The Hawk: December 10, 2016

January 1, 1970 12:00 am

“The Hawk”

Dear IACS Families-

We’d like to bring two health related items to your attention.  First, IACS is thrilled to be participating in the “Making Caring Common” project sponsored by of Harvard University.  Part of this project includes a series of web-based surveys (for students, parents and staff) that are “designed to help schools better understand how school members experience the school community—whether they feel safe and respected, are connected to other adults and students, and how they interpret and respond to adult, student, and school values.”  All survey questions are optional to answer and the surveys have been independently reviewed to ensure that all responses are kept anonymous.

We’ll send all parents a link to this survey next week; students and staff will complete surveys in school over the next two weeks in school.  If you have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to contact me directly.

I’m also happy to share with you this month’s Health and Wellness letter written by Nancy Tripp, IACS social worker.  She sends a wonderful message of wellness…enjoy.

Be well.

Gayle Nutile-Pimm

Our high school clinical social worker Debi Rogers and I recently developed and presented a faculty professional development course entitled: Supporting Students Through a Trauma Informed lens.  It was our intent to provide faculty with insight into the developmental pathways that trauma impacts and influences, as well as, how the effects of trauma may be displayed within the classroom.  Through our teaching and experiential exercises that were incorporated into our course, we demonstrated the many varied avenues there are to care well for yourself, enabling one to remain present and available, even in moments of great turmoil or distress.

Heightened turmoil and distress may be your current experience given that the Holiday Season with all its festivities and flair is well upon us.   While it is a time of magic and wonder, and is advertised as “the most wonderful time of the year”, for many the reality is something quite different.  If you are feeling off-center or less than festive, and are in need of a renewed perspective, please give this article, “5 Ways to Get Yourself Out of a Rut”, a read.

May we all consider (with love and kindness) the inherent goodness that so often is hidden beneath a series of unspoken traumas and journey forward together, spreading peace on earth and goodwill towards humankind.

Wishing you comfort and joy throughout this Winter season and abundance in the New Year,


Blue Drop Snowflake

Important Upcoming Dates

December 12 MS Band and Chorus Concert 6:00 – 8:00 pm

December 13 MS Quality Night (Self Direction & Effective Com. Teams) 6:00-7:15pm

December 14 Early Release

December 15 MS Quality Night (Problem Solve & Com Member Teams) 6:00-7:15pm

December 16 HS Movie Night (Suicided Squad PG-13) 7:00 – 10:00 pm

December 19 Board of Trustee Meeting  6:30 – 8:30 pm

December 20 11th Grade College Night Kick-Off (parents & Students) 6:00 – 7:30

December 21 Early Release

December 23 – January 2 No School Winter Vacation

January 17, 2017 No School for Students (PD for Teachers)

All School News

2016 DESE Report Card:  The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has released school “report cards” and you can read this year’s summary letter linked here.

DESE report cards answer important questions about our school's overall performance on the MCAS and PARCC and contain specific information about student enrollment and teacher qualifications, student achievement, accountability, how a school is performing relative to other schools in the district and the state, and the progress made toward narrowing proficiency gaps for different groups of students.  In addition to this cover letter, you can find the links to the full report cards on the “Annual Reports” section of our website.  

IACS Snow Cancellations:

Because IACS serves a large region and does not have its own public works department to assess wintery road conditions, we make our decisions to delay, close, or hold normal hours based on reports we receive from surrounding districts. This process is an inexact science and we recognize that any decision will cause some form of hardship for families.  In the event that we delay or close school, we will notify families in the following ways:

  • Emailing the community using X2, just like “The Hawk”.

  • Updating our website with an alert screen.

  • Posting to Channel 4 (WBZ TV) and Channel 5/The Boston Channel (WCVB) websites.

  • We only make announcements if there is a change to the schedule.  If you don’t see any of the above messages, then assume school will be running as normal.   Lastly, IACS does not use the phone message system during morning hours for weather related closings; we do however use it in the event we unexpectedly need to dismiss early during the school day.

