Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Week of 12/19/16 - 12/30/16

Good morning-

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend and enjoyed time with family and friends.  I delayed sending my weekly email thinking no one was going to be reading anything from the school on the afternoon of 12/23.  :)   The main office will be closed this week as we all take a few days off.  

Our AHS winner!
Fans showing their support

We had two wonderful singing events last week that helped to kick off the holiday spirit.  The choruses from AHS and Mindess performed last Tuesday night and on Thursday we enjoyed several of AHS's best and brightest singers competing in the 3rd annual Clocker Idol.  Both events were well attended and enjoyed by all.  I have included some pictures from our Clocker Idol event.
Last year's winner performs

Recently, I had the pleasure of joining several community organizations for a training/kick-off off Ashland's Community-Wide Inter-generational Leadership Teams. 
Click here to read a post about the three communities that have kicked off their Teams. (Including Ashland, of course!)  We are looking forward to working on these projects!
If you think your student would be interested in helping with this great Inter-generational Project email me at kstcoeur@ashland.k12.ma.us for more information.

Second term/first semester ends on January 20, 2017, just a few short weeks after we return from break.  Exams for all AHS students are scheduled the week of January 17-20 (no school on January 16).  Here is the link to the Exam Schedule.
Students only have to attend when they have an exam scheduled.  Please note the first test session does not start until 8:30am.  We will have Stress Buster activities happening around school from 7:30-8:20am.  Stay tuned for more information.  

I hope you enjoy the week and look forward to seeing you all in 2017!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Week of 12/12/16

Good afternoon and happy cold Friday!

With one week to go before the winter break student energy continues to be high. Student Council is excited for the fun they have planned for the week.   Friday, December 23rd is "Sweater Day". Students are encouraged to wear a sweater to school -- an "ugly sweater", their favorite sweater, any sort of sweater -- as we celebrate the last day of school before winter break.  We'll be playing Name that Tune at lunch to gear up for Ashland Idol (see commercial below!).

Once we are back from winter break we will quickly approach mid-term exams.  Exams take place the week following the MLK holiday.  Please note that tests do not begin until 8:30am.  We will once again hold our Stress-Busters Mornings for any students that take the bus or want to come early to decompress before their exam.  Our last stress busters included mediation, open gym, coloring mandalas, and much more.  We hope to offer many similar great opportunities for students to unwind and relax before exams each day.

I have attached the exam schedule here.
Mid-year exam schedule

News from the Library

Thanks to the generosity of the Ashland High band community, we now have 25 new books for the AHS library!  These were our "wish list" items displayed at Barnes and Noble during the band's performance of "Polar Express"  on December 2nd.

Purchasing and donating them during the in-store book fair meant they benefitted AHS twice, since a portion of their cost was returned to the band by Barnes and Noble.  We would like to thank those who donated for their kindness.

Please see the photo for the 25 new titles we now own!
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National Honor Society News

This year the National Honor Society has already raised over $4000 for HomeBase Veteran and Family Care.  These funds were collected through bakes sales at Ashland Day and Parent's Night, flag sales, lollipop sales, donations collected at the Thanksgiving football game and a gift-wrapping event at Barnes and Noble.  HomeBase is a program which provides treatment and support to veterans and 9/11 first responders suffering from the "invisible wounds of war" such as PTSD.  It is sponsored by the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital.  

The NHS Talent Show is scheduled for Friday, March 10, 2017, so be sure to save the date and join us to see our singers, dancers, and amazing musicians and help us reach our goal of raising $5000 for HomeBase.  

The Ashland Business Association member businesses are looking for student interns! We are expanding our Reverse Social Media internship to all for all kinds of If your son/daughter is interested in learning more about a local business and getting some experience encourage them to reach out to Mrs. St. Coeur to get more information. Internships are great way to explore the world of work and future choices as well as an opportunity for students to give back their community!

The Clocker Idol - Year 3
On Thursday, December 22nd, the Ashland High School Student Council will be presenting the third year of "The Clocker Idol" (our version of American Idol) at 7pm in the high school auditorium (65 E. Union St.).  Admission is $5/person and the entire community is invited to watch the show and help vote on who the next "Clocker Idol" will be.

