A Very Thankful Update from Avoca West – 11/18


‘Twas the Week Before Thanksgiving…

As we are nearly a week away from Thanksgiving, I want to give thanks to those students and staff members who worked so hard to make our first Spirit Assembly of the year a hit! This year’s assembly ambassadors, led by Mrs. Rick and Ms. Stefan, have been organizing around the themes from our Second Step social emotional program. Additionally, they’re using the opportunity to tie the 7 Habits to the themes as well — making nice connections between the two programs and reinforcing vocabulary.


Izza welcomes the students, staff, and visitors to our first assembly!


Several of our strings players lead the school in the Avoca West Song!

An active and attentive audience watches on and practices giving the “quiet cat” sign.


Kindergarten students respectfully watch the video of the day!  IMG_2008

Our second and third graders are PUMPED to be gathering together.


A HUGE thumbs up to our Assembly Ambassadors (not all pictured here) for a job well done! Keep up the great leadership!

We encourage our parents to view the video that was shown to our kiddos to help reinforce some of these practices and habits at home. You can view their “Skills for Learning” video by following THIS LINK. I encourage you to leave a comment as well so that our students can see the broader impact of their hard work!

Thanks as well to those of you who were able to come out to our first Parent Coffee of the year. It was a wonderful chance to talk through several changes that can be seen at Avoca West this year and to answer any parent questions as they came up. An extra thanks to Amanda Lower, Leslie Meehan, Jane Pankratz, and Kathy Stein for heading up the PTC’s enrichment group this year. They will be focusing on trying to connect more of our families together and to build a strong community outside of school as well. We will be working on building a greater appreciation of what makes our students and families unique in their “We are Avoca!” over the course of the year. Stay tuned for a survey from the PTC group about what might work best to provide a time for parents to gather together and get to know one another. “We are Avoca…” and we are pretty spectacular!

I wish you all a safe and happy holiday next week. We WILL be in school next week on Monday and Tuesday, but will take the time to reconnect with our families and friends outside of school from Wednesday-Sunday. If you plan to be out next week at all, please let your child’s teacher and/or the school nurse know. Many thanks!


Veteran’s Day Breakfast — 2015

Kudos to our student ambassadors who played fabulous hosts to our community veterans this morning. In addition to decking the school out in flags, they greeted our visitors with a warm smile and served them all morning long.

Several of Mrs. Katz’s students played for our visitors as well, and Mrs. Rosic’s kindergarten class wrapped up our entertainment by singing a couple of patriotic songs. What a wonderfully renewing opportunity to come together as an Avoca community!

Weekly Updates from Avoca West — 11/10

Next Monday, the 16th of November, I welcome all Avoca West parents to join me in the Avoca West ITC for our Parent Coffee. We will meet from 9:00-10:30 (roughly) to discuss the year’s initiatives at Avoca West and to brainstorm as a group how we can foster a real appreciation of the many aspects of diversity within our Avoca community. Our diversity, after all, is what draws many new families to our district — the many languages, cultures, types of learners, types of families, and even diversity in the four municipalities from which we draw our students!

There is no need to RSVP. Simply come with an open mind and a collaborative spirit!

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You can also link to our agenda BY CLICKING HERE. I look forward to seeing many of you there!

Building a Safe Community at Avoca West – 11/2

Our Avoca West Safety Patrol would like to sponsor a week of ways to feel safe at school. Though the group will also help to reinforce the physical safety at school,
November 2nd: Wear BLUE to show that you are against bullying. It’s never cool to be a bully.
November 3rd: Wear a MISMATCHED OUTFIT OR TIE DYE to show that you accept differences in others. Everyone is unique, and we like that!
November 4th:  Wear YELLOW OR GOLD to show that you have a heart of gold. Try paying it forward today and doing something nice for someone without expecting anything in return.
November 5th: Wear NEON to show that kindness is bright and should always be seen! Be kind to someone today and every day. Invite a new friend to play at recess or sit with you at lunch. Be kind! It feels better!
November 6th:  Wear RED to show that you will stop, think, and be safe and respectful online. Be a responsible digital citizen and treat people how you want to be treated in real life and online!
Many thanks for your support of our Avoca West Safety Patrol and for helping to making out school a better place to learn, love, and grow!


Movie: Big Hero 6 (Rated: PG)

Time:  Doors will open at 6:15 / Movie will start at 6:45

Place: Marie Murphy Gymnasium

Price:  $5 RSVP ONLY. Maximum $20 per family.

