The Hawk: December 11, 2020

December 11, 2020 5:40 pm


Week ending December 11, 2020

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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Dear IACS Community,

At their November 16th meeting, our Board of Trustees voted for IACS to transition to a hybrid model on Monday, January 4th. At this Monday’s (12/14) meeting, I’ll be recommending that this shift be delayed until Tuesday, January 19th. I am fully aware that this recommendation will be disappointing for some and bring relief to others, so I want to provide some context for my thinking.

First, the public health landscape in locally and nationally, has been concerning since Thanksgiving break and prompted the state to roll back reopening plans in other sectors. The social gatherings and traveling known to exacerbate COVID rates over Thanksgiving are likely to be repeated over December vacation and having a two week buffer will create space between those activities and scaling up the number of students and staff in the building. Our health office consulted with our school physician who agreed this spacing would be helpful.

With this return date, our staff will be able to work in-person with familiar students they have taught all semester as we orient to new instructional practices and daily protocols. Here is a rundown how Semester 1 would end:

  • Friday, January 15th: professional development for day teachers (No Classes for students)

  • Monday, January 18th: No School (MLK)

  • Tuesday, January 19th: RED cohort starts hybrid

  • Wednesday, January 20th: All remote classes per hybrid model

  • Thursday, January 21st: BLUE cohort starts hybrid

  • Friday, January 22 through Thursday, January 28th normal hybrid schedule of Red & Blue teams

  • Friday, January 29th: Semester 1 closed; professional development day for teachers (No Classes for students)

In the first week of January, we’ll be sharing with families whose students have not been on campus a review of key policies and protocols, both health and non-health related, that will be essential for all community members to know.

In partnership,

Greg Orpen

Head of School



All School News

Tech Issues

Students should report any tech or wifi issues to their teacher right away via email or chat. If the wifi is so bad that email isn’t possible, call the main office, 978-649-0432 x 0 and we can get the message to the teacher.

Some students have reported long running issues with their machines. We can help make sure students have what they need to successfully access their classes. Don’t wait! Reach out to our IT department so they can troubleshoot with you!

Need a device? Fill out the Chromebook user contract form or contact Heather Landis,, and contact the main office to pick it up.

Issues with your device (camera or mic not working? Not charging? Operating slowly?), please contact Mr. Troy, or call the mainoffice and they can connect you to Mr. Troy.

IACS is hiring In Person Instructional Support Staff:

Innovation Academy is seeking full-time and part-time instructional support staff at the middle and high school to assist students with coursework and provide supervision throughout the school day since their teacher will be working remotely. Ideal candidates would have experience working in a school setting, working with young people, or be pursuing a degree in the fields of education or human services. Candidates attending college or graduate school remotely are encouraged to apply and discuss part time options. Please pass along this job opportunity to anyone you think would be interested. Candidates should apply through School Spring or send a resume/cover letter to Middle School Principal Melissa Kapeckas or High School Principal Erik Arnold.

HS & MS School Calendar

We have included the pdf for the 2020-2021 HS & MS Calendar. Please see the calendar on our website for the most up to date information.

Travel, COVID and Return to School Guidelines

With the holiday season approaching, the Health Office encourages families to follow guidelines for safe celebrations as outlined by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. In addition, please be advised of the IACS policy for return to school after travel which can be found in this comprehensive FAQ document.


The MIT Lincoln Laboratory is hosting some virtual science lessons about COVID-19 for students

Saturday, December 12 at 10:00 a.m.

PART 1: Wide-area fever screening

Hear how we created a digital imaging system that ‘sees’ the body temperature of crowds of people as they as walk by uninterrupted. This system is currently running at Lincoln Laboratory as part of our COVID-19 screening effort.

PART 2: Become a junior epidemiologist

You’ve probably heard all sorts of confusing terms about coronavirus over the past 10 months: quarantine, contact tracing, super-spreader, exponential growth, herd immunity, isolation, protect the vulnerable, flatten the curve. What do all these mean? We’ll talk about these concepts and you can play an online game to help you understand how it all works.

Click here to join the webinar via Zoom. Passcode: 54980


Or iPhone: US: +16692545252,,1618941255# or +16468287666,,1618941255#

Or Telephone: US: +1 669 254 5252 or +1 646 828 7666

Webinar ID: 161 894 1255 Participant ID: 100473 Passcode: 549480



Calling all staff and students! IACS is starting a Community Cookbook. Click to see more info –> IACS Community Cookbook! You are invited to share recipes that you have a personal and cultural connection to. We’re even planning to host some zoom cooking classes in the spring with ingredient kits you can pick-up from school to cook some of our community recipes together.

To submit a recipe, fill out this Google Form by Friday, December 18th! Submit as many as you’d like.