    IACS School Nutrition Program:  The December Breakfast & Lunch Menu is posted here. Contact Karen Drake if you have any questions about the School Nutrition Program.

    Upcoming Music Performances

    The schedule at IACS between now and winter break is jam-packed with musical events!

    The Saxyderms, a Boston-based saxophone ensemble that Ms. Destramp plays with, are so pleased to be having their annual winter concert at IACS this year! On Sunday, 12/11 at 2 pm, come enjoy a free concert in the auditorium with classical, jazz, pop, and Christmas music.

    – The MS winter concert takes place on Monday, 12/12 at 7 pm. The middle school chorus, the beginner band, and the advanced band would love to see you there!

    Drama for MS & HS:

    Thank you so much for all of your support for the IACS production of "Through the Looking Glass"! Congratulations to the Cast and Crew on a spectacular run, and HUGE THANKS to the IACS family community who volunteered in every way to make this production successful!

    The Performing Arts Program is looking for Middle School and High School TECHIES! Would you like to learn how to operate the lights and/ or sound for the upcoming show, Man of La Mancha? If so, please email Mrs. ONeil at for details! If you have run tech for shows in the past and would like to continue to, please email Mrs. ONeil for information.

    Middle School Drama Workshop is full! Please email if you would like to be added to the waiting list. Thank you!

    The Cast List, and Rehearsal Schedule for Man of La Mancha is out! Please check your email for the latest of the latest! The first middle and high school dance rehearsal is Monday, December 12, 3:00-4:00. The first all high school cast rehearsal is Tuesday, December 13, 3:00-5:00. We can't wait to get started on this beautiful and demanding show!

    Questions about the performing arts program? Please email

    Athletics News:

    This season, the Athletic Department will be implementing admission fees at our high school basketball games. We will be charging $2 for student/child admission and $5 for adults (anyone 18+ who does not currently attend IACS) at all games that have a varsity team playing.  Proceeds from admissions will go directly towards offsetting the associated costs of our growing program:  hiring scorekeepers and scoreboard operators, paying for professional referees to officiate the games, and covering for rental fees for the use of the facilities. We hope that you understand that this is a necessary change to make as our program grows and expands and will ultimately benefit our student-athletes.   Thank you for all of your continued support, we are looking forward to another successful winter season!

    IACA News

    Quality Night Bake Sale Staff- volunteers needed! It's always a nice "treat" for everyone to have baked goods for our Quality Nights and our baking team does not disappoint! We'll be offering baked goods for sale on Quality Nights next week ( Dec. 13 and 15). We are in need of people to supervise the bake sale tables and help with purchases for both evenings. If you are able to donate an hour or two of your time, please contact Jo Anne Frazier at

    Scholastic Book Fair : Thank you all for your support of our Scholastic Book Fair.  This year was a huge success – our sales topped $4000!!!  Books were put into the hands of over 330 students, teachers and parents.  The profit for our school was $54.79 Scholastic Dollars (taken as a 10% discount for teachers) and $989.43 cash! A special thank you goes out to Rachel Henry and Laurel Richman for their continued support, planning and coordination of this event.  Additional thanks to Amber Moody, Kim Moreau, Betsy Wildes Butters, Celeste Goyette, Sandy Jillett and Andrea Rhodes for volunteering their time to staff the book fair.

    Embrace Winter Social : Our first planning meeting for the Embrace Winter Social/Variety Show event, which happens in February, will take place this Saturday at 8am.  Location: Panera at Drum Hill.  We have a small committee in the process of forming, and welcome any additional help or ideas.  Please feel free to come by, no obligation!  (And if you plan to come, please shoot Jo Anne an email so she knows to expect you!

    Quality Night "Store": Thank you to Heather Landis and Bernadette Baird for helping kids with their purchases for QN prep! We are looking for volunteers to take over the Quality Night "Store" planning for the Spring. For more information, please contact Bernadette Baird at Thank you!

