Friday, March 5, 2021

March 5, 2021

 Good afternoon-

A reminder that iParent access to course recommendation approval will close later today. Please check your student's course requests and submit your approval ASAP. Thank you!

A friendly reminder for grade 10 families from the school nurses:

As noted in a letter we sent home in December, Massachusetts state law mandates that every 10th grade student has a recent physical exam on file in the school health office. An exam done after 9/1/2019 will meet the requirement. As of today, we are still missing exam forms for a large number of students! 

If your child had a physical exam on or after 9/1/2019, please forward a copy of the exam form to our office as soon as possible. If your child has not had an exam recently, please arrange to have this done now. Documentation can be sent to the health office via mail, fax (508-881-0187), or email (AHS_Nurses@ashland.k12.ma.us).

Kindly note that students without this documentation will not be allowed to begin 11th grade classes in the fall. Thank you!


Feeling thirsty? Come join the NHS for our Ashland Nutrition fundraiser this weekend! Located at 61 Pond Street in Ashland, there is a great variety of refreshing teas and smoothies to try, especially all the fun candy flavors! With every purchase made from Saturday, March 6 to Sunday, March 7 with the mention of "Ashland NHS," there will be a donation made to ACLU MA. Come support!




News from Student Council

Clocker Idol:
The Student Council is excited to be presenting Season Seven of "The Clocker Idol" to the Ashland Community!  Join us on Wednesday, March 17th at 7pm either tuning in on WACA-TV, YouTube, or Facebook.  Our contestants this year are: Annalyn Blanchard, Sarah Chappelle, Justin Galang, Katarina Gertje, Brady McGuire, Nathan Noel, Priscilla Oluokun, and Emma Pawl.  For more information, and to check out our promotional videos, check out our website at: https://sites.google.com/ashland.k12.ma.us/stucoashland/major-events-2020/clocker-idol

Financial Reality Fair
The AHS Student Council is working to put together our second annual "Financial Reality Fair" for the graduating seniors.  This event will be held on Friday, May 28th in-person at the high school, with all participants wearing masks and Covid-precautions followed.

Each senior will receive a paycheck and credit score and will need to navigate various booths where they will have to make financial decisions (renting an apartment, getting a car, getting insurance, etc.)  The event in 2019 was a huge success -- 92% of the students who participated in the event and completed the post-event survey said that they found the fair very informative and that they learned something that they will use in their lives.  

To run this event successfully we need help from the community.  We are looking for professionals who can work with the students to help them make financial decisions and help guide them along the way.  Specifically, we are looking for anyone with a background in housing (realtors), furniture, food, insurance (renter's insurance and auto insurance), clothing, transportation, charity/community service, education (paying for college), luxuries (vacation, entertainment, pets), utilities (internet / phone / cable / gas / electricity), personal savings, retirement savings, or budgeting.  In addition, we are also looking for anyone who is willing to help out as a "general volunteer."  These "general volunteers" will be trained by the professionals at their booth and will then be able to engage in financial conversations with students, helping them make decisions.

For more information (including a video from the 2019 event and photos and to sign-up to volunteer, visit our website at: https://sites.google.com/ashland.k12.ma.us/stucoashland/major-events-2020/reality-fair

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Kaitlin Merson at MersonKai@ashland.k12.ma.us (Student Council President) or Josh Wiczer at jwiczer@ashland.k12.ma.us (Student Council Advisor).

Friday, February 26, 2021

February 26, 2021

Good afternoon-

The iParent recommendation window is now open for parents to approve teacher recommendations for core courses as well as student choices for electives.
Any parent wishing to override the teacher recommendation must follow the process outlined here: 
The window will remain open until Friday, March 5 at 3pm. Please reach out to your student's teacher or counselor with any questions about recommendations.

Attendance:
Attendance at school is required unless your student is staying home for quarantine reasons or another reason approved by administration. Students can not choose to live stream their classes long term. Please reach out if you have questions.

AHSTS Presents

Five Radio Plays from the Vintage Radio Show
SUSPENSE!
Tales of Fear and Trembling

Performances will be video/audio-on-demand, available starting Friday, March 5, 2021 and ending on Sunday, March 14, 2021.

For more information, visit www.ahsts.com. To purchase tickets visit: https://www.showtix4u.com/events/ahsts. Tickets are $10.

Patrons who purchase access have 48 hours to watch/listen to the content from the first time they start watching, up to 11:45 PM Sunday, March 14th.  After this time patrons can no longer view or listen to the content.

