May 28,2020

From: Mary C. Gormley
To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: May 28, 2020

FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT

Last week, the Return to School Task Force began its work with an initial meeting of the Core Team. I am grateful to the many volunteers who have come forward to support the Milton Public Schools at this time and  I have asked Co-chairs Ada Rosmarin and Karen McDavitt to update the MPS community below.

Several weeks ago, Superintendent Mary Gormley convened a Return to School Task Force to advise her on a plan to relaunch programs offered by Milton Public Schools in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Glover School Principal Karen McDavitt and School Committee Member Ada Rosmarin agreed to co-chair the Task Force.  Over 100 talented individuals with diverse backgrounds volunteered to serve on the Task Force, which is made up of a Core Team and Subcommittees.  

  • Core Team:  The Core Team assembled last week for its first weekly meeting.  The members of the Core Team (see link for members of team) represent a strong and varied field of MPS and community volunteers who will work together to develop plans guided by its stated mission below.  Of particular note, we are grateful to have a strong bench of volunteer health experts who are guiding our work with scientific research and guidelines.
  • Mission: The mission of the Return to School Task Force is to advise the Superintendent of Schools on a comprehensive plan to relaunch programs offered by Milton Public Schools in the time of the Covid-19 pandemic.  This plan will be guided by up to date scientific research and guidelines, and will seek to: optimize safety and security for all MPS students, staff and families; reinforce principles of equity throughout the district; and communicate progress to the MPS community and beyond, so that our schools can continue to provide engaging, high quality education and related services for all. 
  • Subcommittees The Subcommittees will also be composed of MPS staff members and community members. Each subcommittee will have at least one liaison to the Core Team. The work of the subcommittees is to review resources, problem solve, and make recommendations specifically related to one of the following areas, all led by the science and medical updates provided by the Health subcommittee. For more information about the work of each subcommittee, please click here. Subcommittees include: Facilities, Health, Wellness, Family outreach, Communication, Finance, Transportation, Technology, Teaching and learning, Early Childhood, Employee rights and Union issues, Food services, Fine Arts, Music, and Physical Education, Athletics and Before and After School Clubs and Activities.
  • Survey We want to make sure that our efforts include the concerns, questions, and issues raised by the Milton Public Schools Community. Please take a moment to answer this brief survey which will guide the work of the Return to School Task Force.

If you have any comments or questions about the work of the Return to School Task Force, please contact Karen McDavitt at kmcdavitt@miltonps.org or Ada Rosmarin at arosmarin@miltonps.org.

SUMMER PROGRAM UPDATES 

Milton Summer Enrichment: Thank you for your patience as we have navigated the new guidelines and what that means for summer programming here in Milton. With local health department guidance still encouraging social distancing, it is apparent to us that gathering our outstanding group of MSE students will not be possible this summer and so we are canceling Milton Summer Enrichment for summer 2020. We are incredibly sorry to disappoint the students, families, Red Shirts and teachers with this news. MSE is a hallmark of summer in the Milton Community and we cannot wait to have everyone back in 2021!

With gratitude, Cat DesRoche and Ellen Lohan, MSE Directors

Camp Cunningham: Milton Community Schools would like to thank you for your patience as we all navigate through uncertain times. Due to safety limitations imposed by the government and health officials, we have determined that we can’t provide the same experience we had originally planned for Camp Cunningham. We have therefore made the difficult decision to cancel Camp Cunningham this summer. In our decision-making process, we acknowledged that with student and staff safety as the number one priority, MCS is not able to deliver a safe full day camp experience within the capacities and timeframe available to us. We are incredibly sorry to disappoint the students, families, and all the staff with this news. We appreciate how valuable Camp Cunningham is to the Milton Public Schools community and we cannot wait to have everyone back in Summer 2021!

Martha Sandoval
Milton Community Schools Director, Camp Cunningham Director

Special Education:  I hope this note continues to find you all well and safe during this extended closure. Rest assured I am working diligently on behalf of our children and families to bring you up to the moment information about summer services (ESY) for children in Special Education. As you know, this past Monday, Governor Baker announced the beginning of a multiphase reopening for Massachusetts. I have learned that we can expect to hear from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education on how this phased opening will impact summer ESY services. Because we are not fully aware of what this guidance will be, I want to let you know that we are planning for multiple options: Full Remote Summer, Full In Person Summer and a Hybrid Program (where students have a combination of in person and remote services). Our goal, as I have stated, continues to be to begin ESY on July 6.

Anticipating that town wide programs will not be available in the same capacity that they have been in the past, we know how essential it is for our most fragile students to have ESY supports and services, and I am working closely with Bridget Renehan, the summer ESY Program Director, to secure staff and plan multiple options.

On Friday, the Associate Commissioner for Education, Russell Johnston, will host his weekly Special Education Directors Zoom Meeting. It is my hope he will provide essential guidance this week so that Milton can finalize preparations for summer. If your child receives ESY on his or her IEP you will receive detailed information about what summer programming “looks like” when we receive this crucial guidance from DESE.

As always, please be in touch with any questions. Thank you and stay safe!
Susan Maselli, Administrator for Pupil Personnel Services
617/696-4470 x 5572

Academic Programs: We are currently investigating options for our MHS Bridge Program, Calculus Project, credit recovery, Tucker Scholars and more. We will continue to keep families updated as information is available.

SCHOOL COMMITTEE

The next School Committee meeting will be on June 3rd, 2020 at 7pm. This will be a full meeting,  including a recognition of this year’s MPS retirees. School Committee meetings can be watched On Demand on Milton Access TV or you can join the meeting remotely. Please see the School Committee agendas posted on the Town of Milton Website for remote access.

TRANSPORTATION 

Registration to ride the bus for the 2020-2021 school year will open online at 8am on June 1st and close on June 12th at midnight.  Please see May 27 Transportation Registration Letter linked here. 

The link to register for the bus will be live on June 1st at 8am. Bus Registration link 2020-2021

Please note that as the Milton Public Schools awaits guidance from Governor Baker and DESE regarding social distancing guidelines in schools and on school buses, bus fees will NOT be collected until actual bus assignments are made over the summer. Bus registration will not require payment of fees at this time. Fees will be assessed and bills emailed over the summer when guidelines and ridership numbers are in place. 

Due to the school closure, as part of the registration process families who paid a bus fee this year will have their refund of $90 per rider or $180 family maximum credited toward their bus fee for the upcoming school year. Families can request credits from students not riding in the upcoming year be credited toward siblings in the registration portal. Families that will NOT be registering to ride in the 2020-2021 school year or those who want their refunds now, will have the opportunity to request their refund in check form in a separate online link beginning June 1st as well.

The current MPS transportation policy states that in accordance with MA State Law, MPS guarantees transportation to and from school for all students in K-6th grade who live two miles or more from their assigned school, and the remaining seats are sold on a first come, first served basis (based on date and time of online bus registration) at a fee of $275 per rider with a family maximum of $550. Please note that registration for these remaining seats by June 12th does NOT guarantee a seat on the bus and that there were waiting lists on many routes during the 2019-2020 school year.

Per MPS policy, any student with an outstanding Food Services bill greater than $20.00 is not allowed to register for any fee-based program (including bus service) until that balance has been paid off. Please contact Director of Nutrition Services Jackie Morgan to settle your food service bill if needed.

Students entering Grades 6 and 9 in the fall will need to complete their residency re-establishment online prior to being issued a bus pass over the summer. You may register for the bus without re-establishing residency but the pass will not be issued until re-establishment is complete. Please direct any transportation questions to Rachel Schewe at bus@miltonps.org.

Refund Information for Families NOT registering for Bus for Fall 2020

Families who are NOT registering for transportation for fall 2020 can request their refund of $90 per rider with a family maximum of $180 beginning at 8 am on Monday, June 1st.  All refunds will be in check form and will be processed through town hall and will take several weeks to process.  Any families registering to ride for the 2020-2021 school year should NOT use this link.  Bus Fee 2019-2020 Refund Form

RESIDENCY RE-ESTABLISHMENT 

In the Spring of 2015, the Milton School Committee passed a Residency Policy that states students who are enrolled in the Milton Public Schools shall be required to re-establish residency prior to entering grade six(6) and/or grade nine(9), and during other times as determined by the Superintendent or his/her designee.  The Residency Policy can be found here. 

As a parent/guardian of a student entering grade six(6) and/or grade nine(9) for the next school year or if you presently have a student entering grade six(6) and/or grade nine(9) who attends an educational program outside of town, you are required to complete the  Re-establish Residency Packet found here. This process is one of the safeguards used by the Milton Public Schools to ensure that all students enrolled in our schools are residents of the Town of Milton. Although the re-registration process may be an inconvenience for some families, we hope that residents understand that this is a valuable tool to protect taxpayers in the Town of Milton. We work year-round on residency issues and this is simply one more method to assist us with ensuring residency compliance.

The district has designated Tuesday, May 26 to Friday, June 12 for the acceptance of Re-establish of Residency Packets. A letter has been sent via email to all families who must re-establish residency and it is linked here. To comply with social distancing, all re-establishments will take place remotely.

The Re-establish Residency Packet can be found here. Please submit your Re-establishment packet between May 26 and June 12 to the following email: residency@miltonps.org.

If you are unable to upload the required documents, please put all necessary documents in a sealed envelope and place in the lockbox which is located outside the main entrance of Milton High School. Please email Ms. Sarina Burke, MPS Residency Coordinator at sburke@miltonps.org with any questions.

FOOD SERVICE

Weekly to-go bags with  7 breakfasts and 7 lunches continue to be available for pick up every Wednesday from 8-9am and 5-6pm at MHS and Tucker.  ANY Milton family is welcome to pick up a weekly to-go bag as the goal is to support any food insecure student.

Yesterday we served 291 students (4074 meals) and we also distributed 150 of the newly available produce boxes!

The Milton Public Schools has been awarded a grant to offer weekly produce boxes to families. Starting this week, MPS is handing out  produce boxes to all  families who pick up weekly breakfast and lunch bags!  Each box will contain carrots, onions, potatoes, romaine hearts, peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, apples, oranges, pears and cantaloupe!

If you have a hardship and are in need of more convenient hours for pick up, please contact Food Service Director Jackie Morgan via email at jmorgan@miltonps.org or phone at 617-898-1051. MPS families in need of support during this time are also encouraged to email MPS Family Outreach Liaison Marti O’Keefe McKenna at mmckenna@miltonps.org or by phone at 617-980-7343.

HIGH SCHOOL HAPPENINGS  

We continue to celebrate our MHS students virtually. Please see the 2019-2020 Milton High School Award & Honors page here! 

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There are several ways you can support an MHS senior during this graduation season.

Clap Them Out: On Graduation Day, Sunday, June 7th at 7:20pm, we are asking that Milton residents stand in front of their homes (practicing social distancing) and cheer for 20 seconds in honor of Milton High School’s Class of 2020.

Adopt a Milton 2020 Senior:  Send them a letter, card, gift card, snack – you get the idea, anything to let them know just how proud we are of all their accomplishments. You can join the Facebook page here. If you do not have a Facebook account you can ask a friend to post on Facebook for you with your senior’s bio and picture or email Annellen Lydon at  lydonaev@gmail.com to have your student posted.

Paint the Town Red and White:  Starting June 1st, show your support by displaying Milton colors by decorating your door, fence or mailbox red and white. Display your Milton flag with pride. Wear read and white on June 7th, Graduation Day. Use any creative ways to show your support to our MPS seniors!

MHS Class of 2020 Car Parade: Starting at 5:30pm on June 7th , there will be a MHS Class of 2020 car parade throughout the Town of Milton. Please see the tour/path for the car parade in this link. 

20MilesFor2020 Challenge: MHS Athletics would love you to join us in honoring the class of 2020 by participating in our #20MilesFor2020 Challenge. We are challenging members of the MPS Community to stay active and honor the seniors of this year’s graduating class between now and the end of May.

PIERCE PAGES   

Pierce has developed a website to serve as a centralized location for accessing weekly content and assignments for students. Please click here to access the site.

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All rising 9th grade families who have not already responded, please declare whether or not your student(s) will be able to bring their own device to MHS next year by completing this short declaration survey.  For more information regarding the MHS BYOD initiative please visit the FAQs document.  Please complete the declaration survey by the end of day tomorrow, Friday, May 29th.

For more information please visit the following flyer regarding, Loan Agreement,  BYOD Student & Family Manual, Acceptable Use Policy, and Chromebook Care & Use Policy.

All current eighth-grade students will be asked to return their loaned Chromebook and charger to Pierce Middle School.  More information with the exact date(s), time(s), and specific instructions for the Chromebook return to Pierce will be shared with families in the coming weeks.

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During Mercury’s remote learning poetry unit, students were given prompts for each line of a bio poem and asked to self reflect about themselves. Kids this age love to write about themselves so they are honest and sincere. They were especially thoughtful with the line about what they “wonder” during this tumultuous time in their lives. Turning it into a team slideshow allowed the students to “see” their friends and classmates through their own words during our time away from school.

INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

All elementary district wide learning opportunities can be found on the Elementary At-Home Learning Opportunities website, which is linked on each school website as well as the MPS website.

All elementary specialist teachers have live or recorded instructional videos each week on the elementary website. These sessions are being shared by the classroom teacher and being posted on the MPS Elementary At-Home Learning Website.  As well as finding the links to video lessons under your school’s “Weekly Specialists” option, students can continue to access supplemental resource material to enrich at home learning in specific subject areas.

30 Day Song Challenge Tracker! New and Improved! Did you want to keep track of the songs you choose? It’s ok if you don’t do every day or if you go out of order.

  • Make a copy of this google doc or print it: 30 Day Song Challenge Doc
  • Write the song name below the day.  Here is an example of what it could look like:  Song Challenge Example
  • Email a picture of it to your music teacher when you are done OR upload it to the music padlet: aallegrezza@miltonps.org;cmartin@miltonps.org; ggood@miltonps.org
  • Music Padlet: Elementary Music Padlet Click here for instructions on how to upload to the padlet

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Last week our Glover 1st graders  took a trip to Sénégal and learned all about the animals, instruments, dance and food from the country. Students  enjoyed watching Mr. Leite’s video on his travels to Sénégla and  also made flags for Sénégal. In addition they learned a lot about different food groups and prepared big picnic baskets at the end of the week. Next week it’s off to La Réunion!

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Ms. Watrous’ Cunningham 5th graders have been working hard creating a “Some Good News Paper” each week. Thank you to these students for  their thoughtful and inspiring content each week.  You can read Week 1, Week 2 and Week 3 in these links.

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Collicot 4th and 5th graders participated in the Boomwriter Bee this spring and 8 students qualified as finalists for the 2020 Boomwriter Championship!  Congratulations to Francesca Jilani, Eva Winn, Siabh Chaplin and Benjamin Tosi in grade 4 and Peter Mullen, Lauren Connolly, Ted Hsu and John Griffin in Grade 5.

Cunningham 4th graders also participated and Valerie Huang and Maeve Murphy have qualified as finalists. Glover and Tucker did not enter the bee this year. Congratulations to our students for all the hard work and becoming finalists.

Over the next four weeks, students will be writing, reading and voting on BoomWriter while competing to become the 2020 Writing Bee Champion! The Bee will start on June first and the champion will be announced on June 29th. We wish our students luck and also want them to remember to have fun and enjoy the experience.

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Elementary music students have been exploring during music lessons by using “peardeck,” an interactive slide presentation that allows students to respond on the slides. Below are some 4th and 5th grade examples of student brainstorms for creating their own homemade instruments. We look forward to seeing the finished products!

Elementary students participated in virtual music share this week. Matthew practiced at home on his Tuba, Gabby on her ukulele and Brendan practiced his recorder.

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Need a laugh? Here are some music jokes submitted by elementary students on the music google forms surveys attached to their lessons. The final question of the survey asks students to share anything they would like to share with their music teacher, with a special request for a music joke.

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Thank you to Glover 2nd grader Charlie McConville for sharing his writing about how he celebrates the 4th of July. You can read Charlie’s words here.

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CURRICULUM CHALLENGE 

Click here for this week’s math puzzles from MPS K-12 Math Director Brian Selig.

A NOTE FROM THE NURSE

Reminder from MPS nurses that updated physical exams and immunizations are due prior to the start of every school year.  New vaccine requirements have been added for the 2020-2021 school year.  School Nurses will need to obtain an immunization record for the meningococcal conjugate vaccine for students entering the 7th and 11th grade. The immunization record will need to demonstrate:

  • 7th grade entry: 1 dose of meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MenACWY) for all students.
  • 11th grade entry: 1 booster dose of meningococcal conjugate vaccine (Men ACWY) received on or after 16 years of age.  (One or more doses of MenACWY vaccine are acceptable as long as one dose was received on or after 16 years of age.)

The American Academy of Pediatrics is urging parents/ guardians to call their pediatrician. The #CallYourPediatrician Campaign was launched to remind parents to schedule check-ups and vaccines for children prior to the start of next school year. 

This recent article answers many questions about MD visits during the COVID19 pandemic and has links to helpful resources. Is it OK to see my pediatrician during COVID-19?

If you have any questions related to immunization requirements please contact MPS Director of Nursing, Kim Coughlin kacoughlin@miltonps.org.

MSAPC 

Caregivers of teens and tweens: Don’t have a clue how to handle your child’s relationship problems?  Tune in to our webinar on June 3rd, 7:30pm.  Sit on the patio with a cold drink and listen to advice of expert Casey Corcoran.  Join in with questions of your own if you wish!  It is a simple click to join.

Each webinar in the Milton Learns Together: Webinar Wednesdays series is approximately 30 minutes long with a question and answer period to follow. They are free and no registration is required. All of the webinars can be accessed by entering this address into your computer’s or phone’s browser: zoom.us/j/92433263470 and entering your name and email.

For more information, please go to the Milton Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition website.

COUNSELORS CORNER 

Each week, one of our MPS  Counselors will share information or resources. Last week,   Anya Samuels, School Psychologist PreK-12, wrote to the MPS community. This week, Judy Bygate, MHS School Psychologist, checks in below.

This has been an interesting time for all of us, to say the least! I usually am working with students one-to-one in a testing situation where I get to know the students in a way that perhaps other colleagues don’t. This is a time when the student tells me what they do and don’t like about school, what they wish could change about school, and discussions of that sort.

Now, without that face-to-face interaction, I find it is difficult to have lost those connections. I am thinking, however, of some of the students who I’ve worked with who may be doing “well” in this situation. I’ve read an article from Edtopia, entitled, “Why Are Some Kids Thriving During Remote Learning?” It reported that, through interviews of students, some students are doing well in this time of remote learning.

The article talks about students who are often shy, creative, and hyperactive are doing well for several reasons. The first reason stated is that they are pacing their learning throughout the day, and they are developing independence in completing their work. They are experiencing reduced stress levels as a result of the more flexible time.

Some of these students are not having to deal with peer pressure to “fit in” or to “look good,” so they are relishing in the fact that they can stay in their pajamas while they do math work! Some of the students who are shy are much more relaxed because they do not have to feel extra pressure to talk in front of a group of students, nor do they feel the need to have to raise their hand in class.

It will be interesting to see, going forward, how these students do in the long run without being in school. Perhaps your child is one of these students. So, it is important to remember that, despite the difficulties we’re all having, it is a bright light knowing that some of our kids are doing well!

Judy Bygate, Ed.M., CAGS,
School Psychologist

FAMILY RESOURCES 

Food Resources: MPS Food Service To-Go Program is a valuable resource to assist families in providing nutritious breakfast and lunches to their children. Pick up times are 8-9am and 5-6pm at both the Tucker School (behind the school) and Milton High School (on the Canton Ave side of the building). ANY Milton family is welcome to pick up 7 days worth of breakfasts and lunches in a To-Go bag as the goal is to support any food insecure students. 

The Milton Public Schools has been awarded a grant to offer weekly produce boxes to families. MPS will be handing out  produce boxes to all  families who pick up weekly breakfast and lunch bags.  Each box will contain carrots, onions, potatoes, romaine hearts, peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, apples, oranges, pears and cantaloupe!

The Milton Community Food Pantry located in the Parkway Methodist Church, 158 Blue Hills Parkway will be OPEN this Saturday, May 30th.  The pantry has shifted to an every other Saturday schedule. 

Interfaith Social Services Pantry Shelf If you are in need of additional food the Interfaith Social Services Food Pantry, located at 105 Adams St., Quincy is open Monday – Friday, 10-11:45am and Wednesdays 5-7pm for families in need during this difficult time.  

Project Bread shares information and links to food assistance programs in Massachusetts here. 

Brookwood Community Farm SNAP CSA shares application Brookwood Community Farm is currently accepting applications for SNAP CSA shares separately for Summer and/or for Fall.  It will be a half share, collected every 2 weeks, where $40/month is deducted through EBT (while HIP puts $40 back on their account).  Any questions can be directed to president@brookwoodcommunityfarm.org or call the farm phone which is 339-502-0826

Financial Support:  Milton Residents Fund Any Milton resident 18 or older facing a financial crisis can reach out to the MRF for help with things like rental or mortgage assistance, utility assistance, winter heating oil, small car repair fees, educational or professional development fees, or medical expenses. 

Support Services: The BRYT (Bridge For Resilient Youth in Transition) Family Engagement Team is offering support to families to help manage these difficult times during the state school suspension.  Parent Support Group ; Parent Support Webinar; COVID-19 ; Community Resources; Facebook – BRYT offers a closed Facebook group for peer to peer support. Come talk with parents who are going through similar situations. Just search “BRYT Family Support” and ask to join.

Tutoring: Free Tutoring Resource for Military Connected Students can be found on Tutor.com/military.

MPS Family Liaison: Milton Public Schools is committed to being a resource for you. Whether you are unsure of how to connect with school staff or directly need a referral for services or supplies please don’t hesitate to reach out to Marti O’Keefe McKenna, MPS Family Outreach Liaison at 617-980-7343 or by email at mmckenna@miltonps.org. All calls and emails are confidential.

ART AND MUSIC  

Last week, MHS student members of the Tri-M National Honor Society hosted a virtual induction ceremony to welcome 14 new members to the Milton High School chapter. The Tri-M Music Honor Society is an international honor society for high school students sponsored by the National Association for Music Education (NAfME). This program recognizes students for their academic and musical achievements, rewards them for their accomplishments and service activities, and inspires other students to excel at music and leadership. Membership to the Milton High School Chapter of Tri-M is open to all MHS sophomores, juniors and seniors in a music ensemble.

Congratulations to our new members of Tri-M! Maeve Bentley,Lindsey Dunn, Baron Clancy, Sofia Harris, Max Hollingsworth-Hays, Michael Howard, Christopher Le, Tracy Le, Isabel Murley, Franklin Olliviere III, Luke Palmer, Mahinia Panerio-Langer, Aoife Ruth and Stella Yuan were inducted this week and you can watch the ceremony here.

We were unable to hold our annual MHS Music Awards Night so this video was created to recognize festival participants and award recipients. 

Please enjoy this recording of Amazing that the MHS Saxophone Quartet put together virtually. Performers are: Coleman Rose, Caleb Smith, Rowan Leggett and Max Hollingworth-Hays.

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MPS Orchestra Director Debra Miller shares these two pieces for your enjoyment. Shenandoah is from exactly one year ago and can be watched here. This piece from 2017 is an upbeat representation of the orchestra when collaborating with dance.

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Every day is “Celebrate a Musical Senior Day” on the FAME  Facebook page. We sure miss hearing our musicians play together, but we know they are making beautiful music at home. Let’s celebrate them here!

COMMUNITY NEWS

The 43rd Annual Milton 10K/5K Road Race – VIRTUAL EDITION – will be held June 8 – 14, 2020!

As marathons and races across the globe are being postponed, cancelled or transformed during the pandemic, we have made the decision to run the 43rd Annual Milton Road Race as a virtual event. Why are we running? This race, through the collective generosity of you, your neighbors and local businesses, has enabled scholarships for Milton high school students and grants for local community service organizations in Milton for 42 years. All details on this virtual road race can be found here! Please consider signing up at this link  to run soon. All details can be found here.

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Chess Club with Mr. Vigorito continues. Register now for a 3 week June session or the Summer Chess Program.

International Chess Master David Vigorito has been teaching chess in Milton for over 10 years. He teaches at all 4 elementary schools as well as Milton Academy and St. Agatha’s. June Chess information can be found here and Summer Chess information is here. 

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MECA is offering  week two of our Story and Activity Time Series! This week’s story and activity is provided with help from Karen Hainline, a preschool teacher at Village School. Story and Activity Time Video Series, Week Two can be found here.

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Brookwood Farms plans to open their farm stand next week; Tuesday/Thursday 2:00 – 6:30 and Saturday 9:00 – 1:00.  Proper social distancing will be maintained and mask wearing is required and at this time, only credit card payments are accepted with a minimum of $10 purchase and they are working to also accept EBT.

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The Milton Public Library has many virtual programs for children all month long. Details can be found here. 

IMPORTANT MPS CONTACTS

MPS school Adjustment Counselors:  Jennie BeliveauMary Bianca MattocksKenneth Adelmann (Milton High School); Myriam FrancoeurKara Sheridan, Kelly Dearing (Pierce) Jaclyn Germano (Cunningham); Elizabeth Caruso (Collicot) ; Ramsay Cadet (Tucker) Brian Powers, Christine Howley (Glover)

Central Office is staffed every day (we are practicing safe social distancing) and you can reach the Superintendent’s office any time via phone at 617-696-4808 or via email.We have compiled a comprehensive and ever changing list of Frequently Asked Questions linked here. It will be linked on the front of our website and shared in each blog post. Please refer back to it often.

AMBASSADOR PAGE

As part of our E-blast, we highlight students, teachers or members of the community whose hard work deserves recognition.  Please read about some of their accomplishments below:

VOLUNTEERS: Thank you to the MHS, Pierce, Glover, Collicot, Cunningham and Tucker PTOs and the Milton Foundation for Education for recognizing our MPS teachers and staff with a special t-shirt for Teacher and Staff Appreciation Week earlier this month. T-shirts were safely distributed earlier today and we are grateful to our parent groups for this recognition of the hard work and dedication of our staff.

The Milton Public School system does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, gender identity, transgender status, gender transitioning, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its programs, activities or operations. These include, but are not limited to, admissions, equal access to programs and activities, employment, provision of and access to programs and services, as well as selection of volunteers, vendors and employers recruiting at the Milton Public Schools.  We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our staff, students, volunteers, subcontractors, and vendors. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Asst. Superintendent for Curriculum & Human Resources, Dr. Karen Spaulding, (617) 696-5040 ext. 5582.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on May 28,2020

May 21, 2020

From: Mary C. Gormley
To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: May 21, 2020

FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT

Almost every day I receive an email from a Milton Public Schools parent or guardian asking me to remind and help families understand the importance of social distancing and following the directives and guidelines put forth by Governor Baker. This week I have asked Dr. MaryAnn Dakkak, a MPS parent and an Assistant Professor at Boston University who practices at Boston Medical Center to share her thoughts below. I am so grateful to Dr. Dakkak for taking the time  to write to our MPS community.

As a parent of two elementary school children in MPS and a physician working directly with COVID-19, I share many of your fears, concerns, and frustrations. I waffle between two constant worries – worries about contracting and spreading COVID-19 and the effects of isolation on our families and communities. Both have serious risks.

This graph is what I use to help me navigate where I am in my personal response to the COVID-19 pandemic. I’ve used it to help navigate tough meetings between colleagues and PTO meetings about how we should be responding. While it may seem linear, it isn’t, we may be in two or three zones a day.

As we start our third month of physically distancing, we are all exhausted. Exhausted of balancing home and work, exhausted of isolation, exhausted of the fear that this pandemic can bring. Some of us have lost jobs, lost family members, lost friends. As a community we depend on socially close-knit environments. We want and miss so many normal things.

Just this week the governor put out a plan for Massachusetts re-opening. We are currently in Phase 1.  These are the current recommendations:

Many of us have similar questions.

  • Given the data, are there ways to see friends and family that are safe?
  • When are things going to go back to normal?
  • What are the true risks of both COVID-19 and physical isolation?

