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PTO Monthly Matters - June 2024





Monday, June 3, 2024


Dear District 29 Community,


As we wrap things up and I pass the gavel, let’s review my experience this year as PTO President:

• Parent volunteers were consistently at the ready to enthusiastically plan and implement the PTO programs and services.

• The district superintendent, principals, teachers and staff truly partnered with the PTO in a cooperative and professional, yet warm and friendly manner.

• I had the pleasure of meeting with the Executive Board each month which included a team of women whose ideas, suggestions, feedback and support were instrumental for the operation of the PTO. 

• The overall parent community was positive, generous, and supportive throughout.  

So there you have it! In whichever way you participated or contributed, thank you all for making this a great year.  

And here’s to incoming PTO President Ranjini Shankar and the 2024-2025 PTO Board! Many of you are continuing on the board from prior years, while others are joining in for the first time. You are in great hands because of the exceptional care that Ranjini puts into everything she does.

And now it’s time to celebrate! See you tomorrow, June 4th, at the Family Fun Fair at Clarkson Park from 3:30-6:00PM.   

Sandy Norbot




Family Fun Fair

We’ll be celebrating the end of the school year with fun, food, and inflatables TOMORROW, June 4th at Clarkson Park from 3:30-6:00PM. Come and say farewell to Mr. Parks, and wish him well in his retirement. He will be at the fun fair from 3:30-4:30PM.

WE STILL NEED A FEW MORE VOLUNTEERS:  sign up here. Especially someone to dress up as Eddie the Eagle! Contact if you’re in!


Purchase School Supplies for 2024/2025 School Year

Want convenient online school supply shopping for next school year? The PTO can help with that. See the links below and place your order before July 1st!

Sunset Ridge School Supply Kits:

Please reach out to with any questions.


School Supply Donations

Do you have extra school supplies coming home at the end of the school year or already stored away at home?  We are collecting school supplies in "like-new" or very good condition that can be donated to help students in need at Whittier Elementary School and Roberti Community House in Waukegan! Please drop off any of the supplies listed below in the donation box in the front entrance lobby of Middlefork or Sunset Ridge School between May 28th and June 5th.

Please consider donating any of the following:

• Pencil boxes or pouches

• Pencils with erasers

• Markers that still have good color

• Colored pencils and crayons less than 2/3 used (don’t need to be in the box, could be in a Ziploc bag) 

• Backpacks

• Other school-related supplies (rulers, pens, notebooks, folders, binders, tape, name tags)


Author Visits at Middlefork School

Spring allowed for some exciting author visits and activity for Middlefork students! In March, author/illustrator Maddie Frost spoke to K-2 students about her work. In April, author of Elephants Come Home Kim Tomsic spoke to 3rd grade students. Each child was given a copy of the book to remind them that they can always come back to their community at Middlefork as they transition into the future at Sunset Ridge School and beyond. In May, Japanese Illustrator Momoko Abe walked students through her creative process for books such as Avocado Ask.


Welcomers Program – Become a Mentor!

Every year the PTO seeks to connect new families in our district with "Mentor Families”. Have you had a child at one of our schools for at least one school year? Then you too can be a mentor! Click here for more information and to sign up. Have questions before you commit? Please contact


Directory – Are you in?

Are you in the PTO Directory, DirectorySpot? Be ready for those summer playdates and get togethers. Email Directory Chair Catherine Lucas at to have your record added.


Winter Benefit 2025

Save the date! The 2025 PTO Winter Benefit, our largest fundraiser, will be March 8th. If you are looking to meet new friends or hang out with old while lending a hand, there will be a range of volunteer opportunities! Email with questions or to express your interest.


Parent Connections

The May 22nd Parent Connections meeting focused on the Middlefork School Capital Improvement options and the presentation can be found here.


Civics in Action

Starting next fall at Sunset Ridge, Student Ambassadors will be partnering with Civics in Action regarding school and community outreach and initiatives.




A Message from the Northfield Park District

Please visit the Northfield Park District website for information on upcoming Market & Music Wednesdays, free yoga, Summer Camp information and July 4th celebration details! If you don’t currently receive the Park District monthly newsletter, be sure to sign up here.

A Message from the Northfield Library 

Embark on a Summer of Adventure with the Winnetka-Northfield Public Library District Summer Reading Challenge! The reading log and more information can be found here.



To all of the PTO volunteer veterans whose youngest or only child is graduating tonight. We appreciate all of the volunteer hours that you have put in over your years with District 29. You’ve surely seen lots of changes, with some traditions ending and new ones beginning. You’ll always be part of the fabric of the Sunset Ridge / Middlefork PTO!

