The Hawk: September 10, 2016

September 10, 2016 8:00 am

“The Hawk”

Dear IACS Community,

Being a public school of choice makes our community unique.  While each of you has a unique story that led you to attend IACS, we are all connected by the core principles of the school: our school Outcomes, student-centered teaching, a school culture where students are known well, and active family participation.  As we begin another year, I’d like to speak a little more about why and how you can participate.  

Our original charter written in 1995 states that, “parent participation will be required at some level”.  At the time, this expectation ran counter to the norm in public schools where parents were politely asked to stay out of the way.    Of course we know that times have changed;  people seem busier than ever and “participation” can take many different forms.  But what remains true now, just as it did over 20 years ago, is that IACS will be at its best when parents actively participate.  To that end, I’d like to share a list of the wonderful events that the Innovation Academy Community Association (IACA) organizes and/or supports over the course of the year.  

Welcome Back Staff Luncheon*: The IACA welcomes back IACS staff during their August meetings.  

Summer Ice Cream Social*: The IACA welcomes students and families back to school on the week before school begins.  

Middle School Socials: We have a group of parents for 5th and 6th grade events and a second group for 7th and 8th grade events. Each group plans 3 socials/year.  

Yankee Candle Fundraiser: A New England Classic!  The IACA organizes the sales and distribution of gifts for the fall and the school wins with generous profits.  

Book Fair:  IACA volunteers set up and sell books for our young readers.  Like Yankee Candle, this is a fall event.

“Mixed Bag” Fundraiser: For the fashionistas in our community!  Again, sales for this fundraiser offer a great benefit for the school.

Embrace Winter:  Our signature winter community event which celebrates student talents.  Fear not; this year we have a snow cancellation date planned, just in case!

Casino Night:  This event is our largest fundraiser of the year and happens in the early spring.

8th Grade Semi-Formal: Signature event as our oldest middle school students make their transition to high school.

8th Grade “Moving Up Day” Breakfast: a reception that immediately follows the end of year ceremony for our 8th grade students and their families.

High School Graduation Luncheon: Reception that immediately follows our high school graduation in June.  

“Last Bash”:  An all-night graduation party for our newly minted high school graduates.  

IACA Scholarship Committee: Read and evaluate student applications by deserving seniors.

Baking Committee: For the bakers among you! Bake tasty treats to be sold at fundraisers or provided at hospitality tables.

End of Year BBQ: An IACS tradition!  Come help students and staff celebrate the last day of school on a fun (and filling) note!

*Already completed this year

That’s quite a list, right?  The great news is that each of these committees is chaired by a coordinator, but they will all need additional help.   Please review the list, find an event that you would like to support, and send an email to IACA President Jo Anne Frazier ( who will connect you with the committee.  Please know that you won’t be responsible for leading these events, but rather joining a group that needs additional hands.  Joining a group is not only a great way to support IACS, but it can also be a great way to connect with other adults in our community.

If you have other skills, ideas, or talents, you believe can be an asset to IACS, please reach out to me directly:

Thanks and have a great weekend.

In partnership,

Greg Orpen

Head of School

All School News

Linn Murdoch Hall Dedication Ceremony: Families who are staying for this Wednesday’s (Sept 14) 1:00 pm celebration and barbecue are asked to arrive on campus at 12:45.  By that time, busses and carpools not staying for the event will leave and our parking lots will have plenty of room.  We hope you can join us.  Hamburgers, hot dogs, veggie burgers will be prepared by (among others) Chef Ozzy!

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Messages During the School Day: The school has observed a significant increase in requests to pass along messages during the school day.  Because we do not want to interrupt the learning process in classes, we ask families to limit such request for urgent information. Of course emergencies can emerge during the day, i.e. you need us to tell a child not to get on a bus where no one will be waiting at the bus stop. For routine changes however, we ask families to write notes in their child’s planner and/or ask their child to check their phone at dismissal time for updates from home.

IACS School Nutrition Program:  The September Breakfast & Lunch Menu is posted here. To better serve IACS families, an innovative point of sale (POS) system, specifically designed for school nutrition programs, is being implemented this year.  This eliminates the need to pre-order meals. More information can be found on our website: IACS School Nutrition Program.  Contact Karen Drake if you have any questions about the School Nutrition Program.

