fowler for Sunset Ridge at

• As a reminder, there is No School on Thursday, September 16th, as we are closed for Yom Kippur. • Save the date for the PTO Fall Event: Movie in the Park at Clarkson Park on Friday, September 24th at 6pm, as well as the New Family Ice Cream Social at Clarkson Park on Thursday, October 7th at 5pm.

• Picture Day at Middlefork and Sunset Ridge is coming on Monday, September 27th. There will be more information coming from Color Portraits in the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned!

• Read through the Parent To Do List at the end of this communication for more ways to stay informed and be involved!

• We are continuing to work on the Directory and are looking into potentially including it as part of ParentSquare moving forward. Be on the lookout for additional communication and next steps.


In Other Community News

News and Updates from Northfield Park District

Fall Guide

Check out the digital Northfield Park District Fall Guide online at Northfield Park District for information on park district programs, events, facilities and more.

Fall Classes Start September 20th

It’s time to register! Have a blast playing flag football, golf, IBA baseball or introduce your child to a variety of sports with Hot Shot Sports or Game On! Sports 4 Girls. 2nd-6th graders can develop their acting skills in Skyline Studios production of The Little Mermaid Jr. Try a hip-hop, yoga, martial arts or STEM class. See class details and schedules in the Fall Guide online.

Northfield Fitness Center

Are you looking for fitness alternatives as the weather gets cooler? The Northfield Fitness Center located inside the Community Center is open to members and non-members. The Fitness Center offers Precor cardio equipment, strength machines, free weights, dumbbells, kettlebells, and medicine balls in a convenient, light filled space. Choose a one, three, six month or yearly membership. Daily drop-in is also available.

An Update from our Liaisons at the Family Action Network (FAN)

Due to the pa ndemic, FAN programs remain in a virtual format but FAN continues to provide amazing programming. The 2021 year continues with an exciting range of events scheduled for September. Registration is required and you can check out the details for each event on the FAN website at FAN.


“RUN: Book One — A Conversation with Andrew Aydin”

Interviewer: Saeed Jones

Tuesday, September 14, 7-8 PM (CST)

Bestselling and award-winning co-author, with the late congressman John Lewis, of the MARCH graphic novel trilogy. Aydin is the author of the memoir How We Fight for Our Lives and the poetry collection Prelude to Bruise.

In RUN: Book One, the highly anticipated sequel to the National Book Award-winning MARCH trilogy, Rep. Lewis and longtime collaborator Andrew Aydin continue where the MARCH trilogy left off to tell this often overlooked chapter of civil rights history. This groundbreaking graphic novel is illustrated by Nate Powell—the award-winning illustrator of the MARCH trilogy—and debut comic artist L. Fury.


Bonus Book Giveaway! FAN will be giving away 500 copies of RUN: Book One to attendees! All details on the webinar registration page.


“We're Not Broken: Changing the Autism Conversation"

Interviewer: Steve Silberman

Monday, September 20, 7-8 PM (CST)

With a reporter’s eye and an insider’s perspective, journalist Eric Garcia chronicles the state of autism in America in his new book, We’re Not Broken: Changing the Autism Conversation. Part manifesto, part memoir, and part reported essay, We’re Not Broken sees Eric weave together personal anecdotes, interviews, and the latest scientific research to debunk the most pernicious misconceptions about autism and show that autistic people are everywhere—from dating apps to workplaces to Congress—and deserve to have a say in the policies and structures shaping their lives.


Bonus After-Hours Event! Attendees who purchase a copy of We’re Not Broken from FAN’s partner bookseller The Book Stall are invited to attend an after-hours event hosted by Mr. Garcia and Mr. Silberman that will start immediately after the webinar. Details on the webinar registration page.


Co-founders, Strategy of Mind

“Think Talk Create: Building Workplaces Fit for Humans”

Interviewer: Marianne Bertrand, Ph.D.

Thursday, September 23, 7-8 PM (CST)

How can we return humanity to the workplace? The answer, David Brendel, MD, Ph.D. and Ryan Stelzer argue in their new book Think Talk Create: Building Workplaces Fit for Humans, has been with us for centuries. As ancient as the Socratic dialogue and as modern as the latest research in neurobiology, the discipline of active inquiry gives us a fundamentally different way of conducting human-work interactions. Through moving stories, Dr. Brendel and Mr. Stelzer show us how to think carefully about a challenge or an opportunity, engage in dialogue via open-ended questioning, and collaboratively build a strategy.


Bonus After-Hours Event! Attendees who purchase a copy of Think Talk Create from FAN’s partner bookseller The Book Stall are invited to attend an after-hours event hosted by Dr. Brendel and Mr. Stelzer that will start immediately after the webinar. Details on the webinar registration page.

A Message from the Alliance for Early Childhood

Welcome back! The Alliance for Early Childhood is a collaborative, community organization that supports and guides families and educators to nurture the healthy, well-rounded development of children from birth to eight years old. You are a member thanks to your child’s school which maintains an organizational membership. We want to connect with you. Please visit our website for up-to-date calendar dates for parent and family programs that are free and open to the public. We look forward to a great year of playing and learning together.

