‘Twas the Week Before School Starts…

We are busy finishing up this week with all the many things that need to take place prior to the start of school, including welcoming our new staff members today! It’s such an exciting part of the year — but still not as exciting as when the halls will be filled with the fresh faces of our students!

As we look to get started, our staff members took a moment to consider the question:

“What is your promise to your students? As they walk in your room, consider them reading your pledge to them. Complete the sentence:  I promise…” I hope you’ll find their reflections touching and heartfelt — a wonderful way to ground  ourselves in why we come to Avoca West each day!

I look forward to seeing our new families Thursday evening (4:30-6:30pm) on the Avoca West playground. For those of you who are able to pop by school Friday morning from 8:00-9:00am for supply drop-off and an informal Meet the Teacher, I’ll see you then as well!

Mark Your Calendars:

Monday – August 22nd – First day (full day!) for 1st-5th grades

Tuesday & Wednesday – August 23rd & 24th – Welcome kindergarten (9:30-10:30am, day varies by student)

Thursday – August 25th – First full day for Kindergarten

Wednesday – August 31st – Parent Orientation Night at AW

  • 6:00-6:30 – K & 1st
  • 6:40-7:25 – 4th & 5th Grade
  • 7:30-8:00 – 2nd & 3rd


Celebrating the Final Weeks at Avoca West

This week’s weather is certainly doing its part to remind us all that the summer is nearly upon us. In order to keep our spirits up and the really celebrate a fabulous year, I hope our staff and students will join together in our “Avoca West” countdown. Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 9.27.36 AM

Kudos to our 4th and 5th grade Olympians who just took part in our 2015-2016 Olympics. They come as a culmination of the hard work and practice in PE — and could not have come on a more beautiful day! I look forward to watching our younger students at next week’s Field Day.

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Enjoy the long weekend ahead!

Updates and “Parent Ed” on Grit – 5/19

Viking Walk

We were fortunate to squeeze in our Spring Viking Walk this past Monday. Many thanks to Don Cornelius, our PE team, and the support of our staff, parent, and community for making this a fun filled event for our Avoca West students. If you haven’t turned in your pledge forms or money, please do so by next Monday. We’re looking forward to updating our aging sound system in the gym as well as providing indoor recess kits to keep our students actively engaged when the weather outside doesn’t cooperate.

Chamber Orchestra

Full OrchestraSpeaking of sound systems, kudos to our orchestras for putting on a fabulous show this past Tuesday for our students and parents. I continue to be amazed by the collective brilliance our our staff and students who work so hard to hone this craft. Thanks to our parents who continue to fight that ongoing battle to make sure your students are practicing. It truly pays off!!

Parent Ed Opportunity!!


I’ve quickly discovered in my “old age” (insert preteen daughter’s scowl and judgement about her old mom here) that I love listening to and learning from podcasts — on the way to school, on a walk with the dog, or anytime life provides me a pause of sorts. Two of my favorites podcasts to listen to are the Freakonomics and This American Life. I highly recommend them to anyone looking for some brain food, and will do my best to pass along any that seem pertinent to parents and educators alike.

One of the latest and greatest ideas that has come to light in recent years is the notion that “grit” and perseverance define a person’s success far more than raw talent. Carol Dweck has been talking about having a growth mindset for a decade, allowing many other researchers to get behind finding empirical evidence to support it. We were lucky to have FAN (the local Family Action Network) bring Angela Duckworth, author of Grit – The Power of Passion and Perseverance, to the area last week. For those of you who have a tough time getting out and about in this busy spring season, I wanted to pass along a podcast that I listened to featuring her ideas. It is one of a series of podcasts about self-improvement, so feel free to dive in and listen to them all. Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 9.48.22 AM

This is a wonderful way to model a mindset of lifelong learning for our students as well, so be sure you share your thinking and learning with your child along the way.

Enjoy, and thank you for your continued support and collaboration.


Avoca West Viking Walk Postponed

Parents planning to participate in the Avoca West Viking Walk: due to flood-like conditions AW Viking Walk will now be held on our scheduled rain date of Monday, May 16th.  Parents are welcome to join students or just come cheer ’em on.  Below is the schedule. 

Grade 5  8:30 – 9:10 AM (Marinacci, Paynter, Cross, Wieszcholek)
Grade 1  9:30 – 10:10 AM (Zebro, Stump, Hargedon, Nienhaus)
Grade 2  10:30 – 11:10 AM (Lara, Greenberg, Crispen, Bader)
Kindergarten:  Byrd/Rosic 12:00 – 12:30;  Kelly/Edgren 12:30 – 1:00
Grade 3  1:00 – 1:40 PM (Rick, Wilson, Erf, Stefan)
Grade 4  2:00 – 2:40 PM (Michael, Anshell, Howe, Nanus)