All Around APS

News from the Andover Public Schools - January 20, 2023

APS Pride

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Happy Chinese & Lunar New Year!

Students and staff at West Elementary School were treated to a presentation and music from families who celebrate Lunar New Year. West Elementary parent Jing Lu generously shares the traditions each year with the school community as an educational way to highlight the celebration. Lu’s two children, Bowen (grade 5) and Xiwen (grade 2), are students at West Elementary. Lu began doing these presentations when her son, Bowen, was in kindergarten.

Chinese New Year begins on January 22, 2023 and continues for 15 days. Each new year is named after an animal from the Zodiac story; this year is the Year of the Rabbit. Also known as the “Spring Festival,” the holiday marks the end of the coldest days. In some countries, like South Korea and Vietnam, it is called the Lunar New Year. To learn more about how Chinese New Year is celebrated, students and staff were treated to a traditional Guzheng performance and sing along and watched this video on the history and traditions.

This year, with the support of Principal Jennifer Hunt, ESL teacher Nicole Hayes, and the West Elementary Chinese American community, the entire school enjoyed the celebration. Students were an important part of the performance, carrying on the traditions of the holiday!

Grade 5: Bowen Niu, Jonathan Gu, Ethan Tat, and Evalyn Lee

Grade 4: Hannah Fan

Grade 3: Jennifer Zhu

Grade 2: Entian Lee, Kaitlyn Tat, Jack Zou, Emma Zhao, Xiwen Niu, Callie Tat

Grade 1: Grace Gao, Ryan Gan, Rongyi Wang, Jennifer Zhang, Alice Lin

Kindergarten: Ethan Zhao, Ethan Huang

Enjoy the New Year!

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Project 351 kicks off year-long initiative with APS Middle School Students

Wood Hill Middle School eighth grader, Nathan Ramani, began his year-long commitment last weekend at the kick-off event as a Project 351 Ambassador! This is the first year Project 351 has accepted more than one student from each Massachusetts school district, and Nathan joins Doherty Middle School student Olivia Wright in representing Andover Public Schools.

Nathan was nominated by his Social Studies teacher, Julian DiGloria. Mr. DiGloria describes Nathan as a student who demonstrated kindness and humility in his daily interactions and adds that Nathan’s approach to class discussions is always one of compassion and thoughtfulness. We are proud of Nathan and know that he will be a leader this year at Project 351 and contribute to the mission of service to others.

Project 351 is an organization that builds movement of youth-led service by engaging students in leadership within their communities.

AHS’ “Golden Eagle” Recipient – Eliud Felix

Congratulations to IT Technical Specialist Eliud Felix who received Andover High School’s “Golden Eagle” award this month. Mr. Felix supports our educators, particularly at the high school, with technical help and serves as the coach of the AHS e-Sports teams.

Principal Caitlin Brown started the “Golden Eagle” monthly award last year as a way to acknowledge staff at AHS. Any staff member at AHS can be nominated, all that’s needed is a positive attitude and a willingness to support students and staff.

Mr. Felix was chosen by Lincoln Stevens, Special Education Instructional Assistant at AHS, who was last month’s recipient of the Golden Eagle. In an effort to pay it forward, Mr. Stevens nominated Eliud for his good spirits, diligent work, and consistent willingness to help solve any problems.

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West Elementary announces recipients of the Elizabeth Roos Staff Development Grant

Established in 2019 by West Elementary parents Greg and Ellen Sebasky, the Elizabeth Roos Development Fund recognizes the leadership of the staff at West El and provides continuous learning in the field of elementary education. Mrs. Roos was a 34-year principal at West El and created an environment for staff to explore and develop their practice.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this is the first year the grant will be implemented with four staff members able to travel and attend professional learning conferences. Due to the generosity of the grant, West El Literary Coach Jennifer Sands and grade 5 teacher Alia Mohammed will attend the CCIRA Literary Conference in Denver this February. Grade 4 teacher Debbie Powers and grade 3 teacher Katey Shockro will attend a conference on “Empowering a Community of Engaged Learners by Amplifying Creativity and Student Voice” in Austin in March.

We know the experiences at these professional development conferences will be valuable to the West El community!

Photo left to right: Debbie Powers, Katey Shockro, Alia Mohammed, Jennifer Sands

Doherty Middle School Leela Bakshi earns prestigious Seal of Biliteracy

Congratulations to Doherty Middle School Spanish teacher, Leela Bakshi, who has earned the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s (DESE’s) Global Seal of Biliteracy in Spanish and English. Ms. Bakshi is now a certified test-rater for students who are studying to earn their seal. The training for this certification is rigorous, involving hours of individual worktime and training to complete. Ms. Bakshi is the first World Language teacher at Andover Public Schools to earn this achievement.

Photo: Ms. Bakshi with Doherty 8th graders Maya Goyal and Caitlin Quinn

From the Desk of Dr. Parvey

Dear APS families and staff,

It is an honor to serve the community as superintendent of Andover Public Schools. At the January 19, 2023 meeting, the School Committee and I reached a successor contract agreement, extending my tenure at APS until 2029. I am appreciative of the School Committee for their steadfast support of my leadership and the district's goals. They have demonstrated a shared commitment to our students and the overall success of Andover Public Schools.

As a community, we have accomplished a lot in my first year and a half in the district. I look forward to continuing this partnership, providing consistent practices, improvement of core processes to increase efficiencies, sustainability and stability for our students and staff.

