Thursday, January 14, 2021

January 14, 2021

Good afternoon-

As we head into the long weekend I am hopeful we will have students in the building next week. Thank you to all of you who tested on Monday and are working hard to help stop the spread. Working together to bring down the numbers is what will get us back to school in the building. 

As a reminder, there is no school tomorrow for students. It is a professional day for staff. There is also no school on Monday due to the MLK Jr. holiday. 

I am including here reminders sent to students on January 3 (I will re-share them on Monday). Please remind your student of these expectations.

  • Make sure you have your well-fitting masks ready to go as we head back to the building. We have some extras in the office if you need one. Students who do not wear their mask properly will be sent home. 
  • Attendance is taken each day so we know who is physically in the building. If you are home for a day your cohort is in school you will be marked absent. There is no consequence for this however. We appreciate students who are staying home because they are not feeling well, have been in a large group, or have traveled.
  • Wear a warm jacket and appropriate footwear to school! Many teachers will continue to take outdoor mask breaks. It's a great way to stretch your legs and chat with classmates and/or your teacher. 
  • Bring your Chromebook every day. If you have an issue with your Chromebook please fill out the request for assistance form on the website and we have loaners available in the main office. Let us know how we can help you. Our IT department works to make sure all of the technology that is accessible is safe for students.

If you are traveling out of state this weekend please remember the APS Travel Policy. 

Student/Family Travel Policy
Please find attached links to the Ashland Public Schools - Student Travel Form.  Each link will bring you directly to the school where your child(ren) attends.  Attached is also a Return from Travel Certification of Compliance that must be filled out before travelers can enter schools. I have also included the School Committee Policy on COVID Travel again for your reference.

We have two weeks left of term 2 and teachers will begin the recommendation process for the 2021-2022 school year on Tuesday. Teachers will make recommendations through February 5. The window for students to approve teacher recommendations and choose their electives will open on February 1. 
I will send more information on the timeline and process in the next week or two. Please encourage your child to start thinking about courses for next year.

Have a wonderful long weekend!

Friday, January 8, 2021

January 8, 2021

Good afternoon-

I hope you had a good first week of 2021. While we wish were were back in the building we are glad to be able to continue moving forward with learning. Teachers are expressing increasing concerns with students not engaging or letting them know about other commitments during the school day. Please remind your student that they should be committed to school from 8:30am-2:55pm. We know remote learning is hard. Students are required to log-in to each class and participate, just as they would in the classroom when we are in school. 

As you know, we will continue with remote learning next week. Monday we encourage all students to be tested. Teachers will provide asynchronous work and attendance will not be required if you are being tested. Students will park in the student lot and enter the building through the main front door. Please let me know if you have any questions. The information and sign up link from Supt Adams is below.

Friday, January 15 is a teacher professional day. Students do not have school on this day.

As always, please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions.

AHS COVID testing: This announcement is extremely important for ALL students who attend Ashland High School.  Through the great effort of Sergeant Ed Burman and Head Nurse Audrey LaCroix we are pleased to announce that on Monday, January 11, 2021 we are able to offer a FREE COVID-19 PCR test for ALL AHS Students, faculty, and staff.  Below are the testing directions and required pre registration link.  I want to encourage ALL students, faculty, and staff to take advantage of this opportunity so we can work towards getting AHS back into the hybrid learning environment as quickly as possible.

Links to information in:

Important Logistics:

Who:  All AHS students, faculty, and staff who are NOT currently isolated or quarantined
When:  Monday, January 11, 2021 from 8:00AM - 3:00PM 
Where:  Ashland High School Gymnasium - Entrance is through the main doors of Ashland High School.  Masks must be worn and 6 feet of physical distance maintained.
How:  Folks must register for the Nasal Swab PCR test by filling out the form attached to this link: 
AHS COVID TESTING REGISTRATION. There are no specific times but registration is required.

Testing:  This is a Nasal Swab PCR which will require the insertion of a swab in the nasal cavity. This test is the most reliable test available for identification of COVID-19.

Result Privacy:  Aside from the test taker, the Board of Health and School Nurse will have access to this important information as any positive cases will need to be contacted and tracing will need to commence.

Should you have questions please do not hesitate to reach out to me.  Again, I want to encourage any and all students, faculty, and staff to participate in the testing. 

