Thursday, March 29, 2018

March 29, 2018

Good afternoon & happy Thursday!

It was been a busy, short week and the highlight was the Will to Live presentation on Monday.  Students are still talking about John Trautwein's message today and sharing "Love Ya Man's" with each other.  We are grateful to all of the community groups that came together to sponsor a great day of learning for our students, faculty, coaches and parents.  John's message was just a part of the education around mental health we do with students over the course of the year.  Students in the Class of 2020 will receive the SOS (Signs of Suicide) curriculum that John mentioned during the first week of May.  Join us in encouraging your students and any young adults you talk to to See Something, Say Something and ACT (Acknowledge, Care, Tell) if they are concerned about a friend/peer.

Last night, Wednesday, the students who attended the South Africa trip over February vacation shared their amazing experience with School Committee.  It was inspiring to hear how much they learned about themselves while they completed service projects thousands of miles away.  What was even more impressive was hearing about how they will continue to give back to the local community as an extension of their learning.  I am a great believer in service learning and the true impact it has on students.  Check out this video which shares some of their experiences!

Sophomores finished their first round of MCAS today, completing the English/Language Arts exam.  They will do the MCAS Field Test from April 24-May 1 followed by the Math and Science MCAS tests later in May and June.  All 9th grade students enrolled in Biology Honors will also take the Science MCAS test this year.

I look forward to seeing many of you Monday night at Courageous Conversations: Can it Happen Here? This interactive community event will give us all a chance to talk about school safety.  The event is planned and coordinated by students and I am so impressed with their voices.

As a reminder, Term 3 will now end on Thursday, April 12.  Report cards will be released on Thursday, April 26.

Thursday, April 12 is also the rescheduled date for our Student Voice: Cross Community Collaboration.  Encourage your son or daughter to join the conversation and talk about how their voice is heard at Ashland High School with peers from Holliston, Mendon-Upton, and Millbury!

Friday, April 13 we have an Early Release Day.  The schedule will be modified with shortened periods and we will also build in a 20 minute homeroom.  Students will be asked to complete the Positive Community Norms Survey at that time.  Please see the attached letter for more
information about the survey.  This will be our 3rd administration of the survey and provides us with
valuable information about students perceptions of alcohol and drug use.  We use this data, along with data from the MetroWest Adolescent Health Survey to determine areas of focus for health education.

Enjoy the weekend, Happy Easter and Passover if you celebrate and be sure to check out the Parent Flyers .

Yearbook Ad Sales - Final Chance
Anyone can place an ad in the yearbook to commemorate one or multiple seniors. Just visit our page and you can quickly upload photos, add text, and post your ad in this year's yearbook. All ads must be placed by Sunday, April 1st to be in the book. Questions? Contact or Visit to place your order today!

Student Council News:
The Ashland High School Student Council would like to invite the entire Ashland community to our 10th annual Bingo night, held on Wednesday, April 11th 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 marker 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 MCd by high school teachers DJ Jost and Randa Istfan.  

Check out our commercial online at:

The freshman class is selling AHS sweatpants as a fundraiser. They will be talking preorders for $20 until next Wednesday, April 4.  Later they will be available for purchase in the cafeteria for $25. 

Thinking spring? 🌻🌸🌷 
The Class of 2019 is having a plant bulb fundraiser! 
Purchase plant bulbs through this link: !

The bulbs will be mailed to you and the Class of 2019 will receive a % of the proceeds! 