I have a few answers, and a few articles to point you toward.

  • The risk of COVID-19 infection remains high. The risk of ongoing complications remains unknown. We are seeing rare, but severe cases in kids. We are seeing rare and severe cases in young adults without co-existing health conditions. We are seeing significant asymptomatic spread, which means healthy people are spreading the disease without knowing it. We continue to have over 100 deaths a day in Massachusetts.
  • Where do people catch COVID-19? The majority of the spread is indoors, with prolonged close contact, often with meals, and mostly with people we know. Can one theoretically get it at the supermarket? If you are a worker without a protective mask and gloves, perhaps, if you are a shopper, far less likely. And those grocery stores with many positive workers – it is likely due to spread amongst workers, in close proximity, during times that they are not wearing masks (think breakrooms). The data shows it is not from objects, but from actual people that people are catching the virus from. This article from the Atlantic has more information.
  • Hand washing: COVID-19 requires a mucous membrane to enter and infect someone (think eyes, nose, mouth). If your hand has COVID-19 on it, you will not get sick unless you touch your hands to your face. If you wash your hands before you touch your face, voila, you have washed away the virus. Wash for over 20 seconds, and all surfaces of your hands. To protect others, put on your mask, then wash your hands, and your hands will have none of your own germs to share either.
  • Masks: Per the governor, we must wear masks if not able to maintain 6ft distance apart. I would go further and say if you are having a prolonged exposure (sitting 6ft apart talking for over an hour), you should still wear a mask even if you are 6 ft apart. The mask serves two main goals. 1) People with masks have a hard time touching their mouth and nose – so if you’re out and about, wear a mask so that you don’t touch something, and then touch your face, and 2) People who feel fine and have no symptoms won’t be breathing out more COVID-19 virus for others to catch. It’s springtime, so an accidental sneeze will happen, wearing a mask decreases the amount of particles you will launch into the ecosystem around you. Children over 3 should be able to wear a mask. If you, or your child, cannot tolerate wearing a mask please reduce your exposure to high density places, ie; go out early in the morning or in the early evening when it is less crowded. I never leave home without a mask, and have some in the car just in case. It should go without saying, but if you have any symptoms, please stay home. Contact your physician, and track your symptoms on a symptom tracker, such as this one linked here. 
  • Exercise: It is equally (if not even more) important to continue to get exercise. There is growing evidence that going outdoors, in a physically distanced way, is safe. Go for a physically distanced walk, go early in the morning or in the evening when it is less crowded. Running and cycling are safe and healthy. The evidence that someone running by you, or cycling by you is a threat is actually decreasing as it’s studied more. Again, prolonged exposure is the key. If someone walks/runs/bikes by, a good 6ft away, we are okay. This article gives further information. 
  • Infectiousness is the HIGHEST indoors, long exposure, often with shared meals, close contact, etc. I tell my friends and family, if you’re doing anything to repeatedly touch your face, in a group of people, you are increasing your risk of spreading and catching disease. This means that we may be far away from shared meals, and chips and dip companies are going to struggle. However, physically distanced picnics where everyone brings their own stuff, doesn’t share, and really remains physically distanced may be ok in SMALL groups (<10). Sitting next to someone in close proximity (closer than 6 ft) just breathing, for 50 minutes, is enough to spread enough droplets to cause infection. Talking increases droplets. If we are outside, far apart, it is much safer.
  • Outdoor play that involves sports and passing something from hand to hand would NOT be recommended. We often touch our face when we play sports, and then touching a ball or something that gets passed, is not a safe option. Something safer, may be kicking a ball back and forth (remaining distanced), or hoola hoop with marked spots for kids to stand on, etc, can be safe. I would impress upon everyone that supervision is key. We do tend to drift together, and I wouldn’t trust anyone to maintain the distance without some reminders.
  • Risk stratification: We cannot tell by looking at someone who is high risk and who is low risk for COVID-19. This is why distancing, masks and handwashing is important for everyone. Your healthy neighbor who runs marathons? Maybe she has a new heart valve, or maybe he just finished chemotherapy. Wearing a mask and keeping distance makes our neighbors who have high-risk conditions feel safer. We also cannot tell from a post or a glance who really is in danger living in isolation. If someone is reaching out, or asking for advice or help, they may not be safe in isolation. People need support for their mental and physical health. Again, there are risks to both COVID-19 and isolation, and navigating both while making everyone feel safe is the key. I always encourage people to reach out to their doctors. We have both telehealth and in-person visits available.
  • Innovation: we may be a long way off of “normal” but that doesn’t mean we need to stay trapped inside our homes. We can be safe if we use masks, distance and create new ways to socialize.

I am including these links to help you take a deeper look at risk and plan some safer activities.

One of the reasons we chose Milton when we were moving across the country was the sense of community, the diversity, and the academics. We will all be pressed to think in new ways in the next few months. As we continue to figure out how to navigate these new normals for ourselves and our families, it’s important that we realize that we are all on this adventure together, with different life contexts, and to add some grace with how we treat one another.

MaryAnn Dakkak, MD MSPH
Assistant Professor, Boston University
Hospitalist and Laborist at Boston Medical Center
Women’s Health Director at Manet Community Health Centers

SUMMER PROGRAM UPDATES 

Milton Summer Enrichment: Thank you for your patience as we have navigated the new guidelines and what that means for summer programming here in Milton. With local health department guidance still encouraging social distancing, it is apparent to us that gathering our outstanding group of MSE students will not be possible this summer and so we are canceling Milton Summer Enrichment for summer 2020. We are incredibly sorry to disappoint the students, families, Red Shirts and teachers with this news. MSE is a hallmark of summer in the Milton Community and we cannot wait to have everyone back in 2021!

With gratitude, Cat DesRoche and Ellen Lohan, MSE Directors

Camp Cunningham: Milton Community Schools would like to thank you for your patience as we all navigate through uncertain times. Due to safety limitations imposed by the government and health officials, we have determined that we can’t provide the same experience we had originally planned for Camp Cunningham. We have therefore made the difficult decision to cancel Camp Cunningham this summer. In our decision-making process, we acknowledged that with student and staff safety as the number one priority, MCS is not able to deliver a safe full day camp experience within the capacities and timeframe available to us. We are incredibly sorry to disappoint the students, families, and all the staff with this news. We appreciate how valuable Camp Cunningham is to the Milton Public Schools community and we cannot wait to have everyone back in Summer 2021!

Martha Sandoval
Milton Community Schools Director, Camp Cunningham Director

Special Education:  I hope this note continues to find you all well and safe during this extended closure. Rest assured I am working diligently on behalf of our children and families to bring you up to the moment information about summer services (ESY) for children in Special Education. As you know, this past Monday, Governor Baker announced the beginning of a multiphase reopening for Massachusetts. I have learned that we can expect to hear from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education on how this phased opening will impact summer ESY services. Because we are not fully aware of what this guidance will be, I want to let you know that we are planning for multiple options: Full Remote Summer, Full In Person Summer and a Hybrid Program (where students have a combination of in person and remote services). Our goal, as I have stated, continues to be to begin ESY on July 6.

Anticipating that town wide programs will not be available in the same capacity that they have been in the past, we know how essential it is for our most fragile students to have ESY supports and services, and I am working closely with Bridget Rehenan, the summer ESY Program Director, to secure staff and plan multiple options.

On Friday, the Associate Commissioner for Education, Russell Johnston, will host his weekly Special Education Directors Zoom Meeting. It is my hope he will provide essential guidance this week so that Milton can finalize preparations for summer. If your child receives ESY on his or her IEP you will receive detailed information about what summer programming “looks like” when we receive this crucial guidance from DESE.

As always, please be in touch with any questions. Thank you and stay safe!
Susan Maselli, Administrator for Pupil Personnel Services
617/696-4470 x 5572

SCHOOL COMMITTEE

The next School Committee meeting will be  on May 27 , 2020 at 7pm.  School Committee meetings can be watched On Demand on Milton Access TV or you can join the meeting remotely. Please see the School Committee agendas posted on the Town of Milton Website for remote access.

RESIDENCY RE-ESTABLISHMENT 

In the Spring of 2015, the Milton School Committee passed a Residency Policy that states students who are enrolled in the Milton Public Schools shall be required to re-establish residency prior to entering grade six(6) and/or grade nine(9), and during other times as determined by the Superintendent or his/her designee.  The Residency Policy can be found here. 

As a parent/guardian of a student entering grade six(6) and/or grade nine(9) for the next school year or if you presently have a student entering grade six(6) and/or grade nine(9) who attends an educational program outside of town, you are required to complete the  Re-establish Residency Packet found here. This process is one of the safeguards used by the Milton Public Schools to ensure that all students enrolled in our schools are residents of the Town of Milton. Although the re-registration process may be an inconvenience for some families, we hope that residents understand that this is a valuable tool to protect taxpayers in the Town of Milton. We work year-round on residency issues and this is simply one more method to assist us with ensuring residency compliance.

The district has designated Tuesday, May 26 to Friday, June 12 for the acceptance of Re-establish of Residency Packets. A letter has been sent via email to all families who must re-establish residency and it is linked here. To comply with social distancing, all re-establishments will take place remotely.

The Re-establish Residency Packet can be found here. Please submit your Re-establishment packet between May 26 and June 12 to the following email: residency@miltonps.org.

If you are unable to upload the required documents, please put all necessary documents in a sealed envelope and place in the lockbox which is located outside the main entrance of Milton High School.

Please email Ms. Sarina Burke, MPS Residency Coordinator at sburke@miltonps.org with any questions.

IMPORTANT MPS DATES

Ramadan, the ninth month in the Islamic lunar calendar, is a Muslim religious period that includes fasting from dawn until dusk.  The month of Ramadan ends with the celebration of Eid al-Fitr.  Students who observe Ramadan will have an excused absence for any work that falls during the Eid al-Fitr celebration. Eid al-Fitr 2020 will begin in the evening of Saturday, May 23rd and ends in the evening of Sunday, May 24th. Further, I wish a generous Ramadan to all our Muslim students and families.

FOOD SERVICE

Weekly to-go bags with  7 breakfasts and 7 lunches continue to be available for pick up every Wednesday from 8-9am and 5-6pm at MHS and Tucker.  ANY Milton family is welcome to pick up a weekly to-go bag as the goal is to support any food insecure student.

Yesterday we served 261 students, 3654 meals. Sweet potatoes, corn and grape tomatoes were the veggies this week.

The Milton Public Schools has been awarded a grant to offer weekly produce boxes to families. Starting next week, MPS will be handing out  produce boxes to all  families who pick up weekly breakfast and lunch bags!  Each box will contain carrots, onions, potatoes, romaine hearts, peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, apples, oranges, pears and cantaloupe!

If you have a hardship and are in need of more convenient hours for pick up, please contact Food Service Director Jackie Morgan via email at jmorgan@miltonps.org or phone at 617-898-1051. MPS families in need of support during this time are also encouraged to email MPS Family Outreach Liaison Marti O’Keefe McKenna at mmckenna@miltonps.org or by phone at 617-980-7343.

HIGH SCHOOL HAPPENINGS  

MHS students in Mixed and Treble Chorus tested out some “virtual” performances in preparation for creating a track of the National Anthem for MHS Graduation. Students recorded a small section of the song “Tshotsholoza” (Go Forward), a popular South African freedom song. Each individual track was mixed together to create this virtual choir performance. While singing remotely may be different than singing together, it is so nice to hear our student’s voices! You can hear our students below.

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A crew of more than 20 MHS teachers and staff made stealth deliveries again today, this time with lawn signs specific to each senior. The MHS Boosters, MHS Backstage Boosters, FAME, PTSFO and MHS all collaboarted  on these special lawn signs. We love seeing the smiling faces of our seniors all over town!

There are several ways you can support an MHS senior during this graduation season.

Clap Them Out: On Graduation Day, Sunday, June 7th at 7:20pm, we are asking that Milton residents stand in front of their homes (practicing social distancing) and cheer for 20 seconds in honor of Milton High School’s Class of 2020.

Adopt a Milton 2020 Senior:  Send them a letter, card, gift card, snack – you get the idea, anything to let them know just how proud we are of all their accomplishments. You can join the Facebook page here. If you do not have a Facebook account you can ask a friend to post on Facebook for you with your senior’s bio and picture or email Annellen Lydon at  lydonaev@gmail.com to have your student posted.

Paint the Town Red and White:  Starting June 1st, show your support by displaying Milton colors by decorating your door, fence or mailbox red and white. Display your Milton flag with pride. Wear read and white on June 7th, Graduation Day. Use any creative ways to show your support to our MPS seniors!

20MilesFor2020 Challenge: MHS Athletics would love you to join us in honoring the class of 2020 by participating in our #20MilesFor2020 Challenge. We are challenging members of the MPS Community to stay active and honor the seniors of this year’s graduating class between now and the end of May.

PIERCE PAGES   

Pierce has developed a website to serve as a centralized location for accessing weekly content and assignments for students. Please click here to access the site.

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Mr. Fender’s 8th grade French language arts classes recently completed a “Life in Confinement” autobiography, written as a children’s book.

Students were tasked with writing about their new daily life and encouraged to focus on what makes them happy and healthy. They submitted autobiographical e-books containing a title page and at least 4 pages of the activities they do as a family, the work they do as students, and the socially distant/responsible ways they stay connected to each other. As a surprise to students, two classes in Arles, France were given the same task! Their teacher, Mme Karin Lopez, and Mr. Fender uploaded the e-books from all 4 classes to a virtual library for subsequent comparative studies. We’re hoping this will help contribute to a sense of global community! You can see the individual books in the link here.

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This week seven Pierce students participated in a virtual Rising Leaders Model United Nations conference. Students represented various countries including the United Arab Emirates, Rwanda, Uganda, the United States of America, France, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Kenya. Students worked with delegates from other nations to address and solve topics such as promoting education in the DRC and addressing global wildfires. Students Jasmine Bethea, Taylor Xu, Eleanore Hegarty, Loren Johnson, Patrick Kelly, Leo Waldbaum, and William Malec participated in the event and William Malec won an award for best position paper. COVID-19 can’t stop diplomacy! Thank you to Ms. Augustyn for facilitating.

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7th grade artists in Mr. Manning’s class focused on contemporary artist Tara Donovan, who is known for making huge art installations with items like drinking straws and toothpicks. Students’ objectives were to create a sculpture using ordinary items and recycling materials found in their home. They used headbands, pennies and little toys, soda cans, and one student made himself into a knight using cardboard scraps.

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Last week members of Mr. Deschenes’ 8th grade Acting class participated in a live online session entitled “WarmUps for the Actor” with a guest artist from Boston’s Huntington Theatre Company. A second session with another teaching artist from the Huntington is scheduled for this week. Members of the Pierce Players will also be invited to this. The topic of this session was Script and Character Analysis.

INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

All elementary district wide learning opportunities can be found on the Elementary At-Home Learning Opportunities website, which is linked on each school website as well as the MPS website.

All elementary specialist teachers have live or recorded instructional videos each week on the elementary website. These sessions are being shared by the classroom teacher and being posted on the MPS Elementary At-Home Learning Website.  As well as finding the links to video lessons under your school’s “Weekly Specialists” option, students can continue to access supplemental resource material to enrich at home learning in specific subject areas.

Elementary Music Makers – are you doing the 30 Day Song Challenge?
We hope so! See this Message from your Elementary Music Teachers for details.

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1st grade students in Mme. Brown’s class recently read  a Gafi  story about a trip to Madagascar. Students then packed a  suitcase and learned about animals native to Madagascar. Many students created drawings or collages and learned how to make African masks. Mother’s Day in 1st grade brought memorized French poems and  lemon balms dropped off by Mme. Brown.  Students then planted them in their gardens.

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Our kindergarten students have been very busy developing their literacy skills!
Daily reading, writing, and phonics assignments encourage them to: build words and sentences; read and write sight words; read and respond to a variety of stories.
Keep up the great work kindergarteners! Below you can see Mrs. Kate’s and Mrs. Brandi’s classes in action.

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What’s Going on in String Ensemble? During each week of remote learning,  the Elementary String Ensemble has come together for a Google Meet. Students  share stories about the week, play team-building and content-specific games, perform solos and receive “compliment sandwiches,” and hold “silent rehearsals.” Due to the current technology, musicians at all levels are unable to perform together without encountering lag time between internet speeds. The Elementary String Ensemble has been using the “silent rehearsal” method as an attempt to make music together while being apart. All participants are on mute, except for the instructor, so that the musicians can hear only one musician as opposed to several musicians lagging the internet speed. This makes it easier  to start and end together, but lagging can still occur. Students are not able to perform music in sync, but are able to learn about new techniques for their instruments and ask questions when combined with a pre-recorded lesson. They have recorded a portion of last weeks’ session to share, for those of you who have been wondering how we can still come together as a team. You can watch and listen to the String Ensemble here.

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3rd grade students are concluding their Structures of Life science unit by studying the human skeletal system. Students learned that the human body is one of the most extraordinary systems in the whole world. It is designed for action and movement. Many of our body parts come into action when we perform different movements. To show how all of the bones in the skeletal system are connected and work together, students completed “Mr Bones” puzzles. Some students opted for digital puzzles, while others got creative with paper puzzles. Great job third graders!

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Mrs. Spitz and Mr. Rosner’s 3rd graders are  enjoying their new Bitmojis! Bitmojis are little avatars that look like us. Students are going on adventures with their Bitmojis just like in the book Flat Stanley.Our Bitmojis did crafts by heating up rocks in the oven and writing on them with crayon, made a lego creations, sat among ducklings and went on a visit to Collicot.

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This week, many Tucker and Glover students enjoyed a Q&A session with author Kwame Mbalia as he discussed his book, Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky, and learned about his process as a writer as well as his vision for his characters and the intriguing plot of the story.

This initiative is a product of the collaboration between Tucker and Glover’s Diversity Committees in an effort to introduce our students to diverse authors and perspectives. Special thanks to Sara Crowe and to many of the Glover and Tucker faculty for joining the meeting.  Also thank you to Sara Truog of the Milton Public Library for joining our discussion.

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Mrs. Gale’s 1st graders have been working on literacy skills during remote learning. Students have worked on 4th of July writing, submitting favorite books to the class slideshow, writing projects  and practicing sight words on Whiteboard Wednesday. You can see their hard work below.

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Calling all 5th graders! There are music opportunities ahead. To further assist with the transition to Pierce and the course offerings, our 3 middle school music teachers will be featured in your child’s Grade Five Remote Learning Music Lesson with Mrs. Allegrezza and Ms. Martin next week. Students will be able to virtually meet and listen as Mrs. Julia Hanna discusses the chorus program, Mrs. Debra Miller describes the strings program and Mr. Guillermo Ortiz talks about the band and general music program. Students are sure to be excited about the music staff and programs that await them next year at Pierce!

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Elementary music students will be making homemade instruments next week. This lesson opens discussion and critical thinking about the elements of how sound is produced, how to amplify a sound, and exploring the different families of instruments (strings, brass, woodwinds, and percussion). The homemade music instruments can also assist your student in their weekly music lessons.
Below are some examples of DIY instruments. Some are more extensive than others so please know that it is encouraged to do what works for you and your family. Directions from these examples can be followed, or your student can come up with their own. Most of all – have fun! All details on the lesson can be found here. Thank you to these students for for sharing their examples of a homemade instrument.

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The Glover School has exciting news about their Mama Duck! You can get a sneak peak in the video linked here. 

CURRICULUM CHALLENGE 

Click here for this week’s math puzzles from MPS K-12 Math Director Brian Selig.

TRANSPORTATION 

Registration to ride the bus for the 2020-2021 school year will open online at 8 am on June 1st and close on June 12th at midnight.

Please note that as the Milton Public Schools awaits guidance from Governor Baker and DESE regarding social distancing guidelines in schools and on school buses, bus fees will NOT be collected until actual bus assignments are made over the summer. Bus registration will not require payment of fees at this time. Fees will be assessed and bills emailed over the summer when guidelines and ridership numbers are in place.

The current MPS transportation policy states that in accordance with MA State Law, MPS guarantees transportation to and from school for all students in K-6th grade who live two miles or more from their assigned school, and the remaining seats are sold on a first come first served basis at a fee of $275 per rider with a family maximum of $550. Please note that registration for these remaining seats by June 12th does NOT guarantee a seat on the bus and that there were waiting lists on many routes during the 2019-2020 school year.

Due to the school closure, as part of the registration process families who paid a bus fee this year will have their refund of $90 per rider or $180 family maximum credited toward their bus fee for the upcoming school year. Families can request credits from students not riding in the upcoming year be credited toward siblings in the registration portal. Families that will NOT be registering to ride in the 2020-2021 school year or those who want their refunds now, will have the opportunity to request their refund in check form in a separate online link beginning June 1st as well.

Per MPS policy, any student with an outstanding Food Services bill greater than $20.00 is not allowed to register for any fee-based program (including bus service) until that balance has been paid off. Please contact Director of Nutrition Services Jackie Morgan to settle your food service bill if needed.

Students entering Grades 6 and 9 in the fall will need to complete their residency re-establishment online prior to being issued a bus pass over the summer. You may register for the bus without re-establishing residency but the pass will not be issued until re-establishment is complete.

A bus registration letter and link will be sent next week. Thank you and please direct any transportation questions to Rachel Schewe at bus@miltonps.org.

STUDENT REGISTRATION

During the School Closure, Registrar Sarina Burke will be registering students online when applicable. Effective immediately, the Milton Public Schools will be accepting online registrations for students enrolling for:

  • The remainder of the 2019-20 school year
  • Kindergarten for the 2020 -21 school year
  • Students enrolled in private Kindergarten and wish to enroll their child in Grade 1 in the Milton Public schools for the 2020-2021 school year.

Please do not delay in registering your student in the above categories. As we plan for the 2020-21 school year, accurate numbers are important for staffing and logistics. All other registrations for the school year 2020-2021 will be conducted in July and August 2020. Please visit our registration page for all details on student registration and to register your student who falls into the above categories.

MSAPC 

The fourth in a series of webinars for the Milton community, titled Addiction: Prevention and Hope for Recovery, is on Wednesday, May 27th at 7pm.  The founder and CEO of Learn to Cope, Joanne Peterson, will share what she has learned through her years of helping families who have loved ones struggling with addiction. Potential risky behaviors and warning signs of substance abuse will be explored, as well as what we all can do to support ourselves, our relatives, and our neighbors when a family member becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol.

Each webinar in the Milton Learns Together: Webinar Wednesdays series is approximately 30 minutes long with a question and answer period to follow. They are free and no registration is required. All of the webinars can be accessed by entering this address into your computer’s or phone’s browser: zoom.us/j/92433263470 and entering your name and email.

For more information, please go to the Milton Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition website.

LIBRARY RESOURCES 

MHS Librarian JT Troy shares this information about the Everywhere Book Festival.

As schools across the country closed for the remainder of the year, author and illustrator events were being cancelled as well. In an effort to connect with young readers, Ellen Oh and Christina Soontornvat gathered colleagues together to create the Everywhere Book Festival. The online event was held May 1st-2nd and was promoted as a, “Virtual celebration of authors, books, and readers that brings the book festival experience to everyone”.

If you have a reader in your household and missed the festival live you can catch all the recordings on their website or YouTube Channel. Happy Reading!

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Elementary librarian Josh Coben will host storytime programs on Milton Public Access TV. “Stories out of School” will air in two half-hour segments, “Mr. Coben’s Schoolhouse” (lower elementary) and “Bookquest Milton” (upper elementary). Picture books, chapter books, and poetry will be on the menu, served up by Mr. Coben and school staff guest readers. Our first episodes will feature books by the late Rebecca Bond, a gifted children’s author-illustrator and Cunningham parent.

Episodes will air back-to-back every day from 9:00-10:00 AM and 4:00-5:00 PM on Milton TV’s Education channel, Comcast channel 022 and RCN channel 015. New episodes will air on Mondays and Thursdays, with repeats on the days in between. Check listings for additional airtimes during the day. If you’re not able to catch the broadcasts, most programs will be available on Milton TV’s Video on Demand website.

Click on the links for a sneak peak at the intros for Mr. Coben’s Schoolhouse and Bookquest Milton!

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Glover teachers were “Hungry for a Good Book” this week. You can see how they satisfied their cravings in the video below!

COUNSELORS CORNER 

Each week, one of our MPS  Counselors will share information or resources. Last week,  Collicot and Pierce School Psychologist Lauren Marley wrote to the MPS community. This week, Anya Samuels, School Psychologist PreK-12,  checks in below.

It is nearing the end of May and by now you have heard all the suggestions about keeping structure, outdoor time, practicing gratitude , etc. Everyone is tired of the tips, the reminders to enjoy the special family time, and is feeling the full “quarantine fatigue”. I have heard parents feel like they are supposed to be homeschooling and are failing at it. Or they joke that they just feel like their child’s personal assistant (“Sir, you have a meeting at 9 and a Google Form due by 12. Do you want me to move the 11:00 video conference with Grandma or make it a lunch meeting?”) I have heard from parents that their kids are resisting going outside, overwhelmed by their classmates on the screen, and are pushing back against anything resembling schoolwork. This is all okay. I know parents are reminding their kids (and each other) that they should just be grateful for their health and safe quarantine environment. The easiest and perhaps most successful response (no battles necessary) is simply validating them with empathy. Show your child that you are struggling too and understand. Tell them the things you miss right now…the coworkers you wish you could hug… the restaurants you wish you could go inside. When they say they don’t want to go outside on a beautiful day, tell them about a time you wanted to stay under the covers. You’ll notice their surprise when they see you share this instead of negotiating.

I love the train/tunnel analogy for any overwhelming emotion. Difficult feelings are tunnels and we are the trains. Suppressing emotions, numbing or talking ourselves out of it teaches children that they are not supposed to show negative feelings. Our instinct is to say, “You’re okay!” but we are not teaching resilience or showing empathy. We tell ourselves we shouldn’t complain or cry, or feel our negative emotions. We think our job as parents is to stop the crying as quickly as possible. But the only way to get to that light at the end of the tunnel is to drive our way through.

I try to think of this when my toddler is mid-meltdown, and find that when I just hold him through the screams (much easier now that we are never in public), it ends more quickly than when I try to negotiate or redirect. My eardrums may still ring for the next hour, and I can visualize a new gray hair forming at my scalp, but it is worth seeing him experience both his disappointment and his ability to move on. This process, I am certain, he will need to practice throughout his life.

Dr. Rebecca Branstetter reminds us that connection is the most important, not keeping a structured schedule or comparing against those less fortunate so we can feel more grateful. She writes, “In stressful times, children will be protected if they are connected. When all this is done and our kids go back to their schools, we can have given them the gift of connection and some new social-emotional and problem-solving skills.”

Hang in there, and we will all reach the end of this tunnel, as long and dark as it may seem. Even if our eardrums and (natural) hair color will never be the same.

FAMILY RESOURCES 

Food Resources: MPS Food Service To-Go Program is a valuable resource to assist families in providing nutritious breakfast and lunches to their children. Pick up times are 8-9am and 5-6pm at both the Tucker School (behind the school) and Milton High School (on the Canton Ave side of the building). ANY Milton family is welcome to pick up 7 days worth of breakfasts and lunches in a To-Go bag as the goal is to support any food insecure students.

Interfaith Social Services Pantry Shelf If you are in need of additional food the Interfaith Social Services Food Pantry, located at 105 Adams St., Quincy is open Monday – Friday, 10-11:45am and Wednesdays 5-7pm for families in need during this difficult time.  

Project Bread shares information and links to food assistance programs in Massachusetts here. 

Brookwood Community Farm SNAP CSA shares application: Brookwood Community Farm is currently accepting applications for SNAP CSA shares separately for Summer and/or for Fall.  It will be a half share, collected every 2 weeks, where $40/month is deducted through EBT (while HIP puts $40 back on their account).  Any questions can be directed to president@brookwoodcommunityfarm.org or call the farm phone which is 339-502-0826.

The Milton Community Food Pantry located in the Parkway Methodist Church, 158 Blue Hills Parkway will NOT be open this Saturday, May 23rd.  The pantry has shifted to an every other Saturday schedule.  

