Marie Murphy Chronicles

12 October 2017

Let's Start This Off With A Smile!

Student Council Wages War to Aid Hurricane Victims!

Coin Wars, a fundraising competition between advisories and grade levels, will be running until October 20th. All proceeds will be going towards relief for victims of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. The Student Council will be researching what charities most effectively get funds to those who need it, and will donate the money collected at the conclusion of the event. There will also be opportunities for donations in the front office and at the Halloween Dance on October 20th.


Here is how the competition works: In Coin Wars, students donate money in jars in their first-period classroom and compete for the number of points earned in each homeroom. Every coin they donate is positive points for their homeroom. Easy enough, right? But there's a fun catch - students can donate dollar bills to other first-period classroom’s jars to subtract points from that class. There are some ground rules.


  • The collection jar must be visible
  • Each coin is worth its positive value in cents, each dollar bill is negative 100 points
  • Additions to the jar should take place in the morning before class and after school
  • You cannot sabotage classes from different grades other than yours (because why would you want to help another grade make more money?!)


The grade that earns the most money overall wins a pizza party. The advisories in each grade with the most points win donuts.


Please encourage your children to take part in the fun competition to help benefit those who have lost so much.

Highlights From Around The Murph

You Should Know...Social Emotional Learning

For so many of us adults, the education that was provided to us as kids was largely academic. Science, Social Studies, and the Three R's (btw...is it any wonder that so many adults are terrible spellers when Reading, Writing and Arithmetic are called the Three R's?!?). However, there is a critical component to Marie Murphy's curriculum that doesn't get the publicity that it deserves.


Social Emotional Learning, or SEL, is an important part of our day-to-day instruction at Marie Murphy. We teach kids SEL informally through different team building activities and events. SEL is a major benefit of the overnight trips at 6th, 7th and 8th grade. We promote SEL development via Snowflake and Red Flag training. We partner with counselors from Haven Youth & Family Services to help support our students. And most importantly, every teacher at Marie Murphy helps promote Social Emotional Learning through the delivery of Second Step lessons.


Second Step is a curriculum that focuses on SEL learning through instruction of grade-level appropriate units of study. These units include: Empathy & Communication, Bullying Prevention, Emotional Management, Problem Solving, and Substance Abuse Prevention. Specific lessons are taught that help kids reflect on choices and situations they will encounter as adolescents. Examples of lessons from each grade level include:


  • 6th Grade: Considering Perspectives, Recognizing Bullying, Calming Down Strategies, and Making a Plan
  • 7th Grade: Negotiating & Compromising, Understanding Anger, and Sexual Harassment
  • 8th Grade: Labels, Stereotypes & Prejudice, Bullying in Dating Relationships, and Identifying Future Goals


In addition to the SEL education we provide at MM, there are many SEL resources in our community to help educate and support both adults and students. Haven Youth & Family Services in Wilmette works with teens across New Trier Township. The Family Action Network (FAN) is an amazing resource for adult education with an impressive list of nationally renowned speakers holding presentations across the North Shore. Or, you can learn more about SEL without leaving the couch...grab your laptop or tablet and check out the SEL section of Edutopia.


It's easy to initiate a conversation with your child regarding academics with questions about how they did on a test or a missing grade in PowerSchool (I wrote it's easy to initiate...I didn't saying anything about them actually engaging!). But I'd urge parents to create a dialogue with their children about SEL topics and lessons as well. Having proactive conversations about SEL topics with your child will make it that much easier when you need to react to the drama that is life in a middle school!

Scenes From the Hall...Appropriate Hand Gestures (Whew)!

October Parent Coffee - News & Notes

The first Parent Coffee of the year was held on October Wednesday, October 4. The first half of the meeting consisted of Mr. Palcer reviewing specific areas of the Avoca Strategic Plan that had particular relevance for Marie Murphy School around the areas of Curriculum, Communication & Technology. Please see the table to the right for details.


Mr. Palcer also shared information about Senate Bill 100 - legislation that went into effect last school year regarding the disciplinary procedures and communication expectations schools follow in suspending students. The presentation also had information about how MM proactively educates students and provides intervention so minor disciplinary issues seldom evolve and reach the point of the disciplinary measures detailed by SB100. Click here to review the Senate Bill 100 presentation that was shared with parents at the coffee and was presented to the BOE in early October.


The final part of the parent coffee allowed parents to meet with their child's team leader at 6th Grade (Mr. Ogden), 7th Grade (Ms. Hoffmeister) or 8th Grade (Mr. Gravagna) to discuss topics specific to the grade level.


Thanks to everyone who was able to make it out; our next parent coffee will be held in late January or early February.

Who Says There's Nothing Good To Read? Book Reviews By MM Staff & Students!

Upcoming Events

October 17: Caitlin Alifirenka, Co-Author of I Will Always Write Back, Visits MM!

October 19: PTC's New Families Welcome Night

October 20: Picture Retake Day

October 20: Sign Up For Parent Teacher Conferences Closes

October 20: Fall Sports Assembly & Halloween Celebration

October 20: Student Council Halloween Dance

October 25 & 26: 1/2 Day Student Attendance; Parent Teacher Conferences

October 27: No School - Teacher Institute Day

November 6: PTC's Intercultural Dinner & Talent Show

Oldies But Goodies...Stuff That's Still Relevant From the Previous "Chronicle" Edition

Sign Up For MM Remind Text Updates

Purchase a Damage Waiver for Your Child's Laptop By October 15!

Attention Parents of 5th - 8th Graders!!!

The deadline to enroll in the Avoca School District laptop damage waiver program is fast approaching!

Avoca School District is once again partnering with One2One Risk Solutions to provide accident protection for our school’s one to one program. Registering with One2One and purchasing a damage waiver will protect you from the full cost to repair or replace your district-issued device and limit your responsibility to a per-occurrence deductible, should a loss occur. This program is being offered on an optional basis. If you chose to opt-out of the damage waiver during enrollment you will be responsible to pay for the full cost of any repair or replacement to the device or peripheral unit. To put this in perspective, the cost of a new charger is $80 and many of the common repairs we see start at $200 and go up from there.

You should have received an email from One2One Risk Solutions with your Student’s ID number. If you have not please contact Tim Furman furmant@avoca37.org or Beth Haugeberg haugebee@avoca37.org for the information.

Please visit http://www.one2onerisk.com and select “Enroll My Device” to get started. Enrollment in the program will be open through October 15, 2017.

You may make payments using a credit/debit card, online check or cash using a pre-paid card available for purchase at your school office.