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 3.  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: or contact Mr. Wiczer at

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,, 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  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  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:  $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:

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.

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.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Week of 2/27/17

Good evening-

Words can not express the gratitude we feel at Ashland High School for the love and support the community offered us this week.  I personally feel so blessed to work for a town that cares so much for each other and their schools.  Thank you.  Please continue to hold the Petry family in your thoughts and talk to your children about how they are dealing with the loss of a peer.

On Monday, March 6 Larry Berkowitz, the Director and co-founder of Riverside Trauma Center, will lead a conversation for parents and other interested community members about "How to talk with your children about the loss of a peer". He will start by providing some information and will then have time for conversation.  His presentation will begin at 6:30pm in the AHS library.  Larry is an expert in the field of trauma and grief and has been an invaluable resource to us as a school community.  Please join us in this very important discussion on how to support our students moving forward.  

Thank you to all of the parents who were able to attend Parent Conferences last night.  Please remember if you would like to speak to a teacher about your child's progress you can do so at any time.  Just email or call to make an appointment.

The parent portal for recommendations is now open! The iParent window to approve courses will remain open through Friday, March 10. 

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.

Breaking the Barriers (BTB) is a community service and leadership club, supported by a DFC-funded coalition, hoping to inspire youth to make healthy choices and give them the skills to become a leader of today.  BTB is starting a program called “Inspire” at Ashland High School to introduce students to career opportunities that may lay ahead in their future.  Students voted and said they would like to have a DOCTOR come in and speak about their career, education, and daily experiences as the first part of this series!  The true inspiring portion of this program occurs when the speaker gives interested students the opportunity to apply for shadowing experiences.  
If YOU would like to help inspire the future, please contact Neha Shabeer at for more information.  Thank you!


AEFI Gala tickets are on sale!  Prices go up after March 10th!  See the Parent Flyers for information.

Please review the Parent Flyers for information about events coming up around town.

Ashland Raises Healthy & Happy Kids:
Coping with Grief
It has been a sad week in Ashland, especially at the high school. Below are some tips to help you and your children cope with grief.
  • Grief is personal. There is no right or wrong way to grieve.
  • Grieving does not have a timeline. Everyone will experience loss at a different pace.
  • Do not use minimizing statements such as, “you were not friends with him”, or “it was only your cat”.
  • Maintain routines as normally as possible.
  • Use healthy coping strategies to express grief such as art, writing or music. Also encourage children to be around their peers.

Children’s grief reactions can differ depending on age and developmental level.
At the preschool level you might see regressive behaviors, decreased verbalization or increased anxiety.
At the elementary level children may have decreased academic performance and attendance and trouble concentrating. They could be more irritable or aggressive and exhibit behavior changes. They may have somatic complaints such as trouble sleeping or eating, and may want to repeatedly re-tell the event.
At the middle and high school level you could see decreased academic performance and attendance and trouble concentrating. Children may avoid social events or withdraw from peers and may engage in high risk behaviors or substance abuse. They may also have nightmares, flashbacks, emotional numbing or depression.

While these are all normal reactions to grief, if they become extreme, long-term or are distressing to you or your child, please seek professional help.