All Around APS

News from the Andover Public Schools - March 17, 2023

APS Pride

132 Year Old Flagpole found at Doherty Middle School

APS Custodian Michael Richards made a rare find last year while doing a deep cleaning of the cafeteria at Doherty Middle School. As Mike was removing some of the quilts that hung on the walls for many years, he discovered that one of the poles used to hang a quilt had a small plaque dated 1891. The inscription read, “Presented to the Punchard Cadets by the Young Ladies of the P.F.S. – November 21, 1891.” Benjamin Punchard, a local banker and philanthropist, left funding to the town of Andover to provide for the beginning of a public secondary school system. The Punchard Free School was established in 1851 on the land where town and school district offices currently sit.

Mike secured the flagpole at the district’s central offices for the winter, and recently brought it to the Andover Center for History and Culture, who began research on the flagpole. Angela McBrien, Collections Manager for the Center, located photographs and an article from the Andover Townsman, dated November 27, 1891, which notes the presentation of a silk flag by Miss Kittie Perkins of the Senior Class, representing the young ladies of the Punchard Free School. While Ms. McBrien hasn’t been able to confirm that this flagpole is the same one in the photograph, the timing of the article along with the inscription on the plaque is a promising connection. The Andover Center for History and Culture has considered adding the flagpole to its permanent collection.

Many thanks to the Andover Center for History and Culture for their interest, research, and care of the flagpole and for sharing the photographs and articles.

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Undefeated AHS Girls’ Basketball Team head to Division 1 MIAA Championship

The AHS Girls’ Basketball team (25-0) beat Woburn on Monday, March 13th to advance to state finals! The MIAA Division 1 State Championship game against Bishop Feehan will be played on Friday, March 17th at the Tsongas Arena. Good luck to the team and coaches Kerry Cashman and Alan Hibino! We are proud of you!

Reaching a Milestone at the West El & Shawsheen Building Project

The West Elementary and Shawsheen community were joined by town and district officials as they celebrated the “Topping Off” phase of the project under a beautiful blue sky on Friday, March 10th.

"Topping Off” refers to a cherished tradition of celebrating the placement of the final structural framing piece of the new building. The ceremonial final steel beam is painted and signed by workers, the construction team, owners, building occupants, and all celebrating the project for posterity. It includes a United States flag, embraced by the workers for all it stands for, and is a tribute to the labor, materials and ingenuity to create the framing components and structure.

A tree is included on the beam for multiple meanings and historical significance. The tree signifies the structure reaching its height without any worker injury or loss of life and conveys future well-being for all who use the building. It also represents growth.

With the tree, flag, and signatures in place, the final beam for the West Elementary and Shawsheen Preschool has historical and specific significance for the new school building. It demonstrates the successful design, engineering, and safe installation of the structure. It also represents the town’s and community’s commitment for an inspiring, safe, welcoming and efficient learning environment, and dedication to all future generations. For more information on the project, check out the project's Facebook page.

AHS Theater Arts Educator Awarded Scholarship

Congratulations to Andover High School’s Theater Arts educator Susan Choquette, who has received the Dr. Evelyn Milam 1 Scholarship from the Delta Kappa Gamma Society International. The DKG Honor Society for women educators promotes excellence in education and the personal and professional growth of women educators. A lifelong learner, Ms. Choquette is a 27 year educator in the district and is working toward her doctoral degree at Rivier University.

APS Students Compete in Destination Imagination Tournament

Over 100 students from across the district participated in the Massachusetts Destination Imagination (MADI) Tournament earlier this month. Andover's Destination Imagination (DI) Program, run by the non-profit Challenge Me, Inc., is an extremely popular activity each year for hundreds of Andover students. Destination Imagination is a creative, team-focused, STEAM competition for K-12 and university students.

Challenge Me Inc. sent 21 Andover teams to the tournament and showcased their talents and skills through events like the “Thrill Ride”, “Piece by Piece”, and “Flip the Script.” The audience was treated to golf balls travelling over handmade roller coasters, performances in improvisational skits, well-known stories told from a different point of view, and musical journeys with our youngest participants.

The following teams placed in the top three in each of their age group's challenges or won an award:

  • Elementary (EL): Flip the Script: Team #119-35144 - 2nd place, Globals Placement
  • Middle (ML): Flip the Script: "The Shifty-Shifty People" - 1st place, Renaissance Award for outstanding technical design and innovation, Globals Placement
  • High School (SL): Flip the Script: "The Andover Ratz" - 1st place, Globals Placement
  • Elementary (EL) Piece by Piece: "Underestimated" - 2nd place
  • Elementary (EL): Thrill Ride: "Da Kruzers" - 2nd place, Globals Placement
  • Elementary (EL): Thrill Ride: "The High-Speed Hares" - DaVinci Award

Three deserving seniors were also awarded MADI scholarships. Congratulations to Shreya Godhani, Diya Ganesh and Abhi Pandey!

Good luck to all the teams going to DI Globals in May! For anyone interested in learning more about Destination Imagination, visit the Challenge Me Inc. website at

From the Desk of Dr. Parvey - March is Women's History Month

Dear APS families and staff,

Since 1987, the United States has officially recognized March as Women’s History Month. The theme for this year’s Women’s History Month is “Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories.” Throughout history, women have played a significant role in connecting our stories from one generation to the next, deepening our understanding of how the past can shape the future. Through the written and spoken word, the narratives shared by women strengthen our connections to each other and our community.

To honor this year’s theme, I would like to applaud our female educators who tell these stories in the classroom. Educators are natural storytellers, inspiring our students to think, explore, question, and learn. I admire their ability to keep students engaged and curious. The majority of our principals, assistant principals and administrators are women who focus on service, empathy, and leadership to support the APS community. While March may be the month that showcases the accomplishments of women, I hope you will join me in honoring women and their contributions throughout the year.

