Marie Murphy Chronicles

2 November 2018

All Sorts of Things To Be Happy About!

Illinois School Report Card Publication Cause For Celebration at Marie Murphy, Avoca West!

On October 30, the state of Illinois released the 2017-2018 school and district report cards. The school report cards have a tremendous amount of information for community members reflective of everything from finances, to demographics, to academic performance. The release of the the report cards also incorporated a new rating system for schools identifying them as: EXEMPLARY, COMMENDABLE, UNDER PERFORMING and LOWEST PERFORMING. Both Marie Murphy and Avoca West were identified as EXEMPLARY schools!

Additionally, the release of the report cards allows viewers to see how all schools are performing and make comparisons between them. This is a valuable tool for educators as it allows us to see which peers we can learn from to expand our professional learning community.

Marie Murphy's academic performance as compared to other New Trier feeder schools was truly distinguished! In the seven different academic performance tasks that MM students engaged in last year (6th, 7th & 8th Grade ELA PARCC, 6th, 7th, & 8th Grade Math PARCC, and 8th Grade Illinois Science Assessment), Marie Murphy had the highest percentage of students meeting or exceeding standards in five of the areas. In the two areas MM students did not finish at the top of the township, they finished second.

This type of performance is the result of the consistent hard work of our students, the support of our parents, and the talents & efforts of our teachers, both at Marie Murphy and Avoca West. Those three factors combined together create a truly special environment and a culture of learning that makes Marie Murphy exemplary!


The Marie Murphy Soccer & Volleyball Viking teams have had excellent, successful starts to their seasons!

In volleyball, the Junior Varsity Vikings ran off seven straight wins to start the season, dropping their first match this past week. Coach Fay Fasoi's team is tied with Glencoe for first place with four matches left to play before the year-end tournament. The Varsity Vikings, under Coach Kelli Lane, have also played well, battling to a .500 record this first month of the season. The Varsity Vikings look to finish strong as they head into the conference tournament.

In soccer, the both JV and Varsity have built off of each other's success. Coaches Chad Henley and Jessica Bodzewski have led the Viking Kickers to a combined record of nine wins, no losses, and two ties. With such talented teams, both squads very much look to be favorites for North Shore Conference title runs!

8th Grade Embraces Science & History To Develop Info Text Skills

Who among us doesn't enjoy time with a good novel, curled up in a comfy spot, by a nice fire, hot beverage close at hand? It's a wonderful way to spend time pleasure reading! However, all reading is not pleasure reading. For many of us, our career choices require a significant amount of informational text reading, and there is nary fireplace or comfy chair to be found.

Traditionally, English classes have embraced literature while doing little to promote informational text reading. But not at Marie Murphy! In a wrap-around approach to develop informational text skills, all 8th grade core classes are dedicating time alloted for informational text reading so that every 8th grade student can participate in six informational text study sessions taking place over three weeks in October.

Focusing on vocabulary comprehension, outlining and summarizing, students are working collaboratively on one five informational text selections. These reading selections include:

  • The Book of Blood: From Legends & Leeches to Vampires & Veins
  • Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World's Most Dangerous Weapon
  • The Great Fire
  • Outbreak! Plagues That Changed History
  • Invincible Microbe: Tuberculosis and the Never-Ending Search for a Cure

The end result are students who are better able to make meaning of unfamiliar vocabulary, organize a plethora of factual information, and identify the most important information from a passage. Additionally, these are skills that will serve all 8th grade students well as they transition to New Trier and other high schools next year.

And all this is accomplished without the benefit of a comfy chair, roaring fire, or a pumpkin spice latte!

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Smile! Learning is fun!

Marie Murphy 6th Graders Go Full Rocket (Wo)Man in Science!

The week of October 1st found the newest Marie Murphy students embracing their inner Rocket Man, or Rocket Woman, while completing their Straw Rocket Lab during science class. While Elton John sang "...all this science I don't understand, it's just my job five days a week," Marie Murphy's 6th graders had no such troubles!

Mr. Ogden's students had to take into account multiple variables such as plunger height, trajectory angle, fin design, and rocket length, in designing their rocket and determining a firing procedure. The goal? To hit, or get as close as possible, to a target 50 feet away across the Multi-Purpose Room. No one had to burn there fuse up there alone as the students worked collaboratively in small groups. Two launching stations allowed for increased trials, calculations, hypothesis evaluation, and data collection, all critical components of helping students understand the bigger concept of the scientific method.

Learning with projectiles is fun, as the students found out! And I think it's gonna be a long, long time until...these kids forget how much fun they had in completing the Rocket Straw Lab!

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Hang On! Here's The Calendar!

October 5: Orchestra Lock In

October 8: No School

October 10: "Parenting In The Digital Age" Presentation at WJHS

October 12: MM Parent Coffee & Discussion

October 18: 7th Grade to "LIttle Shop of Horrors" at Drury Lane

October 18: BOE Meeting

October 19: Picture Retake Day

October 19: Annual Halloween Dance

October 22-23: 6th & 7th Grade Guys Basketball Tryouts

October 24: 8th Grade Guys Basketball Tryouts

October 24-25: 1/2 Day Attendance/Parent Teacher Conferences

October 26: No School (Institute Day)

October 26: End of First Quarter

October 29-31: Science Olympiad Tryouts

November 1-2: Girls Basketball Tryouts