Bring:  A blanket/sleeping bag to sit or lay on. Bleachers & chairs will be available as well. Pizza, popcorn, candy and drinks will be available for purchase! Spirit Wear will also be on sale!

Please note that children must be accompanied by an adult.

Please send in your RSVP no later than Wednesday, November 11th, 2015 (CLICK HERE FOR THE FLIER).  You can contact Marcela Rodriguez Grossman marceropino@hotmail.com or Stephanie Rick ricks@avoca37.org if you have any questions.

AVAILABLE NOW: Movie Night Sponsorships

Looking for a fun way to donate to Avoca? For the first time, we are offering MOVIE NIGHT SPONSORSHIPS!  CLICK HERE for for more information.

Veteran’s Day Breakfast is nearly upon us! Please consider reaching out to your neighbors, family members, and friends to invite them to join us on November 11th for our breakfast. We’re hoping to pack the North Gym with our honorees and to make our daily dose of gratitude spread far and wide across our Avoca community!

Parent-Principal Coffee is set for Monday, November 16th at 9:00. We’ll meet in the ITC to talk about our Avoca goals for the year, including how we can embrace the diversity that makes us such a unique place to learn, love, and grow!

Finally, please consider signing up for Remind (formerly Remind 101) as an easy way to get notified about things going on at Avoca West. The service is free to you and allows me to text parents directly with quick snippets of information. You can text @avocawest to 81010 — quick, easy, and painless!! I will also send parents an invitation to join via email. Feel free to ignore this if you are one of the 100 parents already signed up.

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Time to Put October in the Books! — 10/29

Thanks to all of our parent volunteers who made last week’s Book Fair run smoothly. Between set up, working with our students on the preview, manning the fair, and take down, it truly took a massive amount of dedication. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Another round of thanks goes to our parent reps and PTC chairs who have been working so hard on setting up this Friday’s Halloween celebrations. Our parade will kick off at 1:40 through the halls of Avoca West and proceed outside for our visitors as well. Once inside the building, visitors will be given access to the classrooms at 2:00 to begin the fun! I look forward to seeing the students in their costumes and enjoying the day! As a reminder please be keep in mind…

  • No weapons of any kind
  • All students’ faces need to be seen —  no masks, please! This includes morph suits that cover the face.
  • Our Halloween party treats will all follow our safe snack guidelines — peanut free and safe for those with allergies.


For those of you who had your licenses scanned in the front office with our Raptor system prior to Friday (and whose name was given to your room parents), your badge can be picked up at one of our tables in the front hallway. Couldn’t make it to Avoca West to get scanned? No problem! The office staff can take care of you on Friday with hopefully a minimal wait.

We will announce the big winners for the PTC Innisbrook Gift Wrap sale at our morning assembly this Friday. I can’t wait to hear how our kiddos did!

Mark your calendars:

  • Our District’s Veteran’s Day Breakfast will take place at Avoca West on November 11th. Please RSVP to our school office via phone (847)724-6800 or email (giovanninir@avoca37.org or benedac@avoca37.org) For those of you on the fence, feel free to make a game day decision. We’re looking forward to packing the North gym and serving those who served our country!
  • Avoca West’s first Parent Coffee will be on Monday, November 16th (9:00-10:30am in the ITC). We’ll use the time to talk about goals for the year and how we can enhance our appreciation for our community’s rich diversity. I hope you’ll be able to stop by for some coffee and conversation!

I wish you a safe holiday, and please remind your kiddos that Mrs. Hutchison’s engine runs on Twix! :) All the best!

Conference Week Updates from Avoca West — 10/22

It’s been so nice to see so many of you here for conferences and for our Anderson’s Book Fair. Thank you for sharing your smiles and your excitement about your child’s progress this year!

As a reminder, our teachers will be learning here at school tomorrow, but there is NO SCHOOL FOR STUDENTS tomorrow. Enjoy the extra long weekend!

We’ve seen so many faces this past week with parents scanning their IDs into the RAPTOR system. If you are planning on joining your child’s class for the Halloween Party, please also reach out to your child’s room parent(s) so that our office staff can print out your ID badge. Rest assured that if you’re unable to make it here before Friday, you’re still welcome to join the party but will need to wait in line to be scanned in.

