The Hawk: September 10, 2021

September 9, 2021 6:48 pm


September 10, 2021

This digital newsletter can be translated by clicking on the translate button on the right (or above if on a mobile device) and choosing your preferred language.

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Dear IACS Community,

It’s surreal for me to realize that all of our current students were born after September 11, 2001. Like any adult reading this letter, I still carry vivid memories of that fateful day. It was my second year teaching middle school at IACS and I remember our challenge teacher telling me about the first reports. I remember being on recess duty an hour later watching students playing care-free, sheltered from the news they wouldn’t learn until they arrived home from school. I remember a colleague rushing home midday, not knowing if her mother had arrived to work at the Twin Towers (thankfully, she had not). I remember my teaching partner, who lived on Hanscom Air Force Base, not being able to get back onto base to see her husband until 8 pm that night because of escalated security measures. And of course, I remember watching hours of news broadcasts with images that were both horrific and heroic.

And because none of our students have memories of their own to reflect upon, we adults can share our memories, not to make them scared or sad, but so that they know how you were impacted 20 years ago. At the bottom of this letter, I’ve listed a few resources you can explore to support conversations about September 11th you might choose to have with your children. Finally, in the spirit of community membership, I’d like to honor the hundreds of first responders who perished that day as well as the victims who resided in the towns IACS serves:

Peter, Sue Kim, and Christine Hanson (Groton)

James Hayden (Westford)

Brian Kinney (Lowell)

Susan MacKay (Westford)

John Ogonowski (Dracut)

Jessica Sachs (Billerica)

Dave Barnard (Chelmsford)

May their lives continue to be celebrated in the communities IACS serves.

In partnership,

Greg Orpen

Head of School


  • 911 Memorial: Talking to Children about Terrorism
  • NPR: Teaching 911 To A New Generation of Kids
  • Washington Post: How to talk to kids about 9/11 and why you should
  • Time Magazine: 9/11 History is Now
  • Important Dates

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    All School News

    Principal’s Message

    Next week our students will be treated to a concert by Crocodile River Music. Crocodile River Music “brings the music, art, and culture of Africa to New England and beyond in an effort to spread awareness and inspire new ways of cultural thinking.” ( Each grade will be able to experience a 45-minute show on Wednesday and we hope our students will gain a lot from the experience. Thanks to Shantelle Castle, our new Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, for bringing Crocodile River Music to IACS.


    Dr. Arnold

    SEPAC Members Needed! Innovation Academy seeks parents and other family members to assist us in forming a Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC). The SEPAC is a parent-led group that works with school administrators to advise on issues related to students with disabilities and can also serve as a source of support and advice to families within the school community. We are especially in need of parents interested in sharing a leadership role within the group. Training and support will be provided by the Federation for Children with Special Needs MASSPAC. If interested please email Aimee Voleti at



    We want to remind families whose students would like to take the LRTA bus (Route 17) that this year IACS will cover the ticket costs for students. At the beginning of the year students riding the bus will be given individual tickets, but we will transition to granting monthly passes. For questions regarding the LRTA bus program to/from IACS, please contact Transportation Manager, Marybeth Bush (


    Families who complete the form will get a link to an interactive map of carpooling families to enable you to quickly find contact information for IACS families near you. We’ll also share the data with you in spreadsheet form. Both digital formats will update in real time as other families complete the form, so check back often if you do not see anyone that lives around you. Feel free to contact anyone on the list that looks like they will be a helpful match for you!

    Share your information using our google form and you will be added to the list of parents that would like to carpool.. (Please note that once you submit your information, it will be shared with everyone else who joins the list.)

    School Messenger

    Did you receive the text message last week regarding the days off around Labor Day? If not please be sure to enroll in School Messenger to receive text notices of school closures, student absences and other school notifications. Please do so by texting Y (or Yes) to 67587.


    Families should report all absences, tardies and dismissals to the main office by 8am. The main office can be contacted at 978-649-0432 or

    Per diem Substitute Teachers Needed

    Substitutes are valued members of our community that we rely heavily on to ensure your student receives uninterrupted learning. We are looking for a few more people to join our substitute teacher pool. If you or a friend are interested in learning more about becoming a substitute at IACS please fill out the availability form. Half day and full day subbing opportunities are available. IACS pays $25 per hour up to $100 per day maximum.

    Our next training will be held on Wednesday, September 15th at 9:45am. Please RSVP to

    Charge up before school

    Please help your students remember to charge up their chromebook/computer/device before they get to school so that they are ready to learn when the school day begins.