Financial Support:  Milton Residents Fund MRF Any Milton residents 18 or older facing a financial crisis can reach out to the MRF for help with things like rental or mortgage assistance, utility assistance, winter heating oil, small car repair fees, educational or professional development fees, or medical expenses. 

Support Services: The BRYT (Bridge For Resilient Youth in Transition) Family Engagement Team is offering support to families to help manage these difficult times during the state school suspension.  Parent Support Group ; Parent Support Webinar; COVID-19 ; Community Resources; Facebook – BRYT offers a closed Facebook group for peer to peer support. Come talk with parents who are going through similar situations. Just search “BRYT Family Support” and ask to join.

Tutoring: Free Tutoring Resource for Military Connected Students can be found on Tutor.com/military.

MPS Family Liaison: Milton Public Schools is committed to being a resource for you. Whether you are unsure of how to connect with school staff or directly need a referral for services or supplies please don’t hesitate to reach out to Marti O’Keefe McKenna, MPS Family Outreach Liaison at 617-980-7343 or by email at mmckenna@miltonps.org. All calls and emails are confidential.

PHYSICAL EDUCATION/HEALTH 

Noel Vigue, Director of Health and Physical Education, shares the following.

Fostering healthy behaviors, staying active, and eating nutritiously at home are vital for children’s development for many reasons. Practicing health at home:

  • Helps build resilience and the ability to better manage stressors
  • Helps prevent disease and boosts the immune system
  • Reinforces lessons learned at school 

When kids are out of school for any reason, whether it’s the weekend, a holiday break, or a school closure, parents and caregivers can use these activities and resources to keep their kids moving, learning and eating healthy.   

Exercise regularly (see CDC recommendations) and try to get outside every day (while practicing social distancing and following MA and local guidelines) weather permitting.

ART AND MUSIC  

If you are missing hearing our talented students, we have some good news for you!  The MHS Virtual Cabaret is online and can be found here. This is the first of two Cabarets that will be released. Enjoy!

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Every day is “Celebrate a Musical Senior Day” on the FAME  Facebook page. We sure miss hearing our musicians play together, but we know they are making beautiful music at home. Let’s celebrate them here!

The MHS Theatre Boosters and Mr. Black have created a shout out for each graduating senior in the theatre program to take their “final bow”. We applaud them here!

ATHLETICS

Senior Student-Athlete Spotlight
Each day we will spotlight our senior student-athletes from the spring season. Our student-athletes have worked for years towards their senior year. Some are captains, some are playing their last competitive season, others were looking for a 3rd straight State Title. Social Distancing will without a doubt save lives, but for our student-athletes, right now, it still hurts to miss out on their final season. Let’s give them the recognition they deserve! Here are this week’s highlights.

Maggie Haley: As a member of the Crew Team, Maggie has held up the team through fall, winter and spring. A winter/spring rower, Maggie has, nevertheless, popped into a boat in the fall and raced for us as a sub for missing rowers! One call, and Maggie showed up! She’s led not only by example, but also by inclusion, engagement and imagination.

Anna Kennedy: Anna is one of the better athletes in the school. She played Field Hockey, Ice Hockey, Lacrosse, and was set to run her second season of Outdoor Track this spring. Her winning attitude is contagious among her teammates, but her sarcasm and sense of humor lightens the mood when necessary. Especially as an Assistant Captain for the Hockey Team, she took each game and practice seriously and made sure her teammates did as well. She would never shy away from a challenge and that attitude will be tough to replicate next season.

Jason Cardoso: Jason’s deceptive speed on the wing leave many a defender tackling air. His gentle spirit goes into beast mode when defending our half of the field. He was a great impact player during the last two season in the team’s back-to-back State Championships! Part of a senior class that could have won three straight titles! Best of luck to Jason next year!

COMMUNITY NEWS 

The neighborhood of Smith Road, Beacon Street, Beacon Street Circle and Carlson Road showed their appreciation to their neighbors,  MGH Nurse Patty Harris and MGH Dr. Trish Guglietta this week. We are all so grateful to our frontline healthcare workers!

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The 43rd Annual Milton 10K/5K Road Race – VIRTUAL EDITION – will be held June 8 – 14, 2020!

As marathons and races across the globe are being postponed, cancelled or transformed during the pandemic, we have made the decision to run the 43rd Annual Milton Road Race as a virtual event. Why are we running? This race, through the collective generosity of you, your neighbors and local businesses, has enabled scholarships for Milton high school students and grants for local community service organizations in Milton for 42 years. All details on this virtual road race can be found here! Please consider signing up at this link  to run soon. All details can be found here.

IMPORTANT MPS CONTACTS

MPS school Adjustment Counselors:  Jennie BeliveauMary Bianca MattocksKenneth Adelmann (Milton High School); Myriam FrancoeurKara Sheridan, Kelly Dearing (Pierce) Jaclyn Germano (Cunningham); Elizabeth Caruso (Collicot) ; Ramsay Cadet (Tucker) Brian Powers, Christine Howley (Glover)

Central Office is staffed every day (we are practicing safe social distancing) and you can reach the Superintendent’s office any time via phone at 617-696-4808 or via email.We have compiled a comprehensive and ever changing list of Frequently Asked Questions linked here. It will be linked on the front of our website and shared in each blog post. Please refer back to it often.

The Milton Public School system does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, gender identity, transgender status, gender transitioning, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its programs, activities or operations. These include, but are not limited to, admissions, equal access to programs and activities, employment, provision of and access to programs and services, as well as selection of volunteers, vendors and employers recruiting at the Milton Public Schools.  We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our staff, students, volunteers, subcontractors, and vendors. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Asst. Superintendent for Curriculum & Human Resources, Dr. Karen Spaulding, (617) 696-5040 ext. 5582.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on May 21, 2020

May 14, 2020

From: Mary C. Gormley
To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: May 14, 2020

FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT

As we look ahead to the next five and a half weeks of remote learning in the Milton Public Schools, I want to take a moment to discuss and reframe some of the expectations we have for our students.

As the school closure has twice been extended, there have been 3 phases of remote learning in MPS with the most recent phase beginning this past week. With this final phase of remote learning, we are shifting the language around student expectations. Our goal is 100% student participation in 100% of the meetings, lessons and activities offered by classroom teachers and specialists every week. As Commissioner Riley wrote in a recent letter, “We understand that some families are experiencing financial strain, job and food insecurity, mental and physical health issues, or other difficulties and academics may not be the primary focus right now.  At the same time, we need to be sure that students are attentive to the critical skills and knowledge they need to move on to the next level.  There is a balance between “holding students harmless” for circumstances beyond their control while still holding them accountable for work and performance.” Simply put, this means that while we know there may be extenuating circumstances in your home and we will accommodate those as we always have, we highly encourage, and the expectation is, full participation in all classroom meetings, lessons and activities. Teachers will be giving timely feedback on all work submitted, just as they would during a regular school week.

As outlined in a recent blog post,  your child should be experiencing more teacher-facing online opportunities, from both their classroom and specialist teachers, as well as  regular office hours or study halls so that your child has live access to their core teacher(s) on a regular basis. This will continue through the last day of school on June 23rd.

Commissioner Riley sent a letter to all parents and guardians on May 8th outlining the phases of remote learning. I encourage you to read it in the link here. As always, I appreciate your continued partnership and invite you to contact your child’s teacher or principal with any comments or concerns about your child’s school experience.

SCHOOL COMMITTEE

The next School Committee meeting will be  on May 27 , 2020 at 7pm.  School Committee meetings can be watched On Demand on Milton Access TV or you can join the meeting remotely. Please see the School Committee agendas posted on the Town of Milton Website for remote access.

RESIDENCY RE-ESTABLISHMENT 

In the Spring of 2015, the Milton School Committee passed a Residency Policy that states “students who are enrolled in the Milton Public Schools shall be required to re-establish residency prior to entering grades six and nine as well as Milton Public School students who attend school out-of-town.*” The Residency Policy can be found here. 

Families who have students in these categories are required to complete the Re-establish Residency Packet found here and provide all necessary documentation. This process is one of the safeguards used by the Milton Public Schools to ensure that all students enrolled in our schools are residents of the town of Milton. Although the re-establsihment process may be an inconvenience for some families, we hope that residents understand that this is a valuable tool to protect taxpayers in the town of Milton. We work year-round on residency issues and this is simply one more method to assist us with ensuring residency compliance.

The district has designated Monday May 25th to Friday June 12th  2020, for the acceptance of Re-establish of Residency Packets. An email will be sent next week to all families who must re-establish residency. To comply with social distancing, all re-establishments will take place remotely.

The Re-establish Residency Packet can be found here. Please submit your Re-establishment between May 25th and June 12th package to the following email: residency@miltonps.org.

If you are unable to upload the required documents, please put all necessary documents in a sealed envelope and place in the lockbox which is located outside the main entrance of Milton High School.

Please email Ms. Sarina Burke, MPS Residency Coordinator at sburke@miltonps.org with any questions.

A NOTE FROM THE NURSE 

MPS Director of Nurses, Kim Coughlin, shares the following information.

This week marks two months since we began remote learning and self-isolating to comply with the Governor’s stay-at-home order.

As of next week the Governor has announced gradual re-openings in some areas, but we still could be more than a year away from life returning to normal. Experts agree that we will need to continue with social distancing and wear masks when we may come within 6 feet of others. Here are some links from the CDC in regards to social distancing- the “Tips for Social Distancing” is especially helpful and gives guidance on the how/ why this is important. It also gives a simple, easy explanation of the correct way to wear and clean face coverings and how to make them at home.

IMPORTANT MPS DATES

Ramadan, the ninth month in the Islamic lunar calendar, is a Muslim religious period that includes fasting from dawn until dusk.  The month of Ramadan ends with the celebration of Eid al-Fitr.  Students who observe Ramadan will have an excused absence for any work that falls during the Eid al-Fitr celebration. Eid al-Fitr 2020 will begin in the evening of Saturday, May 23rd and ends in the evening of Sunday, May 24th. Further, I wish a generous Ramadan to all our Muslim students and families.

FOOD SERVICE

Weekly to-go bags with  7 breakfasts and 7 lunches are available for pick up every Wednesday from 8-9am and 5-6pm at MHS and Tucker. These FREE 7  day to-go bags contain low sugar cereal, shelf stable milk, sunbutter and jelly sandwiches, grilled cheese sandwiches, fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, and snack bags. ANY Milton family is welcome to pick up a weekly to-go bag as the goal is to support any food insecure student.  As of yesterday, we have served 25,082 meals to students since remote learning began on March 16th!

If you would like to apply for Free and Reduced meals, for once school is back in session please see this link for the application and more information. These weekly to-go bags of breakfasts and lunches are available to ALL Milton students during the school closing.

If you have a hardship and are in need of more convenient hours for pick up, please contact Food Service Director Jackie Morgan via email at jmorgan@miltonps.org or phone at 617-898-1051. MPS families in need of support during this time are also encouraged to email MPS Family Outreach Liaison Marti O’Keefe McKenna at mmckenna@miltonps.org or by phone at 617-980-7343.

HIGH SCHOOL HAPPENINGS  

MHS student Edward Enyedy’s process video for one of his AP Art Portfolio pieces based on Hercules 12 Labors is worth the watch. You can see this talented artist in action below!

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The Elephant in the Room has produced it’s first-ever digital issue. Thank you to all who have been involved in keeping the student newspaper alive during the school closure. Contributing to this issue included  Will Scannell , Charlotte Lawrence , Ralph Destin, Brandon Seeto, Matthew Sullivan, Elliot Cargill, Isabel Murley, Claire Walko, Ian Lundeen, Joe Krueger, Katie Wrightington, Molly Strout, Taliah Gabriel  and advisor Mr. Young. You can read the digital edition here! 

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The MHS PTSFO and MHS Athletics have several ways you can support an MHS season during this graduation season.

Adopt a Milton 2020 Senior:  Send them a letter, card, gift card, snack – you get the idea, anything to let them know just how proud we are of all their accomplishments. You can join the Facebook page here. If you do not have a Facebook account you can ask a friend to post on Facebook for you with your senior’s bio and picture or email Annellen Lydon at  lydonaev@gmail.com to have your student posted.

Paint the Town Red and White:  Starting June 1st, show your support by displaying Milton colors by decorating your door, fence or mailbox red and white. Display your Milton flag with pride. Wear read and white on June 7th, Graduation Day. Use any creative ways to show your support to our MPS seniors! 

20MilesFor2020 Challenge: MHS Athletics would love you to join us in honoring the class of 2020 by participating in our #20MilesFor2020 Challenge. We are challenging members of the MPS Community to stay active and honor the seniors of this year’s graduating class between now and the end of May. Here is how you can participate:

  • Choose a day between now and May 31st to complete 20 miles of walking, running, biking, hiking, etc.
  • You can complete all 20 miles on your own or as part of a relay team that works remotely with one another to complete the challenge. Get your friends, sports team, club, music group, or family to join you! Split up the mileage among team members and have some fun!
  • Snap a selfie or picture of the mileage on your watch/phone/bike and tag @MHS_Wildcats_ on Twitter using the hashtag #20MilesFor2020 to show your support!

PIERCE PAGES   

Pierce has developed a website to serve as a centralized location for accessing weekly content and assignments for students. Please click here to access the site.

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Congratulations to this year’s winners of the  Pierce STEM Fair! Please join us in congratulating the following students:

Best Design Engineering Project

  • William Rhee and Dominic Schettino, Grade 6 – Could We Design Hover Cars to Help Stop Global Warming?

Best Experimental Project

  • 1st place: Lilly Oslin, Grade 7- Will planting seeds or plants in soil reduce the amount of soil erosion?
  • 2nd place: Sydney Burns and Isabella Lee, Grade 7 – Does it matter what you say or how you say it? Which makes the biggest impact?
    3rd place: Ryan Denny, Grade 6 – How does the design of a bridge affect the amount of weight it can hold?

Honorable Mention for Scientific Experimentation

  • Chidubem Unamka and Edidiong Ebong, Grade 7 – How do different fuels affect the height of a bottle rocket in flight?
  • Madison Sison, Grade 6 – Which fabric burns quickest?

Honorable Mention for Outstanding Presentation: The judges want to recognize these students who impressed us with their ability to not only speak about their projects but also answer questions with a level of scientific expertise that exceeded expectations.

  • Cora Redmond, Grade 8 – Is there a correlation between musical background and the ability to sing in-tune?
  • Kyle Denny, Grade 8 – What is the most efficient type of battery for storing electrical energy in a power grid?

We had several students who were planning to represent the Pierce at the next level of competition, the Region V Science Fair at Regis College. Unfortunately, the fair was cancelled, but we would like to recognize: William Rhee, Dominic Schettino, Ryan Denny, Ella Cantor, Sydney Burns, Isabella Lee, Chidubem Unamka, Edidiong Ebong and Kyle Denny.

Pierce also had four students who were selected as winners in the Cambridge Science Festival’s Curiosity Challenge. In addition to receiving a certificate of recognition, the student’s entries will be published in a book. We can’t wait to see their wonderings in print! Congratulations to 6th graders Emma Dhima, Charlotte Garrity and  Fiona Tobin and 7th grader Ruby Dolgon!

INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

All elementary district wide learning opportunities can be found on the Elementary At-Home Learning Opportunities website, which is linked on each school website as well as the MPS website.

All elementary specialist teachers have live or recorded instructional videos each week on the elementary website. These sessions are being shared by the classroom teacher and being posted on the MPS Elementary At-Home Learning Website.  As well as finding the links to video lessons under your school’s “Weekly Specialists” option, students can continue to access supplemental resource material to enrich at home learning in specific subject areas.

We found this  Etiquitte for Online Learning video to be helfpful in setting expectations and hope you will take a minute to watch with your child.

Elementary Music Makers – are you doing the 30 Day Song Challenge?
We hope so! See this Message from your Elementary Music Teachers for details.

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Glover student’s in Mrs.McCarthy’s 1st grade class recent social studies lesson was about the American Flag and the symbols associated with it. Students were then asked to design their own flag and share what the symbols represent.

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This week’s elementary art lesson is about the art element Value. Value is how light or dark a color is, as well as light and dark on objects, including shadows. Students were asked to design their own ice cream cone and practice using value to color it in using any materials they may have at home.

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Thank you to Cunningham parnet Elena Stoeva who taught an amazing video art class last week  for Cunningham teachers and their families for teacher appreciation week.

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Cunningham 5th graders enjoyed a surprise visit this week as teachers delivered their 5th grade t-shirts. Thank you to Mrs. Chen, Ms. Germano, Mrs. Harkins, Mrs. Hunt, Mrs. Joyce, Ms. Macomber, Mrs. McClain, Mrs. McDonough, Ms. Morton, Mrs. Gray, Mrs. Nolan, Ms. Watrous and Mrs. Zoll for making deliveries Happy smiles all around!

CURRICULUM CHALLENGE 

Click here for this week’s math puzzles from MPS K-12 Math Director Brian Selig.

TRANSPORTATION 

Registration to ride the bus for the 2020-2021 school year will open online at 8 am on June 1st and close on June 12th at midnight.

Please note that as the Milton Public Schools awaits guidance from Governor Baker and DESE regarding social distancing guidelines in schools and on school buses, bus fees will NOT be collected until actual bus assignments are made over the summer. Bus registration will not require payment of fees at this time. Fees will be assessed and bills emailed over the summer when guidelines and ridership numbers are in place.

The current MPS transportation policy states that in accordance with MA State Law, MPS guarantees transportation to and from school for all students in K-6th grade who live two miles or more from their assigned school, and the remaining seats are sold on a first come first served basis at a fee of $275 per rider with a family maximum of $550. Please note that registration for these remaining seats by June 12th does NOT guarantee a seat on the bus and that there were waiting lists on many routes during the 2019-2020 school year.

Due to the school closure, as part of the registration process families who paid a bus fee this year will have their refund of $90 per rider or $180 family maximum credited toward their bus fee for the upcoming school year. Families can request credits from students not riding in the upcoming year be credited toward siblings in the registration portal. Families that will NOT be registering to ride in the 2020-2021 school year or those who want their refunds now, will have the opportunity to request their refund in check form in a separate online link beginning June 1st as well.

Per MPS policy, any student with an outstanding Food Services bill greater than $20.00 is not allowed to register for any fee-based program (including bus service) until that balance has been paid off. Please contact Director of Nutrition Services Jackie Morgan to settle your food service bill if needed.

Students entering Grades 6 and 9 in the fall will need to complete their residency re-establishment online prior to being issued a bus pass over the summer. You may register for the bus without re-establishing residency but the pass will not be issued until re-establishment is complete.

Thank you and please direct any transportation questions to Rachel Schewe at bus@miltonps.org.

STUDENT REGISTRATION

During the School Closure, Registrar Sarina Burke will be registering students online when applicable. Effective immediately, the Milton Public Schools will be accepting online registrations for students enrolling for:

  • The remainder of the 2019-20 school year
  • Kindergarten for the 2020 – 21 school year
  • Students enrolled in private Kindergarten and wish to enroll their child in Grade 1 in the Milton Public schools for the 2020-2021 school year.

Please do not delay in registering your student in the above categories. As we plan for the 2020-21 school year, accurate numbers are important for staffing and logistics.

All other registrations for the school year 2020-2021 will be conducted in July and August 2020.

Please visit our registration page for all details on student registration and to register your student who falls into the above categories.

MSAPC 

The MSAPC is offering Webinar Wednesdays this month. Each webinar in the Milton Learns Together: Webinar Wednesdays series is approximately 30 minutes long with a question and answer period to follow. They are free and no registration is required. All of the webinars can be accessed by entering this address into your computer’s or phone’s browser: zoom.us/j/92433263470 and entering your name and email.

Next Wednesday, May 20th at 7pm, the webinar is titled, “Hidden in Plain Sight”. 

The situation presented to us by COVID-19 comes at a time when tobacco companies are adjusting to the new legal landscape of vaping in Massachusetts.  We are seeing new, emerging products that are targeted at youth.  In part 1 of this webinar, find out about these products, what they do and what they look like, from a presentation by Mary Cole, of the Greater Boston Tobacco-Free Community Partnership.  She will also review how vaping has shown to complicate COVID-19 infections as well as discuss free cessation resources for those who want to quit.  

In part 2, Stormy Leung, MSAPC’s Project Coordinator will take you on a virtual tour of a mock teenage bedroom.  Do you know where the drugs and alcohol might be hidden?  Are there clues here that might indicate drug or alcohol use?  Finally, she will share some prevention tips and resources for families.  

For more information, please go to the Milton Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition website.

TECHNOLOGY 

You can find all technology  resources about Google Classroom, Plus Portals, Study Island and Chromebooks in this document. 

Are you looking for support with parental controls over your home network?  If so, please check out Common Sense Media’s Parents Ultimate Guide to Parental Controls . Also, if you have Xfinity by Comcast here is information they provide.

LIBRARY RESOURCES 

Elementary librarian Josh Coben will host storytime programs on Milton Public Access TV starting on Monday, May 18. “Stories out of School” will air in two half-hour segments, “Mr. Coben’s Schoolhouse” (lower elementary) and “Bookquest Milton” (upper elementary). Picture books, chapter books, and poetry will be on the menu, served up by Mr. Coben and school staff guest readers. Our first episodes will feature books by the late Rebecca Bond, a gifted children’s author-illustrator and Cunningham parent.

Episodes will air back-to-back every day from 9:00-10:00 AM and 4:00-5:00 PM on Milton TV’s Education channel, Comcast channel 022 and RCN channel 015. New episodes will air on Mondays and Thursdays, with repeats on the days in between. Check listings for additional airtimes during the day. If you’re not able to catch the broadcasts, most programs will be available on Milton TV’s Video on Demand website.

Click on the links for a sneak peak at the intros for Mr. Coben’s Schoolhouse and Bookquest Milton!

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Pierce Librarian Jess Royster shares the following. Looking for ways to entertain your students (or yourself)? Do you feel like your life is lacking culture while self isolating? There is a simple solution to that! Check out different museum websites! You can travel far to the Louvre, or stay local at the Museum of Fine Arts or the Boston Museum of Science. All of these websites are offering online gallery tours, articles, music and more.

If you are more into cultural sites, then you can travel the world using Google maps street view and Google Earth. The National Park Service is offering virtual tours of historic sites, monuments and our beautiful national parks.

COUNSELORS CORNER 

Each week, one of our MPS  Counselors will share information or resources. Last week,  Mr. Cadet from Tucker wrote to the MPS community. This week,  Collicot and Pierce School Psychologist Layren Marley checks in below.

Throughout the Covid-19 crisis I have applied several strategies that promote my own self- care, while also supporting my children’s and students’ needs during this pandemic. However, one area that tends to fall lower on my priority list is my relationship with my significant other. Each and every one of us has our own unique situation that looks very different not only from family to family, but even within our family, change occurs day to day. This new normal has added more levels of stress and could possibly contribute to more disagreements that weren’t present prior to coronavirus. For example the breakdown of communication can cause disagreements in some of these areas: home learning/teaching practices, creating new routines, balancing work and virtual meetings among everyone in the household, best ways to communicate with our children about the virus, or how much technology should be allotted each day. This past week it was evident that me and my husband’s stamina had run out and we both were running on empty. The lack of energy and added stress resulted in heightened levels of frustration and being easily annoyed with each other. I realized that self-care is key to successfully getting through the home challenges of this pandemic, but maintaining a healthy relationship and connecting with my significant other is equally important. It was then that we started putting to practice some skills and strategies that I have learned in the past many years working in my field. These strategies helped bring balance back to our relationship with each other which in turn helped us to better support our family. Here are some tips that we found helpful and I hope that you will find them helpful too!

Tips to Nurture Partner Care

  1. Perspective is Everything-Sometimes it can feel that with all of this added stress and disruption your relationship is the crisis, when in reality your relationship is just living through a crisis. Talk about past relationship victories to remind yourselves of how you persevered through prior challenges, which confirms your resiliency as a couple. 
  2. Amp up the Communication– The more stress that is placed on a relationship, the more the communication needs to increase. This needs to be intentional, supportive, and constructive.

Discuss needs with daily check ins. This can be as simple as one word check ins (e.g. tired, energized, frustrated) and can be done with all members of the family.  

Family Gap Plan-Ever since we have been social distancing and remote learning, it seems like we are working harder than we ever have. Some days it seems that we are being asked to give more than what we are physically and/or emotionally able to give. Dr. Brene Brown developed the family gap plan which allows the family to bridge the gap that is caused by these stressful and challenging times. For example my husband may be at a 30% and I may be at a 30%, and we need to come together to see how we will make up the 40% by establishing some family guidelines and supports. For that day it may include: schoolwork/teaching time is going to be reduced by half, no harsh words or critiques, allowing everyone a 15 minute alone downtime, and extra hugs and compliments.  Every family is different and their plans will have different supports. Depending on the day, even plans/supports that have been successful in the past, may need some tweaking. Thus making those daily check ins necessary and meaningful.  

  1. Date Nights. Get Creative!– At least twice a month my husband and I plan a night where we set up a movie for our kids, and we have a home date. Plan a time to watch your favorite show or movie, get dressed up, or play a game. My sister recently found a creative way to hold a home date by working around her toddlers naptime. While parked in the driveway, her daughter slept in the car seat, as she and her husband enjoyed some delivered food in their car.  It is important to reframe date night expectations. We have accepted that our date nights look different from those prior to covid and now include the interruption of our kids asking for snacks every 30 minutes, or a sibling argument that needs to be resolved!  In reframing our expectations, we can still enjoy the time we set aside for each other. 
  2. Gratitude– Simply taking the time to thank your partner or family members can make a huge impact! Studies show that when people practice expressing gratitude, they have higher levels of optimism, increased life satisfaction, and decreased negative feelings. Additionally, people who regularly express gratitude appreciate close relationships and feel better about life and work. Remember that gratitude is not about comparison, but rather looking at your life and finding what you can be appreciative for.

You all are doing an amazing job. Remember to find the positives and take time out of your day to smile and laugh with one another. This pandemic will come to an end, and if we focus on the well-being of ourselves, our relationships, and our community, we will all be stronger because of it!

FAMILY RESOURCES 

Food Resources: MPS Food Service To-Go Program is a valuable resource to assist families in providing nutritious breakfast and lunches to their children. Pick up times are 8-9am and 5-6pm at both the Tucker School (behind the school) and Milton High School (on the Canton Ave side of the building). ANY Milton family is welcome to pick up 7 days worth of breakfasts and lunches in a To-Go bag as the goal is to support any food insecure students.

The Milton Community Food Pantry located in the Parkway Methodist Church, 158 Blue Hills Parkway will be open this Saturday, May 16th from 9:15 – 11:15am with pre-bagged food ready to go for anyone that is in need. 

Interfaith Social Services Pantry ShelfIf you are in need of additional food the Interfaith Social Services Food Pantry, located at 105 Adams St., Quincy is open Monday – Friday, 10-11:45am and Wednesdays 5-7pm for families in need during this difficult time.  

Project Bread shares information and links to food assistance programs in Massachusetts here. 

Financial Support:  Milton Residents Fund MRF Any Milton residents 18 or older facing a financial crisis can reach out to the MRF for help with things like rental or mortgage assistance, utility assistance, winter heating oil, small car repair fees, educational or professional development fees, or medical expenses. 

Support Services: The BRYT (Bridge For Resilient Youth in Transition) Family Engagement Team is offering support to families to help manage these difficult times during the state school suspension.  Parent Support Group ; Parent Support Webinar; COVID-19 ; Community Resources; Facebook – BRYT offers a closed Facebook group for peer to peer support. Come talk with parents who are going through similar situations. Just search “BRYT Family Support” and ask to join.

Tutoring: Free Tutoring Resource for Military Connected Students can be found on Tutor.com/military.

MPS Family Liaison: Milton Public Schools is committed to being a resource for you. Whether you are unsure of how to connect with school staff or directly need a referral for services or supplies please don’t hesitate to reach out to Marti O’Keefe McKenna, MPS Family Outreach Liaison at 617-980-7343 or by email at mmckenna@miltonps.org. All calls and emails are confidential.

