Avoca West News

Week of May 7, 2018


Let's hope for gorgeous weather this Tuesday as we invite all of our students to ride their bikes to school Yes, this will be tricky, as we span 4 different villages, but any increase in taking cars off the road for the day is a bonus! Thanks to Rachel Goodman and our PE team for coordinating another successful year!


Summer will have to wait one more day after Mother Nature dealt us a snow day earlier this year. All of our students and staff will be in school for a full day on Thursday, June 14th.

Living as BRAVE Vikings!

BOLD...and Best Buddies!

New to Avoca West this year is Best Buddies -- a "club" that is growing and thriving throughout the nation to help build an awareness of and to support those with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD). Best Buddies Illinois as an organization took a chance this year along with our own Caroline Henson and Erika Slagel to branch out an bring their first ever Elementary Promoters chapter to Illinois. We were honored to take this leap with them, and even MORE honored to receive an award at yesterday's Best Buddies of Illinois Friendship Walk at Brookfield Zoo -- the Promoter Chapter of the Year!

Though were are just getting started and growing our group at Avoca West, the Best Buddies organization itself is also learning how they might tweak things for other elementary chapters. We are planning our final community building event for the end of the year -- all are welcome! Stay tuned for more details and an official invitation!

Respectful & Responsible

As we ready ourselves for the Bike to School day this Tuesday, it's perfect time to remind our parents to keep an eye out for others while doing pick of and drop off at Avoca West. We do not have sidewalks around school, so our students who choose to walk or ride share the road with cars. The time saved by speeding down the street and front lot or cutting it close at the stop sign is not worth it. Slow down, share a smile with others, and consider it an opportunity to pause and be present.

Here's to a safe end of the school year!

Accountable - Getting Ready for Next Year

Online registration is ready for any and all of our students who plan to be at Avoca for next year. If you have a student who will be entering 3rd grade next year, please provide:

One of the following proofs of residency:

❏ Lease,

❏ Bill of Sale,

❏ Mortgage Statement, or

❏ Property Tax Bill


Two of the following proofs of residency:

❏ Driver’s License, ❏ Wage statement,

❏ Most recent utility bill, ❏ Letter from employer

❏ Vehicle Registration, ❏ Benefits statement, or

❏ Voter Registration ❏ Government issued notice or statement

❏ Home/Renter Insurance ❏ Current Public Aid Card

The same will be needed for our students who will be making the leap over to Marie Murphy for the fall. Thank you for your help in making sure that we can continue to provide the very best for our students!

Valuable - Teacher Appreciation Week & School Nurse's Day!

We are SO blessed at Avoca West with the staff who dedicate their days (and many nights!) to making it a wonderful place. The PTC and Room Parents have sent communicated with parents about specific ideas for how your class might be showing appreciation to your child's teacher, but here's a look at what will also be going on at Avoca West for us/me to show appreciation for how remarkable our Viking Crew really is!

This Wednesday is also School Nurse's Day! We celebrated Administrative Professional's Day (Secretaries' Day) at the end of April, and now's a chance to give thanks to the one who cares for our students when they are sick and makes sure they stay healthy at school. Please join me in letting Nurse Theer just how grateful we are for her dedication to our students and school on Wednesday!

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Empathetic - Building Reflective Children

One of my jobs at school is to help our students (and staff!) reflect on the many things that take place during the day. What is something they did well? Why did it go well? Is there something they learned that they can use to help make a different situation a success? Similarly, when something goes wrong, I talk through the thinking of what didn't work well? Where is a point where you might have made a different choice that could have made an impact? What could you do differently next time? (Bonus if we can think of how the experience and learning can be imprinted on future hurdles or stumbles...because there will be mistakes and missteps every day!)

The hardest thing I find is to get students to take the perspective of others, however, even when it's at school. The biology of their brains does not yet allow for the long (enough) pause to consider beyond "what feels right RIGHT now." The primary motivator is often social -- also a very natural part of figuring out who they want to be and where they fit in.

