The Hawk: December 4, 2020

December 4, 2020 5:00 pm


Week ending December 4, 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,

Earlier this week I emailed all families a survey about our transition to a hybrid model in January. We have collected over 450 responses, however we’re asking all families to complete this survey by Sunday so that we can effectively plan for this transition. Some of the responses in the survey surfaced the need for us to clarify a few common questions:

1) How do I know if my student is on the Red Team (Mon & Tues) or Blue Team (Thurs & Fri)? These assignments are based by Advisory, so that students in the same Advisory have the ability to be on campus on the same days. You can click on this document and look up your student’s advisor.

2) Can you remind me about what revisions to the hybrid model have been made from what was in the reopening plan this summer? First, we have changed dismissal time for in-person students to 3 pm on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Wednesdays will be remote only for both Red and Blue teams and student learning time will last until 12:25 pm.

Secondly, primary instruction will focus on synchronous learning experiences led by teachers. Because middle school students take classes with their advisory peers, teachers will rotate to different classrooms. Students in the same advisory will remain together. Because middle school students in the same advisory usually have different math teachers, math instruction will be delivered synchronously, but remotely. High school students who take much more diverse classes (no two advisees likely have the same schedule), high school students will rotate to different classrooms for their classes.

3) What are the guidelines for my student to get the flu vaccine? All students are expected to have received a flu vaccine by December 31, 2020 for the 2020-2021 influenza season per Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Verification of having received the vaccine may be scanned and emailed to the health office at, faxed to the health office at 978-226-5378 or hand delivered to the main office. Students who have not provided this evidence by December 18th must receive instruction remotely until such proof of vaccination has been provided to the school.

I hope this information provides helpful clarification. If you have any questions regarding scheduling or academic programming, please contact Melissa Kapeckas (MS Principal) or Erik Arnold (HS Principal). All questions for the health office should be directed to

In partnership,

Greg Orpen

Head of School



All School News

Innovation Academy seeks parents and families of students with disabilities to form a Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC). The SEPAC is a parent led group that works with school administrators to advise on issues related to students with disabilities and can also serve as a source of support and advice to families within the school community. To assist with organizing the group the school will provide membership to MassPAC through the Federation for Children with Special Needs. If interested please email Aimee Voleti at


Catie’s Closet Toiletries Drive

Monday, November 16 – Friday, December 11th

Looking for a way to give back to the community?

Consider helping Innovation Academy give back to an organization that serves 55,000 students in Massachusetts and New Hampshire by providing basic necessities of clothing and toiletries. They are currently in desperate need of soap, shampoo, toothpaste and toothbrushes.

There are several ways to help:

  • Send items directly through Amazon Wish List

  • Drop off toiletries and clothing donations at IACS (box located by main office)

  • Donate directly to Catie’s Closet

Questions? Contact Shannon Morocco (

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.

Family-friendly help with mental health: is a family-friendly website designed for Massachusetts parents who are worried about their school-aged children’s mental health. This site is designed to help families figure if their child’s behavior is something to worry about and if so, what next steps can they take.

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.


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

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

There are specific classes (but not entire grade levels) that have a December virtual learning kit to pick up. If your child’s class has materials to pick up, we sent an individual email to you. Pick ups are next week in the cafeteria:


  • Tuesday, 12/8 3:15-5:00 pm
  • Wednesday, 12/9 12:30-2:00 pm
  • Thursday, 12/10 3:15-5:00 pm


After 12/10 , families can pick up at the main office anytime between 8:15 am-4:00 pm.

If your child attends school for in-person support, it will be sent home with them next week.

Upload your middle school pictures to the yearbook!

The below hyperlink along with the digits at the end should be used to add your photos to the middle school yearbook. Copying and pasting the entire link into the browser rather than clicking on it will ensure to bypass the ‘userid’ page.

Alternate link – The user id is – 415793951



2020-2021 MS Yearbook Cover Competition

The Yearbook Committee is holding an art contest open to everyone in the Middle School. The winners will be featured on the front and back covers of the Middle School Yearbook. Entries may include original photographs and collages, as well as original drawings. Winning entries will also receive a free yearbook. Runner up entries will be featured inside. The theme this year is –

IACS Community Celebrating 25 years – We are in this together.

Entries may be submitted digitally or as a hard copy,

but must fit vertically on the 8 ½ x 11 cover (the size of regular printer paper).

You may submit up to three entries, include a completed cover sheet for each one with your name, advisory, grade, date submitted, an “artist’s statement” explaining your submission.

Deadline – Friday, December 11, 2020.

Submit hard copies to the main office or digitally to



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.

Reminder: Attendance

Please notify the main office when your student will be absent from virtual classes. Students are expected to participate in the scheduled start of each class period for attendance and agenda for that day. When students are not present for class and the school has not been notified, the family will be contacted. Students who arrive late to virtual classes should make sure to check in with their teachers via the chat feature or email.

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

Tufts Summer Pre-College Programs
Tufts has a program for every interest. Highly motivated high school students (must be 16 or older) can choose from:

  • 1 to 3–week intensive programs exploring topics from engineering to fine arts, international relations, climate resilience, medical school, food sustainability, and more

  • 6-week Tufts College Experience

  • 6-week Tufts Summer Research Experience

  • Enroll in a single, university-level course in a variety of disciplines, including sciences and the liberal arts

Applications open December 1, 2020. Visit today to learn more.

If you have any questions, email, call 617-627-2926, or feel free to chat with them online.


Athletics News

Winter Athletics: Last Day to Register – Tuesday 12/8

The last day to register for winter athletics (MS and HS) will be Tuesday, December 8th. We will make final logistical decisions based on the registration numbers that we have on 12/8. Due to spacing restrictions, we may not be able to accommodate athletes who sign up after 12/8. Registration links and information can be found below and on the athletics webpage.

Please click here to find information about the format of each sport along with relevant modifications.

HS Athletics Registration Information

MS Athletics Registration Information

Contact the Athletic Department ( with any questions or concerns.