The Hawk: January 27, 2017

January 27, 2017 7:00 am

“The Hawk”

Dear IACS Families:

Last spring, the Massachusetts Department of Secondary and Elementary Education released new standards for Science and Technology/Engineering. Standards are learning goals that delineate the content and skills students should learn at each grade level. Since the standards have been released, our science department, like others in the state, has been dissecting the standards and creating a transition plan to revise our science curriculum to align with the new standards.

What are some key differences with the new standards?

  • Major science and engineering practices are defined (how science is conducted in the real world, such as planning investigations or creating models). This provides more emphasis on students doing the work and developing the inquiry skills of scientists.

  • At the middle and elementary school levels, the standards focus on an integrated approach to science. This integrated approach weaves different topics in branches of science (earth and space science, physical science, life science, and technology/engineering) together around overarching themes called crosscutting concepts. These crosscutting concepts bridge disciplines and are intended to help students develop a broad-based, scientific view. Some examples of the overarching themes include Systems and Systems Models, Structure and Function, and Stability and Change.

  • There is an emphasis on developing evidence-based arguments and reasoning, in coordination with a central focus of the math and ELA standards.

  • At the high school level, the organization of courses remains the same, with an increased focus on depth over breadth.

  • What does this mean for IACS?

    The new standards emphasize practices that are in alignment with the mission of IACS and what we feel is important for any of our students to be well-prepared as they graduate to take on a major in science or engineering. As our science department delved more into the standards, we were excited to see an emphasis on science practices, systems thinking and modeling, critical thinking and problem-solving through developing evidence-based arguments.

    At the middle school level, we have made the decision to move to grade-level courses for Science and Social Studies project classes. The multi-age configuration of middle science classes has served our program well with the curriculum written as thematic units. That said, as we move to an integrated science curriculum next year, we were concerned that the major themes and coherence of instruction would be lost if we maintained our current structure of a two year looping curriculum.

    What are the details of this change?

  • Middle school students will continue to go to Science and Social Studies projects for a double block (110 minutes) each semester to allow for the time to delve deeper into hands-on, project-based learning.

  • Middle schoolers will continue to loop with their Science and Social Studies teachers, so that they will have the benefits of maintaining much of their teaching team over 2 years.

  • The major change is that beginning in the 2017-2018 school year, middle school students will attend Science and Social Studies with their same-grade peers instead of in the multi-age configuration.

  • Students will continue to attend advisory in a multi-age configuration given the leadership and mentoring opportunities that this can help foster as students transition to our school.

  • To read more about the science standards, please reference this article published by the National Science Teachers Association. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you have questions about this change in our structure or the upcoming changes in the science curriculum.


    Melissa Kapeckas

    Middle School Principal

    Important Upcoming Dates

    January 27 HS Winter Semi-Formal Dance

    February 1 Early Release

    February 2 MS Open House for Prospective Students & Families 6:00 – 8:00 pm

    February 3 MS Parent- Principal Advisory Council  7:45- 8:30 am

    Embrace Winter Social & Talent Show 7:00 – 10:00 pm

    February 8 Early Release/ NO HS INTERNSHIPS

    February 9 Your Financial Aid Letter Workshop (seniors&parents) 6:30 – 8:00pm

    February 10 HS Field Trip Model United Nations (Gonsalo)

    Grades 7 & 8 Movie Night  6:30 – 9:00 pm

    February 11 HS Field Trip Model United Nations (Gonsalo)

    Destination Imagination Appraiser’s Training

    February 12 HS Field Trip Model United Nations (Gonsalo)

    February 13 Board of Trustee Meeting 6:30 – 8:30 pm

    Feb 20 – 24 No School February Vacation

    February 28 New Enrollment Applications due by 12:00 noon

    March 1 Early Release

    Enrollment Lottery  4:00pm

    March 6 MS   Band and Chorus Concert  6:00pm

    March 7 IACA Potluck Meeting 6:30 – 7:00pm

    March 8 Early Release

    All School News


    $5K Raffle: The sale of raffle tickets is ongoing.  Our goal is a total of 750 tickets sold.  We are at 300 sold.  Does your student's advisory want to win a pizza party?  Does your student want to win $500?  Get your tickets in by Wednesday, February 1.  Sell in person or online!   https://raffles.  Thank you for your support, and GOOD LUCK!!!

