Superintendent's Corner

Avoca School District 37 - February 27, 2022

In This Issue...

  • Ongoing Monitoring of COVID and Mitigation
  • Parent Teacher Conferences & March/April Calendar
  • DRAFT Portrait of a Graduate Survey - please participate
  • Scholastic Award Winners at Marie Murphy
  • Black History Does Not End in February
  • Amplify Avoca

Ongoing Monitoring of COVID & Mitigation

Thanks to everyone, especially our staff and students, for modeling inclusive language and behavior as we transitioned to a mask optional environment this past week. This speaks to us at our best, and I am grateful for all the thoughtfulness our staff put into this and the care with which our students responded.

Of course, the CDC has now issued new guidance that includes more flexibility around masking. I will review this during the upcoming week and see if the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) adopts it, as it shares similarities with a range of metrics I recommended to the Board on February 17 which could be used to make decisions about mitigation levels in our schools going forward.

Included in the updated CDC guidance is the removal of a requirement for masking on school buses. Therefore, starting Monday, February 28, students riding on the bus will have the option to wear a mask or not.

Parent Teacher Conferences & Our March/April Calendar

Because COVID is not fully in the rearview mirror, because 3 weeks is still too far out to predict what COVID circumstances will be on March 23-24, and because of past experience with ZOOM Conferences, Spring Parent Teacher Conferences will be held via ZOOM.

Prior to Fall 2022 Conferences we will poll stakeholders and develop a plan based on that feedback and what is operationally feasible. Thank you for your patience as we continue to navigate the challenges of COVID and its aftermath. Additionally, we will look for more opportunities for parents and guardians to visit the building this Spring as COVID eases.

Please stay tuned for the online sign ups for conferences that will come out shortly. Thank you for your patience and support.

Also, please note in the Calendar at a Glance for this school year, that there is no school for students on March 25 or April 4. This calendar was approved by the Board of Education last year and the link to the full calendar view can be found here.

DRAFT Portrait of a Graduate Survey

The Community Engagement & Strategic Planning process has included presentations, surveys, focus groups, and a steering committee of 25 stakeholders providing additional input into building the future for Avoca.

Part of that future starts with our vision for our students when they graduate from the District - The Portrait of a Graduate. Starting with focus groups, then refined by the Strategic Planning Committee and its Co-Chairs, this survey includes a DRAFT Portrait of a Graduate.

Your feedback is important to refining this portrait, as it will become the "North Star" toward which much of our work as a District and community will aim.

Please take the time to complete the DRAFT Portrait of a Graduate survey by clicking here.

Scholastic Art & Writing Contest Award Winners at Marie Murphy

Annually faculty members Daira Tramontin and Kelly Sabatini at Marie Murphy work with interested students in developing creative works in visual art and writing and submitting those for competition in the Scholastic Art & Writing Contest, which is a nationwide event. This year, we are honored to note the following students and the recognition they received for their work:


Gold Key (moving on to Nationals):

  • Haven Turner - for "Timeless Beauty" - Drawing & Illustration
  • Lucas Kittikamron-Mora - for "Rainbow Vision" - Painting

Silver Key:

  • Hope Louis - for "My Friend Aditya" - Painting
  • Maeve Gaspar - for "Tundra Ghost" - Drawing & Illustration
  • Zayaan Dadwani - for "New Beginnings" - Photography

Honorable Mention:

  • Hope Louis - for "Look of Love" - Drawing & Illustration
  • Zach Libby - for "Closest to Man" - Drawing & Illustration


Silver Key:

  • Aaliya Bhaidani - for Dada - Personal Essay & Memoir
  • Ruth Cases - for It's Just a Burning Memory - Short Story
  • Sadie Mysen- for Six - Personal Essay & Memoir

Honorable Mention:

  • Lucas Kittikamron-Mora - for "Internalized" - Personal Essay & Memoir

Thanks to our amazing students for bringing their work forward and to Ms. Tramontin and Ms. Sabatini for sponsoring them.

Black History Does Not End in February

Nor should learning about Black History and Black culture in America.

Black History and American History are part of each other and Black culture and American culture are part of each other. Below are just a couple of different resources (online or in person) your student could continue to explore throughout the year. These are not recommendations or endorsements, but simply resources (paid and free) that could be of interest to students, adults, and families:

Reconstruction (click here)

An online learning platform that focuses on educational topics relevant to the experience of Black people in America.

The DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago (click here)

Chicago's premier resource for learning about the experience of Black Americans in Chicago and beyond.

The National Center for Civil and Human Rights (click here)

In Atlanta and online, it has in-person and digital resources for educators and students. It connects the U.S. Civil Rights movement spurred by Dr. King and others to the larger struggle for human rights across the globe.

Amplify 2-28-22