March 4, 2016
Many of you may have heard about the dual enrollment program, but I am excited to tell you about a new piece to dual enrollment that we are currently seeking approval for from Middlesex Community College (MCC). First, let me give you a little background on the benefits of the dual enrollment program. Dual enrollment is a state supported early college program that allows high school students to take college level classes and earn both college and high school credit at Massachusetts state colleges, universities, and community colleges. Another key feature of dual enrollment is that financial support from the state reduces the cost for students to earn college credit. MCC, for example, charges high school graduates that want to take a class there about $558, but a high school student taking the same class through the dual enrollment program would only pay about $261.
Partially because of the increasing price of college, we have seen an increasing number (in some years up to 20%) of our graduates who choose to start at a 2-year state community college. These students can clearly save money by participating in dual enrollment, but even larger savings are realized for the 30% of our students that attend 4-year state colleges and universities. When students earn a 2.0 GPA or higher in general education classes that are part of what is known as the Mass Transfer Block, the credits will “fully transfer to any Massachusetts public higher education institution” (http://www.mass.edu/masstransfer/students/transferblock.asp). The cost savings are significant: the equivalent of one year of college (10 classes) through dual enrollment is $2,610 while the same classes at UMASS Amherst with room, board, and books will cost you $26,674. Students could easily save over $40,000 by earning two years of community college credits and then transferring those credits to a four-year state college or university. Private colleges may also accept the transfer credit, but the level of acceptance could vary from college to college so there is not the guaranteed benefit of the Mass Transfer Block.
We have had a few juniors and seniors take dual enrollment classes the past couple of years, but the new piece we are adding for next year should greatly increase the ability of our students to benefit from the dual enrollment program. One factor that deterred students from taking dual enrollment classes was that they would have to have transportation to either the Lowell or Bedford Middlesex Community College campuses. Another factor was that their school, athletic, extracurricular, or work schedules made it difficult for them to be available when the MCC class they wanted to take was available. The growth in online classes has helped to reduce these difficulties, but many students prefer the traditional classroom experience over online classes. Next year, contingent upon MCC approval, IACS will be offering several Dual Enrollment classes on campus. These courses would be taught by our own teachers that have been granted adjunct faculty status by Middlesex Community College. This will be extremely convenient for students since they will not have to travel to one of MCC’s campuses. The classes that we are planning on offering (pending approval) are:
English 400 DE – Classics of Children’s Literature
English 419 WW – College Writing
IDS 350 DE – Environmental Studies
Science 344 – Earth and Space Sciences
Since this will be our first year offering these classes on campus, it is unclear what the interest level will be from our students. Space will be limited in these classes (as it is for all of our classes), but if there is great interest in these classes we will look to expand on our offerings and number of sections in future years. Here are the requirements and guidelines for the dual enrollment program: (1) Open to Juniors and Seniors, (2) GPA of 3.0 or better, (3) Successfully pass the Accuplacer placement test, (4) Approval of the principal (excellent attendance and behavior are primary considerations), (5) Maximum of 4 semester classes during Junior year, no more than 2 per semester (12 credits), (6) Maximum of 6 semester classes during Senior year, no more than 3 per semester (18 credits). Representatives will be coming to IACS one day this spring to allow interested students to take the Accuplacer exam.
We have always felt that our courses are in many ways comparable to introductory college level courses and now students will be able to get the added benefit of earning college credit at the same time as earning high school credit.
Erik Arnold, Ed.D.
High School Principal
All School News
Dates At a Glance:
March 5: SAT Exam 8:00 am
March 8: IACA Pot Luck Meeting 7:00 pm
March 9: Early Release
March 10: Innovation Morning for Prospective Middle School Parents/Guardians 8:30 – 9:30 am
March 10-12 Winter Drama Production 7:00 pm
March 14: Board of Trustee Meeting 6:30 – 8:30 pm
Middle School Band and Chorus Concert 7:00 – 8:00 pm
March 16: Early Release
March 22: 5th Grade Quality Night 6:00 – 7:15 pm
HS MCAS ELA Testing
March 23: HS MCAS ELA Testing
Full Day Wednesday
March 24: HS MCAS ELA Testing
March 25: No School – Good Friday
March 29: Innovation Morning for Prospective Middle School Parents/Guardians 8:30 – 9:30 am
March 30: Early Release
No HS Internships
HS Exhibition Night 6:00 – 8:00 pm
April 1: Prom Craft Night 5:00 – 8:00 pm
April 4: Last day of MS Quarter 3
April 6: Early Release
April 7: Innovation Morning for Prospective High School Parents/Guardians 8:30 – 9:30 am
April 9: SAT Prep Class Practice SAT
April 11: Board of Trustee Meeting 6:30 – 8:30 pm
April 12: MS Parent Advisory Council 7:45 – 8:30 am
Innovation Morning for Prospective Middle School Parents/Guardians 8:30 – 9:30 am
April 13: Early Release
IACA Meeting 7:00 – 8:30 pm
April 18 – 22 April School Vacation
Parent Health & Wellness Survey
As part of our ongoing assessment of wellness education, programs, and initiatives at IACS, we are seeking parental input. Below is a link to a quick five question survey that we are hoping all parents will take a few moments to complete. The answers will provide feedback that will directly impact our planning. In order to collect meaningful data, we ask that you complete one survey for each child enrolled at IACS. Many thanks for your partnership in developing a culture of wellness here at IACS.
