Week ending November 20, 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.
Holidays and Thankfulness–Travel and Safety
As the holiday season approaches, the Health Office wishes everyone a sense of peace and hopefulness. In anticipation of travel and gatherings, we encourage families to follow guidelines for safe celebrations as outlined by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. These guidelines suggest that in-person holiday gatherings be limited to 10 people and to gather only with people you live with or those individuals with whom you are regularly in contact.
In addition, please be advised of the IACS policy for return to school after travel, which can also be found in this comprehensive FAQ document. Please note, as of Saturday, November 21st, New Hampshire and Maine are classified as restricted states. It’s very likely that only Vermont and Hawaii will remain on the lower-risk states. Please see the MA DPH COVID states map.
When can students and staff return to school if they travel to a restricted state?
Upon arrival back into the state of Massachusetts, the student will be asked to quarantine at home for four days (the day your return to MA is day #0).
After (not before) the fourth day of quarantine, the student should be tested for COVID-19. (A polymerase chain reaction, PCR is recommended.)
The student/staff member may return to school when a negative COVID test result, (obtained after the four day quarantine), is received.
If a student/staff member chooses not to be tested, they may return to school after a 14 day quarantine.
Kindly be reminded that as part of our Daily Student Health Screening, parents are asked to attest that your student is following the return to school policy as stated above. Our continued gratitude goes out to the entire IACS community for your consistent cooperation, your open communication and the adherence to safety protocols. Please do not hesitate to contact the Health Office with any questions. You can reach us at email@example.com or at 978-649-0432, ext. 2104.
Gayle and Alison
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 (email@example.com).
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!
Issues with your device (camera or mic not working? Not charging? Operating slowly?), please contact Mr. Troy, Ntroy@innovationcharter.org 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: HandholdMA.org 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
Upcoming Calendar Dates
November 26-27 No School, Thanksgiving break
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 firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
Middle School News
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 email@example.com
Some students and families have been looking for some guidance on how to double-check what they see on Aspen (and the missing work email) vs. Google Classroom.
Here is a video from a sample student account to answer some of these FAQs and hopefully give you an additional tool for supporting your student.
Middle School Planners
Middle School planners were sent home in virtual learning kits. Typically, we ask families to purchase these planners at a cost of $5. You can do submit your payment using this online form: https://forms.diamondmindinc.com/iacs/msplanner Thank you!
High School News
Important MCAS (for juniors) & PSAT Testing Information
As you know, the MCAS exam was canceled last spring for the Class of 2022. “Postponed” is a more appropriate word than “canceled”, because the state has added a testing period for juniors in January & the first week of February in order for them to take it. Since we will have small testing groups for the 86 juniors, we will be using more classrooms and more teachers as proctors to make this happen. We will not have space in the building, or enough teachers available, to have other students in the building. To reduce disruptions, two of the testing days were scheduled for Wednesdays since they are remote days already.
For the high school, only students that will be testing will be in the building on the following days:
1/20, 1/21, 1/26 (PSAT for some gr 11 & 10 students), 2/3, & 2/4
The PSAT exam is on 1/26 and is optional for juniors and sophomores. Students have until Nov. 30th to register.
Wednesday, 1/20 ELA Day 1
Thursday, 1/21 ELA Day 2
Tuesday, January 26th PSAT – grades 10 & 11
Wednesday, 2/3 Math Day 1 – gr 11
Thursday, 2/4 – Math Day 2 – gr 11
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.
Attention student athletes and families:
It’s almost too late to submit fall sports photos for the yearbook! Please email any pictures you have of practices, games, or teammates to firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday, November 25.
100% Remote Internship Opportunity: Open to Grades 9-12
Want to be part of an innovative platform to spread happiness to high schoolers during the challenging and isolating times of COVID-19? If so, consider taking part in this one of a kind learning opportunity. Click to learn more about the Altus Life Experience Internship.
Why might you be interested? Inspire thousands, network with professionals, receive a recommendation letter from the mentor, receive hands-on experience being innovative!
What would you do as an intern? Share thoughts to shape the platform, reach out to and schedule speakers, connect with professionals, promote the program in schools and on social media
Want to learn more? Contact Ms. Morocco (email@example.com).
Just a reminder: senior portraits, baby pictures, and parent pages are due to firstname.lastname@example.org 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 https://forms.diamondmindinc.com/iacs/hsyearbook. 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 email@example.com. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com.
Questions? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Helpful Links for HS Students & Families:
Planners are still available for purchase, $3 – Please contact Crystal McKiel to arrange for pickup.
Senior Art Social
Thank you to senior Alex Merkel for organizing a painting social event for the seniors. The Red House Collective band (seniors Andrew Shapiro, Tyler Donkoh-Halm, and Tom Bojsen) played a fantastic set of jazz music as students created art.
Video of the Week:
Tyler covers Moonchild, “The List”
Many Congratulations to our Newest Cast: The Winter Show! MIddle and High School Students will perform in: “The Audition,” “Check Please,” and “Clue!” Keep your eyes on The Hawk for upcoming details!
Update as of 11/19/20
The MIAA Board of Directors is meeting on Friday, November 20th to discuss guidelines for winter sports (basketball, cheer, and indoor track – archery is not an MIAA sport but is offered at the MS level). We hope to have firm guidance on winter sports following this meeting. After the MIAA guidance is finalized and released, we will meet with our leagues and IACS school administration to determine the best course forward for our community. The initial start date of 11/30 for winter sports that was discussed in the fall does not seem realistic at this point in time. We will keep everyone updated via the Hawk as we learn more.