Avoca West News

Week of January 17th

A Letter to Avoca West's Stakeholders:

Dear Avoca West friends and families,

The transition from one calendar year to the next is one of my favorite times of the year. In addition to getting to spend extra time in jammies with my own children over winter break, it's a time to look reflect on 2017, considering the highlights and the lessons learned, and to dream of the many possibilities that 2018 will bring. As I think through the reflective process, I stand firmly grounded in the notion that I am lucky to have found Avoca and hope to continue pondering the question of how to make sure that my leadership is making a positive impact on the lives of our students, staff, families, and community members.

With that question can come a great deal of, "If only..." and, "I should have..." -- both at home and at work. Though I spend much of my day trying to be a cheerleader and mom for so many, it's often that I find myself feeling discouraged at the end of the evening for all of the things that I've not done (most often for myself). Despite reading and following so many mindset gurus, there doesn't seem to be enough Brene Brown in the world to help quiet the inner critic. And so, I head into the year 2018 tackling my greatest challenge yet, centered and focused on my #oneword that is "grace." As a parent, principal, boss, friend, spouse, I find myself extending an unconditional love to others, and hope to spend the year 2018 letting the person in the mirror earn a bit of that grace as well. Focusing on the "win" for the day, both at school and at home, and beginning each day with a sense of gratitude will help, but naming it and sharing it openly will hopefully build an accountability for not only myself, but for all those who I know will also benefit from my personal growth. I've shared my one word of "grace" with my staff and encouraged them and their students to make time at the beginning of this year to think of a word that will help center (and re-center when life gets a bit off kilter) them during the calendar year. Likewise, I will encourage you all to delve into the process as well! Best of luck, and be sure to extend some grace to yourself when you inevitably veer off course!

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.

And so I look forward to not seeing the yearbook at the end of the 2017-2018 school year this June, but to capturing mental pictures and telling our story via social media. I mentally have my jammies and a big cup of coffee ready to browse through all that we've become next winter break. I hope you'll join me on the quest to making this picture a reality, and I thank you sincerely for your partnership and trust with our children.

Here's to an exciting year ahead,


Please complete the 5Essentials Survey if you have not done so already!

The opinions of our students, parents and staff are very important to us, so please complete the 5Essentials Survey. According to UChicago Impact at the University of Chicago:

The survey gathers data related to five indicators that can predict important student outcomes. These five indicators that affect and predict school success are:

  • Effective Leaders

  • Collaborative Teachers

  • Involved Families

  • Supportive Environments

  • Ambitious Instruction

The 5Essentials Survey window is open until January 31, 2018. Thank you for taking your time to give us your feedback!

Our 1st Viking VIPs for 2018

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Mark Your Calendars!!

1/18 - 6:00pm - 4th grade Music Performance at Avoca West

1/25 - 6:30pm - Board of Education Meeting (at Marie Murphy)

1/29 - Report Cards Available to View Online

1/29-2/2 - MAP Testing at Avoca West - Grades 2-5

1/31 - 6:00pm - Band Concert at Avoca West

2/2 - Paper copy of Report Card sent home via backpack mail

2/8 - Art in Action Day (Thanks in advance for all of our volunteers!!)

2/10 - 6:00pm - Avoca West's Family Night at Marie Murphy

From the Marie Murphy 8th Grade Graduation Committee...

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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!