5Essentials Survey

Please remember to take the 5Essentials Parent Survey by February 14, 2020. This survey will allow you to share your thoughts on the important elements of school effectiveness in a survey about Niles West High School District 219. Your participation in the parent portion of the survey will help us understand the conditions at Niles West and guide improvement. Your identity and survey responses will be kept completely confidential and will never be connected to you or your child. We would really love your feedback. 

Click here for the survey. 

Thank you very much!

Niles West High School Administration

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Safety Message from Niles West Principal

Niles West Principal Karen Ritter sent the following note on December 12 to Niles West students, families, faculty and staff members. 

Dear Students, Teachers/Staff, and Parents/Families,

The safety of our school community is always our top priority, which is why I must inform you of a situation that came to light today involving a threatening message. A recent Snapchat group message has been circulating among students, alluding to a student using a “Mac,” which could be interpreted as a Mac gun.

We identified the students involved in the group chat and conducted an investigation, in addition to notifying local law enforcement. Through our investigation, we learned that the threatening message was sent as a response to a prior verbal altercation. Police are following up with the student who made the threat and the student’s parent/guardian.

Our Student Services Department is aware of the situation. If you need to speak with a counselor, social worker, or psychologist, please do not hesitate to contact one of them.

Please know that we take all situations seriously that could be threatening to our school community. We recognize that we have had a series of recent threatening messages communicated via social media. Students should not use threatening language, even in jest. We will enforce school discipline and work directly with law enforcement whenever students use language or exhibit behavior that poses a threat. We remain committed to providing our students with a safe, positive learning environment.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.


Dr. Karen M. Ritter
Niles West Principal

Students Honored at D219 Board meeting on

Those Who Make a Difference Honored at 12-3 Board Meeting

Four students were honored with the Those Who Make A Difference Award at the D219 Board of Education’s December 3 meeting, and board members recognized their club sponsors as well.

Seble Maru and Nahom Tekeste, Niles North

Students Honored at D219 Board meeting onSeble Maru, a junior, was nominated for the Make A Difference leadership award by Jonda Cherry, a Special Education paraprofessional who sponsors DREAM (Developing Resourceful ways to Encourage Alliances and Mentorship), an organization that encourages black, Afro-Caribbean, and African girls to gather together, share common experiences and form a sense of unity.

Last year, DREAM partnered with another club, NOTICE, to create a program called “Who Am I?”, which asked students to research and represent biographical sketches that highlight significant contributions black people have made throughout the history of the United States. The students presented their pieces in performances in the Niles North auditorium that were open to all students throughout the day.

Maru portrayed Madam C. J. Walker, an African-American entrepreneur, philanthropist, and a political and social activist who was considered the wealthiest black self-made woman in America at the time of her death in 1919.

Maru credited sponsor Cherry for challenging her and fellow students to recreate the stories of the historical figures, whose stories are not all well known.

The project “helped us learn about the important influence all these people had,” Maru said at the board meeting. She said that in her middle school there were not a lot of students who looked like her. When she came to Niles North and became involved with DREAM, “It made me feel that I matter more in this world, because there are other people who are like me and who share some of the same experiences as a black woman in America.”

Nahom Tekeste, a junior, was also part of the “Who Am I?” production. After researching the life of inventor George Washington Carver, Tekeste portrayed him in the production. He is a member of the NOTICE Club, whose name stands for Nurturing Our True Identity Commanding Equity. The club is sponsored by John Bias, a Special Education paraprofessional at Niles North, who nominated Tekeste for this award.

When receiving his award, Tekeste told board members that he credits NOTICE with helping him become “a better student and a better person.” He joined the club as a freshman and said that in the past two years he has seen the meetings evolve from simple conversations over lunch to more focused efforts to become more successful black students and young men.

Niles North Principal Jim Edwards said that the NOTICE Club made a big impression on the Niles North school community when, this September, the young men passed out roses to all female staff members on Women’s Appreciation Day.

Tekeste gave credit to sponsor Bias, who he said he considers one of his “uncles,” since he consistently emphasizes the importance of making good choices in school and in life.  Tekeste also thanked club supporters Glenn Sevier, a Niles North social worker who helps students talk about important issues, and Anthony Whyte, a Special Education paraprofessional who conveys the experiences he had as a teenager and his ways of succeeding in college and life.

