All Around APS
News from the Andover Public Schools - May 19, 2023
Andover Rotary honors Educator of the Year and APS Student of the Year
This week, the Rotary Club of Andover held their annual Citizens Who Care event, which honors outstanding community volunteers. We are proud to share that Gina Murray, music teacher at Wood Hill Middle School, and Luke Bardetti, senior at Andover High School, were honored as Educator of the Year and Student of the Year, respectively.
Congratulations to Ms. Murray and Luke! The Educator of the Year is nominated by teachers, school administrators and parents. The Student of the Year is nominated by school faculty.
AHS Students to serve on Massachusetts Board of Education’s Student Advisory Council
Andover High School juniors Edward Mukalazi and William Tutwiler have been elected by their peers to serve as Regional Student Advisory Members to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education for the 2023-24 school year. Ismael Rodrigues will serve as an alternate member on the council.
The goals of the Regional Student Advisory Council are to advocate for students at the state level, participate and share information to and from school, debate statewide education issues and advise the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education from a student perspective. Massachusetts is celebrating over 50 years of student representation on the Board. Their seats on the Council will provide Edward, Will, and Ismael the opportunity to learn and grow while demonstrating their individual leadership qualities.
Advocating for Universal School Meals
APS Director of Food Services, Gail Koutroubas, joined the School Nutrition Association of Massachusetts last week at the Massachusetts State House to support the Universal School Meals legislation, which would make the free meals program in our schools a permanent benefit in our students’ school day. Mrs. Koutroubas visited with local legislators including staff at Senator Barry Finegold’s office and State Representative Frank Moran. Mrs. Koutroubas is optimistic that the visit will bring a positive outcome for our students.
APS Students Excel in Memorial Hall Library Poetry Contest
The judges for the Memorial Hall Library’s annual Teen Poetry Contest were amazed at the submissions for this year’s contest. In its 19th year, the contest is held in the early spring, and this year’s winners were celebrated at an evening reception earlier this month. Students can submit up to three poems each for consideration and West Middle School student Satabhisha Sarkar was awarded first place, third place and an honorable mention for her three submissions in the Middle School category. Students from Andover High School, Wood Hill and Doherty Middle School were also honored for their poems. To view their poems, visit Memorial Hall Library’s webpage.
Roos Scholarship Foundation Recipients
West Elementary educators and recipients of the Elizabeth Roos Development Fund spent time on Friday morning sharing their learning experiences and how it has impacted their professional teaching practices.
West El Literary Coach Jennifer Sands and grade 5 teacher Alia Mohammed attended the CCIRA Literary Conference in Denver this past February. Grade 4 teacher Debbie Powers and grade 3 teacher Katey Shockro attended a conference on “Empowering a Community of Engaged Learners by Amplifying Creativity and Student Voice” in Austin in March. In spring 2021, Hannah Robins and Shannon Laitala participated in the National Art Education Association’s national “Create” convention, which was held remotely due to the pandemic.
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.
District Upcoming Dates & Notes
- Friday, May 26, 2023 – Shavuot*
- Monday, May 29, 2023 – Memorial Day – no school
- Friday, June 2, 2023 – Early Release Day
The School Committee voted at their most recent meeting that June 16, 2023 will be the last day (1/2 day) for the 2022-23 school year for students.
Join us and volunteer for the Special Olympics School Day Games – June 9th!
We are proud that Andover Public Schools will be hosting Special Olympics on June 9th with a rain date of June 13th. The games will run from 9:45 a.m. -12:00 p.m. This year marks the 20th anniversary of participation for North Andover, and Andover’s fifth year.
It is a morning of fun and excitement for all and we welcome any volunteers who would like to assist. If you would like to volunteer, please reach out to Cara Higgins at email@example.com or Nancy Koch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Andover SEPAC (Special Education Parent Advisory Council) invites you to share your experiences with Special Education in the Andover Public School system during the 2022-2023 school year. SEPAC's mission is to work for the understanding of, respect for and support of all children with special needs in our community.
This anonymous survey will be used to guide SEPAC in supporting, improving and advising on Special Education within the district, as well as planning for speakers and events for the 2023-2024 school year. Raw results will be shared with the SEPAC Executive Board, and aggregate data will be presented to the Special Services Department, and the Andover School Committee.
Please take 5-10 minutes to complete this survey by Friday May 26th, 2023. Questions or comments may be sent to SEPAC Co-Chairs Lauren Kinney (AndoverSEPAC.Chair1@gmail.com) and Melissa Irvin (AndoverSEPACchair@gmail.com).
ACE Teacher Tribute Program
As part of our practice to let families know of community programs and activities that relate to the schools, for the next month, the Andover Coalition for Education (ACE) is running a Teacher Tribute Program that enables families to say a personalized “Thank you!” to teachers and school staff members. ACE is a nonprofit, volunteer organization that has donated over $1 million to Andover Public Schools to support enriching and engaging learning opportunities for all APS students. To learn more about ACE's Teacher Tribute Program, please visit http://www.aceandover.org.
