Thursday, April 13, 2017

Week of 4/10/17- Happy April vacation!!!

Good afternoon and happy vacation!

I can't believe we are here already.  At the beginning of March it always seems like April vacation is so far away and then it is suddenly upon us.  From here the rest of the year flies by.  

As a reminder, grades for Term 3 are now posted in iParent/iStudent.


The AHS office will be closed next week.  I am heading off to chaperone the student trip to the Mediterranean. Please feel free to follow our adventures on the AHS MedCoast blog which is linked to the AHS homepage.  


A reminder that students taking Advanced Placement tests are expected to be in school for the entire day of their AP test.  If they have a morning test, they are expected to be in class after the test in the afternoon.  If they have an afternoon test, they are expected to attend school in the morning at the normal time.  There are no exceptions to this expectation.

Senior Parents: Once we return from vacation we will start sharing out information on graduation!  Seniors are done with classes on Friday, May 19th.  Their exams start the following week and Friday, May 26 is a mandatory class community service day.  
As you start to plan remember that graduation is open to all, there is no guest limit.  Class Day, on Friday, June 2 at 9:30am is another wonderful event and families are encouraged to attend!


On Saturday, April 29th, the Student Council will be running a fundraiser at the Framingham Barnes and Noble.  For any purchase made with a voucher (click link to get voucher) the Student Council will get a percent of the sale.  If you've been planning on purchasing a few books and can wait until April 29th, come join us there!

Throughout the day, starting at 9am, members of the Students Council will be hosting "story time" for younger children, reading some of their favorite childhood books.  (Go Dog Go, Corduroy, The Giving Tree, and many others....)    Come join us and bring your children to enjoy!

In addition, at 11am local author and AHS guidance counselor Jenn McMahon will be reading selections from her recently published book Bohermore.  She'll also be signing copies and leading a discussion on the author's craft.  (This is in addition to her book signing on Sunday, April 23rd.)

You can also order books through the Barnes and Noble website (bn.com) from April 29th through May 2nd using the voucher code, and the same percentage off the purchase will go to the AHS Student Council.

Senior Families!
Want something special and personalized to celebrate graduation? The junior class is selling personalized AHS graduation yard signs made by Jostens! The signs are designed to be personalized with the senior's name and you may elect to add the college or future plan of the graduate. See the attached order form or pick one up in the office. Orders can be turned into the office until May 5th and the yard signs will arrive at the beginning of senior week. Any questions, email Christine Graham (cgraham@ashland.k12.ma.us

The Sophomore Class of 2019 is currently running an online Dutch Mill plant bulb fundraiser. If you are interested, check out our link below where you can purchase the plant bulbs and they will be shipped right to your home! Feel free to share the link with anyone you think might be interested in purchasing plant bulbs and supporting the class of 2019. 





All bus registrations are due by May 1st.  The fee will increase to $350 for individuals and $700 for families after the May 1st deadline.  Students registering after May 1st may be placed on a wait list and assigned a seat if and when one becomes available.

Please contact Diane Goudy at dgoudy@ashland.k12.ma.us or 508-532-4005 if you have any questions.

Check out the Parent Flyers to see what is going on around town. 

Have a wonderful week!

Friday, April 7, 2017

Week of 4/3/17

Good afternoon-

Term 3 officially came to a close this week and grades will be available through iParent/iStudent on Wednesday, April 12 after 2pm.  

The bus company has asked me to remind parents and students that glass is prohibited from the school buses.  It would be greatly appreciated if you could remind your students that only non-glass containers are allowed.


The Sophomore Class of 2019 is selling plant bulbs to raise money for class events. The bulbs can be ordered online through the link below and will be shipped directly to your house. The plant bulbs can be shipped anywhere in the US so please share the link with family and friends to help support the sophomore class! 
https://groups.dutchmillbulbs.com/shop/?affiliates=ahs2019




Senior Families!
Want something special and personalized to celebrate graduation? The junior class is selling personalized AHS graduation yard signs made by Jostens! The signs are designed to be personalized with the senior's name and you may elect to add the college or future plan of the graduate. See the attached order form or pick one up in the office. Orders can be turned into the office until May 5th and the yard signs will arrive at the beginning of senior week. Any questions, email Christine Graham (cgraham@ashland.k12.ma.us


Check out the Parent Flyers to see what is going on around town.
Ashland Raise Healthy & Happy Kids:
AUTONOMY-SUPPORTIVE PARENTING VERSUS CONTROLLING PARENTING
The book discussed this week at the community book read was ‘The Gift of Failure’ by Jessica Lahey. It discusses how children NEED to fail in order to learn, and to gain confidence and competence. Being a supportive parent (versus a controlling one) can help them gain both confidence and competence.

