Warrior Wednesdays

News from the Andover Public School District

Wednesday, October 17, 2018- vol 7

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Don't Miss It! - Set Your DVRs

In September, WCVB- channel 5 visited all five elementary schools to record their “Good Morning Eye Opener” segments. You can watch the students in action wishing Boston area viewers good morning from Andover Public Schools throughout the month of November!

  • Sanborn Elementary- November 9th
  • Bancroft Elementary- November 14th
  • West Elementary- November 16th
  • South Elementary- November 19th
  • High Plain Elementary- November 21st

The segments air at approximately 5:10 a.m. and repeat at 6:10 a.m.


Established in 2009, the Andover Robotics Club is a student-run organization that specializes in the construction of robots for FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC). The club has about 50 active members which make up two coed teams, 5273 ARC Thunder and 4410 ARC Lightning, as well as one all-girls team, 10331 ARC Hailstorm.

AHS senior Allison Care and junior Jolene Pern are president and vice president of this year’s Robotics Club, respectively. Allison is celebrating her fourth year with the Robotics Team and Jolene celebrates her third. Through their experiences with AHS Robotics Club, both are planning to study STEM focused majors in college. Allison would like to double major in Electrical Engineering and Business, and Jolene hopes to study Computer Science. Jolene and another member of Team Hailstorm, Ruiying Gao, mentor our younger robotics teams in town.

Each year, the teams participate in challenges throughout the state known as qualifiers of the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC). The Andover Robotics Club will be hosting an FTC qualifier in January in the field house at the High School. 18-20 teams from across Massachusetts will compete in the qualifier on January 20th & 21st.

The theme of this year’s project is the “Rover Rucker,” in honor of the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing. Teams who qualify will move through to the final competition with participants from all over the world, the FIRST Tech Championship, held in April 2019.

FEATURED TEACHER- Lindsey L'Ecuyer at Andover High School

An 11 year veteran of the classroom, science teacher Lindsey L’Ecuyer has been teaching Biology, Biotech, Forensics and Bioethics for five years at Andover High School. L’Ecuyer is the proud recipient of the 2018 “Champions for Biotechnology Educators’ Award” by the Massachusetts Biotechnology Education Foundation (MassBioEd). MassBioEd is a non-profit organization that strives to build a sustainable life sciences workforce through educational programs that inspire and propel students, engage and excite teachers, and illuminate the pathway from the classroom to careers. One of L’Ecuyer’s favorite investigations supported by MassBioEd involves students testing their own DNA for a gene that affects their taste of a bitter substance called PTC. The lab starts with students collecting their own DNA, and continues with several days of skilled lab work. This hopefully leads to a clear analysis of which version of the gene students have, and whether that matched their actual perception of bitterness. Students love the investigation and have developed the skill to process their own DNA.

L'Ecuyer also leads the BioBuilder Club at AHS. With mentors and opportunities from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, BioBuilder Club high school teams around the country and globe have been applying synthetic biology to develop their ideas for a biotechnology project that will promote positive changes in the world.

SUPERINTENDENT'S MESSAGE - STEM Week Celebrated October 22-26

In an effort to boost students’ interest and raise awareness of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) will recognize the first annual STEM week from October 22-26, 2018.

We have a robust STEM curricula throughout our schools. Led by our PreK-12 Science Program Coordinator Steve Sanborn, Math Program Head Katherine Richard, and Director of Strategic Innovation Steve Chinosi, our teachers and students are passionate and focused on science, technology, engineering, and math. We believe that by experiencing a relevant and rigorous science curriculum, Andover students will be well positioned to pursue advanced studies in science and technology and seek careers in scientific and technological fields.

This week’s Students Spotlight and our Featured Teacher are just two examples of our programs’ successes. I am proud to announce that Special Education teacher Stephanie Hand has received the “Science Educator of the Year Award for Essex County” from the Massachusetts Association of Science Teachers. This award was created to recognize persons making outstanding contributions to science education in the various Massachusetts counties. Ms. Hand has been teaching at Andover High School for 17 years.