ART AND MUSIC 

The instrumental Applied Lessons Program has been continuing virtually through this time. Our students have been engaged in video lessons and recitals with their teacher and peers. Recently, one of our flute teachers Ms. Chu held a recital with her elementary flute students!

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Every day is “Celebrate a Musical Senior Day” on the FAME  Facebook page. We sure miss hearing our musicians play together, but we know they are making beautiful music at home. Let’s celebrate them here!

Josh Riggs Chorus- Bass, Ensembles:​ ​Mixed Chorus, Select Chorus, Numerous after school ensembles.

  • What is your favorite memory as a member of the MHS Music Department? Spending hours after school in the chorus room writing music with my friend and just having fun making songs.
  • What are your future plans?I plan on teaching dance while pursuing a degree in physics.
  • What has music meant to you? It’s given me an outlet through which I could express myself, It gave me a community in which I felt I belonged.
  • What are you listening to now?​ ​Hip hop/Rap

Bjonnce Morris  Band- Alto Saxophone – Ensembles:​ ​Concert Band, Pep Band

  • What is your favorite memory as a member of the MHS Music Department? My first time volunteering at the Senior District was very memorable.
  • What are your future plans? I’m going to study Business but Music will always be a part of my daily life.
  • What has music meant to you? Music is what I really revolve around.
  • What are you listening to now?​ ​A Classical Strings Playlist

Kathryn McCarthy Band- Clarinet; Ensembles:​ ​Concert Band, Marching Band

  • What are you listening to now? Oldies from the early 2000’s
  • What is your favorite memory as a member of the MHS Music Department? All of the band camps for marching band! from the sweltering heat to pouring rain, we were always able to laugh and make jokes with each other while learning a show that would keep everyone entertained for the fall season.
  • What are your future plans? Suffolk University- Biochemistry
  • What has music meant to you? Music has been a part of my life since I was born and I am grateful for that. It has helped build me into the person I am today. Music also has the ability to brighten my day in any situation and I am proud that I now have the ability to play an instrument and will always have that ability.

Mikey McCarthy Chorus- Tenor Ensembles:​ ​Mixed Chorus

  • What are you listening to now? Michael Buble
  • What is your favorite memory as a member of the MHS Music Department? My favorite memory of the department is always the music banquet. I love that one night all the music students come together to celebrate each other.
  • What are your future plans? I will be attending college next year but I have not decided which one yet, I will be studying stage management and technical theatre.
  • What has music meant to you?Music has always meant a lot for me. I never found myself truly enjoying myself playing on the field or court, but I always enjoyed music. I have been tap dancing for 15 years and it has been the most important part of my life since I started. Music has always been about making friends, doing what you love, and being who you want to be.

Danielle Needham Band- Percussion; Ensembles:​ ​Percussion Ensemble, Concert Band, Pep Band

  • What are you listening to now? Metal
  • What is your favorite memory as a member of the MHS Music Department? My favorite memory is freshman year, during the band photo, the percussion section held up all their instruments, including a bass drum, crash cymbals, bells, etc.
  • What are your future plans? Xavier University
  • What has music meant to you? Music is a way to express yourself and release all the stress and confusion of the world. Music does not always make sense and that’s the fun of it, it doesn’t have to! Music can mean whatever you want it to.

Rowan Leggett Band/Jazz-Alto Saxophone; Ensembles:​ ​Band, Jazz 1 and 2, Marching Band, Mixed After School Chorus, Acapella, Saxophone Quartet

  • What are you listening to now?Jazz and Pop
  • What is your favorite memory as a member of the MHS Music Department? Taking part in the musical for the first time and meeting such an accepting and friendly group of people.
  • What are your future plans? I want to pursue a career in musical theatre and will be attending Temple University.
  • What has music meant to you? Music has been everything to me. It helped me through the more difficult times in my life, and has given me a career that I feel truly passionate about.

Kate Possi Strings- Cello, Jazz- Guitar;  Ensembles:​ ​MHS String Ensemble, MHS Jazz Band, MHS Marching Band, and MHS Percussion Ensemble

  • What are you listening to now? Jazz Guitarist Emily Remler and Singer/Songwriter Julia Jacklin
  • What is your favorite memory as a member of the MHS Music Department? Going to MICCA and being a part of the MHS Marching Band!
  • What are your future plans? I intend on pursuing a career in Music Education at the University of New Hampshire.
  • What has music meant to you? Music has introduced me to an incredible group of people and it has given me an outlet to share my art and what I’m passionate about with the people I care about.

Ava Duggan Band/Jazz- Clarinet; Ensembles:​ ​Jazz, Marching Band, Band

  • What are you listening to now? A lot of alternative/classic rock
  • What is your favorite memory as a member of the MHS Music Department? The music trip to New York, one of the best parts was the bus trip, everyone was packed together for so long but we all got to know each other and entertained each other.
  • What are your future plans? I am attending Northeastern University to major in Public Health Science and will be running cross country and track/field.
  • What has music meant to you? Music has been a way for me to meet amazing people and develop a strong work ethic through doing something I love. I have seen many levels of musicianship throughout high school, and it has been inspiring how music has been able to develop a student’s character, such as my own. In the music department, everyone is willing to be anyone’s friend. Music has given me a new outlook on how one thing can bring so many people together and create relationships that will last forever.

Christina Akut Band- Percussion; Ensembles:​ ​Concert Band, Percussion Ensemble, Pep Band

  • What is your favorite memory as a member of the MHS Music Department? Toronto Trip.
  • What are your future plans? Attend Emmanuel College on a Pre-med track.
  • What has music meant to you? Music has always been a place where I can be creative and not have to worry about having the “right” answer.
  • What are you listening to now? Of Heroes and Demons (of course) and country and pop.

Aidan Guilderson Band- Bassoon Ensembles:​ ​Mixed Chorus (1 year), Concert Band (3 years), Marching Band (3 years), Boys Chorus (1 year), X-mas Carolers (1 year)

  • What are you listening to now? Showtunes
  • What is your favorite memory as a member of the MHS Music Department? First time meeting Mrs Damiani and asking her to play the oboe, then getting a bassoon and trying to play it for the first time. If it weren’t for her I wouldn’t be where I am now.
  • What are your future plans? I committed to Dean College down in Franklin MA, to pursue a degree in Technical Theatre. And I plan on becoming a professional Light designer. However I’m still going to be involved with music.
  • What has music meant to you? Music has always been the key to understanding my emotions and who I am. Music not only built up walls to protect me, it also tore them down to set me free.

Esme Link Band/Jazz- French Horn Ensembles:​ ​Marching Band, Concert Band, Jazz 1, Esme and Kate, Brass Choir.

  • What are you listening to now? Lucy Dacus! ALSO Mahler Symphony no. 3
  • What is your favorite memory as a member of the MHS Music Department? BAND CAMP!!!! I miss band camp SO MUCH. It’s amazing what we accomplish in a week and we never stop smiling!
  • What are your future plans? I’ll be attending Oberlin College and Conservatory for French Horn Performance!
  • What has music meant to you? Music has meant actually everything to me. I don’t think I’ve ever had a day without it. It’s what has really connected me to the people I love and care about today, and I am so grateful for the MHS music department for this.

Coleman Rose Band/Jazz- Saxophone; Ensembles:​ ​Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Combos, Little Big Band, Concert Band, Marching Band, and Saxophone Choir.

  • What are you listening to now? Joshua Redman by Joshua Redman
  • What is your favorite memory as a member of the MHS Music Department? It is hard to pinpoint one memory because my favorite moments at Milton High have been the Wednesday night rehearsals and playing music with all my friends from the past four years. Getting to share music with the people who I am closest with has been very special. Some of the most hilarious things and most incredible moments from the past four years have happened in these rehearsals. I will always remember the band room and the auditorium stage with fondness because of the unforgettable moments that have happened there.
  • What are your future plans? I will be majoring in Jazz Studies at Oberlin Conservatory. After that, I look to play music for the rest of my life.
  • What has music meant to you? Music is everything to me. I would not be the man I am today without the dedication of the MHS staff that pushed me to improve my craft and my lifestyle. I would not be the man I am today without my peers and friends who have been with me every step of the day on this journey, and who I have had the honor of making beautiful music with.

ATHLETICS

Senior Student-Athlete Spotlight
Each day we will spotlight our senior student-athletes from the spring season. Our student-athletes have worked for years towards their senior year. Some are captains, some are playing their last competitive season, others were looking for a 3rd straight State Title. Social Distancing will without a doubt save lives, but for our student-athletes, right now, it still hurts to miss out on their final season. Let’s give them the recognition they deserve! Here are this week’s highlights.

Bobby Carew – The improvements Bobby has made over the past few years are remarkable. During the cross country season, he placed first individually at the Bay State Conference meet and he led his team to 2nd place (behind only perennial powerhouse Wellesley). He followed that performance 2 weeks later with team and individual wins at the Eastern Massachusetts Division 3 meet. Since his freshman year, he has improved his mile time by 20 seconds and his 2 mile time by almost a full minute. At every meet and every practice, he always puts his team first. During the track season, distance runners compete in events ranging from the 800 meters to the two mile. He tells us to put him in whichever event will help the team the most. As coaches, we truly appreciate that level of dedication and generosity. He takes his talents to UMass Amherst next fall where we are sure he will continue to succeed as a student-athlete. Also a captain for the XC and Hockey Team!

John Walsh – John is an outfielder and Pitcher for the Baseball Team. He also played Hockey too, as part of the team that took them back to the MIAA Tournament this past winter. John was a crucial piece to the Hockey Team. He had very fine stick skills for a big kid and can throw heat on the mound. John’s laid back personality keeps the bench and dugout light but he is also very competitive.

Owen Leddy – Senior Captain. Lives on the crease at attack, loves sticking g’s. Working on his flow. Majors in lacrosse, minors in hockey and track. Part of the Boys Cross Country Team that won the Eastern MA Championships this past fall and help the Hockey Team return to the tournament with excellent Penalty Kill and the 2nd PowerPlay unit. Visits Trainer Patty’s office everyday. Favorite quote- “Aye Aye middies aye!” – Coach A

Andrew Nilsen – Andrew is one of the most reliable, motivated and kindest athletes I have ever met. “We can assign him any task and he will get it done quickly and efficiently. His work ethic has brought him big improvements. His teammates notice how hard he works as well. Before races, when we meet with kids one on one to discuss their goals, his name comes up the most often. An athlete will say something like “I would like to improve my time in the mile, but I really want to see Andrew have a big PR. He has been working so hard.” He has played a crucial role in his team’s success over the past few years.” – Coach Jordan

COMMUNITY NEWS 

The 43rd Annual Milton 10K/5K Road Race – VIRTUAL EDITION – will be held June 8 – 14, 2020!

As marathons and races across the globe are being postponed, cancelled or transformed during the pandemic, we have made the decision to run the 43rd Annual Milton Road Race as a virtual event. Why are we running? This race, through the collective generosity of you, your neighbors and local businesses, has enabled scholarships for Milton high school students and grants for local community service organizations in Milton for 42 years. All details on this virtual road race can be found here! Please consider signing up at this link  to run soon. All details can be found here.

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Brookwood Community Farm, 11 Blue Hill River Rd, Canton, is accepting applications for SNAP farm shares and also has financial aid available.  Please go to www.brookwoodcommunityfarm.organd look under the Our CSA tab for more information.

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There is much fun to be had virtually this season in the Children’s Room at the Milton Public Library!

Cool family activities including electronic and audio books, live programs, virtual storytimes and more are available every day from ​www.miltonlibrary.org​ and the Library’s Facebook pages. We have these exciting online programs happening for the young people in your life during  May

IMPORTANT MPS CONTACTS

MPS school Adjustment Counselors:  Jennie BeliveauMary Bianca MattocksKenneth Adelmann (Milton High School); Myriam FrancoeurKara Sheridan, Kelly Dearing (Pierce) Jaclyn Germano (Cunningham); Elizabeth Caruso (Collicot) ; Ramsay Cadet (Tucker) Brian Powers, Christine Howley (Glover)

Central Office is staffed every day (we are practicing safe social distancing) and you can reach the Superintendent’s office any time via phone at 617-696-4808 or via email.

We have compiled a comprehensive and ever changing list of Frequently Asked Questions linked here. It will be linked on the front of our website and shared in each blog post. Please refer back to it often.

AMBASSADOR PAGE

As part of our E-blast, we highlight students, teachers or members of the community whose hard work deserves recognition.  Please read about some of their accomplishments below:

STUDENTS:  

(L-R)MHS students Graham O’Donnell, Chloe McCarthy and Luke Calcagno; from the Milton Department of Public Health Laura DelleChiaie, Caroline Kinsella, DPH Director, and Jean Peterson.

Thank you to MHS juniors Graham O’Donnell, Chloe McCarthy and Luke Calcagno who recently delivered 2,000 masks to the Milton Department of Public Health. Funds were almost entirely raised through their classmates with $7.15 donations to purchase the masks from New Balance, which last month began producing masks to help keep first responders and essential workers safe. The students organizied and  raised enough in just a few days to purchase 3 large boxes and New Balance generously donated a 4th box to their effort. We are proud of and grateful to these students and their efforts on behalf of the Town of Milton!

The Milton Public School system does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, gender identity, transgender status, gender transitioning, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its programs, activities or operations. These include, but are not limited to, admissions, equal access to programs and activities, employment, provision of and access to programs and services, as well as selection of volunteers, vendors and employers recruiting at the Milton Public Schools.  We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our staff, students, volunteers, subcontractors, and vendors. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Asst. Superintendent for Curriculum & Human Resources, Dr. Karen Spaulding, (617) 696-5040 ext. 5582.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on May 14, 2020

May 7, 2020

From: Mary C. Gormley
To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: May 7, 2020

FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week around the country. In the Milton Public Schools we have always called it Teacher and Staff Appreciation Week because we all know it takes more than amazing teachers to help a school system  – and your children – thrive. Our teachers work side by side with paraprofessionals, administrators, support staff, custodians, school nurses and cafeteria staff to bring your children the best possible school day experience, week in and week out.

For years, the MPS staff  has done this in person, delivering academic instruction, social emotional support, nutrition, safety, fun, artistic outlets, family support, and more throughout the school year. Since March 16th, the entire MPS staff has done this remotely from their homes or from empty school offices. Technology support, academic instruction via video and online lessons, Chromebook distribution, paper packet distribution, cleaning every inch of our schools, making and distributing thousands of meals to Milton children, delivering meals to Milton families, facilitating community outreach, keeping the day to day logistics of our schools up and running, planning for next year, and more are all happening ever single day in the Milton Public Schools. Today we thank and appreciate all MPS employees for their efforts on behalf of our students.

The six PTOs and the Milton Foundation for Education worked together on a staff appreciation gift this year, a special MPS t-shirt given to all staff to thank them and mark this historic time in our country. Thank you to the PTOs, the MFE and Frank Susi from Susi Art for this special gift.

In honor of Teacher and Staff Appreciation Week, Chad Urmston, lead singer of the band Dispatch, and his beautiful extended family serenaded the teachers of Collicot and Glover (and all MPS teachers) in this video. Please take a moment to listen to this beautiful song.

Our students (so many students!) want to say thank you as well. Please see their appreciative smiles in the video below.

STUDENT REGISTRATION

During the School Closure, Registrar Sarina Burke will be registering students online when applicable. Effective immediately, the Milton Public Schools will be accepting online registrations for students enrolling for:

  • The remainder of the 2019-20 school year
  • Kindergarten for the 2020 – 21 school year
  • Students enrolled in private Kindergarten and wish to enroll their child in Grade 1 in the Milton Public schools for the 2020-2021 school year.

Please do not delay in registering your student in the above categories. As we plan for the 2020-21 school year, accurate numbers are important for staffing and logistics.

All other registrations for the school year 2020-2021 will be conducted in July and August 2020.

Please visit our registration page for all details on student registration and to register your student who falls into the above categories.

SCHOOL COMMITTEE

The next School Committee meeting will be  on May 27 , 2020 at 7pm.  School Committee meetings can be watched On Demand on Milton Access TV or you can join the meeting remotely. Please see the School Committee agendas posted on the Town of Milton Website for remote access.

IMPORTANT MPS DATES

As many of you know, Ramadan, the ninth month in the Islamic lunar calendar, is a Muslim religious period that includes fasting from dawn until dusk. This year, Ramadan began on April 23 and will last one month, during which time many Muslims abstain from food and drink from dawn until sunset. The month of Ramadan ends with the celebration of Eid al-Fitr. I urge the Milton community to support the well-being of our Muslim students and families so they can practice their religion while maintaining anti-coronavirus safety practices. Students who observe Ramadan will have an excused absence for any work that falls during the Eid al-Fitr celebration. Further, I wish a generous Ramadan to all our Muslim students and families.

BUSINESS OFFICE UPDATE 

The School Committee voted to partially refund bus fees paid for the 2019-2020 school year. Those families who paid $275 or $550 will receive a $90 or $180 refund, respectively. We will be reaching out to families to see whether they wish to have this amount credited towards next year’s fee or whether they would prefer a refund now. Refunds will need to be processed through Town Hall and will take several weeks.

We will be reaching out shortly with bus registration for next year. We do not yet know, however, what form bus service might take. If, for example, social distancing is still in place in the fall, bus ridership will be severely limited. As we get further guidance from the Commonwealth, we will keep families informed.

REMOTE LEARNING 

We thank you for your partnership during the previous and now extended school closure. Your feedback about what is working well for you and your child as well as what might be an opportunity for growth has been invaluable to us. If you have specific questions about your child’s work or progress on work, we encourage you to reach out to your child’s teacher. If you have other questions, please contact your child’s principal. As a reminder, we have many additional supports and resources available to you and your family. Please let us know how we can help you. We look forward to continuing our partnership with you and shifting our work in order to best meet the needs of our students. All supporting documents and information about our remote learning plan can be found on the front of our website. 

MPS SCHOOL REOPENING TASK FORCE

As a district, we are beginning to plan for what reentry into school will look like for students and staff. The Commissioner of Education and others are talking about a wide variety of issues and potential plans. There are questions around safety, social distancing, student achievement, technology, social emotional learning, food service and dozens of other concerns that arise daily.

To this point, MPS is forming a Reentry Task Force made up of various stakeholders with representatives from different groups including Central Office, School Committee, Principal Representatives, Technology Department, Facilities, Athletics, MEA Unit A, B, C, D and HRS (teachers, administrators and support staff), AFSCME, Food Service, Parent Representatives , MPS Head Nurse , Board of Health, Town Hall, Milton Police Department and medical experts.

This committee, chaired by School Committee Member Ada Rosmarin and Glover Principal Karen McDavitt, will meet virtually and later in person as guidelines permit over the next 6 or more months. If you are an MPS parent/guardian with an interest in serving, please email your school PTO by noon on Friday, May 8th to express your interest in serving and share any areas of expertise you may bring to the committee.

Thank you to the more than 30 parents and guardians, across a spectrum of areas of expertise, who have already volunteered to serve on this committee. We will communicate with all volunteers next week.

STAFF NEWS

Congratulations to Pierce teacher Deanna Magill, who has been selected as a recipient of a Lemelson-MIT Excite Award.

The Excite Award is given annually to up to 25 K-12 educators across the United States in recognition of their exemplary work facilitating project-based programs in their schools. Excite Award recipients will receive free professional development opportunities. Educators will experience invention education, hear from expert educators and MIT faculty about facilitating invention education, and network with a cohort of the country’s top educators. Excite Award recipients will have the opportunity to continue their participation with the Lemelson-MIT Program’s Partners in Invention Education community throughout the school year.

Pierce Science Coordinator Christie Chiappetta writes that “Ms. Magill has done amazing project based learning that has engaged Pierce students in STEM, both through her work with the FUSE program and the Advanced STEM course she developed to build on that experience for students who are interested in taking their FUSE experience to the next level. Mr. Melanson and I knew she would be the perfect choice for this award, and we are so excited, not only because she is being recognized by such a prestigious organization but also because she will take full advantage of this amazing Professional Development experience. Pierce is incredibly fortunate to have Ms. Magill on our team!”

FOOD SERVICE

To support families during school closures, Milton Public Schools  is providing children aged 0-21 with free, nutritious breakfast and lunch meals every Wednesday as part of the USDA’s emergency COVID-19 response. MPS recently received two grants to help in these efforts. The Eos Foundation awarded the district a $2,000 grant and Project Bread awarded $4,000 to support continued distribution of meals to children. We are grateful for these donations!

This week we  served 251 students – 3514 meals – during the Wednesday pick ups at MHS and Tucker.  We offered corn on the cob and fresh grapefruit this week. The MPS Food Service staff are keeping our bags fresh and exciting during week 8 of the school closure!

We want everyone to know that these healthy meals are available to every child, 0-21.  Parents/caregivers can pick up meals on children’s behalf to help ensure safe social distancing.

  • Every Wednesday families can pick up 7 days of breakfasts and lunches at one time. Pick up times are 8-9am and 5-6pm at the Tucker School (behind the school) and Milton High School (on the Canton Ave side of building).
  • Children do not need to be present for parents/guardians to pick up the meals.
  • Meals are available to all children ages 0-21, preschool-aged children can also receive meals.
  • All children are welcome regardless of the school attended; this is a community-wide meals program. 
  • All sites encourage safe social distancing and ask that individuals remain six feet apart.
  • Anyone who cannot make it out of their house to pick up a meal is encouraged to contact Jackie Morgan at 617-898-1051 or jmorgan@miltonps.org.
  • MPS families in need of support during this time are also encouraged to email MPS Family Outreach Liaison Marti O’Keefe McKenna at mmckenna@miltonps.org.

A NOTE FROM THE NURSE

Happy Nurses Day! MPS nurses celebrated the beginning

The Glover staff showed some love to Nurse LeBlanc with a drive by!

of National Nurses Week this Wednesday, May 6th. Your school nurses have been busy helping the Milton Board of Health, making masks for the community and preparing for our return to school next year. Even though we are not physically together in our school buildings, your school nurse is still available by email and would love to hear from you.

School Medication Pick-Up: All MPS buildings have been closed since Wednesday, March 18th and will continue to be off limits for staff, students and visitors during the “Stay at Home” order. Once the “Stay at Home” order is lifted, Superintendent Gormley will work with all MPS Administrators and Custodial Staff to implement a plan that includes the return of daily, as needed, and emergency medications. Please keep an eye out for further communication from your school principal and school nurse regarding specific pick-up dates/ times in the coming weeks.

A MEMO FROM MARIA TROZZI 

Over the past several weeks, author, professor, and grief and resilience specialist Maria Trozzi has participated in virtual meetings with the staff from each of our schools. We have heard from many MPS employees about the value of the virtual check-ins.

Pierce Principal Bill Fish writes that Maria Trozzi has been an incredible resource to the Milton Public Schools during some of the most challenging times the district has experienced. Her work with each faculty over the past few weeks has provided educators with comfort and direction as they support students and families through this difficult and unsettled period. By focusing on wellness and self-care, Maria’s guidance and wisdom has reminded all of us that we need to take care of ourselves and one another, and to let go of the pressures and expectations that we put on ourselves during otherwise normal circumstances.

Glover Principal Karen McDavitt shares that at the Milton Public Schools, we are exceptionally fortunate to consider Maria Trozzi a member of our extended MPS family. Nationally renowned for her work as a grief counselor and specifically for her work supporting schools in the aftermath of tragedy, our MPS students, families, and staff have benefited greatly from her expertise, her counsel, and her support. Maria continues to help this community in innumerable ways and we are incredibly grateful for the impact she has had on all of our lives.

In her continued work with our district, Ms. Trozzi shares the following advice with the MPS community.

The pandemic has asked a lot from us. Working from home, caring for our family, caring for ourselves in isolation when there is no end day yet. What has prepared us for this required NEW way of going? Nothing that I can name.

Therefore, two things to consider: Spacing and Pacing. Many of you are parents of young children and teens; some of you are MPS staff who live alone. No matter what your living situation, imposed isolation is not our norm. Humans are not built to live in captivity. It’s a lot.

Spacing: Creating your necessary distancing from others. If you are a parent, build into your daily routine at least a couple of time periods when you can be alone with yourself. To do what YOU want. Creating that space will cushion the rest of the time when every family member demands a part of you. It will minimize that scratchy feeling of being out of sorts and help you to be more patient for the days that follow.

If you live alone, create at least a couple of times each day when you will reach out and FaceTime with a friend, a colleague, a loved one who may need a chat. A five or ten minute checking in is restorative- for you both.

Pacing: I worry that we expect too much of ourselves. It’s a lot. Inhibiting the pandemic requires us to give up control of much that has defined our way of going. It’s like learning a new skill. Under pressure.

“Practice, practice, practice …makes better,” is a well-worn phrase that my grandchildren have heard from me when they face learning new skills such as riding a two-wheeler, tying their shoes, batting a wiffle ball.
With each day and with each week, we are, in effect, practicing a new skill as we adjust to this ‘new way of going’ that is out of our control. In time, we may discover what helps us and what does not. In the process, be kind(er) to yourself. It’s a lot.

HIGH SCHOOL HAPPENINGS 

Student Awards and Honors – One of the many things we’re missing out on this spring is celebrating the accomplishments of our students during our many annual awards ceremonies. Under normal circumstances, last week would have been Scholastic Honors Night (Century Club, National Honor Society, Junior Book Awards), and we would now be preparing for Student of the Quarter, Tri-M Induction, Senior Scholarships, Boosters Awards, Departmental Book Awards and others.

While it can’t replace all of these great events, MHS Administrators have put together a  tribute to the students to celebrate their hard work. Please view the MHS Awards and Honors page here. 

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Mr. Jette and the staff of MHS would like to recognize the following students in the MHS Spotlight! Congratulations to Emma Weeber, Jordan Goddard-Brown, Sophie Kosiba, Kevin Harvell, Andrew McDonnell, Michael McCarthy, Rachel Steinberg, Bella Brown  on this recognition during this time of remote learning. You can read about their nomination for this spotlight recognition here.

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A note from the MHS PTSFO: MHS PTSFO is starting an initiative where community members can “Adopt a Milton 2020 Senior” and send them a letter, card, gift card, snack… you get the idea, anything to let them know just how proud we are of all their accomplishments. You can join the Facebook page here. If you do not have a Facebook account you can ask a friend to post on Facebook for you with your senior’s bio and picture or as a last resort, you can email Annellen Lydon at  lydonaev@gmail.com.

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MHS would like to promote life-long healthy habits for our students, staff, visitors, and the community by getting into the habit of drinking water instead of sugary drinks. We have started a campaign with the Tap Water Watch Group to solicit funds to replace our current water fountains with new hands-free water filtration systems. This would allow everyone at MHS to stop using so much plastic and keep hydrated with good-tasting, filtered water throughout the day. Moreover, by replacing our old water fountains with new hands-free water filtration systems, we will be reducing the number of high-touch surfaces while at the same time, reducing the spread of germs.

Please help us by contributing and/or sharing this donation campaign to your network of friends and family so we can reach our goal!  Every little bit helps us get to our goal. On behalf of the Milton High School community, thank you in advance for your consideration!

PIERCE PAGES   

Mrs. Magill’s FUSE and Advanced FUSE classes were asked to make paper roller coasters for their last assignment. Some got very creative with their recycled materials! Watch the video which highlights a few amazing creations here. 

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The Pierce Site Council recently presented at School Committee and shared an overview of  remote learning work. You can see the entire video here and some highlights below.

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Congratulations to these Pierce Students of the Month!

INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

Mandalas are spiritual symbols used in Hindu or Buddist cultures which represent the universe. Often mandalas have radial balance and are used to help reflect and meditate. Elementary students were asked to create mandalas in this week’s art challenge by going outside in their yard and collecting items from nature. Here are some examples of their artwork!

Here is a peek into this week in our elementary schools!