From the Desk of Dr. Parvey
Dear APS families and staff,
I wanted to provide an update on the essential work of building and sustaining cultures of belonging, equity, diversity, and inclusion at APS. As a member of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents (M.A.S.S.) and one of my professional practice goals for this school year, I have been attending the M.A.S.S. REDI Foundation District Leader Learning Series. REDI (Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) is an organizational, long-term strategy which began in October 2020, and its goal is to research and identify frameworks, tools, and practices to guide and support school districts in the challenging work of equity. Dr. Julie Riley, assistant superintendent of teaching and learning and the district’s Social Emotional Learning Coordinator Jason Levene have joined me for the M.A.S.S. REDI sessions.
Equity work is always ongoing, dynamic in nature, and a multi-year process. Since the Foundation’s inception, 150 of the 302 districts in Massachusetts have participated in the REDI strategy. In fact, in the 2023-24 school year, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) will release newly updated models for evaluations of administrators and teachers to integrate and strengthen culturally responsive and relevant practices within the classroom.
As you might expect, the efforts to foster belonging, diversity, and inclusion in the district is complex and requires deep reflection. This work is not unique or unfamiliar to Andover Public Schools. The district has already acknowledged the need for this critical work with the efforts of our school-based cultural climate committees (C3) established in 2016. I have introduced key concepts of the M.A.S.S. REDI work to the district’s administrative team and our school-based cultural committees. I am appreciative for their engagement as we begin this work together.
While the technical part of my goal and the trainings have ended for this year, the work of the district continues. The Town of Andover also began this work in 2020, with the establishment of the DIVERSE division. The district hopes to align with the mission of DIVERSE as the work progresses.
The strategy also requires an equity audit to determine where we are in our efforts, areas of strengths, and areas where the district can grow. This equity audit will take place in the fall of the 2023-24 school year.
Magda Parvey, Ed. D.
School Committee Corner
The School Committee met on May 18, 2023. Items on the agenda included a presentation from Executive Director of Elementary Instructional Operations Jason DiCarlo and Maura Donohue, PK-5 ELA Program Coordinator on Elementary Literacy work throughout this year including the creation of the Elementary Literacy web page. The agenda also included the first reading of updates to Policy JJH – School Sponsored Trips and Student Travel and a vote to approve a 9th Grade Coordinator position beginning the 2023-24 school year. The 9th Grade Coordinator position will support 9th grade students in their transition to the high school by engaging and collaborating with families, students, and staff to coordinate the 9th grade education experience including the integration of social-emotional and academic supports to ensure ongoing success through high school and beyond. This position was budgeted and approved as part of the FY24 budget.
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 www.andovertv.org. 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 June 1, 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 Thursday, May 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.
There’s a Policy for That! – Wellness Policy – ADF
The School Committee recognizes that student learning extends beyond a classroom. The Wellness Policy (ADF) promotes a broad focus for student wellness, including health education, physical education and recess, nutrition, and health services.
Health education is aligned to the Massachusetts Health Curriculum Frameworks and is an integral part of the district’s coordinated school-based health program. These programs are a collaborative effort with the APS director of nursing to advocate overall wellness and healthy living for our children.
Physical Education and recess promote physical activity and help develop self-management and confidence for students. An important part of each school day at elementary schools and Shawsheen Preschool is supervised recess; a valuable opportunity for our students to engage in physical activity, social emotional learning, and team building.
Currently, the Universal Free Meals Program at APS provides all students with the access to breakfast and lunch, no matter their social or economic status. This initiative has provided our Food Services department the opportunity to highlight healthy food options. Research shows that a well-nourished child is a better learner, test-taker, and participant in school. In April, the School Committee shared a letter of support with Governor Healey and Andover’s state delegation to encourage the continuation of this important initiative.
Comprehensive health services at APS support the diverse needs of our students to promote their learning potential. APS provides safe and effective care at all our schools to ensure each family is provided support, when needed, and to act as a liaison between parents, students, and medical professionals.
The Wellness Policy encompasses the multifaceted ways the district works to support our families to ensure continued health and well-being of our students.
All School Committee policies are available for the community to reference through a searchable manual.
Town Seal Review Committee to Host Community Forum on May 23
The Town Seal Review Committee will host a community forum on Tuesday, May 23 at 7:00 p.m. at Memorial Hall Library. The event is intended to provide an opportunity for members of the community to provide input to the Committee as it moves forward with the process of developing an alternative town seal.
The forum will include a presentation on the history of Andover’s town seal, the announcement of results from a community survey conducted in April seeking input on what should be featured in the alternative seal, and a presentation on the design process by consultants from Communications, Ink – a design firm recently selected by the Committee to develop the alternative seal design.
The forum will be broadcast live by AndoverTV, and available to stream online at andovertv.org for those who are not able to attend in person. More information about the town seal review process is available on the Town’s webpage.
Resources for FamiliesAndover Community Trust advocates for and develops homes that families can afford in the Andover community. Currently there is an affordable two-bedroom condominium for sale in Powder Mill Square. For more information, please visit: https://www.andoverclt.org/available-homes/powder-mill-square