The Marie Murphy Update

28 May 2021 Edition

Outdoor Orchestra Concert Delights!

The Marie Murphy Orchestra closed out their year with an outdoor lunchtime performance for the MM students and staff. The only thing better than the picture-perfect blue sky and pleasant temperatures was the beautiful music delivered by Marie Murphy's young musicians!

Taking place during lunchtime, the concert sought to create a more relaxed feel than a traditional inside performance. The audience had a chance to eat their lunch, chat with friends, all while being serenaded by the orchestra.

The exceptional setting, paired with an excellent performance, was a lovely way to end the orchestra's work for the school year. It also served as Ms. Mary Rudzinki's final concert as the MM Orchestra director as she retires at the school year's conclusion.

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Advisory & Viking Time Recap

Two new components to the Marie Murphy schedule this year were the adoption of an advisory period and the implementation of Viking Time periods. As both of these classes will continue to be part of the MM schedule next year, it seems like a good time to review what they are and how they will be used next year.


The advisory period was created this year as a purposeful, deliberate act to create time and space to teach social-emotional learning (SEL) standards. In previous years, MM had used the Second Step program with individual lessons implemented on a rotating basis through all the classes to address SEL learning. In order to create a more authentic context and experience, the advisory period was created. Advisory takes place each week for 30 minutes. Advisory has been implemented in a variety of ways this year in response to our changing schedule - small remote groups with a single teacher or larger onsite groups working with two teachers. While the format for advisory has not been decided for next year, the 30-minute weekly class will continue to be part of the MM master schedule to address the priority SEL standards that all Illinois schools are required to teach.

Viking Time

Viking Time has been around for years with different grade levels implementing it in different ways. However, the implementation of a daily 40-minute Viking Time class in all grade levels as part of our post-spring break MOD schedule was a new approach. Viking Time exists to provide students with a time and place to have academic needs met. Viking Time can be used as an intervention period to provide students additional help and support. Additionally, Viking Time can be used as an enrichment period to provide students with greater and more challenging work when they have demonstrated mastery of priority standards. Viking Time will exist in next year's master schedule although we anticipate it beginning later in the year so staff can engage in professional learning about best practices and instructional strategies.

MM ASL Club Gets Musical!

Twinkle, Twinkle - ASL CLub

Goodbye Mr. Ogden and Ms. Rudzinski!

As the 2020-2021 school year comes to a close, Marie Murphy School will say goodbye to two of our most venerated, respected, and engaging educators: Mr. Peter Ogden and Ms. Mary Rudzinski.

Mr. Ogden wraps up a teaching career spanning forty years, with the last twenty-seven serving at Marie Murphy. Mr. Ogden has served in a variety of roles - 6th-grade science teacher, Science Olympiad Coach, team leader, outdoor education coordinator, and PTC teacher liaison to name a few. Mr. Ogden's desire to see all students learn, to have them embrace scientific thinking, and to work collaboratively with their peers has helped MM run one of the most successful and accomplished science programs in the state.

Ms. Rudzinski's 33 years at Avoca represent an amazing, decades-long run of growth and excellence in the orchestra program. Always one to embrace the joy of music, Ms. Rudzinski's instruction and engagement motivate her students to perform at excellent levels while having a wonderful time doing it. Ms. Rudzinski's ingenuity continued to shine this year with pull-up and play concerts and our first outdoor concert. The reputation for excellence regarding the Avoca orchestra program is well-deserved, and Ms. Rudzinski has been a major contributor to that reputation.

While our two most veteran teachers will be missed terribly, the staff takes joy in knowing the bright futures and the new adventures Mr. Ogden and Ms. Rudzinski will enjoy!

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Upcoming FAN Events

New Trier High School and the Family Action Network (FAN) present numerous outstanding presenters and topics throughout the year. Check out their next upcoming events below to see if there is something of interest to you or your family.