Lastly, as I look toward next year, I intend to more actively engage parents in discussions and decisions regarding our wellness program. At the end of the survey, please share your name and contact information if you are interested in becoming a more formal part of these ongoing discussions. The time commitment would be minimal (in fact, the hope is that much of your support/input can be obtained via online conversations.)
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to reach out to me at email@example.com
Click here to complete the survey. Thank you in advance for your time and support.
Students and Families,
Beginning this week, we will be providing internet filtering for all chromebooks logged with innovationcharter.org accounts off campus as well as here at school. This filtering will ensure that we are up to date with federal requirements for students who receive loaned devices from the school, but it will affect all students who log into the "chrome" browser or a chromebook with an innovationcharter.org account. Students are used to seeing filtered internet at school, but they may find some pages blocked that weren't before when they are on their home network or at another location providing internet access.
Though the software solution we use to filter internet access for all student chrome accounts also allows monitoring of student internet use, we see little benefit to the routine monitoring of students at home and have disabled this feature outside of school hours.
Families participating in our BYOD program should be aware that students who own their own machine can circumvent our filtering outside of school by simply using a browser other than chrome, or not logging into their browser with an innovationcharter.org account. Families looking to filter or monitor internet use at home should use their own measures to do so; here are links to Comcast and Verizon support pages on setting up parental filters at home. If you want the school filters to be in use all of the time, the best option is to set up a student with a chromebook and ensure that only innovationcharter.org logins are allowed (instructions for limiting who can sign into a chromebook are here).
If you have questions about internet filtering or other matters, please feel free to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Director of Instructional Technology
IACS School Nutrition Program
Lost & Found
Our lost and found bins are overflowing again. Please ask your students to look through them. We will clean them out on March 9th and donating items to local charities.
Our next IACA meeting ( potluck!) will be next Tuesday, March 8, from 7-8:30 in the Cafe. All are welcome!
10K Raffle: Support your school AND take a chance on a $5000 prize! Tickets will be going home within the next couple of weeks.
Boxtop Winners! Congratulations to Isabella Ralowicz ( HS) and Caitlyn Pennie (MS) for submitting the most BoxTops in our February contest! And THANK YOU to Valerie Clark ( parent) who submitted an online contest entry that won $500 for our school! Thank you, everyone!
"Mixed Bag" Fundraising: Our Spring fundraising has begun! Mixed Bag Designs offers bags for all occasions ( beach, anyone?) as well as items for your home and kitchen. The school will receive 50% of total sales! Order forms are currently being sent home with students. Here is our online link if you'd like to take a peek! Great Online Fundraising & Raising Money Ideas For Schools & Team | Reusable Shopping Bags & Insulated Lunch Bags | Mixed Bag Designs
Mixed Bag Designs is the fastest growing fundraiser in the country. Our catalog is full of colorful and stylish products including everyone's favorite reusable groc…
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Big Time Social: This year, our Big Time Social/Casino Night will be held at Lenzi's on April 15th. Please contact Jo Anne Frazier at email@example.com if you would like to help with the event.
IACA Board Position Open: Seeking-Secretarial Skills Engineer: Must be organized and available for meetings, good-note taking skills a must! Please contact Jo Anne Frazier at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Auditions for the middle school play will occur on March 16, 12:30-2:30 in the auditorium! You need a signed audition agreement available at the main office and at https://www.innovationcharter.org/theater Thank you – we hope to see you there! If you have additional questions, please contact Rhonda Hawthorne @ email@example.com.
What is the most demanding show the high school at IACS has ever put on? That would be our upcoming production of 35MM/ 21 CHUMP STREET! Come see why other high schools don't dare to try this beast of a show, and why its next stop will be Broadway! Tickets are available at the main office and https://www.innovationcharter.org/theater
35MM: A Musical Exhibition
by Ryan Scott and Michael Murphy
with 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 https://www.innovationcharter.org/theater
Thinking about CAMP NOW?!
That's right! We have 3 Performing Arts Camps for students finishing grades 4 through 12 this summer! Improv Camp, Glee Camp and Drama Camp! Tuition is lowest until the end of February, so sign up now and save a bunch! Please see the forms at https://www.innovationcharter.org/theater for information!
And what is next for Drama? AUDITIONS FOR OUR PAY PRODUCTION! Middle Schoolers audition on March 16, 12:30-2:30, and High Schoolers audition on March 22, 3:00-5:00pm. All you need is a signed audition form, available at the main office and at https://www.innovationcharter.org/theater
NO EXPERIENCE OR PREPARATION NEEDED FOR ANY OF THESE OPPORTUNITIES!
