Friday, May 27, 2016

Week of 5/23/16

Happy Memorial Day Weekend! I hope you all find time to enjoy the freedoms we are afforded by the many Veterans who gave their lives to protect us.

Senior Week is here and we are looking forward to a wonderful week of celebration and recognition.  

Schedule for End of the Year Senior Activities

Senior Week:
*ALL seniors must attend starred events
Only seniors who have purchased senior week tickets will be able to attend the other events.
(Monday, May 30th: Memorial Day)

Tuesday, May 31st
8:00 - 9:30am Graduation rehearsal*
9:30 - 5:30pm Six Flags trip (arrival back home somewhat dependent on traffic)
   Note: Lunch included, Casual wear (bathing suits if desired)

Wednesday, June 1st
8:00 – 10:00am Graduation rehearsal*
10:00am – 5:00pm Kimball Farms (arrival back home somewhat dependent on traffic)
      Note: Lunch included, Casual wear

Thursday, June 2nd
8:00-10:00am- Graduation rehearsal, distribution of caps & gowns*
10:30am-2:30pm- Community Service at various sites*
4:00pm – 11:45pm Senior Cotillion: Boston Harbor Boat Cruise
Note: Semi-formal attire, Dinner included

Friday, June 3rd
9:15am report time*
10:00am Class Day*- ALL INVITED to celebrate the Class of 2016!
    Note: Nice casual wear, you will be wearing your gowns (please iron!)
5:30pm Senior Banquet at AHS- students only
       Note: Nice casual wear, Dinner provided, Yearbooks distributed

Sunday, June 5th
1:00pm Graduation*
Doors open at 11am.
Please note that parking on AHS grounds during the ceremony is done so in a manner that you are not able to exit during the ceremony.

Any questions, please see or email Mr. McGann (, Ms. Shiels ( or Ms. St. Coeur (

State Representative Tom Sannicandro, who represents parts of Framingham and Ashland, and serves as the House Chair of the Joint Committee on Higher Education will be hosting  a free educational seminar on saving for college On Wednesday, June 15th at the Forum at Framingham State University, from 6:30 – 8:00pm. Presented by MEFA, the Commonwealth’s authority on planning, saving, and paying for college, the English-language forum is designed for parents with children of any age, and will provide an overview of saving for college, including the different ways to save in Massachusetts, how much to save, and when to start. An experienced MEFA representative will provide families with the information and tools they need to create a college financing plan, while demystifying college savings myths and how savings affects financial aid eligibility.  

The EMC Student STAR Program is a 4-day intensive workshop for students who are entering their junior or senior year of high school, or their freshman year of college. It is designed to equip students with the tools needed to excel in their academic journey.

The aim of the Student STAR Program is to bridge the gap between higher education and professional development by focusing on four themes central to every student’s success:
  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Life Skills
  • Introduction to Business

For a more detailed list of topics to be covered, please visit the FAQ page on the Student STAR website.
2016 Milford, MA Session Dates
Sessions are held at
31 Maple Street, Milford, MA 01757
Session 1:
  July 11th - 14th
Session 2:
  July 18th - 21st
Session 3:
  July 25th - 28th
Session 4:
  Aug 1st - 4th
Sessions run from Monday through Thursday, 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM. There is no cost to participants.
The application deadline is June 17, 2016. Apply early as the program does fill up!
For full details & to apply, visit:
The Student STAR Team

Please direct any questions to the Student STAR Team at:
Youtube 4-min

*The application deadline for Milford, MA is 
Friday, June 17th. Applications submitted by June 10th will receive early decision status by June 13th. Applications received after June 10th will receive decision status by June 24th. All applicants will receive an auto-generated confirmation email once the application has been submitted.*

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I hope you all have a restful weekend.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Week of 5/16/16

Happy Friday-

I hope you all had a wonderful week.  Monday will be the last full day of classes for the Class of 2016.  We met with the class this week to review the schedule and expectations.  Seniors will receive their obligation sheet late next week and must have all signatures and obligations met in order to receive their gowns on Thursday, June 2nd.
Please be sure to check out the exam and Senior Week schedules on the AHS website.  Let use know if you have any questions.
We will be sad to see them go but are so excited for the bright futures that lay ahead for this group of young adults.  

Prom and Grand March photos from Grynn & Barrett are now available to view and order.  To access the photos and further information, please visit the junior class website (Class of 2017) at or on the Ashland High School home page under Student Links. Thanks to everyone for ensuring a successful Prom!"

I hope to see many of you at our upcoming Art Gala. The talent in this building is amazing!  

