The Hawk: November 23, 2016

January 1, 1970 12:00 am

“The Hawk”


Dear IACS Community,


Last Wednesday Jay W. Forrester, Professor Emeritus at MIT and founder of System Dynamics,  passed away at the age of 98.  While you might not be familiar with him by name,  Jay’s extraordinary life work has impacted multiple generations of people worldwide, not to mention inspired the foundation of our school.  His accomplishments included revolutionizing technologies used in everything from the earliest forms of computer memory systems, to radar defense, to the cruise control systems in our cars.  


Trained as an electrical engineer, Jay observed the recurring themes of feedback and accumulations in electrical systems and began to see these principles mirrored in social systems.  Jay and his growing team of graduate students founded the discipline of Systems Dynamics and used computer simulations to explore counterintuitive behaviors in business and to inform social policy.  After introducing these breakthrough ideas and establishing the field of Systems Dynamics, Jay became increasingly committed to introducing K-12 students to Systems and became a fierce advocate for what he dubbed “learner-centered learning.”


When the founders of IACS were articulating why they felt compelled to open a charter school, they were inspired by System Dynamics.  As our Charter application proposed, Systems would be a ‘Guiding Force’ in the development of curriculum “which would… give students tools to understand and interpret the interrelated nature of the world.”  This vision obviously resonated with the Department of Education who granted IACS, then the “Chelmsford Public Charter School,” its charter in 1995.  One could easily argue that without such a compelling vision, IACS would never have received permission to open.


In 2005, I had the pleasure of watching Jay interact with our students presenting classwork grounded in Systems Thinking at a conference hosted by WPI.  I also remember our students’ jaws dropping when I later told them that they just presented to the founder of Systems Thinking/System Dynamics.  

Jay Emma 2005.png

Dr. Jay Forrester with Emma Beauchamp (IACS 2011, in 7th grade in this 2005 photo)


As we head into this holiday break, I would like to give thanks for the long and wonderful life of Dr. Jay Forrester.  His ideas pushed countless people, from kindergarteners to Washington DC policy makers, to think more critically about how and why our interconnected world behaves in ways that are difficult to predict.   Have a great Thanksgiving to you all!


In partnership,


Greg Orpen

Head of School


p.s .  If you would like to read more about Jay’s legacy you can read articles in the Boston Globe and New York Times.

Important Upcoming Dates


November 24/25         Thanksgiving Break

November 28 – December 2    Book Fair

November 28             MS (5-7) Auditions Man of La Mancha  3:00 – 4:00

November 29             HS Winter Show Auditions 3:00 – 5:30pm

November 30            Early Release

December 2            MS Parent- Principal Advisory Council 7:45 – 8:30am

December 3            SAT Exam 8:00 – 1:00 pm

                 HS Chorus & Chorale Performance Tyngsboro Festival of Trees

December 6             HS Innovation Morning for Parents of Prospective Students 8:30 – 9:30

December 7            Early Release

December 7            No Internships

                 HS Principal Q&A for Prospective Students & families 5:00-7:00 pm

                 Winter Exhibition Night 6:00 – 8:00 pm

December 8            MS & HS Picture Retake Day

                 MS Innovation Morning for Parents of Prospective Students 8:30 – 9:30

December 9            GSA Dinner 6:00 – 8:00 pm

December 12             MS Band and Chorus Concert    6:00 – 8:00 pm

December 13             MS Quality Night (Self Direction & Effective Com. Teams) 6:00-7:15pm

December 14            Early Release

December 15             MS Quality Night (Problem Solve & Com Member Teams) 6:00-7:15pm

December 16            HS Movie Night  7:00 – 10:00 pm

December 19            Board of Trustee Meeting  6:30 – 8:30 pm

December 20            11th Grade College Night Kick-Off (parents & Students)     6:00 – 7:30

December 21            Early Release

December 23 – January 2    No School Winter Vacation


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


Community Event:  Tyngsboro Festival Of Trees.  December 1 – 4, 2016.  Please see attached flyer for details.  Our High School Chorus and Chorale will be performing on December 3rd.  


Drama for MS & HS:


Thank you so much for all of your support for the IACS production of "Through the Looking Glass"! Congratulations to the Cast and Crew on a spectacular run, and HUGE THANKS to the IACS family community who volunteered in every way to make this production successful!


The fall and winter middle school drama workshop is almost full! 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 actor. Rehearsals will be Mondays, 3:00-4:00. Auditions will take place on Monday, November 28, 3:00-4:00.


For both middle and high school students, no preparation or experience is necessary, but you do need an audition agreement form available at  or at the main office. Please bring the form with you to auditions.


Questions about the performing arts program? Please email




Book Fair:  Our annual book fair is scheduled for Monday 11/28 through Friday 12/2. Students will be attending the fair with their advisories. Please refer to the Book Fair Schedule  to see which day your child will be attending. We are also in need of 2 volunteers for of each these days, from 10:30am-12:30pm. If you have not already volunteered, please click here to do so. You will be contacted by the book fair coordinators shortly. Thank you!


Baking Team! Have you volunteered to be part of IACA's bake-sale team? If so, you will be contacted shortly regarding making baked goods for Quality Night. If you are interested in volunteering baked goods, please sign up on the IACA website


Quality Night " Store" IACA sponsors a Quality Night "Store" in the library to help kids prepare their display boards. We will be selling poster boards, sharpies, colored markers, colored pencils and index cards. We are in need of volunteers to help students with their purchases on 12/6 from 9:00am-11:00am and 12/8 from 1-3pm.   If you would like to help with this event, please sign up on the IACA website.


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



Happy Thanksgiving! Students in Spanish classes illustrate and write about what they are grateful during this Thanksgiving season.


Progress Report #2

The second progress report of Semester 1 will be published on Monday, 12/5.


Quality Night- coming in December:

December 6th and 7th mark our first Quality Night Prep Days in advance of Quality Night. Students will be selecting one of their projects to present at Quality Night. During Quality Night prep time, students will make any revisions, if necessary, 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.


Guests are asked to review short student presentations of their work and are given the opportunity to provide feedback to students. Quality Nights give students the opportunity to share an example of 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. Fifth and seventh graders will present twice throughout the school year. Sixth and eighth graders will present in December and turn their focus

to preparing for their gateway jury presentation in the spring. 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. Mark your calendars:


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


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.


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


Upcoming Events to Note:

Wednesday, 11/30 – Progress Report #2 will be published

Saturday, 12/3 – Chorus & Chorale Performance at Tyngsboro Festival of Trees

Wednesday, 12/7 – Exhibition Night 6-8pm with a special musical performance at 7:30pm

Thursday, 12/8 – Picture Retake Day

Friday, 12/16 – High School Movie Night, 7-10pm

Tuesday, 12/20 – 11th Grade College Kick-Off Night for Parents & Students

Friday, 1/13 – Last Day of Semester 1


IACS Students Accepted into Senior District Chorus


IACS Makes Change to the Biology MCAS Exam


NHS Updates


Prom Dress Collection Drive


Student Health 101



Photo of the Week

Submissions can be emailed to

Students in Ms. Aceto-Delorge’s Biology class examine a pig’s heart.


Pat Modrich, 

Main Office Admin
Innovation Academy Charter School
p. 978-649-0432
f.  978-649-6337