The Hawk: April 9, 2021

April 8, 2021 6:48 pm

IACS Hawk

April 9, 2021

This digital newsletter can be translated by clicking on the translate button on the right (or above if on a mobile device) and choosing your preferred language.

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Hope stands next to the completed Peace Poles

Senior Hope Coleman-Plourde, in collaboration with the Interact Club, organized an amazing event on Wednesday when she had students and faculty painting “Peace Poles." Various groups/clubs at IACS designed and painted images and words on each Pole to represent their group. The groups that painted poles were: ARIACS, Student Government, Farm to School, GSA, Interact, Students of Color Affinity Group, The Innovator, the Middle School (ARIACS, JBOP, Scribbler, Book Club, Chorus/Band), Faculty. The Peace Poles will be on display at the front of the building in the near future. Hope wanted to give a special shout out to Mr. Barry, Ms. Ford, Ms. Morocco, Mr. Feeney, and Mr. Kennedy as well as the entire Interact Club for doing so much behind-the-scenes work for this event. Also, a big thank you to all of the students & staff listed here that came to help that day:

Nam Bui, Penelope McDonald, Rhoda Kaddu, Chloe Kefauver, Vanshika Patel, Anagha Babu, Em McDonald, Elea Zegdoun, Rian Benoit, Cassidy Bilawchuk, Sadie Coleman-Plourde, Alex Merkel, Alex Butters, Alyssa Abramo, Daniella Chávez, Diego Goodrich, Divya Adabala, Kerry Matthews, Makayla Dingle, Raziyah Macy, Alexa Palladino, Molly Ford, Ella Sciolla, Therese Guillen, Taylor Scanlon, Rylie Hegarty, Emily Garcia, Mackenzie Scanlon, Delaney Scanlon, Kirsten Jones, Nathan Zegdoun, Ms. Kelly, Ms. Ringwall, Ms. McKiel, Ms. Molenaar, Mr. Barry, Mr. McCarthy, Ms. Booth, Ms.Ford and Mr. Sciolla.

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Students and staff busy painting the various Peace Poles

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The slogans on the completed Peace Poles

All School News

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HS & MS School Calendar

Friday, 4/16 will be an early release. We’ve switched it to help ensure that we are prepared on campus for the transition to fully-in person students arriving after April break. All Wednesdays for the remainder of the school year will be early releases. Please see the calendar on our website for the most up to date information.

In Person Learning FAQ

Since announcing that IACS will open in-person learning for all grades, we’ve fielded a range of questions that we hope we can address in this document. If you have a question that is not listed in this FAQ document, please email the main office (mainoffice@innovationcharter.org) and we will add it to this list. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1wm9Csxf5YNq_biQZQrvp8fxZxwFuWIxKlCNRW573MV0/edit?usp=sharing

Embracerace.org

EmbraceRace is an organization that supports caring adults of all colors supporting efforts to raise children who are inclusive, informed, and brave when it comes to race. They have many resources for families including a free webinar series. On 4/12, there is a webinar on “Breaking Down Structural or Systemic Racism for Our Children”. They have a great mailing list with resources for families.

Special Education Parent Workshop on Basic Rights and Understanding the IEP presented by the Federation for Children with Special Needs to be held Thursday April 29th from 6:30 -8:30pm. This virtual workshop will cover IEP eligibility and Development as well as Procedural Safeguards. Participants must register at IEP Workshop in order to receive the meeting link and password. This workshop is open to all and is not limited to the IACS community.

IACS Covid Dashboard

This dashboard displays data regarding the number of positive cases, separating out staff from students, and high school from middle school students.

Questions? contact: healthoffice@innovationcharter.org or at 978-649-0432, ext. 2104.

Updates from the Health Office:

Warmer weather, Allergy Season and COVID-19

Season allergy season is upon us. This year in particular it will be very important that students who have seasonal allergies, receive their allergy medications consistently at home. Since runny nose, and headaches are symptoms of both seasonal allergies and COVID-19, keeping students symptom free from their allergies will be an important step in being able to keep students in school.

The health office will not be treating headaches and nasal congestion with any type of medication as we do not want to mask any symptoms that can also be associated with COVID-19.

Return to School After Travel Policy

Please be reminded that students who travel outside the state of MA for more than 24 hours will need to be tested upon their return to the state and receive a negative result or complete a 10 day quarantine, before returning to school. Here is the complete policy.

COVID-19 Pooled Testing at school

Registration for pooled testing is voluntary and you may register at any time. Here is the information about COVID-19 pooled testing at school and instruction on how to register and give consent for your student.

Returning to On-Campus Learning

If your student has been a remote learner and will be transitioning to on-campus learning, they will need to complete a daily health screening every morning before entering school. The daily health screen is completed by using the MyMedBot app. Information about MyMedBot and how to set up an account was sent out to all families in January and can be reviewed in this letter. If you have not set up an account, please check your email for an invite email from MyMedBot.