We are also seeking a cover for our cookbook as well as art pieces (poems, photography, short stories, drawings, songs, etc.) around the themes of food, community and identity. Prizes include: seed packets and gardening tools, fun cooking ingredients and equipment, cookbooks, etc. Some possible prompts to explore: What is your favorite food memory? Which foods define (or don’t) you? How can food bring us together?

Submit your art to by Friday, December 18th.


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School Breakfast & Lunch Program

USDA has extended FREE MEALS TO ALL students through June 2021. IACS is offering FREE breakfast and lunch meals to ALL IACS on-campus learners. Remote and hybrid learners can also receive free meals at either their town’s school or at IACS. Remote and hybrid learners, if you choose to pick up the meals at IACS, ENROLL in this program by completing this survey.You do not need to complete the survey if you have already enrolled. Email if you have any questions.


Middle School News

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Representative David Robertson joined a 7th grade Spanish today to visit a virtual class.

The purpose of the meeting was to invite Rep. Robertson to IACS to learn more about our school and to experience one of our virtual learning classrooms as well as to ask what he and other representatives can keep in mind as to the needs of schools, especially in the covid era. He was amazed by the engagement of the Spanish class and by resiliency of all students this year. He also shared his deep appreciation for all educators. While he directly represents Wilmington and Tewksbury, he has heard great things about Innovation Academy and the work we do. We look forward to hosting Representative Robertson again, in person, when it’s safe to do so.

January Switch to Hybrid Information

Please read through this document to learn about what the shift to our hybrid model in January will look like at the middle school. More information will follow in the next couple of weeks as well as a town meeting opportunity for parents and students to get questions answered.

High School Transition

It is that time of year that eighth grade students and families are looking ahead to high school.Eighth graders continuing onto High School at IACS do not need to reapply.

For students and families that are interested in learning more about our high school program, we are offering three virtual open house events. Attendees must register beforehand by emailing: in order to receive the Zoom link.

There will be the choice of 3 identical events:

Tuesday, 12/15 7-8pm

Thursday, 1/28 7-8pm

Thursday, 2/11 7-8pm

Please specify which date you would like to attend in your email.

For students applying to technical or private schools, please ensure that you ask teachers directly about letters of recommendation and provide at least 2 weeks notice.

Please contact Kathleeen Feeney in the enrollment office to request transcripts that are sent along with your application. (

Watch for information on students re-enrolling at IACS in mid-January.

Virtual Learning Kits

A reminder that if you received an email to pick up your child’s virtual learning kit and haven’t yet, they will need those supplies soon! Please come by the main office any weekday between 8:15-4:00 pm. If you call from the parking lot, the main office staff will gladly meet you at the door.


High school students from our National Honors Society are offering free tutoring services for middle school students who would like help. Tutoring will be completely virtual with flexible scheduling. For more information or to arrange for a tutor contact Caitlyn Pennie at .


High School News

January Switch to Hybrid Information

Please read through this document to learn about what the shift to our hybrid model in January will look like at the high school. More information will follow in the next couple of weeks as well as a town meeting opportunity for parents and students to get questions answered.

Student Planners

Stay Organized with a student planner. It makes it easier to see what is due when. We still have some available. Contact Crystal McKiel to arrange pickup.

Attention Seniors:

Make sure to fill out the Cap & Gown form that Ms. Kelly sent you via email this week. The gown will be based on the sizes you input so please be careful to enter the right information. Your gowns will be blue with a blue/white tassel.

Senior portraits, baby pictures, and parent pages are due to by Friday, January 8. See below for details. Also, yearbooks are on sale; they are $35 until December 31, after which they will be $40. Please order and pay online at The online order form includes personalization options (i.e. your name and icons). The deadline for ordering is Friday, April 2, 2021.

Senior Portraits: Due to COVID cancelling school ID photos, seniors must have senior portraits taken outside of school. If a student doesn’t want to take a senior portrait outside of school, we will use last year’s school ID photo. Please send portraits to The portrait should be 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches, vertically oriented, and at least 300 dpi/ppi. It should be a posed portrait in which your face is clear.

Baby Pictures: Seniors should also plan to send in a baby picture to be included in the yearbook. These can also be emailed to Please be sure the file name contains your student’s name so we know where it goes.

Parent Pages: A parent page is something parents make for their child, congratulating them and wishing them luck with whatever journey they may be venturing on to next. Parent pages will each be half a page. No matter how they are created, they should be in a landscape orientation and measure 8.5 inches x 5.5 inches. There is no additional cost for parent pages. Please email them to

HS Helpful Links:

HS Student & Family Handbook 2020-2021

Extra Help Schedules

2020-2021 HS Calendar

Work Permits

College Counseling Page