    Embrace Winter Social: Our Embrace Winter Social will take place on Feb. 3 from 6-9pm.  We'll have pizza/ice cream, Middle School Art Show, vendors selling items, school groups showcasing their talents, and winter fun! If you are interested in participating as a vendor please contact Bernadette Baird at Now recruiting volunteers:  We need folks for all sorts of jobs (even in shifts) that evening.  Please contact: Jo Anne Frazier at

    7/8 Movie night will be Friday, Feb 10 from 6:30-9:00pm.  (Movie starts promptly at 6:45).   Admission is $5.00 and includes bottle of water, popcorn, and a movie.  We will also have fruit snacks and additional water bottles for sale.  (No sweetened drinks will be allowed in the auditorium.  Movie selection is The Fault in Our Stars.

    Step up and Help your school: We are always looking for people to help with events, create events, and step into leadership roles of our parent organization.  There may be 3 or more open roles for the upcoming school year.  Would you like to know more?  Please email Jo Anne at for more information.

    Performing Arts News:  

    The last day of middle school drama workshop is February 1. Thank you all so much for your terrific work on stage!

  • Tickets are available for our March production of MAN OF LA MANCHA! Please find the ticket order form at

  • Do you have a business you would like to promote? Or a message you would like to share with about 900 people? If so, please consider supporting the drama program by purchasing program space! Information is found at

  • Mark your calendars! Auditions for the MIDDLE SCHOOL PLAY are on Wednesday, March 29, 12:30-3:00pm in the auditorium! It's an early release day so bring a lunch! We hope to see you there so you can have your turn to light up the IACS stage! Auditions are open to any current middle school students – with or without acting experience! The play, which features numerous monologues as well as full scenes, is called "Game of Tiaras" and you can find details about the hilarious spoof at Rehearsals will be on half day Wednesdays, 12:30-3:00, and performances are on May 20 at 2pm and 7pm.

  • Auditions for the next HIGH SCHOOL PLAY are on Tuesday, March 21, 3:00-4:30 in the auditorium! Auditions are open to any current high school students – with or without acting experience! The play, which features numerous monologues as well as full scenes,  is called "I'm A Teenager Get Me Out of This Family" and details can be found at  (If you are in Darts or Shards you may still audition for this show, as long as rehearsals do not conflict. Priority will go to those who do not currently have other roles. Performances will be on Thursday, May 18 and Friday, May 19 at 7pm.)

  • BELIEVE IT OR NOT, SUMMER IS COMING! Mark your calendars for 3 Performing Arts Camps right here on the IACS Campus! Camps are open to students finishing 4th through 12th grades.

  • July 10-July 14: Drama Camp 8:30-3:30 daily with a performance of Ghostbusters on Friday night

    July 17-July 21: Glee Camp 8:30-3:30 daily with a performance of songs and scenes from School of Rock on Friday night

    July 24-July 28: Improv Camp 8:30-3:30 daily with a performance created ON THE SPOT by the campers on Friday night

    The first ten Glee Camp students finishing grades 8 through 12 have the option of going to Broadway to see School of Rock on the Wednesday of Glee Camp! Check out the registration form for details!

    Questions? Email or check out the latest on the website

    Reminder about Morning Drop-Off and Afternoon Dismissal:  In recent weeks the school has received some request to restate expectations when dropping off or picking up students.

  • Please remain in your lanes even after you child has exited your car (morning) or entered your car (afternoon).  Passing other cars who have students entering/exiting cars is unsafe.  

  • Parking on Tyng Road creates safety concerns, not only because it’s another obstacle for cars on the road, but also because students must cut across busy parking lots.  In the past we have received calls from neighbors or even the Tyngsboro Police Department asking that the school send out reminders.  

  • Our staff works to make sure that the high volume of cars enters and exits the parking lot as efficiently as possible, knowing that safety must always trump convenience.  Thank you for your support.