  • Controlling parents give lots of unsolicited advice and direction. Children see this as “nagging” and it interferes with their sense of autonomy and conveys a lack of faith in their competence to perform the task. Let them load the dishwasher the way they want to!
  • Controlling parents offer extrinsic motivators in exchange for behaviors. Kids do not need to be paid for basic household chores that contribute to the household. Or for A’s on their report cards.
  • Controlling parents provide solutions or the correct answer before the child has had a chance to really struggle with a problem. Give children time and silence to think through a challenging task. This shows that you value the process as much as the final result.
  • Controlling parents don’t let children make their own decisions. Let your child choose the sports or activities they want to try, or the game for family game night.
  • Autonomy-Supportive parents allow for mistakes and help children to understand the consequences of those mistakes. If we show our kids that mistakes are part of the process of learning, they will become more confident about their abilities and be better able to bounce back from future mistakes.
  • Autonomy-Supportive parents value the mistakes as much as the successes.  Find the lessons in the failures. Help them discover new ways to cope and rebound from their mistakes.
  • Autonomy-Supportive parents acknowledge children’s feelings of frustration and disappointment. Validate how they feel and even give an example of when you felt the same way.
  • Autonomy-Supportive parents give feedback. Effective feedback guides kids toward seeing their mistakes rather than jumping in and fixing them.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Week of 3/27/17

Good afternoon-

As a reminder grades did not close today.  Because of the snow day we have extended the term until Wednesday, April 5, 2017.  Report cards will be available on April 12, 2017 in iParent/iStudent.

The Sophomore Ring Dance, scheduled for tonight, is still on!  The dance is from 7-10pm in the cafeteria.  All members of the Class of 2019 are encouraged to attend.  Admission is $10 at the door and class dues must also be paid.

State Student Advisory Council
Ashland High School is looking for students interested in running for the State Student Advisory Council for the 2017-2018 school year.  This group, made up of two students from every school in the Commonwealth, meets once a month to discuss issues related to education policy and the impacts on students.  Students interested in running should see Mr. Wiczer (in B251) by Wednesday, April 5th at 2pm.  Students will give speeches on Friday, April 7th and the voting will take place that day at lunch.  For more information on this group, please see: http://www.doe.mass.edu/sac/ or contact Mr. Wiczer at jwiczer@ashland.k12.ma.us


The Metrowest College and Career Fair will be Saturday morning from 9am - 12pm at Ashland High School.  The fair will begin at 9am with the Mark Altman from MindsetGo who will speak about "How to Differentiate Yourself From Your Peers".  The Speaker Series will continue all morning.  The College and Career Hall will open at 9:30.  This is a great opportunity to speak with Colleges, experts in the field, as well as over 50 Career Representatives. For more information please visit www.MWCCF.org. We hope to see you there!  


As a reminder, Supt. Adams book read has been moved to Monday, April 3 at 6:30 PM in the Ashland Public Library for a discussion on The Gift of Failure by Jessica Lahey.  Attached is the flyer for the program to this email.  


Please consider joining us for a very important presentation sponsored by ASHPAC, PTO, DAET, and Friends of the APL :
Power of Choice, featuring Judy Giovangelo, the Founder & President of Ben Speaks. Judy will share her story on Tuesday,April 4, 2017 at 7:00 PM in the Ashland High School Auditorium. Power of Choice is a workshop for parents, students, educators, and community discussing ways to build resiliency in adolescents.Judy will discuss the power of thought, gratitude, forgiveness, and affirmations, providing concrete tools to build self-esteem and emotional resiliency. She will talk about the challenges that adolescents face in society and share insight on embracing expressive and healing arts as alternatives to traditional therapy. Judy founded Ben Speaks after the loss of her son Ben to suicide and has turned personal tragedy into community purpose: building kinder communities and growing emotionally resilient youth. 

