Marie Murphy Students Participate in Hour of Code

As MAP testing came to a completion yesterday, all Marie Murphy students had the opportunity to be a part of “Hour of Code” activities. Hour of Code is a global initiative designed to be a one-hour introduction to computer science. The goal is to demystify code and show that anybody can learn the basics. For more information about the specifics of this program, visit

Marie Murphy Technology Integration Specialist Ms. Lane provided the instructions, expertise and assistance for students 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students working individually and collaboratively on a variety of coding activities. Students had the opportunity to engage in activities from the official Hour of Code site, Made With Code by Google, Kahn Academy Hour of Code, and Scratch. Students who want to continue to learn about coding can work with Ms. Lane this Friday at lunch or can speak to Mr. Gravagna about Get Techy Club.

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7th Grade Engages in Social-Emotional Learning Activities

Last week, Marie Murphy’s 7th graders had the opportunity to be a part of two unique, social-emotional learning experiences. On Wednesday and Thursday, 7th grade students participated in Erika’s Lighthouse training. Based out of Winnetka, Erika’s Lighthouse is a not-for-profit teen depression and mental health education organization that provides effective programming to schools, teens and parents about depression and suicide prevention. Students learned about the warning signs of depression and at-risk behaviors and also were educated in the resources that are available to help them.

Then on Friday, all 7th grade students participated in our Snowflake program. Under the tutelage of teachers, parents, former Marie Murphy students, and current 8th grade student leaders. The 7th graders participated in a variety of large and small group activities focusing on drug and alcohol prevention, bullying prevention, building friendships, making positive life choices and the importance of goal setting.

The experiences of the 7th graders last week are a critical component of developing well-rounded students who are developing not only academically, but socially and emotionally as well.

 Photos from the event are featured below.

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MAP Testing Next Week

All Marie Murphy students will participate in MAP testing (Measures of Academic Progress) next week – December 9 & December 10. MAP is comprised of two different tests: a mathematics assessment and a reading assessment. The tests are un-timed so they are a more accurate reflection of what a child knows. At Marie Murphy, MAP tests are given twice a year – in the winter, and again in the spring. While we dislike interrupting instruction to assess students, MAP has several unique benefits as compared to other standardized tests.

To begin, MAP serves as an indicator of a student’s content and skill set knowledge. However, as the test is computerized and response-based, meaning that the more questions the student answers correctly, the subsequent questions becoming increasingly difficult, there is no ceiling to measuring the student’s ability in math or reading.

Additionally, because the MAP tests are computerized, teachers have the students’ results the next day. This is excellent because it allows the teacher to utilize the data immediately to drive instruction, create interventions, develop enrichment activities, and build collaborative groupings of students.

Furthermore, when the students take the MAP test in the spring, the system generates a “target growth” for the student by next spring. By looking at the percentage of students who are on pace to achieve their target growth based on the winter results, we can draw conclusions about the effectiveness of our curriculum and instruction and the level of student engagement and motivation.

Lastly, we use MAP data to help drive decision making about English and math placement as students transition from one grade level to the next.

Just like with any other standardized test, the greatest support a parent can provide to their child is to make sure that they are well-rested prior to the exams, that they have a good breakfast the days of the tests, and that they have a good perspective about MAP.

8th Graders Volunteer For Connections

Twenty-six members of Marie Murphy’s 8th grade class started the holiday sIMG_6190eason out on a philanthropic note by building and delivering “Homeless Survival Kits” for Connections for the Homeless, an Evanston-based organization that  provides housing, employment and supportive services to move individuals and families out of the shadow of homelessness.

Challenged to build a pack that would be discreet, yet useful for the homeless, 8th grade volunteers created survival kits that contained food, liquids, hygieIMG_6193ne products, clothing and protection from the elements. Working as individuals, collaboratively, or as a family, 26 student volunteers created 27 kits. In bringing the project to a conclusion, the student hand-delivered the survival kits to Connections. While delivering their kits, the 26 philanthropists stayed a bit longer to help sort and store additional clothing donation made to Connections.

The 8th graders who volunteered to be part of this project were: Jake B., Rachel B., Keara B., Michael B., Celeste C., Andrew C., Elana G., Ceola H., Connor H., Sam H., Freddie K., Skye K., Caylen L., Ethan L., Andrea L., Marion M., Allison M., Derek M., Peter P., Ana P., Cameron R., Lauren R., Angela S., Julia S., Charlotte S., and Madeleine S.

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Fall Parent-Teacher Conferences

You are invited to participate in the Parent-Teacher Conferences to be held on: Wednesday, October 22, 2014, from 3:00-7:00 p.m. and Thursday, October 23, 2014, from 3:00-7:00 p.m.

The online registration period is: 9:00 a.m. on Friday, October 10, 2014, until 12:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 21, 2014.

You will need to use your Registration and PowerSchool credentials to access this online registration system.  If you need help with your username and password, please contact the Marie Murphy office.

Beginning October 10th, please sign-up for conferences here!

Click here to read the letter regarding Parent Teacher Conferences from Mr. Palcer!

News from the Health Office

Avoca School District 37 is taking steps to prevent the spread of EV-D68 infections.

Health officials are warning doctors and parents to be on the alert for the rarely seen EV-D68 virus, which is sending children to the hospital with severe respiratory infections.

Avoca School District 37 is monitoring this public health concern as it develops. School nurses have been provided with information on the EV-D68 virus, and they, in turn, are sharing it with their school communities. The information they are sharing is from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) and the Cook County and Illinois Departments of Public Health. Their recommendations and other information on EV-D68 virus can be found at the following websites:  

EV-D68 infections cause mild to severe respiratory illness, especially in young children. Symptoms of this illness can include fever, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, and body aches.

The EV-D68 virus is transmitted through close contact with an infected person, or by touching objects or surfaces that are contaminated with the virus and then touching the mouth, nose, or eyes. 

There is no specific treatment for EV-D68 infections, and no specific antiviral medications are currently available for this purpose. 

As with all communicable diseases, it is important to prevent transmission of the EV-D68 virus. The District will be encouraging students to take the following steps to protect themselves from illness, and it encourages families to take these preventive measures at home, as well:  

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water
  • Avoid close contact (touching and shaking hands) with people who are sick
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces
  • Do not share utensils 
  • Stay home when sick

Parents/guardians are required to call school to report their child’s absence. To help control the spread of illness within the classroom, parents/guardians are urged to report any communicable disease diagnosis to the school.

Health Services Department

Anne Welter R.N.
Marie Murphy

2014 Fall Sports Tryout Information


Informational Meeting
Grades 6, 7 and 8
Tuesday, Sept. 2nd - 7:30-7:50 AM

Grades 7 and 8 – Wednesday, Sept. 3rd, 3:30-5:00 PM
Grades 6, 7 and 8 – Thursday, Sept. 4th, 3:30-5:00 PM

Grades 6 and 7 – Friday, Sept. 5th, 3:30-5:00 PM

Contact: Chad Henley –

Grades 6, 7 and 8 Tuesday, Sept. 2nd from 3:30-5:00 PM

JV (Grades 6 and 7) and Varsity (Grade 8)
Wednesday, Sept. 3rd 3:30-5:00 PM (JV) & 3:30-6:00 PM (V)
Friday, Sept. 5th, 3:30-5:00 PM (JV & V)

Kelli Lane, JV Coach –
randon Howe, Varsity Coach –