Middle School News
Growth Takes Time: Eighth grader Surahbi published a terrific reflection this week on her growth in Spanish and how risk-taking in the classroom builds confidence and skills. Click here to read her blog entry.
MS Band & Chorus Concert:
Come support the middle school band and chorus at their performance on Monday, 3/14 at 7 pm in the auditorium. The word on the street is that the band has some video game musical favorites up their sleeves….
Spring Athletics Paperwork:
Paperwork for middle school athletics is due on March 16th. Spring sports include track & field (Grades 5-8), dance (Grades 5-8), boy’s baseball (grades 6-8), girl’s softball (grades 7-12). Students were given registration packets in advisory. Additional copies can be picked up at the main office.
The boys IACS basketball team will go up against St Michael’s School this coming Sunday, 3/6 at 4:15 pm at the Rogers Gym in playoff action. The Rogers Gym is at 43 Highland Street, Lowell. The boys would love to have some IACS fans in the stands. Go HAWKS!
Fifth Grade Quality Night Approaches:
Fifth graders recently selected the project that they will share for their second Quality Night of the year. Quality Night prep days are scheduled for Monday, March 14th and Tuesday, March 15th. During Quality Night prep, students will make any necessary revisions, prepare their presentation, and create a display. Students should come prepared with note cards, a trifold or poster board, and art supplies. In between Quality Night prep day and their scheduled Quality Night, students should practice their presentation at home. Families can help ensure readiness for this important event by listening to the presentation. Asking your child questions about how the work relates to the real-world and making connections to the four school outcomes as well as providing feedback about their presentation skills will help your child polish their presentation.
Quality Nights give students the opportunity to share their best work with the public. We believe that this is not only an experience for adults to learn about what we do at Innovation Academy, but an opportunity for students to learn very important public speaking and presentation skills.
Presenting at Quality Night is a promotion requirement. Family participation at Quality Night is essential in providing students individualized feedback about their work. Please do not hesitate to invite other guests (grandparents, aunts/uncles, neighbors, etc.) that are interested in supporting your child and seeing some examples of the project-based work IACS students do. Please remind your child to dress professionally. A suit or fancy dress is not necessary, but a nice shirt, slacks, and/or skirt would all be good choices.
5th grade Quality Night: Tuesday, 3/22 6 pm
A reminder that 7th graders will present on Thursday, 5/19 at 6 pm. Sixth and eighth graders will prepare for their jury presentation this spring in lieu of participating in a spring Quality Night.
Click the blue links for more information:
High School News
Driver’s Ed Classes at IACS – We will again be offering a Driver's Ed class at IACS that is run by Future Drivers of America, a professional driving company, licensed by the MA RMV. Classes will be held on Early Release Wednesdays and on Tuesday's during the Spring Choice Block. Classes will begin on Wednesday, March 9th. Students must register through Future Driver's of America to take the classes. Registration can be done on the Future Driver's Website, http://www.futuredriversofamerica.com/IACS-Page.html or by calling 978-455-0290. Attached you will find a flyer that lists the pricing, payment options and class schedule.
Future Driver's is conveniently located down the street in North Chelmsford. If students need to miss a class they can schedule with the Future Driver's office to make up the missed lesson at their location.
Below is the class schedule for your perusal:
Date Day Time
3/9/2016 Wednesday 12:30-3:30
3/16/2016 Wednesday 12:30-3:30
3/29/2016 Tuesday 10:50-12:02
3/30/2016 Wednesday 12:30-3:30
4/5/2016 Tuesday 10:50-12:02
4/6/2016 Wednesday 12:30-3:30
4/12/2016 Tuesday 10:50-12:02
4/13/2016 Wednesday 12:30-3:30
4/26/2016 Tuesday 10:50-12:02
5/3/2016 Tuesday 10:50-12:02
5/4/2016 Wednesday 12:30-3:30
5/10/2016 Tuesday 10:50-12:02
5/11/2016 Wednesday 12:30-3:30
5/17/2016 NO CLASS Due to MCAS Testing
5/24/2106 NO CLASS Due to POL's
5/31/2016 Tuesday 10:50-12:02
6/1/2016 Wednesday 12:30-3:30pm
If you have any questions please don't hesitate to reach out to Future Driver's at 978-455-0290, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Crystal McKiel, IACS HS Admin, at email@example.com or 978-649-0432 ext 2004.
You’re invited to….
“Driver Education” Parent/Guardian Class presented by Future Drivers of America
Wednesday, March 23rd from 6-8pm
This FREE class is being held at IACS. Pre-registration is required.
Sign up at www.futuredriversofamerica.com or by calling 978-455-0290
If you are the Parent or Guardian of a 15-17 year old student that is planning to get their license within the next 5 years then at some point, you will need to attend a 2-hour class as required by the Massachusetts RMV. Regardless of which Driving School you choose, attendance at this class will satisfy the RMV requirement for 5 years.
Click the blue link for the full text…
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Phone: (978) 649-0432 x3141
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