    School Breakfast & Lunch Program

    IACS is providing FREE breakfast and FREE lunch meals to ALL students under the USDA’s Child Nutrition Program. All students enrolled at IACS are eligible for these free meals regardless of eligibility through June 30, 2022. Email or go to the School Nutrition page for more information.

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    Middle School News

    Upcoming Dates

  • 9/22 ILP Conferences
  • 9/30 Middle School Back to School Night
  • MS Picture Day

    Friday, October 15th (rain date of 10/22). This picture will be published in the Middle School Yearbook. Please visit Coffee Pond Photography and Yearbook’s website for photo package information and online ordering (select City & State and School). Paper Order forms will be sent home mid October.

    Chromebook Lending

    All students will need to have a laptop or a Chromebook. If your students need to borrow an IACS Chromebook please fill out the Chromebook user contract form. Chromebooks can be picked up at the Library Monday through Friday 8:30 am – 3:00 pm, if possible please avoid dismissal time between 2:45 pm – 3:15 pm.


    Planners will be distributed by advisors to 5th and 6th graders on the first day of school. We ask families to purchase these planners at a cost of $5, you can make a payment via credit card using this online form here, cash, or check made out to IACS. Thank you!

    Aspen Credentials

    Aspen credentials for new students and families have been issued. Returning students and families keep the same password. Reach out to our main office or MS Admin Assistant Ning Sisouvanh if you need your password reset or a reminder of what it is.

    After School Program

    This year we are offering an After School Program for our 5th through 8th graders. The program provides safe and flexible supervised care. During the after school program, each day there are snacks followed by quiet time for homework. After homework time, students participate in a variety of activities based on student interest and weather – from playing outdoors to indoor activities like board games and art projects. For more details please visit our website.

    After School Middle School Band & Chorus Sign-up Information

    Rehearsals will start the week of September 27th.

    Apologies that incorrect information was published last week

    Beginning Band meets Mondays & Thursdays 3:00-4:00 pm.

    Advanced Band meets Wednesdays & Fridays 3:00-4:00 pm.

    Chorus meets on Wednesdays from 12:25 -1:30. All 5-8 students are welcome!

    Students participating in Band and Chorus must have transportation home.

    Parents are asked to submit this quick google form if their student is interested in participating.


    Mrs. Porter (Band)

    Mrs. Lane (Chorus)

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    7th graders playing Simon Dice (Simon Says) in Spanish class

    High School News

    Upcoming Events:

  • 9/16 HS Picture Day – All students will have their picture taken for our school database. Student ID’s will be available in a few weeks. Paper Order forms will be sent home on Monday. Online Ordering directions.
  • 9/17 Honors Deadline – Most classes may be taken for honors credit and will require work of additional depth and/or complexity that must be completed at a high level of quality. Students must sign up for honors by Friday 9/17.
  • 9/22 & 10/6 ILP conferences – ILP stands for Individual Learning Plan. These are student run meetings with parents/guardians and advisor. ILPs allow us as a whole team to check in about how the year is going, concerns, set goals, and reflect on those goals. A typical ILP is 20-30 minutes. Advisors will be reaching out to schedule your students’ meetings. Conferences can be in-person or via zoom.
  • 9/23 Back to School Night – more information to come soon!
  • Planners

    Planners are $5 (cash or check made out to IACS) and you will be able to get them through your advisor during the first week of school or from Ms. McKiel. You are not required to have an IACS planner. You can also pick one up at Walgreens, Staples or wherever.

    Parking Permits

    Students driving themselves to school will need to get a parking permit. Permits must be renewed each school year. The form to apply for a parking permit can be found here. Please make sure you complete all questions. Any forms you are unable to attach to the form may be brought to Ms. McKiel.

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    Members of the Kelly/Witmer Advisory enjoying the nice weather.

    Athletics News

    Got an old athletics uniform lying around? Didn’t have a chance to return it last year? Maybe you have one or more hanging around from more than a year ago. You can still return it and face no penalties!!!

    Just make sure it’s clean, and in a bag labeled with your name. Drop it in the basket at the main office, and we’ll take care of the rest!

    Returning uniforms is an easy way to help keep costs down for you and your fellow athletes.

    Contact with any questions.

    IACA News

    IACA was glad to host their first meeting outside on Wednesday. If you missed it, don’t worry, there will be another meeting on October 6th. Grab a friend and join us to see what we’re all about!

    Enjoy the Weekend!