Since arriving in Andover, I have been humbled by the community’s commitment to engagement and excellence on behalf of our students. In the coming years, I look to strengthen the opportunities to promote higher learning for our students and staff.

Dr. Magda Parvey


Developing the Instructional Core of APS - Julie Riley, Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning

The Andover Public Schools has started the development of a strategic plan to align and coordinate our work in schools to support the needs of all students. With all administrators involved in the process, a number of initiatives focus our work toward developing coherence, rigor, and equity across schools. As a district, one primary focus area is on strengthening the instructional core. The instructional core, as defined by Richard Elmore from Harvard University, has three main tenets: the relationship between educator and student, the relationship between educator and content, and the relationship between student and content. We are aligning our work to these research and evidence based tenets for best practices in instruction.

To effectively impact change and growth for all students in the instructional core, our work this year is designed to address three focus areas: data, curriculum, and inclusive practices. To that end, our teachers are focusing their work on students’ access to rigorous instruction, curriculum. They also continue to create welcoming and engaging school environments. Our Program Coordinators are learning about the building blocks of a district-wide, vertically-aligned, and guaranteed curriculum through their work with Understanding by Design’s co-creator, Jay McTighe and his associate, Ronit Carter. With the district focus on data-driven decision making, our administrators are learning how it relates to students’ sense of belonging, the alignment of SEL structures to support all students, and its use to drive instructional practices through work with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and Data Wise.

All of these concepts are deeply woven into creating rigorous and accessible schools for all students. Our Andover Public School community is thoroughly committed to this work!

District Upcoming Dates & Notes

  • Lunar New Year – Sunday, January 22, 2023

Kindergarten Registration

Kindergarten registration will begin on Wednesday, February 1, 2023 to Friday, February 17, 2023. Please access the Kindergarten Student Registration link on our website. To find which school your child will attend, review our district map at this link. Following your registration, please contact your school directly to make an appointment to submit your registration paperwork.

Clothing Swap at AHS!

The Environmental Club will host a Clothing Swap for AHS students on Friday, January 27th in the cafeteria from 3:30 - 5:30 pm. Students can bring in clean, reusable clothing in bags to a bin in the foyer during the week of January 23rd to 27th.

Environmental Club members with gather and sort the clothing and it will be available for students to take home during the swap event after school. Students will be able to take home about as much clothing as they donate. Any extra clothing will be gathered by Environmental Club members and donated outside of school.

School Committee Corner

The School Committee met on January 19, 2023. Items on the agenda included a vote approving updates to the School Sponsored Trips and Travel policy (JJH), a vote approving the successor contract for Superintendent Dr. Parvey, and a vote approving the FY24 preliminary budget, which will be submitted to the Town Manager by the end of January.

Meetings are held in the School Committee Room at Central Office, 30 Whittier Court – 2nd floor and are broadcast live by AndoverTV via Andover public access television (Comcast Channel 99 and Verizon Channel 43) or by streaming from Recordings of these meetings are posted on Andover TV’s Video Archive under the School and Building Committee Meetings webpage.

To view meeting minutes from previous meetings, check out the School Committee’s meeting minutes archive page.

The next School Committee meeting will be held on February 2, 2023. Agendas are posted up to 48 hours in advance and can be emailed directly to those who are interested and sign-up for “Notify Me” alerts on our website.

School Committee Informal Forum

The School Committee welcomes the community to join us for an informal forum on Wednesday, January 25, 2023 at 9:30 a.m. at Memorial Hall Library. These forums have no set agenda, and the community is welcome to stop in at any time to speak with two members of the School Committee on any topics related to our schools. Because these sessions are attended by only two School Committee members, they allow an interactive dialogue outside of the Open Meeting Law legal parameters.

Future meeting dates and times can be found here.

There’s a Policy for That! - IIB - "Classroom Staffing"

At the February 2nd School Committee meeting, AHS Director of Guidance Aixa de Kelley will share her annual presentation of the AHS Program of Studies (example: 2022-23) with the Committee. This document is reviewed and voted on by the Committee each year and assists students and families with course selection at Andover High School. Mrs. de Kelley will also update the Committee on current AHS enrollment and class size data.

As part of the development of the annual operating budget, the School Committee and superintendent review enrollment trends of all schools in the district, in order to ensure appropriate staffing levels are maintained at all school buildings. Classroom staffing levels are defined by grade level in the long-standing School Committee Policy IIB. The policy is designed to provide personnel consistent with the needs of the district.

All School Committee policies are available for the community to reference through a searchable manual.

Community Updates

The Town of Andover is holding its final meeting for the public to provide input to the Master Plan!

The Andover Planning and Land Use Division will host a virtual public meeting on February 1, 2023 at 6 p.m. for the community to provide feedback on the future of planning in Andover.

The Andover Master Plan is a ten-month-long town wide planning process that will engage the community in exploring issues such as land use, housing, economic opportunity, natural and cultural resources, open space and recreation, services and facilities, and transportation and mobility, among others. More information can be located on their website.

Memorial Hall Library Upcoming Events!

Sunday Concert Series: Peking and the Mystics A Cappella Concert

Sunday, January 29th at 2:30 p.m. (rescheduled from December)

Friends of MHL Winter Book Sale

Wednesday, February 1st: 5:30-8:30 p.m. (preview night for members)

Thursday, February 2nd: 1:00-4:30 p.m.

Friday, February 3rd: 9:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Saturday, February 4th: 9:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Sunday, February 5th: 1:00-4:00 p.m.