    Re-enrollment Forms have been mailed to current families. They need to be returned to the main office by January 27th.  Please remember if you have a sibling that would like to enroll at IACS for the 2017-2018 school year  you will need to fill out an application by February 28, 2017 to be entered into the March 1, 2017 lottery.   ALL admissions to IACS is done by lottery.  

    If you have any questions please contact Marybeth Bush,978-649-0432 ext 3218, or or Kathleen Feeney at ext 2218 or

    IACS School Nutrition Program:  The February Breakfast & Lunch Menu is posted here. Contact Karen Drake if you have any questions about the School Nutrition Program.

    Middle School News

    Middle School Semester 1 Assessments- Published to x2 Student and Family Portal

    The Semester 1 Assessment (report card)  has been published to our Follett Aspen family portal.

    Listed below are the steps for accessing the document:

    Step 1: Log into X2 Follett Aspen from the link at   

    Step 2: At the top of the front page you will see a section titled “published reports.” Here you will be able to open and view your child’s progress report document. You may also download it and print it.

    Please reach out to the main office if you have difficulty accessing this document or need another copy of your x2 password.

    For families that would like to review more detailed information about our grading system and/or the criteria for Honors, Distinguished Honors, or Academic Probation, please find this in our Student and Family Handbook.

    Please assist us in helping your student meet their highest academic potential by reviewing the document closely with them to learn from the feedback, identifying any trends and helping your child develop goals for the remainder of the school year.

    Middle School Art Exhibit at Embrace Winter Social

    Come and enjoy the work of 6th and 8th graders on display at the Embrace Winter Social next Friday, February 3 from 6-9 pm!  Interested in helping set up or break down the exhibit? Email to lend a hand.  Hope to see you there!

    Save the Date!- Quality Night for Grades 5 & 7

    Please save the date- Quality Night for students in Grades 5 and 7 will be on Thursday, May 11th from 6-7:15 pm. It has been moved from the original published date of March 23rd.

    Looking for fun events for February Vacation?

    The MIT Museum is hosting Feb Fest, their annual celebration of National Engineers Week, during February school vacation, with daily hands-on activities and workshops for students. This is a terrific connection to our middle school engineering units. Check it out and learn more about registering here

    Middle School Yearbook:

    2016-2017 IACS Middle School Yearbook Order Forms are now available.  They have been passed out in Advisory and are available on the MS Yearbook page on the website.

    Order your Middle School yearbook NOW for the EARLY BIRD price of $20 is available until Friday, February 17, 2017. Orders placed after February 17, 2017 will be at the regular price of $27

    High School News

    Upcoming Events to Note:

    Friday 1/27 – Snowcoming Semi-Formal Dance

    Wednesday 2/1 – Report Cards for Semester 1

    Friday 2/3 – Embrace Winter

    Lowell Sun All-Stars

    Congratulations to Isabela and Araceli Schmalz for being recognized as Second Team Lowell Sun All-Stars for Girls Soccer! Nick Passarelli was also recognized as a Second Team All-Star for Cross Country and Calvin Lee, Joe Jarvis, and Josh Sweetland (not pictured) received Honorable Mention recognition. Great job by the student-athletes and their coaches.

    All-State Chorus

    College Fair

    College Counseling News and Notes

    Student Health 101The January edition of Student Health 101 and the Student Advocate for parents is now available!

    High School Yearbook

    Last chance to get your High School Yearbooks for the Early Bird Price of $30. You can order online at through Sunday for the low price of $30.00. After that, the price goes up to $35.00. If you choose to order on paper, order forms can be found outside Ms. Kelly's office. Please contact if you have any question.

    Seniors and parents of seniors, we are still going through all of the submissions, so if you haven't gotten a response to a question or requested confirmation from us yet, know that we're working on it.


    Yearbook Staff

    New articles this month highlight  how students can quit competing against and comparing themselves to peers as well as information for parents regarding concerns that your child may by in an unhealthy relationship.

    I hope you find Student Health 101 a valuable resource, it certainly has a lot to offer both parents and students.

    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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