The Hawk: September 15, 2017

September 15, 2017 6:00 pm


IACS Newsletter for the week ending September 15, 2017

Dear IACS Community,

Since our doors first opened in 1996, Innovation Academy Charter School has been a leader in progressive education, serving families in the Merrimack Valley and attracting visitors from around the world. Much of our rich history has been focused on carefully managing physical expansion. In 1996 a staff of 10 teachers taught approximately 150 students in a leased facility of 22,000 square feet. Fast forward to today, we have a staff of 125, a student enrollment of 800, and we own approximately 100,000 square feet of building space located on a 200+acre campus. These statistics don’t capture the growth of academic and extracurricular programs, and diverse range of talents possessed by our students and staff. Of course none of this success would be possible without the unwavering support of our parent community.

Having reached many of our growth targets, IACS is well positioned to think creatively and collaboratively about our next steps of development as a school. On Friday November 10th and Saturday November 11th, IACS will be hosting a 2-day conference designed to bring multiple stakeholder groups together in a conference we’ve titled: IACS 2025. During these two days, students, parents, staff, our Board of Trustees, and extended community members and experts will be invited to create objectives that will be incorporated into a strategic plan designed to set a roadmap to the year 2025, which coincidentally is when our current 5th graders will be graduating from high school.

I have been working with our Board of Trustees since last spring to sequence the steps that will lead up to this conference. Since July a steering committee has taken additional steps to select the date and location (IACS), organize stakeholder groups, and think through other details. To parents who might be interested in participating in this conference, I’ve provided some FAQs at the end of this letter, but please know that you can email me directly if you have additional questions.

In partnership,

Greg Orpen

Head of School


  • What are you looking for in conference participants? Our goal is to assemble a diverse group of stakeholders who are united in their passion for IACS’s model of education.

  • Do I have to commit to both days of the conference? Yes. To ensure the conversations maintain a consistent flow, participants must attend both days.

  • Aside from the two days, what are my commitments? Participants might receive some light reading in preparation of the conference and may receive follow up opportunities for response after the conference. That said, the majority of your commitment will be engaging in two full days of deep and exciting conversation.

  • Why did we pick those dates: The November date is “between seasons” for many activities. Also, these conferences must occur on consecutive days. Our steering committee felt that being able to hold this event on campus would make it even more special and that students and staff could participate without missing classes. (There is no school on Friday, November 10th because of Veterans Day observed.)

  • What is the outcome(s) of the event? The conversations at this conference will be used to create a strategic plan for the school which we intend to finalize by next spring.

  • What happens if you have too many volunteers? The structure of the conference is driven by having eight stakeholder groups, each with eight members. The steering committee will randomly select for vacancies. Volunteers who are not selected to participate in a stakeholder group, could help document (pictures, notes, etc.) the event, help serve food, or casually observe. This event is open to the public.

  • How do I indicate my interest? Parents who are interested should email Greg Orpen:

  • Important Dates

    Sept 18 Board of Trustee Meeting 6:30 pm
    Sept 20 ILP Conferences High School and Middle School
    Sept 25 Substitute Teacher Training 8:15 – 9:15 am
    Sept 26 High School Back to School Night 6:00 – 8:00pm
    Sept 27 Full Day Wednesday High School Internships Begin

    Oct 4 Early Release HS & MS ILP Conferences

    Oct 7 SATs 9:00 am

    Oct 9 No school Columbus Day

    Oct 11 Full Day Wednesday

    Oct 12 HS Innovation Morning for Prospective New Students 8:30-9:30am

    Oct 13 Middle School Picture Day

    Oct 20 Fall Festival for Grades 5-12

    Oct 26 Pumpkin Run – 4K Trail race

    All School News

    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.

    Substitute Teacher Training: If you are interested in substitute teaching at IACS this year, we are holding training on Monday, 9/25 at 8:15 am. Come 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.

    Innovation Academy will host a workshop covering Basic Rights in Special Education on Tuesday September 19th from 6:30-8:30 pm in room 106. This workshop will be led by a representative from the Federation for Children with Special Needs and will provide an overview of special education laws and procedures with time for questions as well. RSVP at is encouraged but not required. Please contact Aimee Voleti with any questions.

    The Parent and Community Education and Involvement Advisory Council has seats open for people interested in advising ESE and its Board on topics related to family engagement. The advisory council will meet three or four times a year to discuss topics such as the development of information for families (like the school report cards that appear on ESE’s Profiles website and information about school options) and the "collaboration with families" section of the Behavioral Health and Public Schools Framework. More information about the advisory council is available online. Interested candidates should submit a cover letter and résumé to Kathy Rodriguez at or the Office of Adult and Community Learning Services, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, 75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148by October 13, 2017. The Department particularly encourages individuals representing diverse communities and students who have been historically underserved by the educational system to apply.

