Roycemore School

Roycemore Weekly Newsletter October 30, 2018

Special Announcement

Centennial Walk Brick Dedication

Connecting the Past to the Present


On October 28th, we dedicated our Centennial Walkway.  Former headmaster Joe Becker was the ribbon cutter and current Head of School Adrianne Finley Odell, made this dedication speech:


Today we don’t just dedicate a walkway, we dedicate bricks that bind us together as a community.  We dedicate a pathway that connects our past century to our new century.  We honor those who have touched us and our children on this journey, individuals like: Kym Showers, Barbara Thomas, Jean Solomon, Frank Spica, Patti Goldstein, Karen Tomsa, Melinda Orzoff, Edie Eisner, Joe Becker, and founding Head of School Julia Henry.


We dedicate a walkway that has meaning beyond the names engraved on the bricks.  It is a walkway that honors the life changing activities that have inspired generations of Griffins to build upon the educational experiences that they have had at Roycemore School to dedicate their lives to activities that have made a difference for our world:  


  • to physicians that have saved lives

  • to professors and teachers who have taught and inspired young people

  • to attorneys that have fought for the rights of other individuals

  • to a state senator

  • to an engineer that is designing satellites that can capture solar power in space and transport it back to earth to power remote villages

  • to individuals whose creative spirit has resulted in great music, award-winning novels, comedic late night television, amazing film special effects, thought-provoking documentaries, and inspiring artwork

We not only dedicate this pathway today, we also show our DEDICATION to Roycemore, this pathway serves as a symbol of the educational journey of the young people in our community who have traveled with us on their path to adulthood.  Roycemore has guided them on this path and will continue to do so in this new century.


Thank you to each of you who have loved us through the years to ensure that Roycemore continues its mission of inspiration and support. It is because of YOU that we can do this work and will continue to do so for many years to come.  Now let’s walk to the pathway together and recognize this special day with a ribbon cutting of the Roycemore Centennial walkway.


This Week's Calendar


Thur. Nov. 1- Parent/Teacher Conferences, 2:00-7:30 pm

Thur. Nov. 1- Free Community Yoga (details below)

Fri. Nov. 2- No School - Parent/Teacher Conferences, 8:30 am-3:30 pm

Tue. Nov. 6- Lower School Admission Tour, 9:00-10:30 am (RSVP)

Thur. Nov. 8- Middle School Potluck (sign up details below)

Thur. Nov. 15 - Family Reading Night (sign up details below)

Mon. Nov. 26- Deadline for the Robert Eisner Scholarship

Sat. Dec. 1- Robert Eisner Scholarship examination

This Week in Sports

Upper School Boys Basketball practice on Wednesday Oct. 31, 5:15-6:15pm and Saturday Nov. 3, 11:30-1:30pm


From the Head of School

What is “Differentiation” at Roycemore?

By Adrianne Finley Odell


One of the hallmarks of Roycemore is our ability to differentiate for our students.  Our commitment to differentiation is to foster an environment where students are engaged with their learning.  We know when they are more engaged, their learning and understanding of subject matter is not only deeper, it is longer lasting.  There is nothing worse than for a student to be under-challenged—it can foster boredom and (potentially) behavior problems.  Conversely, there is nothing worse than being over-challenged, as it can result in reduced self-confidence and low self-esteem.  Roycemore teachers emphasize providing the right amount of challenge to each student to enhance the learning environment and to help each child reach his or her full potential.  They do this in a variety of ways, from how they group students, to their assignments and assessments, to the method of teaching and even how they organize their classrooms. Whether in early childhood where you will see children using the same materials but completing activities at different levels, or in the Upper School where students are given various options to present what they have learned, Roycemore’s commitment to differentiation provides for a student-centered environment where children thrive.


Math is a subject where differentiation tends to be a little more apparent. In the Lower School there is a single math period, or math “block,” where first through fourth grade students are assigned to a class based on their readiness rather than their grade level.  Math is taught traditionally for four days, and on the fifth day the students apply the skills they have learned to real life math, such as baking and STEM projects.  Some Lower School students take math class in the Middle School, some Middle School students take math class in the Upper School, and some Upper School students advance to take math classes at Northwestern University; there is no ceiling to students’ learning.  Even within classes, teachers differentiate.  This differentiation begins in the Early Childhood program where you might witness children at a math center using teddy bear counters with a teacher.  Some students will be holding a bear and saying "one bear," picking up another bear and saying "two bears."  Others will be picking up "two bears," then three bears and saying "I have five bears" (as the students add bears). Still others will be pointing to the bears and writing the algorithm 3 + 2 = 5 on a whiteboard.  