    Middle School News


    Come see us at Quality Night!

    Quality Night- Next Week!

    Students worked hard this past Tuesday and Thursday at their Quality Night prep time to ready presentations. Students should complete any work they were unable to finish during the prep time and practice their presentation at home in the days that remain prior to Quality Night. Families can help ensure readiness for this important event by listening to the presentation. Asking your child questions about how the work relates to the real-world and making connections to the four school outcomes as well as providing feedback about their presentation skills will help your child polish their presentation.

    Guests are asked to review short student presentations of their work and are given the opportunity to provide feedback to students. Quality Nights give students the opportunity to share an example of their best work with the public. We believe that this is not only an experience for adults to learn about what we do at Innovation Academy, but an opportunity for students to learn very important public speaking and presentation skills.

    Presenting at Quality Night is a promotion requirement. Fifth and seventh graders will present twice throughout the school year. Sixth and eighth graders will present in December and turn their focus

    to preparing for their gateway jury presentation in the spring. Family participation at Quality Night is essential in providing students individualized feedback about their work. Please do not hesitate to invite other guests (grandparents, aunts/uncles, neighbors, etc.) that are interested in supporting your child and seeing some examples of the project-based work IACS students do. Mark your calendars:

    Self-Direction and Effective Communication Teams Tuesday, 12/13 ~ 6-7:15 pm

    Community Membership and Problem-Solving Teams Thursday, 12/15 ~ 6-7:15 pm

    Please remind your child to dress professionally. A suit or fancy dress is not necessary, but a nice shirt, slacks, and/or skirt  would all be good choices.

    Progress Report #2

    Progress Report #2 of Semester 1 was published this week to our x2 Aspen family portal. Please review it with your child to help them celebrate areas of accomplishment and consider ways in which they can improve their performance. If you need your password reset, please reach out to the main office at Semester 1 closes on January 13th and Semester 1 assessments will be published on January 27th.

    MS Winter Concert

    The MS winter concert takes place on Monday, 12/12 at 7 pm. The middle school chorus, the beginner band, and the advanced band would love to see you there!

    Coming soon to middle school community meetings and high school advisories near you: performances by the MS chorus, advanced band, HS choirs, and HS instrumental ensemble!

    For 8th graders Applying to Technical or Independent Schools

    Please be aware that deadlines can be quite early. Please provide 2 weeks or more notice for letter of recommendations in order to give staff adequate time. Any requests for other documents (transcripts, attendance/conduct record, etc.) can be made to Federico Pererya, Dean of Students.

    2016-2017 IACS MS Yearbook Cover Competition- Deadline 12/16/2016

    The Yearbook Committee is holding a cover contest open to everyone in the Middle School.  Click here for more information.

    Middle School Art Needs Your Recyclables: We are in need of clean cereal boxes or other similar cardboard packaging for an upcoming 6th grade project. Please have students bring materials to the art room. Please no packaging from foods containing nuts.  Thank you!


    High School News

    Upcoming Events to Note:

    Friday, 12/16 – High School Movie Night, 7-10pm (Suicide Squad PG-13)

    Tuesday, 12/20 – 11th Grade College Kick-Off Night for Parents & Students

    Friday, 1/13 – Last Day of Semester 1

    Monday 1/16 – No School for MLK Holiday

    Tuesday 1/17 – No School for Students – PD for Teachers

    Video Sample of the IACS Garage Band Performing During Advisory

    Video Sample of the Chorus & Chorale Performing at Exhibition Night

    Video Sample of Instrumental Ensemble Performing at Exhibition Night

    Instrumental Ensemble Members Performed at the Festival of Trees

    Summer Opportunities Fair (1/22/17) at Phillips Academy Andover – Open to the Public

    December Seniors of the Month

    Student Health 101This month in Student Health 101 our own College Counseling Office is highlighted under the Innovation Academy tab—take a look at the advice from Danny Barr regarding writing your college essay. New articles on teen depression are in this month's issue and if you  missed it, read about "talking to your teen about alcohol" in the November issue.


