The Marie Murphy Update

11 September 2020 Edition

Covid or No Covid, Lunch Time Is Still Everyone's Favorite Time!

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!

Over the first two weeks of school, the number of parents who have reached out to teachers and administrators to express their gratitude has been incredibly kind. Please know the staff and I share that same feeling of appreciation for our students and parents.


Thank you for following our new drop off and pick up rules and time changes, thank you for sending us students who are self-certified and masked each day, thank you for helping your children get to their zoom classes on time; thank you for your patience when technology doesn't work quite the way we want it to; but most of all that you for being our partner in working toward providing the best, safest education we can for your child in these most unprecedented of times.

Parent Orientation Evening - September 22, 2020

Mark your calendars...MM Parent Orientation is coming!


Traditionally, MM's Parent Orientation Evening takes place the first week of September, where parents are invited into the building to walk their child's schedule, learning about the classes they take. Unfortunately, we cannot replicate our traditional event given the limitations of guests in the building, so we will be hosting our Parent Orientation Evening remotely.


On Tuesday, September 22nd, parents are invited to a zoom session with the grade level teams and representatives from Allied Arts, Pupil Services, and PE/World Langage. As we have numerous families that have students in multiple grade levels, these presentations will not overlap.


  • 6th Grade Presentation - 6:00-6:40
  • 7th Grade Presentation - 6:40-7:20
  • 8th Grade Presentation - 7:20-8:00


Each presentation will highlight different course curricula, social-emotional learning, and grade-level specific information. Our goal is that by the end of the meeting, you have a better understanding of what your child will be learning this year and what their experience will be like.


Zoom links will be emailed to your closer to the event.

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Finding a Haven During These Stressful Times

The coronavirus outbreak has caused major disruptions to daily life. Children and families are feeling these changes deeply. While the return to school is welcomed and exciting for many students, others will be feeling anxious or sad about the way things look and feel this year. Helping kids to become mentally and emotionally ready can begin at home by allowing your student to vent about their excitement, fears, and concerns. The support and validation that a student receives from a caring adult are essential to ease your student’s concerns.


Everyone is experiencing more stress this year, therefore, an increase in support is necessary to maintain balance. Supporting children can come in many different forms: a walk outside, a board game on a rainy day, helping prioritize sleep. Sometimes more support is needed and if things are feeling overwhelming or there are questions and concerns around how a child is feeling and behaving, Haven Youth and Family Services are available. Haven provides individual and group therapy for both youth and adults. They are in-network with BCBS and offer a sliding scale for qualifying families. Please reach out at 847-251-6630 or havenforyouth.org. They have offices in Wilmette and Winnetka (across from New Trier East).

Beginning of the Year Assessments - MAP & IXL

Gathering baseline data about what students know is part of opening school every year. This data gathering takes place in two forms - classroom assessments and standardized assessments. Classroom assessments have already begun. The standardized data gathering process will begin next week and is important given that for the vast majority of students, there has been little or no standardized data collected since last December.


During the weeks of September 21 and September 28, all students will take Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessments in reading and math. Avoca students have taken MAP tests for years, so assessment is familiar to families. For students who are onsight, the testing procedures will look very similar to how it has been done in the past. For our students who are fully remote, we will be inviting them onsite to take MAP. Please look for an email early next week with specific details about MAP testing for onsite and remote students.


Additionally, Avoca has adopted the IXL technology learning platform to promote independent work in language arts and mathematics. It is a great tool to help reenforce and develop skills remotely. The system comes with a diagnostic assessment, that once completed, provides more targeted, relevant practice for students. The diagnostic will be done by students outside of school (during their independent learning time) and should be completed by Monday, September 21. An email with details about IXL and the diagnostic assessment was sent to all parents and students on Friday, September 11.


Standardized assessments are not always the most exciting educational activity to engage in, but they are valuable in providing teachers, parents, and students with information that helps us all make smart, appropriate decisions regarding content and instruction.

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