The Marie Murphy Update

26 June 2020 Edition

Schools in Illinois Reopening in August?

Earlier this week, the State Board of Education has released guidance for the opening of school. However, as Dr. Osburn outlined in his June 19 post, we anticipate finalizing our opening plans and communicating them in mid-July. I have reposted his June 19 message below in italics.


Planning for Reopening School

In a few days the Illinois State Board of Education will release guidance regarding the reopening of schools. Our primary responsibility is always to maximize the health and safety of our students and staff and community. Our three basic options to re-open will be:


  1. Open with all students at school and putting in place many safeguards, protocols, and practices that will make it possible to operate school in the safest way possible.
  2. Open with fully Remote Learning, which would be an improved and streamlined version of Remote Learning from Spring 2020.
  3. A hybrid version where some students would be onsite, while some would learn remotely, and students would alternate between the two so every student received an equitable in-person/remote experience that maximized health and safety.


However, we will not finalize until at least mid-July which option we will utilize for a number of reasons. First, the status of the COVID-19 spread changes rapidly and each week brings new learning about its spread and the research teaching us how to combat it. This learning affects which option might be best. Second, state guidance has typically changed over time, and we want to wait as long as possible to determine if that guidance changes from June through July. Third, more time means we can plan each option in detail rather than committing to just one right now.


I am grateful for your patience. My administration is keeping the Board informed, and I will be conducting more ZOOM parent focus groups in late June or early July. Please keep an eye on these updates and the website for more information.

Marie Murphy Art Students Finalize Portfolios

Students in Ms. Sabatini's art classes finalized their art portfolios before the year came to a close. Utilizing a variety of mediums to highlight their impressive artistic skills, students submitted work digitally. The digital portfolio allows for greater sharing capabilities, for students to hold onto artwork for as long as they wish, and allowed for the sharing of art while maintaining all the safety precautions needed during this time period. Checkout the samples below from our 6th, 7th and 8th grade artists!

Developing Transformative SEL

With the arrival of summer, professional learning has kicked into high gear for many educators. Book studies, committee work, and professional learning workshops have all begun in the last few weeks. One of the more widespread professional development initiatives involves all of the New Trier feeder districts, including the Avoca Leadership team and teacher representatives from Avoca West and Marie Murphy, working with representatives CASEL (The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning) to learn more about transformative social-emotional learning.


CASEL promotes social emotional learning for all students by focusing on the five competencies: self awareness, self management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making. Developing a more authentic, engaging approach to SEL has been a goal all year for Avoca. With the required move to remote learning in response to the pandemic, as well as evolving perspectives on equity, racism and justice, the need for quality social emotional learning for our students and our staff has never been greater.


In working with collaboratively with CASEL and the other township school districts, our collective goal is to develop transformative SEL systems. What's transformative SEL? CASEL defines it as:


A process whereby young people and adults build strong, respectful, and lasting relationships that facilitate co-learning to critically examine root causes of inequity, and to develop collaborative solutions that lead to personal, community, and societal well-being.


The work being done collaboratively across the township seeks to create more meaningful, more relevant, and more engaging SEL for all students, no matter if we return to school remotely, in a hybrid model, or engage in full onsite learning this fall.


To learn more about the work of CASEL as well as SEL, please check out the video below.

CASEL CARES: SEL As a Lever for Equity and Social Justice

6th Graders Author Their Own Graphic Novels

6th graders in Mrs. Brown's class wrapped up their study of ELA this year by creating graphic novels. Using words and pictures to move their story forward, these young authors created art as well as literature! In addition, because these were digital submissions, students also recorded voice-overs of their work so they can be enjoyed visually and auditorily! So many excellent submissions...so little space to highlight the fantastic efforts!

You know what goes good with this MM Smore Newsletter? Another Smore Newsletter!

Check out Mrs. Stotz's MMITC end-of-year smore newsletter about summer reading!

@MarieMurphySchool Wraps Up First Year

The end of the school year marked the conclusion of Marie Murphy's first year on Instagram and Twitter. Thank you to all the followers, all the likes, and all the comments about all things MM! Below are the three most popular instagram posts from the 2019-2020 school year!


@MarieMurphySchool will return in August with new posts...or in July if I am really bored during the summer months!