Check out our promotional video online at: https://youtu.be/u2uL9UejK-Q

The ELL teachers in the Ashland Public Schools are pleased to offer FREE ENGLISH CLASSES to the parents and family members of the students in the Ashland school community.

Classes will begin the week of January 23, 2017 and go through the week of April 3, 2017.  Classes will take place at the Ashland Middle School from 7:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m.  Babysitting for younger siblings will be provided if needed.

FLASH SALE at the AHS CAMPUS STORE tomorrow, December 17th from 10:30a.m to 2:30p.m (enter through back of building)
**10% off your total purchase (excludes varsity letter jackets)
**FREE gift wrapping with purchase while you wait.
**BOGO 1/2 off second item on "select" items
Avoid the crowds and shop with us knowing that every dollar spent at the AHS Campus Store goes back into funding for our student athletes! The shelves are stocked with a lot of new never before seen merchandise! There really is something for everyone ranging from drinkware, blankets and umbrellas to hoodies, fleeve vests and jackets, knit hats and gloives to pj pants, sweatpants etc (kid sizes are in stock)!

Commonwealth Commitment:

Governor Baker has a message for graduating high school seniors and their families: The state will help them save an average of 40 percent off the cost of a traditional bachelor’s degree if students can attend college full-time and graduate within four and a half years. Through the Commonwealth Commitmentstudents start at one of Massachusetts’ 15 community colleges, then transfer to a state university or UMass campus and continue full time. Students who enroll receive a 10 percent per-semester rebate, a tuition credit worth an average of $1,200, and a freeze on mandatory fees — leading to an associate degree and a bachelor’s degree at an average cost of $28,618 before financial aid. Help spread the word!

Plese see the Parent Flyers for information about what's happening around town,

Ashland Raises Healthy & Happy Kids
Subtle Signs of Depression
Depression rates can increase in the winter and even around “happy” holidays. Please be aware of the subtle signs of depression in yourself and those you love.
  1. Your mind seems muddled - This can include a kind of “slowness of thinking”, forgetfulness and difficulty making decisions.
  2. You worry too much and think too much - The clinical name for excessive worry and over-thinking life situations or events is called “rumination.” Rumination can increase the chance of becoming depressed and make episodes of depression last longer. With rumination, people get caught in a loop of replaying negative situations, looking at neutral situations in a negative way, or over-analyzing things.
  3. Your weight changed - Some people with depression may eat too much. Others may lose interest in eating.
  4. You are not engaged or expressive - People with depression often “pull back” from friends and family. Their affect can also become “flat”, or blunted, showing a decrease in emotional expression.
  5. You physically hurt - Depression can lead to physical symptoms such as headaches, digestive problems and back pain.
If you are concerned about any of these symptoms in yourself or loved ones, please see your physician and/or a professional therapist. You can also contact your child’s guidance counselor if you are concerned your child might be showing signs of depression.  

Friday, December 9, 2016

Week of 12/5/16

Good afternoon-

As we get closer to the winter break the energy in the school continues to build.  We've seen a lot of holiday sweaters and gift swapping already.  I'd like to take this opportunity to remind this community that if you know anyone that needs assistance at this time of the year, which can be very difficult for some, please reach out to me or our Adjustment Counselor, Jen Shiels.  The holidays can be a very challenging time for some of our students and AHS is committed to assisting and supporting everyone in our community.

Next week marks the fourth anniversary of the Sandy Hook tragedy.  Our regular School Site Council meeting is scheduled for that afternoon, December 14, at 4pm in the main office conference room. We will be reviewing school safety protocols and expectations and plan to have a parent information session on this information in the future.  This video was shared with my by a few people, and if you are on Facebook you may have seen it, but I thought it was worth sharing here.  It's a sombering reminder of how important it is for us as educators and community members to always keep an eye open for students that may need support.   December 14 is always a powerful reminder of that for me.  

Have a wonderful weekend and as always please be sure to read on exciting news from AHS and around the community and check out the Parent Flyers.  

Clocker Idol - Year Three

The Student Council will present the third year of "The Clocker Idol", on Thursday, December 22nd at 7pm in the Ruthfield auditorium.  Come watch our version of "American Idol" and help choose the next Clocker Idol.  Admission is $5.

