The Hawk: February 16, 2018

February 15, 2018 6:48 pm


IACS Newsletter for the week ending February 16, 2018

Dear IACS Students & Families –

Got Blizzard Bag? IACS does. Schools in Massachusetts have been piloting this alternative structured learning day model for the past few years with the blessing of the state Department of Education. In brief, the Blizzard Bag model means that students would be given an assignment that could be completed at home for any classes missed on a day school is canceled and the day would not have to be made up in June. This work would be connected directly to the current curriculum or reinforce key skills related to the curriculum and provide an opportunity for student-centered, self-directed learning.

On Monday, February 12th, the IACS Board of Trustees approved to pilot a Blizzard Bag model until May 15, 2019. At that time the Board will review the effectiveness based on student, faculty, and parent feedback. Here are the details on how this model will work:

In the event that three snow days have been used due to school closures (this year we have already had five), Innovation Academy may implement a “Blizzard Bag” model for any further days missed due to school closures. The decision on whether a school closure will be a Blizzard Bag day, or a traditional snow day that will be made up in June, will be decided by the Head of School.

  • Students would have a minimum of 10 school days to complete the assignment (could be longer at teacher discretion). If the assignment is not completed, the student will be graded accordingly and will be marked absent for that class on the snow day.

  • Due to the possibility that a student or teacher may not have access to a computer with internet access, or may have lost electricity due to the weather, there will not be a specific requirement that students and teachers work online on a day school is canceled. However, in many cases students will be given the option to begin these assignments during the day of cancellation.

  • School work on these days will vary depending on factors such as: grade level, amount of support required, subject, and whether or not students are currently working on a project for a class.

  • Possible examples of Blizzard Bag work: reading (comprehension questions, reflection); work on ongoing project; lesson available on Google Classroom; math through Khan Academy or IXL; research; MCAS prep; or materials were prepared ahead of anticipated snow day by teacher and was already provided to students.

  • Students who are unable to complete the work at home due to a documented learning disability, will be able to get support upon returning to school during an academic support class or by staying for extra-help with the teacher. If appropriate, students may be given an extension on the 10 school day deadline for completing the Blizzard Bag assignment.

  • A Blizzard Bag page will be created on the IACS website with links for both the middle school and the high school. Teachers will update (assuming they have internet access) a Google Document with information or links on the expectations for the Blizzard Bag assignment for their classes that are meeting on that day.

  • We all believe that being in a classroom with a teacher is the ideal learning experience, but the flexibility that this alternative learning experience provides will allow us to work around school cancellation events, keep students safe, and still end the school year on a reasonable date in June. Lastly, we hope everyone has a fun, rejuvenating, and relaxing vacation next week.

    In partnership,

    Greg Orpen – Head of School

    Melissa Kapeckas – Middle School Principal

    Erik Arnold – High School Principal

    Important Dates:

    February 19 – 23 February School Vacation

    February 28 Early Release Wednesday

    March 1 Middle School Parent/Principal Advisory Council 7:45am

    Admissions Lottery 4:00pm

    March 7 Early Release Wednesday

    Driver’s Ed 12:30pm

    March 8 MS Innovation Morning Tour for Parents of Prospective Students 8:30 – 9:30 am

    March 10 SAT Exam

    March 13 Middle School Band and Chorus Concert 7:00 pm

    March 14 Early Release Wednesday

    Driver’s Ed 12:30pm

    IACA Meeting 7:00 pm

    March 15 HS Innovation Morning Tour for Parents of Prospective Students 8:30 – 9:30 am

    “Gilligan’s Island, the Musical” Performance 7:00pm

    March 16 “Gilligan’s Island, the Musical” Performance 7:00pm

    March 17 “Gilligan’s Island, the Musical” Performance 2:00 and 7:00 pm

    March 20 MS Innovation Morning Tour for Parents of Prospective Students 8:30-9:30 am

    March 21 Early Release Wednesday

    5, 6, & 7th Grade Auditions for May Show (Bring Lunch) 12:30 – 3:00 pm

    Driver’s Ed 12:30pm

    March 22 HS and 8th grade Auditions for May Show 3:00 – 4:30 pm

    March 23 HS Athletic Awards Night

    March 28 Full Day Wednesday

    Grade 11 & 12 Community Service noon – 3:00 pm

    All School News

    Mark your calendars for 4 boat-rockin performances right here on the IACS Campus!


    March 15, 7pm, March 16, 7pm, March 17, 2pm and 7pm

    New! GET YOUR TICKETS Online HERE! Don’t forget to print out your tickets!

    Auditions for the May Middle School Show and High School Shows!

    GRADES 5, 6 AND 7 – Auditions for your hilarious comedy, “Bad Ideas for Bad Television Shows” are Wednesday, March 21, 12:30-3:00. All you need to bring is lunch and an audition agreement form found at Rehearsals will be on Wednesdays after school. WE WOULD LOVE TO SEE YOU THERE! AND you would get to work with a star of NYC Stage and Screen, Tori Hines!

    GRADES 8 through 12 – Auditions for your May shows are Thursday, March 22, 3:00-4:30. All you need is an audition agreement form found at:

    Tyngsborough Public Library has some upcoming programs for pre-teens and teens, including during the February school vacation week. Click here for more information.

    IACS Community Book Club

    For the next Book Club meeting, we will be reading Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. This book is about suburban mother-daughter duo living in a small town in Cleveland and the lives they lead. Join us on March 22nd in the library from 3:15-4:15 for snacks and discussion! At last month’s meeting we had a great group of Parents, Staff, Students and Community Members, All are welcome!

