The Vision – January 2015 - Avoca School District 37

Community Newsletter
January 2015
Volume 18
Dr. Kevin Jauch, Superintendent
2921 Illinois Rd., Wilmette, IL 60091
Avoca Celebrates Its
Diversity at Intercultural
& Talent Show
Article contributed by Lourdes Cornelius,
Intercultural Dinner and Talent Show Co-chair
With the full support of the Avoca PTC, Avoca School
District 37 celebrated its first Intercultural Dinner and
Talent Show. The event took place in the gymnasium at
Marie Murphy School. Seventy-five families made
dishes representing 30 different countries. “Originally
we wanted each country to have its own table at the
dinner. As the emails continued to pour in, we knew we
would have to combine countries on a table in order to
leave room for the guests,” recalled co-chair Miyako
Knowing that there would be several families
representing the same country, Country Ambassadors
were assigned. Sarika Jathar, Country Ambassador for
India, began hosting weekly meetings in her home for
12 families. “We quickly divided responsibilities for
food, decorations and talent show.”
The talent show portion also proved to be a
success. “We were counting on children performing a
talent that they were comfortable with and therefore
would not need much rehearsal time,” said co-chair
Lourdes Cornelius. “We complemented our children’s
acts with outside cultural performers.”
The event’s objective was to be a community
builder. Families worked with other families to make
dishes, create country poster boards and decorate their
tables,” reflected co-chair Colleen Rosenthal.
While typical census statistics lump students into five
categories of race, this evening left everyone excited
and in amazement of just how diverse Avoca is!
S&P Assigns Avoca
AAA Bond Rating
In preparation for issuing Life Safety Bonds to address
roofing, security, heating ventilation and air
conditioning (HVAC) and other necessary life safety
projects, the Avoca School District reached out to
Standard and Poors Financial Services to procure a
bond rating.
The process involved a 50+ page preliminary official
statement (POS) that was compiled by District
Administration and the District’s Financial Advisor
from PMA Securities, as well as an extensive
telephone interview. Citing Avoca’s historical trend
data to guide revenue and expenditure assumptions;
monthly budget-to-actual financial performance
reports; and a five-year long-term financial plan,
Standard and Poors issued Avoca School District 37 a
‘AAA’ long-term bond rating!
In its summary to the district, S & P stated that the
‘AAA’ long-term rating is a reflection of their
assessment of Avoca’s:
 Very strong income levels and extremely strong
market value per capita indicators;
 Very strong available fund balance; and
 Good financial management practices and policies.
This bond rating was sought by the District in
preparation for the issuance of approximately
$3,700,000 in general obligation, Life Safety bonds.
To learn more about that topic, see the Board Brief
blurb on page 3 titled Avoca Bond Issuance to be
paid back at 1.25%.
X-Country Team
Article contributed by Tyler Ackerman,
7th Grade Student and X-country Team Member
Coming Events:
PARCC Parent
This season Marie Murphy School set up a fun, little cross country Information Meeting - MM
team for the first time ever! A group of parents, along with Mrs.
Tuesday, February 3 | 7:00-8:00pm
Geidner, the librarian from Avoca West, came together to form the MM - JMP Community Center
running club.
PARCC Parent
Information Meeting - AW
It didn’t matter if you were the fastest one there or the slowest; all
Friday, February 5 | 7:00-8:00pm
that mattered was that we were out there having a good time. We AW - North Gym
practiced before school every day except Monday. I knew I was
good at running before this, but I viewed running as an individual
PTC Meeting
sport. Now I see and understand how running is a team sport. Not Wednesday, February 11 | 7:00pm
only is it a team sport by depending on your teammate’s times,
but it is also a team sport because you need the support and
AW 2nd Grade Music Performance
encouragement from your team.
In every race I ran there was
always someone on the
sideline cheering me on. I was
surprised by how many kids
got up and were motivated to
come early. We mostly ran
outside even on cold days. For
meets we wore fun, neon shirts
that were super cool because
you could see them from far
away and recognize our team.
Thursday, February 12 | 6:30-7:30 pm
AW - South Gym
President’s Day
Monday, February 16 | No School
Teacher Institute Day
Tuesday, February 17 | No School
PTC Meeting
Wednesday, March 4 | 7:00pm
MM - JMP Community Center
AW Kindergarten Orientation
For Incoming Kindergarten Families
Wednesday, March 11 | 6:00-7:00pm
AW 1st Grade Music Performance
Monday, March 16 | 6:00-7:00 pm
AW - South Gym
Sizzling Strings Concert
We had cross
country meets
about once
every two
weeks, and
they were really fun. In the
morning on the day of the meet
we would all go to the Marie
Murphy community room and
have a satisfying pre-race
breakfast. We raced against
other schools that had been
preparing a lot more than we
had, and surprisingly we did
pretty well.
