All Around APS

News from the Andover Public School District

Wednesday, December 4, 2019- volume 7

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Student Spotlight- Michaela Buckley – West Middle School

West Middle School eighth grader Michaela Buckley is honored to represent Andover Public Schools at this year’s Project 351. Project 351 engages eighth grade Ambassadors from each of the 351 Massachusetts cities and towns in a year-long program of service learning, leadership development, and civic engagement. As a member of the Yearbook Club and an Excel Mentor, Michaela is active at West Middle School and looks forward to exploring new ways to volunteer within her community.

“You don’t need to be an adult to make a difference,” says Michaela. “I know I can make an impact through service projects and volunteer work.” This year, Michaela and her family volunteered for the Pan Mass Challenge and the Special Olympics. Helping out at the Special Olympics created a lasting impression on Michaela, “The athletes play with pure heart. It’s how every team should play sports, with the focus on supporting each other.”

“Always be kind” is the rule in Michaela’s house. She knows that being a part of Project 351 will give her the opportunity to share her love for volunteering with her fellow Ambassadors. Michaela is most excited about the first day of service, which takes place in January. Project 351 places a special emphasis on unsung heroes and quiet leaders, and the rich diversity throughout Massachusetts.

Michaela was chosen by her teachers and Principal Corkery and Assistant Principal Waters to be this year’s Ambassador. “Throughout the process, Michaela’s positive attitude kept her name at the top of the list,” notes Assistant Principal Waters. “We know that Michaela will represent West Middle and APS with pride. She sets a great example for us all on what it means to demonstrate kindness and gratitude.”

Featured Teacher- Lizbeth Feliciano from High Plain Elementary

“My goal every day is to help students find their voice,” says ESL teacher Lizbeth Feliciano. In her fifth year at APS, Lizbeth is part of a team of educators at High Plain Elementary who make sure that families feel confident their children are being supported as they learn English.

Lizbeth is a Merrimack Valley native, having grown up in Lawrence. Her parents emigrated from Puerto Rico and taught Lizbeth and her siblings the value of hard work. “I know my parents are proud when we achieve our goals. It reinforces their reason for coming to the United States.”

Lizbeth feels fortunate to be bilingual and wants her students to feel that same pride in their diversity. “I advocate for our students and make sure they see the value in knowing more than one language and culture,” says Lizbeth. “A good day at work is when I can be creative with our students, when they are happy as they learn, and when I see them able to achieve and understand a new concept.”

Lizbeth invites families to be a part of the HPE community and their child’s learning, understanding that language challenges can create stress for adults. Lizbeth is humble, but recognizes that her background serves as an example for students and families. “With my background and family’s culture, I know it’s a privilege to serve as an example for students in the classroom. I take that responsibility seriously, and I want students to see me and have hope and confidence in themselves.”

A Student's Story- Tessa Barcelo at Andover High School

Earlier this year, we introduced you to AHS sophomore Tessa Barcelo, who was selected as the regional winner in the National Endowment for the Arts’ Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge. Tessa traveled to NYC recently to work with music directors, musicians and vocalists to record the final version of her song “Queen.”

In an interview after her recording session, Barcelo said, “The recording session was amazing. It was just so incredible to hear the characters that I created be sung by other people and see their takes on them and how they sing it, how they interpret the character. I honestly felt like I'd died and gone to heaven.”

To listen to the final version of Tessa’s song, click here!

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Superintendent’s Message- Special Olympics

I hope all APS families enjoyed the Thanksgiving recess, along with an extra few snow days. Prior to the break, APS received a very special accolade, and I wanted to share the good news and acknowledge our students and staff who worked hard to create this achievement.

The Special Olympics presented Andover High School Unified Sports student-athletes and coaches with the National Unified Champion School banner, which demonstrates our efforts toward an inclusive school climate and sense of collaboration, engagement and respect for all members of the student body and staff.

It was a momentous day to watch our student-athletes and staff proudly receive a thunderous applause during the pep rally at AHS as the Special Olympic banner was unveiled Terry Keilty, vice president of Community and Programs from Special Olympics Massachusetts. These athletes are constantly encouraged and supported by the coaches and staff at AHS, including Principal Philip Conrad, Athletic Director Bill Martin, Assistant Athletic Director Kerry Cashman, APS TOP Program Specialist Brian Saad, and Coach Jim Hoar. We very much appreciate that the Special Olympics state and national organization selected Andover as among only 16 Massachusetts schools to receive this award. The banner will be hung in a place of honor in the Dunn Gym alongside our numerous championship banners.

Shelley Berman


APS Community News

APS by the numbers- SNOW DAYS!

Winter weather has arrived to New England.

