The Hawk: April 24, 2020

April 23, 2020 6:48 pm

IACS Hawk Distance Edition

Week ending April 24, 2020

Dear IACS Community,

Today it was bittersweet seeing members of the IACS community who were on campus pick up personal belongings. As mentioned in my email earlier this week, there will be additional opportunities for families to pick up personal items still in our buildings. The dates are designed to meet different family schedules and are as follows:

Thursday, April 30: 12 pm – 1 pm

Saturday, May 9: 9 am – 10 am

Monday, May 11: 6 pm – 7 pm

Wednesday, May 20: 6 pm – 7 pm

Saturday, June 6: 10 am – 11 am

Friday, June 12: 9 am – 10 am (Final Date)

All of these dates have been added to our website calendar with the following reminders:

  • These visits must be brief and should not be viewed as social "meet ups".

  • In order to plan appropriate staff supervision, please email the main office (mainoffice@innovationcharter.org) 24 hours in advance if you would like to enter the building.

  • All personal belongings must be picked up by Friday, June 12th. Personal items left in school after that day will be discarded or donated so that the normal summer cleaning can occur.

  • We will continue to provide weekly updates in the Hawk, so please keep reading for important information. On behalf of the entire IACS staff, I thank you for all that you’re doing for our students and in good health.

    In partnership,

    Greg Orpen

    Head of School

    All School News

    Virtual Support Groups for Families

    The Brookline Center for Community Mental Health has established free daily support groups for families during the COVID-19 crisis. Click here for their flyer, which is updated each week.

    Virtual GSA Hangouts

    With school closed for the foreseeable future, we know that students need some other way to connect with each other, and this is especially true of LGBTQ students. That’s why DESE is hosting weekly hangouts of a Virtual GSA (or Gender & Sexuality Alliance) for any middle or high school student from around the state. These video calls are peer-led with support from adult staff at the Commission on LGBTQ Youth, using the Zoom app on any device, or by calling in on your phone. Each week, we will have a group check-in, a short presentation, and then breakout groups on topics like Activism, LGBTQ books, or just hanging out!Until further notice, meetings will be held each Thursday from 1:00-2:30pm; however, registration in advance is required!

    Register in advance to join:

    Thursday, April 16th from 1:00-2:30pm | Register Here

    Breakout groups: Game Room (Kahoot), Art Room (How to draw an anime character), and Hangout Room

    Lost and Found: The items in our Lost & Found never cease to amaze! (See the following photo.) If you believe some of these items might belong to you, please email the main office: mainoffice@innovationcharter.org.

    Big picture

    Middle School News

    We are still here

    On Tuesday, the news that we wouldn’t be returning to school was shared at the governor’s press conference. Two hours later, we had a previously scheduled Zoom staff meeting which had a very subdued tone. While we understand it’s necessary to keep our community safe, our teachers were still saddened by the news that we wouldn’t be closing out the year together in person. Mrs. Carrara, 5th/6th grade ELA teacher wrote this to her students and families on Tuesday and it sums up how our staff is feeling. “… know this: we are still here. Your teachers will still be looking out for you the best that we can. We are here to help you keep those minds going, but more importantly, we are here to be an additional shoulder to lean on, or reach out to, when you need it.”

    We miss our students terribly! Please reach out to us to ask questions, to problem-solve, or simply to say hello.

    Reminder about Expectations in the Virtual Setting

    While our students have adapted well to online meetings, we’ve read in the news about students in other schools that have not been respectful in this new setting. Proactively, we read this statement to students in advisory this week, “Please remember that all school rules regarding the expectation for respectful behavior apply in the virtual setting. Further, in accordance with our school’s expectations for

    technology use and Massachusetts law, recording or capturing still images of this online

    session by any means without consent is strictly prohibited and will result in disciplinary

    Action.” Please discuss this at home with your child. Thank you for your support.

