The Hawk: September 25, 2015

September 25, 2015 8:00 am

———- Forwarded message ———-



“The Hawk”


Dear IACS Community:


It’s been a busy and exciting September. Classes are in full swing, extracurriculars have begun, and students are settling into this year’s routine. Often, at this time of year, families ask for our suggestions on ways that they can support their students with homework and organization, especially families of our youngest students who are navigating the transition from elementary to middle school. I’ve compiled some tips below:




  • With your student, peruse the student’s planner nightly to be certain he/she  is     recording homework assignments. If assignments are not written down, work with your student to identify ways to get the information. Suggest making a call to a classmate or, for 5/6 students, visit the school website together to view the homework Google doc to record     the missing assignments. Consider ways you can fade support over time and help build your child’s independence.

  • Offer organizational support by providing a set schedule for organizing your student’s binder and bag. For students that are forgetting items at home, a “pack your binder/bag” checklist can be helpful for students.

  • Time management:    

  • Together, look at your student’s weekly activities and determine if enough time is available weekly to meet homework needs. Discuss possible solutions and make decisions as needed.

  • Determine a daily schedule that sets aside time for homework completion.     Consider your students most productive time of the day.

  • Check the x2 Aspen gradebook on a set schedule each week to be sure student is keeping up with assignments, involving your child in the process. Please note that the main office is the contact for resetting student and family portal passwords, as needed. Help your student craft a plan/schedule to get missed or late work completed and turned in to the appropriate teachers.

  • Work environment:

  • Provide a quiet spot that is free of clutter and distractions, well stocked with school supplies and a writing surface.

  • Let your student know that there is someone available to provide support as needed. Encourage your child to try more than one approach to an issue on their own first when faced with an obstacle. Tell them to be ready to explain to you what they’ve tried when coming to you for help.

  • Content support:

  • Ask your student to do their thinking aloud so that you can get a sense of their approach.

  • With your student, ask them to consult with additional resources, such as class notes and/or visit the course page on the website to look for additional resources that may be provided by the teacher (i.e. link to helpful websites, answer keys).

  • Ask your student to set up the math problem and attempting as much of the solution as he/she is able to can be helpful for the teacher to identify the challenge or pitfall. If a student is stuck and has tried additional resources, prompt your student to write down a question to ask the teacher.

  • Most importantly communicate with the teacher if your student is really struggling with the material after spending some time trying to help. The more specific the   information you can provide, the better.      

  • Your support at home is appreciated. We look forward to working with you in support of your child’s learning this year.



    Melissa Kapeckas

    Middle School Principal


    All School News


    September/October Dates At a Glance:


    September 29- Basic Rights in Special Education Workshop 6:30 pm

    September 29- IACA meeting; “Community Conversation”: Helping families navigate X2

    October 7- Early Release; ILP Conferences

    October 12- No School

    October 14- IACA Meeting 7 – 8 pm

    October 21- Early Release; ILP Conferences


    Farm-to-School Initiative:

    Mass Farm to School

    This week's harvest came from Jones Farm of Chelmsford as well as award winning heirloom tomatoes from Griggs Farm in Billerica. Thanks to parent volunteers, the last of the Liberty apples from our own trees were harvested and served in our cafeteria!  In partnership with the Massachusetts Farm-to-School program, we are participating in Harvest of the Month, featuring different locally grown produce each month (when available).


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    ILP (Individual Learning Plan) Conferences:

    October marks the start of students working with their advisor and family to set goals for the school year. During the ILP conference, students share their initial ideas for their goals and get feedback from their advisor and family in order to establish a finalized Individual Learning Plan. Students reflect upon their progress towards their goals throughout the year. Advisors are currently setting up conference times with students and their families during the month of October. The afternoons of October 7th and October 21st (early release days) have been set aside for advisors to hold conferences. As a school, our aim is to have all families participate. Please connect with your child’s advisor to set up a conference time.


    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


    Middle School News


    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 2nd.


    Sign Up for the Garden Club: The IACS Hawkmoths are the school's outdoor experts! Come join us in Garden Club from 12:30-1:30pm on Wednesday half days and 3-4pm on Wednesday full days, as we dig, grow, learn about and enjoy the land around our beautiful school. We're making and maintaining wildlife habitats, growing food and flowers and making friends! Join us by filling out the form at . The password is GettinDirty2013 . Our first meeting will be Wed, Oct 7th!


    Sign Up for Literary Magazine:

    Calling all 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 students in good academic standing, who are hardworking and dedicated to publish a literary magazine by the end of the year.  The Literary Magazine Committee will meet on Thursdays after school from 3:00-4:00 PM in Room 408. Mr. Pisco is the Literary Magazine Advisor. Meetings begin on Thursday, October 1, 2015. To join, return a signed permission slip to Mr. Pisco. Email Mr. Pisco for more information-


    Sign Up for MS Yearbook Committee:

    Do you like photography, graphics arts, creative writing, planning and organizing, working hard and having fun with great people?  Join the Middle School Yearbook Committee.  

    This is a yearlong commitment for dedicated, hard working students in good academic standing.  Members of the committee must  recognize and honor the obligation we have to the community to publish a quality yearbook.  The Yearbook Committee will meet on Half Day Wednesdays from 12:30 – 3:00 PM. Peggy Stephens-North is the Middle School Yearbook Advisor.

    Meetings begin on Wednesday, October 7th, 2015. To join, return a signed permission slip to Peggy Stephens-North.


    x2 Aspen Family Portal Update: x2 Aspen is the online database that IACS uses; families and students have an account which allows them to sign in to see their student’s current progress in classes, view attendance records, and update contact information. All returning students and families have the same username and password to sign in to the x2 Aspen student and family portals as in the past. If you need to have a password reset, please contact the main office at Families of new students can expect the account information in the mail today. There will be a training to learn more about the features of the family portal at the start of the IACA meeting on Tuesday, 9/29 at 7 pm.


    Who Should I Contact When…..? Click here for a reminder


    Got Newspapers?: Ms. Shaby is looking for newspapers to use in middle school art. Please send any extras in with your child.


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


    High School News


    Click the blue link for the full text…

  • Game & Movie Night

  • Engineering Opportunity

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  • High School Parent-Principal Advisory Council

  • Scholarship Opportunity

  • Students: Apply for the Prudential Spirit of Community Award

  • Student Leaders: Apply for the US Senate Youth Program


    Melissa Kapeckas
    Middle School Principal
    Innovation Academy Charter School
    72 Tyng Rd.
    Tyngsboro, MA  01879
    978-649-0432 x2229