Avoca West News

Week of May 7, 2018

Last Day of School is Thursday -- Full Day!

It's hard to believe that we're only 4 wake-ups away from the annual unplug that is summer! Our kids and staff have done a wonderful job keeping life moving along during these final weeks and I cannot wait to "clap off" our 5th graders on Thursday as we officially send then off to Marie Murphy!

Living as BRAVE Vikings!


As we head into the summer, I return your attention mine to my Letter to the Avoca West Stakeholders that I wrote earlier this year. It will be a great chance to center my effort this summer planning proactively and to send out my staff and students in thinking about all that's ahead. Cheers to a wonderful 2017-2018 school year and the promise of all that's ahead!


From this January's Avoca West News:

With the hope of finding a more forgiving self in the mirror at the end of 2018, I now turn my gaze to all that I hope to see at Avoca West when I look back next winter break. To speak it is to own it, once again, and so I share some of the "wins" I anticipate seeing for our school here with you as well. In addition to Avoca West continuing to be held in high regard for its academic excellence and for the support we give to all learners, I know that there is so much more that makes us stand out from the crowd. With the whole child in mind, I will strive to make sure that our year highlights include:

  • The novelty of the BRAVE motto will be strengthened as we continue to look for ways to model, celebrate, and live as Bold, Respectful, Accountable, Valuable, and Empathetic Vikings. This will continue to be echoed in how we acknowledge and celebrate our students and staff members. Similarly, we will reinforce that motto and values in providing opportunities for our students to build those values through philanthropic experiences and outreach.
  • Systems will be in place to make sure that Avoca West is a school where student voice matters and is a key component of the story we share with others. This will continue with our social media interns, but will begin to include empowering our students as ambassadors to showcase our school for others.
  • An increase in community-building events at school. Drawing students from four different villages, as a school we have a chance to bring in so many to build strong connections with one another. Our PTC already hosts several community-building events, but I hope that our calendar includes playdates for our incoming kindergarten friends and other students looking to reconnect over the summer months, read-alouds via facebook live or in person (just because!), and other outings that encourage us all to explore the different areas and to come together outside of the 8:20-3:00 school bell.
  • Celebrating more! Recognizing all that makes us unique includes celebrating our diversity in cultures, academic progress, and building perseverance in our students and in one another.
  • Staff actively take risks in their learning, trying out new lessons, devices, and innovative ways of thinking and teaching so that our students learn to be bold and brave as well! Because of this fearless quest for continued growth and learning,
  • Avoca West will be seen as a place where others come to learn from our staff members and students. The lighthouse district will be actively looking to learn from others at conferences and events, but will also be presenting and have a presence in leading and helping others in the field of education so that others may grow as well.

How will YOU be Bold and live our BRAVE motto in the year to come? How can you get started this summer?


As we head into the summer, please know that our building summer hours adjust quite a bit. Our custodial crew works throughout the summer to clean the building for students and to tackle projects that have been waiting for an empty space, but teachers and administrators often work off site on professional development projects.

Our office staff works approximately one to two weeks after school dismisses and returns one to two weeks prior to the start of students. I (Mrs. Hutchison) will be in and out of the building, balancing family duties and work obligations, but know that we are all typically reachable by email. If you need to leave something for the office, you are most likely to find a staff member in the office during the morning hours. You can also leave any mail/paperwork in the black dropbox/mailbox in the foyer just outside of the office door. That mailbox is checked each time an office staff member is in -- and we'll be happy to connect with you to answer any questions when we return!

The district office is operational almost all summer long at Marie Murphy as well. They will be happy to forward any mail or paperwork you have to share over the summer. When in doubt, reach out and someone will get back to you!


I'm happy to say that as of today, 80% of our families have registered their returning students for the coming school year. Those parents who have not need to do so this week -- otherwise our office will assume that you are planning to move. Yikes! Please login to your InfoSnap account to fill in the registration for your student(s).

