Thursday, March 30, 2017

AHS innovation lab was awarded a gold medal at the 37th annual Beijing Youth Science Creation Competition

Dear Parents, Students and Staff:
APS is proud to announce that the AHS innovation lab was awarded a gold medal at the 37th annual Beijing Youth Science Creation Competition at the University of the Chinese Academy of Science, in Beijing China, on Sunday 3/25, for their research and development on a food computer, aka the Smart Garden.
Under the leadership of Shelagh St. Laurent, AHS Digital Learning Specialist and Steve Chinosi, APS Director of Strategic Innovation, the team traveled to China for a week of competition and cultural exchanges.
Along with 300 teams participating in the 3 day competition, the AHS iLab presented the Smart Garden, a computer controlled hydroponic greenhouse. While over 20 students worked on the development of the smart garden over three semesters, only 3 students were allowed to travel to China to represent the district and project. Jamie Rodrigues is the project’s biological/chemical expert, Andrew Imrie served as the project’s electrical and structural engineer, and Corey Koslovski was the project manager and computer programming lead.  The AHS Smart Garden project is a spinoff of the MIT media lab’s Open Agriculture Food of the Future project.  
Students spent a full day presenting their work to a panel of international judges. The competition was then open to the general public for review and comments.
The week-long trip to China was sponsored by the Beijing Academy of Science and Technology, Andover Coalition for Education, SciTechEdu, and  Andover Public Schools.
Students also spent time visiting Beijing high schools and had enough time to tour the Forbidden City and the Great Wall.
Shelley Berman

Friday, February 3, 2017

All are Welcomed at APS

Dear APS Parents, Guardians, and Staff, 
Our nation is undergoing a period of division and tension. Sentiments are running high and no person, no family, no institution can escape the almost daily reminders that pour forth on both mainstream and social media. Our students are exposed to this atmosphere, too, leading some of them to feel uncertain about their todays as well as their tomorrows. Nowhere does this feeling strike home more acutely than among our students from international backgrounds.
I want to take this opportunity to express as clearly and as firmly as I can that Andover Public Schools—every campus, every facility, and every event—will continue to stand as a place of not just shelter but active welcome to children and adults of every nationality, race, faith, gender, and sexual orientation. We take pride in the diversity of our student body, recognizing that it reflects the history of America and brings strength to our district. 
Within APS, each student is viewed as first and foremost a learner, interacting daily with an entire community of learners. Because learning is hampered by insecurity, as a staff we focus on ensuring that all students know and witness that our schools are havens from the buffeting of daily news, that all students are physically and emotionally safe within our walls, and that they are not just tolerated or accepted but are truly wanted and welcomed as valued members of the APS community.
It is easy to say these words; but just saying them is insufficient to the tenor of our times. That is why we, the APS leadership and staff, are publicly recommitting to our parents and students, indeed to the entire Andover community, that we will continue to intentionally promote a welcoming climate for every student. We will continue to acknowledge each student’s uniqueness and will nurture budding talents. We will address any derogatory or exclusionary words or deeds that we happen to observe or that are brought to our notice. Above all, we will protect all students’ safety and security, with particular attention at this time to students whose immediate families hail from nations other than the United States. 
At every grade level, we will through example and through open discussion actively teach acceptance and appreciation of all persons, regardless of country of origin. Recognizing that there are many ways to tackle a problem or to move forward on an issue and that we should encourage people to think all thoughts in search of the best approach, we will model and foster appropriate ways to express and respond to differing opinions—in a manner that is thoughtful and respectful.  And, with the support of the entire Andover community, we will prepare today’s students for positive participation in a world that reaps immeasurable benefits from the contributions of the rich diversity of people who share this earth.
With confidence in the future of America and the ideals upon which it was founded,
Shelley Berman

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Welcome Back

If your summer was anything like mine, summer flew by! I hope each of you had an opportunity to relax or vacation with family and friends. Now it is my pleasure to welcome you to the 2016-17 school year and to the debut of my new blog, “From the Superintendent’s Desk.”

As you know an important goal for APS is to increase two-way communications between APS staff, parents and guardians.  Blogging is a great way to connect school district leaders to our school community. 

The purpose of this blog will be to highlight important educational issues facing our learning community, chronicle long-term projects and goals, highlight innovative programs, publicize school activities, and recognize student and teacher achievements, as well as the many volunteers who make a difference in our schools.

I want to publically recognize all those who work so hard to help make APS great, whether a student, APS employee, parent, mentor or community partner. I also want to increase the dialogue between APS and the entire school community.  I’d love to address your questions and concerns and would welcome any feedback you may have.  I would like to hear opinions on what we are doing right, and areas that may need more of our attention.

Last year brought many notable accomplishments for APS students and staff, and for the district as a whole. We are proud of our team of professionals in every area of the district’s operation who dedicate their lives to helping students achieve goals they might never have thought possible.

One particular program that I’d like to highlight in my first blog post is the “Building Energy Bootcamp” that took place at Andover High School (AHS) this summer.  The program involved a group of 10 students from AHS, Greater Lawrence Technical School and a junior from Rochester Institute of Technology, who spent their summer at the high school analyzing the town’s energy consumption and figuring out ways to reduce costs. The results were astounding!

In short, the students essentially re-mapped the school’s 60 circuit boards, which hadn’t been updated since the high school was built in 1966.   The students took the work one step further by using technology to improve energy usage and created a web-based electrical mapping app that makes for more efficient maintenance, which adds up to further cost savings for the town.  I want to applaud these students for their incredible efforts and ability to do the work of high-level system and electrical engineers.

This program exemplifies the types of innovative, advanced and highly sophisticated learning opportunities we want to provide for our students -opportunities that they can’t get from just a textbook.

Congratulations to the Building Energy Bootcamp team of students from AHS, Frank Cai, Ajay Ananthakrishnan and Jordan Altaffer.  Jordan is going to continue to work on this program for his Senior Capstone Project and I wish him the best of luck.

I’d also like to recognize Anil Navkal, who led the project, and has 30 years of experience in electrical engineering and serves on the Andover Green Advisory Board, APS director of Strategic Innovation Stephen Chinosi, and Schneider Electric for funding the project. To read more about this fantastic program, here is the link to a recent article in The Townsman,

In a matter of days, we will begin the new school year. We will be implementing our new science curricula in all of the elementary and middle schools and continuing our work to deepen students’ writing skills. Work will also continue on preparing for the new schedule at the high school level. And we will be sharing much more information and seeking your input as we refine the new long-term facilities plan. I think we can look forward to an exciting and fulfilling year ahead.

APS offers a supportive learning community for both children and adults. I feel so privileged to be a part of it. We deeply appreciate your entrusting us with the education of your children, and we will do our utmost to ensure they have a fulfilling, happy and safe year. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions, concerns, or suggestions. I look forward to seeing you and chatting with you as the school year unfolds.