The Hawk: February 26, 2021

February 25, 2021 6:48 pm


February 26, 2021

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,

My Hawk letters this year have obviously been focused on updates related to COVID, but this week I’m glad to be sharing some non-COVID news. This week the MA Board of Elementary and Secondary Education accepted DESE Commissioner Riley’s recommendation to approve our charter for another five year term, which will begin on July 1, 2021.

While this news might seem fairly routine (after all we are finishing our 5th charter term), the charter school renewal process is more rigorous in Massachusetts than any state in the country. Just ask the parents, students, staff, and Board members who were grilled in their virtual focus group interviews! It’s also worth noting that charters are the only type of schools in the Massachusetts that must undergo this level of inspection every five years in order to operate.

This recognition would never be possible without our committed staff, families, and of course students. Working and studying in a school that holds each other accountable for high performance isn’t easy, but it’s incredibly satisfying at moments like this. So thank you to everyone who helped IACS earn this well-deserved renewal. I can’t wait to see what we’ll accomplish in our next five years!

In partnership,

Greg Orpen

Head of School

All School News

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IACS Covid Dashboard

This dashboard displays data regarding the number of positive cases, separating out staff from students, and high school from middle school students.

**New : To see the info from prior weeks, click the index link on the dashboard.

Questions? contact or at 978-649-0432, ext- 2104.

Pool Testing Update from the Health Office

As noted in the email sent out to all community members earlier this week, next Thursday March 4th, IACS will begin offering COVID-19 weekly, pool testing to all in-person learners. Participation in pool testing is completely voluntary, it is not required for in-person learning and no student will be tested without parental consent. The greater number of students and staff that participate in the weekly program the more effective it will be in helping to keep our community healthy by identifying asymptomatic cases early.

Detailed information regarding what pool testing is, how it will work at IACS as well as instructions on how to register your student can be found here.

Registration for pool testing will remain open, but please know that rosters will only be updated 1x/week on Friday afternoon.

We are excited to add pooled testing to our already existing safety protocols.

Inclusion Aides and In Person Instructional Support Staff needed

If you would be interested in joining IACS as an Inclusion Aid or In person Instructional Support Staff, please go to our website to see postings and job descriptions for this year.

Per diem Substitute Teachers Needed:

We are looking for a few more people to join our substitute teacher pool. As we start to make plans for the return of students and teachers to classrooms, Virtual and In Person, we want to also have a working list of substitutes so that we can ensure that we provide your students uninterrupted learning. If you or a friend are interested in learning more about becoming a substitute at IACS please fill out the availability form. Half day and full day subbing opportunities are available. IACS pays $25 per hour up to $100 per day maximum.

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.

VIA Needs You!

VIA (Vision for Innovation Academy, Inc.) is a non-profit, 501c3 organization with a mission to seek funds in order to provide support for educational programs, or focused activities of IACS. Our board is made up of current and past parents along with school leadership. We are looking for parents, grandparents, alumni, or friends of IACS to join us as we continue to explore funding opportunities for the school we love.

We are especially in search of anyone who has interest in any one of these areas:

  • Grant writing experience or a willingness to learn about grant writing

  • Reading with a critical eye

  • Creative thinking

  • Relationship building

  • Also, if you know of grant opportunities from your employer or other organizations we’d love to hear about them!

    Current board members: Carolyn Feeney, Sheila Hingorani, Bianka Kolb, Heather Landis, Christopher Morgan, Greg Orpen, Michael Royston, Laura Smith

    If you are interested, please contact Bianka Kolb ( or Laura Smith (, VIA co-chairs.

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    School Breakfast & Lunch Program

    IACS is offering FREE breakfast and lunch meals to ALL IACS on-campus learners. On-campus learners do not need to enroll or use a lunch account to receive free meals. Remote and hybrid learners can also receive free meals at either their town’s school or at IACS. Remote and hybrid learners, if you would like to pick up meals for days when the student is off-campus learning, 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

    Athletics News

    Fall II Intramural Boys Volleyball

    Male athletes interested in playing volleyball during the fall II season (March-April) will be able to join an intramural program that will meet on Tuesdays at the Tyngsboro Sports Center from 3:30-5 pm. There will be a bus to the Tyngsboro Sports Center for athletes who have class on campus. This program will be open to students in grades 5-12.

  • The first day of practice will be Tuesday, March 2nd.
  • Interested athletes need to register on FamilyID as soon as possible as there are limited spots (link here: Male athletes who already signed up for volleyball must contact the Athletic Office to confirm their interest for intramurals –

    Middle School News

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    Sharing a science experiment with partners at home


    Congratulations to 8th grader Meera Nair. Meera recently planned a fundraiser to purchase 7 powered wheelchairs for individuals in need of them. She made her goal within 48 hours! IACS is so proud of you, Meera!

