The Hawk: August 28, 2020

August 28, 2020 3:23 pm


Week ending August 28, 2020

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 Families,

On Monday morning our staff will reconnect to begin the collaborative work of planning for the 2020-2021 school year. For families, students, and staff, this year will feel like nothing we’ve experienced, but the work invested all summer long by teachers, administrators, and support staff has been nothing short of inspiring.

In this edition of the Hawk you will find information about how and when we’ll start reconnecting with students and families prior to the first day of school (Sept 14th). In some cases, there are a few more details to be ironed out and you will be emailed directly by Middle or High School administrators. Until then, please be sure to keep scrolling down to read the specific information related to scheduling updates and health advisories.

Have a wonderful weekend.

In partnership,

Greg Orpen

Head of School



All School News

A reminder that the first day of school will be Monday, September 14.

Classes will be remote only until October 16th, before we consider transitioning to our hybrid model. Students and families will get a digital mailing the week prior about placement and how to access classes.

We do have cohorts of students who were invited for in-person support with their remote classes. Families will receive information about scheduling within the next week.


Per diem Substitute Teachers Needed

Substitutes are valued members of our community that we rely heavily on to ensure your student recieves 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.

Chromebook Lending

Does your student need to borrow a Chromebook from IACS for the 2020-2021 school year?

Please fill out this online form so that we can get them ready for students.


Mask Practice and free, local Covid-19 testing

Thank you in advance for helping students to prepare for wearing masks when they return to school. Please ensure your child has a mask that fits properly and one that they feel comfortable in. Please talk with them about the importance of wearing a mask, how to safely take it on and off, and practice wearing it for stretches. While there will be mask breaks at school, it’s important that students are accustomed to wearing them. Here is a helpful video that shows how to safely put on and remove a mask. These steps will be followed when at school so now is a good time to get in some practice. In addition, you may find this poster helpful.

Lastly, please be reminded that for the next few weeks, there is free, local testing for Covid-19. Two tests sites in Lowell are offering free tests to anyone that would like to be tested, you do not have to have any symptoms. You can find more information about local testing at Stop the Spread . You do not have to be a resident of Lowell to obtain a test.


In case you missed it:

Click here for the Fall 2020 reopening plan

Do you have ideas about reopening that you’d like to share? Click here to share your ideas.


IMPORTANT- NEW School Immunization Requirement for MA students

This week state public health officials announced that influenza immunization will be required for all children 6 months of age or older who are attending Massachusetts child care, pre-school, kindergarten, K-12, and colleges and universities. The new vaccine requirement is seen as an important step to reduce flu-related illness and ​the overall impact of respiratory illness during the COVID-19 pandemic. All students are expected to show proof of immunization by December 31, 2020.

Here are some FAQ’s regarding the new immunization requirement:

If my school will be providing instruction remotely, will students still need to meet immunization requirements?

The school immunization requirements, including the requirement for seasonal influenza vaccine, apply to all Massachusetts students enrolled in Kindergarten through grade 12, regardless of whether the district is providing instruction in-person, or using a hybrid or remote learning model.

Are there any exemptions to receiving the influenza vaccine?

Medical and religious exemptions are allowable in the state of Massachusetts. Religious exemptions must be in letter format, signed by a parent/guardian and sent into the school every school year. Medical exemptions must be in letter format, signed by a health care provider and sent into the school every school year.

Please continue to send updated physicals and immunization records to the IACS health office at You may also mail or bring immunization records to the main office at the school.

Going back to school this fall will require families and schools to work together closely. IACS will be sharing more information about health and safety school protocols in the near future. In the meantime families may find the following CDC resource helpful, Back to School Planning: Checklists to Guide Parents, Guardians, and Caregivers.


Middle School News

MS Advisory Meet Ups:

5th grade: Tuesday 9/8 6-7 pm

6th-8th grade: You will be assigned an evening by advisory from 9/9-9/11; details coming soon!

Students and families will be receiving a “back to school” digital mailing with information about the upcoming school year and advisory placement within the next 2 weeks. In lieu of the traditional ice cream social, we will be having advisory meet-ups during the evenings of 9/8 – 9/11. Each advisory will be scheduled for a 1 hour outdoor, distanced social gathering to meet the students in their advisory and their advisor. Stay tuned for more details soon!

Chromebook Pickup – Chromebooks will be available to be picked up during advisory meet up times. Please fill out the Chromebook user contract form if your student needs to borrow an IACS Chromebook.