AHSTS is proud to support the MetroWest Humane Society with half the proceeds from this production, including any donations made while purchasing tickets.

For more information on MetroWest Humane Society, see below or visit: https://metrowesthumanesociety.org/index.html


Student Council News!
The Student Council is planning a "virtual spring pep rally" and we need your help to participate in some of the rally activities!

If you are interested in participating, please go to: https://forms.gle/ZvqwCCAYvNfmzkZA6  to learn about the activities and to sign-up for an opportunity to participate!

Sign-ups will close on Friday, March 5th.  Any questions?  Contact the Student Council at STUCO.ashland@ashland.k12.ma.us


News from the Class of 2024
The class of 2024 will be running a cookie dough fundraiser beginning on Monday March 1 and ending on March 15.  The fundraiser is completely virtual.  Each freshman will be given a link to the online store to share with family and friends.  All proceeds will go towards decreasing the individual ticket price to both prom and senior week.  These are expensive events!  Senior week tickets can range from $78 to $125 depending on how committed each class is to fundraising.  Due to the cancellation and refund of the 8th grade Washington DC trip, the class of 2024 entered high school with an account below zero!  We have a lot of money to raise for everyone to have an awesome prom and senior week.  Please throw your support behind this fundraiser!  Ask your freshman for the link to the online store starting Monday March 1.  And who doesn't love cookie dough?


Friday, February 12, 2021

February 12, 2021

Good afternoon

Happy February vacation! I know the COVID fatigue has been real for many of our students. The addition of increased live streaming expectations as well as internet connectivity issues has made the past couple of weeks a challenge. I am proud of our students and staff for continuing to be flexible and creative. Despite the technology challenges I continue to see students engaged and learning. I hope this week brings a much needed break for the screen.

AHS teachers have done a variety of activities and lessons to celebrate Black History Month, which we think of as a continuation of our ongoing equity work this year. We believe that learning about and celebrating the accomplishments of people of color should be woven into our curriculum throughout the year but teachers have done some more focused work this month. Our CARES (Clockers Against Racism & for Equity & Social Justice) team has been working on a slide presentation, Black Joy & Excellence, that we look forward to sharing with the AHS community at the end of the month. We are excited for the team to bring artwork and posters to the halls of AHS to help educate students about a variety of important people of color. 
In the classroom, English and reading classes have read and discussed works from black writers and articles on important people of color. Music classes are creating biographies of important black pianists. Some history classes have added exploration of lesser known black historical figures to their study of more well know 19th century history. Spanish students explored the accomplishments of famous Afrolatinos. In computer classes students have explored the dearth of black leadership in big tech and the impact of those who have had success. Our SADD club was excited to connect with AREA (Ashland Residents for Equity and Action). There is always so much more we can be doing but we are excited about the lessons and activities that have been happening so far this year and month.  


Due to the remote day earlier this week Picture retakes for A cohort is now February 23!


Students are reminded to log in ASAP to their iStudent account to approve their teacher recommendations and choose their electives for 2021-2022. The iParent portal to for course recommendations will open on Monday, February 22.


Travel Policies

A reminder that families who are planning to travel to high risk states as deemed by the State of Massachusetts are required to fill out the APS Travel Form. I have included the links for each building below.  

Ashland High School

Travel Policy

Important Town of Ashland Information on COVID-19

Town COVID-19 Website
Town COVID-19 Hotline 508-532-7900


Please read my AHS Family SEL Newsletter with a focus on the amazing counseling department we are so lucky to have at Ashland High School. 

The video replays of the February 8th POWER series webinar Surviving to Thriving: Supporting your Family's Stress, Sadness, and Loss through Mindfulness featuring Linda Price are now available.

In both sessions, Linda begins by discussing ambiguous loss, anticipatory anxiety, and the brain's role in stress & the stress response. Understanding these concepts is important to our own adult health, as well as the health of our children & teens. She then walks us through a series of simple body, visualization, art-based, and breathing strategies that we can use to reduce stress and anxiety through mindfulness. Both webinars cover the same material, with the evening session having a slightly longer focus on breathing strategies. We welcome you to share with others who may be interested.