Stephanie has been very successful in teaching advanced science concepts in both Physical Science and Biology to students who have some significant learning differences. Her day-to-day lessons not only make content accessible, but also deeply inspiring.

Stephanie will receive her award on November 1, 2018 at the Massachusetts Association of Science Teachers annual banquet. Please join me in congratulating Stephanie; we offer our deepest gratitude for her commitment to our students.

Shelley Berman


APS Community News

Sleep Study Community Presentation

Join us for a community presentation on the effects of sleep on adolescents Tuesday, November 13, 2018 at 7 PM at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium, adjacent to the Doherty Middle School.

Dr. Judith Owens, Director of Sleep Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital and Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School, will discuss the rationale for later school start times for middle and high school students. She will outline the basics of sleep and circadian biology in adolescence, the consequences of insufficient sleep, and the evidence supporting school start time change as a means of optimizing the health of students.

The School Committee is currently considering the implications of the Andover schools schedule on adolescents’ mental health and well-being, and potential impacts of changing start times within the district. We invite you to participate in this very important presentation.

Bus Driver Appreciation Day

Our bus drivers work tirelessly to ensure our students get to school safely each morning, and we know that since the gas line disruptions in September, their routes have become a bit more difficult to navigate.

Last week, High Plain Elementary Principal Pam Lathrop boarded the buses as they arrived to school and rallied every student to say thank you to their drivers. Lathrop presented each driver with certificates and tokens of the school’s appreciation. Additional schools are scheduled to honor their bus drivers in the next few weeks.

Grooversity at South Elementary

Students at South Elementary participated in an all-school assembly recently and were treated to the music and cultures of Brazil, through a performance from Grooversity. Grooversity is a Brazilian drumming and cultural education ensemble and its goal is to promote music as an educational and entertainment resource. It focuses on community outreach for positive outcomes while targeting global diversity awareness.

Acclaimed percussionist, educator, activist and Grooversity maestro Marcus Santos led an ensemble of drummers and dancers in a high-energy survey of Brazilian drumming styles springing from his native Bahia—the original capital of Brazil. Volunteer students and staff were able to participate and help make some music!

The Scarecrows Are Here!

The Scarecrows are up on Main Street! The theme of the festival this year is "Andover Goes International" and the schools, community groups and sponsors truly embraced this in designing their creations.

In the above photo, Ms. I.M. Global, nicknamed Globey, is standing with the Dugan Family of High Plain Elementary - (l-r) Aoife in K, Will Gr.5, and Loch Gr. 3.

The Andover Coalition for Education (ACE) hosts its 6th Annual Scarecrow Festival in Andover through Saturday, October 27. ACE is celebrating 10 years of support for program innovation in the Andover Public Schools. If you are unable to make it downtown to see the Scarecrows, you can always view them through ACE’s online auction site.

Global Gala

The first annual Andover Youth Foundation Global Gala will be held on the evening of Saturday, November 3rd, 2018, at Andover's Old Town Hall. All proceeds will benefit the Global Pathways Program, the Andover_Portal Project, and the growing number dynamic global initiatives created for the youth of Andover. We look forward to celebrating with a festive evening of food, dancing, entertainment, and fundraising. Please join AYF and friends for a festive evening to celebrate the 4th Anniversary of the Global Pathways Program. To learn more about the AYF Global Gala visit here.

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In Case You Missed It- South Elementary & Open Circle

South Elementary school is featured in this month’s Open Circle newsletter. Open Circle’s innovative program proactively develops children’s skills for recognizing and managing emotions, empathy, positive relationships and problem solving. Open Circle helps schools build communities where students feel safe, cared for and engaged in learning.

Principal Tracy Crowley shared her experience using Open Circle with the planning and outcome of South’s annual end of school year parade. See video of the parade and read Principal Crowley’s thoughts here.