Reading and writing are complex skills that benefit significantly from differentiated instruction. In first and second grades, the children are divided among four teachers for reading on different levels. Children who have challenges with decoding read with our learning assistance teacher, others read with our first grade teacher, some read with our second grade teacher and those reading above level, read with our Gifted Coordinator.  Students are assessed regularly and move into different groups when they are ready for the next challenge; they do not have to wait until the end of the year to move.  Even within reading groups, students are assigned different books to read, different phonics and spelling lists and different listening apps.  They also receive different suggestions for writing and journaling to support their progress.  As students move into the Middle and Upper divisions of the school, some forms of differentiation are more subtle than others.  There are standard strategies such as opportunities for choice, journaling, pre-reading and writing. Teachers also use a variety of activities and resources including reading, speaking, drawing, acting, digital media and short videos that they might consume or create to support language composition and comprehension.  Students are challenged with probing questions during discussions and assigned roles in the classroom that honor their strengths and push them to address some of their weaknesses.  For example, in a recent Middle School humanities class, students were engaged in a heated debate about characterization.  The teacher noticed one student who was not very engaged that struggles with such assignments.  When the student was asked to take charge of the class and stand in the front of the classroom and guide the discussion, the student went from being checked out to being an active participant.  The tone of the debate improved as well.  In an Upper School class, the teacher gives each student a set of specific assignments to work on his or her writing, from working on comma splices, to grammar, to expanding ideas with relevant and specific examples, to integrating quotations into examples to support their ideas.  Peer review is also often utilized to help students reflect on what they learn from one another.


Students also benefit from differentiation in art class.  In a recent Upper School class, for example, a “rubber band drawing” assignment was organized to meet different experience levels in drawing class.  An advanced student used line variation (dark to light lines) to make the overlapping rubber bands have contrast and depth.  Another student decided to progress beyond the required five rubber bands to make the composition more lively and exciting.  Still a third student focused on drawing the rubber band in three different positions.  In a Middle School art class, students were working on a grid drawing requiring many steps and multiple class periods to complete.  The process was abbreviated for one student who missed some of the class, allowing the student to get to the last step more quickly while still experiencing some of the drawing techniques and joining the group in having a finished drawing.  The fifth and sixth grade immersive french art class, arc-en-ciel, utilizes a variety of differentiation techniques. Nearly every Arc class begins with a focus on speaking, a time called "Cercle Francais."  A call and response is used to warm up.  If students appear comfortable with whole group call and response, they move to smaller circles or paired activities.  When material is more familiar, student-led Cercle is added.  Students pose questions to their peers, allowing those who are more fluent/less inhibited to lead the speaking activity.  Various writing techniques are also utilized including spelling “in the air” on dry erase boards or even verbally. Conjugation of verbs is done kinesthetically with chanting, clapping, gestures and moving bodies and verb endings to appropriate places.


In both Middle and Upper School classes, teachers embrace a variety of differentiation from designing lessons based on students' learning styles; to grouping students by shared interests, topics and abilities; to utilizing formative assessment to adjust lesson content to meet students’ needs.  The learning environment is also modified at times to support differentiation, from changing the arrangement of desks in the classrooms, to allowing students to read in quiet spaces or move within the classroom, to creating a variety of classroom seating arrangements such as pillows, couches, and “spinny” or bouncy chairs.


Roycemore is able to differentiate better than many schools because of our small size.  Due to our low student-teacher ratio, teachers know students very well and can differentiate to meet the individual learning needs of our students.  We believe this differentiation is an approach that helps students to engage MORE.  Because of their higher engagement, they achieve MORE.  And with that achievement, they become MORE.  This is the MORE of Roycemore.


Adrianne Finley Odell Signature

Griff-ing Around...

Using Adobe Spark!

Using our Adobe Spark software to begin a project and then post the final presentations directly to Google Classroom!