Ashland Raises Healthy & Happy Kids: Questions to Ask Your Kids After School Instead of, “How was your day?”
In his presentation to parents on Monday night, John Trautwein suggested that instead of asking your teens “How was your day?” after school (which usually elicits a grunt or, at best, a “fine” in response) ask them, ”What pissed you off today?”. I love that suggestion since it allows kids to get their anger or sadness or frustration out and it shows that we, as parents, know that school is not always “fine”. Below are some other good after school questions:

  1. What made you laugh today?
  2. Can you tell me an example of kindness you saw/showed?
  3. Was there an example of unkindness? How did you respond?
  4. What did you do that was creative?
  5. What was the best thing that happened today?
  6. Did you help anyone today?
  7. Did you tell anyone “thank you?”
  8. Who did you sit with at lunch?
  9. Did you learn something you didn’t understand?
  10. What was your least favorite part of the day?
  11. Tell me something you know today that you didn’t know yesterday.
  12. How did someone fill your bucket today? Whose bucket did you fill?
  13. Rate your day on a scale from 1-10.
  14. Tell us your top two things from the day.
  15. What are you looking forward to tomorrow?
  16. What was the hardest rule to follow today?
  17. If you could change one thing about your day, what would it be?
  18. What made your teacher smile? What made him/her frown?
  19. What made you feel happy?
  20. What made you feel proud?
  21. What made you feel loved?
  22. Did you learn any new words today?
  23. If you could switch seats with anyone in class, who would it be? And why?
  24. What is your least favorite part of the school building? And favorite?
  25. If you switched places with your teacher tomorrow, what would you teach the class?

Friday, March 23, 2018

March 23, 2018

Good evening-
Today was the 5-Town Special Olympics, one of my favorite days of the school year.  The joy and passion of the special athletes from Ashland, Holliston, Medfield, Medway, and Millis is infectious.  It was so great to watch them enjoy the soccer skills stations all morning and their thrilled faces when they received their medals.

And Monday, March 26 is going to be another very special day for Ashland Public Schools.  I am so excited to welcome John Trautwein, founder of the "Will to Live Foundation".  (Check out this PSA created by WACA!)  After following two local stories in the past week about the loss of young people to suicide I can't wait to listen to his message and talk more about how we can help young people realize they have life teammates all around them. Depression is something we need to talk about openly. 
John is a former Red Sox player who lost his son to suicide.  He will speak to Ashland High School students during the day as well as coaches, teachers, and other adults who work with students through athletics after school.  Please join us at the community presentation that evening and hear his powerful message.  See the Ashland Raises Healthy & Happy Kids post this week, it hits on his message! 

It's that time of year again. All members of the sophomore class will take the English MCAS on March 27-29.  It is important that students make their best effort to be here.  MCAS is a graduation requirement for all Massachusetts high school students and scores can lead to scholarship money for state colleges!
At the end of April, Ashland High School will begin to administer the MCAS Field test.  This test will be administered to all sophomores between April 24 and May 1.  Students will take the test during their regular English class and the following period as the test takes 150 minutes.
All members of the sophomore class will take the Math MCAS May 23-24.  The Biology test will be administered to all students currently taking Biology (Biology H, Biology CP2, & Applications of Biology 2) on June 6-7.  

Term 3 Pushed Back!
Because of the snow this March  we will move the end of term 3 back to April 12 (I was hesitant to pick a date until we saw what this past week would bring....but now I am hopeful!)  Therefore, Term 3 report cards will not be available until Thursday, April 26.

Don't forget to attend!
MetroWest College and Career Fair - Saturday, March 24 from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm in the Ashland High School Gymnasium.  This is a great event and opportunity for students to see many colleges as well talk to adults in careers that might be of interest.  

Save the Date: U.S. District Attorneys from Project Safe Childhood will be presenting to students in all grades on March 29th on the topic of Cyberbullying and Cybersafety. We are thrilled to have them come back to visit and present to AMS students on this important and challenging topic. I would encourage all parents to attend the community presentation at the AMS Theater at 6:30pm on March 29th. They use information gathered from student surveys to inform parents on current social media use as well as tips for parents to stay engaged and informed about evolving technologies that students are using. I hope to see you there! 

Enjoy the weekend and be sure to check out the Parent Flyers .

Ashland Raises Healthy & Happy Kids:
Six Ways to Stop the Mental Illness Stigma
Stigma is one of the most challenging aspects of living with a mental health condition. It causes people to feel ashamed for something that is out of their control and prevents many from seeking the help they need. Stigma is not something that will go away on its own, but if we work together as a community, we can change the way we perceive mental illness in our society.