For additional information please see the program flyer.

STAND:  Marijuana Q&A.

In January 2017, the DAET Coalition hosted a STAND lunchtime activity at AHS. Students were asked to write anonymously on sticky notes their concerns, questions, ideas, and thoughts about how the new marijuana law would affect them.  Notes from 65 students were placed on a bulletin board that was displayed in the AHS library. The STAND Leadership team consolidated the questions and selected ten questions to be answered by community leaders inluding DAET Coalition leadership, the APS superintendent, the Town Manager, and the Police Chief. Click this link to see the questions and learn more.



The Ralph F. Brown Jr. Chapter of Blacks in Government is seeking participants for their first annual Communications Academy, Training In Communications program. The program offers youth in grades nine through twelve an 8-session program (1 to 2 hours per session) and we will host the program at Ashland High Schoo on Thursdays from 4:30-5:30pml!  (classroom to be determined).
Youth are educated on various public speaking and leadership topics. Topics may range from such subjects as how to speak effectively; the concept, purpose, and approaches to communication; the process of communication; leadership skills; writing and delivering speeches; use of audiovisual aids; effective listening; and so on. During the academy, students give presentations to practice their communication skills. The program would be followed by the Oratorical contest for those interested members. Please email Ms. St. Coeur to express interest as soon as possible.  


Please check out the Parent Flyers - there is a lot going on around town!


Ashland Raises Happy & Healthy Kids:
Tech Talk Tuesdays
Talking about social media apps, technology and how it affects you and your children at dinner on Tuesdays (along with your tacos!) was one of the recommendations in the documentary ‘Screenagers’. This can lead to some good discussions and you will likely learn a thing or two about your kids, their friends and the things “happening” on social media. Below are some more tips and facts about screen time.
  • Playing video games can decrease sensitivity and empathy and desensitize kids to violence.
  • Pro-social video games (in which characters help each other or work together to solve a problem) can increase helping behaviors in life. There are positives!
  • Use of smartphones has led to a decrease in conversations and eye contact.
  • Screen time can be addictive. Treatment centers are opening to help people “detox” from screens.
  • Set limits on technology time.  The American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines recommend limiting the amount of total entertainment screen time for all children to less than one to two hours per day.
  • Power-down for one hour before bed. Research shows that children fall asleep quicker and sleep better if they are off screens for one hour before bed. Choose a time for school nights (maybe a bit later on weekends) that phones/tablets/computers will be handed to parents to charge for the night. In my house, if phones are not on the kitchen counter by 7:45pm, they lose their phone for the next 24 hours.
  • Make family meals tech free. This includes the parents! And includes meals at restaurants.
  • Be a good role model. If you want your kids to stay off of media, then you have to do it too. Put down your phone and look at your children when they talk to you.
  • Do not allow screens in children’s and teen’s bedrooms! Reduction in the amount of time sleeping and the quality of sleep (from hearing alerts, feeling the need to answer texts immediately) is one of the biggest health hazards from screen use.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Week of 3/20/17

Good afternoon & happy Friday- 

I keep hoping spring will be here soon....maybe next week?

Due to the snow days Term 3 has been extended by three days to Wednesday, April 5.  Report cards will now be issued on through iStudent/iParent on April 12.  

We have wrapped up our course selection process and are ready to begin scheduling for the 2017-2018 school year.  Please continue to reach out to classroom teachers and your child's guidance counselor if you have a question or concern.  

Next Wednesday, March 29th we are pleased to be able to share the documentary Screenagers with all students at AHS.  All students will see the movie during the school day and we hope you will take moment to review the attached flyer and join us for the evening screening on  Wednesday, March 29 at 6:30pm in the AHS auditorium.   There will be a conversation after the viewing of the film.  There is no cost for this event.