Thursday, March 19 | 7:00-8:00pm
MM – Main Gym
Parent Teacher Conferences
½ Day Student Attendance
Wednesday, March 25
Thursday, March 26
Teacher Institute Day
Friday, March 27 | No School
Spring Break
Saturday, March 28 – Sunday, April 5
PTC Meeting
Wednesday, April 8 | 7:00pm
Board Briefs
Summer School Tuition
Chief School Business Official, Beth Dever
discussed the summer school fee structure. Her
recommendation for 2015 is below:
D39 Summer
Life Safety Bond Parameters Resolution
Tammie Beckwith Schallmo from PMA Securities
discussed with the Board of Education and the
Avoca Administrative Team the life safety bond
parameters resolution recapping the current debt
owed by the Avoca School District and how that
debt was structured.
Board of Education Goal Updates
Dr. Jauch updated the BOE regarding the research
that had been conducted and improvements that
have been implemented towards enhancing
Avoca’s communication.
Dr. Jauch also updated the BOE on the district’s
efforts to audit its technology policies, security and
DLA Architects for Life Safety Project for
Chief School Business Official Beth Dever
discussed that DLA Architects would facilitate the
completion of the following items in 2015 for the
Avoca School District:
Replacement of six (6) air handlers at MM
Replacement of (8) exhaust fans at MM
Security renovations at MM
Security renovations at AW
Replacement of eight (8) unit ventilators at AW
Reconfiguration of the existing Nurse’s toilet for
ADA compliance at AW
 Work related to thirty-eight (38) new doors
under life safety for the following reasons:
 Fire rating
 Poorly functioning hardware
 Hardware missing
 Miscellaneous floor, wall, casework and ceiling
replacement and modification as required
Tax Levy
The Board approved the adoption of the 2014 Tax
Levy. The rate of increase was 3.0% for the 2014
operating levy.
2015-2016 School Calendar Proposal
Superintendent Dr. Jauch presented to the Board
of Education six drafts of the 2015-2016 school
calendar. Dr. Jauch explained that the school
calendar aligns with New Trier High School and
the surrounding sender districts for winter and
spring breaks.
Avoca Life Safety Bond Issuance
to be Paid Back at 1.25%
Previous discussions detailed Avoca’s extensive
Life Safety Survey, highlighting the work that
needed to be done to address issues regarding
security, roofs and heating ventilation and air
conditioning (HVAC). On November 20 the Avoca
Board of Education (BOE) held its state mandated
Bond Issuance Notification Act Hearing and
passed a resolution to issue General Obligation
Limited Tax School Bonds at its regularly
scheduled December BOE meeting.
The BOE chose to structure the approximately
$3.7M bond issuance in a manner that extends the
district’s debt at the exact same level that it has
been at since tax levy year 2002. Since that time,
the district has annually paid approximately
$731,000 towards its debt service. With this latest
bond issuance, the District will continue to pay this
amount through fiscal year 2022 in order to
address these essential building projects.
Upon the advice of PMA Securities, the District
pursued a competitive bond sale on January
14. So attractive were the district’s ‘AAA’ general
obligation municipal bonds to investors that Avoca
received 48 bids from seven financial houses in the
approximately 20 minute window in which the
bonds were offered.
This highly competitive event led to Avoca
eventually offering just under $3,700,000 worth of
bonds to be paid back at an interest rate of 1.25%!
Public Hearing Date for Amended
Budget for FY Beginning July 1, 2014
At its January 22 meeting, the Board approved to
schedule a 2015 public hearing date for amended
budget for FY beginning July 1, 2014 on March 19,
2015, at 6:15 p.m. in the Joseph M. Porto
Community Center at Marie Murphy School.
Upcoming Board meeting dates include:
2/2 5:30 p.m. – Committee of the Whole
2/19 5:30 p.m. – Board Finance Committee
2/19 6:30 p.m. – Board of Education
3/2 5:30 p.m. – Committee of the Whole
3/19 5:30 p.m. – Board Finance Committee
3/19 6:15 p.m. – Public Hearing
3/19 6:30 p.m. – Board of Education
4/6 5:30 p.m. – Committee of the Whole
4/28 5:30 p.m. – Board Finance Committee
4/28 6:30 p.m. – Board of Education
Hour of Code
Article contributed by Kelli Lane,
Technology Facilitator
During Computer Science Education Week last December, Avoca
School District 37 participated in the global initiative Hour of Code.