This past weekend I was talking with my little man, Nate (4th grade) in the car and he was telling me about a boy at school. Thrilled that the topic of conversation was NOT Fortnite, I was more actively listening as he told me a joke that he and his friends were making as they were thinking about how voices change as the boys mature. (Another joy of being a parent: Getting to wear my "Human Growth and Development" hat at home!) Nate went on to say matter-of-factly that the boy has an unusually high voice and they were joking about what it might sound like finally when his voice changed. It was immediately obvious to me that this was a matter of mean fun, something we talk about at home and at school. Mean fun is when some people are having fun, but there is someone who is likely feeling crummy because of it. No matter how many times I tried to point out to him, he could not see past his perspective and insisted that it was a FACT that the boy has a high voice. Thankfully, I was quick on my feet to think to ask a simple question:

Would you tell that joke in front of this boy's mom? Enter the EPIC pause and my invisible finger marking a tally in the "win" column of my parenting scoresheet. Rather than spending time trying to explain the perspective of the boy who would undoubtedly laugh uncomfortably if he heard the joke, that single question allowed him the pause to reframe his actions. The conversation turned less preachy on my part and instead softened him to realize that his mom would be crushed to hear anyone say anything -- just as he knows I would be if the roles were reversed.

I anticipate in the weeks ahead using this question with my "friends" at school who are also always learning how to be the best they can be, and encourage you to add it to your own parenting toolkit. The reflection it caused was profound and hopefully will help him begin to ask that question of himself (when his bossy mom isn't around!). Cheers to working together to help kiddos everywhere!


New Vikings Welcome - We're READY!

Registration for incoming kindergarten students and anyone else who will be joining us for the 2018-2019 school year is now open! Please stop by the Avoca West office to begin the vetting process. We will send out information about registration for our current students as well as online school supply orders in a few weeks. Stay tuned!

FINAL Parent Call for Parent Input for Sectioning

If you would like to share information or specific needs that may help us in the sectioning process, you may do so in writing. Please keep your reasons tied to the factors above and refrain from making special requests for placement into a specific classroom for your child. Requests for a specific teacher will be returned to parents. If there is a teacher or student(s) with whom you have had a less than positive experience with in the past, you may share that in your communication as well. Parent input must be received in the office by May 5th.

If you shared your thoughts with your child's teacher at conferences, please know that this does not ensure that your input will be at the front of his/her mind on sectioning day. If you'd like for it to be considered, please follow the guidelines above.

Mark Your Calendars!!

5/7-5/11 -- Teacher Appreciation Week!

5/9 -- BIKE TO SCHOOL DAY and Bike Safety for 2nd and 4th grades

5/7 -- 5:30pm -- Committee of the Whole Meeting at Marie Murphy

5/10 -- 6:00pm -- 3rd Grade Music Performance at Avoca West

5/22 -- 6:00pm -- Symphony Orchestra Concert at Avoca West

5/24 -- 6:30pm -- Board of Education Meeting at Marie Murphy

5/25 -- 9:00am -- District Wide Volunteer Breakfast at Avoca West


5/30 -- 4th & 5th grade Olympics

6/4 -- 5:30pm -- Committee of the Whole at Marie Murphy

6/5 -- 9:30am -- 1st grade Suzuki Concert (No evening concert for 1st grade Suzuki)

6/7 -- Field Day 1st-3rd grade

6/11 -- Meet the Team Day

6/14 -- LAST DAY OF SCHOOL and End of Year Picnic at Avoca West

Check out the Avoca PTC's Updated Website

Don't forget to stop by the Avoca PTC website for updated information and dates to put on your calendar as well. There are many exciting events going on -- including our Spirit Wear sales!!

Follow Us This School Year!

Questions? Comments?

Please feel free to reach out to ask any of our office staff for help!