Superintendent's Corner

Avoca School District 37 - September 14, 2022

Inspire Curiosity, Cultivate Academic Growth, Nurture Diversity

In this outstanding issue, you will read about...

  • Portrait of a Graduate - Culturally Competent
  • Hispanic Heritage Month
  • Important Survey on Parent/Guardian-Teacher Conferences: Remote, In Person, Hybrid
  • Policy Changes: Smart Watches and More
  • Car Wash on September 17

Portrait of a Graduate - Culturally Competent

The strength of Avoca School District derived from the community's diversity was emphasized again and again by students, staff, parents, and guardians during the Community Engagement and Strategic Planning process last year.

Of the seven most important characteristics our community identified for our graduates to demonstrate, Culturally Competent was one of them. Specifically, graduates who are "Seeking, learning. from, and valuing diverse peoples, perspectives, and experiences in school and life."

As you can see, being culturally competent is not just about learning about and celebrating people from different backgrounds from our own. A truly culturally competent graduate will recognize that our world is increasingly diverse and we gain value by seeking out diverse experiences.

Where have you sought out a diverse experience recently?

Hispanic Heritage Month

Consistent with our value of graduating Culturally Competent students, National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15) is not just a chance to celebrate the riches of Hispanic peoples and cultures, it is a chance to learn.

And I emphasize plural - cultures - because it can be easy for non-Hispanic people to assume that two Hispanic people - one from Argentina (for example) and one from Mexico (for example) - share identical cultural practices and experiences.

So below, I have included a link to a site hosted by The Library of Congress and other national curators of American cultures AND a site hosted by The National Museum of Mexican Art, located in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago. I very much encourage you to visit the museum as a family and enjoy the riches it has to offer.

Library of Congress - National Hispanic Heritage Month

The National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago

Important Survey - How to Conduct Parent/Guardian - Teacher Conferences

The pandemic has left us many lessons to reflect on. Among them is how best to conduct conferences in October and March when parents/guardians meet with their students' teachers.

In-person conference present certain advantages and disadvantages.

Likewise, remote (ZOOM) conferences present a different set of advantages and disadvantages.

Please click on the link below to give us your feedback on which type of approach we should use this October: Fully in-person, fully remote, or a hybrid.

Survey: Teacher Conferences

Policy Changes - Smart Watches and More

State law requires the District to update a number of policies on a regular basis. A committee of staff, administrators, Board members, and parents/guardians convened this summer to review a handful of policies for revision.

Most are perfunctory and will have no substantial impact on a student's daily life at school. The policies reviewed and forwarded to The Board of Education for revision at its September 15, can be found by clicking here.

Of special note, please be aware of how two policy revisions will have an impact on student daily life at our schools:

First, our Student Behavior Policy 7.190 treats Smart Watches like cell phones. Because Smart Watches have become increasingly prevalent, and because they can be regular distractions and disruptions to student learning and the learning environment, during the school day, smart watches should be out of sight and in silent mode or off, like cell phones. Before and after school, students may wear smart watches like they normally would. Teachers are gradually emphasizing this new policy for students as it will take some time before we can expect students to have internalized this policy rule.

Second, our Student Appearance Policy 7.160 has been revised in accordance with state law. However, an actual student dress code is up to the principals to develop. While the dress code at Avoca West is not a meaningful part of student life there, the dress code at Marie Murphy is out of date and Principal Ryan will look to revise it this year, using sample policies from other districts and using input from students and staff. (Parent/guardians on the policy committee have already weighed in on sample dress codes that were reviewed.)

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