Week ending February 7, 2020
Dear IACS Community,
This week’s Hawk letter is written by Wellness Educator, Donna Rucinksi Harrington. Donna shares insight into her work with students in our Yoga and Mindfulness classes.
Medical research showing the positive physical and mental health effects of Mindfulness grew naturally out of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program started by Jon Kabat-Zinn since it was founded right at Umass Medical in the 1970s. The abundance of data helps me when teaching teens about yoga and mindfulness, as teens are curious and like having reasons why they should do any activity. My hope is that the information I share with them will give them reasons to bring mindfulness into their day-to-day life, now and in the future and that the techniques will help them better deal with stress. The awareness alone that they are not their thoughts, they are beings who are thinking thoughts, can be a powerful help with troubling worries as they begin to develop a witness mindset.
Jon Kabat-Zinn defines Mindfulness as: “The awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.” Deceptively simple as a concept, in practice, quieting our amygdala (the emotional center of the brain), and allowing our brains to rest, is harder than you might think.
In Yoga and Mindfulness classes, our activities are done with the goal of being in the moment. We practice through yoga, which is moving meditation, spending time in nature on our campus, or bringing our awareness to sensation with relaxing body scan and breathing meditations. And self-compassion is key, we return over and over to the current moment without judgement. Knowing our brains are wired to keep us on alert, we just work gently with it to give it a rest.
Combining both yoga and spending time in nature, this summer IACS constructed an outdoor yoga platform by the pond. I’m still pinching myself and trying to believe my luck at having this outdoor yoga space; I think IACS must be unique in having it for a school community. In the fall, students had a chance to enjoy yoga in the fresh air, in the shade and enjoying the breeze off the pond on a hot day. The staff also had a chance to experience yoga outside at our back-to-school training because there is much research supporting the potential stress-relieving aspects and improvement in classroom culture for teachers who participate in such activities. .
I’ve recently created a series of short mindfulness breaks for use by classroom teachers, but they can be used by anyone who would like to take a few moments to give mind and body a bit of a break. My goal was short, secular, and accessible to anyone. If you want to give them a try, links are below.
Donna Rucinski Harrington
All School News
Upcoming Middle School Enrollment Open House
We have an upcoming enrollment open house session at the middle school- February 13th from 6-8 pm. During the open house, tour groups cycle through sessions by teachers and students to learn about the middle school curriculum at IACS. Please spread the word to friends and neighbors.
Donate Childrens’ and YA books at IACS
The Interact Club is wondering if you have any children’s books or YA Novels that are sitting around collecting dust. Donate to the Interact Club’s book drive and give kids something to read! The Interact Club will be donating the books to BookNooks as a part of Project Learn. BookNooks are bookshelves that are located in family-friendly places around Lowell, delivering free, new, and gently used books directly to kids in our community. The book drive will be running until March 13th. Books will be collected in boxes around the school. Boxes are located in the auditorium hallway, in front of the main office, in the cafeteria, and in the library. More information about book nooks can be found at https://www.projectlearninc.org/what_we_do/initiatives/book.html.
Questions? Contact Hope Coleman-Plourde at: email@example.com
On October 24, the High School music teachers took 48 High School Students, grades 9-12, from the Instrumental, Chorale, Introduction to Keyboard and Concert Choir classes to Boston’s Symphony Hall to see an open rehearsal of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. This program was supported in part by grants from the Tyngsborough, Dracut and Chelmsford Cultural Councils, local agencies supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency. VIA "Vision for Innovation Academy", IACS’s own 503c nonprofit fundraising group, successfully secured all three grants. VIA is welcoming new members! Please contact Laura Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org if interested.
Middle School News
Fifth graders learning about rhythm in their world drumming music unit
Title I Funding Parent Input Session- 2/13
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. Due to last week’s snow delay, the session has been rescheduled to February 13th at 7:45 in the Landberg Hall conference room. Please RSVP to Middle School Principal Melissa Kapeckas
Middle School Poetry Slam
We’re hosting a poetry slam for middle school students and staff to read their original poems out loud in a poetry SLAM style on Thursday, March 26th from 3:00-4:30 pm in the auditorium. Come share your poetry or listen and enjoy! If you are interested in sharing your poetry, please sign up at https://forms.gle/a68Sf6X3rTbsN3Aw7
Thanks to 8th grader Ashley Barrus for organizing this event!
Shadowing for 8th Graders
Current 8th graders heard a short presentation from the high school principal on December 19th about the high school academic program. The presentation was followed by a question and answer session with a panel of current high school students.
If they have not already shadowed, students that have signed up will have the opportunity to shadow a high school student for the morning of February 12th or February 26th. An email will be sent to students to confirm which date they will be attending. Students should report to the Cafeteria by 8am on the day they will be shadowing.
High School News
ILP’s Start This Week – Wed. Feb 12th
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.
Semester 1 Report Cards were sent home on Tuesday!
Report Cards were printed and handed to students on Tuesday. They have also been posted to your Aspen Family Portal. If you need assistance accessing your family portal please contact Crystal McKiel, HS Administrative Assistant at email@example.com or 978-649-0432 x2004. Paper copies can be mailed upon request.
Senior Project Class: Looking for Experts
Our Seniors have started working on the Senior Project topics. This form has a list of topics that our seniors are independently researching for their Senior Project class. One of their tasks is to reach out to experts in the field that might willing to speak with them about their topic, or point them in the direction of other people/books/journals/websites that may be helpful for their research.
If you have some expertise in any of the topics listed here, or know of someone else that might be helpful for them to contact, please indicate this by adding contact information or other information under the appropriate topic.
The students will be appreciative of any suggestions…thank you for help!
Driver’s Ed Classes begin March 4th
Future Driver’s of America will begin their next Driver’s Ed classroom session beginning Wednesday, March 4th. Classes are offered on Wednesday’s mainly from 12:30-4:30pm for 10 weeks. Students must be 15yrs 9 months by March 4th. For more information and to register visit their website at https://www.futuredriversofamerica.com/IACS-Page.html
The deadline for ordering yearbooks is fast approaching: Friday, April 3! They are $40, and you can pay online at https://forms.diamondmindinc.com/iacs/hsyearbook.
Join us and bring your family and friends to see the epic tale of passion and redemption in the throes of revolution, Les Miserables, Student Edition. Tickets are currently on sale. Please go to this page: https://innovation.booktix.com/index.php and click on “View Performances.” From there you can click on how many tickets you desire. Tickets are currently $16 and go up to $18 on March 1. Please join us for this masterpiece of multi-award-winning musical theatre!
Athletic Award Nights
HS winter athletic awards will be Wednesday, March 25th at 6 pm in the IACS auditorium.
MS winter athletic awards will be Wednesday, April 1st at 6 pm in the IACS auditorium.
All winter athletes and families are invited and encouraged to attend these ceremonies.
Congratulations Daisy Garcia for winning the Nashoba Tubing basket!
Looking for an easy and FREE way to help our school raise money?
Click on the photo of the boxtops or here to learn how scanning a receipt for something you were already buying can ALSO help IACA earn 10 cents for each item.
Do you love College Basketball?
IACA is selling tickets for a UML Basketball game.
Game is Feb 8th at 4:00pm. Tickets are 6.00 plus fees. Click the link below to purchase tickets.
Giving Bean is a gourmet coffee roaster and provider of freshly roasted whole bean, ground and K-cup coffees, fine tea, gourmet cocoa, chai, and shortbread cookies. We figure that just about everyone enjoys a great cup of coffee (or tea)! Fundraiser will be online and at Embrace Winter .This fundraiser will help support events like 8th grade semi, scholarships and dances. click here to check it out.