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The Forbes House Lincoln Essay & Drawing Contest was established in 1924 by Mary Bowditch Forbes, granddaughter of China trade merchant, Captain Robert Bennet Forbes. Miss Forbes greatly admired President Abraham Lincoln, and in 1909 began collecting Lincoln and Civil War artifacts and memorabilia, which are now part of the Museum’s permanent collection. To promote appreciation for our 16th president, Miss Forbes requested original essays and drawings from students each year, inspired by the life and work of Abraham Lincoln. The tradition continues today. Congratulations to these MPS students who are being recognized by the Forbes House for their contest submissions this year! Congratulations to Andrew Lusa, Maisie Tenforde, Nora Devine, Marin Lusa, Alyssa Zullas, Abby Concannon, Madison Garrett and Violet Kirby .

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Talented Glover music teacher, Colleen Martin, has been joining classes during whole group meetings to host virtual music share time. Students have the opportunity to play an instrument, sing a song, or share something musical. This week she joined a fourth grade class and a student sang a song he composed about the closure. It has been an uplifting activity for students as their peers congratulate them and give positive feedback/comments on their performance. Ms. Martin hopes to join as many classes as possible and help her students share in this powerful activity.

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All elementary district wide learning opportunities can be found on the Elementary At-Home Learning Opportunities website, which is linked on each school website as well as the MPS website.

MSAPC 

The MSAPC is offering Webinar Wednesdays this month. Each webinar in the Milton Learns Together: Webinar Wednesdays series is approximately 30 minutes long with a question and answer period to follow. They are free and no registration is required. All of the webinars can be accessed by entering this address into your computer’s or phone’s browser: zoom.us/j/92433263470 and entering your name and email.

After the success of Jon Mattelman, Ivy Watts is up next week! Ivy Watts is an inspiring speaker and powerful advocate for erasing the stigma of mental health issues. On Wednesday, May 13, at 7pm, she will be the guest presenter at the second session of the Milton Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition’s Milton Learns Together: Webinar Wednesday series. This webinar is titled, “There is No Health Without Mental Health.”

MILTON FOUNDATION FOR EDUCATION 

If remote learning has given you a new appreciation for our MPS teachers, now is the time to give them credit!

The Milton Foundation for Education invites you to nominate that special teacher for our OUTSTANDING TEACHER AWARD PROGRAM, also known as TEACHER OF THE YEAR. Our teachers are second to none, which is what makes this event so special to us. We are currently seeking nominations for teachers who promote achievement in our children and garner the respect of colleagues, students and parents alike. We look forward to hearing from you, and learning more about the amazing teachers who inspire Milton students every day.

Nomination guidelines can be found here  and this link will bring you to the easy and short nomination form.  Nominations are due Friday, May 8.

CURRICULUM CHALLENGE

Brian Selig, MPS K-12 Math Director has a Math Challenge to engage families together in math exploration activities involving patterns and puzzles.

Each week, I will provide a math puzzle for families to engage in that is appropriate for our young learners found in this link. In addition, I will display the first three figures in a pattern and then pose questions related to that pattern that increase in difficulty. My hope is that all students regardless of grade level can find enjoyment and success in investigating these patterns even if they are unable to formally describe how the pattern grows over time.

TECHNOLOGY 

You can find all technology  resources about Google Classroom, Plus Portals, Study Island and Chromebooks in this document. 

Are you looking for support with parental controls over your home network?  If so, please check out Common Sense Media’s Parents Ultimate Guide to Parental Controls . Also, if you have Xfinity by Comcast here is information they provide.

LIBRARY RESOURCES 

Stories out of School: Read-Aloud Programs on Milton TV: Elementary librarian Josh Coben will host storytime programs on Milton Access Television starting in mid-May. “Stories out of School” will air in two half-hour segments, one for lower elementary grades and one for older elementary. Picture books, chapter books, and poetry will be on the menu, served up by Mr. Coben and school staff guest readers. Our first episodes will feature books by the late Rebecca Bond, a gifted children’s author-illustrator and Cunningham parent.

Watch this space next week for dates and daily time schedules. Episodes will air on Milton TV’s Education channel, Comcast channel 022 or RCN channel 015. If you’re not able to catch the broadcasts, programs will be available on Milton Access Video on Demand website.

FAMILY RESOURCES 

Food Resources:  MPS Food Service To-Go Program is a valuable resource to assist families in providing nutritious breakfast and lunches to their children. Pick up times are 8-9am and 5-6pm at both the Tucker School (behind the school) and Milton High School (on the Canton Ave side of the building). ANY Milton family is welcome to pick up 7 days worth of breakfasts and lunches in  a To-Go bag as the goal is to support any food insecure students.

If you are in need of additional food the Interfaith Social Services Food Pantry, located at 105 Adams St., Quincy is open Monday – Friday, 10-11:45am and Wednesdays 5-7pm for families in need during this difficult time.  The food pantry asks those families arriving by car to please remain in your vehicle and you will be directed by a volunteer.  Those who walk to the pantry are also welcome and should enter through the pantry lobby.  New clients are welcome.

The Milton Food Pantry will NOT be open this Saturday, May 9th  The pantry has shifted to an every other Saturday schedule including May 16th and 30th. Social distancing will be practiced throughout the process.  If you are in need of food outside of those hours please call the Food Pantry line at (617) 696-0221 and leave your name, address, and how many people are in your family and that you are requesting a donation of food.  Volunteers are ready to pick up the food and deliver. 

Financial Support: Milton Residents Fund (MRF)  Any Milton residents 18 or older facing a financial crisis can reach out t o the MRF for help with things like rental or mortgage assistance, utility assistance, winter heating oil, small car repair fees, educational or professional development fees, or medical expenses. To determine if you might qualify, please email Noreen Dolan, LCSW at MiltonResidentsFund@gmail.com or leave a message at (617)696-1214.

Support Services: The BRYT (Bridge For Resilient Youth in Transition) Family Engagement Team is offering support to families to help manage these difficult times during the state school suspension.  Parent Support Group ; Parent Support Webinar; COVID-19 ; Community Resources; Facebook – BRYT offers a closed Facebook group for peer to peer support. Come talk with parents who are going through similar situations. Just search “BRYT Family Support” and ask to join.

Tutoring: Free Tutoring Resource for Military Connected Students can be found on Tutor.com/military.

MPS Family Liaison: Milton Public Schools is committed to being a resource for you. Whether you are unsure of how to connect with school staff or directly need a referral for services or supplies please don’t hesitate to reach out to Marti O’Keefe McKenna, MPS Family Outreach Liaison at 617-980-7343 or by email at mmckenna@miltonps.org. All calls and emails are confidential.

ART AND MUSIC 

MHS Music students are still hard at work at home. Our first MHS Virtual Cabaret will be shared next week featuring various student performances. The links to access the Virtual Cabaret can be found on Milton FAME’s Instagram and Facebook pages. Here is a sneak preview of a Virtual Cabaret performance featuring seniors Esme Link and Kate Possi performing their song “Another Wednesday Night”.

ATHLETICS

This month, MHS Athletics would love you to join us in honoring the class of 2020 by participating in our #20MilesFor2020 Challenge. We are challenging members of the MPS Community to stay active and honor the seniors of this year’s graduating class between now and the end of May. Here is how you can participate:

  • Choose a day between now and May 31st to complete 20 miles of walking, running, biking, hiking, etc.
  • You can complete all 20 miles on your own or as part of a relay team that works remotely with one another to complete the challenge. Get your friends, sports team, club, music group, or family to join you! Split up the mileage among team members and have some fun!
  • Snap a selfie or picture of the mileage on your watch/phone/bike and tag @MHS_Wildcats_ on Twitter using the hashtag #20MilesFor2020 to show your support!

Senior Student-Athlete Spotlight
Each day we will spotlight our senior student-athletes from the spring season. Our student-athletes have worked for years towards their senior year. Some are captains, some are playing their last competitive season, others were looking for a 3rd straight State Title. Social Distancing will without a doubt save lives, but for our student-athletes, right now, it still hurts to miss out on their final season. Let’s give them the recognition they deserve! Here are this week’s highlights.

Caroline Robinson – Caroline has one of the best personalities of any student-athletes. She was looking forward to her second season on the Unified Track Team. He compassion shown during last year’s inaugural season was great to see. Caroline is always willing to lend a hand and help other students. She always has a smile on her face and seems to cheer everyone up on and off the field. She also played Field Hockey for four seasons here at MHS.

David Cichello– David plays multiple outfield positions for the Baseball Team. Very well respected by teammates. Always works hard and is very coachable. He also played Football for four years here at Milton High School. Very important role player on both teams. Students like David are what make each of his teams successful.

Kevin Swanton – Co-captain for the Rugby Team, Kevin is a multi faceted, multi- positional player having played 2nd row, 8 man, fullback and fly half the past three years, as well as the team’s kicking duties. Kevin is all rugby, all the time, and has a long career ahead, locally and internationally. Kevin has signed with Kutztwon University in Pennsylvania, a perennial D1 top Ten nationally ranked college program, playing against the likes of Cal Berkeley, Penn State, Army, Dartmouth and Navy. Best of luck Kevin. A true gentleman.

Anna Cakouros – Anna, Track, brings a special level of toughness to every race she enters. She always finds a way to save an extra “gear” for the final half and passes numerous people. She is a true student of the sport – always reflecting on her races so that she can learn how to run better the next time. Her hard work culminated this year with personal bests in the 5K (19:35), the 2 mile (12:05) and the mile (5:49). It has been a joy to see her develop into a stronger runner over the past few years.

Liam Regan – Pitcher/Utility Player for the Baseball Team. Has been one of the most reliable bullpen arms on the team. He was slated to be the closer and spot starter during his senior year. Competes hard and is a pleasure to coach. One of the best athletes in the school that also made a big impact for the Football Team as a wide receiver and punt returner.

COMMUNITY NEWS 

From the Town of Milton: Public Health Emergency Order, effective May 6, 2020

  • Wear a Face Covering When Social Distancing is Not Possible
  • Must cover your nose and mouth
  • Required for any person over the age of 2 and essential business employees when social distancing is not possible.
  • Including but not limited to: Grocery stores, Pharmacies, Other Retail Stores, when using transportation services or mass public transit.

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The 43rd Annual Milton 10K/5K Road Race – VIRTUAL EDITION – will be held June 8 – 14, 2020!

As marathons and races across the globe are being postponed, cancelled or transformed during the pandemic, we have made the decision to run the 43rd Annual Milton Road Race as a virtual event. Why are we running? This race, through the collective generosity of you, your neighbors and local businesses, has enabled scholarships for Milton high school students and grants for local community service organizations in Milton for 42 years. All details on this virtual road race can be found here! Please consider signing up at this link  to run soon. All details can be found here.

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The U.S. Census Bureau has extended the deadline for the national census to Saturday, October 31. Individuals can respond at this website,  over the phone by calling the number in the invitation that was mailed to their home, or by mail. To find out the response rate in a particular area, consult this spreadsheet that tracks responses in all Massachusetts towns/cities and census tracts or a second that tracks historically hard to count towns/cities.

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Chess Club with Mr. Vigorito is on! International Chess Master David Vigorito has been teaching chess in Milton for over 10 years. Classes began Monday (but you can join this week) and all details can be found here. 

With in person school done for the year, let’s make the best of it! Mr. Vigorito will be doing online chess classes in May. All information can be found on the Chess Club website

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There is much fun to be had virtually this season in the Children’s Room at the Milton Public Library!

Cool family activities including electronic and audio books, live programs, virtual storytimes and more are available every day from ​www.miltonlibrary.org​ and the Library’s Facebook pages. We have these exciting online programs happening for the young people in your life during  May

IMPORTANT MPS CONTACTS

MPS school Adjustment Counselors:  Jennie BeliveauMary Bianca MattocksKenneth Adelmann (Milton High School); Myriam FrancoeurKara Sheridan, Kelly Dearing (Pierce) Jaclyn Germano (Cunningham); Elizabeth Caruso (Collicot) ; Ramsay Cadet (Tucker) Brian Powers, Christine Howley (Glover)

Central Office is staffed every day (we are practicing safe social distancing) and you can reach the Superintendent’s office any time via phone at 617-686-4808 or via email.

We have compiled a comprehensive and ever changing list of Frequently Asked Questions linked here. It will be linked on the front of our website and shared in each blog post. Please refer back to it often.

AMBASSADOR PAGE

As part of our E-blast, we highlight students, teachers or members of the community whose hard work deserves recognition.  Please read about some of their accomplishments below:

STUDENTS:  Thank you to students Cormac, Frannie and Gracie Mills who, along with their grandfather, spent days mixing hand sanitizer into small containers to sell and donate the proceeds to the Milton Food Pantry. With community support, they raised  over $850 for the food pantry!

 The Milton Public School system does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, gender identity, transgender status, gender transitioning, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its programs, activities or operations. These include, but are not limited to, admissions, equal access to programs and activities, employment, provision of and access to programs and services, as well as selection of volunteers, vendors and employers recruiting at the Milton Public Schools.  We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our staff, students, volunteers, subcontractors, and vendors. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Asst. Superintendent for Curriculum & Human Resources, Dr. Karen Spaulding, (617) 696-5040 ext. 5582.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on May 7, 2020

April 30, 2020

From: Mary C. Gormley
To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: April 30, 2020

FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT

On Tuesday, April 21, 2020 Governor Baker announced that schools in the Commonwealth would be closed through the end of this school year.  In response to that announcement, Commissioner Riley issued updated guidance on April 24, 2020- Strengthening Our Remote Learning ExperienceThis document builds on previous guidance issued by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education- March 26, 2020 Remote LearningRecommendations During the COVID-19 School Closures. 

In particular, Strengthening Our Remote Learning Experience (MA DESE 04/24/20) focuses on two areas:

  • Further defining the recommended elements of a quality remote learning program, including a focus on teaching the content standards most critical for student success in the next grade level.
  • Encouraging districts to move all students towards successful engagement in remote learning, with a focus on addressing fundamental needs.

As companions to this document, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education published MA DESE Prerequisite Content Standards: Elementary Grades K-5 and MA DESE Prerequisite Content Standards:  Secondary Grades (6-12).

Since the release of this new guidance, Milton Public Schools’ teachers, curriculum leaders, and principals have been taking stock in the degree to which the MA DESE Prerequisite Content Standards have been addressed this school year, discussing the implications for the learning opportunities students currently have at home, and further focusing professional development in order to support educators as they address new content and ensure that students are successfully engaged with this content at home.

Moving forward, your child will likely experience an expansion of “teacher facing” online opportunities.  It is possible that this instructional teacher facing time will be pre-recorded as we have found that for many reasons this is optimal for student engagement.  In addition, you will see pre-scheduled formal opportunities such as “office hours” or “study halls” so that your child has live access to his/her teacher(s) on a regular basis.  Finally, teachers and curriculum leaders are working collaboratively to refine the ways in which they determine a child’s success in meeting prerequisite content standards and to expand the manner in which they provide additional support to students who do not meet them. Your principal will continue to communicate with families at each grade level regarding grading.

We thank you for your partnership during the previous and now extended school closure. Your feedback about what is working well for you and your child as well as what might be an opportunity for growth has been invaluable to us. If you have specific questions about your child’s work or progress on work, we encourage you to reach out to your child’s teacher. If you have other questions, please contact your child’s principal. As a reminder, we have many additional supports and resources available to you and your family. Please let us know how we can help you. We look forward to continuing our partnership with you and shifting our work in order to best meet the needs of our students.

Be well and be safe,

Mary C. Gormley, Superintendent of Schools
Dr. Karen Spaulding, Assistant Superintendent
Dr. Glenn Pavlicek, Assistant Superintendent

STUDENT REGISTRATION

During the School Closure, Registrar Sarina Burke will be registering students online when applicable. Effective immediately, the Milton Public Schools will be accepting online registrations for students enrolling for:

  • The remainder of the 2019-20 school year
  • Kindergarten for the 2020 – 21 school year
  • Students enrolled in private Kindergarten and wish to enroll their child in Grade 1 in the Milton Public schools for the 2020-2021 school year.

Please do not delay in registering your student in the above categories. As we plan for the 2020-21 school year, accurate numbers are important for staffing and logistics.

All other registrations for the school year 2020-2021 will be conducted in July and August 2020.

Please visit our registration page for all details on student registration and to register your student who falls into the above categories.

IMPORTANT MPS DATES

As many of you know, Ramadan, the ninth month in the Islamic lunar calendar, is a Muslim religious period that includes fasting from dawn until dusk. This year, Ramadan began on April 23 and will last one month, during which time many Muslims abstain from food and drink from dawn until sunset. The month of Ramadan ends with the celebration of Eid al-Fitr. I urge the Milton community to support the well-being of our Muslim students and families so they can practice their religion while maintaining anti-coronavirus safety practices. Students who observe Ramadan will have an excused absence for any work that falls during the Eid al-Fitr celebration. Further, I wish a generous Ramadan to all our Muslim students and families.

MPS SCHOOL REOPENING TASK FORCE

As a district, we are beginning to plan for what reentry into school will look like for students and staff. The Commissioner of Education and others are talking about a wide variety of issues and potential plans. There are questions  around safety, social distancing, student achievement, technology, social emotional learning, food service and dozens of other concerns that arise daily.

To this point, MPS is forming a Reentry Task Force made up of various stakeholders with  representatives from different groups including Central Office, School Committee, Principal Representatives, Technology Department, Facilities, Athletics, MEA Unit A, B, C, D and HRS (teachers, administrators and support staff), AFSCME, Food Service, Parent Representatives , MPS Head Nurse , Board of Health, Town Hall, Milton Police Department and medical experts.

This committee will meet virtually and later in person as guidelines permit over the next 6 or more months. If you are an MPS parent/guardian with an interest in serving, please email your school PTO by Friday, May 8th to express your interest in serving and share any areas of expertise you may bring to the committee.

MPS Principals are also working together on similar committees on transitions from grades 5 to 6 and grades 8 to 9. Details to follow.

SCHOOL COMMITTEE

At the next School Committee meeting on May 6, 2020 at 7pm, the Milton School Committee will hold its annual School Choice Hearing via remote access followed by a regular Milton School Committee meeting. School Committee meetings can be watched On Demand on Milton Access TV or you can join the meeting remotely. Please see the School Committee agendas posted on the Town of Milton Website for remote access. 

SCHOOL BUILDING COMMITTEE 

The School Building Committee has submitted a Statement of Interest to the MA School Building Authority. School Committee Member Ada Rosmarin shares details below.

As the first step in what might be a long relationship with the MSBA, this week the School Building Committee submitted its Statement of Interest (SOI). The submission of the SOI does not commit either the town of Milton or the MSBA to begin a school building project, but it is a necessary step to get the ball rolling. Both the School Committee and the Select Board voted to approve this submission. The MSBA funding process requires about five years before you actually can open a new school – requiring districts to go through further eligibility and feasibility studies, prior to assembling a project team and actually building a new school. You can read the entire update here.

BUSINESS OFFICE UPDATE 

Now that the Governor has closed school for the rest of the year, the Milton Public Schools will begin to process refunds for fees paid for cancelled events and services. We will be sending further communication about this in the coming weeks.

STAFF NEWS  – COLLICOT AND TUCKER

It is with excitement that Collicot announces the appointment of Ms. Ellen Lohan as the Curriculum Coordinator and Assistant Principal for the 2020-2021 year.   Ellen’s positive working relationships with teachers, warm and approachable  style, along with her ability to provide support and actionable steps for improvement make her an excellent fit for the position. Ellen has cultivated community partnerships that have provided rich professional development for teachers and robust enrichment opportunities for students. As Elementary Science Coordinator, she has used an interdisciplinary approach that required close work with Curriculum Coordinators and Directors, in ELA, Math and World Languages. This collaboration has allowed her to stay current on all elementary initiatives across the district. Ms. Lohan holds a PK-8 Principal/Assistant Principal license in the state of Massachusetts, as well as a Masters Degree in Elementary Education and an Advanced Graduate Certificate in Instructional Technology.  We are thrilled she will bring these skills to Collicot.

Collicot has been so fortunate to have had the guidance of Mrs. Hamada and Ms. Lohan in different capacities.  We are thrilled both administrators will continue to lead Collicot in their new positions.  Ms. Lohan will assume this role when  Mrs. Hamada assumes her new role as Director of World Languages on July 1. Congratulations and thank you to Ms. Lohan and Mrs. Hamada.

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The Tucker School team is pleased to announce that Mrs. Kirsten Driscoll will be stepping into the role of the Assistant Principal/Curriculum Coordinator beginning the 20-21 academic year. Mrs. Driscoll has taught at Tucker over the last decade as both a classroom teacher and the instructional technology teacher. She has also served as the Title I Coordinator this year overseeing both the budget, instructional resources and beyond the bell program options. She has been a member of the site council and is a founding member of the Tucker teacher leadership team. The Tucker faculty is very excited for Mrs. Driscoll in this next phase of her career.

Particularly in these unprecedented times we are deeply grateful to Mrs. Deptula for stepping into the interim Assistant Principal/Curriculum Coordinator role this year. She has done a phenomenal job supporting the faculty and families throughout the year in person and virtually these last few weeks.

A NOTE FROM THE PTOS

Even though our school buildings are closed for the rest of this school year, the MPS staff has continued to work hard on our behalf! Teacher and Staff Appreciation Week has always been how we showed our thanks for all they do. This year we’re taking it ONLINE the week of May 4-8, 2020.

There are many ways to show everyone at MPS how much you care, especially now. Here are two specific ways to share your expressions of gratitude: 

Take a picture of your student with a sign of appreciation and drop it in this google album  by Tuesday, May 5th. These pictures will be used in a MPS appreciation video.

In addition, here are some suggestions to thank a MPS staff member directly:

  • Make a card or picture then snap a photo of it
  • Write a poem to or about a staff member
  • Send a virtual bouquet: take a photo of some flowers in your yard or that you see on a walk or create some flowers out of art supplies or found objects and take a picture 
  • Write a note via email to someone you appreciate at MPS
  • Send your picture or thoughts of appreciation directly to the MPS staff member.

Our teachers, educational assistants, custodial staff, administrative assistants and cafeteria staff work hard all year long on behalf of our students. Please take a moment to thank them during Teacher and Staff Appreciation week starting May 4th!

Every act of kindness and appreciation will be very welcome by our hardworking staff. Please reach out in anyway you feel comfortable!

Thank you! The Cunningham, Collicot, Glover, Tucker, Pierce PTOs and the MHS PTSFO

FOOD SERVICE

Tomorrow, Friday, May 1st, we will celebrate the 8th Annual School Lunch Hero Day! School Lunch Hero Day is a chance to showcase the difference school nutrition professionals make for every child who comes through the cafeteria. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts recently recognized School Lunch Hero Day! 

Over the last 6 weeks, our School Lunch Heroes have really shown just how amazing they are! Each week they make and safely distribute hundreds of breakfasts and lunches to MPS students and families during the school closure. Thank you to our Food Service Professionals!

Weekly to-go bags with  7 breakfasts and 7 lunches are available for pick up every Wednesday from 8-9am and 5-6pm at MHS and Tucker. These FREE 7  day to-go bags contain low sugar cereal, shelf stable milk, sunbutter and jelly sandwiches, grilled cheese sandwiches, fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, and snack bags. ANY Milton family is welcome to pick up a weekly to-go bag as the goal is to support any food insecure student. Thank you to the Fruit Center for their continued donation of shopping bags towards this effort.

If you would like to apply for Free and Reduced meals, for once school is back in session please see this link for the application and more information. These weekly to-go bags of breakfasts and lunches are available to ALL Milton students during the school closing.

If you have a hardship and are in need of more convenient hours for pick up, please contact Food Service Director Jackie Morgan via email at jmorgan@miltonps.org or phone at 617-898-1051. MPS families in need of support during this time are also encouraged to email MPS Family Outreach Liaison Marti O’Keefe McKenna at mmckenna@miltonps.org or by phone at 617-980-7343.

Milton Access TV did a recent piece on the MPS Food Service efforts and you can view it here. 

HIGH SCHOOL HAPPENINGS

Congratulations to the following students who placed in the top 10 in the state Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) competitions. Students placing in the top 4 qualify to compete in and attend the National Leadership Conference.

FBLA Co-Advisor, Maura O’Brien stated, “Great job everyone! Thank you all for your flexibility during the competition. Your hard work, dedication, and perseverance does not go unnoticed!” FBLA Co-Advisor, Pat Ellis added, “It is great to see students going above and beyond their school work to compete in this competition. It shows incredible personal drive for success. We are proud of each student that competed.”  

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MHS would like to promote life-long healthy habits for our students, staff, visitors, and the community by getting into the habit of drinking water instead of sugary drinks. We have started a campaign with the Tap Water Watch Group to solicit funds to replace our current water fountains with new hands-free water filtration systems. This would allow everyone at MHS to stop using so much plastic and keep hydrated with good-tasting, filtered water throughout the day. Moreover, by replacing our old water fountains with new hands-free water filtration systems, we will be reducing the number of high-touch surfaces while at the same time, reducing the spread of germs.

Please help us by contributing and/or sharing this donation campaign to your network of friends and family so we can reach our goal!  Every little bit helps us get to our goal. On behalf of the Milton High School community, thank you in advance for your consideration!

PIERCE PAGES  

Congratulations to the 2020 Classics Exams award winners from Pierce! Our students performed  extremely well and we are please to recognize them here.

National Latin Exam: Over 100,00 students, from all 50 states, and 24 countries around the world, take this exam. The following students earned awards and/or ribbons for their knowledge and hard work.

National Mythology Exam: This exam is given to over 10,000 students in approximately 400 schools around the United States and in several foreign countries. The following students all earned a 90% or above to earn these awards.

INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

All elementary district wide learning opportunities can be found on the Elementary At-Home Learning Opportunities website, which is linked on each school website as well as the MPS website.

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The staff of MHS threw down the lip sync gauntlet to clubs, classes, groups and other schools and the Cunningham staff has answered with a bang! You can enjoy their peppy entry below.

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The teachers of our youngest students at each of our schools have been safely delivering some supplies, schoolwork and socially distanced love! We have loved seeing the smiling faces of our youngest students over the last few weeks. Keep learning and we will see you soon!

MSAPC

Mattleman is Back, Milton!  At 7pm on May 6th, Milton favorite, Jon Mattleman, will discuss, “Teens, Tweens, and Quarantines”. This interactive presentation for parents is the first in the Milton Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition’s webinar series, Milton Learns Together: Webinar Wednesdays.

Jon Mattleman is a mental health counselor and trainer with 30 years of experience working with children, teens, young adults, parents and families. We welcome his return after presenting “Minding Your Mind” at Pierce Middle School in 2017 and the Secret Life of Teens and Tweens earlier this year at Milton High School.

“Teens, Tweens, & Quarantines” is a presentation for parents focusing on the impact of COVID-19 on our children.  In a dynamic fashion, this talk will address the teen/tween brain, explain why this pandemic is so difficult for this age group, survey the process of loss, discuss issues related to independence, autonomy, and privacy, and offer perspectives and suggestions that parents can implement immediately.  In addition, parents will have the opportunity to ask questions and get concrete answers for practical steps they can take in real time  – who has time to wait?

MILTON FOUNDATION FOR EDUCATION 

If distance learning has given you a new appreciation for our MPS teachers, now is the time to give them credit!

The Milton Foundation for Education invites you to nominate that special teacher for our OUTSTANDING TEACHER AWARD PROGRAM, also known as TEACHER OF THE YEAR. Our teachers are second to none, which is what makes this event so special to us. We are currently seeking nominations for teachers who promote achievement in our children and garner the respect of colleagues, students and parents alike. We look forward to hearing from you, and learning more about the amazing teachers who inspire Milton students every day.

Nomination guidelines can be found here  and this link will bring you to the easy and short nomination form.  Nominations are due Friday, May 8.

CURRICULUM CHALLENGE

Brian Selig, MPS K-12 Math Director has a Math Challenge that is appropriate for students at all grade levels.

Each week, I will display the first three steps in a pattern and then pose questions related to that pattern that increase in difficulty. My hope is that all students regardless of grade level can find enjoyment and success in investigating these patterns even if they are unable to formally describe how the pattern grows over time. You can find last week’s answers and this week’s full challenge at this link.  Good luck!

SPECIAL EDUCATION 

Administrator for Pupil Personnel Services, Susan Maselli, shares the following. She can be reached anytime via email.

