The Hawk: January 22, 2016

January 22, 2016 7:00 am

“The Hawk”



Dear IACS Community,


Often this letter is used to provide updates regarding school events, however this week I’d like to share a broader picture about our work here at IACS.   This week, articles in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal,  and Education Weekly focused on a new report by the Harvard Graduate School of Education titled, “Turning the Tide”.  In summary, this report suggests flaws in the current college admissions process as well as the negative impact it is having on students.   The director of this project, Richard Weissbourd, also cited research where middle and high school students were asked to rank what mattered most: high individual performance, happiness, or caring for others.  Only 22 percent of students selected caring for others.


“Turning the Tide”, which has been endorsed by among other schools, M.I.T, Yale, and University of Michigan makes recommendations that colleges de-emphasize SAT scores and other standardized exams.  In place of those traditional measures, the report calls for a more thoughtful, individualized approach to admissions that looks for students who make meaningful contributions in the community or manage “real world” responsibilities that are often carried by students from less affluent communities. Taking this approach, the report posits, not only increases equity, but it would attract better students.


So how does this connect with IACS?  First of all, we’ve always believed that the best measure of education is how someone applies skills and knowledge in personalized ways.  Secondly, we’re a school that proudly embraces the Outcomes, which obviously includes Community Membership.  Lastly, we’re growing our capacity for our community to actively engage in our local community. (see another example in the HS News)


While it’s unlikely the college admissions process will radically change in the next year or two, reports like this support the philosophy of schools like IACS and families who believe that student achievement should be about more than test scores.


Have a great weekend,


Greg Orpen

Head of School


p.s.   If you have a moment to click out another link, please check out this interview on the CBS morning news with Frank Bruni who authored the NYT editorial.


All School News

Dates At a Glance:

January 22, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm:  7th/8th Grade Social

January 23: SAT Exam 8:00 – 1:30

January 25: Board of Trustees Committee Meetings

  • Nominations 5:30 pm, Room 207

  • Ownership Linkage 6:30 pm, 2nd Floor Conference Room

  • January  27:  Early Release

                 Middle School Drama Workshop    `1:30 – 2:30 pm

    January 29:  Innovation Morning for Prospective Middle School Parents/Guardians 8:30-9:30am

          H/S Winter White Semi-Formal Dance  7:00-10:00pm

    January 30: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm:   Open House for Prospective High School Families

    January 31: FAFSA Day   1:00 – 3:00 pm

    February 3: Early Release

         Middle School Drama Workshop    `1:30 – 2:30 pm

    February 5: Embrace Winter Family Social  7:00 – 9:00 pm

    February 6: Destination Imagination Training 8:00 – 4:00

    February 8: Board of Trustee Meeting  6:30 – 8:00 pm

              IACA Meeting  7:00 – 8:30 pm

    February 9: MS Parent Advisory Council  7:45- 8:30 am

    February 10: Full Day Wednesday

    February 11: Innovation Morning for Prospective Middle School Parents/Guardians 6:00-8:00 pm

    February 12: MS Grade 5 & 6 Social 7:00 – 9:00 pm

    February 15February 20 – NO SCHOOL VACATION

    February 17: NO H/S Internships

    February 21: FAFSA Day   1:00 – 3:00 pm

    February 22 – 26 SPIRIT WEEK

    February 24: Early Release

                ILP CONFERENCES

           Middle School Drama Workshop    `1:30 – 2:30 pm

    February 25: Innovation Morning for Prospective H/S Parents/Guardians 8:30 – 9:30 am

           IACS/THS College Fair  6:30 – 8:00 pm


    Annual Giving Campaign Update:  We have already heard from over one hundred families supporting this school year's annual giving campaign and raised over $22,000! If you have not yet responded to the campaign, it's not too late. Whether you can give $20 a month, $20 a quarter, or a one-time $20 gift in honor of our 20th year celebration, all donors will receive our limited run 20th anniversary car magnet as a thank you for participating in the campaign. Giving can be done online (click here), by check or money order using the campaign pledge form that can be downloaded here, (click here), or by donating cash/check in person to the front desk. All gifts to the annual giving campaign will go toward funding current year spending needs and priorities of the school. All gifts make an impact!   Please check out our Annual Giving Campaign page for more information. Thank you for your support.