Monday, September 14th – First day of school! Remote classes begin at 8am. You will receive a digital mailing with advisory information and information and how to access classes during the week prior.

Wednesday, September 16th– Middle School Parent Orientation from 6-7 pm. Learn more about how remote teaching and learning will work, the hybrid model, and how you can support your child this year. This will be a virtual meeting.

Thursday, October 1st– Middle School Back to School Night from 6-8 pm. Attend this virtual meeting to meet your child’s teachers and hear about what they will be learning this year!

Welcome New Middle School Staff

Staff in New Roles

  • Carolyn Caffrey has shifted departments and will be working as a 5/6 Social Studies teacher. We welcome Carolyn’s interdisciplinary perspective in her new role.

  • Amanda Curran has shifted roles and will be working as our new middle school counselor. Amanda earned her bachelor’s and Master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling, with a specialization in school and community adjustment counseling at Lesley University.

New Staff

  • Andy Cochran has been hired as a 5/6 ELA teacher. Andy previously taught middle school ELA in Missouri and recently relocated to the Boston area. Welcome Andy!

  • Daniela Phillipe has been hired as a teacher intern with the New Teachers Collaborative in Spanish. Ashley Uyaguari will be her cooperating teacher. Daniela has some previous experience teaching music in Cuba as well as a background in psychology. Welcome Daniela!

  • Maureen Bouzan has been hired as a Middle School ELA teacher. Maureen previously worked in area schools, teaching literacy and English Language Learners. Maureen is also an IACS parent. Welcome Maureen!

  • Ning Sisouvanh is our new middle school administrative assistant. She has been working in-person in the building since mid-July and already has learned a lot about the intricacies of IACS!

School Supply List

Our school supply list is on our website with our summer packets.

You can find the 5th/6th grade list here or the 7th/8th grade list here. Information about summer packets is here.

MS Yearbooks

If you were unable to pick up your pre-purchased yearbook today, please stop by the front office to retrieve it between 8am-3pm. It is not too late to set up digital signing if you have not done so already. To find out how to do so, see this video:

Any questions contact Ms. Pakala at


High School News

We will be hosting New Student Orientation and Advisory Meet-Ups over multiple days to reduce the amount of students on campus. See below for the specifics.

New Student Orientation 2020

Students will have a chance to meet their teachers, follow their schedule and some of their classmates. Google Email and Aspen Accounts will be given out as well as ID photographs will be taken. Here is an order form if you would like to order school photos. Watch for an email with more specifics regarding Red House and Blue House.

Red House Grades 9
Wednesday, September 9th, 9 AM – 12 PM

Blue House Grades 9 and New Grade 10

Thursday, September 10th, 9 AM – 12 PM

Returning Students are invited to pick up virtual learning kits, chromebooks if needed and meet their advisor. Weather permitting, events will be outside.

Grade 10 Advisory Meet-ups & Class Materials PickupTuesday,
September 8th, 4:30-5:30 PM

Grade 11 Advisory Meet-ups & Class Materials Pickup
Wednesday, September 9th, 4:30-5:30 PM

Grade 12 Advisory Meet-ups & Class Materials Pickup

Thursday, September 10th, 4:30-5:30 PM

Chromebook Pickup – Chromebooks will be available to be picked up during the above meeting times. Please fill out the online Chromebook user contract form.

Academic Planners – Stay on task this year with an academic planner. They will be on sale at all HS events for $3.

Monday, September 14th – First day of school! Remote classes begin at 8am.


Athletics News

Fall Athletics Updates and Registration Information

Please click here for the latest update on athletics in the state and at IACS.

Please click here for instructions and information about how to register for high school sports. Please click here for the direct FamilyID registration link.

Please click here for instructions and information about how to register for middle school sports.

Contact the Athletic Department with any questions or concerns –



New Families

Is your family new to the school? Would it help to talk with another IACS parent about their experience? A few of our IACA (Innovation Academy Community Association) parents have volunteered to help answer questions that you may have.

Parent Mentors:

Please keep in mind these are parents just like you and they won’t have answers to questions about school re-opening but will direct you to the right person at the school if it’s something they don’t have the answer to.


Volunteering – Can you help?

While we do not know what the 2020-2021 school year will bring, we still want to prepare. If you would be interested in helping IACA with any events we may have please fill out the information requested on the volunteer form or for more information check out the attached pdf. Thank you.