  1. Talk openly about mental health.
  2. Educate yourself and others about mental health.
  3. Be conscious of your language. Try to not use word like psycho, lunatic or crazy when describing people.
  4. Encourage equality in how people perceive physical illness and mental illness. If someone is diagnosed with cancer, friends and neighbors bring meals and gifts. If someone is being treated for a mental illness, people tend to avoid them rather than support them.
  5. Push back against the way people who live with mental illness are portrayed in the media.

Friday, March 16, 2018

March 16, 2018

Good evening,

After another snowy week I am hoping next week brings some consistency.  (I am ignoring the forecast for Tuesday/Wednesday.)  Due to the snow days we have experienced the end date for Term 3 will be extended.  I will send out a firm date after we get past the potential weather next week.

On March 26 Ashland Public Schools, along with many other community organizations, is pleased to welcome John Trautwein, founder of the "Will to Live Foundation" as part of the ongoing POWER series.  Check out this PSA created by WACA!
John is a former Red Sox player who lost his son to suicide.  He will speak to Ashland High School students during the day as well as coaches, teachers, and other adults who work with students through athletics after school.  I encourage you to join us at the community presentation that evening and hear his powerful message. 

Please remember that if you ever hear or see something that concerns about say something.  Ashland Public Schools has an anonymous tip line for anyone, adult or student, who does not feel comfortable sharing information in person.  The safety of all members of our community is always our top priority so we encourage you to reach out to administration or counseling staff with any concerns.

MCAS: It's that time of year again. All members of the sophomore class will take the English MCAS on March 27-29.  It is important that students make their best effort to be here.  MCAS is a graduation requirement for all Massachusetts high school students and scores can lead to scholarship money for state colleges!

Interested in learning about Financial Literacy?

Research shows that most people make life-changing financial decisions before they turn 20 years old.  If you want to get an edge in making those decision – please join us for Smart Money 101 during one of your upcoming study halls.  Experienced financial professionals from the Town of Ashland are giving their time to teach you the tips, tricks and traps of finances.  Come to as many or as few classes as you can.   

Where:  AHS library

WhenMarch 26April 5 or March 29April 10 during G block study

Field Trip:  Students that attend two or more classes will be eligible to attend a free field trip to the Consequences section of the course at the Worcester Bankruptcy Court on April 25th.

How do I sign up?:  Please contact Lauren Carreiro with the dates you can attend.

Is there homework?:  Materials will be provided and there is NO homework.

Thank you –
The Ashland Smart Money Team

Class of 2019 Fundraiser!
Need a new book after all of the reading you have been doing during the snow days? You're in luck! 
The Class of 2019 is having a Book Fair this Saturday, March 17th at Barnes and Noble in Shopper's World in Framingham! Use the code 12343737 in store all day on Saturday or online from March 17th- 21st and a portion of your purchase will be donated to the class of 2019! 
There is also a Spring Author Festival happening at Barnes and Noble from 12- 4 on Saturday and 
the class officers will be running a make your own bookmark table if you are interested in attending that event as well: 

News from StuCo/Amnesty:
On Monday, March 19th and Tuesday, March 20th, during all three lunches, members of the Amnesty International Club and the Student Council will be selling bracelets to support the victim's fund for students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.  The bracelets are $5 each and all of the proceeds go directly to students at that school.  For more information regarding this effort, check out:

Enjoy the weekend and be sure to check out the Parent Flyers .

