Avoca West News

Week of September 8, 2021

September Update - Focus Areas at Avoca West

Although we are always making adjustments to life at school (particularly amid the many shifts due to COVID), I'm thrilled to share that we are staying the course with our 2020-2021 priorities in this school year. Those priorities are:


  • Social Emotional Learning -- Our staff continues to put the social emotional wellness and relationship building at the forefront of the work we do at school. Each classroom starts the day with a Morning Meeting, modeled from Responsive Classroom's recommended structure and pedagogy. This is a key component to the day and a chance to check in with students, build connections among the classroom, and to explicitly teach social emotional standards and skills. We will continue to provide professional learning for our staff in how to make this an impactful opening to the day and to find ways to embed social emotional learning into all content areas.
  • MTSS (Multi-Tiered System of Supports)-- As we look to meet the needs of all students, developing a robust system to look at student readiness, learning, and progress over time is key! We are beefing up our benchmark assessments to identify grade level trends, individual student needs, and to make data-based decisions to better differentiate and personalize learning for our students. We're thrilled to work with coaches from Northwestern who will help strengthen our professional practices and collaboration in a job-embedded professional development model! Literacy will be a primary focus for intervention this school year, though our staff will certainly continue to support students in all areas!



We will look to begin fall benchmark assessments shortly and have plans to share the information with families as well. Stay tuned, as that timing is still being determined! Thank you, as always, for your support and enthusiasm for all we do at Avoca West!

Eating at Avoca West

Everyone enjoys a midday break to gobble and go outside for recess. We have made a couple of changes in lunch during these first few weeks and believe we've landed on a place to settle...at least for now! Here's the scoop:

  • During each of the staggered lunch periods, one entire grade level eats in the classrooms (just as we did last year). This leaves the lunch room available for the other grade level to space out a bit more -- and keeps the volume down so that students are not shouting to be heard. Students have assigned seats both in the classroom and the lunchroom in the event that we need to do contact tracing.
  • PLEASE, NO PEANUTS! Our students are great about not sharing food with one another and we want to make sure it's as safe as possible for our students who have peanut allergies. Thank you for your help!


For those classrooms who are having time for a morning snack (and not all classrooms are), we are only allowing fresh fruits and vegetables. If a student brings something else for snack, he/she is asked to save it for lunch -- which can be a bit awkward in the moment. Thank you for helping us avoid those moments!

Dismissal -- Help from Families!

As we continue to make efforts to improve the flow of traffic after school, please help us in the following ways:

  • Students are lined up by last name on the blacktop. It would be super helpful to have your student's LAST NAME in the front passenger side window. That way Ms. Fay can see the name from the distance and locate your student.
  • Talk with your kiddo about keeping an eye out for his/her car. We know it can be frustrating to wait and wonder why your child doesn't see you -- and we sympathize! 😀 Any time we can give the same reminders from home and school it's a win for all!
  • If you need an extra moment to get buckled in, please pull around and off to the side to tackle that task. Doing so allows more cars to get through and on their way.


If your student is walking home, riding a bike home, or if you're parked and picking him/her up, please know that students will exit through the front doors with the bus riders. Finally, if there is a change in plans for your student's dismissal, please give the office a call. Our teachers are often away from their computers for the afternoon and will not see an email. Thank you for your help!

Dot Day - Wednesday, September 15th

On Wednesday, September 15th, Avoca West will be joining over 20,829,923 students in 193 countries to once again celebrate International Dot Day! Students and staff are encouraged to get creative and dress their dottiest best! Make your mark and see where it takes you!

Picture Day -- Rescheduled to October!

Our picture day company needs to cancel Picture Day, originally set to be next week on September 14th. The great news is -- you have time to get that last minute haircut! The not-so-great news is -- the reschedule date is MONDAY, October 4th. I'm sure it will take a village to get everyone ready and remembering a Monday picture day, so mark your calendars now!


For those of you who have already sent in order forms, rest assured that we will take care of them and hold them here until October 4th.

REGISTER NOW for the Fall 2021 Session of Chess-Ed's Virtual Enrichment Program!

Chess-Ed is pleased to offer VIRTUAL chess lessons to your chess students this Fall! The 12-week Fall session is offered Monday through Friday after school and Saturday mornings with Beginner, Novice, Continuing, and Advanced program levels.

The chess program runs from Monday, 9/20/21 to Saturday, 12/18/21 and is taught by Chess-Ed instructors using Zoom, lichess.org, and other chess software. Each week, the lessons will take students to a new level of expertise, with time to play against other students and test oneself on an understanding of this fun and challenging game. Beginners will develop basic skills to enjoy the game, while continuing and advanced students will grow in the knowledge of opening theory, middle game tactics, and endgame combinations. To register and for more information about our program, go here: www.fall2021virtualchess-ed.eventbee.com


Playing chess enhances concentration and focus, uses analytical and critical thinking skills, and promotes problem solving, creativity, social skills, and sportsmanship. Through this wonderful “Sport of the Mind”, CHESS, an intellectual foundation for all learning will occur. Join TODAY!

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Questions? Comments?

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