Tekeste says that NOTICE has helped him keep his grades up and makes him focus on being a better person. The club, he said, “is a real brotherhood.”

Students Mike Schuller and Hammad Memon and Robotics Sponsor Rob Foster, Niles West

Students Honored at 12-2-19 Board meeting“When I think of a strong team, it is made up of committed individuals who have a strong work ethic, perseverance, creativity, and motivation that contribute to the collective skill set of the whole team,” said Niles West Principal Karen Ritter, when introducing the December award honorees. “It is made up of humble people who are not afraid to fail often in order to improve. It is made up of people who are committed to making an investment in one another to build a community, strengthened by collaboration, sweat, and literally, nuts and bolts.

“The Niles West Robotics 321J Team, led by teacher Rob Foster and Team Leads sophomore Mike Schuller and senior Hammad Memon, has found the secret to a successful team,” she said. “With just one day of practice at school on Mondays, Mike and Hammad led their team to win the Mundelein Robotics Championship in October of this year, followed by the Skills Challenge at Von Steuben High School. They also recruited students who have skills in coding, building, driving, completing the engineering notebook, and developing strategy. If you ask them how they won, they will not talk about themselves, but they will instead talk about the team and the individual strengths everyone else brings to the team.

“When I asked Mr. Foster about Mike and Hammad, he said that they energize each other and they have created great chemistry on the team. Mr. Foster said, ‘You don’t create technology in a bubble. Being able to work with others builds the skills necessary to be productive people in society.’ Mike attributes their success to Hammad bringing on the right people, and Hammad recognizes Mike for bringing the team together on Friday nights at his house for pizza and focused non-robotics time together. At the tournament, they won despite having a broken motor with only three minutes to repair it.

“They appreciate Mr. Foster’s dedication to the Robotics Club, but acknowledge the fact that Mr. Foster’s support stops after supplying them with materials. The rest is up to them.”

Schuller and Memon then gave a demonstration of their robot for the Board of Education, showing off this year’s intricate task of picking up cubes, balancing them atop each other, and moving them collectively to a drop-off point.

Foster told the board that Niles West has about 50 students actively competing in Robotics this year. “They are not only learning problem-solving skills and collaboration, but students like Mike and Hammad are learning leadership skills. They are truly emerging leaders among their peers.”

Foster also recognized Skokie resident Mike Horowitz, who is not only an assistant coach of Niles West’s Robotics team, but also a grandfather of a Niles West student who was also on the team.

Horowitz said he got to know honoree Schuller when he was still at Skokie/Morton Grove School District 69’s Lincoln Junior High, whose Robotics team is one of the “Little Nine,” the nine elementary school districts that send their students to D219 schools. Next year all nine districts will have a competitive Robotics team.

D219 Board meeting

12-2-19 Board meeting

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Juniors SAT Test Prep Info

Juniors, if you are interested in taking the SAT Test Prep held at Niles West, please read below:

Dear Parents & Guardians: 

The State of Illinois requires all Juniors to take the SAT on Tuesday, April 14, 2020. The SAT is an admission test accepted by US colleges and universities.  All eleventh-grade students in Illinois are required to participate in the SAT in order to be promoted as Seniors and be eligible to graduate. We recognize that this test is important to all our students, as well as their families. 

Niles West will provide 8 tutoring sessions for students who register.  The tutoring sessions will begin on Sunday, January 26, 2020, and end on Saturday, March 21, 2020.  Tutors are Niles West faculty members. SAT Practice sessions are FREE OF CHARGE to our students.

Students will be able to choose one day per week for these tutoring sessions.  The following are the session offerings: 

  • Monday 3:30 PM – 6:30 PM
  • Tuesday 3:30 PM – 6:30 PM
  • Thursday 3:30 PM – 6:30 PM 
  • Sunday 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Students will have a 90-minute block in English and a 90-minute block in Math. We will provide eight total sessions, equaling 24 hours of SAT practice. Information provided by Khan Academy has shown that 20 hours of SAT test prep is associated with an average score gain of 115 points.