Additional Halloween reminders:

  • No weapons of any kind
  • All students’ faces need to be seen —  no masks, please! This includes morph suits that cover the face.
  • Our Halloween party treats will all follow our safe snack guidelines — peanut free and safe for those with allergies.

Please also remind your child(ren) to come to the office at the end of the day if a ride/pick-up is running late. Many of our kiddos live close by and feel very safe in the neighborhood and with other friends, but we want to be sure each child gets home safely.

In continuing with our safety theme, thank you all for being mindful as you travel down Sherwood each morning. The police speed monitor is a wonderful visual reminder, but please also be sure to keep an eye out for all students (and adults!) when you turn in to school. It is a busy space in the mornings at at pick-up time, so please keep an eye out. As the saying goes, “it takes a village” — and we’re all a part of our Avoca West village!

Enjoy the week and this cooler fall weather!

Safety Week at Avoca West – 10/13

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A HUGE thanks to our Glenview Fire Department who made the trek out to Avoca West today to speak with our students about fire safety. This is in conjunction with their annual fire safety public outreach education, and is always a huge hit with the students! I encourage all of our students and families to reinforce the appreciation of our first responders by saying thank you any time you encounter any officers out in the community!

We will continue our focus on safety preparation this week by practicing another fire drill tomorrow afternoon (during lunch/recess time for our older students). To wrap up our week, we will have a lockdown drill on Friday afternoon. First responders from Glenview’s Fire and Police Departments will take part in our drill to provide feedback to our team and to give their staffs the experience of being our our building. As this experience can be anxiety provoking for some our students, please reiterate our need to practice so we can be safe here at school. Thank you for your partnership!

Speaking of safety, just a quick reminder that we are doing all we can to make sure our school is safe and welcoming for all students. In keeping with student safety, please keep in mind the following information:

  • All daily snacks (individual for students) should be healthy and should be nut free. Please check those labels.
  • This year we are keeping birthday treats the same across the school — fresh fruits and veggies only.
  • The PTC will be helping to maintain this consistency at all classroom celebrations.
  • As a heads up, Valentine’s Day “cards” will need to be candy free this year.  I know that the last minute decision at several grade levels last year made things tricky for parents (and disappointed students), but hopefully this heads up will help others planning for the future!

You should have received your child’s school pictures this week. If you would like your child to take another picture, retakes will be next Wednesday in the morning. Please be sure to send your child with his/her original pictures.


As we look to spread our appreciation for all who do for our children at Avoca West, I thought it appropriate to share that Thursday, October 22nd (next week) is Bus Driver Appreciation Day! Who knew! I encourage you and your children who ride the bus to share an extra big smile or a word of thanks with your bus driver. They take great care of our kiddos, and we’ll be treating them at school that morning as well!

There’s still time to RSVP for our Veteran’s Day Breakfast on November 11th. Let’s pack the multipurpose room and really show our veterans how much we appreciate their service! Reach out to Cece in our school office so we can have as accurate an estimate of those who will be joining us. Thanks!

images-2Finally, I hope you can pencil in some time on the morning of November 16th for our Avoca West Parent-Principal Coffee. The time is set to be an informal time for parents to learn more about our goals this year at Avoca West. Additionally, we’ll be talking with parents about how we might encourage a greater sense of appreciation for our incredible diversity here in Avoca. I’ll post an agenda as the day approaches.

Enjoy the week ahead, and let’s hope our Cubbies find some continued success this weekend! Be well, and I’ll see you in the car line tomorrow!




Weekly Updates from Avoca West – 10/7

Greetings, Avoca West friends! I have been down in Springfield for the better part of this week learning more about helping to serve our struggling learners best. I look forward to returning to school tomorrow and filling up with energy from our kiddos once again!

Next week we will welcome the Glenview Fire Department on the 14th. They will be talking with our students about fire safety and encouraging the conversation to continue at home. This visit will coincide with our Safety Week at Avoca West. Throughout the week, students and teachers will practice fire drills, shelter in place drills (tornado drills), and a lockdown drill. Although some of our students can become anxious during and in anticipation of these drills, we continue to reinforce the notion that continuous practice helps to make sure we’re ready in the case of a real emergency.

As a reminder, we will not have school on Monday due to the Columbus Day holiday

Thank you to those parents who have been vigilant about getting their children in to school by 8:15 so that they can get into their seats by the time that instruction begins at 8:20. Every minute matters, and I know how harrowing those early mornings can be as you work to move everyone along!

