Avoca West News

Week of October 27, 2016

Veteran's Day Breakfast - Coming Up!

We are about to embark on our 10th Annual Veteran's Day Breakfast at Avoca West! Rather than having our students spend the day at home for Veteran's Day, Avoca's students spend their time in school both learning about and honoring veterans and those who have served our country. You'll notice that our School Ambassadors will spend quite a bit of energy prepping our school outside with flags to show a visual "thanks" to our visitors -- and will spend their morning serving them and our guests breakfast as well.


How can you help?! We count on our parents and community members to get the word out and to invite any and all veterans to join us the morning of Friday, November 11th. Doors open at 8:30 and breakfast will be served at 8:50. It is a wonderful opportunity to honor our veterans and to build our community from within!


Please RSVP to Cece or Roxann at (847)724-6800 or benedac@avoca37.org by next Friday. We look forward to packing the place! All are welcome -- Avoca West, Marie Murphy, and beyond!

Visible Learning at Avoca West

Though we're actively looking at our math curriculum at Avoca West and really zeroing in on matching instruction to the standards, our teachers are also working hard to ramp up discussion and student mindsets in all areas as well. Recently, our staff took part in some professional development around Visible Learning - John Hattie's meta-analysis of thousands of research studies to point to which instructional strategies/structures and learner characteristics matter most in education. According to Hattie, a Visible Learner is someone who:


  • Can articulate what he/she is learning and why

  • Can talk about how he/she is learning -- the strategies used to learn

  • Can articulate next learning steps

  • Can use self-regulation strategies

  • Understands assessment tools being used, what their results mean, and can self assess (assessment-capable)

  • Seeks, is resilient and aspired to challenge

  • Can set mastery goals

  • Asks questions

  • Sees errors as opportunities and is comfortable saying that he/she doesn’t know and/or needs help
  • Positively supports peers’ learning
  • Knows what to do when he/she doesn’t know what to do
  • Actively seeks feedback
  • Has metacognitive skills and can talk about these (systematic planning, memory abstract thinking, critical thinking, problem solving, etc.)


Though many times our staff meetings and professional development days focus on "educationese" topics, you can see that these characteristics are not school-specific. Rather, these are traits that will serve our children well at home and through life!


What does this mean for our students at Avoca West? Throughout the year, our teams will be getting together to generate ideas of how we can both focus on our standards and all that needs to be taught in ways that foster these characteristics in our students. Additionally, we will be consciously building in a greater mindfulness to recognize and positively acknowledge when we see these Visible Learner characteristics in our students. You should begin to see that not only are we giving All Stars for students who show those polite, respectful behaviors, but that we are noticing those students who take risks, ask big questions, and grow in their comfort with the unknown.


How can you support at home? Consider what these characteristics might look like outside the school setting. Perhaps it means that your child takes risks in trying new things...tackles trying to solve a problem he/she has without bringing it to you...can articulate his/her plan for accomplishing something that needs to be done at home...or sets personal goals. There are a number of real life applications, and we encourage you to reinforce those characteristics at home as well!


Thank you for your continued partnership in our mission to maximize the unique potential of each child at Avoca!

Thanks to our Volunteers

At the risk of forgetting some important folks, I wanted to send a quick note of thanks to all those parents and community members who helped make our Anderson's Book Fair and our Teacher Appreciation Luncheon (prior to conferences) a hit. I know that these events take a great deal of manpower and time -- and it doesn't go unnoticed!


Thanks to all those parents and families who help to rally our Box Tops in this month's big push to generate money through the Box Tops for Education program. Each top is worth 10 cents...and those dimes really add up! Stay tuned for an update on how much you've all generated for our students.

News from the PTC: Intercultural Dinner and Talent Show & Upcoming PTC Meeting

Our 3rd Annual District-Wide Intercultural Dinner & Talent Show will take place at Marie Murphy on Friday, Nov. 4th at 6 pm. Tickets are available at the door for $30/Family. All are encouraged and welcome to sample food from over 20 countries! The Talent Show will begin after dinner at 7 pm.


Join the Avoca PTC board in the AW ITC as we discuss all of the 2016 upcoming events including:

  • Intercultural Dinner
  • AW Movie Night
  • MM Book Fair
  • Snowflake Party
  • Winter Parties

Upcoming Dates to Note

Hopefully we'll be celebrating a Cubs World Series Win this weekend, but here are some other dates to mark on your calendars:


10/31 - Halloween festivities (please see room parent emails for details about times for your child's grade level party)

11/2 - PTC Meeting at Avoca West (7:00pm - ITC)

11/4 - Intercultural Dinner and Talent Show (6:00-8:00pm - Marie Murphy)

11/8 - Election Day -- We WILL have school, but the ITC will be closed for polling

11/11 - Veteran's Day Breakfast (8:30-10:00am) All are welcome, but please RSVP

11/23-11/25 - Thanksgiving Break - No School Staff or Students!

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!!

Questions? Comments?

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