Magda Parvey Ed. D.


Celebrating SEL Across the District – Jason Levene, APS Social Emotional Learning Coordinator

First established in 2020, the second Friday in March is known as “SEL Day” across the globe. The Collaborative for Academic and Social Emotional Learning (CASEL) identified the theme for this year’s SEL Day as Uplifting Hearts, Connecting Minds. On Friday, March 10th, APS recognized SEL Day in all of our schools. This day is meant to bring awareness to and celebrate all of the efforts highlighting Social Emotional Learning.

Each school throughout the district shared a variety of ways that they engaged in events focused on SEL. While these events are a great way to celebrate SEL, it is important to recognize that the heart of SEL instruction is not a single event, but rather built into the framework of our daily instruction. This occurs in the ways our educators cultivate relationships, build learning communities, challenge students to be vulnerable and take risks, make responsible decisions, and build an awareness of their own emotional needs.

For this school year, our elementary schools and Pre-K have built a common focus centered around Kindness. They have invited guest speakers, hosted community readers, and held school wide programs to reinforce kindness towards others. The middle schools have used their Advisory/Flex time to focus on different projects: West Middle built their advisory blocks around resiliency and “bouncing back” from setbacks and Doherty Middle used Flex time to give students the opportunity to build a “Passion Project.” Continuing a yearlong project, Wood Hill Middle School used CREW time for a community art theme which resulted in students creating human art - "Find Your Voice." Many of the building libraries also displayed a special selection of SEL focused literature. Andover High School had the opportunity to host its first Comicon, giving students time and opportunity to explore their inner Superhero!

District Upcoming Dates & Notes

  • Monday, April 17 – Friday, April 21, 2023 – Patriots’ Day/ Spring Recess (no school)

  • Wednesday, March 22, 2023 – Ramadan* (month long)
  • Sunday, April 2, 2023 – Palm Sunday
  • Thursday, April 6, 2023 – Passover* (day one)
  • Friday, April 7, 2023 – Good Friday
  • Sunday, April 9, 2023 – Easter Sunday
  • Friday, April 14, 2023 – Orthodox Good Friday
  • Sunday, April 16, 2023 – Orthodox Easter Sunday
  • Tuesday, April 18, 2023 – Laylat al-Qadr
  • Saturday, April 22, 2023 – Eid al-Fitr*

Office Hours with Dr. Parvey

Dr. Parvey will host Office Hours on Saturday, March 25, 2023 at 9 a.m. in the Andover School Committee room, 2nd floor at 30 Whittier Court. These meetings are informal, and the invitation is open to all - educators, students, families and the Andover community.

Andover High School Building Committee – Stay Informed!

The Andover High School Building Committee will hold its next regular meeting on Thursday, March 23, 2023 at 7:50 a.m. in the School Committee room, 30 Whittier Court, 2nd floor. At this meeting, professional estimators will provide cost estimates on the two site approaches, “Campus 2” (new construction) and the “Courtyard” (addition/renovation).

To review what happened at the March 2, 2023 regular AHS Building Committee meeting, please visit the LATEST NEWS section of the project website.

The community is invited to join the conversation at the next Community Forum, which will be held on Wednesday, March 29, 2023 at 7 p.m. at Memorial Hall Library.

School Committee Corner

The School Committee met on Thursday, March 16, 2023. Items on the agenda included an update on the Educator Evaluation training by Ribas Associates, the mid-year review of Dr. Parvey’s 2022-23 Superintendent Goals as required by the DESE superintendent evaluation process, and voting the committee’s remaining warrant article recommendations for Town Meeting, which will be held on Monday, May 1, 2023.

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 Thursday, April 6, 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 them for an informal forum on Saturday, April 1, 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. More information on School Committee informal forums, including upcoming dates, is available here.

There’s a Policy for That! – School Committee Organizational Meeting - BDA

Each year, the School Committee policy BDA - School Committee Organizational Meeting, requires the Committee to elect a Chairperson and Vice Chairperson for the upcoming year following annual town elections. Annual town elections will be held on Tuesday, March 28, 2023, and the School Committee will execute on this policy at its next meeting, April 6, 2023.

Elected Chairpersons and Vice Chairpersons hold their offices for one year terms and begin service in these roles following the annual Town Meeting. This year, Andover’s Annual Town Meeting will be held on May 1, 2023.

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

Community Updates

In honor of Women's History Month, the Andover Commission for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion is hosting Celebrating Women in Business on March 29th from 6 - 8 p.m. Join the conversation and hear stories and experiences of female leaders in the community. More information is below.
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The Robb Center will host the "Grandparent and Senior Caregiver Group"

The educational program on raising children grades PK-5 for seniors will be held on Thursdays for eight weeks beginning on March 23, 2023.

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Andover's Climate Action & Sustainability Plan Survey

The Town of Andover is developing a Climate Action & Sustainability Plan to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and needs help from the community including residents, students, businesses, and community groups to make this possible. This plan will identify actions that can be taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve resilience to the impacts of climate change. It will consider costs, equity, and barriers for implementing the actions.

The Plan should reflect the values of and feedback from the broader Andover community, including students, businesses, renters and homeowners. A survey has been designed that will help gather shared priorities in the community. Your survey responses will help the team gain a better understanding of what climate strategies are working and what remain as gaps.

Take the survey at:

Subscribe to the town of Andover’s new community-wide newsletter The Bartlet Street Dispatch!

Keep in touch with community meetings and events by subscribing to the Town of Andover’s newsletter! The most recent issue was released earlier this week and can be viewed here. Make sure to sign up to receive new issues every other week.