Marie Murphy Chronicles

3 November 2017

As always, there's lots to smile about!

2017 PARCC Results: Success for Marie Murphy Students, Families & Staff!

This week, the Illinois Report Card website was updated to include the results of the Spring 2017 PARCC testing. As always, Marie Murphy students worked incredibly hard to show us how much they have learned!


Academic success as measured by standardized tests is a small part of what we do and how we measure success a Marie Murphy. However, PARCC results are one of the only ways that we can gauge ourselves against other top performing area schools. These results also serve as springboard for conversations between schools so that we can tap into our collective knowledge.


So it is with tremendous pride in the efforts of our teachers and students, and with the utmost gratitude for the support of our families, that I share these results! Thank you to everyone who been a contributor in this collaborative effort that has made Marie Murphy School the top performing middle school in the township!

Museums, Murals and Sugar Skulls - Oh My! 8th Grade Spanish Students Hit the Road for Cultural Learning

Studying Spanish at Marie Murphy is a combination of acquiring language and understanding Hispanic culture. As a means to promote both of those aims, the 8th grade Spanish students traveled to Chicago's National Museum of Mexican Art on October 24 to see the famous Day of the Dead Exhibit. In addition, the students went on a Walking Mural Tour (by bus due to the rain) where a local artist and guide spoke about the significance of the neighborhood murals. Additionally, they took part in a hands-on workshop where they made sugar skulls and learned about the Day of the Dead traditions. Lastly, they ate lunch at La Cebollita, a traditional Mexican restaurant in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago.

Highlights From Around The Murph!

You Should Know...John Hattie

John Hattie is a Professor of Education, the Director of the Melbourne Education Research Institute at the University of Melbourne in Australia, and author of numerous books on the subject of Visible Learning. So, why should you know about a professor, researcher, and author half a world away?


Because John Hattie conducted the largest-ever synthesis of quantitative measures on the effect of different factors on educational outcomes (that was a mouthful!). What that means is that Hattie has spent the last few decades gathering data on a plethora of factors that impact education. He gathered this data from a pool of nearly 250 million students across the globe! Then, using a mathematical process, Hattie classified them into one of four categories under his Barometer of Influence (see photo). Since the original publication of his work in 2009, Hattie has conducted two additional analyses with new data in 2011 and 2015. The end result is a comprehensive list of nearly 200 factors that impact student learning. In short, John Hattie work gives teachers a list of what works best when it comes to educating students.


Any factors or practices scoring less than a 0.0, Hattie classifies as a "Reverse Effect". These are things we try to avoid and combat in education. A sample of the factors that have a reverse education effect on student learning include: Depression, Mobility, Television, & Summer Break. These are unsurprising negative factors in student learning.


Any factors, practices & initiatives scoring between a 0.0 and a 0.15 are considered "Developmental Effects" - what students would achieve without education or schooling. Basically this is the growth that is made just by getting older and wiser. Examples of school factors that exist in this category include: multi-age/grade classes, single sex schools, school calendar, diet, and ability grouping. And it's in this category that Hattie's work begins to have value. Educational practices that we thought had real value in moving kids forward may not help students learn as much as we previously thought.


Any education practices & initiatives scoring between a 0.15 and 0.4 are considered "Teacher Effects" - typical effects of a year's worth of teaching on students. Practices and initiatives in this category reflect that when a teacher teaches, the students learn. Educational practices falling in this category include: class size, homework, test taking strategies, and principal & school leadership.


Hattie's last category is identified as the "Zone of Desired Effects", educational practices and initiatives that score higher than a 0.4. These are the strategies that give the biggest bang for our buck. Practices and initiatives falling into this category include: teacher expectations, motivation, small group learning, parental involvement, self-reported grades, and classroom discussion.


Click here for Hattie's complete list of 195 educational factors influencing student learning.


In interpreting Hattie's research, it's not a matter of identifying what does and does not make students grow and learn; three of Hattie's four categories result in student growth. Rather, it's understanding what strategies and instructional practices yield the most growth and achievement. Knowing what falls into these categories helps teachers and administrators make informed decisions about initiatives and instructional practices.


Obviously Hattie's research works on a macro level; it does not take into account the needs of individual students or their own experiences or perceptions. Furthermore, it works on the assumption that the practice or strategy is being implemented well and with fidelity. However, given the sheer number of students involved in his studies and the multiple data analyses, his work does have validity and reliability. And because discussion of John Hattie's work is becoming increasingly common amongst educators as they look to enact meaningful educational change, he is someone you should definitely know.

Article Above Too Long???? Watch these videos on John Hattie instead!

"I will always write back" author Caitlin Alifirenka Visits Marie Murphy

Marie Murphy Students Raid Piggy Banks & Couch Cushions to Support Hurricane Victims

Student Council's Coin Wars, a change drive competition between grade levels and advisory classes to benefit the victims of Harvey, Irma, and Maria, was a huge success! The students dug deep into their pockets and couch cushions with the end result being nearly $1700 being raised. Student Council's next task will to be research the most reputable charitable organizations to donate these funds so that they can be used to help those who have lost so much.


The results are below:


  • 6th Grade raised $619 with Mrs. Rachmiel's class raising the most funds in 6th grade!
  • 7th Grade raised $401 with Mr. Persino's class raising the most finds in the school!
  • 8th Grade raised $673 with Mr. Malstrom's class raising the most funds in 8th grade!

Halloween @ Marie Murphy Highlights!

Expanding Artistic Experiences - Drawing a Live Model!

Marie Murphy teachers Kelly Sabatini, Daniel Hammond, and Karah Roche created a unique artistic experience for their students. As the French students waited for their October 24 field trip to disembark, they were presented with an opportunity to practice drawing a live model. Keeping with the esprit français du jour, the team created a little Parisian cafe scene for them to draw complete with live model.

Upcoming Events

November 3: 6th Grade Field Trip To Chicago Children's International Film Festival

November 3: PTC's Intercultural Dinner & Talent Show

November 8-10: 8th Graders on Chicago Field Trips or to Washington DC

November 17: 7th Grade Field Trip To See "Wonder"

November 20-24: Thanksgiving Break