IACS Gear

Miss Booth and the Interact Club have worked together to design limited edition IACS gear to both raise money for a local charity and promote school pride in the community. The order form will be open until April 16th and orders will be delivered to campus in the beginning of May. This order form is open to all middle school students, high school students, families, staff and community members. Please reach out to Sarah Booth, sbooth@innovationcharter.org with any questions. https://forms.diamondmindinc.com/iacs/interact?token=824870653

Thanks so much for your support-there is 1 more week left to place orders!

Community Cookbook

Food is the universal language that unites us all! To bring our IACS community together, we are gathering recipes and related stories to create a Community Cookbook! We have extended the deadline to April 30th.

It’s easy to participate – Submit your favorite family recipe in 1 of 2 ways:

  • a google survey has been set up to collect recipesCommunity Cookbook Entry
  • email kdrake@innovationcharter.org an image of the recipe or drop a hardcopy off at the main office attn: Kdrake
  • Once we have gathered all the recipes someone from our group will reach out to you for the related story OR feel free to submit it with the recipe.

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    School Breakfast & Lunch Program

    IACS is offering FREE breakfast and lunch meals to ALL IACS on-campus learners. On-campus learners do not need to enroll or use a lunch account to receive free meals. Remote and hybrid learners can also receive free meals at either their town’s school or at IACS. Remote and hybrid learners, if you would like to pick up meals for days when the student is off-campus learning, enroll in this program by completing this survey. You do not need to complete the survey if you have already enrolled. Email kdrake@innovationcharter.org if you have any questions

    Theatre News

    Today (Friday) is the last day you can sign up to audition for the spring play!

    Follow the link below and please email rhawthorne@innovationcharter.org with any questions!

    https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSekzI1TCBHsXnDk8JZkOKebUi41_pFp-7dsFitwHgqmhVIY7g/viewform?gxids=7628

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    Middle School News

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    5th graders recently got in the spirit delivering their “Patriot Speech” in which they made a call to other colonists to give up their loyalty to King George and rise to revolution with the other New England Patriots.

    Upcoming Quality Morning Presentations

    One way students at IACS practice the outcome of effective communication is by regularly presenting their work to a variety of audiences. In a typical year, we host an event called Quality Night where students present one of their projects to families who attend. This year, because of the pandemic, we’ve made some adjustments to the format, but we’re excited that all fifth and seventh graders will be presenting on the morning of April 14th through their advisory Zoom.

    All students will be paired with an older buddy who will give them feedback on their presentation. Later this spring, when sixth and eighth graders present their portfolio at their jury presentation, their fifth or seventh grade buddy will accompany them to learn about the jury process.

    Families of fifth and seventh graders can help their students prepare by ensure they have completed their Quality Night organizer and made notecards to prepare and listening to their presentation and offering feedback. Thank you for your support!

    Miss Picture Day? Want to be in the Yearbook?

    If you missed both picture day and retake day, students can still be in the yearbook! Please submit a head shot to msyearbook@innovationcharter.org. Please include the student’s name and advisory.

    Middle School Yearbook

    The early bird price of $20 is ending soon. If you haven’t yet ordered your copy now is the time before the price goes up to the regular price of $27.

    MS Yearbook order form

    Change of Status

    A reminder that if you’d like to change your child’s status (from remote to hybrid or fully in person, etc.), please contact MS Dean of Students, Federico Pereyra at fpereyra@innovationcharter.org. We ask for 2 weeks notice. Thanks!

    Upcoming April Schedule Change: What to Expect

    Starting 4/26 (Monday after April break), students will be able to come into school for classes 5 days a week.

    Here’s what to expect and some answers to frequently asked questions:

  • The schedule: This will stay largely the same with a few key differences:

    1. Wednesdays: There will be classes on Wednesdays; they will not be asynchronous. Wednesday will be a shortened version of our current schedule. All Wednesdays will be a 12:25 early release schedule.
    2. Advisory: The timing of advisory will be a little different.
  • For students that remain remote or students that come to school in person for their hybrid days, any days at home, they will log on to their Zoom classes as they have been.

  • For the most part, students will continue to be having class in their advisory classroom (along with their partner advisory) with teachers rotating to their classrooms.

  • There will be at least 3 foot spacing in the classroom (or more depending upon what percent of the class stays remote) and 6 foot spacing at lunch. Lunch will take place in the cafeteria, auditorium, and outdoors under tents. All students will have some opportunities for outdoor lunches two days/week and indoors two days/week.

  • You may change your child’s status at any time. Please just email Federico Pereyra to change your child’s status and await a response, especially if your child is switching from remote to in-person (hybrid or 5 days) so we can be certain they have seat assignments in the classroom and at lunch.

  • We will continue to offer movement breaks and outdoor mask breaks throughout the day. We’ll have some outdoor time during lunch and occasionally during advisory. We aren’t having recess this year as we’re trying to keep groups from mixing, especially in an unstructured way like recess.

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    We can’t give actual hugs, but we can give air hugs!

    High School News

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    From the Desk of the Principal

    I have a couple of big updates for our upperclassmen. The first update is with regards to the MCAS exam. The Commissioner of Education, Jeff Riley, is going to recommend to the Board of Education that students in the Class of 2022 (current juniors) not be required to take the MCAS exams in math and English (they already were exempted from the Biology exam). It seems likely that the Board will approve this recommendation.

