Avoca West News

Week of December 31, 2020

Year End -- Wrapping Up and Looking Forward

During the 2020 calendar year social emotional learning (SEL) has been a major focus for us all at Avoca West. The pandemic and life since March 12th has really punctuated the need to be sure we have a sense of how we're feeling how to manage those feelings, and how to cope with all that life throws at us. As adults. it can feel like a daunting responsibility that our children are learning how to be humans in this world from us! When COVID shut down school and life as we know it, it flipped us all on our heads -- causing a sort of identity crisis for us all. Parents had to learn a whole new skill set for keeping things straight at home in a newly crowded home "office." Students had to immediately pivot to learning in a way that many of us didn't have to do until we went off to college or took a voluntary online course. Teachers became tech troubleshooters and threw out plans for what learning has looked like for years. Even the most confident, flexible, among us (parents and staff) dealt with feeling inferior and questioned everything about their sense of self.

Yet still we charged on. We rose to the occasion -- even if it came after continued stumbles and falls. I could not be prouder of our Avoca West community. Our students, families and staff continue to look for ways they can make a difference. Whether it be advocating for racial inequalities that came to the forefront of our attention in 2020...sending notes or encouraging emails to those who really need a pick me up...organizing Zoom social time to keep connections strong...and by keeping us all safe and healthy here at school. This is HARD work for all involved. Thank you for being a partner in it all!

I encourage you (and perhaps as a family) to look back at 2020 and sped some time thinking of what was awful about it --- and then what awesome things also happened during the year. By engaging in this practice, you can name the stressors and feelings (that we often don't acknowledge) and also shift to be sure that we see some beauty in a stressful year. That mindset of reframing is an important tool in building resilience in ourselves and modeling for our children. I will happily toast a turn of the calendar year in a few days, but know there is still much work to do. The good news is, 2020 has trained us for climbing mountains! We can do this!

20 Lessons from 2020

After listening to a "Self Care for Educators" podcast (good for everyone, not just educators!) I challenged myself to make a list of 20 take-aways from 2020. I share it with you below in the hopes that it frees up some anxiety around doing something similar.

The podcast also suggest creating a "21 for 2021" as a family -- things we want to do in the year ahead. I'll look to share ours with you all at another time to continue encouraging our AW community to look ahead with hopeful eyes and hearts!

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Looking Ahead -- Calendar & Schedule Reminders

January 4th - January 15th

We will continue with the fully remote schedule when we return on Monday, January 4th -- there will NOT BE an "A day" and a "B day." This is the same schedule your child has been following since the start of December. The transition back to school after break is always a rough one for all, but hopefully the promise of staying in jammies at home and seeing friendly faces via Zoom is a motivating one for our students!

January 19th - February 19th

We will go back to the pre-Thanksgiving schedule. Students will remain in either hybrid or remote settings based on the 2nd quarter selection. Teachers and I will be sure that our students remember their specific group/day (for 2nd - 5th grade students) and there is clarity in the schedule so that transition is a smooth one.

February 1st - February 5th

Families will choose whether their child(ren) will learn on site or fully remote for the remainder of the school year. This selection will not go into effect until February 22nd. I will spend the will following week determining if class rosters need to be adjusted or teaching assignments changed due to schedule selections.

February 22nd - June!

Learning selections made will go into effect until the school year ends.

More Open Gym Opportunities for Families!

We've added more dates for open gym at Marie Murphy. Click the link below to sign up for openings on January 5th-8th and January 12th-14th. Thanks, Dr. Osburn!


Questions? Comments?

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