I hope this message finds you all well. Please find attached coordinates from the  Department of Education related to the provision of support and learning opportunities related to special education students during school closure.

The Office of Pupil Personnel Services appreciates your cooperation and patience while Remote Learning Plans are developed, implemented, evaluated and adjusted for all our students with special education needs. In alignment with the guidance from last Friday, you can expect to see the new state recommended Remote Learning Plan in use as service plans are updated for individual students.   We will continue to host parent coffees on all issues related to special education services during school coosure, and as always, you can reach out Patty Lesenechal at plesenechal@miltonps.org to RSVP.

I hope this letter and attached tool kit is a resource you find helpful. As always, please be in touch with any questions. 

TECHNOLOGY 

You can find all technology  resources about Google Classroom, Plus Portals, Study Island and Chromebooks in this document. 

LIBRARY RESOURCES 

Audiobooks! Are you tired of looking at a screen? Try reading with your ears! There are plenty of Audiobooks available online. This week AudioFile announced their Young Adult Spring/Summer season of free audiobooks that are released weekly. They will release two audiobooks with a common theme that are free for you to download.

AudioBookCloud provides access to audiobooks for children and young adults. The username is: tumble2020 and the password is: A3b5c6. This database also includes titles in Spanish. 

Every year there are associations that highlight the best audiobooks of the year based on different categories. These are great places to find recommendations. They include the Audie Awards by Audible, The Odyssey Award and Amazing Audiobooks List by YALSA. 

As always, if you are looking for book recommendations, research assistance or need help troubleshooting your technology feel free to reach out to MHS librarian, J Troy at jtroy@miltonps.org. Happy Reading!

FAMILY RESOURCES 

Milton Residents Fund (MRF): Any Milton residents 18 or older facing a financial crisis can reach out to the MRF for help with things like rental or mortgage assistance, utility assistance, winter heating oil, small car repair fees, educational or professional development fees, or medical expenses. To determine if you might qualify, please email Noreen Dolan, LCSW at MiltonResidentsFund@gmail.com or leave a message at (617)696-1214.

Support Services: The BRYT (Bridge For Resilient Youth in Transition) Family Engagement Team is offering support to families to help manage these difficult times during the state school suspension.  

Parent Support Group – BRYT offers daily support groups around various topics based on what parents report they need. These are open to ANY family, not just BRYT families. *May 1 will be the start of their Spanish speaking group.*

Parent Support Webinar – If you missed a group, but you still want to be able to participate. The Family Engagement Team will be adding mini webinars for their topic-based groups so parents can watch at a time convenient for them. 

Facebook – BRYT offers a closed Facebook group for peer to peer support. Come talk with parents who are going through similar situations. Just search “BRYT Family Support” and ask to join.

Additional BRYT Family Resources : COVID-19 ; Community Resources

Tutoring: Free Tutoring Resource for Military Connected Students. Tutor.com/military, an online tutoring program for active military connected students has been temporarily expanded to include U.S. Department of Defense affiliated personnel and their families to alleviate the academic stress experienced during the COVID-19 public health crisis. The program provides on-demand academic support 24/7 online in more than 100 subjects for students in kindergarten through college. The program is available at no cost to any adult or child in a Department of Defense civilian or Active Duty, National Guard, Reserve or Wounded Warrior military family who is trying to continue learning while managing unexpected changes to their routines.

Food Resources: The Milton Food Pantry will be open this Saturday, May 2nd from 9:15 – 11:15am with pre-bagged food ready to go for anyone that is in need.  The pantry has shifted to an every other Saturday schedule including May 16th and 30th. Social distancing will be practiced throughout the process.  If you are in need of food outside of those hours please call the Food Pantry line at (617) 696-0221 and leave your name, address, and how many people are in your family and that you are requesting a donation of food.  Volunteers are ready to pick up the food and deliver.  

If you are in need of food beyond May 2nd, the Interfaith Social Services Food Pantry, located at 105 Adams St., Quincy is open Monday – Friday, 10-11:45am and Wednesdays 5-7pm for families in need during this difficult time.  The food pantry asks those families arriving by car to please remain in your vehicle and you will be directed by a volunteer.  Those who walk to the pantry are also welcome and should enter through the pantry lobby.  New clients are welcome.

MPS Family Liaison: Milton Public Schools is committed to being a resource for you. Whether you are unsure of how to connect with school staff or directly need a referral for services or supplies please don’t hesitate to reach out to Marti O’Keefe McKenna, MPS Family Outreach Liaison at 617-980-7343 or by email at mmckenna@miltonps.org. All calls and emails are confidential.

COUNSELING CORNER 

Each week, one of our MPS Adjustment Counselors will share information or resources. Last week, Glover’s Mr. Powers wrote to the MPS community. This week, Mr. Cadet from Tucker checks in below.

As our governor informed us that schools will remain close for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year, I imagine like me, many of you have mixed emotions about this announcement and entire ordeal. I wished we would be able to safely close out the year in our schools, but given the precarious nature of this novel virus, I am resolved and concur it is best to remain in social distance. These turbulent times affect us in profound ways as it does our children and the stress of being both parent and teacher simultaneously for such an extended period of time is leaving me with fewer hairs from the little I had. Although these past few weeks have been quite challenging, I have learned the need to keep things light (having a dose of humor each day), spend more time playing together as a family, make use of deep breaths (using mindfulness) when I really want to yell and scream, reminding myself that my wife and kids are not the enemy but this virus that is causing so much stress, frustration, worry, sadness, fear, pain, and the vast range of emotions I experience is the enemy.

I am reminded of what I often tell your children at Tucker that it’s okay to think and feel anything, it’s what we do with those thoughts and feelings that can be expected or unexpected. In essence, it’s okay for me to experience these feelings at the moment; given I can only control me, I can choose to do something to help myself so as to not prolong the undesired emotion or transfer it onto my family. It’s important for me to remember that my kids look for and pick up cues from how I am managing, being gracious with them and when I mess up, they too can be gracious with me.

That said, the question that many of us may grapple with at this time is what do we do to make the most of this experience as a family? I want to thank my adjustment counseling colleagues who have listed so many helpful ideas over the past few weeks; I am fortunate to work alongside so many talented and incredible people. Like you, this is hard for us, we are taking this day by day.

Here are a few more ideas to consider. As much as we’re thinking about this situation, our kids are doing the same and need our perspective to reach an appropriate conclusion we can approve of. As disrupting as this time is, we need to reassure them that school is closed for the rest of the year to keep us healthy and safe. We have to take proactive measures by having honest, age-appropriate conversations that are informative without burdening them. It’s imperative that we offer accurate age-appropriate information, being careful to gently correct their misunderstanding or distortion. In doing so, we must remain empathetic and attentive to their emotional needs, focusing our actions on doing the best we can to remain healthy and safe.

Additionally, it is helpful to maintain a consistent daily routine/schedule with clear expectations, limiting their screen time, being mindful of watching the news in their presence, encourage connections with friends/peers via phone, FaceTime, or video chat. Throughout this time, be sure to have some fun, use humor as much as possible and play games as a family. Make cleaning, cooking, or baking an activity that involves everyone in the family; practice expressing ongoing gratitude for one another, extended family, friends, and all essential workers. Engage in movement activities, taking walks when possible, practicing yoga, calming breathing techniques, mindfulness, listen to music, and dance if desired.

Finally, as adults, let’s model connections with those in our lives to talk through our big emotions and find laughter through books, tv shows, magazines, etc. We’re in this journey together, let’s stay connected; as counselors, we are here for you, your children and family. I long for the day we can celebrate being back together again as different as it will be. We will get through this together, you are AMAZING!!!

Your MPS school Adjustment Counselors:  Jennie BeliveauMary Bianca MattocksKenneth Adelmann (Milton High School); Myriam FrancoeurKara Sheridan, Kelly Dearing (Pierce) Jaclyn Germano (Cunningham); Elizabeth Caruso (Collicot) ; Ramsay Cadet (Tucker) Brian Powers, Christine Howley (Glover)

ART AND MUSIC 

Elementary students across Milton were so creative with their sculpture materials! From cardboard and clay to Legos and Magna-Tiles, students made an amazing variety of art projects while exploring the art element Form!

ATHLETICS

Senior Student-Athlete Spotlight
Each day we will spotlight our senior student-athletes from the spring season. Our student-athletes have worked for years towards their senior year. Some are captains, some are playing their last competitive season, others were looking for a 3rd straight State Title. Social Distancing will without a doubt save lives, but for our student-athletes, right now, it still hurts to miss out on their final season. Let’s give them the recognition they deserve! Here are this week’s highlights.

Mikel Descopins: Wiry and with wings on his feet, Mikel’s desire to reach the try line is a force to be reckoned with. His raw talent will only improve with age. He is a quiet student and let’s his play do the talking. Very good teammate who is always cheering on the success of others.
Michelle Gauvin: Michelle is a three year varsity letter track and field athlete. Michelle has improved every year. This past Indoor Season was her best season. Michelle’s toughness is shown by her event of choice. She races over ten hurdles that are almost half her height. Watching her attack the first hurdle is a thing of beauty. She is viscous coming out of the blocks and then once she crosses the finish line her smile becomes contagious to all of her competitors. Pound for pound Michelle is one of toughest hurdlers in the state. Kyle Hipp: There aren’t enough words in the dictionary to describe this student. He has the biggest heart of anyone and cares deeply about his peers and their success. In the Spring of 2019, we started the Unified Track and Field Team, looking to break down stereotypes about people with intellectual disabilities in a really fun way. Kyle epitomizes what it means to be a student-athlete and role model. He values inclusion and citizenship and hard-work. The Unified Track season would not have run as smoothly without Kyle. I am sure he will be back next season as a graduate to help out because that is the kind of person he is. You can read more here.
Jack Boylan: Starting second baseman and lead off hitter for the Baseball Team. Hit .333 last year while playing terrific defense. Jack brings a great attitude and effort every day and is an absolute pleasure to coach. Also Team Captain for the Golf Team and two-time All-Star. Helped bring the Hockey Team back to the Tournament his senior season as one of two assistant captains!
Taylor Vrettas: From Coach Assarian, “I have had the pleasure of coaching Taylor in both Unified Track and Girl’s Basketball. Taylor joined the first season of Unified Track and Field as a junior, and has been a positive influence on the team. With her comedic sense of humor and high spirits, Taylor brought a sense of joy to the team. She is very involved both on and off the field, and continues to spread her positivity through the team. With her knowledge of track, Taylor has been an awesome asset to the team, and will continue to have a positive impact in her future endeavors. ”

COMMUNITY NEWS

The U.S. Census Bureau has extended the deadline for the national census to Saturday, October 31. Individuals can respond at this website,  over the phone by calling the number in the invitation that was mailed to their home, or by mail. To find out the response rate in a particular area, consult this spreadsheet that tracks responses in all Massachusetts towns/cities and census tracts or a second that tracks historically hard to count towns/cities.

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Chess Club with Mr. Vigorito is on! International Chess Master David Vigorito has been teaching chess in Milton for over 10 years. Classes begin Monday and all details can be found here. 

With school done for the year, let’s make the best of it! Mr. Vigorito will be doing online chess classes in May. All information can be found on the Chess Club website

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Milton participates in #ClapBecauseWeCare! 

Every Friday at  7pm open up a window, or stand in front of your house, and clap and whoop, ring a bell, or bang some pots and pans together, for five minutes as if J.D. Martinez just hit a home run in Fenway Park.

Organizers are hoping residents will cheer for the doctors, nurses, and first responders; the pharmacists and grocery workers, delivery drivers and postal employees, restaurateurs who have stayed open, and other essential personnel who are risking exposure to COVID-19 so everyone else can stay home and stay healthy.

The plan is to keep this up EVERY Friday at 7:00pm until we emerge on the other side of this pandemic.  Post a video of your celebration on social media with the #ClapBecauseWeCareMilton and make sure that the video is set to ‘public.’

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The annual Brookwood Farm Seedling Sale is available for online shopping only this year along with any remaining CSA shares at www.brookwoodcommunityfarm.org.  All details can also be found here. Thank you to the MPS families who have been helping out at the farm, while volunteering with just their own families.

SNAP farm shares are going to be available soon through a signup form & allow for HIP benefits. If you want to receive a form, please send an email to president@brookwoodcommunityfarm.org.

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There is much fun to be had virtually this season in the Children’s Room at the Milton Public Library!

Cool family activities including electronic and audio books, live programs, virtual storytimes and more are available every day from ​www.miltonlibrary.org​ and the Library’s Facebook pages. We have these exciting online programs happening for the young people in your life during the week of May 3-9.

IMPORTANT MPS CONTACTS

MPS school Adjustment Counselors:  Jennie BeliveauMary Bianca MattocksKenneth Adelmann (Milton High School); Myriam FrancoeurKara Sheridan, Kelly Dearing (Pierce) Jaclyn Germano (Cunningham); Elizabeth Caruso (Collicot) ; Ramsay Cadet (Tucker) Brian Powers, Christine Howley (Glover)

Central Office is staffed every day (we are practicing safe social distancing) and you can reach the Superintendent’s office any time via phone at 617-686-4808 or via email.

We have compiled a comprehensive and ever changing list of Frequently Asked Questions linked here. It will be linked on the front of our website and shared in each blog post. Please refer back to it often.

AMBASSADOR PAGE

As part of our E-blast, we highlight students, teachers or members of the community whose hard work deserves recognition.  Please read about some of their accomplishments below:

VOLUNTEERS: Our partnership with both Steel and Rye and the Fruit Center continues throughout the school closure.

Steel and Rye and Dan Kerrigan have made dinners available to MPS families each weeknight, facilitated and delivered by our Family Outreach Liaison Marti O’Keefe McKenna. We are so grateful for this continued partnership! Please visit the Steel and Rye website to donate to this effort or to order yourself a delicious take out meal.

The Fruit Center and the Mignosa Family have been very generous with grocery bags – both new reusable bags and sturdy paper bags which has allowed our Food Service team to safely and efficiently pack the meals to go for our MPS families. We are so thankful to them for this generous donation.

The Milton Public School system does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, gender identity, transgender status, gender transitioning, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its programs, activities or operations. These include, but are not limited to, admissions, equal access to programs and activities, employment, provision of and access to programs and services, as well as selection of volunteers, vendors and employers recruiting at the Milton Public Schools.  We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our staff, students, volunteers, subcontractors, and vendors. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Asst. Superintendent for Curriculum & Human Resources, Dr. Karen Spaulding, (617) 696-5040 ext. 5582.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on April 30, 2020

April 22, 2020

From: Mary C. Gormley
To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: April 22, 2020

FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT

I truly believe that the Milton Public Schools’ Administrative Assistants are the BEST in the world. Our administrative assistants are amazing and skilled at the important and invaluable work they perform for the school district. They work hard everyday on behalf of MPS students, families, staff and residents. They are professional at all times and give us more than 100% every day of the school year. They are positive role models – individuals whom we want working with your children. During this stressful time of the school closure, they have worked behind the scenes to smooth the way for students, families and staff. I could not be more proud to work alongside each of them.

If you or your child would like to send a quick note of appreciation to their school’s administrative assistant this week, you can find their email address in the links below. I promise you that each email will be appreciated.

I know you join me in wishing these professionals a Happy Administrative Assistants Day!

Central Office: Laurie Dunn and Charlene Roche
Milton High School: Maureen Kennedy, Brad Spindle, Meghan Connors
Pierce Middle School: Sandy Wyse and Susan Higgins 
Glover: Deb Woods
Tucker: Eileen Keaney
Collicot: Joanne Barker
Cunningham: Erica Cadigan 

The Milton Public School system does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, gender identity, transgender status, gender transitioning, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its programs, activities or operations. These include, but are not limited to, admissions, equal access to programs and activities, employment, provision of and access to programs and services, as well as selection of volunteers, vendors and employers recruiting at the Milton Public Schools.  We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our staff, students, volunteers, subcontractors, and vendors. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Asst. Superintendent for Curriculum & Human Resources, Dr. Karen Spaulding, (617) 696-5040 ext. 5582.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on April 22, 2020

April 16, 2020

From: Mary C. Gormley
To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: April 16, 2020

FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT

As we look ahead to week six of the nationwide school closure (and April vacation – April 20-24-  when there is No School/No Remote Learning), I want to acknowledge that this is difficult. It is difficult for staff who are learning a new way of teaching and connecting with students, while they are home managing their own family situations. It is hard for students, who are adapting to their new reality of not only no physical school, but also no in person friends, no sports, no groups or clubs, no real socialization – all taken away in the blink of an eye. It is challenging for our parents and guardians who are managing jobs, finances, illness, their children and more. And all of this is happening under a cloud of uncertainty in our country as we all wonder when life will return to some sense of normalcy. 

Today I want to highlight the good in this space, because there is so much good! Our community has rallied to provide for those in need with meals and supplies. We have collectively and individually  thanked our healthcare and essential workers, both with shows of support and practical assistance. We have continued to find joy in learning – in art projects, in creative group projects, in book clubs, in the work of math and science and language and in community projects. These are not small feats, when taken in the context of the current worldwide crisis and I want to thank our staff, students and families who continue to “show up” each day to make these moments of good an everyday reality in Milton. 

You will read more about the positive and valuable things happening in the Milton Public Schools below but I want to share a big one right here. On Wednesday of this week, every one of our 231 Milton High School Seniors woke up to a sign in their yard signaling the love and the support that  Milton has for its Senior Class. There are many things to mourn the loss of this spring and as adults, we know that this disruption to the end of senior year is a real loss for our young people. As we search for ways to adequately celebrate their accomplishments, I can not thank the MHS Boosters enough for both the idea and the execution of this wonderful initiative.

Special thanks to these MHS Boosters and MHS volunteers: Jimmy and Annamarie Coyne, Susan and Mike Disandro, Bob and Susannah Ryan, Patti Dobrindt, Rachel Schewe, Patricia Pauris, Ryan Madden and James Jette for this special and heartfelt tribute to our Senior Class. As you drive by these signs, all over town, feel free to give a quick beep in support of the Class of 2020. We hope they feel the love and support of the entire town.  

A MEMO FROM MARIA TROZZI

Over the past three weeks, author, professor, and grief and resilience specialist Maria Trozzi has participated in virtual meetings with the staff from each of our schools. We have heard from many MPS employees about the value of the virtual check-ins.

Pierce Principal Bill Fish writes that Maria Trozzi has been an incredible resource to the Milton Public Schools during some of the most challenging times the district has experienced. Her work with each faculty over the past few weeks has provided educators with comfort and direction as they support students and families through this difficult and unsettled period. By focusing on wellness and self-care, Maria’s guidance and wisdom has reminded all of us that we need to take care of ourselves and one another, and to let go of the pressures and expectations that we put on ourselves during otherwise normal circumstances.

Glover Principal Karen McDavitt shares that at the Milton Public Schools, we are exceptionally fortunate to consider Maria Trozzi a member of our extended MPS family. Nationally renowned for her work as a grief counselor and specifically for her work supporting schools in the aftermath of tragedy, our MPS students, families, and staff have benefited greatly from her expertise, her counsel, and her support. Maria continues to help this community in innumerable ways and we are incredibly grateful for the impact she has had on all of our lives.

In her continued work with our district, Ms. Trozzi shares the following advice with the MPS community.

By now, I suspect many of you would acknowledge that the expression ‘cabin fever’ has new meaning for you.  By now, hopefully, you’ve found a familiarity in your days, perhaps even a rhythm that provides some comfort. You have discovered some strategies that help you to get through each day; writing an agenda  (even though it may be quite similar to yesterday’s), limiting news coverage, reaching out to old and new friends in a variety of electronic ways, practicing self-kindness (reminding yourself that you are doing your best), walking outdoors when weather permits, and taking a five minute deep breath. (All while many of you are working from home.)

And by now, (unless you are Mother Teresa), you’ve had at least one major meltdown with another adult and your children have had several.  As you know, it’s a lot…

Good Grief

Some of you know that for nearly thirty years, my work, as co-founder and former director of the Good Grief Program at Boston Medical Center, has focused on helping families, schools, and communities face crises of loss in a way that promotes resilience.  

Hopefully you have not lost a loved one as a result of Covid-19.  Surely, some of you know a relative or a friend who has the virus. This alone makes the pandemic real. What to do? 

We remind ourselves daily that if by doing what science has taught us to do, with any luck, we and our loved ones will escape the tragic loss of life.  And, if you are a numbers person as I am, you get solace in remembering that 98% of those who are positive for the virus recover completely. Whew.

So, where’s the grief? We are grieving the loss of normalcy we have not felt in weeks. We are grieving the uncertainty of future plans- proms, graduations, weddings, baby showers, birthday parties, summer camps for our kids (oh, please…. let there be summer camps!). Our plans for next month, and a new season are written in pencil only…. The answers you and I yearn for aren’t available to us yet. What will virtual graduation look like? How will our children catch up? Will my ‘rainy day’ fund be enough for the months ahead? What if my parents get sick?

We grieve our former, familiar sense of well-being; that all is good enough, and that we have control of our comings and goings.  

I think it’s okay, in fact, it’s helpful to understand that the discomfort and weighty feeling we may feel from day to evening to day again is grief.  I imagine us carrying our ‘grief’ in boulder filled back-backs. It makes our days longer, our moods scratchy, our burden heavier. And it’s always there.

Intellectually we know that we can be grateful for plenty. Lots of people not too far away are suffering, losing loved ones, fighting on the front lines to save lives, losing businesses and losing a paycheck. We know the pandemic had a beginning and it will have an end, however far away. But how about our feelings as we slog through each day? That’s another story. Our sadness? Our anger? Our fear? Our exhaustion?  Is it possible to lighten the load?

I think yes.

All in the Same Boat? We have been told that we are ‘alone-together’. For me, this conjures up being in the same boat. Except, actually some may have a kayak and others a yacht. Again, only you know your situation- and your capacities to cope.  Were you already coping with loss? Depression/ Anxiety? Financial insecurity? A health issue, for you or your loved ones? What are your support systems? 

Grief is idiosyncratic. There is no right way to feel as we go through this. My guess is that how we typically cope with loss of control, cabin fever, financial worries, difficult decisions, is how we will face these feelings now.  As I am known to say, “In a crisis, a giraffe doesn’t become a lion; he gets taller.” Consider what helps us when we feel overwhelmed? anxious? sad?  Who is our ‘go to’ person when we need to ask for help? Our primary care physician? A counselor? A clergy? They are here for us.

Your Glass? Prior losses and other external stressors inform how we cope with this crisis.  Picture a tall glass, over-full with water, right to the very top. Now picture the same glass with only two thirds full with water. The first represents much of my patient load—they are coping with COVID-19 on top of their losses. The latter represents me and several of us… Life was going swell until COVID-19. Many of us (lucky ones) have more bandwith that allows us to cope easier when the cellar floods from a sump pump that overheated from the recent rain storm. 

What can we do?

  • NAME IT. You may be surprised but by writing down all the stuff you are missing during this isolation period and all that you worry about in an uncertain future, it will feel and be more manageable. As Fred Rogers told me and you, “ If it’s unmentionable, it’s unmanageable.” Make a list. Add to it as needed. Say it out loud.
  • Talk with your partner or friend. Tell him/her what you are most troubled by, what you worry about. Sharing our feelings doesn’t change the situation but DOES help us feel less alone. Besides, nothing good comes from those thoughts bouncing around in your head. Let them out.
  • Reach out and (don’t) touch someone. When I facetime with my grandchildren and my family and friends, new and old, I just feel better.
  • Sleep enough (7-8 hours).
  • Move your body. Yes, you can. Every day.
  • Although it’s tempting, stop being the Police for everyone you see or hear who is not ‘social distancing’ as instructed. It’s bringing you down.
  • Find anything that comforts you (and isn’t destructive) and overload when you need to. For me, it’s music, which has an uncanny ability to lift my mood- (As I write I am listening to my Spotify playlists.) For my husband, it’s Ben and Jerry’s coconut almond fudge.
  • Repeat 1-7.

Are we there yet? I so wish I could imagine when I will be able to hug my grandchildren, welcome friends to my home, plan beach time, plan the vacations that were put on hold – basically live the way I want to live, go where I want to go, do what I choose, (get my roots covered).   

Over three decades, I have learned from hundreds of grieving patients that all things are possible. In time. Often with learned acceptance and patience. But, in the ‘repair’ or resolution lies hidden gifts. We just don’t know what they are, or what they will look like, or when they will appear. Something to live for.  

Maria Trozzi, M.Ed. 
Author, Talking with Children About Loss, Penguin-Putnam
Co-Founder, Good Grief Program at Boston Medical Center
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Boston University School of Medicine (retired)
Program Director, Joanna’s Place
Psychotherapist/Grief and Resilience Specialist 
Responses to: mariatrozzi@hotmail.com

FOOD SERVICE

The MPS Food Service effort continued this week with Wednesday pick up of weekly to-go bags of breakfasts and lunches for any Milton student. Weekly to-go bags with (now) 7 breakfasts and 7 lunches are available for pick up every Wednesday from 8-9am and 5-6pm at MHS and Tucker.

These FREE 7  day to-go bags contain low sugar cereal, shelf stable milk, sunbutter and jelly sandwiches, grilled cheese sandwiches, fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, and snack bags. ANY Milton family is welcome to pick up a weekly to-go bag as the goal is to support any food insecure student. Thank you to the Fruit Center for their continued donation of shopping bags towards this effort. 

This past Wednesday, Jackie Morgan and our Food Service team gave out 250  weekly bags containing 14 meals each for a total of 3500 meals distributed to our students this week. This FREE service will be available throughout the school closure, including during school vacation week on Wednesday April 22nd.

If you would like to apply for Free and Reduced meals, for once school is back in session please see this link for the application and more information. These weekly to-go bags of breakfasts and lunches are available to ALL Milton students during the school closing.

If you have a hardship and are in need of more convenient hours for pick up, please contact Food Service Director Jackie Morgan via email at jmorgan@miltonps.org or phone at 617-898-1051. MPS families in need of support during this time are also encouraged to email MPS Family Outreach Liaison Marti O’Keefe McKenna at mmckenna@miltonps.org or by phone at 617-980-7343.

HIGH SCHOOL HAPPENINGS

The Milton High School staff has thrown down the gauntlet to MHS clubs, groups, teams and any group who wishes to take them on! Can you lip sync as well as our MHS staff? You can check out the fun below. 

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MHS Theatre has put together a beautiful rendition of Thank You for the Music and you can view it here. We miss hearing our talented students in the halls of Milton High School!

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MHS students Olivia Ketler and Michael Swanton share the following about their recent physics project. You can view Olivia and Michael’s project here. 

In Physics, we have been studying energy and the Law of Conservation of Energy – specifically kinetic energy, potential energy, work and thermal energy in the form of work done by friction.  As an extension, students were asked to overview all the types of energy, explain what they were, and describe how they change forms (Law of Conservation of Energy) in a creative way. Options were left wide open, from writing a song or a rap, to making a poem, building a sculpture, making a comic – whatever suits student’s interests and talents.  

PIERCE PAGES  

Our Pierce staff miss their students and wanted them to know!  You can see their video message to students here. 

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Ms. McEvoy’s 6th grade students completed assignments last week above to demonstrate the ways they are continuing to lead a healthy life during the school closing. 

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8th grade science students have been working on an energy & forces scavenger hunt group project. You can see some creative examples from Team Orion below. 

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Pierce 8th grader Paige Warren writes the following about Pierce Pals. 

I am writing on behalf of the Pierce Pals Community. My friends and I are meeting on a video platform, which allows us to see each other and talk to one another, ask questions, tell each other what we have been up to and keep in touch! I know that I look forward to seeing everyone during the week to either do our handshake or high-five in the hallway and of course in our amazing meeting, those things are definitely my favorite part of the week/day. 

I think it is very important to keep in touch with Pierce Pals because I know many of us, including me are missing our meeting after school – from going bowling at Cunningham Hall, decorating rocks with my favorite group of people, to having lunches on Friday and telling each other jokes, talking about our favorite superheroes, movies we are going to watch, and walks that we’re going to take with our families.The Pierce Pals have a very strong connection with each other and it  has been amazing that we have an opportunity to still keep in touch during this hard time in our lives which has affected each of us and our families’ physical and mental health. I can’t wait until this is all over and we can get together again as a community!  

INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

All elementary district wide learning opportunities can be found on the Elementary At-Home Learning Opportunities website, which is linked on each school website as well as the MPS website.

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Cunningham students enjoyed a terrific Q & A this week with Laura Brazier. Ms. Brazier is a seabird biologist who received her masters in wildlife conservation and management from University College Dublin. She recently returned from a field season in Antarctica, where she studied two species of penguin (chinstrap penguins and gentoo penguins). Along with a team of researchers, she monitored the penguins to find out where they find food, what they eat, and how that affects their overall survival. In addition, she has spent time working with albatross in Midway Island, and puffins in Maine.  Students had so much fun learning about Antarctica, seabird biology, and all of the different species Ms. Brazier has studied. 

On a personal note, my sister and mother, Anne Gormley and Helen Gormley, participated in the session and loved it!  93 year old Mrs. Gormley even asked a follow up question. Thank you to Principal Redden, Ms. Morton and Ms. Cadigan for organizing and facilitating. 

***

This week’s Art Challenge uses the element of LINE. Zentangle is a meditative way to create designs within sections of the paper. The purpose is to take your time, be mindful and creative, which are habits we work on in school all year. Students are encouraged to use pen, because there are no mistakes in Zentangle; we just go with the flow! Check out these student Zentangle!

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How exciting to see some Tucker faces on the GettyMuseum Facebook page, recreating some classic art!  Nice job, Sofia and Jack! 

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Inspired by last week’s Art Color Wheel project, the 5th grade French teachers across the district  incorporated the color wheel into their French lessons on the 5 senses this week. 5th grade French students across the district contributed to this colorful display while they did their French work this week.  

***

DId you know that each week in addition to the science assignments there are weekly STEM challenges selected for students in K-2 and 3-5 on the MPS At Home Learning  website? Last week students in K-2 were busy building towers and this week students in 3-5 enjoyed building marshmallow blasters! These at home challenges use materials you likely have in your home, or allow for easy substitution of materials. Remember, if your first design doesn’t work, it’s okay to redesign. We hope families enjoy completing these challenges. The weekly challenges are listed under the Monday activities each week but can be completed at any time. These students sent in videos:  Stem Challenge 1Stem Challenge 2.

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The Glover Community has created the Glover Field of Love at the entrance to Glover. All Glover students are invited to make hearts and plant them in the ground around an art installation by Glover parent Jane Bonus and her student helpers. See Principal McDavitt’s communications for details on planting your heart. Thank you to Ms. Bonus and students Ella Williams, Caleb Doherty, Bailey Bonus, Coby Williams, Aidan Reardon, Nolan Hunt, Deacon & Olivia Lamoureux, Mila & Theo Clark, Nico Lazar and Greta Mcgee for this beautiful way to spread some Glover Love!  

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The Tucker Cares initiative rolls on, even as students are not in school. This week, students took time to thank healthcare and essential workers in our community as you can see in this video. 

The Collicot Community  is staying active throughout this school closure. You can check out their adventures here.

CURRICULUM CHALLENGE

Brian Selig, MPS K-12 Math Director has a Math Challenge that is appropriate for students at all grade levels. 

Each week, I will display the first three steps in a pattern and then pose questions related to that pattern that increase in difficulty. My hope is that all students regardless of grade level can find enjoyment and success in investigating these patterns even if they are unable to formally describe how the pattern grows over time. You can find last week’s answers and this week’s full challenge at this link.  Good luck!

MSAPC

The Milton Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition is proud to host a community Webinar Series entitled, “Milton Learns Together: Webinar Wednesdays”.  The coalition recognizes that many residents are at home, searching for ways to use their time wisely and productively, and to connect with others. This series will be a great opportunity to learn more about emotional self-care and the proper caring of our loved ones, especially during these stressful times.

“Most of us are attending to our physical well-being during this public health crisis, but our mental health is just as important!  MSAPC has lined up some terrific speakers, on a variety of topics, to help support the emotional well-being of our residents”, said Laurie Stillman, Director of the Coalition.

Webinar Wednesdays are free for Milton residents and will be offered through the online Zoom platform, which is very easy to use.  So be sure to look for upcoming announcements and join us as we discover new ways to support one another. We hope to launch the program on Wednesday evenings at 7pm in late April or early May.  To receive email announcements, sign up on MSAPC’s homepage. 

VIDEO CONFERENCING 

Understanding that the impact of COVID-19 is constantly evolving, we have consistently sought up to date information and reflected on our work in light of it.  Further, we continue to greatly appreciate your partnership with us and the risk-taking and innovation of our teachers. In particular, it is inspiring to see how many teachers are offering students live remote learning opportunities, and we thank you for your patience as we smooth out the wrinkles that can happen in such virtual environments.  As you know, many of these learning opportunities have been done through Zoom. You may have noticed in recent news that security concerns have been raised about the use of Zoom as a video conferencing tool with students. Given these concerns and after consultation with other districts and the attorneys with whom we work, we have decided that as a district we will transition away from using Zoom with students and instead use Google Hangout Meet exclusively.  Unlike Zoom, the Milton Public Schools has full control over settings in Google Hangout Meet. Teachers will be transitioning away from Zoom and moving to Google Hangout Meet this week. Please know that our technology team is here to support them and you in this transition.

For those who are new to Google Hangout Meet, here are support links to Google’s Join a Google Hangout Meet support,  Troubleshooting Google Hangout Meet, Requirements for Google Hangout Meet.  If you cannot access Google Hangout Meet from your computer (i.e. it is blocked on a work computer) you can use your phone or iPad or any phone to call into the session without video.

As always, the safety of our students and staff is our priority.  We hope you understand our need to shift our approach in response to this recent information regarding Zoom.  If you have additional questions or technology needs, please reach out to AJ Melanson, Director of Educational Technology at amelanson@miltonps.org.

MCAS

Late last week, Governor Baker signed legislation that addresses many concerns municipalities and school districts might have because of the state of emergency related to COVID-19, including this year’s MCAS testing.

The MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education previously requested and received a waiver from the federal requirement for annual statewide student assessment. Now, with the state legislation enacted, the MCAS testing requirement is waived for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year.

As a result of these federal and state actions and in light of the on-going health crisis,  Commissioner of Education Jeff Riley is cancelling this spring’s regular administration of grade-level MCAS tests for students in grades 3-10.

In addition, the legislation allows the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, upon Mr. Riley’s recommendation, to modify or waive the requirements of the competency determination for high school graduation in order to address disruptions caused by the outbreak of COVID-19 or the state of emergency. Further guidance to districts will be forthcoming.

SPECIAL EDUCATION 

Administrator for Pupil Personnel Services, Susan Maselli, shares the following. She can be reached anytime via email.

I hope this message continues to find you all well. As you know, your student has received his or her Remote Learning Plan document this week from his/her liaison or team chairperson. This document outlines the supports available during the coming weeks. As I have mentioned before, this document is fluid, and updates are to be expected as we try different kinds of supports for students.

We are still interested in hosting additional Parent Coffees. We have had modest interest, so I would like to offer again now in case someone missed the message last week. Please contact Patty Lesenechal at plesenechal@miltonps.org to be added to the email list for inclusion in the Google Meet. We hope this platform is a helpful way to continue to connect parents and guardians on issues related to special education during school closure.

This week we have begun scheduling Remote IEP meetings for students. We are focusing our roll out of meetings for students Annual Reviews and Transition Meetings as the first priority, and will do our best to conduct Initial or Re-Evaluation Meetings on students for whom all the testing has been completed. Please know that if you are not comfortable participating in a remote meeting, we can work with you on a plan to meet when school reopens. We appreciate everyone’s patience in this area.

I know many are wondering about ESY and summer services for special education. Please know we are working on this issue. As the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and the State provide guidance, we will be ready to support students over summer who require services in their IEPS. Last year, Bridget Renehan was our summer program director and we are excited she will be returning to us as director again this summer.  As we learn more about school reopening dates, we will keep you up to date on the impact of this on ESY services. We continue to anticipate summer dates to include the weeks of July 6 – August 14, 2020.

As always, please be in touch with any issues! Thank you.

HEALTH AND WELLNESS 

In an advisory sent to medical professionals, educators, and parent and advocacy groups, Attorney General Maura Healey and Massachusetts General Hospital warn that smoking or vaping may put people into a higher-risk category, could make COVID-19 infections worse, and may increase the spread of the virus. As Attorney General Healey emphasized, “Combatting the youth vaping crisis has never been more important, and we want the public to understand the heightened risks associated with smoking and vaping during this pandemic.”

***

Director of Health and Physical Education, Noel Vigue, shares the following.

Jon Mattleman has presented several times for the MPS community and he is conducting a free webinar for parents and caregivers called “Teens, Tweens & Quarantines.” It is a presentation for parents and caregivers, focusing on the impact of COVID-19 on our children. In a dynamic fashion, this talk will address: the teen/tween brain; explain why this pandemic and the response is so difficult for this age group; survey the process of loss; discuss issues related to independence, autonomy, and privacy; and offer perspectives and suggestions that parents and caregivers can implement immediately. In addition, participants will have the opportunity to ask questions and get concrete answers for practical steps they can take in real time. This webinar is live on Tuesday, April 21, 7 – 8 p.m. Registering for this webinar ahead of time will allow you to view it at your convenience. The recording will be emailed to you after the event is over. Please click here for more information. 

PHYSICAL EDUCATION 

Looking for some ways to get moving? Ms. Finnegan as an active way of playing Rock Paper Scissors and Mrs. Fahey will get you moving with some Tic Tok Toe.

In addition, if you are out for a walk down Pleasant St., Mr. Muir’s daughter Grace has added some special touches to the sidewalk to add some excitement to your walk. You can see them here and find them around the Badger Circle part of Pleasant St.  Stay active on Pleasant St!

TECHNOLOGY 

You can find all technology  resources about Google Classroom, Plus Portals, Study Island and Chromebooks in this document. 

LIBRARY RESOURCES 

Pierce Librarian Jess Royster shares the following. 

Missing the library while school is out? Yeah, me too. However, there is an easy solution! Use your library card to access ebooks, audiobooks, and other Milton Public Library resources. Graphic novels are hugely popular with the students at Pierce, and are available in ebook format through the Milton or Boston Public Libraries. 

I’m a librarian and I have had a hard time focusing on reading, so don’t stress if your student would rather listen to an audiobook or flip through a magazine. I have started and put down multiple new books before finally settling on rereading old favorites. Rereading a personal favorite novel or a classic picture book is a great way to ease back into reading. 

If your student would like personalized book recommendations, please have them reach out to me. In addition to book recommendations, I am also available for research help and technology troubleshooting. If you or your student is having trouble accessing PlusPortals, feel free to send me an email and we can reset passwords and/or virtually troubleshoot.

FAMILY OUTREACH LIAISON 

The Commission on the Status of Grandparents raising Grandchildren is offering a webinar that will provide information and resources for grandparents and relative caregivers about how to address children’s anxiety during COVID-19.  Eileen Sandberg from the Federation for Children with Special Needs is hosting a webinar “Coping with Children’s Anxiety (and Ours!) on Friday, April 17, 2020 at 10:00am.  To register please email Colleen Pritoni at colleen.pritoni@state.ma.us.

MPS Food Service To-Go Program will continue to be in operation, including Wednesday, April 22, during the April break. Families can pick up 7 days of breakfasts and lunches. Pick up times are 8-9am and 5-6pm at both the Tucker School (behind the school) and Milton High School (on the Canton Ave side of the building). ANY Milton family is welcome to pick up a weekly to-go bag as the goal is to support any food insecure students.

The Milton Food Pantry will be open this Saturday, April 18th from 9:15 – 11:15am with pre-bagged food ready to go for anyone that is in need. The pantry has shifted to an every other Saturday schedule including this Saturday and May 2nd, 16th, 30th. Social distancing will be practiced throughout the process. If you are in need of food outside of those hours please call the Food Pantry line at (617) 696-0221 and leave your name, address, and how many people are in your family and that you are requesting a donation of food. Volunteers are ready to pick up the food and deliver.

The Interfaith Social Services Food Pantry, located at 105 Adams St., Quincy is open Monday – Friday, 10-11:45am and Wednesdays 5-7pm for families in need during this difficult time. The food pantry asks those families arriving by car to please remain in your vehicle and you will be directed by a volunteer. Those who walk to the pantry are also welcome and should enter through the pantry lobby. New clients are welcome.

Milton Public Schools is committed to being a resource for you. Whether you are unsure of how to connect with school staff or directly need a referral for services or supplies please don’t hesitate to reach out to Marti O’Keefe McKenna, MPS Family Outreach Liaison at 617-980-7343 or by email at mmckenna@miltonps.org. All calls and emails are confidential.

STUDENT REGISTRATION

During the School Closure, Registrar Sarina Burke will be registering students online when applicable. Effective immediately, the Milton Public Schools will be accepting online registrations for students enrolling for:

  • The remainder of the 2019-20 school year
  • Kindergarten for the 2020 – 21 school year
  • Students enrolled in private Kindergarten and wish to enroll their child in Grade 1 in the Milton Public schools for the 2020-2021 school year.

All other registrations for the school year 2020-2021 will be conducted in July and August 2020. 

Please visit our registration page for all details on student registration and to register your student who falls into the above categories.

COUNSELING CORNER 

Each week, one of our MPS Adjustment Counselors will share information or resources. Last week, Collicot’s Ms. Caruso wrote to the MPS community. This week, Mr Powers from Glover checks in below.

Self-care for parents: We have often heard the saying that you must put on your own oxygen mask first, before helping others with theirs. This is not based on selfish ideals, but on the belief that your ability to care for your loved ones depends on how well you attend to your own needs. When we care for ourselves, we ensure that we are in good physical and emotional shape to take care of others. This is especially important during a time of crisis, so I want to share a few ways that I try to practice self-care right now in hopes that you will also find them helpful.

Turn off the news: There is no question that we are living in a stressful time and wanting answers and information is something that we naturally seek out to make sense of what is happening around us. However, spending too much time fixating on things that are out of our control can lead to significant stress and may cause us to feel more anxious or depressed. You have no control over the scary things happening in the larger world today, so try to limit your consumption of news and social media information. Instead, focus on the things that you have some level of control over. Choose a fun activity with your family, make your favorite meal, exercise or do yoga, practice good daily hygiene and follow safety protocols when you are out in public. This leads to my second point.

Go for a walk: While we are being responsible about social distancing from others, that does not mean you have to be trapped inside your home. There are countless studies on the health benefits of being outdoors, so in my family we have built daily walks into our schedule. If the weather is poor, you can definitely exercise indoors, but there is no replacement for the sensory experience of being outside, feeling a breeze, smelling the trees and flowers and hearing and seeing the birds and other animals around you. The nearby Blue Hills is one of my favorite places for our family to take a walk and avoid crowds, but if you can’t make it to the woods, a simple walk around your neighborhood is a good alternative.

Try to avoid conflicts over school work: This is a struggle for many of us, including educators. In my conversations with parents, there is a feeling of pressure to assume the role of teacher for our children and the truth is that it is impossible to recreate the classroom experience at home. When your child can’t look to the left and right and see others sharing in their experience, if can feel very stressful to have the magnifying glass focused only on them. Our primary concern should be on health and safety right now, so don’t put so much pressure on yourselves that it affects your emotional well-being. Set realistic expectations for supporting your children and know that it is okay to take a break from the work or focus your time on less stressful activities.

Practicing self-care may not come easily to all of us, but it is worth the investment for you and your family. Be safe and have a peaceful week! 

Your MPS school Adjustment Counselors:  Jennie BeliveauMary Bianca MattocksKenneth Adelmann (Milton High School); Myriam FrancoeurKara Sheridan, Kelly Dearing (Pierce) Jaclyn Germano (Cunningham); Elizabeth Caruso (Collicot) ; Ramsay Cadet (Tucker) Brian Powers, Christine Howley (Glover)

ART AND MUSIC 

Pierce teachers Debra Miller (MHS and PMS Orchestra), Julie Hanna (PMS Chorus)  and Guillermo Ortiz (PMS Band) collaborated on this beautiful piece of music. You can watch them here. 

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MHS students Luke Palmer, Vanessa Lorden and Alisa Lorden (center and right) are members of the Riverside Theatre Works performance troupe Sweet Harmony. Here they are performing a short excerpt of “Whatcha Say” with fellow members Ambar Cassidy (Newton South High School) and Payton Allen (Boston Latin Academy). 

ATHLETICS

Senior Student-Athlete Spotlight
Each day we will spotlight our senior student-athletes from the spring season. Our student-athletes have worked for years towards their senior year. Some are captains, some are playing their last competitive season, others were looking for a 3rd straight State Title. Social Distancing will without a doubt save lives, but for our student-athletes, right now, it still hurts to miss out on their final season. Let’s give them the recognition they deserve! Here are this week’s highlights.

Bryce Stovell – Co-Captain at the Flanker position  this year, and league leading scorer on our 2019 MIAA D2 State Championship team, Bryce dominates the field in front of him.  Not known for his passing skills….he really doesn’t have to because he scores pretty much every time he touches the ball. Classic tackler…low and hard…will attend AIC and play rugby for the YellowJackets in Division 1 College rugby in the Fall. Also a Football Captain, who finished his career never having lost a regular season home game.  One of the biggest smiles in the school!

Ben Ryan– Ben is the 1st baseman and also pitches for the Baseball Team.  Had a huge pinch hit double last year to help lead the team to a win. One of the most mature and respectful young men on the team.  In addition he competes hard and is a terrific teammate. Great golfer as well, Ben is a model student-athlete.

Natalia Vega – Natalia us a very mature young lady who is very coachable. She would be a senior on the Lacrosse Team this spring. She manages the Football Team, as well as plays basketball.  As very hard worker who has had to battle through injuries at times in her career but she still pushes herself during practice, as well as in the off-season. 

Fritz Lalley – Lalley ran every race with guts and determination. The most memorable race of Fritz’s indoor season occurred during the MSTCA Division III State Relay Meet.  Fritz ran anchor leg and faced a serious challenge from a strong Billerica team. Their anchor leg seemed determined not to lose and passed Fritz on the final turn as they both came sprinting to the finish.  As he passed Fritz there was a moment of contact, almost knocking Fritz to the track. In an amazing display of determination, Fritz was able to regain his balance and muscled past the Billerica athlete just as they passed the finish line. The Milton boys were the MSTCA Division III 4x800m relay champions!

John Barros – Senior Captain for the Football Team and Lacrosse Team. Loves lacrosse, hates running, midfielder.  Tough-nose running back who is tough to tackle. Bay State Conference All-Star. Double major in football and lacrosse.  Semi Lax bro-Lorizio’s Best Bud. Favorite quote- “He doesn’t have a left” –Every team we play

Avery Blasdale – There are not many players who want to see the team succeed more than Avery. Her grit, determination and team first attitude made her a great leader and captain during her senior hockey season. She earned the respect of her teammates and coaches due to that commitment. Avery cared about the team, and its future, and was instrumental to what we trying to accomplish as a program. She is just as dedicated to the Girls Lacrosse Team and was doing an excellent job getting the girls excited for the new season.

Jake McArdle – Coming off a leg injury, Jake is dedicated, ready to go, and all rugby. Lots of rugby miles and years left in Jake’s tank.  A wide eyed flanker, Jake loves to tackle. He is a great kid with an awesome personality and very coachable.

Phil NgPack –  Phil, Tennis, is a single’s specialist who has been a varsity starter for three years.  Phil maintains solid strokes from both sides, but his greatest asset is his ability to “out think” his opponents on the court.  Phil begins analyzing his opponent’s strengths and weaknesses during warm-up and once the match begins, he tries to exploit those weaknesses to gain the upper hand.

Maeve Skillin – Maeve brought every characteristic you would want from a senior leader (and assistant captain) for the Hockey Team. She worked hard, she was respected and she kept the bench loose when it needed to be (dancing to the music). Anyone who watched the team play could tell how much Maeve cared, and wanted what was best for her team. She brings that same energy to the Lacrosse Team and the Soccer Team. A true “team” player, Maeve would often play out of position in goal, if her team needed her. Whatever nursing program she attends at a College next fall is lucky to have her. 

Visit our Twitter Page, @MHS_Wildcats_ or search the hashtag #MHSSpotlight for all our student-athlete spotlights! 

COMMUNITY NEWS

There are only a few more days until the Forbes House Museum’s Lincoln Contest deadline. All submissions are due by Friday, April  17. The contest prompts and guidelines can be found here. 

Students in grades K-5 are encouraged to submit their drawings in one of three ways:

  • Mail to the Forbes House Museum, 215 Adams Street
  • Drop off in the red plastic bin by the side entrance at the museum
  • Take a photo of your artwork and send it to  info@forbeshousemuseum.org (Note-This is a change from the original  instructions which said drawings could not be submitted electronically; we WILL accept them via email this year.) Use the subject line “Lincoln Drawing Contest.”

Students in grades 6-8 should submit their essays to the same email address: info@forbeshousemuseum.org, with the subject line “Lincoln Essay Contest.” If you have any questions, please send them to that email as well, and someone from the museum will reply shortly.

First, second and third place winners will be selected at each grade level. At this point, the museum is planning to recognize the winners at a virtual awards ceremony on Sunday, May 17th and the annual Lincoln Day Celebration is being postponed until the fall, exact date TBD.

We hope that carrying on this tradition can provide some comfort and continuity, despite the very uncertain and challenging times that we’re all facing. Many thanks to the schools for their support. Good luck!

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Milton participates in #ClapBecauseWeCare! 

Every Friday at  7pm open up a window, or stand in front of your house, and clap and whoop, ring a bell, or bang some pots and pans together, for five minutes as if J.D. Martinez just hit a home run in Fenway Park.

Organizers are hoping residents will cheer for the doctors, nurses, and first responders; the pharmacists and grocery workers, delivery drivers and postal employees, restaurateurs who have stayed open, and other essential personnel who are risking exposure to COVID-19 so everyone else can stay home and stay healthy.

The plan is to keep this up EVERY Friday at 7:00pm until we emerge on the other side of this pandemic.  Post a video of your celebration on social media with the #ClapBecauseWeCareMilton and make sure that the video is set to ‘public.’

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Brookwood Community Farm is producing garden seedlings for early May sales and will be harvesting their produce from late May through late November for CSA shares, farm stand sales, and the Roslindale Farmers Market along with their regular weekly fresh food donations to multiple local food pantries.  Please consider joining as a member or donating to support the farm, buying CSA shares (full, half, plus eggs and fruit), and later on stopping by the farm stand or Roslindale Farmers Market to purchase their organically grown produce and flowers.  Definitely check out their website, www.brookwoodcommunityfarm.org for updates and like/follow them on Facebook and Instagram for inspiration, education and of course, updates on how the staff are managing to produce seedlings and food for you under the restrictions and limitations due to COVID-19.

Do you have some time to help at Brookwood this spring? Family or housemates are great volunteers at the farm because they do not need to worry so much about social distancing when working together!   Any group as described or an individual willing to work on a project 1 time or repeatedly, please contact Cathy Smith at president@brookwoodcommunityfarm.org

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There is much fun to be had virtually this season in the Children’s Room at the Milton Public Library!

Cool family activities including electronic and audio books, live programs, virtual storytimes and more are available every day from ​www.miltonlibrary.org​ and the Library’s Facebook pages. We have these exciting online programs happening for the young people in your life during the week of April 19 – April 25, 2020.

IMPORTANT MPS CONTACTS

MPS school Adjustment Counselors:  Jennie BeliveauMary Bianca MattocksKenneth Adelmann (Milton High School); Myriam FrancoeurKara Sheridan, Kelly Dearing (Pierce) Jaclyn Germano (Cunningham); Elizabeth Caruso (Collicot) ; Ramsay Cadet (Tucker) Brian Powers, Christine Howley (Glover)

Central Office is staffed every day (we are practicing safe social distancing) and you can reach the Superintendent’s office any time via phone at 617-686-4808 or via email.

We have compiled a comprehensive and ever changing list of Frequently Asked Questions linked here. It will be linked on the front of our website and shared in each blog post. Please refer back to it often.

The Milton Public School system does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, gender identity, transgender status, gender transitioning, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its programs, activities or operations. These include, but are not limited to, admissions, equal access to programs and activities, employment, provision of and access to programs and services, as well as selection of volunteers, vendors and employers recruiting at the Milton Public Schools.  We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our staff, students, volunteers, subcontractors, and vendors. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Asst. Superintendent for Curriculum & Human Resources, Dr. Karen Spaulding, (617) 696-5040 ext. 5582.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on April 16, 2020

April 13, 2020

From: Mary C. Gormley
To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: April 13, 2020

FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT

I am writing to you on a Monday to share several important updates that I did not want to leave until my weekly Thursday blog post. Please see below for information about:

  • Video Conferencing  – Zoom/Google Hangouts
  • MCAS Testing
  • Plus Portals Live Tutorials
  • Chrombook Pickups
  • Food Service

VIDEO CONFERENCING 

Understanding that the impact of COVID-19 is constantly evolving, we have consistently sought up to date information and reflected on our work in light of it.  Further, we continue to greatly appreciate your partnership with us and the risk-taking and innovation of our teachers. In particular, it is inspiring to see how many teachers are offering students live remote learning opportunities, and we thank you for your patience as we smooth out the wrinkles that can happen in such virtual environments.  As you know, many of these learning opportunities have been done through Zoom. You may have noticed in recent news that security concerns have been raised about the use of Zoom as a video conferencing tool with students. Given these concerns and after consultation with other districts and the attorneys with whom we work, we have decided that as a district we will transition away from using Zoom with students and instead use Google Hangout Meet exclusively.  Unlike Zoom, the Milton Public Schools has full control over settings in Google Hangout Meet. Teachers will be transitioning away from Zoom and moving to Google Hangout Meet this week. Please know that our technology team is here to support them and you in this transition.

If you would like to read more about some of the Zoom security and privacy concerns that have been published, please follow the links below.  Again, from the district’s perspective, a primary point in this decision-making process is the degree of control we as a district can exert and thus the degree of safety precautions we can confidently say are in place for all teachers and all students.  

For those who are new to Google Hangout Meet, here are support links to Google’s Join a Google Hangout Meet support,  Troubleshooting Google Hangout Meet, Requirements for Google Hangout Meet.  If you cannot access Google Hangout Meet from your computer (i.e. it is blocked on a work computer) you can use your phone or iPad or any phone to call into the session without video.

As always, the safety of our students and staff is our priority.  We hope you understand our need to shift our approach in response to this recent information regarding Zoom.  If you have additional questions or technology needs, please reach out to AJ Melanson, Director of Educational Technology at amelanson@miltonps.org.  Be well and again please let us know what you need.

Mary C. Gormley, Superintendent
A.J. Melanson, Director for Educational Technology
Dr. Karen Spaulding, Assistant Superintendent
Dr. Glenn Pavlicek, Assistant Superintendent

MCAS

Late last week, Governor Baker signed legislation that addresses many concerns municipalities and school districts might have because of the state of emergency related to COVID-19, including this year’s MCAS testing.

The MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education previously requested and received a waiver from the federal requirement for annual statewide student assessment. Now, with the state legislation enacted, the MCAS testing requirement is waived for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year.

As a result of these federal and state actions and in light of the on-going health crisis,  Commissioner of Education Jeff Riley is cancelling this spring’s regular administration of grade-level MCAS tests for students in grades 3-10.

In addition, the legislation allows the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, upon Mr. Riely’s recommendation, to modify or waive the requirements of the competency determination for high school graduation in order to address disruptions caused by the outbreak of COVID-19 or the state of emergency. Further guidance to districts will be forthcoming.

TECHNOLOGY 

PLUS PORTALS: On Wednesday, April 15th, Educational Technology Director AJ Melanson,  is holding  “Navigating the Portal” sessions for each school. These sessions will be for parents/guardians.  Mr. Melanson will spend 10-15 minutes going over the Portal and then have a 10-15 minute Q&A.

