Avoca West News

Thanksgiving Week 2018

Giving Thanks for All Things BRAVE at Avoca West!

As we head into the Thanksgiving Break, I want to take a moment to give thanks to the incredible work being done behind the scenes at Avoca West. From the parents who lead the charge on the PTC, to those who come in to help shelve books in the ITC, to those who simply stop to share a coffee with a sleepy-looking staff member -- we are BLESSED!

Bold - Taking a Look at Homework

Something that was a theme from our Parent-Teacher Conferences this past October was parent uncertainty with our philosophy around homework at Avoca West. Our general guideline for homework (I'll also look to share the link to last year's newsletter post) is 10 minutes per grade level. That means that our 5th graders should have at most 50 minutes of homework each night, 2nd grade is 20 minutes, etc. The most important of that work is to READ. We absolutely appreciate parent eagerness to make sure that students are prepared for their future workload, but our students are working hard here at school. Imagine working all day long in a different profession with the expectation that you are also supposed to go home and continue working for several hours. How thrilled would you be to return back to work? As we seek to engage and educate the whole child, that includes teaching them the importance of balance and downtime to refuel for the day ahead. We also want them to love coming back to school!

Another reason for leaving the heavy lifting to time at school is that it gives our teachers the greatest insight to what students can do. Homework that is sent home should be practice of something a student can do. At times students are asked to preview something to prepare for an upcoming lesson, but there should NOT be an element of struggle. If your child gets stuck on homework, feel free to do some minor coaching...but then leave it and send it back to school. If it comes back completed, we don't see the struggle and cannot see where to help. I know this can be tricky and very unlike it was when we grew up, but we are here to love and to teach each child as he/she comes to us.

My final "BOLD" example of the need to let children shine on their own comes from a post I recently shared on our Instagram/Facebook/Twitter accounts. As a busy mom of three (one in pre-k and two in kindergarten) my sister was thrilled when her son took out his turkey worksheet and tackled coloring it all on his own. It's kindergarten, after all! When the picture was shared later that week, she captioned the bulletin board display with the totally appropriate "One of these turkeys doesn't belong. #noparenthelp" It was the perfect reason to chuckle in the moment, but absolutely hits home the message of letting the kids shine as they are. True, the other turkeys look stunning, but it is clear who had significant parent help, ideas, and polish. This is another reason many of our staff members have taken to doing the hard work at school -- we know how hard it is to be a parent, let alone an arts and crafts director, a tutor, and still a cheerleader for when things get rough. Be bold, BRAVE, and let those rogue turkeys out. If nothing else, other parents will exhale and perhaps take some pressure off of themselves to be perfectly camera ready, and teachers will smile and see who they've come to love each and every day in the classrooms. You've got this!

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Responsible & Accountable - Ready for the Weather

It's getting chilly outside! I know how hard it is to even get our kids out of bed each day, let alone wearing clothes that match -- but please know that we go any time it's possible for recess and PE. As long as the "feels like" temperature is 10 degrees or higher, students will be expected to get fresh air and activity outside. There are many times that I have nudged a child to back to his/her locker to grab a jacket even though they're sure they'll be warm enough. My go-to line is, "I know, I'm sure you'll be perfect because you're not an old lady like me...but if Mom or Dad were to come by school, what would he/she hope that you'd be wearing?" :) Feel free to equally tell them that Mrs. Hutchison "said so" if you need some back up at home. We want to make sure they are warm, safe, and healthy all winter long. As a reminder:

  • Students without boots will not be allowed in snowy areas (blacktop only)
  • Students who want to plan in the snow will need to have snow gear as well
  • We do not have an explicit policy on how warm it needs to be in order to not have a jacket on -- but know that each block of time is approximately 30 minutes long outside. It can feel much cooler for an extended period of time than it does when waiting for a short time for the bus
  • Feel free to have some extra warm clothes at school in case things get wet. We do not have oodles of extra clothes in the nurse's office
  • Please label all items that come to school!! Our Lost and Found is booming right now -- and we can't give the items back to students if we don't know where they belong.

Thanks so much for your help with this!

Valuable - Glenview Police Department

In addition to keeping our students and staff safe and sound at school, the Glenview PD came to share smiles this past Friday. As part of their new "High Five Fridays," Officer Detloff and Officer Ader welcomed our kiddos and with enthusiastic high fives. If you have a chance to share a note of thanks to the department, please do! An attitude of gratitude never goes out of style!

Empathetic - EveryONE Counts

Our Assembly Ambassadors brought the book One to life at our first spirit assembly of the year. If you haven't read the children's book yet, it captures the heart of what we want to teach our students at Avoca West. Each person has tremendous value and uniqueness. When that is called into question, we seek to take care of one another and to help empathize (even with someone who is being unkind) to bring out the best in everyone. For a great recap of the most important messages in the book, see the movie below created by our Assembly Ambassadors. Fabulous student leadership!

Mark Your Calendars!!

11/26 - 6:30pm - Diversity Inclusion SubCommittee (DISC) Meeting at AW All are welcome!

11/29 - 6:30pm - New Trier Township Parent Event - Parental Controls for Teen Tech

12/6 - 5:30pm - Committee of the Whole (@ Marie Murphy)

12/7 - 7:00pm - Movie Night (hosted @ Marie Murphy)

12/13 - 6:00pm - Winter Orchestra Concert

12/20 - 6:30pm - Board of Ed Meeting @ Marie Murphy

12/21 - Winter Parties at Avoca West

12/22-1/6 - Winter Break

1/7 - Students Return!

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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!