State Student Advisory Council
Ashland High School is looking for students interested in running for the State Student Advisory Council for the 2017-2018 school year.  This group, made up of two students from every school in the Commonwealth, meets once a month to discuss issues related to education policy and the impacts on students.  Students interested in running should see Mr. Wiczer (in B251) by Wednesday, April 5th at 2pm.  Students will give speeches on Friday, April 7th and the voting will take place that day at lunch.  For more information on this group, please see: http://www.doe.mass.edu/sac/ or contact Mr. Wiczer at jwiczer@ashland.k12.ma.us


The Sophomore Class Ring Dance is next Friday, March 31st from 7-10pm in the HS cafeteria. The theme is glow in the dark and it costs $10 to attend. Class dues must also be paid up to date ($10 each year). Tickets may be purchased this week at lunch or at the door. This is the first opportunity for students to pick up their class ring if they ordered one this past fall but all sophomores are welcome to attend! Contact Mrs. Kulik, ekulik@ashland.k12.ma.us, with any questions. 


The World Language Department would like to invite you to the view the art from this year's Spanish/French art project.  The paintings and QR codes will be going on display in library on March 30th from 5-6:30pm.  Download a QR reader on your phone so that you can listen to the audio guides!  I have attached a flyer for the event.  


The annual "MetroWest College and Career Fair" will be held on Saturday, April 1st from 9 am until noon here at AHS!  This is a rare local opportunity to visit with representatives from over 100 colleges; college placement, testing, and financial aid experts; and representatives from a wide spectrum of professional level careers.
Check out their website to learn exactly what colleges, presentations, and occupations will be represented by visiting http://www.mwccf.org/home.  Hover over the tab titled "Students & Parents" for an up-to-date listing.  Highlights of the speaker series include: "How to Differentiate Yourself From Your Peers", "Admissions Strategies and Test Prep for Students with Learning Differences", "Everything You Need To Know About the SAT and ACT", "College Admissions: The Insider's View", "Financial Aid 101", and "Finding the Right Fit".
The guidance staff at AHS would like to strongly encourage the participation of every family of an AHS student.  College and career fairs maximize your time and expense (there's no cost to participants).  Having all of these resources available to us right in our own back yard for free on a Saturday morning is an opportunity not to be missed!  There is much to learn in this format of condensed time and location, perhaps saving countless hours gathering this information separately from multiple sources. 
Join us in supporting the Ashland PTO and the Ashland Education Foundation, Inc. by attending this wonderful opportunity right here in Ashland!


As a reminder, Supt. Adams book read has been moved to Monday, April 3 at 6:30 PM in the Ashland Public Library for a discussion on The Gift of Failure by Jessica Lahey.  Attached is the flyer for the program to this email.  



The Ralph F. Brown Jr. Chapter of Blacks in Government is seeking participants for their first annual Communications Academy, Training In Communications program. The program offers youth in grades nine through twelve an 8-session program (1 to 2 hours per session) and we have an opportunity to host the program at Ashland High School!  Youth are educated on various public speaking and leadership topics. Topics may range from such subjects as how to speak effectively; the concept, purpose, and approaches to communication; the process of communication; leadership skills; writing and delivering speeches; use of audiovisual aids; effective listening; and so on. During the academy, students give presentations to practice their communication skills. The program would be followed by the Oratorical contest for those interested members. Please email Ms. St. Coeur to express interest as soon as possible.

Please check out the Parent Flyers - there is a lot going on around town!



A message from Mr. Grimes:
Fantastic Opportunity!!  - Ends March 31st
The Ashland High School Girls and Boys Soccer Teams have a chance to play an official Tri-Valley league match on the turf at Gillette Stadium during the fall season against Millis High School.  In order to participate in this exciting opportunity the players must collectively sell 500 tickets to the New England Revolution game on June 17 at 7:30 PM.

Tickets for the New England Revolution game are being sold at the discounted price of only $23 each.  The $23 ticket includes admission to both the New England Revolution game on June 17th and the Ashland High School games at Gillette Stadium this fall.  This is a great opportunity to support the Ashland High School teams today and encourage younger players toward getting involved in high school sports in the future.  We are inviting all Ashland students and their families to purchase tickets.

