Navigator Blog

The Winnetka Public Schools: Honoring the past, planning for the future

January 12, 2024

The Winnetka Public Schools District 36 has deep roots in progressive education. For more than a century, this educational philosophy – learning by doing – has informed the district’s practices of differentiated instruction and project-based learning.

With such a strong reputation as a progressive school system, it was important to integrate the district’s history when developing a Portrait of a Graduate

Since launching its Portrait of a Graduate, the district has been featuring a series called “Painting our Portrait” to highlight examples of how the Portrait competencies are coming to life in schools.

The district’s history also influenced the creation of its Portrait of an Educator. Both Portraits are displayed in one unified graphic that tells a story about Winnetka and the importance they place on students, educators, and their community.

“We first established the key competencies for students as they progress through our school system,” said Jeff Knapp, Assistant Superintendent of Professional Learning and Human Resources. “Having those as a foundation helped us then develop the educator competencies that we felt aligned with getting students to attain and advance in those critical areas.

“It was important to our stakeholders following the Portrait work for our district to create a logo incorporating the elements into one succinct graphic. Seeing both the Portrait of a Graduate and Portrait of an Educator side by side in the same graphic rounds out the complete picture along with our Progressive Education tenets. The logo is a quick point of reference in every classroom now in our district. It is a tool that tells a story about Winnetka and the importance we place on students, educators, and our community as a whole.”

About the District
The Winnetka Public School District 36 serves more than 1,600 students in grades PreK-8 across five schools. Located just north of Chicago, Illinois, on Lake Michigan, the Winnetka Public Schools community empowers every student to flourish in an inclusive, innovative, experiential environment. Winnetka supports and challenges all learners to actively engage in continual growth and achievement to make a meaningful difference in the world.