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District 29 PTO Monthly Matters: November 2021

November 8, 2021

President’s Welcome

Hey Everybody!!

Now that we have all come out of our candy comas from Halloween, it’s time to start looking ahead to the holidays (gulp!), and the PTO’s work with our Gifts Grant Program, as well as the Northwestern Settlement House.

You may have seen communication go out recently about the PTO Gifts Grant Program and wondered what the heck that was. It’s pretty great - every year, the PTO has budgeted an amount of money that any teacher, staff, student or parent can apply for, that falls outside of the district line-item budget. The PTO created this program as a way for our

organization to provide further opportunities to the District 29 community. In the past, the PTO has funded a ton of items that your kids are using in and outside of the classroom including digital books, GoPro Cameras, picnic tables, a weather balloon, Makerspace enhancements, musical instruments, and a virtual reality bundle.

Do you have an idea for something and need funding? Apply here: Everything this year will be done online, and applications are due by Nov. 15th. We will post on our website what items have been requested, and then ask for community feedback. Once that is completed, the Gifts Grant Committee will convene to discuss and vote. Approved items will be posted on our website in December.

Speaking of December, the PTO will be running our Adopt-a-Family program again this year with the Northwestern Settlement House to offer help to families in need. Across the district, each classroom sponsors a family or two in order to give children and their parents the holiday they deserve but cannot always provide themselves. The goal of the program is to educate our kids about the less fortunate and being charitable.

The PTO will coordinate with principals and student council leaders to match families with classrooms. Keep an eye out for your adopted family’s information which should you get after Thanksgiving.

Finally, are you looking for some fun tomorrow morning, say around 9am? Then join us for our regular PTO monthly meeting on Zoom! We have tons of local celebs joining us, including Dr. Stange, Mrs. Kiedaisch, Dr. Sukenik and Chief Lustig. What more could you ask for?! So get your coffee, get comfortable, and get informed about what the PTO is up to, and what’s going on in the district. Hope to see you there!

Zoom ID: 735 957 3302

Thanks all,

Bridget Kennedy

PTO Communications

Stay Informed/ Be Involved:

• Don’t forget, the next PTO meeting is TOMORROW, Nov. 9th at 9am via Zoom. All are welcome!

Meeting ID: 735 957 3302

• The upcoming Parent Connections Meeting, a monthly meeting for parents with Dr. Stange to discuss relevant district initiatives, is Tuesday, Nov. 16th at 9am via Zoom. The main topic will be Special Education Services in District 29. All District 29 parents are invited to attend.

Meeting ID: 835 0353 9634

• 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

• For anyone who may need financial assistance with the events run at school, please contact your principal.

In Other Community News

News and Updates from Northfield Park District

New Tree Lighting Holiday Event December 1st at Clarkson Park

Join us for holiday festivities with a tree lighting, visit by Santa, music, food and family fun on Wednesday, December 1 from 5:30 to 7:00PM at Clarkson Park.

Don’t Throw your Pumpkins in the Garbage! Bring them to the Community Center for Composting through November 15th

The dumpster is located in the southeast corner of the parking lot. Painted pumpkins are accepted but please make sure to remove any non-organic decorations.

Holiday Lights Recycling

As you’re decorating and find lights that don’t work, keep them out of the garbage. A recycling box will be available from November 29 – January 31 in front of both the Northfield Community Center and Village Hall. Mini-lights, C7, C9, rope, LED lights and extension cords are accepted.

These green Initiatives are brought to you by Go Green Northfield, the Northfield Park District and the Village of Northfield.

Registration is Open for the 2nd Session of Club Dolphin Child Care Programs

Register for the Club Dolphin After School Program. Spots are limited! Session 2 runs from January 3 through June 7. Learn more and contact Vicki Heuer,, with questions.

Santa Letters

Write to Santa Claus and he will write back! Santa will be accepting letters from November 15 until 4:00 p.m. on December 17. Please make sure your return address is printed clearly. Santa will be very busy and will not be able to answer any letters after December 17th.