    National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week:   Current news headlines are flooded with stories regarding the abuse of prescription medications and the current heroin epidemic and it's devastating effect on young adults.   To better educate our students, IACS will be participating in the National Drug and Alcohol Facts week, Jan. 25th-29th. This week of awareness is sponsored by the National Institute of Drug Abuse and the National Institute of Health.  

    All advisories, grade 5-12 , will be engaging in age appropriate discussions regarding  drug use, misuse and abuse. At the Middle School level, students will discuss the importance of using  medications safely and appropriately. At the high school level,  the misuse and abuse of prescription medication will be specifically targeted.  In addition, high school students from the Drugs and Society choice block, will be hosting an informational table for their peers.

    Although the topic of drugs and alcohol is part of  our MS and HS Health education curriculum, participating in the National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week allows all students to additionally,  engage in small group conversations regarding this important topic.  An opportunity  for IACS parents to join in the conversation is being planned for an evening in  March…stay tuned!

    IACA News 1/22:


    So much news to share for late January and February! Remember that you can always find the latest IACA news on our Facebook page and on our IACA website.


    Embrace Winter Social on 2/5

    Come join us for a fun night of friendship, prizes, and fun! IACS students will be performing, vendors will be selling, and tickets will be available for our BIG raffle! We are in need of volunteers to help staff the event and will have a Volunteer-spot button on our website shortly. Also, if you own a small business and are interested in selling your products at this event, please check out our "Embrace Winter Social Vendor Application" page on our website as well.


    High School Info Session:  We are in need of two volunteers to man the snack table for our High School Info Session on January 30. Please use the Volunteer-spot button on our website to sign up. Thank you!


    5/6 Grade Social: Our 5/6 Grade social will be on Feb 12.  Can you help chaperone?  All chaperones must be CORI'd. Please check out our Dances and Socials page on our website for more information.


    Big Time Social- coming in April!  This Casino-night event is our biggest fundraiser of the year. We are in need of volunteers to help plan the event. Please contact Jo Anne Frazier at for more information.


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  • The student who submits the most boxtops between Monday January 25th and Friday, February 12th will win a $25 movie gift certificate  There will be a HS & MS winner!  Prizes to be awarded by Friday, February 26th.

  • Boxtops should be placed in the blue collection box in the cafeteria or at the main office. Be sure to include your name and advisory.

  • Boxtop Winners!  Thank you to everyone who sent in Boxtops!   We collected almost $200 just during this one contest.   Way to go IACS!  These two individuals proved they truly do love box tops:

  • High School – Marissa Blaisdell, advisory Hickey

    Middle School – Philip Kustura, advisory Kapeckas.

    Congratulations Marissa & Phillip!  You have each won a $25 gift certificate to the movies!

    Keep Collecting those Boxtops!   The Red Sox have begun Spring Training and that means only one thing…….Boxtop Baseball will be coming soon!   Remember the next contest is a team effort.   The team to collect the most Boxtops wins the coveted Boxtops trophy and a prize!


    IACS High School Proudly Presents the Modern Musicals

    35MM: A Musical Exhibition

    by Ryan Scott and Michael Murphy



    21 Chump Street

    by Lin-Manuel Miranda


    March 10 & 11 at 7pm,

    March 12 at 2pm and 7pm, 2016

    Ticket order forms at the main office and


    Mark your calendar for Middle School Auditions for the Spring Play! March 16, 12:30-2:30.


    High School Auditions for the Spring Play are March 22, 3:00-5:00!

    No preparation or experience needed – see you there!


    Middle School News


    Close of Quarter 2: Quarter 2 ended today, 1/22. Quarter 2 Assessments will be shared via the x2 Aspen student and family portal on February 5th. Beginning on Monday, students will be switching project classes (from Science to Social Studies or vice versa) and students that were in Challenge during Semester 1 will switch to Health (and vice versa).