If you are not feeling well, if someone in your family is not feeling well, or if you are quarantined or in isolation, DO NOT come for a test.
Jim Adams, Superintendent of Schools
Pronouns: He/His/Him

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

December 23, 2020

Good morning and happy last day of classes for 2020! What a year it has been. I know how hard it has been for all of us. But despite that, every day I am impressed with our students and their incredible resilience, grit, and determination. Whether they are a full remote or hybrid (currently remote) they keep working and doing their best. That is all we can ask of students right now, to just keep trying. We will get through this together. I am so proud of them. I encouraged students to take time this morning to thank their teachers and then spend a restful break enjoying time with their household members. I hope we can be back to hybrid learning on January 4. Happy New Year to you all!

Please enjoy the Virtual Winter Concert from our choir. In these challenging times, the beautiful music and uplifting messages from these students are wonderful to see.

Here is the December issue of the Union Street Journal, Ashland High School's newspaper.

The following email was sent to all members of the Class of 2021. Please review and talk with your student about the opportunity to pursue the Seal of Biliteracy:

Seal of Biliteracy-

Ashland Public Schools is pleased to once again partner with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to offer the State Seal of Biliteracy as a means to recognize high school graduates who attain high functional and academic levels of proficiency in English and another world language. Specifically, proficiency means that students can function in both languages in authentic, real-life situations. The Seal of Biliteracy is a special state insignia that will be affixed to the graduate's diploma. We are inviting all members of the Class of 2021 to register their intent to test for the Seal by Friday, January 8, 2021. The test for language proficiency is computer based and will be administered beginning at the end of January (schedule TBD).

2021 Seal of Biliteracy letter (English)

2021 Seal of Biliteracy letter (Português)

2021 Seal of Biliteracy letter (Español)

2021 Seal of Biliteracy letter (русский)   

Finally, congratulations to Katie Machnik for her winning poster in the "Hopes and Passions for 2021" poster contest run by the Student Council! I hope we can spend 2021 focused on the positive.


Friday, December 18, 2020

December 18, 2020

Good afternoon-

Please see the attached letter(s) from our nurses regarding the new Influenza Vaccine requirement.

Picture retakes have been rescheduled to February 4 & 9, 2021. We hope to be able to distribute photos in January but please email me if you hope to have them sooner. Thank you for your patience with this. 

The Student Council's Game Show Night will air this Friday night, December 18th at 5pm on WACA-TV.  It will also be live-streamed on YouTube at (and the recording will be available there, afterwards).  Tune in and watch the AHS Student Council's versions of Jeopardy and Family Feud!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, December 11, 2020

December 11, 2020

Good afternoon-

A very Happy Hanukkah to all who celebrate. 

It has been a whirlwind of a week and we hope students are settling into remote learning. We miss the students so much already and know how hard this is. Teachers will continue to reach out to students about times to pick up materials, books, etc. over the course of next week. Thank you for your words of encouragement and support for our teachers as well as your requests for reminders about screen fatigue and the pressures students are facing. 

In the midst of this crazy time AHS accreditation is scheduled for the coming week. A team of teachers volunteering through NEASC (New England Association of Schools & Colleges) will be observing classes virtually as well as meeting with teams of teachers and students on Monday and Tuesday. This visit typically happens every 10 years and the teachers spend a few days in the building observing teaching and learning. This new virtual experience will be one for the books and we look forward to what they have to share. 

We learned this week that the MCAS test scheduled for January, except for 12th grade students that need it for competency determination. We will determine the testing schedule for those students when we return.  All 11th grade/class of 2022 students will now test in May/June along with the 10th grade/class of 2023 students. 

Pictures have arrived and were due to be handed out this week. We will hold on to them until the we return in the new year. 

Please check out this newsletter from AREA, a group of people of color and their allies in Ashland working together to ensure that their voices are represented in local civic organizations, government, and the schools.

APL Library Drive By book sale

Stay safe and healthy weekend and don't hesitate to reach out with questions, comments or concerns.

Friday, December 4, 2020

December 4, 2020

Good afternoon-
I hope the first two of our full remote days went well for all. I understand there were some technical issues that are being addressed. As a reminder all students are expected to attend class, either synchronously or asynchronously, every day. Teachers will notify students of their expectations through the Google classroom. 
Have a wonderful weekend!

Student Council News:
Game Show Night
This winter, Student Council is hosting a virtual game show night! On December 18th, WACA-TV will be broadcasting a live program of Jeopardy and Family Feud. If students are interested in participating, they should fill out this form (open until December 11th): We have 6 spots for Jeopardy, and 8 for Family Feud. This is a schoolwide event, meant for the whole community to enjoy. We even have some special teacher guests participating! Spread the word!