This process enables our transportation office to build bus lists so that we can let you know about pick up times sooner than later. It also allows our office/teachers to have the best sense of which students will be returning next year so that we can plan for staffing and class lists.

If you're waiting until the final moment to tackle this -- consider this the final moment!

Also mentioned previously is the need for proof of registration for our incoming 3rd graders. Again -- this is critical to make sure that we pour our energy and dollars into those students who reside within our district boundaries. Thank you SO much for your help on this!


We absolutely could not do it this year without the help of all those who have volunteered in any and all capacities. Whether you are a behind-the-scenes coordinator of supplies for parties or events, a day-of physical presence in our school for field day or Olympics, a copy and cutting aficionado for our math needs, or merely someone who drops by to shelve books in the ITC or be a mystery reader -- we could NOT do the things that make Avoca West so special without your help. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

A huge thanks to Devon Nelson for fearlessly leading our PTC these past two years and for all those who took on leadership roles. I know our parents and community are as dedicated as those who work at Avoca and look forward to many more years together!

Empathetic - Reflections an Appreciation

After having worked in three different districts, I can assure you that the grass is NOT greener anywhere else. Avoca is truly an incredible place to work. This year has been a tremendously difficult one for our staff outside of school, allowing us to really lean in on one another and on our families who support us so beautifully.

As you head into the summer, I encourage our families and staff members to think about what really makes Avoca West unique. One of my favorite books I've ready this year was The Happiness Advantage -- highlighting how the most successful people are the happiest. It is not, however, the success that makes the happiness, but the opposite. People who focus on noticing the things in life that make them smile, for which they are grateful, or to celebrate the daily "wins" find greater success overall. A phenomenon that the author writes about it "The Tetris Effect." Anyone who grew up the same time as me can recall the hours spent playing Tetris that led to an incessant, zombie-like focus on falling shapes that came when driving down the street, talking on the phone...everywhere! It's all we thought about. What if, then, we became so focused on the things that are wonderful in our lives and things that are going well? I can assure you that our grass at Avoca West is the greenest you'll find. How can we shift our focus to notice those beautiful blades and to say thanks to life allowing us to spend our days with one another?

Take the time this summer to share your thanks and appreciation with any and all you encounter!


Keep the New Students Coming!

Our current parents are our greatest asset for keeping us informed about new students who may be joining us this fall. If you know of anyone moving to the area, please send them our way! We'll be happy to get the registration process started for them!

As of this week, we are planning on having:

  • 4 sections of kindergarten
  • 3 sections of 1st grade (shake those trees! We'd love to have 4 sections!)
  • 4 sections of 2nd-5th grades

Stay tuned!

Interested in Playing Strings for 2018-2019 School Year?

1st grade officially begins the first time when Avoca West's students can begin playing strings, but sometimes our students aren't quite ready to start so young If you're interested in having your child start learning how to play the violin, viola, or cello in the coming year, please reach out to Michelle Katz at katzm@avoca37.org

We will also be welcoming Ms. Becca Oppenheim (New to staff, but not new to our students!) and Mrs. Mary Rudzinski (from Marie Murphy) to Avoca West for the coming school year. Though it will be impossible to fill the shoes of our Nancy Magill who will be retiring in just a few short days, they bring an eagerness to be with our youngest learners and to keep the bar set high for our students!


Mark Your Calendars!!

6/11 -- Meet the Team Day

6/14 -- LAST DAY OF SCHOOL and End of Year Picnic at Avoca West

6/14 -- Online Report Cards Viewable through Parent Portal

6/17 -- Paper Report Cards (& MAP reports for 2nd-5th grade) Mailed Home

8/13 -- Kindergarten Round Up (10:00-1:00 - Schedule below!)

8/14 -- Class Assignment letters EMAILED home for 1st-5th grade


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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!!

Follow Us This School Year!

Questions? Comments?

Please feel free to reach out to ask any of our office staff for help!