Created by, Hour of Code is a one hour introduction to
computer science, designed to show that anyone can learn the
basics of programming. Celebrities, computer techs, students, and
even President Obama participated!
Hour of Code, though only two years old, has become a
phenomenon with over 75,000 unique coding events world wide
registered this year alone! Sites such as Kahn Academy, Scratch,
and other computer science organizations created spin-offs using
the same easy, block-based, one hour programming model.
At Marie Murphy School, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students worked individually or in groups to explore their
choice of coding websites such as the official Hour of Code website, Made With Code by Google, Kahn
Academy: Hour of Code, and Scratch. They created their own version of the popular Flappy Bird app, built
avatars, programmed the lights on a tree in Washington D.C., and created drum beats using elements of
various programming languages such as HTML, Java, and J <Finish>.
But coding is not just a one time event at Avoca.
 Science teacher Jim Gravagna uses Lego Mindstorm, an
icon based programming kit, in his 8th grade class.
 Science Olympiad has to program a controller for a robot
using C++ as part of their competition.
 2nd grade learns Scratch, a block based coding program
developed by MIT.
 3rd grade uses PicoCrickets, another program developed
by MIT, which allows programming of mini units with
motors, sound boxes, and LED lights.
If you would like to view the sites students used, check out the Hour of Code list on
We invite the Avoca Community to:
Marie Murphy Science Olympiad
Saturday, February 28
Marie Murphy School
8:30am - 12:00pm
$5 includes pancake breakfast, coffee and/or juice
Raffle for incredible items! $1/ticket or 6 tickets for $5
Watch demonstrations of Gliders, Wheeled Vehicle, Robocross and more!
Hands on activities for kids of ALL ages!
Mark your calendars, because you’re Invited!
The Avoca Orchestra Presents:
Sizzlin’ Strings
Thursday, March 19, 2015
The Avoca Orchestra Program will be featured in a performance entitled Sizzlin’ Strings on Thursday, March 19,
7:00 pm, with a repeat performance on Friday, March 20, at 9:00 am. Both performances will take place in the
Marie Murphy School gymnasium.
Join almost 200 string instrument players in grades 3 through 8 from Avoca West Elementary and Marie Murphy
Schools! The performance will feature four orchestras, plus a Strolling Strings ensemble.
Pieces performed will include pop songs, classical music and traditional fiddling tunes, including Best of Green Day
and All About that Bass!
Marie Murphy School
2921 Illinois Road, Wilmette
March 19, 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
March 20, 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Join us for this fun, not-to-be-missed concert! Community members welcome!
Marie Murphy Students
Receive Top
Writing Honors
Article contributed by Kathy Pagakis,
7th Grade Language Arts Teacher
Marie Murphy 7th grade writers, Zach Stein and
Jules Brown, were awarded 1st and 2nd place
respectively in the Wilmette Optimist Club’s
annual creative writing contest. Zach was
awarded first prize for his action story titled
Horror Gone Wrong, a humorous and creative
take on childhood fears. Jules won 2nd prize for
Freak, a dark tale with a unique twist on social
acceptance and the perspective of others.
This annual contest sponsored by the Wilmette
Optimist Club gives young people an opportunity
to express themselves through the process of
creative writing, and is open to all students who
attend school within the village of Wilmette. Both
Zach and Jules will be awarded a monetary prize
and will have the opportunity to read their writing
at an upcoming Wilmette Optimist Club meeting.
Their stories will also be featured in upcoming
issues of the Marie Murphy Newspaper, The
Voice of the Vikings, at
2921 Illinois Road
Wilmette, IL 60091
Non-Profit Org.
U.S. Postage
Permit No. 49
Wilmette, IL
“The Mission of the Avoca School
District is to maximize the unique
potential of each child we serve.”
You’re Invited to Avoca West’s
Kindergarten Parent Orientation
Parents of those students who will be 5 by September 1st, 2015
Wednesday, March 11th 6:00-7:00pm*
Avoca West’s ITC
To welcome you into our Viking family!
We hope you’ll make plans to join us to learn more about kindergarten life in District 37. The evening will be a
time for our kindergarten teachers to share with parents a bit about a typical day in kindergarten, how to
prepare your child for kindergarten, and to answer any questions you may have about making the transition to
elementary school. This is a wonderful time to meet new families and to begin this exciting process. We hope to
see you there!
Additionally, our DOORS WILL OPEN AT 5:30 for those parents who wish to begin the registration process. In
order to do so, please come with your child’s birth certificate and two proofs of residency.
*Please reach out to those friends and neighbors who may not see this invitation. Thank you!