    Title I Parent Input Session- 3/17 6-7 pm

    Come learn about how our school uses Title I funding and share your input on we use our funding in future school years to maximize our reach with our students. Email to RSVP to MS Principal Melissa Kapeckas and she will send you the Zoom link.

    Semester 1 Report Cards

    Semester 1 Report Cards were published to the Aspen student and family portal last week. When you log on to the portal, you will find a pdf document on the front page with the report card document for you to view. If you need your password or have trouble logging in, please reach out to the main office or to Middle School Administrative Assistant, Ning Sisouvanh at for assistance.

    Semester 2 ILP Meetings

    Semester 2 ILP meetings are scheduled for 2/24 and 3/3. This a chance to look at progress towards Individual Learning Plan goals, revise goals, and ensure students are on track as Semester 2 gets underway. Reach out to your child’s advisor to sign up for a conference with your child and their advisor.

    Hybrid Status Shift

    A reminder to families that are currently remote that if you’d like your child to move to hybrid, please email our Dean of Students, Federico Pererya. We ask for two week’s notice to ensure enough time to make adjustments to schedules/classrooms to ensure proper spacing.

    High School News

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    Semester 1 Report Cards have been Released

    Semester 1 Report Cards were published to the Aspen Family Portals on Monday, February 15th. Please be sure to read them over carefully and contact the school with any questions or concerns. Do you need your aspen login information? Reach out to Crystal McKiel, Please let us know if you would like to be added to a mailing list that will send a paper copy to your home address.

    Boys Basketball Photos

    Check out our Boys Basketball Team photos by VeraAnn Photography.

    Semester 2 ILP Meetings

    ILP stands for Individual Learning Plan. ALL parents are asked to attend ILP conferences as they are an important step in building the student-parent-advisor relationship.

  • The conference will focus on revisiting goals set in the fall: your child will talk about their strengths and weaknesses and discuss a plan for how they will make the most effective progress over the semester.

  • ILPs provide a great opportunity for advisors, students and parents to sit down together to talk about upcoming school events, mark down important dates, and discuss how the second semester is going.

  • Please be sure to schedule your ILP meeting with your child’s advisor. Your student has their advisors email address as well as they are available on our website.

  • Semester 2 Virtual Materials are Ready!

    We still have many Semester 2 materials waiting for pickup in the Library. Not sure if you have materials waiting for you (ie: english, math, art, etc)? Your teacher will have notified you if you have materials to pick up, if you’re not sure contact Ms Landis or Ms Spence in the Library. Pickup is between 8:30-4pm every school day.


    Student athletes, especially in Track: Please email any pictures you have of practices, games, or teammates to by Friday, March 26. Make sure all students are wearing masks in pictures. We especially need pictures of Track, since no professional ones were taken of that; if we do not receive student pictures of that, it will not appear in the yearbook.

    Switching between Hybrid and Remote Learning

    At any point this semester, if you would like to notify us of your intent to either have your child learn in-person, or switch back to fully remote learning, please use this google form:

    To help with our planning, please give us a 2-week notice before requesting to switch to in-person learning. We do not need a 2-week notification if your child is going to return to fully remote learning.

    Attention Seniors: Local Scholarships

    Seniors, here is a list of scholarships in our local area. Contact Ms. Deknatel with questions or if you need assistance applying.

    Free STEM Programs

    Check out these current programs for HS students who are interested in STEM. They are run by Pace University in NYC. Programs are free for high school students across the U.S. and will be running virtually! No experience needed.

    SeidenHack 2021: Hack the Oysters!

    February 26th-Feb 28th, 2021

    Seidenhack is a virtual and free three day hackathon for high school students who want to get new skills, meet people, and grab a taste of the Pace University college experience. Learn to code games, build mobile apps, utilize design thinking, meet the Billion Oyster Project, and work with a team to build and present your ideas.

    GenCyber Camp CryotpBot

    July 7th-July 16th , 2021

    Camp CryptoBot is a FREE dynamic, co-ed interactive and mission-driven camp that introduces high-school students to the basics of cybersecurity. Sphero Bolt and Javascript are the platform for teaching cryptography and the 10 First Principles using various pedagogical approaches, including storytelling, hands-on labs, and problem-solving missions.

    Photo of the Week

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    Thanks to our awesome Facilities Team for renovating the Q-Hut during

    the past few months!

    IACA News

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    IACA is excited to announce that the Casino Night Auction will go on (-line)!

    While we won’t be able to host our super fun Casino Night event due to Covid, we WILL be hosting the Silent Auction online again this year. The auction will go live April 7th and will end the Friday before April break(April 16th). If you know of anyone who might like to make a tax deductible donation to this fundraiser OR if you are a company who would like to sponsor our event with advertising please contact Heather Landis at

    You read the Hawk all the way to the end! Way to go!