Spooky Spider Webs

Spider Web Process Art and Marble Spider Webs! 


Community Happenings

RFA Happenings!

11/2 - Little Mermaids Set and Props Construction Day - Be a part of creating this amazing underwater world. sign up here

11/8 - Middle School Potluck - sign up here


Contact the Roycemore family association at if you have any questions about upcoming events!


Family Reading Night

Thursday November 15, 2018, 4:00-6:00pm.

The Illinois State Museum and the Roycemore Library are partnering to bring you a wonderful evening of reading with your family! The event is designed to offer families the opportunity to come and explore the Roycemore Library, pick out books from the collection, and read together as a family! All families are welcome to this open house-style event.  See the flyer here.


Free Community Yoga

Free Community Yoga at Roycemore School - We are thrilled to partner with Phoenix Yoga Project to offer free yoga classes every Thursday at 5:00 pm. Founded by Roycemore alumnus and trustee, Scott Kinsloe, Phoenix Yoga Project offers free yoga to help bring people across a community together. Spread the word that everyone is welcome to join our community for this free and healthy weekly class! 

Save the Date!

Save the date for Grandparents and Special Friends Day!

Tuesday, November 20, 8:30 – 11:00 am.


All are welcome whether your student is just entering pre-kindergarten or getting ready to graduate! The morning will include delicious treats and coffee, musical performances featuring all grades and special time in the classroom just for you!


Register here.


Let the College Admissions Season Begin!

Wondering what to do and when? Well, we have a doc for that! The Recommended Timeline for the College Application Process is designed for all Upper School Griffins. Feel free to download and consult it. We have seven colleges coming to meet our juniors and seniors in person, be sure to bookmark Roycemore’s Coordinator of College Counseling Stacia Campbell’s blog for up-to-date information.

Seeking Volunteers!

Admissions needs you! Amanda Avery, Director of Admissions seeks volunteers to represent Roycemore at our upcoming Admissions Mornings. It takes a village to help spread the word about our amazing school! If you are interested in becoming an Admissions Ambassador, contact Amanda directly: Thank you!!

Roycemore Spiritwear!

Please visit our online store at  to get wonderful items to wear and use all year long! We know you will all love what the RFA has chosen.  



Northwestern Diversity & Inclusion and Public Events

A quick link to all the Northwestern community diversity and inclusion events. Northwestern encourages community members to take part in events like these to increase their cultural competency and understanding. View All Upcoming Events.


See what is going on at Northwestern this month and next. Concerts, lectures, athletic events - there is always something going on. View October Events.

A New Season of FAN talks!

Heritage Baking: An Evening with Hewn's Head Baker Ellen King". Ellen King is the Co-owner and Head Baker at Hewn in Evanston; author, Heritage Baking.


Monday, Nov. 5, 2018 at 7:00 pm

New Trier High School, Northfield Campus, Cornog Auditorium

7 Happ Rd. in Northfield. View flyer here


"Self-Driven: Why a Sense of Control is So Important for Children and Teens" by William Stixrud, Ph.D. and Ned Johnson 

Dr. Stixrud is a clinical neuropsychologist and founder of The Stixrud Group, a lifespan neuropsychology practice, is an adjunct faculty member of the Children's National Medical Center, and is Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Pedicatrics, The George Washington University School of Medicine.

Mr. Johnson is an author, speaker, and founder of PrepMatters, an educational company.

Dr. Stixrud and Mr. Johnson are the co-authors of The Self-Driven Child.


Grand Rounds Presentation!

Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018, 9:00-10:30 AM

New Trier High School/Northfield, Cornog Auditorium

7 Happ Rd. in Northfield

1.5 CEU hours awarded for registered clinicians -- register here

A free copy of The Self-Driven Child will be given to each registered clinician, courtesy of Compass Health Center.


"The Self-Driven Child: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Kids More Control Over Their Lives" by William Stixrud, Ph.D. and Ned Johnson

Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018, 7:00 PM

New Trier High School/Northfield, Cornog Auditorium

7 Happ Rd. in Northfield


The two events on November 13 will be recorded.

Vew flyer here.

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Roycemore School

Roycemore School
1200 Davis Street - Evanston, Illinois 60201
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