Drop off your letters in Santa’s mailbox at the Community Center or send letters to:

Northfield Park District

C/O Santa

401 Wagner Road

Northfield, IL 60093

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

American Happiness and Discontents: The Unruly Torrent, 2008-2020

George F. Will

Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist on politics and domestic and foreign affairs for The Washington Post, and author of 16 books.

Monday, November 8, 2021

7:00-8:00 PM Central Time

Since 1974, George F. Will has been a steadfast voice of wisdom and reason for the American people. One of this country’s leading columnists and the author of fifteen previous books, Mr. Will has been called “perhaps the most powerful journalist in America” by the Wall Street Journal. Now he returns with his ninth and most expansive collection reflecting on American culture and the many attacks on expertise, rationality, and conduct by American institutions, courts, political arenas, and social venues in recent times. In American Happiness and Discontents: The Unruly Torrent, 2008-2020, Mr. Will examines a remarkably unsettling 13 years in our nation’s history, from 2008 to 2020.

Mr. Will will be in conversation with Peter W. Tragos, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction at New Trier High School D203, Winnetka, Illinois.


Unprotected: An Evening with Billy Porter

Billy Porter

Actor, singer, director, composer, playwright, and author of the brand-new memoir Unprotected. Tuesday, November 9, 2021

7:00-8:00 PM Central Time

Before Billy Porter was slaying red carpets and giving an iconic Emmy-winning performance in the celebrated TV show Pose; before he was the groundbreaking Tony and Grammy Award-winning star of Broadway’s Kinky Boots; and before he was an acclaimed recording artist, actor, playwright, and director, Porter was a young boy in Pittsburgh who was seen as different, who didn’t fit in.

Porter’s debut memoir, Unprotected, is the life story of a singular artist and survivor. It is the story of a boy whose talent and courage opened doors for him, but only a crack. It is the story of a teenager discovering himself, learning his voice and his craft amid deep trauma. It is the story of a young man whose unbreakable determination led him through countless hard times to where he is now; a proud icon who refuses to back down or hide. And it is the story of a man who finally is at peace to reveal truths that have haunted him for countless years. In Porter’s own words: “The truth is the healing.”

Porter will be in conversation with Jamal Jordan, a multimedia artist and occasional professor.


The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story

Nikole Hannah-Jones

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, inaugural Knight Chair in Race and Journalism at Howard University’s Cathy Hughes School of Communications, and founder of Howard’s Center for Journalism and Democracy. Friday, November 19, 2021

7:00-8:00 PM Central Time

The New York Times Magazine’s award-winning “1619 Project” issue, published in August 2019, reframed our understanding of American history by placing slavery and its continuing legacy at the center of our national narrative. In a dramatic expansion of this groundbreaking work of journalism, The 1619 Project: A

New Origin Story, led by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, the inaugural Knight Chair in Race and Journalism at Howard University’s Cathy Hughes School of Communications and the founder of Howard’s Center for Journalism and Democracy, along with an editorial team from the Times, offers a profoundly revealing vision of the American past and present.

This new book weaves together 18 essays that explore the legacy of slavery in present-day America with 36 poems and works of fiction that illuminate key moments of oppression, struggle, and resistance. The essays show how the inheritance of 1619 reaches into every part of contemporary American society, from politics, music, diet, traffic, and citizenship to capitalism, religion, and our democracy itself.

Professor Hannah-Jones will be in conversation with historian and award-winning, best-selling author Carol Anderson, Ph.D. (FAN ’21), the Charles Howard Candler Professor and Chair of African American Studies at Emory University. FAN hosted Professor Anderson in May 2021 in support of her book The Second: Race and Guns in a Fatally Unequal America.


How to Make Mistakes on Purpose: Bring Chaos to Your Order

Laurie Rosenwald

Illustrator, artist, designer, and author of How to Make Mistakes on Purpose and All the Wrong People Have Self-Esteem.

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

7:00-8:00 PM Central Time

Laurie Rosenwald is a New York City-based illustrator, artist, designer, and book creator whose work is a mix of collage, drawing, painting, and storytelling. Rosenwald has created animation, product design, and leads an ongoing popular workshop, “How to Make Mistakes on Purpose.”