How to Raise an Adult
Julie Lythcott-Haims, former dean at Stanford University, wrote a book titled, “How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Over-parenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success”, after seeing many students enter college still very dependent on their parents to do everything from choosing college courses to doing laundry. She has seen parents touring graduate schools, serving as mouthpieces for their shy, passive children, and submitting résumés to potential employers, sometimes without their children’s knowledge. All of this hand-holding sends the message that our kids can’t do this without us. Let’s not have college deans telling these anecdotes about Ashland graduates!
Kids need to go forth independently without constant supervision. They need to try and even fail. And when they fail and look around for a parent to bail them out, they need to hear the words, “You must figure this out for yourself.” There are four steps to help children from preschool age on up learn everything from tying their shoes to doing laundry to mowing the lawn to talking to coaches or teachers about a problem:
First you do it for them,
Then you do it with them,
Then you watch them do it,
Then you let them do it on their own.
A friend who is a pediatrician says they do the same when training medical students: See a procedure, then assist one, do one, teach one. Makes so much sense. Choose a household chore and try it with your kids this weekend!

Please be sure to check out our Parent Flyers for information about events happening around town.

Have a wonderful weekend, here's hoping it's not too much of a wash out.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Week of 5/9/16

Good afternoon & happy Friday-

Thank you to the many families that attending our Summer Kick-Off Event on Tuesday night.  The end of the year season of celebrations is upon us and my greatest wish is that our AHS are safe throughout each event.

Prom is just hours away and I am hoping the rain holds off.  We are looking forward to a fun, special, and safe evening with the Class of 2017 and their guests.  Just a reminder that students must stay at the prom until at least 10pm.  Parents will be notified of anyone leaving any earlier.

Senior exams/Senior Week and Graduation are just around the corner.  The schedules are now posted on the AHS website.  All seniors are expected to attend graduation rehearsals and community service day.  We will be meeting with the class next week to share details, answer questions and share the permission slip.

Seniors will receive their caps, gowns, and invitations on Thursday, June 2nd after rehearsal.  All obligations (return books, parking pass, etc., pay off cafeteria account, etc.) must be met before the can receive the gown. Please contact me at if there is a financial hardship with meeting an obligation.

If you have any special seating needs, such as reserving a spot for a relative with a disability, please contact the AHS front office.

Please mark your calendar for Class Day on June 3rd at 10am.  Families and the community are welcome to attend.  This is a wonderful event celebrating the accomplishments of the Class of 2016 and their opportunity to say thank you to everyone who has supported them along the way.

Student Government has a lot of exciting news to share this week!

Back in the fall, the seniors won a barbecue from the Student Council, for being the most-spirited class during Homecoming week.  Their barbecue will take place on Wednesday, May 18th during their normally-scheduled lunch period.  If any students would prefer a veggie burger to a regular burger and they didn't tell their English teacher, they must let Mr. Wiczer know as soon as possible


Congratulations to the newly elected Student Council Executive Board for the 2016-2017 school year!

President: Nick Fetherston, '17
Vice President: Kwesi Sakyi, '18
Secretary: Claire Cushman, '18
Treasurer: Alicia Ramones, '17
Historian / Publicity: Kelsey Collins, '17

 I am also excited the share the National Honor Society board for 2016-2017:

President: Caitlin Keaveny
Vice-President: Chrissy Tosti
Secretary: Elizabeth Gleason
Treasurer: Annie Spielberger 
Community Service Coordinator: Olivia Francis-Anspach

It is time to get ready for elections for the 2016-2017 school year.  Please read and share the important information below:

Anyone student interested in running for a class officer or Student Council rep position should pick up a nomination packet from Ms. Twomey, Mr. McGann, Ms. Vargeletis, Mr. Wiczer, or the front office.  Nomination forms are due to Mr. Wiczer or the front office no later than 2pm on Friday, May 27th.

In addition, we are holding elections for the five-person School Committee Advisory Council.  This group, made up of five students, meets bi-monthly with the Ashland School Committe, sharing with them what's going on at the high school and offering opinions on policies that will directly affect students.  In addition, one student from this group will be elected to serve as the "Student Representative" to the School Committee, sitting at the table with the School Committee at all meetings and offering the student opinion on their discussions.  Any student interested in running should pick up a blue nomination form from Mr. Wiczer.  Nomination forms are due by Friday, May 27th.

State Senator Karen Spilka is creating a "Youth Advisory Council."  This group, made up of 2 students from each town that she represents, will meet once every other month with her at the State House, in Boston, to discuss matters related to teens. 

Goals of the Council:
  • Provide the students with an understanding of the legislative process and state government.
  • Maintain an active dialogue among the students, office advisors, and myself regarding current events and topics both on the state and federal level.
  • Identify legislative opportunities for student involvement.
  • Teach students about the State House and careers in government, for example, taking them on a tour of the building, having them attend committee hearings, and potentially plan a trip to another political institution in the district or a state agency.
  • Help students gain valuable skills by holding training sessions on topics such as leadership, public speaking, and/or media relations.