    Where to find assignments posted for all classes

    Assignments for all classes are posted on our website, https://www.innovationcharter.org/middle-school/, linked from the heading All Assignments. You can also find our Distance Learning Plan on the same page, linked from the heading Plan and Expectations. Student assignments are also updated each week in their virtual digital planner which was shared by their advisor.

    High School News

    Important Updates: Grading, Prom, & Graduation

    We are all disappointed that we will not be returning to school this year, but it is important that all students remember…school is not closed for the year, just the building is!

    We have made several changes to help all students continue to learn new content and earn credit. These changes include: reducing the workload for each class by about half, removing the POL requirement, removing the digital portfolio requirement for 2nd semester, and changing 2nd semester grades to pass/fail. We are now making one additional adjustment that students should find helpful; we are lowering the passing average for this semester from 70% to 60%.

    We are concerned, however, that some students will see this as an opportunity to complete less assignments for the last 7 weeks of classes. Students should keep in mind that strand grades will still be graded on the A-F scale and will appear on their report cards. The honor roll designation has historically been based on the semester overall grade, but for this semester it will be based on the Work Habits strand grade for each class. It is also important to keep in mind that since most of you will be looking for college recommendation letters from teachers and Ms. Deknatel, showing your strong work ethic during this period of distance learning would be noteworthy. Also, for those students that are in accelerated math classes or Dual Enrollment classes, failing to do well in these classes this semester would likely mean you could not continue with these classes next year. Bottom line…school is not closed for the year, just the building is.

    Senior project presentations will be done virtually and scheduled in collaboration between the student and their senior project teacher. We have reduced the length of the presentation and teachers have worked with their students to modify their applied piece, if necessary, given our new reality. All students should understand, however, that they must complete their applied piece and have a satisfactory presentation in order to pass Senior Project class (which is a graduation requirement).

    Unfortunately, we have made the difficult decision to not have the junior/senior prom this year. It seems unlikely that public health guidelines would allow for 150 students to gather in close contact for an event such as this, even if we held it in August. We feel especially bad for our seniors and we are already discussing how we could possibly schedule a reunion type event for the seniors in 2021.

    We are still hopeful that we can have a somewhat traditional graduation ceremony. We will be moving the ceremony to Saturday, August 1st at 2pm. It will be held indoors at the air-conditioned Tyngsboro Sports Center at 500 Potash Hill Road. Moving the ceremony indoors eliminates any issues with bad weather, including the heat and humidity that would be more of an issue in August. There is plenty of room for us to physically distance students and guests in the facility, so our hope is that we would be able to hold the ceremony if allowed under public health regulations at the time. Since we can’t predict what will be advisable and allowed at that time, we will be flexible and adjust our plans as needed. I can assure all seniors that whatever form our graduation takes, a recording of it will be made and will be available to all students and their families. Our teachers and staff have already been signing-up to speak on behalf of every graduate…not everything has to change:)

    Be well.

    Dr. Arnold

    High School Principal

    Theatre News

    With school campus being closed for the year, the Theater Arts is announcing the following:

  • The production of Les Miserables will not occur this spring or summer, however we are exploring ways in which all students, and yes our current seniors, can come together to perform this show next academic year. You’ve all worked so hard and we want to explore every option possible to make this happen! Rhonda Hawthorne will be communicating directly with Les Mis participants.

  • We will make a decision regarding Performing Arts Camps, which normally occur the last three weeks of July, no later than the end of June. If camp is cancelled, payments will be refunded promptly to families who have signed up.

  • Normally, this is the time of year when we announce the fall show and hold corresponding auditions. These plans are on hold and will be announced at a later date and communicated to the entire community.

  • Athletics News

    The Athletic Department is working with the Business Office to process spring athletic fee refunds. All payments should be returned within the next few weeks. If you have any questions or concerns, please emailiacsathletics@innovationcharter.org. Also, student athletes who still have unreturned uniforms should contain our athletics office; these items can be returned during the visit dates listed in the opening letter.