We are also providing 3 full SAT tests in the Niles West cafeteria as part of this preparation. The mock test dates are: 

  • January 25, 2020 (9:00 AM – 12:00 PM) — Niles West Cafeteria 
  • February 22, 2020 (9:00 AM – 12:00 PM) — Niles West Cafeteria 
  • March 21, 2020 (9:00 AM – 12:00 PM) — Niles West Cafeteria 

If you are interested in the free, structured SAT practice, please complete the registration link by Monday, January 6, 2020: SAT PREP REGISTRATION LINK

We hope you consider this excellent opportunity. If you have any questions, please contact me at antbab@d219.org or call at 847-626-2930.


Dr. Antwan Babakhani

Niles West Assist Principal for Student Services

NW DECA Eating Poster

NW DECA: Healthy Eating Tips & a Healthy Holiday Dessert

NW DECA Eating Poster

Niles West DECA created a community awareness campaign to encourage students to form healthy eating habits. DECA student Richard Chen came up with the idea after visiting college campuses and learning about the “freshman 15” or “freshman 20,” weight that students gain during their first year of college.

The healthy eating campaign also included:

  • 10/31 Niles West News kickoff announcement w/ Dr. Ritter
  • Dr. Ritter’s monthly email to parents on project
  • Student Eating Habits Survey (11/1-11/15)
  • PA Announcements for healthy tips
  • Unhealthy eating awareness booth with free merchandise (5 lunch periods)
  • Posters
  • Culinary Demo on Niles West News
  • Dr. Huffman presentation @NW 11/22
  • Congresswomen Schakowsky’s letter of support
  • Collaboration w/ Quest on weekly healthy special
  • Upcoming field trip to UIC nutrition program — Prof. presentation and tour of labs (Dec. 2 )
  • Niles West News editorial

Here is a link to the healthy holiday dessert. 

And here are their healthy eating tips:

Frozen veggies are as nutritious as fresh veggies because they are picked at the height of ripeness and are frozen immediately, ensuring they are packed with nutrients. So include veggies in your meals, frozen or fresh!

● Throw an apple, orange or banana in the lunch bag for those times when hunger takes one by surprise. These easy snacks are packed with antioxidants, nutrients, fiber, and other nutrients. Plus, fruits are refreshingly sweet, filling, and much cheaper than vending machines, saving money and preventing overeating!
● Empty calories are foods that are mostly sugars and fats with no nutrients. Think of them as a waste of money. Swap the empty calories of most crackers, chips, energy drinks, and sweets found commonly in vending machines for the crunchy goodness of whole grains, raw fruits and veggies, and nuts and seeds.
● Boys require an average of 2,800 calories/day and girls 2,200 calories a day. Avoid fad diets. Undereating can cause serious health issues like depression and mood changes, weakened heart, digestive issues, and osteoporosis. Eat regular, balanced meals.
● Breakfast literally means to break our fast. Overnight our body uses energy and nutrients to repair ourselves. Eating breakfast helps replenish the body. Better memory and concentration, weight loss, and higher fiber and nutrient intake are some of the many benefits of eating breakfast.

● 3,400 milligrams is the average amount of sodium that an American consumes, but 1,500 milligrams or less is the amount recommended for a healthy heart. Teens who have a high-sodium diet are twice as likely to develop high blood pressure as kids who have low-sodium diets.

● Pack some nuts and seeds as a crunchy snack! A small handful (about 1 oz.) of unsalted nuts and seeds provide good fats, energy, protein, and fiber. Good choices include almonds, peanuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, walnuts, and pumpkin and sunflower seeds.

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Update #2 on Threat at Niles West

Niles West High School Principal Karen Ritter sent the following note to Niles West parents and families at approximately 6 p.m. on November 20, 2019 to update them on a social media threat.

Dear Niles West Parents and Families,

I am writing to update you again about the social media incident this week. Please know that my intent is to be as transparent as possible to address your concerns, but also understand that there are details that I am not able to share concerning minors.

Concerning the original Yolo message, the threat is not credible. With the student’s parent consent, I can share with you that the student who posted that message will not be in attendance for the rest of the week and will not return to Niles West.

We take all threats seriously and notified students that they may receive disciplinary and/or legal consequences by sharing, responding to, and reposting the message. Today, a student replied to the original message which caused Skokie Police to investigate as a result. We want to reiterate that students should not repost/share/reply to such messages in any event. Students should instead refer concerning messages to the deans immediately.