Ashland Raises Healthy & Happy Kids:
In her book iGen, Jean Twenge, PhD describes today’s kids as “less rebellious, more tolerant, less happy and completely unprepared for adulthood”. Each chapter of her book theorizes on the “why” of this, backed up by research comparing the current generation with past generations. Since every child currently in the Ashland schools is part of this generation, a few weeks of this column will cover each of Twenge’s chapters which she cleverly titles beginning with the letter “i”. These will be very general, broad overviews. I encourage you to read the book for more in-depth information.
Insecure: The New Mental Health Crisis
Although today’s teens stay in close touch with their friends via text, snapchat and other social media, they are lonelier than they were just five years ago. Technology can connect people but it can also show up-to-the-minute what they are missing out on. Kids are feeling left-out which then leads to feelings of loneliness. This loneliness can lead to depression. The number of teens who agreed with the phrase, “I feel like I can’t do anything right”, has skyrocketed since 2011. Social media might play a role in these feelings of inadequacy: many people only post their successes online so teens don’t realize that their friends fail at things too.
Rates of depression and anxiety have increased in high school and college students over the past five years. Could this be because more students are seeking help and talking about their mental health? Maybe. Could smartphones also be contributing to this? Maybe. It is fairly clear that texting and social media can cause heightened anxiety and insecurity in teens - wondering why someone did not answer a text or why they did not get “likes’ from certain people on Instagram; trying to take the “perfect” selfie to post. Anxiety can be a precursor to depression. Depression can lead to self-harm, eating disorders and suicide - all of which have increased in recent years.
Smart phone use is also likely contributing to teens getting less sleep than ever before.Teens admit that they are up until 2 or 3 am on their phones, hiding under their covers so their parents do not know.  Fifty seven percent more teens were sleep-deprived in 2015 than in 1991. Sleep deprivation is linked to compromised thinking and reasoning, weight gain, high blood pressure, susceptibility to illness and depression and anxiety. It’s not just new moms or people who work 10-12 hours per day who are walking around sleep-deprived these days, it’s our children.
What can we, as parents, do?
It’s becoming fairly clear - encourage your children to put down their phones and do something else. Talk about the posts they see on social media, have discussions about how these posts make them feel. Encourage your children to talk about their feelings with a trusted adult. And, it bears repeating, do not allow your teens to keep their phones in their bedroom at night.
This sentence is a good summary: Like the ducks they imitate in their selfies, iGen’ers are calm and composed on the surface but paddling madly underneath.

Friday, March 9, 2018

March 9, 2018

Good afternoon-

I hope all is well in Ashland. I am sure the lack of power has been a challenge for many.  Let's hope for a few days of quiet before the next potential storm.

Student Course Selection:
The iParent course approval window will close this weekend.  This is parents last chance to approve student choices.  They will be pushed through to the guidance department on Monday and we will start the process of planning the schedule for the 2018-2019 school year.  
Please don't hesitate to reach out to your students guidance counselor or administrator with any questions!

Bus Registration:
The 2018-19 Bus Registrations have been mailed home.  Please register your student(s) by the May 1st deadline to take advantage of the discounted bus fee.  This year we are happy to introduce online payment options.  Please see the information attached for forms and payment information.
2018-2019 Registration Letter
2018-2019 Registration Form
2018-2019 Registration Letter- Spanish
2018-2019 Registration Form- Spanish
2018-2019 Registration Letter- Portuguese
2018-2019 Registration Form- Portuguese

The student run Courageous Conversations: Can It Happen Here? has been rescheduled to Monday, April 2 at 7pm in the AHS cafeteria.  Join students, school staff, and others from the community to discuss school safety and the role we all play in prevention.

A message regarding Spring Sports:
Spring Sports is quickly approaching.  We will hold our annual Spring Sports Meeting  on  Monday, March 12 at 7:00pm in the High School Auditorium for all student-athletes and their parents/guardians.  This meeting is mandatory for anyone who would like to participate in Spring Athletics at the High School and Middle School.  

The Spring Registration Portal will open for all High School and Middle School sports on Friday February 16th at noon.  To register go to or click on the following link The registration portal will close on Friday March 16th.

High School Spring Sports will start on Monday March 19th and Middle School Spring Sports on Monday April 2nd.