    Photo of the Week

    Submissions can be emailed to

    Emma Chaitin & Kaitlyn Willgohs presenting at the Youth Summit on Opioid Awareness. Emma's presentation was on "The Massachusetts Opioid Epidemic; from injury to addiction… to recovery" and Kaitlyn’s was on "The Social Impact of Opioid Addiction."

    On Tuesday December 6th, the IACS DEALs club (Drug Education and Awareness Leaders) were among 50 of our high school students to the Youth Summit on Opioid Awareness at the Tsongas Arena in Lowell.  Over 4,500 middle and high school students from across the state as even school from northern New Hampshire attended.

    This event was designed to raise awareness on how the opioid crisis has affected our local communities in the New England area.  Several local celebrities were in attendance, including Jim Wahlberg,  former Marlins pitcher Jeff Allison, and former Patriots players Troy Brown and Matt Light, who shared their own stories on how opioid addiction has touched their lives. Many parents from the Merrimack Valley region who had lost children to this awful epidemic were also in attendance.

    We were fortunate enough to be allowed to have seven of our own students present their research and systems thinking models on this topic through their work in IACS DEALs. Congratulations and thanks to Emma Chatin, Katie Willgohs, Ben Silva, Amber Hayes, Tristan Bourgeois, Sarah Yoken, and Aria Zegdoun on an amazing accomplishment.  Throughout the event these students got a chance to talk with other high school students and adults regarding factors related to the opioid crisis and use connections circles and feedback loops to illustrate these factors. We are so proud of what our small group has accomplished and the awareness that they have helped shed light on to others in our community.  We hope this event sparked interest, hope, and empowerment with our student body to help us to increase the impact of IACS DEALs. Our mission is to help spread the word on how to help people that fall victim to substance abuse, or know of a loved one who is affected. For more pictures and videos from the summit please follow us on Instagram: #togetherwecan #iacsdealsinfo

    Holiday Season Giving Tree

    Help us again with the holiday giving tree!

    Thom Anne Sullivan Center is located in Lowell. It is an non-profit, early intervention center for infants, toddlers and their families. Not only is it an organization for children and families with early development issues, but there is a lot of community outreach done here to Lowell and the surrounding communities. This holiday season, a mitten tree fundraiser will be running from December 5rd to December 20th  to help donate gifts and living essentials to those in need. The gifts will be donated to local families with infants all the way through teens.  Emma Chaitin will be running it again this year. Please contact her at if you have any questions


    How it works! The mitten tree along with the donation box can be found in the cafeteria.

    1. Take a mitten from the tree!

      1. The mitten will contain the gender of the child, the age, and the gifts that are requested.

    2. Purchase one of the gifts listed on the mitten or an appropriate gift for the age group on your mitten. GIFTS MUST BE NEWLY PURCHASED.

    3. Bring the gift back by the date of December 20th  and drop it in the bin located next to the tree in the cafeteria. You do not need to bring your mitten back.

    If you would like to donate without taking a mitten, gloves, hats, diapers and winter-wear is greatly appreciated. Once again, if it is all NEWLY PURCHASED. Bring your gift to the bin in the cafeteria as you would if you were giving a mitten gift.

    Thank you so much for your participation! Let’s make it even better than last year!

    Note: Please try your best to fulfill your commitment to bringing this gift to donate once a mitten is taken. If you CANNOT bring in the gift after a mitten is taken, please put the mitten back on the tree or contact me so I can make a new one.

    Greg Orpen

    Head of School
    Innovation Academy Charter School
    72 Tyng Road
    Tyngsboro, MA 01879
    Phone: (978) 649-0432 x3141
    Fax: 978-649-6337

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