    IACS School Nutrition Program: The February 2018 Menu is available. This month’s new items are: Chicken Alfredo, Tri-Color Tortellini, and Beef Quesadilla all made with fresh wholesome ingredients in the IACS kitchen. We also offer gluten free pasta & tomato sauce, gluten-free sandwiches, and gluten-free breakfast items daily. Please email if you have any questions.

    Theatre News

    In addition to GILLIGAN’S ISLAND – THE MUSICAL! March 15th at 7pm, 16th at 7pm, March 17th at 2pm and 7pm WHAT ELSE IS COMING UP IN IACS PERFORMING ARTS?

    3 weeks of Performing Arts Camp that are open to the Community of and outside IACS! Camps are open to any students finishing grades 4 through 12. Camp begins at 8:30am and finishes at 3:30pm daily.

  • July 9-13: GLEE CAMP with free, public performance of the students’ work on Friday, July 13 at 5pm!For an additional cost, the first 10 students entering grades 9 and up who sign up will have the option of traveling into New York City to see the matinee show on Broadway on Thursday, July 12!
  • July 16-20: HAMILPROV WEEK where students will spend 1/2 the day learning about the Broadway sensation Hamilton, and 1/2 the day working on Improvisational games, activities & skills. Free, public performance of the students’ work on Friday, July 20 at 5pm! For an additional cost, the first 10 students entering grades 9 and up who sign up will have the option of traveling into New York City to do something special on Wednesday, July 18!
  • July 23-27: DRAMA CAMP! Where we will learn the play THE GOOD DOCTOR which we will perform at a theater, right off Broadway (RIGHT next to Kinky Boots!!!) on Tuesday, July 31!
  • For more information please check out

    about camp, Phantom of the Opera Auditions, and all else that is coming up!

    Middle School News

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    After School Art: New Session Starting March 5. Now on Mondays!

    Meetings are Monday or Thursday from 3:00 – 4:30 pm.

    This 8 week open studio session is designed to give students access to a wide variety of materials and tools in the art room in order to create work of their choosing. Available media include drawing, painting, printmaking, mixed-media sculpture, collage, book making, paper mache, stop motion animation and more! There is a $60 fee for this program.

    Please fill out the registration form and submit payment by Friday, March 2. Questions about the program or to inquire about a scholarship, please email

    The 2016-2017 Supplement that had been delayed is arriving soon. Any student who purchased a Middle School Yearbook will receive the Supplement (which includes The Art Show, Baseball, Softball, The Dance Team, Track and Field and 8th Grade Pages of the Semi-Formal and performing Romeo and Juliet in ELA.)

    The 2017-2018 Middle School Yearbook is now for sale at the Early Bird price of $20 until Friday, April 13, 2018. Regular Price is $27 after April Vacation

    Order forms will be given to each student in Advisory after February vacation. They can also be accessed via the link in The Hawk and are available on the website as well.

    The Middle School Yearbook contains over 120 color pages of IACS memories: sports, academics, clubs, fun, teachers, events, field trips, original art, personal pages and much more . . . . . . !

    Congratulations to the four winners of the Yearbook Cover Competition: Natalie Williams, Jaclyn Goyette, Isabella Marie Shaffer and Marissa Parshley!
    An honorable mention goes to Hannah Minato-Hanus!
    Each student that submitted artwork will have their art featured on the autograph pages of the yearbook.

    Yearbook Order Form 2017-2018

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    High School News

    Model UN Team Attends MIT Conference

    This past weekend, twelve of our high school students participated in MIT’s 10th Annual Model United Nations conference (MITMUNC) held at their campus in Cambridge, MA. Model UN is a truly unique opportunity that students from all over the world can enjoy. It’s basically a simulation of the real UN, where students debate, deliberate, and come to resolutions on pressing world issues. Students engage in “moderated and un-moderated” working sessions, follow strict procedural rules, all while learning and practicing diplomacy, critical thinking, and leadership.

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    Here is a list of the colleges and universities that our seniors have been accepted to as of 2/14/18…congratulations seniors!

    NHS Volunteer Superstars!

    Every semester, members of the National Honor Society must meet a minimum community service requirement of 25 hours. Two students went above and beyond the call, hitting over 100 hours of service in the 1st semester. Alyx Dunn completed 104 hours and Nate Roy completed 141. Thank you for all that you do for our community!


    Congratulations to the Girls Varsity Basketball Team for making the tournament for the 1st time! The win against Marian on Tuesday clinched it for the team. Also, for the 3rd year in a row the boys team has made the tournament. Congratulations to senior Melvin Worley for becoming IACS first 1,000 point scorer! #GoHawks

    STUDENT HEALTH 101 – our Online Wellness Magazine

    The January issue of Student Health 101 as well as the accompanying parent issue, Student Advocate is here! Suggestions on helping your child deal with perfectionism along with many other helpful, informative articles are waiting for you. Take advantage of this resource by downloading the Student Health 101 app and take a look at the official IACS SH101 Twitter page.

    A message shared with students today about the mass shooting in Florida

    Putt Putt Boats be tested in Engineering Class

    Eva Richards performs “Taylor, the Latte Boy” at Lecture Hall Live

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    Lovely isn’t it? What else would the Anatomy and Physiology students be doing on Valentine’s Day other than dissecting a pig’s heart!

    IACA News

    THANK YOU to all the families who came out to support us at this month’s Dining for IACA, and congratulations to the Worthington-Berry family, winners of our Whole Lotto Love raffle! We hope to see you next month at Chipotle in Billerica. A raffle donor for that event would be much appreciated.

    BOXTOPS: Winners of the Winter Boxtops contest will be announced after Feb vacation

    MIXED BAG FUNDRAISER: Information will be going out after vacation, so keep an eye out for the catalog and order forms!