April Blog 2016
Our vision is to connect, engage, and inspire all students in the Ayer Shirley Regional School District to reach academic excellence. We, the educators of the Ayer Shirley Regional School District, will instill habits of reflection and inquiry to challenge our students in setting ambitious academic and personal goals. Students will develop a strong voice to express thoughts and ideas in the community and the confidence to showcase their talents and successes in preparation for entry into college and the world of work.
National Volunteer Week, April 10-April 16
On behalf of the School Committee, staff, and students, a very BIG thank you to the many, many volunteers in this district for all that you do for the school community. You work tirelessly and this school system could not achieve success without your volunteer service. We deeply appreciate you!
Our community of students, staff, and families is getting stronger and stronger. It was inspiring to see so many attendees at the Opioid Forum, the Grade 8 Informational Night, the Loretta LaRoche event, the middle school play, and the high school talent show to name just a few. Our students and staff love your participation in our school events. Strong schools are built upon stakeholder engagement and involvement. Strong schools help bring about and maintain vibrant communities.
We strive to excel at communication of our school events and of our achievements and accomplishments. We communicate through the website, Facebook, email, and Twitter. Speaking of Twitter, have you thought about opening a Twitter account? Twitter is a social network used by millions of people around the world. Not only can you stay current on our schools, you can gain information on all topics and areas of interest. Many of our staff have Twitter accounts and they tweet often. Some of our staff even post tweets on homework and projects. Some of our popular tweeters are ASRHS Music, ASRHS Athletics, Mr. Varga, Mrs. Aikey, Mrs. Hamel, Mrs. Allaire, Mr. Donovan, Mr. Callanan, and myself. It is easy to open a Twitter account and should you need help, we are happy to assist. Just let us know. Follow us on Twitter today!
April is Autism Awareness Month-Message from Ayer Police Department
The Ayer Police Department is proud to support the “Light it Up Blue” campaign during April’s Autism Awareness month. We are dedicated to keeping the entire community safe, but do understand the unique challenges that can be presented when interacting with children with Autism or special needs. To be able to understand fully those types of challenges, members of the Ayer Police Department in conjunction with Autism Speaks and The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children learned how to better protect children with special needs. Those members brought back some great ideas on how to bring the community together in keeping our children safe as well as train local police personnel on how to interact with individuals with Autism.
Statistics show that (Autism Speaks):
- People with Autism are more likely to be victims of a crime
- 49% of children with Autism wander
- More than a 1/3 of children with Autism cannot communicate their name, address or phone number
- Drowning accounts for 91% of Autism wandering deaths (AWAARE)
- Wandering occurs across all settings, by people with Autism of ALL AGES, under every type of adult supervision
- Risks increase with autism severity
Because these statistics are so staggering, the Ayer Police Department wanted to partner with families, the school district, and local support groups to better prepare for incidents involving children with special needs. A program was implemented by the Ayer Police Department called the “Bring Me Home" Campaign. This program was established to open up an avenue where families can register at risk loved ones with special needs within the police department giving our agency valuable information ahead of time.
The Ayer Police Department will be holding several informative discussions on Protecting Children with Special Needs. The first informative discussion will be held on April 27, 2016, at the Ayer Shirley Regional Middle School put on by the Special Education Parent Advisory Council. There will be added times and dates posted on the Ayer Police Department’s Facebook, Twitter, and Town of Ayer website.
Brooke Venkitachalam, Samantha Abrams & Chris Govang won an Honorable Mention at the Regional Science Fair this past Saturday. They will be moving on to the State competition later this spring! Best of luck to these students!
We took home a bronze and silver medal at the MICCA Regional Competition. The Concert Band won the silver and the Concert Choir won the bronze. Awesome job by these students and Director, Mr. Jared Bloch!
The FIRST Robotics team will compete at the New England Championship in Hartford, CT, April 13-16. We wish them luck! Coach Miska and the team are quite confident they will qualify for the World Championship in St. Louis, MO.
High school students, Senior Francesca Winship and Junior Jill Folger, will attend A Day on the Hill on April 26, 2016. A Day on the Hill is an opportunity for students to learn about the democratic process and the way government works. Students will hear local school leaders and legislators discuss key education issues that directly affect them. These students will accompany School Committee Chair, Pat Kelly, and myself. We are looking forward to spending the day with these wonderful students. We can’t wait!
Our very own, Mr. Jim Ryan, Visual Arts teacher at the high school, is running in the Boston Marathon on April 18, 2016. The journey to the marathon according to Mr. Ryan, “Yes, I'm looking forward to running the Marathon this month! It has been a long road to get there. The qualifying time I had to beat was 3:05. In 2013, I qualified at the Baystate Marathon in Lowell with a time of 3:04:24, but they cut off the field at 3:04 flat. Last year, I knew I had to beat it by more than a minute, and thankfully, I qualified at the Maine Coast Marathon last May with a time of 3:02. I have been training since late November for Boston. I just reached my peak mileage in late March and now am focusing on keeping healthy until Patriot's Day. Fortunately the weather was a lot milder this past winter than the winter before!” GOOD LUCK Mr. Ryan!
The high school has reintroduced the Leadership Program with the Mass National Guard. Assistant Principal McLaughlin was able to find a group of motivated Sergeants to work with him and Mr.Tulli to get the program back up and running. It will be a club that meets once a week in Mr. Tulli’s room. The focus will be on civics, personal values, and patriotism. The National Guard has committed to support the program with instructors (at no cost to ASRSD). Brian Levensailor is the newly appointed club president. The National Guard will come to ASRHS to do a presentation to gain student interest in the club sometime in May.
A notification was sent out last week on a great opportunity for our high school students and staff! Cambridge International has invited us to host 15 students from China from May 1 to May 8. Cambridge International has added a $200 stipend for each hosting family. The students attend the Humen Foreign Languages School (HFLS) in Guangdong. The students want to experience a “typical” US high school education by shadowing an Ambassador Student and living with a host family for the week. Students will spend their days at the high school and their evenings with their host families to better understand US culture through a shared living experience. This program is a benefit to both the exchange students and our students. Students and staff from the high school will have an opportunity to learn about China’s education and culture by spending time together with the students. Other benefits to students and staff are learning about the Mandarin language and building new relationships. Most often these newly formed relationships continue to flourish once the visiting student returns to China. We hope this program will help more international students gain exposure to Ayer Shirley so the students will enroll to study with us for a full year in the near future. This is an opportunity for our students to study abroad right here at home! If you are interested in being a host family or would like more information, please contact Michelle Towne at email@example.com or at 978-772-8600 ext. 1508.
We have great things happening in our schools each and every day. This would not be possible without rock star teachers, talented students, and dedicated families. Proud to be a Panther!
Wishing our wonderful families a peaceful and relaxing vacation!
Superintendent of Schools
Senator Jamie Eldridge speaking at the Opioid Forum.
Great time had by all at the Middle School play, Law and Order: Nursery Rhyme Unit. Principal Aikey made her stage debut! Wait..... is she the duck?!
Sergeant Cromwell, Shirley Police Department, teaches the DARE program to grade 6 students.
They say laughter is the best medicine. Loretta LaRoche was just that, thank you ASEF!
Meet the LAW Students of the Month.
Presentation to Grade 8 students on high school registration.
Chief Goulden, Shirley Police Department, and Chief Murray, of the Ayer Police Department at the Opioid Forum.