All tickets must be sold by the March 31st!  To order your tickets by email; contact Bill Ames at bill.ames34@gmail.com.  Only checks made payable to the Clocker Club will be accepted for tickets.  To ask questions or order tickets, please contact Bill Ames.     

We need your help to make sure we sell all of the tickets!  You can support Ashland High School Soccer and come to Gillette to cheer on our high school teams!


Recognizing and helping those who self-injure

Many people think children and adolescents engage in self harm to get attention from adults or fit in with peers but that is usually not the case. The behavior is actually a coping strategy used to control emotions. They’re trying to reduce a negative emotional state, and then as they’re self-injuring, it produces a positive emotional state – they get sort of a rush or a high from the self-injury. Others self injure to simply feel something, and some might hurt themselves as a form of punishment.

Self injurious behaviors include cutting, scratching, opening or picking at wounds, burning, biting, hitting and pulling out hair. Kids often try to hide their behaviors often saying a cat or branch scratched them and wearing long clothes in hot weather.

If you think your child is engaging in self injurious behaviors, below are some tips:
  • Ask in a very straightforward manner whether or not they’re injuring themselves, and state why you are concerned.
  • Be willing to talk. Tell your child, “I want you to know that I love you, and if these are self-inflicted wounds, I’m here to help you. I’m not here to be angry at you. I’m not here to punish you. I’m here for you to talk to me.”
  • Share your feelings. It’s ok to acknowledge this is something beyond what you as a parent know how to manage.
  • Do not tell your child that he/she must stop the behavior. That signals to the child she/he is misbehaving. This is not a bad behavior, it’s an unhealthy behavior. And if you tell your child to stop before they have a chance to develop a healthier way to cope with emotions, it can be disastrous. It’s like someone who has a broken leg and is using crutches. You wouldn’t want to take their crutches away before they are ready.
  • Do not ignore your child. Some see self-harm as kids just wanting attention. If they need attention that badly, give it to them.
  • Do not focus on the self-injurious behavior. Concentrate on what’s driving the behavior, not the behavior itself.
Kids don’t need to be hospitalized for self-injury unless they are suicidal or the self-injury is so severe it places them in medical danger. While kids who self-injure have a higher risk of suicide at the time of self-injury, their motive is to cope – not take their life.
The first step in seeking help is to get an evaluation from a licensed professional. Therapy and/or medication could be recommended, treatments vary by case. The good news is, if it’s recognized and they  get help, children can get over this and get better.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Week of 3/13/17

Good evening-

Posting late this weekend after spending some family time.  I hope you all had some special time with family this weekend.  Because of the loss AHS experienced just a few short weeks ago, reminding families and teachers of the scheduled Family Reconnect Weekend escaped us.  Please be patient with teachers that did assign homework and know that the faculty has continued to be respectful of the needs of our students.

Friday I had the pleasure of joining AHS students and Ashland senior citizens in working on a collaborative project of collecting the seniors oral histories.  It was an incredible day with many generations.    

 




MCAS is here!  
All 10th grade students will take the ELA MCAS on March 21, 22, 23 (next Tuesday-Thursday).  
The Long Composition (essay) is March 21 and Reading Comprehension sessions are March 22-23.
MCAS sessions will take place for the first 3 blocks of the first two days and the first 2 blocks on the third day, although students may ask for more time if needed.  It is extremely important that students arrive to school on time and begin testing at 7:30am.
Students will be expected to turn in cell phones and apple watches to the proctor at the start of the test and will pick them up as they are dismissed.
Students may bring other homework to work on if they finish early because they will not be able to leave the testing room until all students are dismissed at the scheduled time.  
A snack and water will be provided by Student Council.
It is important for students to get a good night's rest, eat breakfast, and try their best on an exam they have been well prepared for!


The Ashland High School Student Council would like to invite the entire Ashland community to our 9th annual Bingo night, held on Thursday, March 30th at 6:30pm in the high school cafeteria. This family-friendly event is open to participants of all ages -- young children, senior citizens, and everyone in-between.
All prizes have been donated by local businesses and restaurants (and are listed online at: http://sites.google.com/site/stucoashland/bingo).  $10 for a pack of 6 cards good for the entire night (or $20 for 12 cards, $30 for 18 cards, etc.)  Bring your own Bingo dauber or bring $1 to buy one.  There will free coffee/water and baked goods and the Class of 2019 will be selling pizza. The evening will be MC'd by high school teachers DJ Jost and Randa Istfan.