If you have any questions please email Mr. Grimes at

On March 26 Ashland Public Schools, along with many other community organizations, is pleased to welcome John Trautwein, founder of the "Will to Live Foundation" as part of the ongoing POWER series.
John will speak to Ashland High School students during the day as well as coaches, teachers, and other adults who work with students through athletics after school.  I encourage you to join us at the community presentation that evening and hear his powerful message. 

I shared the link below a few weeks ago:

3. Former Red Sox reliever John Trautwein has devoted his life to the “Will to Live Foundation” that he founded after his son Will, then 15 years old and a freshman at Northview High School in Johns Creek, Ga., committed suicide in 2010. Trautwein is a compelling speaker who began the foundation in his mind and made it a reality when giving his son’s eulogy. Trautwein decided then and there he was going to help kids from taking the same tragic path as Will, who was by all accounts a well-adjusted kid who was great at sports and music and had numerous friends. Trautwein will be speaking at Ashland High School and Ashland Middle School on March 26.

Red Cross Blood Drive in Support of Jake on April 4th, 2 - 7 pm at AHS
Join the entire APS community in supporting Jake Silver, grade 12, who is fighting hard against cancer every day!
-Students can sign-up in school at all three lunches starting this week.  
 Note: you must be 17 years old to donate or 16 years old with written parental consentThe consent form MUST be dated the day of the drive.  

-Adults can sign-up at Enter Sponsor Code: AshlandHS
Local College Fair:
I'm Adam Chapman with the Woburn SEPAC. I wanted to reach out and let you know that our annual College Fair will be on Wednesday, March 28, 2018 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Our fair is unique in that it's geared towards students with learning differences (although all students are welcome to attend). Our goal is to inform these students about the options and resources available to them after high school. We have a wide range of colleges and universities from around New England that feature programs and supports for students who learn differently, and this year we're broadened our scope with two non-college, post-grad opportunities: AANE's LifeMAP program and the Northeast ARC.

The full list of presenters can be found here:

Friday, March 2, 2018

March 2, 2018

Good afternoon-

It's a wet and windy afternoon but I am excited to say the "show will go on" at Ashland High School.  The AHSTS presentation of Pippin starts tonight and plays all weekend.  I hope you get an opportunity to see these amazing performers.  AHSTS offers online sales up to two hours before show time. AHSTS discounts tickets purchased online (Adults: $11.99, Students and AHSTS Alumni $8.99), Patrons may buy tickets at the door at full price. (Adults: $15, Students and AHSTS Alumni $10) Visit to purchase tickets.

Over the course of the week there have been many student discussions about the proposed student walk-out's planned for the March 14, the one month anniversary of the shooting at Stoneman Douglass High School.  I encourage you to review today's letter from the Superintendent and to reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns.  We are working with students to make sure all students feel safe and respected and that any actions students may take are handled in a responsible manner.

We are getting ready to offer a great personal finance course to students.  Please take a look and encourage your student to consider it!

Red Cross Blood Drive in Support of Jake on April 4th, 2 - 7 pm at AHS
Ashland High School is honored to be a part of the team in supporting Jake by hosting a blood drive.  Please consider donating or offering your help in other ways if you are unable to do so.  
-Students can sign-up at school, more information to come on how to sign-up (Note: you must be 17 years old to donate or 16 years old with written parental consent.)
-Adults can sign-up at Enter Sponsor Code: AshlandHS

Student Course Selection:
The iParent course approval (directions linked here) window is open and will remain open until Friday, March 9th for all 9-11th grade students.  Parents are asked to please approve their student's selections at this time.  The portal for current grade 8 students will open on March 9.
Please don't hesitate to reach out to your students guidance counselor or administrator with any questions!

