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, http://www.andovertownsman.com/news/summer-energy/article_caff8429-5777-5475-9669-88e62a8405fd.html

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.