Superintendent's Corner

Avoca School District 37 - September 29, 2022

Inspire Curiosity, Cultivate Academic Growth, Nurture Diversity

In this issue...

  • Portrait of a Graduate - Socially Grounded
  • Learning more about Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur
  • Parent Teacher Conferences - Format and Schedule Out Next Week
  • Avoca West Parent's Night with Lurie's Children's Hospital - Gender Upstanders
  • District Parent's Night with Victor Pacini Group - on Erin's Law

Portrait of a Graduate - Socially Grounded

Ultimately, all learning is social, involving an interaction between two people. Some times, this means simply reading a book and entering into a silent dialogue with an author.

More often, though, knowledge and meaning are constructed when two live people interact. This can be in a paired activity on a math problem or doing a Science Lab, or a group presentation to a class, or a debate on an important topic.

For this second kind of learning to be truly rewarding, our students must be socially grounded. When we help our students demonstrate this characteristic, they are "Developing healthy relationships with self and others, rooted in respect, empathy, integrity, and justice."

Obviously, being socially grounded is not only about learning course subjects. It extends to our orientation toward our fellow humans and our selves, so that we and they lead healthy rewarding lives.

Social Emotional Learning is one area of focus that advances students being socially grounded, but that is not where our students' learning ends. In academic classes, electives, lunch, extracurriculars and more, if our students graduate being socially grounded individuals, they will make a truly positive impact on their community and beyond.

Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur

September 26 and October 5 might feel like days off for many students at Avoca West and Marie Murphy, but there has long been a substantial Jewish population in our Avoca community and for many in the Jewish community these dates represent what are considered two of "The High Holidays" - Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, respectively.

One of our greatest strengths in the Avoca community is our rich racial, ethnic, linguistic, and religious diversity. That strength is only realized when we do our best to learn about our diverse backgrounds and draw on that learning when we interact with one another.

If you would like to learn more about these two important Jewish Holidays, please click here. (This post and the related link do not represent a religious endorsement or promotion of any kind on the part of the District or Administration.)

Teacher Conferences: Updates Out Next Week

My administrators and I are finishing our review of the survey responses from parents/guardians and staff about the best way to conduct teacher conferences on October 26 and October 27. It is important we review this closely to make the best decision we can.

Next week, parents and guardians will receive a notice to sign up for conferences online. Please be on the lookout for the sign up. At that time the format (remote, in-person, or hybrid) will be communicated.

Thank you for your patience as we seek to apply positive lesson from our pandemic experience.

Erin's Law: Parent/Guardian Night - Oct 3

This year the Victor Pacini Group will be delivering age-appropriate lessons aligned with Erin's Law, which has been legally required in Illinois schools for over a decade.

Pacini Group staff will make age-appropriate presentations to student that support students' feeling secure about their personal space, language to help them secure their personal space, and language to use to seek support if someone is not honoring their personal space or bodily autonomy.

The presentation for parents/guardians will take place via ZOOM on October 3 in the evening. A link will go out the day of the presentation.

Gender Upstanders: Parent/Guardian Night with Luries September 29 at 6 p.m.

Student sessions at Avoca West this year for 4th and 5th graders called "Gender Upstanders" simply outline that there are different family structures, different orientations, different gender identities, and how to combat stereotypes and bias based on these. How to make a classroom or school a space that uses respectful language when people come from different backgrounds/experiences.

Lurie's will hold a parent/guardian webinar about this tonight, Thursday, September 29 at 6 p.m. via ZOOM. Parents/Guardians may register at