The Hawk: November 11, 2016

January 1, 1970 12:00 am

“The Hawk”

Good afternoon IACS Community,

Today we wrap up an election week that triggered a wave of emotions across the country.  These events provide “teachable moments” to all educators- parents and teachers. Conversations in my advisory this week ranged how the electoral college works to why specific candidates/issues resonated with students.  And of course our students are starting to learn how to navigate the reality that every election generates stress and uncertainty for some and excitement and optimism for others.  I sincerely hope that our students continue to grapple with these questions in your homes as they do in school.

On that note, I’d like to address a few salient talking points related to the defeat of Question 2, which would have increased the number of charter schools in Massachusetts.  

  • IACS will not be directly impacted as we have reached our enrollment cap of 800 students. Question 2 focused on the creation of new charter schools (or seats at existing schools) in other districts in the state.

  • Because charter schools only serve 4% of students in the state, the vast majority of Massachusetts residents do not truly understand how charters schools operate.  This landscape of low information allowed mistruths and scare tactics about charter schools to spread, even though substantive debate from both sides could have occurred.  

  • To this second point, I would strongly urge all members of the IACS community to be on guard when they hear anti-charter school rhetoric.  I would suggest first asking, “Have you ever stepped foot in a charter school?”  Assuming they say no, please extend my personal invitation to come visit IACS- any time, any day.  (You can also point them to our Innovation Mornings or give them my email address.)  The best way to deconstruct existing misconceptions of charter schools is to witness firsthand the stellar work of our students and faculty.  

  • Finally, I would like to thank all parents and staff who continue to choose IACS.  Our community, united by an amazing student-centered mission, makes working at IACS an honor.  

  • Lastly,  this Veterans Day I’d like to thank all of the veterans in our immediate and extended community for their past and/or current service. I’d also like to extend a special tip of the hat to the veterans on the IACS staff: Bob Feeney, Colin Kennedy, and Shelley Hachman.

    In partnership,

    Greg Orpen

    Head of School

    All School News

    7th and 10th Grade School Health Screenings:  Each school year IACS conducts school health screenings for all current 7th and 10th grade students.  The screenings include a vision screen, hearing screen and a height/weight screen (BMI).  All screenings are done privately and all results are kept in confidence.  Per law parents are allowed to opt their child out of the BMI screening.

    If you would like to opt your child out of the height/weight (BMI) screening please notify the health office in writing  by Wednesday, November 30th, 2016.

    You may send in a written note or you may email your request to    BE SURE TO MENTION YOUR CHILD’S FULL NAME AND GRADE  LEVEL IN THE NOTE AND EMAIL.  

    If you have any questions you may reach out to Gayle Nutile-Pimm, Director of Health and Wellness at 978-649-0432, ext. 2104 or

    Per diem Substitute Teachers Needed: We are looking for a few more people to join our substitute teacher pool.  As the winter and flu season approach we want to ensure we have enough substitutes.  If you are interested in learning more about becoming a substitute at IACS please contact Crystal McKiel,  Half day and full day subbing opportunities are available.  IACS pays $25 per hour up to $100 per day maximum.

    Do You Know Of A Community Service Need?: At IACS, we know that teaching goes beyond the classroom walls. We have seen the results first hand when students participate in community service. It fosters team work, encourages critical thinking, problem solving and generates self-esteem, not to mention the benefit it serves to others.  

    Each year, all IACS students engage in at least one community service project with their advisory. So far this school year, we have had over 100 students from 11/12 grade advisory groups participate in community service. They visited the House of Hope, Lowell Transitional Living Center and the Lowell Humane Society to name a few locations. Some of the services included painting, raking and sorting donations. We have many more community service projects and locations to serve later this year. If you have any ideas of organizations or community members that could use our help, please don't hesitate to share that with us. Suggestions are welcome! Please contact Director of Community Outreach and Advancement, Tina Lindberg at or 978-649-0432 ext. 2166

    Attendance Reminder:  A friendly reminder that all attendance messages (notes, voicemails, emails, etc.) should go to the main office ( and not teachers, advisors, or other staff.   Having attendance streamlined in this manner improves our internal communication systems.   Thank you.

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

    Drama for MS & HS:

    Join us for The IACS Production of

    THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS this November 17-19!

    See the ticket order form at

    The fall and winter middle school drama workshop is already filling up! Please see information and registration forms at   for details!

    What's the next IACS Production? The March show will be the Broadway musical, Man of La Mancha! See at   for details and an audition agreement form! We would love to see you at auditions – whether you've been in numerous shows or have never even seen a show! Students in grade 8 may audition with the high schoolers on November 29. 3:00-5:30.

    Students in grades 5-7 may take part in the show as a dancer OR (this just in) as an ACTOR! Rehearsals will be Mondays, 3:00-4:00. Auditions will take place on Monday, November 28, 3:00-4:00.

    Questions about the performing arts program? Please email

    IACA News

    A big THANK YOU to  Annette Famolare, Celeste Goyette and Amber Sarr for helping to coordinate and distribute the Yankee Candle orders.  We raised almost $6k this year…more than twice what we made last fall!

    Quality Night (Dec. 13 and 15)  and Embrace Winter Social  ( Feb. 10) : If you have volunteered to assist with our Quality Night and Embrace Winter social, you will be contacted within the next two weeks with more information. If you would like to help, please be sure to fill out our Volunteer form on the IACA website Volunteer!

    Middle School News

    Fifth graders learn about multiplying decimals using modeling

    Quality Night- coming in December:

    Please be certain to mark your calendars. All middle school students are required to present at Quality Night.

    Self-Direction and Effective Communication Teams Tuesday, 12/13 ~ 6-7:15 pm

    Community Membership and Problem-Solving Teams Thursday, 12/15 ~ 6-7:15 pm

    For 8th graders Applying to Technical or Independent Schools

    Please be aware that deadlines can be quite early. Please provide 2 weeks or more notice for letter of recommendations in order to give staff adequate time. Any requests for other documents (transcripts, attendance/conduct record, etc.) can be made to Federico Pererya, Dean of Students.

    2016-2017 IACS MS Yearbook Cover Competition- Deadline 12/16/2016

    The Yearbook Committee is holding a cover contest open to everyone in the Middle School.  Click here for more information.

    Middle School Art Needs Your Recyclables: We are in need of clean cereal boxes or other similar cardboard packaging for an upcoming 6th grade project. Please have students bring materials to the art room. Please no packaging from foods containing nuts.  Thank you!


    Extracurriculars: Crochet Club, Garden Club, MS Band, MS Chorus, Dungeons and Dragons, Yearbook, After school Art classes, and the Literary Magazine are all accepting new members. Look for more information on the extracurricular page of our website:

    High School News

    Financial Aid TV

    College Counseling Update for November

    Prom Dress Collection Drive

    IACS Science Teacher Becomes NPR Celebrity!

    Student Health 101

    Happy Period Project

    Photo of the Week

    Submissions can be emailed to


    Christian and Elizabeth working on their Biology Lab

    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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