    Welcome from the Health Office

    It has been wonderful to see returning students and to welcome new students these past few weeks! Many times we are asked "when should I keep my sick child home/when can they return to school? Illness Guidelines for School should help answer those questions.

    In addition, Excused Dismissals from the Health Office, should help clarify the protocol for an excused dismissals from the Health Office.

    As always, please feel free to call us if you have any questions.

    Gayle Nutile-Pimm, RN and Janice Reynolds, RN

    Theatre News

    Who’s gonna ROCK with us? are on sale for our Fall production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s SCHOOL OF ROCK! You’re not going to want to miss this amazing show with SO much talent! Click on the link for a printable ticket form: Theater – Innovation Academy Charter School

    Middle School News

    Seventh grade Social Studies students work together in collaborative tribes to make “life-or-death” decisions about during a simulation game about life as a hunter-gatherer.

    Snack Time – Wednesdays:

    A reminder to families that on early release Wednesdays, we have a snack time built into our school day schedule. Please make sure your child has a snack packed on early release days.

    The Scribbler

    Calling all middle school artists and writers!

    Looking to find a place to publish your work?

    We’re looking for editors and anyone interested in putting together a literary magazine for the year. This is a yearlong commitment, and we are looking for middle school students in good academic standing, who are hardworking and dedicated to publish a literary magazine by the end of the year.

    The Scribbler will meet on Thursdays after school from 3:00-4:30 PM in Room 408.

    Mr. Pisco is the Literary Magazine Advisor.

    Meetings begin on Thursday, September 21, 2017.

    To join, return a signed permission slip to Mr. Pisco.

    (Permission slips are also available online and by the Main Office in Murdoch Hall)

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

    Extracurriculars Reminder:

    Band, chorus, art, fall athletics and drama have begun. For more information, click here

    8th grade scientists have been designing and launching water bottle rockets this week.

    High School News

    Mark your Calendars for these Important Dates

    Tuesday, Sept 26th 6-8pm – Back to School Night for Parents

    IACS Students Help with Hurricane Relief

    Penny Wars for Abandoned Pets

    ILP Conferences Begin on 9/20

    Seniors of the Month – Nate Roy & Vincent LaRosa

    Article by Ms. Derival on Green Chemistry

    SAT Prep in Tyngsborough

    PSA Contest

    Future Driver’s of America Offers Classes at IACS

    We are pleased to be able to offer students an opportunity to take the Driver’s Ed class thru Future Driver’s of America at IACS on Wednesday afternoon’s. Classes begin Wednesday, September 27th. Families must register through Future Driver’s of America. Register on-line at

    For more information and for the class dates check out the flyer by clicking here.

    Planners for Sale

    “He who fails to plan is planning to fail” Sir Winston Churchill

    Start the year off organized! Write down all those projects, assignments and college meetings!

    Purchase an IACS planner for $9. (Cash or Check accepted)

    See Crystal McKiel in Room 230 during Longpass or speak to your advisor about purchasing one.


    Students driving themselves to school will need to apply for a parking permit. Forms are available outside of Ms. Kelly’s office or by following this link. Please make sure you complete all parts and bring the copies of required documents before turning them into the main office.

    IACA News

    CAN YOU SMELL FALL IN THE AIR? YANKEE CANDLE FUNDRAISER: Catalogs are coming soon, but you can get a jump on your shopping online! Visit and enter group number 990035230 to start browsing. Every purchase from our Big Fall Fundraiser helps to fund the many things we do at IACA.

    We can’t do it without your help! Sales end October 13.

    For more information contact Annette Famolare at or Bernadette Baird at

    NOW THROUGH SEPTEMBER 29 — FALL BOXTOPS CONTEST! Remember…BoxTops become cold, hard cash when we turn them in! Every BoxTop is worth 10 cents. When we work together as a school community, it definitely adds up. Can we top $1,000 this year? Here’s how to submit your BoxTops:

  • Send in only non-expired, clipped BoxTops
  • Do not tape them to a paper — we submit them in batches of 50.
  • PLEASE send along your child’s name and advisory along with the BoxTops
  • The winning advisory gets a pizza party, but keep collecting, because we submit all year!


    We hope you’ll join us for the first IACA meeting of the year on September 20! This is an awesome time to get to know the board and committee chairs, and learn how to get involved.

    Every month, we’ll post our meeting Agenda on our website and in the Hawk the Friday before. Here’s the link:–

    Last week, we announced our fall/winter schedule of Dining for a Cause Tuesdays. We are so excited to be able to offer this ongoing family FUNdraising activity for our school. If you haven’t already, be sure the put the dates in your calendar. Our first event is coming up soon. To have 15% of your total bill donated to IACA, just print the attached coupon and bring it with you to the restaurant. Hope to see you at the Tavern!

    OCTOBER 10 – Tavern in the Square, Lowell *

    NOVEMBER 14 – Owen and Ollie’s, Dracut *


    JANUARY 9- Flatbread Pizza, Bedford