Come join us for a fun evening!  And check our commercial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nnDd4h_LskY

Check out the Parent Flyers for info!

This was shared by a friend recently and I thought it was important to share tonight.  
My community is hurting. A senseless death. A student gone to soon.
PLEASE PLEASE parents/friends, talk to people about Crisis Text Line
Do this tonight.
Sad, depressed, anxious, suicidal? There is help. It's free, available 24/7 and completely anonymous.
Call 2 Talk is a United Way of MetroWest community partner.
Text C2T to 741-741
You are connected in under 5 minutes with a trained Crisis Counselor.
Please promise to have this talk tonight. And again in the future.
Please?

Friday, March 10, 2017

Week of 3/6/17

Good afternoon-

As a reminder, the parent portal for recommendations is open. The iParent window to approve courses will remain open through this weekend.  Please go into iParent as soon as possible to approve your student's classes. 

The Parent Quick Start Guide for Student Course Recommendations, found here, will walk you through the process. We feel strongly that our teacher's have a good understanding of your students strengths and areas for growth and make great recommendations for course levels.  However, you as a family have the final decision on which courses your child takes.  We expect that you do all that you can to be informed when make these level decisions.  If you wish to override a course recommendation I have attached the Override Process here.  


Junior Class - tickets to the junior prom will go on sale next week at all three lunches.  
Ticket price is $65 - you must be up to date with class dues to buy a ticket. Tickets will also be on sale the week of March 13.  Any questions, see Mr. Graham.


As always, please check out the Parent Flyers section for information on what is going around on town.


Ashland Raises Happy & Healthy Kids
Last week was National Eating Disorder Awareness Week so we are going to define and describe a condition called Orthorexia. It is always important to remember that eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses, they are not to be taken lightly.


Orthorexia is a condition marked by an extreme fixation over the quality and purity of food. It commonly results in highly inflexible eating patterns, with individuals creating rigid “food rules” which usually consists of segmenting foods that they will eat to categories “good” or “healthy” foods and “bad” foods which are avoided. Individuals with Orthorexia generally will only consume organic, raw and pure foods. Many people struggling with this disorder will become obsessed with “eating clean,” and/or exercise routines, or only eat at certain times. Often times, entire food groups like sugar, meat, dairy and carbohydrates are avoided. A defining feature of Orthorexia is that people struggling will opt NOT to eat if the only food available are those deemed as “impure” or processed. These rigid food rules and behaviors can often result in an unbalanced diet and inadequate caloric intake. Many cases can lead to malnutrition, accompanied by a variety of potential medical and psychological side effects.


Two key identifiers of Orthorexia versus “healthy eating” is the intensity to which the inflexible eating patterns are enforced, and more so, what happens when someone strays from them.
  • In terms of the diet, are they cutting out entire food groups without a consultation from a professional dietician?
  • Are they compulsive in their “healthy” eating habits? Do they become highly uncomfortable when “prohibited” foods are nearby? Are they unable to eat out at restaurants or eat food friends prepare?
  • Do they make their own food separate from the rest of the family?
  • Are they losing weight and critical energy sources because of it?
  • What happens when a diet or exercise rule are broken? Do they become emotionally distressed, feel shame or seek a means of “self-punishment” – restriction, purging or excessive exercise?


Answering “yes” to most of these questions should be a cause for concern.


Orthorexia involves distorted thinking. Many who abstain from a wide range of food types or a more balanced diet think they are helping their overall health while, in reality, it’s likely causing quite the opposite effect. The praise they might receive from being so "healthy" and "disciplined" can also reinforce the eating behaviors but also increase anxiety. Orthorexia can result in a wide range of health risks including malnutrition and weight loss,  emotional distress, anxiety, depression, and social withdrawal from friends and family.


If you believe someone in your life has symptoms of orthorexia, or any eating disorder, please consult a licensed professional and/or a registered dietician.