Poster Contest:
To celebrate school spirit and competition, the Student Council is hosting a poster designing competition this December! The theme for this contest is Hopes and Passions for 2021. The winning submission will be remade into large sized posters to be displayed throughout the school, and the winner will be awarded a $25 amazon gift card. Both computer graphic and hand drawn designs are encouraged! Submissions can be sent as a photo to Designs are due by Friday, Dec. 18, 11:59 PM, and voting will be open the following Monday and Tuesday.   

The AHS Yearbook is hosting a photo contest to get students to share 'What Ashland means to you' in a photo. The submission deadline is December 15th. To enter, students must submit a photo on the yearbook form provided, and explain what the photo means to them. The photo should capture the history, community, landscape, architecture, people, and/or essence of Ashland in a photo. It is not necessary for it to be school based. All entries, regardless of winning the contest, have an opportunity to be displayed prominently in the book along with a photo credit. Click here to submit an entry. One entry per form, no limit to the number of entries per person. Questions? Contact Chad McGowan @

Parents: Don't forget to buy your 2021 yearbook! Go to and use the password AHS01721. The price is $70 now but will go up to $100 at the end of January. Don't miss out on the savings!

Decisions at Every Turn Take a Break from Tech Week starts Sunday!  The planner to encourage families to step away from tech to focus on family connection.  The activities are appropriate for families with kids of all ages. 

See the message below from some AHS parents!
The Ashland community is hoping to celebrate our Class of '21 seniors in this unique and challenging year by delivering each student a little gift on the 21st of each month, January through May. If you would like your student to be included, please email the following to

1. Your student's full name
2. Your student's home address
3. Where the gifts should be delivered. Mailbox is the preference but if you are in an apartment/condo, please indicate deck, front door etc. 

Friday, November 20, 2020

November 20, 2020

Good afternoon-

Congratulations to all on completing Term 1. Grades are now open in iStudent/iParent. A copy of the student report card is available under the My Document link in each. 

Because of the modifications to our schedule this year the attempted credits are not accurate which does result in GPA's being skewed. The term calculation is tied to attempted credits. They will be accurate at the end of the year but there is no way to adjust our course catalog currently to reflect an accurate GPA. Some Remote Only students may not have an updated GPA if no grades have been entered. Please note, GPA's are only available after the completion of grade 10. 

APS Travel Policy:
Attached are the links to the Ashland Public Schools - Student Travel Form as well as the Return from Travel Certification of Compliance that must be filled out before travelers can enter schools.
Ashland High School Student Travel Form

The School Committee Policy on COVID Travel again for your reference.  It is the intent of the School Committee Policy to have ALL travelers/students tested before returning to school.

The Virtual Homecoming Rally will air today (November 20th) at 5pm on WACA-TV.  You can also watch it here (, premiering Friday, November 20th at 5pm.  Hear updates from the fall sports, learn what's been going on with your class and in various clubs, watch your classmates participate in virtual rally-activities, and don't miss the teachers-in-desk-chairs relay race!   Thanks to everyone who participated in the rally, to the Student Council Exec Board for organizing this, and especially to WACA-TV for putting everything together.

Please see the attached statement regarding the Tri-Valley League Statement on the 2020-2021 Winter Athletic Season

Please check out the information below from Decisions at Every Turn:
DAET Week of Gratitude

A message from the Ashland Emergency Fund:

Each holiday season in December the Ashland Food Pantry receives requests for assistance in the form of gift cards from families in need. Volunteers purchase cards from $25 to $50 from gas stations, grocery stores, Target, Walmart etc. so they may be used for the widest range of items.


This year there is a problem in many ways. Food pantry funds are low. The Ashland Emergency Fund Charter only allows expenditures for emergencies. Approximately 150 requests have been received which is far more than any other year. There is also a lack of volunteers.


We are asking individuals, businesses and organizations to fill this need by purchasing cards and getting them to Teri Wysor, 26 Riverview Dr, Ashland by December 2. Please identify with the card who is donating so the recipient may know. Cards will be distributed under the direction of Cara Tirell.


This year each of us has had our own problems and we have been asked to do so much and it never ends. I hope that you will consider this request and rise to the occasion. If you can help, fine. If not, thank you for listening. May you and yours have a safe season and may next year be brighter for all of us.


Bill Gath

Ashland Emergency Fund