Teacher Appreciation Chairs Courtney Weitz, Erin Welch, Jayaa Poddar, Kelly Halverson, Archana Piotrowski, Ema Dzaka-Dizdarevic, and Yena Levinson for your thoughtful and creative planning in order to show the D29 Teachers and Staff our gratitude. From catered lunches to fun student completed Mad Libs and so many treats in between, thank you for putting together a special Teacher Appreciation Week!

Sunset Ridge Book Fair Chairs Gretchen Swank and Ranjini Shankar for encouraging a love of reading for our kids! We saw the results – shelves of crisp covered books ready to be purchased, cracked open and devoured. Thanks for everything you did behind the scenes for months as well as working numerous hours to setup, check inventory, run the register, pack up, and more! And thanks to all who purchased books, which helps to support the PTO funded programs.

Family Fun Fair Chairs Robin Decker and Jeanine Rashkow for all of the planning that went into what is sure to be a super fun and memorable event to celebrate the end of the school year. Your consideration for adding new activities along with some old favorites reflects your dedication to ensuring that this is an enjoyable event for all.

School Supply Donation Chair Rachel Kermen for orchestrating our 2nd annual school supply drive. Thank you for reminding us of the needs of our neighbors, and making it easy for us to share our spare.

2025 Winter Benefit Chairs Jocelyn Dinkel and Megan Reed for getting the party started! Thank you for the time and consideration that you have already put into this major fundraising event that is sure to be a fun night out.

AND ANOTHER ROUND OF APPLAUSE for the outgoing 2023-2024 PTO Board!


Ranjini Shankar


Holiday Projects

Sarah Cohn


Hillary Bufalino



Carma Pagni


Emily LeMire



Maggie Yocom-Piatt


Yena Levinson



Julie Aiello

Assistant Treasurer

Karie Smith



Aimee Reynolds


Tricia Gainsberg



Maureen Huhs

Alliance for Early Childhood  

Dana Santostefano


House & Grounds

Jeanine Fragale-Rashkow

Author Visit / School Programs Middlefork 

Maria Mastroianni


Lunchroom Volunteers – Middlefork

Laura Hendricks

Author Visit / School Programs Sunset Ridge 

Tricia Gainsberg


Lunchroom Volunteers – SRS

Laura Hendricks

Bike Safety Week

Carma Pagni


Nominating Chair

Christie Caceres


Rachel Kermen


TrueNorth/formerly NSSED

Lauren Laughlin

Book Fair Middlefork   

Sarah Cohn



Matt Weil


Carma Pagni


Parent Connections

Dan Friedman


Laura Curry


Photo Day - Middlefork

Hillary Bufalino

Book Fair Sunset Ridge   

Gretchen Swank



Gretchen Swank


Ranjini Shankar


Photo Day - SRS

Seong McGarry

Civics in Action (CIA) 

Dan Friedman



Erin Welch

Communications – PTO Newsletter

Sara Thompson


School Supplies

Robin Decker

Communications – Social Media

Kristin Galbraith



Mallory Ruh

Communications - Website

Kristin Galbraith



Rachel Kermen

Conference Meals - Middlefork

Ema Dzaka-Dizdarevic


6th Grade Social Dance Chair

Hillary Bufalino


Nicole McLachlan



Jessica Adams

Conference Meals - Sunset Ridge 

Erica Marinello


Teacher Appreciation - Middlefork

Erin Welch


Dan Friedman



Courtney Weitz


Catherine Lucas



Kelly Halverson

8th Grade Chair   

Erica Marinello



Jayaa Poddar


Karen Halverson


Teacher Appreciation – SRS

Archana Piotrowski


Shiva Seth



Yena Levinson


Jessica Adams



Ema Dzaka-Dizdarevic

Fall Event – Movie in the Park

Christine O’Neil


Welcome Team – Middlefork 

Gretchen Fitzgibbons


Robin Decker


Welcome Team – SRS

Katie Lutz

Family End of Year Event   

Robin Decker


2025 Winter Benefit 

Jocelyn Dinkel


Jeanine Fragale-Rashkow



Megan Reed

Junior Great Books Coordinator

Maureen Huhs


Technology Chair (Website)

Brent Payne



Important Dates

June 4:  Last Day of School – Early Dismissal

June 4:  Family Fun Fair 3:30-6PM

June 11:  Board of Education Meeting 5:30PM

All Zoom links can be found on the District 29 Calendar.


How to Help

Community involvement is instrumental in making the PTO a success. Please consider volunteering your time! Contact to get involved or with any questions.


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