Requirements of Council Nominees:
  • Must be in their Junior or Senior year
  • Must be able to travel to the State House for meetings.
  • Must be a member of Senator Spilka's district 
  • Must have a strong interest in the political process and ideally plays an active role in his or her community and/or school.
Requirements of the Council as a whole:
  • Students must do their best to make all of the meetings. They will get out what they put into it, and we have many staff members working hard to create a meaningful opportunity for students.
  • Students should be aware the program ends in May. We will continue this Council in upcoming years and we want to give this opportunity to as many students as possible!
Any students interested in running for one of the two positions from Ashland should see Mr. Wiczer by Friday, May 27th.

On Thursday, May 19th, the Student Council will be running a "Voter Registration Drive" during lunch, for the November election.  All students who will be 18 or older by the election are encouraged to register to vote.  They should bring a photocopy of an ID that includes their address.   (Acceptable identifications include a valid driver's license or photo ID, a bank statement, a government check, or any other government-issued document that shows their name and address.)  Ms. Gallant is available to photocopy these in the library, for free, prior toThursday, May 19th.  All students who register to vote will get a cookie (and the satisfaction of performing their civic duty!)

Students who will be out-of-town for the November election are encouraged to request an absentee ballot from the Ashland Town Hall, in the fall.


The phrase I have heard most this past week is, “May is so busy!”. We’re almost there, folks! Five and a half weeks until school ends. We can make it if we do a couple small things each day to take care of ourselves.
  1. Make dinner easier. Grill, make pasta salads, or sandwiches. These can all be made quickly with healthy ingredients.
  2. Move your body every day. Exercise can boost endorphins, increase energy, and reduce anxiety. You don’t need to run 5 miles every day, just try to move your body for 20 minutes every day. Go for a walk after dinner or early in the morning, play soccer with your kids, dance in the kitchen, jump rope - do something you enjoy
  3. Teacher gifts do not need to be pinterest worthy.  Don’t stress yourself out making, or finding, the perfect gifts for teachers/coaches/instructors. What they really want is a heartfelt note from your child/family.
  4. Call a friend. Chatting and laughing with a friend can immediately make you feel less stressed.
  5. Relax for 20 minutes every day. Take a bath, do yoga, read a book, meditate, watch a tv show with your spouse or kids.
  6. Hug your kids.  Your kids are only this age, in this grade in school, once. Enjoy this time.

News from the AEFI:
Please join the AEFI at Samba next Thursday, 5/19, for our Samba AEFI Kickoff Event .  The Samba restaurant has kindly agreed to support the AEFI with 10% of all of our proceeds.  Samba has also generously agreed to provide the kickoff event attendees with an AEFI support card.  This card will benefit the AEFI with a continued 10% of proceeds on all future purchases.  The more attendees to the event, the more 10% support cards we will be provided to be used for all future purchases.  Looking for forward to seeing everyone!

Have a wonderful weekend! 

Friday, May 6, 2016

Week of 5/2/16

Good evening-

What a dreary week! I think we are all very ready for some nice weather.

It has been a wonderful week with our Chinese exchange students and I can not believe they head off on Sunday morning.  I am so grateful to the Ashland families who hosted and served as their families away from home for the week.  

We are also halfway through our AP exams.  Students seem to feel confident and prepared.  We are all so proud of them.  

After some work with our Student Information System company, I am happy announce I have opened up GPA's for viewing again.  

Senior Week information will be ready in the next few days.  It is getting so close!

Summer Send Off - Family Conversations for a Safe Prom & Grad Season

 All are welcome to attend this special Community Programming event. We especially encourage Ashland High School Juniors & Seniors and their parents/guardians to join us for an evening dedicated to celebrating safe choices during prom & senior week. The Middlesex County DA's office will present on Social Host Liability followed by an exciting performance by the Improbable Players!  

“I’ll Never Do That” Students & adults will both enjoy this original performance depicting the roller coaster of substance use. Witness mostly humorous, but also thought provoking scenes about a family torn apart by substance abuse - how they are all affected - and how they all deal with it.

As a part of this event will raffle the huge prizes listed below- all who attend get a ticket!

F R E E R A F F L E ! E X C I T I N G P R I Z E S ! 

1 prom ticket 
1 senior week ticket 
10 priority seating passes for graduation 
2 priority parking spaces at graduation 
1 free parking pass per term (2016-17 school year) 
1 VIP parking spot per term (2016-17 school year) 

There is no cost for the raffle. Attendance entitles you to a ticket. 

