Superintendent's Corner 😃🏫😀

Avoca District 37

In this issue ...

  • Remote Learning & Why SEL Remains Important
  • Giving & Receiving: Local Businesses and Local Services
  • Ending the School Year : Look for ...
  • Summer 2020
  • Fall 2020 - Reopening School
  • Board Review / Preview

Remote Learning & Why SEL Matters

As of today, May 22, we are in our tenth week of Remote Learning, with three weeks to go. With the building of a routine and shared expectations, each week has become increasingly manageable and successful (but still not equal to onsite learning). The biggest challenge, of course, is our ability to adapt mentally to the new learning environment, which includes doing so under the COVID-19 crises.

Our mental state does more to affect our learning than any other single factor after our nutrition and safety. Our ability to recognize and manage our emotions (self awareness), to make a plan to address learning (responsible decision making), and to recognize the emotions and challenges of others (social awareness) are all examples of Social Emotional Learning skills that are needed in new and unexpected ways.

While we adapt, the moment can feel more challenging, but our staff continues to work with our students on these skills just like they would work with them on developing math or literacy skills. We only have one more SELect Learning Day (June 8) but our staff is increasingly finding other ways to connect with our kids on these important issues on a daily basis.

Giving & Receiving

Never has it been more important than to be open to offering support and receiving support. In the link above entitled "Avoca Businesses" you can see a partial list of local businesses or nearby businesses owned by Avoca families. If you have any need of the services they offer, please consider using them.

In the link below entitled "Community Resources (Aid)" is a list of local agencies and institutions ready to lend a hand, whether around food, mental health, or finances. Asking for and accepting help can often be harder than offering help. But we have an amazing community and I encourage you to seek help if you need it; that's exactly why these agencies are here.

Ending the School Year: Look for ...

Because the details are still being finalized, not every aspect of our year-end work together has been communicated. Please know our teachers and administrators have not forgotten these important issues and events. So be on the lookout for communications about:

  • Additional Details About Graduation and Celebrations
  • A "parade" of sorts to celebrate our students
  • Device (iPAD & MacBooks) Return
  • Book Returns
  • Report Cards
  • Fees and Registration for 2020-21
  • And more

Summer Learning 2020

Understandably, many families are anxious about the effect of 11 weeks of remote learning and the stay-at-home order on their children's learning. Media posts and references to research on this subject are wildly speculative. Even research on summer learning loss is more than 20 years old. This does not mean that remote learning has not affected our students' learning progress. Rather, we should approach such concerns with caution and deliberateness.

For the Summer, District 37 has traditionally offered summer learning to only a few students with intensive learning needs. Other students have attended District 39's summer learning because that district's size enables it to provide robust offerings.

This summer, we have partnered with District 39 again, which has just released the links to register for summer learning. Please note the following:

Basic Achievement Skills Improvement Course is by recommendation and not open to all District 37 students. You will already know if you have been recommended for this course.


The other courses open to District 37 students are:

Academic Camp - Reading

Academic Camp - Writing

Academic Camp - Math

These courses run remotely from July 6 through August 7. Once you click on the website link below, look for the following location on the page titled "Registration & Fees." Registration is through District 39s RevTrak and you will likely need to create a new account in order to register.

Here is the link to the District 39 site:

Registration runs until June 6.

Avoca staff is currently finalizing feedback that will help determine what additional learning resources District 37 will be able to make available this summer, in preparation for reopening school in the Fall.

Fall 2020 Reopening

Like learning loss, many families and staff are concerned about HOW school will re-open in August. Right now, the honest answer is that we do not know. Our administration is taking the following steps to prepare:

  • Developing three opening scenarios - onsite, remote, hybrid opening
  • Gathering feedback from teachers about the different scenarios
  • Gathering feedback from parents ( focus groups on ZOOM) about the different scenarios
  • Monitoring professional organizations about effective practices
  • Monitoring ongoing State Board of Education guidance

HOW we reopen is dependent on which phase we are in for the RESTORE ILLINOIS plan issued by the governor's office. We do not expect to know until at least late July or early August and we plan to use that time to prepare as much as possible. Please know that our priorities will always be:

  • Student, staff, and community safety and health
  • Advancing and supporting student learning

Thank you for your patience, and be on the lookout for an invite to a FOCUS Group on ZOOM with me in the coming weeks.

Board Meeting Review / Preview

May 7, 2020

  • Remote Learning Survey 2 Results
  • Food Service Annual Report
  • Fee Refunds (methods)

May 21, 2020

  • Remote Learning/COVID Update
  • IASB Resolution - Literacy Education in Teacher Ed Programs
  • Administration Compensation 2020-21

June 7, 2020 (tentative)

  • Remote Learning/COVID Update
  • ELA - Budget (FY20/21) Update
  • Finance Committee Report - Discussion
  • Non-certified staff compensation 2020-21