The Hawk: October 10, 2015

January 1, 1970 12:00 am


“The Hawk”


Dear IACS Community,

Last week we received 2015 MCAS reports from the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) so that we can in turn mail home to all IACS families.   As you may remember, our 5th and 8th grade students took Science MCAS exams last year, while all middle school students in Grades 5-8 completed the PARCC exam for Math and English Language Arts.  The results for the PARCC exam will not be released by DESE until November at the earliest.  While DESE allowed all school districts to use the PARCC tests in Grades 3-8, MCAS continued to be the only assessment for high schools.  Our results from the 2015 MCAS can be viewed at the DESE website.

Clearly there are many large policy questions circulating at the state and national level regarding the role of testing in our public schools.  This uncertainty has created understandable concerns among teachers, administrators, students and families.  For example, middle school students and teachers in Massachusetts will not know which tests will be used this spring until the MA Board of Elementary and Secondary education votes in November.   It is during times like this where I am especially relieved and proud to be a member of a mission-driven school which puts student interests and development at the center of teaching and learning.  While external measures can help any organization consider ways to improve, we (and I hope the “we” means everyone in our IACS community) must always make sure that the proverbial tail doesn’t begin to wag the dog.  In that spirit, IACS will continue to prioritize student engagement and development of the whole child as means to promote lifelong learning.

If you would like to engage in further conversation about the who, what, when, and why of standardized testing at IACS or beyond, please come to this Wednesday’s IACA meeting at 7 pm in the Library.  At that meeting I will provide an overview of these questions as it relates to IACS, Massachusetts, and beyond, and I will field any questions you might have.

Hope your long weekend is off to a great start,


Greg Orpen

Head of School


p.s.  As if stimulating conversation about state testing wasn’t enough, folks who attend Wednesday’s IACA meeting can get a sneak preview of the new IACS activities van that finally arrived late Friday afternoon!!


All School News


October Dates At a Glance:


October 12– No School

October 13–  School Finance Meeting

October 14 – Full Day Wednesday

October 14 – IACA Meeting 7:00 – 8:30 pm

October 15 – Innovation Morning Prospective High School Students

October 16 –  High School Picture Day

October 16 – 7th & 8th Grade Middle School Dance 7:00 – 9:00 pm

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

October 21– Early Release; ILP Conferences

October 23 – Middle School Picture Day

October 23– 5th & 6th Grade Middle School Dance 7:00 – 9:00 pm

October 27 – MS Parent Advisory Council 7:15- 8:00 am

October 28 – Early Release

October 30 – Grade 5 & 6 Advisory Breakfast

October 30 – High School Halloween Dance 7:00 – 10:00 pm

October 31– IACS Fall Festival


Contacting Teachers by Phone:  While staff email addresses can be found the Directory posted on our website, IACS will be removing voicemail teaching staff beginning October 19th.  We recognize that in many circumstances phone calls are a preferred mode of communication.  Any family wishing to speak with a teacher can call the main desk and a message will be promptly delivered, so that teachers can call back as soon as possible.  The primary reason for this change stems from the fact that many teachers use multiple classrooms and do not have a centralized place to monitor voicemails.  


Scheduled Test for Phone Notification System: On Wednesday, October 14th at 3:30 pm, we will have a scheduled test call of our phone notification system.  Thanks to helpful feedback from families, we believe that that we have determined why some families did not receive phone calls when the system was first used on September 30th.


IACS School Nutrition Program:  


October Breakfast & Lunch Menu has been posted. Click HERE to place your order. For more information about the IACS breakfast & lunch visit IACS School Meals  or email


IACS Drama News

Join us for the middle and high school production of the Broadway musical FOOTLOOSE! Details and ticket order forms can be found at the main office and here:


We are looking for adult volunteers to help with Footloose! If you think you could help in any of these areas: publicity, set creation, tech, refreshments, hair and make-up, house management, chaperoning rehearsals and backstage during productions, costuming, prop management, and just about anything else – please contact . Thank you!

Mark your Calendars!


Our Winter Middle School Acting Workshop is coming and will run on 1/2 Day Wednesdays. More information is coming here:


High School Winter Production Auditions will be on Tuesday, November 24, 3:00-5:30. All you need is an audition agreement form. These are available at the main office and


Middle School News




Students in 6th grade Spanish in the midst of a “Collaborate and Draw” exercise. One group sees the image of a a “Monstruo Secreto” (Secret Monster) and take turn describing the monster in Spanish. The other group cannot see what is being described but need to replicate their peer’s directions to see how close they can get to replicating the image purely from their peer’s directions.

Plimoth Plantation Trip: Check out pictures and blog entries about the Community Membership Team’s overnight trip to Plimoth Plantation here


Middle School Picture Day: Middle School Picture Day is coming up on Friday, October 23rd. Your child was given an order form in advisory to bring home. Extra copies are available in the main office. Please send it in with your child on 10/23 if you would like to order photos.


5th and 6th grade Welcome Breakfast: 5th and 6th grade families are invited to join us at breakfast on Friday, October 30th from 8 – 9 am. This is an opportunity to meet other students and families associated with your child’s advisory.


Middle School Parent-Principal Advisory Council: The Middle School Parent-Principal Advisory Council is forming. The group will be limited to 8-10 parents (preferably equally representing grades 5-8). We will meet five Tuesdays a year from 7:15-8:00 am in the morning. This year the council will be meeting on 10/27, 12/8, 2/9, 4/12, and 5/24. Parents that are selected would be asked to commit to the council for one year. The purpose of the council is to assist in developing short and long-term goals for the school and to provide input and feedback. Any parent that is interested in joining should email MS Principal Melissa Kapeckas at by October 12th.


Middle School Dance Socials:

We are still in need of food/drink donations for both of these dances.  If you’re looking for suggestions an easy place to start would be: 100 calorie packs of snacks, rice crispy treats, 100% fruit juice boxes, bottled waters, small bags of fruits or veggies.


Midquarter interim progress reports:

Midquarter interim progress reports were mailed home last week. Click here for more information.


Sign Up for the Garden Club


Sign Up for Literary Magazine


Sign Up for MS Yearbook Committee


Plimoth Plantation Overnight Field Trip for Grade 5 & 6 Students: Click here for more information.


High School News


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  • 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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