Participants include: Haley Boccuzzi, Allen Brodskiy, Julia Caruso, Adrianna Fawkes, Anne Fejer, Emilia Fonseca, Melina Karpouzis, and Kiara Leak.  The judges for the evening will be Ms. Cardin, Mr. Rabinowitz, Ms. Reap, Ms. St. Coeur, and Ms. Twomey.  The evening will be MCd by Emily Finnegan and Peter Saxionis, the winners of the first two "Clocker Idol" competitions.

Check out our commercial online at:

Pure Hearts Toy Drive-  Please read below and refer to the flyer's in the Parent Flyer's section.
Why 110?  Because 1 in 110 children are born with a congenital heart defect.
Why Dec. 16th?  As it turns out, one of our preschoolers who attends Ashland Preschool is celebrating her 5yr. anniversary of open heart surgery.

Her name is Kaia Johnson and her family will be hosting a toy drive for the children at Children's Hospital.  They are so grateful for the wonderful care Kaia received, they want to pay it forward so other children will benefit as well.  Please read the attachment about Pure Hearts to learn more about Kaia's amazing story.
The other two attachments will give you more information about the toy drive and some suggestions of toys for different age groups.  Please read the guidelines toy donations. Toys can be dropped by the AHS (or any school's) main office.  

These are the guidelines:
*No used toys (due to infection control guidelines,as they could be harmful to the children, this includes used stuffed animals)
*No small toys a child might choke on
*No homemade cloth toys
*Please do not wrap donations
*Other unacceptable items include food and used computers

Thank you in advance for helping to support this wonderful cause!

Lights, Camera, Communicate is a four-part series that features fun and engaging activities designed to improve communication skills and encourage students to let their personalities shine on camera. Participants develop all of the elements of a live talk show so they can provide fun and interesting commentary as they step into their role as Show Host. Kids pick their co-hosts, guests and how the show looks, sounds and feels.  Students have a blast expressing their passions and ideas while learning how to engage with an audience by mastering the art of storytelling. By participating in this program, students build confidence while presenting themselves, learn essential interview skills and  practice persuasive skills to support their opinions.

This program will take place over February vacation and there is a 12 student limit to sign up. Fee is $160 per student, To register, please visit MindsetGo/ashlandcommunityed

College Prep: How to Differentiate Yourself

Colleges and employers expect applicants to articulate the knowledge and skills they have acquired inside and outside the classroom. Without the ability to clearly and powerfully convey what sets them apart, a student’s personal story and unique qualities become less impactful and marketable. Our training methods help participants to feel empowered with both a growth mindset and the newfound skills to confidently engage face-to-face. Through four interactive and fun programs, kids discover and successfully communicate their most persuasive selling points.

This program will take place Saturday January 21st and 28th from 3-7 pm at Ashland High School.   Fee is $199 per student, To register, please visit MindsetGo/ashlandcommunityed

Ashland Raises Happy & Healthy Kids:
Family Board Games
As you are shopping for holiday or birthday gifts, consider getting a fun, family board game. There are benefits of playing board games for people of all ages:
  • Engage in activities that do not involve staring at a computer screen or a smartphone.
  • Exercise your brain by learning something new.
  • Improve your memory by keeping track of what is happening in the game.
  • Revive your creativity and problem solving skills.
  • Spend time with family and friends.

Below are some fun, less well-known, family games:
  • Monopoly Empire
  • Skip-Bo (card game)
  • Pandemic
  • Bubble Talk
  • Telestrations
  • Over Under
  • Ticket to Ride - European Edition
  • 7 Wonders
  • Cranium
  • Hoopla
  • Phase 10 (card game)
  • Sleeping Queens (card game)
  • Tri-ominos

Friday, December 2, 2016

Week of 11/28/16

Good afternoon and Happy December!

Each year updated school and district report cards, including assessment data and other indicators, are available on Massachusetts ESE's School and District Profiles website. Below you will find an explanatory letter, a report card overview, as well as the complete Ashland High School report card.  We are extremely proud of the success our students have demonstrated on MCAS.  Please don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions. 

AHS Report Card Introduction Letter 

AHS School Report Card Overview

AHS Complete Report Card

Please join the AHS band and NHS at Barnes and Noble tonight!

Looking for a way to do good this holiday season?  Come to Barnes and Noble, Framingham tonight and you can help three AHS groups at once!

