The Hawk: March 12, 2021

March 11, 2021 6:48 pm


March 12, 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.

Big picture

Dear IACS Community,

As you likely know from school communications as well as local news coverage, there is a lot happening across the state in terms of school reopening plans. This week DESE has formalized its expectations about when schools must offer in-person instruction for all students, 5 days a week. In their guidance document, schools must begin this transition for Grades K-5 no later than April 5th and Grades 6-8 by April 28th. No announcements from DESE have yet been made for Grades 9-12.

At Monday night’s Board of Trustees meeting, I will be making two recommendations outlining next steps towards a shift to offer in-person instruction:

1) IACS apply for a waiver to delay in-person instruction for Grade 5.

DESE has stated that districts who configure the elementary/middle school split differently (as we do at IACS) would be eligible for a waiver.

2) IACS begin offering in-person instruction 5 days a week for all grades (5-12) on Monday, April 26th.

Throughout this challenging year, we’ve moved together as one school and I would like us to continue that practice. Resuming on April 26th will allow more staff to receive vaccinations and it will also allow the regional health metrics to improve. It’s important to underscore that IACS serves some districts that are already offering in-person instruction while others that are still largely remote, so we must look at reopening plans with a global perspective in mind. Moreover, we must consider that our interior space- not just our classrooms but other "alternative" spaces (gyms, libraries, auditoriums, cafeterias, etc.) – is much lower than most schools. Our confidence to regularly utilize outdoor spaces throughout the day will be more consistent come April 26th.

I have immense gratitude to the entire IACS community- staff, students, and families, for the many ways in which you’ve supported our collective work during this most challenging year.

In partnership,

Greg Orpen

Head of School

All School News

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.

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

IACS has updated the "Return to School After Travel Policy" to reflect the newest guidelines by the state. Students and staff will no longer need to quarantine 4 days upon return to the state before getting tested. For complete details please refer to the policy linked above.

As always, please feel free to reach out to the health office staff should you have any questions at

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.

Big picture

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

Spring Sports

The deadline to register for spring sports is Monday, March 22nd. It is very likely that we will not be able to accept late registrations. And pending roster limitations, even athletes who register by the deadline may not get a roster spot.

As of now (March 12th), we hope to offer the following spring sports (roughly April 26th-July 3rd):

  • Girls Lacrosse – HS only
  • Boys Lacrosse – HS only
  • Girls Outdoor Track & Field – MS & HS
  • Boys Outdoor Track & Field – MS & HS
  • Boys Volleyball – MS & HS
  • Coed Dance – MS & HS
  • Coed Cheerleading – MS & HS
  • Girls Softball – MS (6th-8th) & HS
  • Boys Baseball – MS (6th-8th) & HS
  • Please click here for further information about middle school sports & instructions to register.

    Please click here for further information about high school sports & instructions to register.

    Please contact the Athletic Department,, with any questions or concerns.

    Theatre News

    Performing Arts Camps

    All students currently in grades 4-12 are invited to join us for this summer’s PERFORMING ARTS CAMPS! Camps are located on the school campus, often using the outdoor stage.

  • "Hamilton – The Musical Camp!" Get to know and perform some off the show at IACS! July 12-16
  • "This is Improv and Comedy!" Where you will use Improv Activities and Comedy to grow as a performer! July 19-23
  • "A Full Play and a TV Show!" Where you will perform a full play and a tv show! July 26-30
  • Each camp ends with a show for the public on Friday evening on the outdoors stage by the pond. Registration information and details about cost will be coming in upcoming Hawks. We would love to see you at camp!

    Also –Auditions are coming up for our spring production of "The Pandemic that Didn’t Define Them." Watch for details in upcoming Hawks!

    Please email with questions!

    Middle School News

    Big picture

    Seventh grade science students used infrared thermometers to measure temperature at various spots around campus.

    Title I Parent Input Session- 3/24 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 at and she will send you the Zoom link. If you cannot attend but are interested in this topic, email Melissa Kapeckas to connect.

    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.

    Big picture

    Just hangin’ around having fun in the spring temps during advisory

    High School News

    Big picture

    Corona Commemoration

    Today marks the one year anniversary of the last day that we were all together here at IACS for a typical day of school. Since then, we have all endured much, and grown much.

    On Wednesday, The Interact Club invited students and staff to a commemoration of this strange interlude of a year, which included poetry readings (“When people say ‘we have made it through worse before’” by Clint Smith & “Some of Us” by Julie Sheldon), a minute of silence to remember those that have passed, and all that has been lost, and two videos: one from the IACS Instrumental Ensemble, and one of images submitted by IACS students. If you choose to view them, we hope you enjoy them.

    Our goal this week was to uplift the strength that our community has shown this past year and recognize the things that have gotten us through it. Students answered some trivia about our staff and completed a daily slide on this Jamboard! to reflect on our individual and collective experiences.

    <3 The High School Interact Club

    MCAS for Grades 10 & 11

    Since MCAS exams did not happen last spring, all juniors and sophomores are expected to take the exam this year. High schools have essentially been given the month of May to fit the exams in. In order to have enough testing rooms and teachers available to proctor the exams, only grades 10 and 11 will be in the building on the four test days. All testing will be conducted in small groups in order to provide plenty of space for our students. Grades 9 & 12 will work remotely for the day and they will be assigned asynchronous work for their classes. While the class of 2022 & 2023 have to pass the ELA & Math MCAS exams, they do not have to take the Biology MCAS Exam. Instead, students will only have to show successful completion of the Biology class. The workload will be reduced on test days since grades 10 & 11 will be testing all morning and will only have the afternoon available for their school work. Students will need to be in the building for all four tests days, regardless of whether they participate in the hybrid or full remote models. Our current testing schedule is the following:

  • May 11 & 14 (Tue, Fri) ELA for grades 10 & 11

  • May 17 & 21 (Mon, Fri) Math for grades 10 & 11

  • Extra Help

    Students are reminded that extra help is available for all classes. Here is a list of times that each teacher has set aside for extra help. Virtual links can be found in each Google Classroom. Students can also email teachers if they can’t find the virtual links or if they have any questions.


    There is only one more month to buy yearbooks; the deadline for ordering is Friday, April 2, and they are $40 each. Please order and pay online at The online order form includes personalization options (i.e. your name and icons).

    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: Scholarships

    Seniors, make sure to look into these scholarship opportunities. Contact Ms. Deknatel with questions or if you need assistance applying

    IACS Scholarships

    Community Scholarships

    Adulting 101

    The University of Massachusetts 4-H Youth Development Program is offering these free virtual workshops for students.

    LINK to Register for any and all of these 1 hour sessions on Living, Finances, and Career exploration

    Free STEM Programs

    Check out this current program for HS students who are interested in STEM. It is run by Pace University in NYC. The program is free for high school students across the U.S. and will be running virtually! No experience needed.

    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

    Big picture

    The Farm to School program is growing parsley that will be part of a future community giveaway with different basils, cilantros, tomatoes, eggplants and peppers. The program also delivered microgreen kits for 6 middle school advisories on Wednesday.

    IACA News

    Do you have a business that would benefit from some publicity?

    If so, consider making a donation to the upcoming auction, or sponsoring an ad on our auction page or in our silent auction booklet!

    If you know of anyone who might like to make a tax deductible donation or purchase ad space for this fundraiser please contact Heather Landis at

    Sponsorship information

    Big picture

    Ahhh Friday, Sweet Friday!