A fresh, colorful guide to discovery, with clearly marked directions and witty prompts, this is a book about living a productive, individualistic life. Whatever your job, it gives you a way to zig while everyone around you can only zag. It will also make you laugh along the way.

Rosenwald will be in conversation with Douglas Coupland, the Canadian novelist, designer, and visual artist whose first novel, the 1991 international bestseller Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture, popularized the terms Generation X and McJob.


Farm-to-Table: Growers, Chefs, and Home Cooks

Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner

Co-authors, The Berkshires Farm Table Cookbook.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

7:00-8:00 PM Central Time

Elisa Spungen Bildner is a former lawyer, journalist, and CEO of a perishable food manufacturing company, and is a professionally trained chef. Robert Bildner is a former lawyer who grew up in a food family and went on to found several companies that helped local farmers bring products to market. The Bildners have lived in

the Berkshires for 35 years, and, together with chef Brian Alberg, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, they created the 2020 book The Berkshires Farm Table Cookbook. Alberg is the former executive chef and vice-president of culinary development at The Red Lion Inn and now chef at The Break Room, both in the Berkshires.

What makes this cookbook truly special is its celebration of the farmers, cheesemakers, chefs, and restaurant-owners behind the recipes, as much as the food itself. Although the variety of their produce varies greatly, the farmers themselves have one thing in common: passion for the land they live on, and for the food they grow.

The Bildners will be in conversation with Sarah Stegner, the James Beard Award-winning chef and co-owner of Prairie Grass Café in Northbrook, Illinois. They’ll discuss why farmers are so critical to the food scene and economic viability, the health and nutritional benefits of local versus nonlocal food, and what it means to be a sustainable farmer, among other topics.


A Message from the Alliance for Early Childhood

Let’s Play! at the Farm

Saturday, November 13th

10:00AM – 12:00PM

Historic Wagner Farm

1510 Wagner Road, Glenview, IL

Join The Alliance for Early Childhood in partnership with Historic Wagner Farm for a morning of exploration at the farm. Families can explore the 1920’s historic Wagner farmhouse, build corn shocks, play on the new Farm Adventure Area playground, and visit the Heritage Center, which includes a 1930s recreated grocery store.

Registration is preferred but drop-in attendees are welcome. Please visit a month prior to the event to register. All ages are welcome.

Parking is located on the east side of Wagner Road (across from the farmhouse). Additional parking is available in the Saints Peter & Paul Greek Orthodox Church parking lot on just south of the Historic Wagner Farm parking lot.

PTO Shout Outs & Thank Yous

ALL the District 29 Room Parents for all your hard work in kicking off a great Halloween weekend for our kids! There were crafts, games, gift cards for the older kids, and treats. What more could anyone want?! Thank you for everything!

Directory Chair Sara Thompson for all her work with Sara went through every student, updated their contact info, and matched kids to their correct classroom. Think about that – she went through every single Kindergarten through 8th grade student and their family, updated their contact info, and then matched each student with the correct homeroom. This job is tedious at best, and Sara did it all with a smile. Everyone should give a tip of the hat to her as we write out our holiday cards this year! Thank you, Sara!!

Conference Meals Chairs Nicole McLachlan, Marina Payne, Kori Pierce, and Ericka Foster for organizing about 100 meals for teachers and staff to enjoy as they held Parent-Teacher Conferences in October. That takes a lot of organizing, planning, and communicating. Thank you for working together to get it done!

Middlefork Author Visit Chair Patricia Gainsberg for securing Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow, author of Your Name is a Song, to come and speak to students at Middlefork School. The kids really enjoyed it!

Coming Soon - At a Glance:

November 9: PTO Meeting 9am

November 16: Parent Connections Meeting 9am

How to Help

Community involvement is instrumental in making the PTO a success. Please consider volunteering your time!

November 16: Board of Education Meeting 7pm November 22-26: No School – Thanksgiving Break December 14: PTO Meeting 9am

December 14: Board of Education Meeting 7pm December 17: Early Dismissal – Teacher Institute December 20-31: No School – Winter Break

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

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

For anyone who may need financial assistance with the events run at school, please contact your principal.

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

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