On September 14th, 7pm – 8pm, the virtual program Helping Kids Flourish: What Kids Need From Adults will take place as part of The Alliance for Early Childhood’s Virtual Parent Series. Dr. Deborah MacNamara is on Faculty at the Neufeld Institute, author of the best-selling book Rest, Play, Grow: Making Sense of Preschoolers (or anyone who acts like one).

Learn more and register here: Helping Kids Flourish: What Kids Need From Adults.

PTO Shout Outs & Thank Yous

Hospitality Chairs Nancy Detlefsen and Megan Waite for organizing a wonderful spread at the Welcome Back Luncheon for teachers and staff. The food looked amazing, and you guys got specific orders from each person – that takes a ton of work, and I overheard staff saying how impressed they were with it all. Thank you, ladies!

House & Grounds Chair Rebekah Bader for filling the pots at Middlefork with beautiful greenery. They looked great on the first day of school!

Welcome Team Chairs Brooke Day and Erin Dotzler for taking the time to match families together. It takes a lot of outreach and organizing, and I know these new families appreciate having someone to lean on during these first few weeks of school. Thank you also for the fun treats at the Kindergarten Meet & Greet!

School Supplies Chairs Ana Miyares and Hayley Garard for heading up school supplies and delivery! All our kids were ready to go on that first day of school thanks to your help with it all!

Lunchroom Chairs Justine Fowler and Laura Hendricks for organizing and scheduling lunchroom volunteers and subs. We had to start fresh this year with new schedules, volunteers, and contact information, and this was no small task. You guys got it all done so kids (and adult volunteers) were ready to go on that first day in the lunchrooms. Thank you both for all your hard work!

Website Coordinator Brent Payne, who has been working on updating our website,, so we can have updated contact info., lunchroom schedules, and PTO meeting dates and links – thank you, Brent!

Communications and Directory Chair Sara Thompson for all her work on this newsletter and directory. She’s wearing two hats this year and I appreciate her lending a hand (and an ear, and an email) and doing these two roles effortlessly.

And finally, a shout out to Vice-President Archana Piotrowski for finding room parents for all the grades, and to All Room Parents who signed up to help with this school year – THANK YOU!

Coming Soon - At a Glance:

September 13 Return to School Task Force Meeting 3:45pm – 5pm September 13 8th Grade Parent Meeting 7pm – 8pm September 14 PTO Meeting 9am September 14 Board of Education Meeting 7pm September 16 Yom Kippur, No School September 21 Parent Connections Meeting 9am September 21 SEL Family Focus Group 7pm September 24 PTO Fall Event – Movie in the Park at Clarkson Park 6pm – 9pm September 27 Middlefork/Sunset Ridge Picture Day October 7 New Family Ice Cream Social at Clarkson Park 5pm – 7pm October 11 Return to School Task Force Meeting 3:45pm – 5pm October 12 PTO Meeting 9am October 12 Board of Education Meeting 7pm October 15 School Improvement Day, Early Dismissal October 19 Parent/Teacher Conferences, No School October 20 Parent Connections Meeting 9am

All Zoom links can be found on the D29 Calendar: District 29 Calendar

How to Help Community involvement is instrumental in making the PTO a success. Please consider volunteering your time! As a reminder, the PTO is able to provide its services based on the dues/fees that we collect at the start of the year. Please remember to pay your dues on $25 per FAMILY Annual Dues $25 per CHILD Classroom Fees

Parent To Do List!

1. READ YOUR EMAILS A. Once a week: Ed’s Friday News email B. Once a month: PTO Monthly Matters email

2. BOOKMARK WEBSITES/DOWNLOAD APPS: A. ParentSquare App - all school communication will go to your email and on the App — consolidated in one place makes it easy! B. MySchoolBucks: Pay Lunchroom Fees, PTO Dues ($25/family), and Classroom Party Fees ($25/child) C. Visit for all things PTO - Meeting dates and Zoom link, News Updates, Lunchroom Volunteer Info, and so much more!

3. COME TO THE PTO MEETINGS! A. 2nd Tuesday of each month at 9am on Zoom. Zoom ID: 735 957 3302 B. VIPs attend including Dr. Stange, Dr. Sukenik, Mrs. Kiedaisch and Northfield Police Chief Bill Lustig.

4. FOLLOW THE PTO ON SOCIAL MEDIA A. Instagram: @district29pto B. Facebook: Sunset Ridge/Middlefork PTO

5. NEW FAMILIES TO THE DISTRICT: There will be an Ice Cream Social held this fall at Clarkson Park on Thursday, Oct. 7th from 5-7pm. Come meet your Welcome Family and enjoy some ice cream!

6. SAVE THE DATE FOR THE PTO FALL EVENT: MOVIE IN THE PARK! A. Friday, Sept. 24th 6-9pm at Clarkson Park B. Bring blankets, chairs, snacks and settle in for a fun family night!

Questions about the PTO? Contact Bridget Kennedy at ALL are welcome at our next PTO meeting on Tuesday, September 14 at 9:00 am via Zoom.

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