Dear AHS Families and Students,
We'd like everyone to know that the annual "MetroWest College and Career Fair" will be held on Saturday, March 24th, from 9 am until 12:30 pm here at AHS!  Sponsored by the Ashland Education Foundation and the Ashland PTO, this is a rare local opportunity to visit with representatives from over 100 colleges, college placement experts, and representatives from a wide spectrum of professional level occupations in one setting!
Check out their website to learn exactly what colleges, college experts, and occupations will be represented by visiting  Hover over the tab titled "Students & Parents" for an up-to-date listing of colleges, occupations, and speakers in attendance.
The guidance staff at AHS wishes 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 of this event).  Having all of these reasources 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 Education Foundation and the Ashland PTO by attending this wonderful opportunity for our high school students!
The AHS Guidance Staff

Junior Prom tickets will be on sale for $80 at lunch next week, March 5th- 9th. They can be purchased with cash or a check made out to AHS Student Activities. Dues must be paid before a ticket can be purchased. Contact the 2019 class adviser Ms. Kulik with any questions, 

Registration is officially open for the 2nd annual "Ashland Color Splash Run" (our take on a "Color Run"), organized by the PTO, AHS Make-a-Wish Club, and AHS Student Council.   This family-friendly event will be held on Sunday, April 29th at 10am at Ashland High School.  We had 300 participants last year and are hoping to have even more this year!

There are two events -- the full "Color Splash Run" (which will involve a 2-mile course) and a smaller "Kids Color Splash Run" (which will involve up to 4 laps around a track.)  The "Color Splash Run" costs $25 per participant, and the "Kids' Color Splash Run" costs $15 per participant.  Registration prior to April 13th will include a race t-shirt.

For more information and to register, visit:

And check-out our promotional video:

We are also looking for businesses and organizations interested in helping to "sponsor" the event.  Any business or organization that donates $100 or more will get their logo on the back of the race t-shirt.  Please contact Josh Wiczer ( if you're interested in helping us out while promoting your company.

The PTO's annual Disney Raffle is back!  $10 enters you to win $5000 worth of Disney gift cards, good at any Disney property, including Disney Cruise Lines. Tickets can be purchased online at 
Drawing will be held at the 3rd Annual Clocker Classic on March 21st at Ashland High School.  Come cheer your teachers as they battle it out on the basketball court to see who will bring home the coveted trophy!  Teams to be announced soon!

Dear High-Schooler,

In its 8th year, Harvard's Youth Lead the Change program for high schoolers (rising 9th to 12th graders) will run for five days from August 27-31, 2018 and will be held on Harvard's campus. Youth Lead the Change is a leadership program led by a team of Harvard undergraduates that seeks to provide high school kids with tangible leadership skills and empower them to be leaders in their communities. The program features guest speakers who are foremost leaders in their fields as well as numerous projects and modules to hone strong leadership skills. More information about the program can be found at The application deadline is  May 1st.

If you are interested, you can apply here! If you have previously attended a YLC conference and would like to become a Junior Counselor, please apply here.

The program costs $200 for the five days and this fee includes lunch every day as well as all other materials provided throughout the program. Financial aid is available and we are need blind in our application decisions.  The financial aid application can be found here

Please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions! I can be reached over email at

Enjoy the afternoon and be sure to check out the Parent Flyers .

Ashland Raises Healthy & Happy Kids:
This week is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses therefore prevention and recognition are vitally important.
Five Ways to Promote a Positive Body Image in Children
  1. Focus on health, not weight. Concentrate on delicious nutrition and fun physical activity, rather than the number on the scale or the size on the clothing tags.
  2. Compliment kids on what they do, not how they look.
  3. Myth-Bust the "Perfect Body". Help your child become a savvy media critic by talking about what they see on television, in magazines and online. Help them understand that the pictures of models they see in ads and on social media may have been retouched or otherwise manipulated to appear "perfect”.
  4. Discuss your child's struggles as they arise. Fight your knee-jerk reaction to immediately comfort your child and dismiss their concerns with comments such as, “No honey you're perfect”. Instead, respond with open-ended questions such as, “help me understand that comment” or “that surprises me, can you tell me more” in order to begin a dialogue about their concerns.
  5. Be aware of how you talk about your own body. If you are criticizing your body or others, expect that your children will mirror this thinking. You are the first window through which they view the world.