Morning webinar: https://event.webinarjam.com/go/replay/230/09285cx7tmmc31c2
Evening webinar: https://event.webinarjam.com/go/replay/231/q7m5rs3zux0frzak

 


Friday, February 5, 2021

February 5, 2021

Good afternoon-

Class meetings were held this Wednesday to discuss the course recommendation process. The Google Slides from the meeting can be found here: 2021 Course Selection 101
Please encourage your student to review the slides. They must go to iStudent prior to Friday, February 12 to approve teacher recommendations and choose their electives. 

Report cards will be available on Tuesday, February 9 after 3pm.

Picture retake day for Cohort A is on Tuesday, February 9. Any student who would like a retake or did not get their picture taken in November should plan to get their picture taken, at minimum for ID purposes.

Please enjoy the January edition of our student newspaper, The Union Street Journal

Have a wonderful weekend. 

Friday, January 29, 2021

January 29, 2021

Good afternoon-

Today brought us to the halfway point in the school year. We are excited to start Term 3 on Monday. Please read this thoroughly for important information about the next semester. We have some significant changes coming.

Change to Report Card date:
Due to the transition between terms we will need a few extra days to get report cards ready. All grades will be shared in iStudent/iParent on Tuesday, February 9 after 3pm.

Changes to Learning Format and Time:
Starting Monday, February 1 all teachers will be teaching their classes synchronously. All students are expected to be present "in class" regardless of their cohort day. Students at home must be logged into class, following along with instruction or any other teacher direction. 

We are also increasing synchronous learning time on Wednesday. 

The new schedule begins on Wednesday, February 3. 

C Period 8:35-9:20

E Period 9:25-10:10

10 Minute Break

F Period 10:20-11:05

D Period 11:10-11:55

Please be mindful of this and plan accordingly. It has always been the expectation that students are engaged in school work from 8:35am-2:35/55pm. Please remember that failure to attend class, whether in person or remotely, could result in a loss of credit for the class. 

Course Recommendations for 2021-2022

Teachers are currently making course recommendations (January 19 - February 5)

(Students have been encouraged to discuss their course interests with their teacher.)


Class meetings to review course recommendations- February 3 

(GoogleMeet links will be sent Wednesday morning)

11th grade- 12:30pm

10th grade- 1:15pm

9th grade- 2:00pm

Students are asked to please log on to the meetings to hear important information about course requests for next year. Students must use their iStudent account to approve their recommended courses and choose electives.


Students approve courses and choose electives- February 1-12

Student's Quick Start Guide for Student Course Recommendations


Parents will make final approval- February 22- March 5


If you have some time this weekend please take a moment to complete the attached form:
I would love to surprise our educators with some mid-year pick-me-up messages from parents and students.

Finally, COVID fatigue is real for all of us. Most students are doing great with the safety expectations. Please have a conversation with your child about the importance of following the rules. Whether you believe in them or not, they are requirements for attendance. I appreciate your support with this. 

Have a wonderful weekend. 



Friday, January 15, 2021

January 22, 2021

Good afternoon and happy Friday-

We are just one week away from the halfway point of the 2020-2021 school year. Term 2 ends next Friday and report cards will be available on Friday, February 5 after 3pm. 

Last night School Committee approved a few things that impact AHS students:

1. The graduation requirement for community service for the class of 2021 has been waived. This waiver is for just this school year. Students are encouraged to continue to find safe ways to give back to their community. 

2. The athletic eligibility requirement was updated to reflect our current block schedule. Students must pass 3 of their 4 classes in the previous marking period to participate in athletics. Students who only passed 2 courses are eligible for a one-time waiver to participate. 

Course registration timelines: SY 2021-2022: 
We are excited to be starting the process of planning for 2021-2022.
Teachers are currently in the process of making course recommendations through February 5

Students will approve their course recommendations and choose electives from February 1-12
Students will be encouraged to set up meetings with teachers in person or via Google Meets to discuss any questions or concerns about recommendations.
iStudent Quick Start Guide to Student Recommendations
We will hold class meetings to review the process- February 3 
11th grade- 12:30pm
10th grade- 1:15pm
9th grade- 2:00pm

Parents make final approval- February 22- March 5


DAET, Ashland Public Schools, and Ashland's Human Services Department are excited to welcome back Linda Price, M.Ed., CAGS, on Monday, February 8th, for two virtual presentations (9:30 AM and 6:30 PM) of Surviving to Thriving: Supporting your Family's Stress, Sadness, and Loss through mindfulness. The pandemic has amplified our need to redefine health and recognize areas that need attention. Linda will teach parents/caregivers strategies and techniques for supporting yourself & your family today and beyond this challenging year.

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!