The band is presenting its annual "Polar Express" reading and concert at 6:30 p.m.  This is a great family event and fun for both kids and "kids at heart."As part of this event, the band will also be hosting an in-store bookfair, wherein a percent of your purchase will go toward the band. 

There will also be a "wish list" table with books requested by students that you can purchase and donate to the AHS library.  If you do this, be sure to write your name on a donation label that will be placed in the book by the cashier, so that we may thank you for your donation.  (This is a two-fer -- you are donating a book to the library, and a potion of the sale still goes back to the band!).

Lastly, members of the National Honor Society will be at the store from 5 - 9 p.m. to wrap purchases and collect donations for HomeBase Program for Veterans and Families, their designated charity for 2016-2017.  Help them reach their goal of raising $5000 for HomeBase, which provides treatment and support for veterans and 9/11 first responders suffering from the invisible wounds of war.  

Mr. McGowan, our Robotics Club adviser, just shared this album of pictures from the Robot Rodeo. It was a great day with lots of hands on learning.
Robot Rodeo photo album

If your son or daughter is interested in mentoring a younger student and helping them build their reading skills check out this flyer.
Mindess Reading Buddies

Dear All Students and Parents Grades 9-12,

This is a reminder that AHS is sponsoring a "Health Careers Night" on Tuesday, December 6th at 7 pm in the Ruthfield Auditorium.  AHS students and parents will learn from community members about a wide variety of rewarding careers in the health care field.  Panelists include nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy, physicians assistant, and nutrition will share their path to their career, what they love about it and what their day to day responsibilities are.  We hope to see you there!

The AHS Guidance Staff

We are very excited to once again welcome exchange students from China!  We are in the process of looking for host families who are willing to house a student from January 29-February 18.  Please check out the attached flyer.  We hope to hold an information session on December 7 at 6pm in the AHS library.  Please email me if you are interested at kstcoeur@ashland.k12.ma.us .

Make sure you check out our Parent Flyer's for more information about what's going on around town.

Ashland Raises Healthy & Happy Kids:
Five Quick Ways to Reduce Stress
Everyone has moments of stress or worry, even children as young as preschool age. Below are five easy “in the moment” ways for you and your child to cope with a stressful situation.

  1. Take a deep breath: Sit up straight, eyes closed, with a hand on your belly. Slowly inhale through your nose, feeling the breath start in your abdomen and work its way to the top of your head. Reverse the process as you exhale through your mouth.
  2. Listen to Music: Research shows that listening to soothing music can lower blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety.
  3. Get moving:  All forms of exercise, including yoga and walking, can ease depression and anxiety by helping the brain release feel-good chemicals.
  4. Do a Full Body Stretch: Stand up, raise your hands over your head, and stretch your body while you take slow, deep breaths.
  5. Be Grateful: Thinking about, or saying out loud, one or two things you are grateful for can cancel out negative thoughts and worries.

Ashland Community Education has an innovative and interactive program called Use Empathy to Understand presented by MindsetGo.  This two hour participatory program will provide strategies, skills and ideas so you can better connect, relate and engage with your kids. Empathic communication and listening are key to building stronger relationships with your kids and to encourage them to share what is going on in their lives.

The program will be on Wednesday night December 7th from 7-9 at the Ashland Middle School Library. We have attached a flyer with more details but you can sign up at Parenting Skills for Life.

A message from the Framingham Public Library:
Thinking Money is a museum-quality traveling exhibition that is traveling to 50 U.S. public libraries between 2016 and 2018. It is aimed at middle/high schoolers and their parents, as well as at caregivers and educators. Framingham Public Library will be hosting it from December 13, 2016 through January 18, 2017. Through an adventure-themed story-line, interactive iPad content and other fun, hands-on activities, the exhibition explores the following themes:

  • Wants vs. needs
  • Earning and paying interest
  • Preparing for rainy/sunny day
  • Imagining your future self
  • Avoiding financial fraud
  • Thinking money
We'll also be hosting a series of programs running concurrently with the exhibit. These will feature a grand opening with a tour and game of Financial Jeopardy, a workshop on getting your first job, a workshop on how credit and debt work, and Shopping Spree Games, with taste tests, a competition to see who can spend their money the best, and more.

More information on the exhibit and the programs can be found at this link: http://www.framinghamlibrary.org/kids-teens/teens/thinking-money/