Let’s take a look back at how many “no-school” snow days we’ve have had in the past few years:

  • 2015-16- 3 storm days
  • 2016-17- 4 storm days
  • 2017-18- 10 storm days
  • 2018-19- 0 storm days & one 2 hour delay
  • 2019-20- 2 storm days (so far!)

Winter Weather

Mother Nature beat us to the punch this month with a storm only a few days into December and we would like to take a moment to review our communications for parents, staff and students when the forecast calls for inclement weather.

While the preference is to keep schools open, our first priority is the safety of our students, bus drivers, and staff. In order to plan appropriately, APS collaborates with Andover’s Department of Public Works. The team at DPW does a terrific job in difficult circumstances, and provides us guidance on road conditions. Through this collaboration, and in consultation with weather forecast services, we may cancel or delay schools. Typically, these decisions are made in the early morning hours, and communicated through a variety of ways.

APS will send notices out via email, text, voice recording, and will post on Twitter and our website under “District News.” We also alert local Boston media with these details. We ask that you not contact the police or fire departments requesting this information, as these lines are for emergencies only.

On some occasions, road and traffic conditions might warrant a one- or two-hour delayed start time, which will be announced in the same manner as if school is closed. In the case of a one hour delay, morning (AM) preschool and kindergarten will not be cancelled.

A two hour delayed start time does cancel morning (AM) preschool and kindergarten. All other schools, including full-day kindergarten and preschool, will begin 2 hours later. If your child takes the bus, it will arrive two hours later than a typical school day. After any delayed opening, schools will be dismissed at their regular times.

Because each storm is different, the specifics on closings and after-school activities will also change with the forecast.

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South Elementary holds Turkey Game Reunion

South Elementary alumni returned to their school last week for the fifth annual Turkey Game Reunion! Physical Education teachers David Giribaldi and Megan Matson hosted over 120 students for the Turkey Game, which is also used as a fundraiser for Bread and Roses Food Kitchen in Lawrence. Dave, Megan and the students will be donating 150 non-perishable items to the kitchen.

Wood Hill Middle Students volunteer at AYS

Wood Hill Middle School students help unload this season’s trees at the opening of the AYS Tree Lot. The lot is located at the Skate Park at 80 Shawsheen Road. The lot is staffed with volunteers from Andover Youth Services, students from the high school and middle schools, and community members. All proceeds benefit the Andover Youth Center and its programs.

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APS Physical Education & Health Teachers present at MAHPERD

On November 18th & 19th, Physical Education and Health teachers from APS presented at the Massachusetts Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (MAHPERD) convention in Worcester.

Bancroft Elementary PE teacher John Rex and West Elementary teacher Kevin Tiller presented best practices on Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and Technology in a physical education classroom. Brian McNally, retired Physical Education and Health Coordinator at APS, is the current president at MAHPERD.

Snow Angels for Seniors

Interested in helping out a senior in your neighborhood this winter season? Become a "Snow Angel" for an elder in need of help shoveling pathways. To get involved, contact Andover Elder Services at 978-623-8320 or email

Town of Andover 2020 Holiday Events

The Town of Andover is pleased to announce the 2020 Holiday Events. There are activities and events for the whole family to enjoy throughout the month of December. For more information visit the events listings on the town’s website.

DESE’s English Language Learner Review at APS

During the week of 12/9, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s (DESE’s) Office of Language Acquisition will conduct a Tiered Focused Monitoring Review of Andover. The Office of Language Acquisition visits each district and charter school every six years to monitor compliance with federal and state English learner education laws and regulations. Areas of review will include English learners’ student assessments; identification of English learners; what programs English learners are placed in; parent and community involvement; curriculum and instruction; student support services; licensure requirements for faculty, staff and administration; program plans; and evaluation and recordkeeping.

In addition to the onsite visit, parent outreach is an important part of the review process. The review chairperson from the Office of Language Acquisition will send a survey to the parents of students whose records the review team examines. The survey focuses on key areas of their child’s English learner education program. Survey results will contribute to the monitoring report.

Parents and other individuals may call Sharnei Young, the Office of Language Acquisition Review Chairperson, at (781) 338- 6242 to request a telephone interview. If an individual requires an accommodation, such as translation, to participate in an interview, DESE will make the necessary arrangements.

Within approximately 60 business days of the onsite visit, the review chairperson will provide Andover with a report with information about areas in which your school meets or exceeds regulatory requirements and areas in which your school requires assistance to correct or improve practices. The report will be available to the public at

Andover’s Town Governance Study Committee

Andover’s Town Governance Study Committee is hosting a series of listening sessions over the next several weeks. The Study Committee wants to know what is working well and not working well with Andover’s government. The committee wants to know whether, and why, Andover’s government is transparent, accessible, representative, effective, efficient, and accountable.

The final listening session will be held on Wednesday, December 11, 2019 at 9AM in Memorial Hall Library.