Finally, there was a miscommunication from a parent to the Skokie Police Department, which caused a police response to the building. The police investigated and determined that there was no cause for concern.

We will continue our increased police presence this week as a precautionary measure. Additionally, administrators will be present at student entrances in the morning. Beginning tomorrow and moving forward, as part of our increased security measures, we will ask students to present their ID as they enter the school.

As always, the safety of our students and staff is our number one priority. Thank you for your patience and understanding in this matter. We understand the stress that these events cause, and our Student Services team is ready to provide support to all of our students.

We encourage all of Niles West students, staff, parents, and community members to say something if they see something. Our safety is a collective responsibility. Please contact me with any questions or concerns. Outside of school hours, please call the Niles West security desk at (847) 626-2842, which is available 24/7. In addition, you can call the Skokie Police Tipline at (847) 933-8477 (TIPS).

Dr. Karen M. Ritter
Niles West Principal

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Update on Threat at Niles West

Niles West Principal Karen Ritter sent the following note to Niles West parents and families the morning of November 20, 2019:

Dear Niles West Parents and Families,

I am writing you to provide an update on the email I sent out Monday evening, November 18, 2019, regarding the potential threat to the school on social media (Yolo/Snapchat). 

Some of your children have shared a screenshot of the original message with you. We recognize that the post had specific and alarming information. We acted swiftly with the Skokie Police Department, and the student was identified and interviewed by police that same day. They have advised us that there is no evidence of a credible threat.

Many students have reported that this message has been modified, reposted, and is still circulating among students. We have asked students to stop sharing the post, and we have notified them that they may be subject to school discipline and legal consequences should they indicate involvement in this situation. 

We continue to work closely with the Skokie Police Department to ensure the safety of our students. We have increased police presence for the remainder of this week as an extra safety measure. If you have a child who needs to talk more about this or needs more support, please do not hesitate to direct them to Student Services.

Dr. Karen Ritter
Niles West Principal

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Letter to Niles West parents regarding threat

On November 18, 2019, Niles West High School Principal Karen Ritter sent the following note to Niles West parents and families:

Dear Niles West Parents and Families,

We want to inform you that we were made aware today about a potential threat to our school on a social media app, Yolo/Snapchat. We take all threats very seriously, and we immediately contacted the Skokie Police Department, which is conducting an investigation.

The Skokie Police Department was able to identify the student who made the threat and is continuing its investigation. We have arranged for increased police presence as an extra safety measure. We have instructed our security staff and administrators to be visible and vigilant and to report any suspicious or concerning behavior immediately.

The safety of your children is our top priority and is a collective responsibility. It is everyone’s responsibility to immediately say something to school personnel when they see something that is not appropriate. Please don’t hesitate to contact the school if you have any questions.

Dr. Karen M. Ritter
Niles West Principal


Niles West News Receives ALL KEMPA Rating

Niles West News (NWN) received the highest rating from the Kettle Moraine Press Association (KEMPA) for 2019. KEMPA is a professional press organization serving Illinois and Wisconsin. Publications are awarded as follows:  ALL KEMPA, First Place, Second Place, and Honorable Mention. NWN received ALL KEMPA, the highest rating.

NWN was judged on the following categories:  Coverage and Content; Breaking News; Design and Navigation; Interactivity and Community; and Rich Media.

NWN Staff:  Editor in Chief: Mateo Acosta; Managing Editor: Alma Duskic; News Editor: Sarah Waters; Academics Editor: Sarah Waters; Sports Editor: Ethan Carey; Features Editor: Gloria Kosir; Arts and Entertainment Editor: Marija Kraljevic; Photo Editor: Marija Kraljevic; Video Editor: Nathan Rosca; Social Media Editor: Aila Durakovic.

To view the website go to www.nileswestnews.org.

AFFINITY Meeting flyer for November 21

AFFINITY Meeting on Nov. 21

AFFINITY Meeting flyer for November 21

Please come and join us for the upcoming AFFINITY Meeting on Thursday, November 21, from 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. in the Niles West Lit Center. We will be discussing the importance of prepping your child for college, and helping them become successful. Your AFFINITY sponsor/liaisons will be there to guide and help you know what academic resources are available! This is a meeting that’s important and you don’t want to miss out.

PLEASE attend next Thursday’s meeting and please RSVP:


AFFINITY Meeting flyer for November 21