    Middle School Technology & Robotics Club: The second session of the MS Technology & Robotics Club will meet on the following five Mondays: February 8th, 22nd, 29th and March 7th and 14th. Students have a choice of activities, including the opportunity to build and program robots using Lego Mindstorms, or make Artbotics (art that responds to its environment using sensors and motors). Students may need to share a robot so sign up with a friend! Alternatively, students can try out Android App Inventor, which is on-line software for making android apps, and test them on android tablets. Club meets from 3:00-4:30 (Mondays) in room 241 of the high school. There is no cost for this club but space is limited. Please sign up by emailing Donna Harrington at


    High School Information Session for 8th Graders and their Families


    Families of 8th graders should plan to attend our High School Information Session for prospective students and families on Saturday, 1/30 from 10-­12 pm, if you missed the information session this fall. Come learn more about our high school program and prepare your student for this important transition.


    Reminder about New Parent Mentors:

    A reminder to families that are new to IACS this year, that we have 2 parents that have volunteered to act as mentors to new families. This was a suggestion that came out of last year's family survey results. Both new parent mentor volunteers have children at IACS at different grade levels. New families can reach out throughout the year for support on a variety of topics (from "How do I help my student become more independent with homework?" to “How can I get more involved as a new parent?” to anything in between.)

    Their contact information is listed below:

    Cindy Worthington Berry                     Kimara Green   


    Outdoor ClothingClick the link for this reminder about outdoor recess and challenge.


    Save the Date for Spring Quality Night

    We’ve needed to make some changes in our spring calendar now that the state testing window has been finalized.


    Please save the date for upcoming spring Quality Nights-

    5th graders- March 22nd 6-7:15 pm

    7th graders- May 19th 6-7:15 pm


    Middle School Yearbooks on SaleClick the link for more info


    High School News

    High School Robotics Club meets in room 241 on Tuesdays from 3-4:30. Students who join can start to prepare for participation in the Botball Robotics tournament which takes place on April 30. Students are welcome to come and try out robotics even if they aren't sure if they want to do Botball. To sign up, please email Donna Harrington at


    Click the blue link for the full text…

    New Ice Rink!



    Got Skates? IACS is looking for used pairs…


    College Acceptance Update


    Boys Basketball Photos


    Community Service

    McCarthy:Arnold Advisory.JPG


    Endersession 2016


    "Winter White" Semi-Formal Dance 1/29 Seeking Donations

    This semi-formal dance is meant to bring students together in a fun and safe environment. Now, is a great opportunity to donate to and take part in the IACS community. They have also made a list of things families may donate towards the event.

    -Cookies (chocolate chip, sugar, snickerdoodles, butter scotch, oreos, nut free, etc…)

    -Candy Canes

    -Gallons of Blue Gatorade

    -Milk (Almond, White, Chocolate)

    -Chocolate Bars (any kind: milk, dark, white, peppermint, etc.)

    -Marshmallows & Graham Crackers

    -Wooden sticks for roasting marshmallows

    -Fire Wood


    -White Christmas Lights (Any Kind) – lend w/ name of owner or donate

    (If you are interested, email


    Thank you,

    Jen S. & Student Government


    Winter White - Save The Date.jpg


    Order your Yearbooks today! If you order before February 12 (or have already ordered), you'll be entered into a raffle to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card! You can get an order form at the main office, or order online at The absolute last day to order a Yearbook is March 25! We will not be selling any Yearbooks after that date. Please don't forget to order yours today!


    Seniors- please submit your baby pictures as soon as possible! They are due no later than February 26.


    SENIOR REMINDER. All senior stuff (pictures, quotes, remember you fors, class wills) is due JANUARY 29!

    SUBMIT PHOTOS. You can still submit photos by texting them to 657-666-8755, emailing, submitting through the ReplayIt App, or DMing the yearbook Twitter (@IACSyearbook) or the yearbook Instagram (@iacs.yearbook).

    Greg Orpen

    Head of School
    Innovation Academy Charter School
    72 Tyng Road
    Tyngsboro, MA 01879
    Phone: (978) 649-0432 x3141
    Fax: 978-649-6337

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