Warrior Wednesdays

News from the Andover Public School District

Wednesday, May 15, 2019- vol. 33

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In Brief

A busy spring continues at APS! A few, quick items for your consideration; more information is below in APS Community News:

  • AHS Capstone students present CAPS Talks on their yearlong projects- May 16th, May 17th, and May 20th at the Collins Center
  • Third Annual Showcase features 5th, 8th and 12th grade Capstone projects and more- May 20th at Cormier Youth Center from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
  • A conversation with the Massachusetts State Police and Andover PD on Cybercrimes- May 22nd
  • School Start Time Community Forum- May 22nd at Doherty Middle School

Students' Spotlight- Daniel Kirby- Principal of the Day

Doherty Middle School sixth grader Danny Kirby knows what it’s like to be in charge of over 600 students, faculty and staff. Danny was Principal for the Day at DMS last week. Danny’s parents bid on the opportunity at Andover Coalition for Education’s (ACE) March Madness event.

Danny started his day “taking over” for Principal Wilson around 7:30 AM. They got right to work. Principal Wilson handed Danny the walkie-talkie and gave him his employee badge. Danny spent the next few hours securing the doors, preparing for announcements, setting up for the all-school assembly, and observing students in the classroom. Danny says his favorite part of the day was taking the microphone for the announcements. Danny found the overall experience “pretty cool.”

Principal Wilson knows that Danny is an extremely hard worker, and she was happy to have a bit of extra help. When asked if he wanted to be a principal when he is older, he’s pretty sure that while he loved his Principal for the Day experience, he’d rather work toward becoming an engineer. Danny thinks the hardest and the most important part of a principal’s job is keeping everyone safe. He wants to leave some advice to current and future principals based on this experience. No homework!

You did a great job, Danny! Thank you for being DMS Principal for the Day.

Featured Educator- Nancy Modlish, School Social Worker at Bancroft Elementary

As part of our 2018-19 Agile Strategic Plan, APS staff and faculty are participating in a certification program at William James College to deepen their understanding of social-emotional learning (SEL). This is the second year APS has participated. Last year, teachers and administrators from High Plain Elementary completed the program. This year a team of four from Bancroft Elementary is attending, including Nancy Modlish, a school social worker at Bancroft.

Nancy says her experience at William James is fulfilling. She looks forward to sharing the experience with her colleagues through professional development once the course is completed. Nancy provides insight into how valuable SEL is for our students and their learning environment.

Nancy is a licensed social worker with over three decades of experience. She has been at Bancroft for five years, and says the investment Bancroft teachers make in SEL is remarkable. Often times, teachers provide emotional support naturally, and Nancy welcomes the chance to support them to make this work more intentional.

While she sees children throughout the week, she knows it’s the teamwork of a student, parent, teacher and all others within the school that can reinforce students’ wellbeing and impact their growth. While Nancy regularly communicates with teachers and parents, her direct interactions with students is why Nancy loves her job. The walls in her office are lined with thank-you drawings from students, a testament to how integral her expertise is to the Bancroft community.

Bancroft Principal Michelle Costa says Nancy is a thoughtful leader and an important part of the Bancroft SEL initiatives. “Nancy’s guidance as a counselor is a perfect complement to the work we do each day in our classrooms. Her energy and empathy for our students are invaluable. We are so appreciative of her expertise.”

Superintendent’s Message

This week is Food Allergy Awareness Week, and I wanted to take the opportunity to thank all of our food service employees who go above and beyond to make sure our students have quality and safe nutrition options for breakfast and lunch.

Members of our Food Services team are ServSafe certified and have taken training classes that provides them with information on allergens, and how best to accommodate students with nutritional needs. Our Assistant Food Services Director Taylor Pirog is a registered dietician and her expertise includes food allergies. We are fortunate that our food services staff have established relationships with APS families. They work diligently to make sure parents and students feel assured that breakfasts and lunches are prepared with a variety of nutritional needs in mind.

It’s clear in speaking with our food service employees that nutritional needs have evolved over the years, and our team, led by Gail Koutroubas, does an incredible job of accommodating ever-changing guidelines.

Additionally, our schools celebrated School Lunch Hero day earlier this month, and I would like to recognize West Elementary Kitchen Lead Deb Hockman for her calm and responsive actions during a medical situation last week. Deb and all our food service teams make a difference for every student who comes through an APS cafeteria.