Picture retake day will be the morning of Wednesday, October 21st.

Finally, let’s PACK THE MULTIPURPOSE ROOM for our annual Veteran’s Day Breakfast. I encourage you to invite friends, family members, neighbors, etc. to join us the morning of November 11th so that we can serve them! You can reach out to Cece or Roxann in the front office with any questions or to give them a name for our lists.

Enjoy the rest of the week, and here’s to a Cubs win this evening!!



So Long, September!!

imgresMark your calendars! This year’s Parent-Teacher Conferences will take place on Wednesday, October 21st and Thursday, October 22nd in the after school/evening hours. Parents will all receive an email sometime Thursday, October 1st with directions for how to sign up for a 15 minute time slot through our online Sign Up Genius system. This is the same system as we used at Avoca West last year.

The District’s annual Veteran’s Day Breakfast will take place at Avoca West the morning of November 11th. Rather than taking the day off, we prefer to take the time to honor those who have served our country. This event is open to ALL THOSE who have served our country. The veterans we honor do NOT have to live in our Avoca Community — our doors are open to all! If you have a veteran in your life (or are a veteran yourself), please RSVP to Roxann Giovannini at giovanninir@avoca37.org or call our office to secure a spot for our honored guests.

Innisbrook Wrap (and other treats) Sale has been extended another two weeks. If you’ve not yet been able to turn in your order, there’s still time!

Halloween Guidelines were posted last week in my weekly update. Please look back at them in helping your child plan his/her Halloween costume for our school celebration this year. Additionally, room parents will be sharing information with families about the day’s festivities in the near future.

Finally, as we look to encourage a growth mindset in our children, I thought I’d share an article that was passed on from my daughter’s band teacher. Though it is intended for those of us who are bearing with these squeaky first few months of beginning an instrument, I found the lessons to hold true in all of life’s settings.

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For the full length article (worth the read!!), follow this link to read Three Things Parents Must Tell Their Children When They Begin a Musical Instrument. 

Happy Fall, my friends, and here’s to many more months ahead on this 2015-2016 journey!

Happy Fall

Weekly Updates from Avoca West – 9/21

It seems that fall is finally here, with it bringing a real sense of focus and rhythm as a school community! As we prepare to wrap up the month of September, please keep the following items in mind in your planning.

  • Parent-Teacher Conferences are scheduled for October 21st and 22nd in the evenings (with half days of student attendance). We will be using an online sign up system once again this year. Teachers will send out an email to their classroom parents with a link to sign up for a time slot on October 1st. Please look for the email and feel free to contact your child’s teacher with specific questions or concerns.
  • 3rd Grade CogAT scores were mailed out earlier this morning. The scores will be sent to the parents of last year’s 2nd graders with an explanation of how to interpret the results. Feel free to reach out to your child’s classroom teacher or to our Advanced Learner staff members (Katie Morgan or Diane Bilcer) with questions.

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  • Picture Retakes are scheduled for the morning of October 21st. This is a half day of student attendance. Students wishing to take a retake should bring their other orders with them that morning. A SUPER HUGE THANKS goes out to all those volunteers who made it such a seamless Picture Day!
  • Tardy Reminders: Students need to be in their seats at 8:20 (1st-5th grades) in order to be counted as on time. Those students arriving after the bell rings will enter through the office to let Nurse Theer know they are on time. Please know, however, that merely arriving before the bell does not guarantee your child will be on time. Parents should plan accordingly to make sure students are in the building with enough time to unpack and get into their seats. Thank you for your help!
  • MAP Testing is just about wrapping up for our 2nd-5th grades. Scores will be ready for parents to view and discuss with classroom teachers at October conferences.


  • Halloween Updates! As your child plans his/her costume for this Halloween, please keep the following things in mind for our celebrations here at Avoca West:
    • No Masks or face coverings (this includes morph suits) — faces need to be seen and identifiable at all times
    • No Weapons, please. Please exercise your best judgement in these cases, as those students who wear masks and/or have pretend weapons will not be permitted to use them for our Avoca West celebrations
    • Our parade will commence (in school) at 1:40. Kindergarten classes will celebrate from 12:30-1:30, with the older grades celebrating after the parade at approximately 2:15. Room parents will reach out to classroom parents with requests for names of those who wish to attend ahead of time. This will help in getting visitors admitted while still making sure our students are safe inside of our building.

Thanks so much for your partnership, and enjoy the week ahead!