Individual Learning Plan (ILP) Conferences: At the outset of the year, each student meets with their advisor and a parent/guardian to set goals as part of an Individual Learning Plan for the year. This year, we have set aside the afternoons of Wednesday, 9/21 and Wednesday, 10/5 for conferences. Your child’s advisor will send you a sign-up for a conference slot soon.

Substitute Teacher Training: If you are interested in substitute teaching at IACS this year, we are holding trainings on Tuesday, 9/13 and Thursday, 9/22 at 8:15 am. Come to either training to learn more about substitute teacher training and to complete paperwork to get started. We are lucky to have many caring IACS parents in our substitute teaching pool.

Performing Arts News:  The Performing Arts Program is looking for awesome volunteers! Could you help in the areas of publicity, supervision of middle schoolers (on Wednesday half days and/ or the weekend of the show,) organizing props and costumes and more? Please email

Mark your calendars for an amazing year in IACS Performing Arts! The IACS Middle School Drama Club will start on November 30 and run on Wednesday 1/2 days, 12:30-2:30, for 8 weeks. See the attached registration form for details! Questions? Email

Lowell Regional Transportation Authority (LRTA):  On a transportation note, we’d like to remind families that the LRTA #17 bus extends its route several times a day to come to the IACS campus.  The “Mission Rd. and Route 3A” inbound stop is near our campus.  In the morning, students must ask the drive to go IACS. Please note the 7:06 am bus is the only one that will get students to school on time.  In the afternoon, a bus arrives on our campus at 3:06 (and 1:06 on Wednesdays) and on a trial basis a 4:06 “late bus” will also run.  Student passes can be purchased at a reduced rate from the LRTA.

Middle School News


Sixth grade students begin their immersion in Spanish with an activity involving movement.

Back to School Night: Middle School Back to School Night is Thursday, September 15th from 6-8 pm. Mark your calendars! Come meet your child’s teachers and follow a modified version of their day to hear more about the curriculum.

Upcoming 7th/8th Grade Overnight Field Trip: Seventh and eighth grade students were given an information packet and paperwork to complete for the upcoming Sargent Center trip today in advisory. There will be an information session for students during the school day on 9/13. Later that evening, families are invited to attend an information session with Sargent Center staff from 7-8 pm. Students on the Self-Direction Team (Advisories: Edwards, Johnson, Lozeau, Quinorp, Leedberg, Schmalz, O’Donnell, and Mrs. Pererya) will leave Monday, 9/26 and return on Wednesday, 9/28 at 2 pm. Students on the Problem-Solving Team (Advisories: O’Neil-Willoughby, Leonard, Jones, Graber, Mr. Pererya, Uyaguari, Pisco, and McCarthy) will leave Wednesday, 9/28 and return on Friday, 9/30. Paperwork for the trip, along with any medication that will be needed to the trip, is due to school no later than Friday, September 16th.

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If you like photography, graphics arts, creative writing, planning and organizing, working hard and having fun with great people join  

The IACS Middle School Yearbook Committee       

This is a yearlong commitment for dedicated, hard working students in good academic standing,  who recognize and honor the obligation we have to the community to publish a quality yearbook.  

The Yearbook Committee meets Tuesdays from 3:00 – 4:00 PM and begins on 9/20/2016.

Peggy Stephens-North is the Middle School Yearbook Advisor. To join, return a signed permission slip to Peggy. Permission slips are also available online and by the Main Office.

You can start attending meetings once the permission slip is signed.

Extracurriculars: MS Band, MS Chorus, After school Art classes, and the Literary Magazine are all starting up soon and accepting new members. Look for more information on the extracurricular page of our website:

Volunteer Opportunity: We are arranging volunteers to help take away some of the administrative tasks that teachers need to complete in order to give more time to focus on teaching and learning. If you are interested in making a regular (weekly or biweekly) commitment to help with making photocopies for classes, please contact Sandy Turner at

High School News

College Counseling News for September

PSAT’s, SAT’s, Financial Aid Workshops and more…

September Seniors of the Month

Congratulations to Kaitlyn Willgohs and Melanie Carignan for being our first “Seniors of the Month” award recipients. This is a new recognition initiative that was developed by last years Student-Principal Advisory Council. Winners will be able to enjoy the reserved parking spots for an entire month. New nominations will be accepted towards the end of each month.


New Music Classroom and Courses

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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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