Shelley Berman


APS Community News

West El- New Principal Jennifer Hunt

Andover Public Schools is pleased to announce the appointment of Jennifer Hunt to the position of principal of West Elementary School. “We are thrilled to welcome Jennifer as the next principal of West Elementary,” notes Superintendent Sheldon Berman. “Throughout the interview process, it was clear that her deep understanding of student learning and instruction aligned well with our goals at APS. We know Jennifer’s leadership will continue the outstanding work of Liz Roos and her team at West El.”

“It is clear to me that Andover has established a learning environment that is founded on trust and a sense of belonging. Inclusivity and diversity are central elements of my educational philosophy and I know these are important tenets of the West Elementary community,” adds Jennifer Hunt. “I look forward to meeting the staff, parents and students, and becoming an integral part of the APS community.”

Jennifer is currently the principal of Clarke Elementary (K-4) in Swampscott, Massachusetts, having served in this capacity for five years. Prior to becoming a principal, Ms. Hunt taught elementary school for thirteen years (first and second grades, as well as Reading and Literacy) in Northborough, Mass.

We look forward to welcoming Ms. Hunt to West Elementary and APS in August 2019.


The third annual Showcase takes place at the Cormier Youth Center on Monday, May 20th between 6:00 and 8:00 pm. This unique event features major, year-end projects produced by students in a variety of fields, demonstrations of both land and underwater robotics, and senior portfolio art work.

For elementary and middle school families, this is a terrific opportunity to see some of the outstanding work our students are doing at the high school. The event is sponsored by the Andover Coalition for Education (ACE) and presents the innovative work our staff and students.

This event is free and open to the public.

CAPS Talks

On May 16th, 17th and 20th, AHS Capstone students will be presenting their CAPS Talks on their year-long CAPSTONE research projects at the Collins Center.

This event is open to the APS community. The schedule of presentations is available here. For questions, please contact Rebecca D'Alise at: rdalise@k12.andoverma.us.

School Start Times Community Forums

We encourage you to join us for this community forum on Wednesday, May 22, 2019 from 7- 8:15 PM at Veterans Memorial Auditorium at Doherty Middle School.

You will have the opportunity to hear from key members of the School Start Time Working Group, ask questions and provide feedback. Following community feedback through forums, meetings, and surveys, the School Start Time Working Group plans to make recommendations to the School Committee in the fall of 2019. The School Committee is considering the implications of the Andover Public Schools' schedule on adolescents’ well-being, and potential impacts of changing start times within the district. We will hold a second forum this spring, scheduled for Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at West Middle School.

Invite to follow.

For more information on the School Start Times Study, please visit our website.

Volunteers Needed for Senior Safari!

Planning is well underway for this year's Senior Safari all-night graduation celebration which takes place on June 3rd. It takes an army of adult volunteers to successfully pull this night off and make it an amazing "last" night for our seniors. We need help in setting up, chaperoning, serving food, donating refreshments, and cleaning up after the big night.

Grab a friend or two and sign up at this link- parent or guardian volunteers of all grade levels are welcome!

A Conversation with Massachusetts State Police and the Andover Police Department on Cybercrimes

Parents and guardians of Andover High School students are invited to join Massachusetts State Police Sergeant James Dowling of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, Andover Police Detective Kevin Aufiero, and Officer Barry DuBois for an important conversation on keeping children safe on-line on Wednesday, May 22, 2019 at 6:30 p.m. at West Middle School.

Please contact Officer DuBois at 978-247-5526 or bdub@andoverps.net for questions or comments.

School Bus, Van Drivers and Monitors Needed!

NRT Bus, Inc. is currently looking for drivers and will train CDL and 7D drivers, with bonuses upon completion of training.

For more information, please call Beth Paulino at 978-697-1174 or email: epaulino@nrtbus.com

Discover Substitute Teaching at APS

Substitute teaching is a great way for those interested in a career in education to have a chance to get classroom experience or it can simply be a way of sharing in our educational community by supporting teachers and schools. Applying for a substitute teaching position is an easy process, and previous teaching experience isn’t required. The position requires a minimum of two years of college, as well as experience working with or supervising children. More information can be found on our website.