The Marie Murphy Update

9 August 2019 Edition

Marie Murphy Recognized by as the Best Middle School In Cook County!, a website that, "...combines rigorous analysis with authentic reviews to highlight the best schools, companies, and neighborhoods," recently ranked Marie Murphy as the #1 Middle School in Cook County.

Click here to see the components that uses in ranking schools, companies and neighborhoods from across the United States. While different publications use different components to determine rankings of schools, it's an honor to be considered the best in any of these listings.

Congratulations to the Marie Murphy students, staff, and families that generated the data that resulted in this recognition!

Positive Links Between Extra Curricular Activities and School Performance

Beginning in the 1970's and continuing through today, educational researchers have conducted numerous studies to better understand the links between involvement in extracurricular activities and school performance. The plethora of variables in this relationship (defining "school performance", what type of students, what types of schools, what setting of schools, etc.) allows for numerous studies to be conducted year after year, decade after decade. However, what is true of most of the studies conducted is that, regardless of the school or the student, there is a positive relationship between involvement in extracurricular activities and school performance.

To that end, as we prepare for the new school year to begin, please talk to your child about what activities they are most interested in joining. Maybe it's a club or a sport at Marie Murphy, or maybe it's a team or an activity that happens outside of school. Whatever it is, kids involved with a regularly scheduled activities feel a greater sense of connectedness to peers, experience feelings of growth and achievement in ways outside of traditional academic performance, and develop a greater understanding of responsibility and hard work.

2019-2020 Extra Curricular Activities

For many of our students, the extra curricular clubs and activities that they participate in are valued every bit as much as their academic studies. Research backs up that perception as well - students who are engaged in activities perform better in variety of different aspects of school (see article above).

So you can best be in a position to inform and support your child in joining activities at Marie Murphy, the list below provides details about teams, clubs and activities that are scheduled for the upcoming year. The season(s) these activities take place in and the sponsor/coaches are included as well. Additionally, new clubs and groups can be added during the school year as well!


  • Girls Volleyball - Autumn - Ms. Lane & Ms. Fasoli
  • Co-Ed Cross Country - Autumn - Ms. Bialk & Ms. Tramontin
  • Co-Ed Soccer - Autumn - Mr. Henley & Ms. Bodzewski
  • Girls Basketball - Winter - Mr. Clampitt
  • Guys Basketball - Winter - TBD
  • Guys Volleyball - Late Winter-Spring - Mr. Brennan & TBD
  • Intramurals - All Year - Mr. Henley

Clubs, Activities, & Teams:

  • Choir - All Year - Mr. Hammond
  • Science Olympiad - Autumn-Spring - Mr. Ogden, Mr. Persino, & Mr. Gravagna
  • Snowflake - Autumn-Winter - Ms. Piechowiak, Ms. Bialk, & Ms. Newton
  • Spring Play - Late Winter-Spring - Ms. Janssen
  • Student Council - All Year - Mr. Ro & Mr. Malstrom
  • Book Club - All Year - Ms. Stotz
  • Table Tennis Club - All Year - Ms. Bruzzini
  • Roots & Shoots - All Year - Ms. Rachmiel
  • Run Club - Spring - Ms. Tramontin & Ms. Rachmiel
  • Journalism Club - All Year - Ms. Brown & Ms. Pagakis
  • Cooking Club - All Year - Ms. Brown & Ms. Stotz
  • Bowling Club - All Year - Ms. Brown & Ms. Bodzewski
  • Tech Club - All Year - Ms. Lane

The MM google calendar, daily announcements, the video board in the front hall, teacher announcements, and the MM Update are all avenues that students and parents can find out more about specific activities and events.

Big picture

Marie Murphy School Welcomes New Staff

In addition to the new look of the Avoca Administrative Team with Dr. Kaine Osburn and Ms. Kristen Moore taking on the Superintendent and Director of Pupil Services roles respectively, Marie Murphy School will also have several new staff members joining us for the 2019-2020 school year. This year we welcome:

  • Ms. Rebecca McNealy, who will serve as the long-term substitute in art while Ms. Sabatini is on maternity leave to begin the year. Ms. McNealy has a variety of educational experiences across the North Shore and Chicago. Most recently, Ms. McNealy was the co-owner and program director of the RAM Art Studio in Chicago from 2016-2019.

  • Ms. Dana Thomas, who joins Marie Murphy as our new 7-8 grade Math Learning Behavior Specialist. Ms. Thomas comes with 10 years of teaching experience having taught special education in both high school and middle schools. Ms. Thomas joins us from Deer Path Middle School in Lake Forest, where she served as the 7th and 8th grade resource teacher.

  • Ms. Nancy Blitz, who will take on the role of Marie Murphy's English Learner teacher. Ms. Blitz joins us from Grayslake, having taught taught middle school EL students. She has over a decade of experience in both Michigan and Illinois having taught a variety of subjects in a variety of settings.