    So the Class of 2022 doesn’t have to take MCAS, but should they anyway? If they would like to qualify for the John & Abigail Adams Scholarship, then YES. The amount of the scholarship will depend on the specific state college or university a student attends, but at UMass it is currently equivalent to $1575 per year. To qualify for this scholarship, students must earn a combined score that puts them in the top 25% of their class at IACS, or in the top 25% of their home district. Recipients of this four-year scholarship are granted a tuition credit each year. We had 49 students from this year’s senior class qualify for the scholarship, so if there is any chance a member of the Class of 2022 might attend a state college or university, it would be in their interest to take the exam this year (even though it is not required).

    The state has also given schools an extra week in June to complete MCAS testing, so we are moving the math exam to June 8-9. Freshmen will need to stay home for these testing days, but our seniors will have already graduated so a smaller number of students will be disrupted by testing. The ELA exam will now be on 5/17 & 5/21 and grades 9 & 12 will need to work remotely on these days since we will need more classrooms than normal and more teachers to proctor the exams.

    The second bit of news is that IACS is still planning on having a Junior/Senior Prom, but with a few changes to address safety concerns. We had to cancel the prom last year due to COVID and many schools are doing the same again this year. We appreciate how much our students have lost already over the past year and did not want them to lose out on another experience. To make the prom as safe as possible we have made the following changes:

    1. The prom has been moved outside, under a tent. The tent will have lights and a dance floor.

    2. Eating dinner obviously requires masks to be off, so we have eliminated the meal and are asking students to eat on their own before going to the prom.

    3. The date for the prom has been moved from May 7th to June 11th. This change was made so that students that attend the prom will not have to return to the building after the dance. Our last day of school is a half day on June 14th, so students that attend the prom will need to stay home for that last day and access any classes remotely.

    4. All students that attend the prom will need to have a negative test for COVID within 72 hours of the prom. IACS students can be tested at school that week. Outside guests will be allowed, but they also must be tested. We can not conduct testing for outside guests.

    5. All students must wear masks.

    6. To comply with current capacity restrictions for an outdoor event, there will be a maximum of 150 people allowed at prom.

    While we realize no plan can eliminate all risk, we do feel that these changes address the safety concerns and will still provide our students with the opportunity to have an enjoyable social time together at a traditional high school experience.

    Best-

    Dr. Arnold

    Schedule for next week: April 12-16

  • Normal schedule on Monday, Tuesday, & Thursday

  • Wednesday 4/14 – This is our last full-remote Wednesday. E & F blocks will not meet today. Instead, students in Grades 9, 10 & 11 will be meeting virtually with their advisors to prepare for their Presentation of Learning. Seniors, check for an email from Ms. Kelly about a get together for a good cause during this time slot.

  • Friday 4/16 12:25 dismissal – The order of blocks has changed slightly since 4/16 was changed to an early release day for classroom setup. The order of blocks will be F, A, E (D block will not meet). If this change was not made, E block would have only met once this week.

  • Alumni working for Moderna

    Check out this recent article in the Lowell Sun about our IACS Alumni Krishna Harpanahalli

    (Class of 2015) working for Moderna Therapeutics. Way to go Krishna!

    https://www.lowellsun.com/2021/03/29/innovation-academy-charter-school-grad-worked-on-moderna-covid-19-vaccine/?clearUserState=true

    College Counseling Webinar

    Navigating the College Search for Students Who Learn Differently presented by Ferne Bork of Landmark College. May 4th at 7:00pm via Zoom (link to be provided after registration).

    Designed for students and families, this webinar will give you the tools you need to determine college fit and will help you prepare for a successful transition. Ferne will provide information about what to consider, the questions to ask, the legal landscape, and the wide range of accommodations, supports, and programs that exist in post-secondary education today. You’ll hear a little about Landmark – where it fits among the many options- and get plenty of time for questions.

    Ferne Bork is the Regional Enrollment Representative for Landmark College and mom of a student who has ADHD.

    Virtual Summer Coding Camps

    If you have a child that is interested in learning more about various types of computer coding, you might want to check out these unique camps by The Coding School. These camps are focused on Artificial Intelligence, Cybersecurity, Web Development, Creative Tech, and Computer Science prep. We had some students take a class through The Coding School this year on Quantum Computing and they learned a lot from the experience. They are also running a Quantum Computing camp this summer.

    Virtual Summer Opportunities Fair

    Phillips Academy Andover is holding a virtual summer opportunities fair. You will find it housed on their website at pspaandover.org/sof, showcasing programs of interested vendors. While the scale is smaller than usual, program information – including both in-person and virtual offerings – are described and contact information provided.

    Attention Seniors

    Seniors, make sure to look into these scholarship opportunities. Contact Ms. Deknatel with questions or if you need assistance applying

    IACS Scholarships

    Community Scholarships

    Photo of the Week

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    IACA News

    The Online Auction is Open and will be accepting bids until Friday April 16th at 10:00pm

    Check it out at: www.32auctions.com/iacs2021 Thank you to all who have already participated, we’re grateful for your support.

    Please check back periodically, new items have been added.

    You made it to Friday! Celebrate!