~Please check out information on this event and many other community events in our Parent's Flyer section!~

Parents today struggle to balance the benefits of modern technology with the risks. Children seem to be spending less and less time outdoors or interacting with friends and family, and more time interacting with their screens. Because online activities are so exciting it can be difficult to pull kids away for healthier activities. Over three hours per day of entertainment screen time is considered excessive, and is associated with depression, anxiety, social phobias, poor school performance, obesity, and sleep changes. Below are some tips to help your children unplug:

  1. Choose to start your day elsewhere. Start the day without screens (tv, phones, computers, tablets). This might help kids get out of the house in a smoother fashion and eat a healthier breakfast. If they have free time before school, encourage them do something active rather than sit in front of a screen. They will be sitting most of the day at school!
  2. 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. Entertainment screen time includes anything involving a screen that is not specifically related to work or academics.
  3. 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. Do not put tv’s in children’s bedrooms and have a place where all phones and tablets charge at night.  
  4. Make family meals tech free. This includes the parents! And includes meals at restaurants. Yes, it is convenient to let kids play on phones or tablets while waiting for your meal to be served, but this does not teach them patience. Instead chat about your day or an upcoming family event, color or bring a deck of cards and play a card game while you wait for your meal.   
  5. 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. Try to follow the rules above yourself.
A few Ashland residents are participating in the Pan-Mass Challenge as part of Team Elka STRONG, in memory of Elka Stokar Troutman.  They are having a fundraiser at Bertucci's on Tues, 5/10 . 15% of what you spend at Bertucci's on May 10th will go to Team Elka Strong Pan Mass Challenge.  The coupon is attached in the Parent Flyers.

AHS CAMPUS STORE - Mother's Day sale
Open Saturday, May7th @9:00 a.m
10% off everything in the store and special gift for our first customers of the morning! 
Enter through back doors of AHS. 

Cash, Checks and Credit Cards accepted.

ASHPAC Workshop - Tuesday, May 10th, 2016 at 7:00 PM,  AMS Activity Room

Parent Relaxation Tips and Techniques with Mary-Ellen Kramer, Certified Yoga Instructor and Reiki II Healer

ASHPAC Vice-Chair Mary-Ellen Kramer will be giving a free workshop about the use of gentle yoga postures, the Ayurvedic healing system and breathing techniques to help reduce stress, as well as the importance of taking care of yourself first. 

Please bring a yoga mat and wear comfortable clothing for this workshop.

WACA TV Film and Acting Workshop 2016
WACA TV would like to invite to participate in this summer’s film and acting workshop at our Community Media Center at 200 Butterfield Drive, Ashland.
The session will be the week of August 1 to 5 from 10am to 3pm with a ½ hour break for lunch. Please provide your own lunch. Participants should be between the ages of 13 to 15 years old. The maximum size of the class will be 12 with a minimum of at least 5 participants.
Film and Acting Workshop will focus on screenwriting, acting and filming a short screenplay. Attendees will learn how to write a screenplay as well as acting in and filming their screenplay. Please specify your what is your interest; performing in front of the camera as an actor or during the technical operations behind the camera. Every effort will be made to accommodate their interests.
You will receive a complimentary DVD as a keepsake of your experience at WACA - TV. Please allow a few weeks for post/production. You will be notified when they are ready to be picked up.
Cost for this week - long session will be $300.00. Please register by calling 508-881- 9222 or downloading the application from our website or Facebook page. Please return to Barbara Chisholm, c/o WACA TV, 200 Butterfield Drive, B1, Ashland, MA 01721
We look forward to offering you a fun and memorable experience this summer at WACA TV.
Please download your application here.

Here is a link to the film that last summer's attendees produced.

We wanted to make you aware of an exciting enrichment opportunity for your students this summer at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.  This year, we are hosting a Neuroscience and Mental Health Summer Internship Program.  We have attached a flyer with additional information and the application for you to provide to students that might be a good fit for the program.  More information can be found on our website:

This program is an opportunity for high school students to gain a short, but educational glimpse into different aspects of the medical field. Run by the Department of Psychiatry, students are exposed to varying aspects of mental health work. Individually assigned to a participating UMASS faculty advisor, the hope is that each student will be able to learn about the profession they eventually want to pursue. On a daily basis, each student will shadow his or her faculty advisor and several times a week, students will come together for organized workshops and guest speaker luncheons. Workshops are a way for students to learn about pressing issues to their age group.

This volunteer program is free for Massachusetts residents and runs five days a week, for a two week period in July. The official hours of the program are9:30am-4:30pm; however, the hours are subject to change depending on the schedule of the student’s assigned faculty advisor. Faculty advisors from past years include researchers and clinicians.  For questions or further information, please email one of our co-directors, Zlatina Kostova, Ph.D.,  All application materials including letters of recommendation should be emailed to Dr. Kostova by June 1st.