Principals will  co-facilitate and manage questions that come in through the chat.  Below are the times for Wednesday, April 15th along with the video conference link and phone number with the pin in case Google is blocked on a work device.  Please join your school’s session if you have questions about Navigating Plus Portals.

CHROME BOOK DISTRIBUTION: Families in need of an additional device should email amelanson@miltonps.org. Please include the following in the email.

  • Student’s name
  • School
  • Grade level

Arrangement for pick up will be made with Mr. Melanson. Please contact your child’s principal if you have any issues receiving a Chromebook.

FOOD SERVICE

The MPS Food Service effort continues this week with Wednesday pick up of weekly to-go bags of breakfasts and lunches for any Milton student. Weekly to-go bags with  7 breakfasts and 7 lunches are available for pick up every Wednesday from 8-9am and 5-6pm at MHS and Tucker.

These FREE 7  day to-go bags contain low sugar cereal, shelf stable milk, sunbutter and jelly sandwiches, grilled cheese sandwiches, fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, and snack bags. ANY Milton family is welcome to pick up a weekly to-go bag as the goal is to support any food insecure student.

This FREE service will be available throughout the school closure, including during school vacation week on Wednesday April 22nd.

If you would like to apply for Free and Reduced meals, for once school is back in session please see this link for the application and more information. These weekly to-go bags of breakfasts and lunches are available to ALL Milton students during the school closing.

If you have a hardship and are in need of more convenient hours for pick up, please contact Food Service Director Jackie Morgan via email at jmorgan@miltonps.org or phone at 617-898-1051. MPS families in need of support during this time are also encouraged to email MPS Family Outreach Liaison Marti O’Keefe McKenna at mmckenna@miltonps.org or by phone at 617-980-7343.

The Milton Public School system does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, gender identity, transgender status, gender transitioning, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its programs, activities or operations. These include, but are not limited to, admissions, equal access to programs and activities, employment, provision of and access to programs and services, as well as selection of volunteers, vendors and employers recruiting at the Milton Public Schools.  We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our staff, students, volunteers, subcontractors, and vendors. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Asst. Superintendent for Curriculum & Human Resources, Dr. Karen Spaulding, (617) 696-5040 ext. 5582.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on April 13, 2020

April 9, 2020

From: Mary C. Gormley
To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: April 9, 2020

FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT

A member of our Milton Public School community reached out to me with an issue of concern to her, her family and to all of us. She wrote that she knows that the Milton community would never let hate crimes against any group go unchecked. The article linked here heightened her concern. 

The Milton Public Schools has been an active member and supporter of Primary Source for over 30 years.  I reached out to Peter Gilmartin and Susan Zeiger from Primary Source for resources and suggestions for parents/guardians and educators to address “Coronavirus Bias and Racism.”  I am sure that you will join me in thanking and recognizing Primary Source’s program director Susan Zeiger for sharing the valuable suggestions and sites below:

Our local, national and global communities are facing a crisis like no other in our collective lifetimes.  Unfortunately, in moments of extreme social stress, human beings sometimes turn to scapegoating and stigma to deflect their own deepest fears.  “Coronavirus racism” is a new term that’s been added to our vocabulary this spring. In the US, it means acts of hate speech or physical harm against Asian/Pacific Americans, Asian immigrants and other immigrant communities falsely blamed for the pandemic.  

As we think about supporting the sense of safety and well-being for all our young people at home in the upcoming weeks, it falls on parents and teachers to address these forms of intolerance. Primary Source is an education non-profit that has worked in partnership with the Milton Public Schools for many years supporting your initiatives for global education and multicultural curriculum. Primary Source is pleased to share with your community these suggestions, and some readily available tools that might help you implement them—on top of everything else you are juggling! 

  • Start with what young people are thinking and hearing about. We are all living online these days, and children could be aware of or exposed to hate speech and intolerance on social media and elsewhere. This helpful toolkit from the National Association of School Psychologists, Countering Coronavirus Stigma and Racism: Tips for Teachers and Other Educators, has research-based guidance for addressing stereotyping, bullying and coronavirus racism with children of all stages and ages.   And parents in particular will appreciate this three-minute animated video, How to Talk to Kids About Race from The Atlantic (part of their excellent video series on parenting issues)
  • In virtual lessons, engage young people in a discussion of scapegoating.  Define it for them, and see if they can think of examples in books they have read, films they have watched or history they have studied when a group was blamed for a problem based on social prejudice and fear. Use this excellent briefing from the Anti-Defamation League, The Coronavirus Surfaces Fear, Stereotyping and Scapegoating  for background information, historical parallels from other disease epidemics, and strategies to address the current issue with students. Teach a lesson or make an assignment about the history of anti-Asian racism in our nation. Teachers, parents and students will all find relevant materials from this online Resource Guide for learning about Asians and Asian Americans in the U.S. created by Primary Source.
  • At a family meal, have a related conversation about the ways that a crisis brings out people’s best impulses but also their worst. Share ideas about how misinformation, rumors and prejudice can spread.  Connect these to coronavirus racism and other malicious forms of misinformation. Think with your children about what we can all do to counteract them. Exploring these videos and lesson plans about “fake news” and misinformation from the PBS News Hour will give you some good ideas.
  • While it is vital to address outbreaks of violence and intolerance in real time, we all know the fundamental work of social justice education is long-term, proactive and structural.  While young people are out of school this spring, make multi-cultural reading part of their learning plan. We need many stories from Asian/Pacific communities as “windows and mirrors” that validate diverse perspectives and disrupt stereotypes. Fortunately, these diverse and inspiring stories are being published in ever greater numbers.  

Check out the Asian/Pacific American Literature Award, given each year for best adult, young adult and children’s books that celebrate Asian Americans and their heritage. The Massachusetts public libraries have widely expanded their e-book offerings during the coronavirus epidemic where you’ll be able to access these titles.  Parents/guardians and children can read one or more of these book selections together; then invite friends to read alongside you. Host a virtual “book club” discussion about your favorite titles. 

Deep knowledge of others is our greatest weapon against fear and distrust.  

IMPORTANT MPS DATES

The MPS school calendar remains the same  as if school were in session, with No School/No Remote Learning on Good Friday (April 10th) and April vacation (April 20-24). In addition,  I contacted Rabbi Alfred Benjamin, and he confirmed that Passover Observance is from sundown April 8th – sundown on April 16th. In honor and recognition of the Biblical Festival of Passover, the Jewish holiday that commemorates freedom from slavery in Egypt, Milton Public Schools will consider it an excused absence for those who, in their observance of the holiday, do not log in to on-line classes on April 8, 15 and 16.

IMPORTANT MPS CONTACTS

MPS school Adjustment Counselors:  Jennie BeliveauMary Bianca MattocksKenneth Adelmann (Milton High School); Myriam FrancoeurKara Sheridan, Kelly Dearing (Pierce) Jaclyn Germano (Cunningham); Elizabeth Caruso (Collicot) ; Ramsay Cadet (Tucker) Brian Powers, Christine Howley (Glover)

Central Office is staffed every day (we are practicing safe social distancing) and you can reach the Superintendent’s office any time via phone at 617-686-4808 or via email.

We have compiled a comprehensive and ever changing list of Frequently Asked Questions linked here. It will be linked on the front of our website and shared in each blog post. Please refer back to it often.

FOOD SERVICE

The MPS Food Service effort continued this week with Wednesday pick up of weekly to-go bags of breakfasts and lunches for any Milton student. Weekly to-go bags with (now) 7 breakfasts and 7 lunches are available for pick up every Wednesday from 8-9am and 5-6pm at MHS and Tucker.

These FREE 7  day to-go bags contain low sugar cereal, shelf stable milk, sunbutter and jelly sandwiches, grilled cheese sandwiches, fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, and snack bags. ANY Milton family is welcome to pick up a weekly to-go bag as the goal is to support any food insecure student.

The weather did not cooperate this Wednesday, so a huge thank you to MHS custodian Jason Scherer who secured two red tents at Home Depot to keep our staff and the to-go bags dry.  Another thank you to  Milton Fire Department Chief Jack Grant who gave us 24 face masks for the food service staff.

This past Wednesday, Jackie Morgan and our Food Service team gave out 211  weekly bags containing 14 meals each for a total of 2954 meals distributed to our students this week. This FREE service will be available throughout the school closure, including during school vacation week on Wednesday April 22nd.

If you would like to apply for Free and Reduced meals, for once school is back in session please see this link for the application and more information. These weekly to-go bags of breakfasts and lunches are available to ALL Milton students during the school closing.

If you have a hardship and are in need of more convenient hours for pick up, please contact Food Service Director Jackie Morgan via email at jmorgan@miltonps.org or phone at 617-898-1051. MPS families in need of support during this time are also encouraged to email MPS Family Outreach Liaison Marti O’Keefe McKenna at mmckenna@miltonps.org or by phone at 617-980-7343.

HIGH SCHOOL HAPPENINGS

When MHS Science Department Head Amy Tom shared information about the  2020 ASPIRE Program in the Polymer Science and Engineering Department at UMass Amherst with students, several of our MHS students jumped at the chance to participate.

ASPIRE (A Student-led Program In Research and Education) provides students with the opportunity to conduct hands-on laboratory experiments in synthesis, characterization, and engineering of polymers. In this free program, graduate students guide high school students through the experience of research in a science and engineering lab.

MHS student Aoife Ruth shares the following below about the program she attended in January and February. She attended along with MHS students  Ava Lynch, Evan Trafton, John McCambell and Arden Carvalho.

The program was a very fun opportunity and I was grateful to have a chance to participate. Unfortunately, I do not have any photos of the actual experiments as they encouraged us to keep phones away from the labs for cleanliness.

The program was completely run by second year graduate students. At the start we were assigned groups and kids fro. the same town tended to be split up so you got to know new people. The first week was dedicated to safety training. The following three rotated between multiple physics experiments, engineering experiments and chemistry experiments, all pertaining to polymer science. The last week we were able to use our new knowledge of the three areas to choose an area for a final experiment. We were privileged enough to use many of the school’s resources and see technology we wouldn’t see otherwise. For example, UMass Amherst allowed us to use their SEM, scanning electron microscope, and we were able to see details on the wing of a fly that cannot be seen with the human eye. In physics, we saw the programming aspect of science and using computers to generate how a hypothetical polymer would respond to various situations. Engineering allowed us to test the durability of the different polymers and we watched polymers rapidly crystalize thanks to temperature controls. The program itself was well organized and the grad students were all good teachers who worked in pairs. They had extensive knowledge and were never stumped by a question, and if they were, their partner was sure to know the answer. It was a far drive but I learned a lot and got a look at what it’s like to work in a lab.

I would recommend this program for anyone who wants a closer look at labs and science technology or has an interest in science beyond general education.

PIERCE PAGES 

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The sixth grade science classes were given a choice board this week to select assignments for their remote learning. Options included designing a pet rock and completing pet registration forms using their knowledge of Earth History, including shape, color, texture, rock type, the story behind how their pet rock formed, and running an acid test to determine the environment the rock may have formed in; making Chalk Diagrams showing a major concept previously covered in class and Engineering Design Challenge Design to design an inside or outside obstacle course.

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Our 7th graders on Team Yosemite have been busy at home. You can check out their adventures here. 

INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

All elementary district wide learning opportunities can be found on the Elementary At-Home Learning Opportunities website, which is linked on each school website as well as the MPS website.

Elementary students continue to stay busy with science at home! This week third graders looked at how temperature affects the rate of substances dissolving in water. Kindergarteners explored their senses and kept a nature journal. Students across all grade levels enjoyed participating in STEM challenges including cleaning pennies with vinegar and building structures with cardboard and tin foil! Many students also enjoyed tuning in for a live science show with classroom favorite “Mystery Doug.” If you missed it, here is a link to a recording of the entertaining educational program!

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This week in the remote learning art room students experimented with the art element texture. Texture refers to the way an object feels to the touch or looks as it may feel. For this week’s art challenge students went on a hunt in their house or yard for objects with texture to make a sculpture, drawing, collage, etc. To see more student work, visit our virtual art gallery here.

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Adjustment Counselor Ms. Germano and some Cunningham 4th graders enjoyed a costume party during their check in this week! Next week’s theme?  Favorite hat/sunglasses and a scavenger hunt!

 

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Tucker 4th grader Gaby Robinson took some time this week to share her experience and advice about about the school closure and the health crisis facing our world. You can read these wise words from this 4th grader here. 

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Cunningham students attended a live Q and A with Dr. Redden, Ms. Morton and Ms. Cadigan this week and answered popular questions like:

  • Do you have a dog or cat?
  • Would you want to be 6 inches taller or 6 inches shorter?
  • Will we have our end of year activities?
  • Will we have MCAS this year?

Join your Cunningham friends next Wednesday at 3pm for more Q and A with your principal. All details will be in Dr. Redden’s Sunday email to families.

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We know all of our students and staff are missing each other! The Glover staff put into words and video, just how much they miss their Glover Kids! You can see their beautiful tribute here.

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In addition to their schoolwork this week, Collicot students shared how they are staying active and healthy during the school closure.

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CURRICULUM CHALLENGE

Brian Selig, MPS K-12 Math Director has a Math Challenge that is appropriate for students at all grade levels. Read on to find out how that is possible!

With the extension of the school closure period until May 4th, I wanted to start to use this space to provide Milton Public School families with a weekly opportunity to engage together in a math exploration activity involving patterns.
Mathematics is often characterized as the “study of patterns” and understanding patterns is critical in the development of algebraic thinking and the analysis functions. The Massachusetts Mathematics Curriculum Framework contains a list of eight standards of “mathematical practice” (SMPs) for all K-12 students to consistently engage in, including two that relate directly to pattern recognition:

  • Looking for and making use of structure (SMP.7)
  • Looking for and expressing regularity in repeated reasoning (SMP.8)

Each week, I will display the first three steps in a pattern and then pose questions related to that pattern that increase in difficulty. My hope is that all students regardless of grade level can find enjoyment and success in investigating these patterns even if they are unable to formally describe how the pattern grows over time. You can find the full challenge at this link. The answers will be posted here next Thursday. Good luck!

PHYSICAL EDUCATION 

Director, Health and Physical Education, Noel Vigue, shares the following.

During this difficult time of isolation and physical distancing, we are going to experience a roller coaster of emotions. It can feel like we are trapped in a bubble and everything can seem magnified.  Taking time to practice the skills to help manage emotions is essential for you and your children. Quite often, our decisions can be related to our emotions. The better we get at managing and recognizing our emotions, the better we will get at making healthier decisions.  The CDC’s recommendations have been at the forefront of the news as of late.  One of the important recommendations is being regularly physically active. Not only is this a wonderful healthy habit for our physical well being, but it helps with our mental and emotional health, too. When we exercise, we can boost our mood almost immediately and exercise helps us have more restful and restorative sleep. If we practice making physical activity a part of our daily routine, it will be easier to make this a habitual part of a healthy lifestyle.  Here are some suggestions:

Figuring out why we do what we do is important so that we can create healthy habits. If we take moments to pause and reflect, we can figure out why we like something (or don’t), why we may have done something, ways to improve going forward, and sometimes it’s even a really good way to vent! It’s healthy to learn about ourselves and be able to do things that are meaningful to us and our families.  Get everyone in the family on board to take the time to keep a reflective journal and examine the choices you’ve made and emotions you’ve experienced each day.  Take 10 minutes to reflect. You may enjoy this Relaxing Meditation Music while you reflect.

TECHNOLOGY 

Google Classroom: Many teachers in the Milton Public Schools use Google Classroom to help manage their class.  This is not a requirement for teachers. It is a common misconception that family members can join a Google Classroom.  Only students and staff in the miltonps.org domain have the right to join a Google Classroom. Teachers can invite family members to receive summaries.  For more information on Guardian Summaries please click here.

Families have asked how to help their students turn in assignments on Google Classroom. Here are instructions on how a student can turn in an assignment on Google Classroom.

Elementary families who need support with their student’s Google username and password, please email your student’s teacher for this information.

You can find more resources about Plus Portals, Study Island and Chromebooks in this document. 

INTERFACE REFERRAL SERVICE 

Interface is  important mental health resource for Milton families.  

Positive mental health is critical to children’s healthy development.  Yet one in every five youth will eventually meet criteria for a mental health disorder.  This risk of mental illness is on the increase, and is probably exacerbated by the physical and social challenges presented by the Covid-19 crisis.

If you, as a parent or faculty member, are experiencing mental health challenges, or if your children and students could benefit by professional help, please contact Interface Referral Service, a program of William James College.  They are open 9am-5pm Monday-Friday. Their contact information is online or call their Helpline:  888-244-6843  

SPECIAL EDUCATION 

Administrator for Pupil Personnel Services, Susan Maselli, shares the following. She can be reached anytime via email.

I hope this note finds you well. Here is a brief update on special education. Many of you have heard from your student’s liaisons or chairs about the development of individual student Remote Learning Plans. If you have not received this document, you can expect to by the end of the week. Remote Learning Plans outline the kinds of supports and resources available to students in special education during school closure. These documents are fluid, and you can expect them to evolve over time. If you have questions about your student’s plan, please reach out directly to your Team Chairperson.

Additionally, if your child has a pending Annual IEP Review, we will be resuming Virtual IEP Meetings in the coming weeks. Your Team Chair will coordinate a time that is agreeable for your schedule. If you would prefer to hold off on an Annual Review Meeting until after school reopens, we will accommodate that request as well.

If your child is facing a transition year: (preschool to kindergarten, grade 5 to 6, or grade 8 to 9), we will also be starting to schedule Transition Meetings. Again, this will be scheduled by your student’s Special Education Team Chairperson. This will be a time to discuss educational services within the IEP that are necessary for a transition, and we hope your schedule will allow for your participation so that supports and services for the fall are developed prior to school reopening.

As always, please be in touch with any questions or concerns. We would like to continue to have virtual Parent Outreach Coffees and if you are interested, please email Patty @ plesenechal@miltonps.org to join a  session.

LIBRARY RESOURCES 

The K-8 Spring Reading Challenge is off to a great start! Students are signing up online to log not only their reading minutes, but also fun activities, including:

Magic tricks and jokes; Dance parties and music; Arts and crafts; Science projects; Reading to pets; Fun with world languages on Muzzy Club; Writing poems, emails, book reviews, and chalk messages; Making comics; And much more!

For all these activities, students can earn virtual badges. And once the Milton Public Library reopens, every participant will be eligible to receive a prize!

So far, 165 students have collectively logged 37,290 minutes of reading, written 40 book reviews, and earned 336 badges. Keep up the great work!

Haven’t joined yet? It’s easy. We’re using Beanstack, a free service which you may remember from Summer Reading. If you already have an account, you can use that to log in–and if you don’t remember it, feel free to set up a new one. It’s easy to set up one account for your whole family. There’s also an app for that: search for Beanstack in the App Store.

To get started, visit the Beanstack website.  If you have any questions, contact Sara Truog from the Milton Public Library.

FAMILY OUTREACH LIAISON 

The Interfaith Social Services Food Pantry, located at 105 Adams St., Quincy is open Monday – Friday, 10-11:45am and Wednesdays 5-7pm for families in need during this difficult time. The food pantry asks those families arriving by car to please remain in your vehicle and you will be directed by a volunteer. Those who walk to the pantry are also welcome and should enter through the pantry lobby. New clients are welcome.

Milton Public Schools is committed to being a resource for you. Whether you are unsure of how to connect with school staff or directly need a referral for services or supplies please don’t hesitate to reach out to Marti O’Keefe McKenna, MPS Family Outreach Liaison at 617-980-7343 or by email at mmckenna@miltonps.org. All calls and emails are confidential.

STUDENT REGISTRATION

During the School Closure, Registrar Sarina Burke will be registering students online when applicable. Effective immediately, the Milton Public Schools will be accepting online registrations for students enrolling for:

  • The remainder of the 2019-20 school year
  • Kindergarten for the 2020 – 21 school year
  • Students enrolled in private Kindergarten and wish to enroll their child in Grade 1 in the Milton Public schools for the 2020-2021 school year.

All other registrations for the school year 2020-2021 will be conducted in July and August 2020. 

Please visit our registration page for all details on student registration and to register your student who falls into the above categories.

COUNSELING CORNER 

Each week, one of our MPS Adjustment Counselors will share information or resources. Last week, Pierce’s Ms. Dearing wrote to the MPS community. This week, Ms. Caruso from Collicot checks in below.

I recently stumbled upon a blog post titled “Parents Are Not Okay”. As I quickly scanned the article which described how many parents are coping (not well) during this pandemic, I quickly realized that I have not been okay. I have found myself beating myself up at the end of each day; overwhelmed by trying to parent three pre-school age children; maintain a household, dial into various conference calls and make sure I am connecting with students and families within my school community. As parents, we are all currently wearing multiple hats, including many that we are not comfortable wearing and doing the best we can do, given the circumstances we have found ourselves in. It is stressful and overwhelming but I am ready to shift my mindset to one of positivity and gratitude.

I was recently inspired by a colleague (Lauren Marley, Collicot’s school psychologist) who shared how she had been inspired by a book she had read (The Miracle Morning, by Hal Elrod) to start and end her day by expressing gratitude…even on the toughest of days, to find something to be grateful for within that day. She shared that shifting her mindset to one of gratitude was one of the best things she had done for her own mental health so I have decided to do the same. In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.

So today as I close out another long day, I am extremely thankful and grateful for the current state of my health and that of my family and friends… and that I only had to act as referee to 15 arguments between my children today (down from 20 yesterday, I’ll call that a win!). What are you grateful for today?

Your MPS school Adjustment Counselors:  Jennie BeliveauMary Bianca MattocksKenneth Adelmann (Milton High School); Myriam FrancoeurKara Sheridan, Kelly Dearing (Pierce) Jaclyn Germano (Cunningham); Elizabeth Caruso (Collicot) ; Ramsay Cadet (Tucker) Brian Powers, Christine Howley (Glover)

ART AND MUSIC 

The elementary art specialists have been posting weekly ART challenges on the MPS Elementary At-Home Learning site found here.

When students have completed a challenge or any art project, they may upload photos directly to our Padlet page linked here.

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Milton FAME (Friends and Advocates of Music Education) is currently hosting two fundraisers to support music programs and education in the Milton Public Schools!

MHS Senior and saxophonist extraordinaire, Caleb Smith is raising money for the Applied Music Lesson Program by doing a two day bike ride across the state of Massachusetts, May 30-31.  In Caleb’s words, “The physical challenge will be a testament to the gratefulness I feel towards the music department at Milton High.  I hope the money raised will pave the way for deserving kids, who otherwise could not afford to pursue music, grow as musicians and be a part of this amazing department!”  Read more about Caleb and donate to his go fund me page here.  Any amount is greatly appreciated!  

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We have another fun fundraiser going on till May 7th through Boon Supply (formerly Mixed Bags).  Boon offers eco-friendly, stylish items in the areas of Waste-Free Living, Character Matters, Bags, Kitchen and Organization, Gifting and Accessories, Travel and On-The-Go, and Food.  Order anything from the on-line catalogue and FAME will receive 40% of the sale.  There is something for everyone!  Items you order will be shipped directly to your home address.  Check out their catalogue here!

ATHLETICS

Senior Student-Athlete Spotlight
Each day we will spotlight our senior student-athletes from the spring season. Our student-athletes have worked for years towards their senior year. Some are captains, some are playing their last competitive season, others were looking for a 3rd straight State Title. Social Distancing will without a doubt save lives, but for our student-athletes, right now, it still hurts to miss out on their final season. Let’s give them the recognition they deserve! Here are this week’s highlights.

Ava Duggan – All-Everything, Senior Ava Duggan once again made the Patriot Ledger All-Scholastic team this indoor season. Ava was Bay State Conference champion in the mile and finished second in the mile at the MIAA Division III championships. Ava’s tenure as captain of the girls team will be punctuated by her hard work, dedication to the sport and her “coachability”. Ava will be taking her talents to Northeastern University where the best is yet to come for her running and racing career. See link here for her signing her National Letter of Intent back in November!

Emily Abbott – Emily played Field Hockey and Lacrosse during her high school career. Emily is a motivated and determined athlete who has always stayed positive. She has shown great dedication and passion in her four years as a student athlete at Milton High School. Not the most vocal, Emily still leads by example, and like Ava, is extremely coachable. “If you can dream it, you can do it. Best wishes for your bright future.” – Coach Smith

Anthony Lorizio – Anthony Lorizio is a Senior Captain for the Lacrosse Team. Plays center in football, center of attention in lacrosse, midfield. Majors in lacrosse, minors in football. Lax bro-Barros’ right hand man. He is such a good kid, with a great personality. He’ll be missed when he graduates. Favorite quote- “Nice side arm shot, how’d that work out for ya!” -Coach A

Andrew Possi – Possi is a 3-year starter for the Varsity Baseball Team. He is a captain this year. He has cemented the shortstop position as his own and has hit in the middle of the lineup his entire career. Also a Football players, Possi is a “smooth” as they come. He makes even the most difficult of plays look effortless. He will be attending UMass Dartmouth next year to study business and play baseball.

Molly Murtagh -Molly is a great athlete and an even better person! She loves the game of softball and she is always working hard. She strives to improve on and off the field everyday. Molly has been an awesome personality and is a great influence on her teammates. Molly was also a member of the Field Hockey and Ice Hockey Teams.

Isaiah Morisset – The “silver tongued, high fashion aficionado has a smile that may melt you, but a burst up speed the middle that will make you cry” as Coach Dolan puts it. Isaiah has an excellent feel for the play developing in front of him from his fullback position. He helps to organize everyone in front of him. When he catches a high ball….he’s gone. Not to mention he is a good student of high character!

Dawson Vo – This season Dawson will be a 4th year starter for the Tennis Team who has developed into a valuable member of the boy’s tennis team because of his versatility to play both singles and doubles. Dawson was one of the few bright spots in last year’s Div. II State tournament vs Hingham. Dawson (paired with Kelly Mackenzie at 2nd doubles) dominated play with his electrifying service returns and brilliant servicing. If he stays healthy, Dawson will be a solid contributor to this year’s team.

Laine Hern – As a Field Hockey and Lacrosse player, Laine is an incredibly hard working athlete who always has a smile on her face. She is always positive and has an amazing energy that is contagious, and the the ability to get the whole team cheering with excitement for every single game. With such an outgoing personality and a great sense of humor, any coach would be lucky to have her on their team.

Jillian Rundlett – Jill is a 4 year Varsity Softball player and had a wonderful impact on all her teammates and coaches. She did whatever the team needed her to do whether it was pitching or playing outfield. She always had a smile on her face and would try her best. Sometimes Jill would break out in dance moves when the music started to get everyone pumped up on the bus. Her energy is contagious and will be missed next year!

Hudson Smith – Hudson is a senior captain for the Boys Lacrosse Team. He is like a Gazelle in the midfield. Majors in lacrosse, minors in hockey and track. Smith was a very important part of getting the hockey team back in the tournament after a year hiatus. Flow for days. One of the smartest student-athletes Milton High has to offer. Favorite quote- ”Hit the net!!” –Coach Lynch

COMMUNITY NEWS

There are only a few more days until the Forbes House Museum’s Lincoln Contest deadline. All submissions are due by Friday, April  17. The contest prompts and guidelines can be found here. 

Students in grades K-5 are encouraged to submit their drawings in one of three ways:

  • Mail to the Forbes House Museum, 215 Adams Street
  • Drop off in the red plastic bin by the side entrance at the museum
  • Take a photo of your artwork and send it to  info@forbeshousemuseum.org (Note-This is a change from the original  instructions which said drawings could not be submitted electronically; we WILL accept them via email this year.) Use the subject line “Lincoln Drawing Contest.”

Students in grades 6-8 should submit their essays to the same email address: info@forbeshousemuseum.org, with the subject line “Lincoln Essay Contest.” If you have any questions, please send them to that email as well, and someone from the museum will reply shortly.

First, second and third place winners will be selected at each grade level. At this point, the museum is planning to recognize the winners at a virtual awards ceremony on Sunday, May 17th and the annual Lincoln Day Celebration is being postponed until the fall, exact date TBD.

We hope that carrying on this tradition can provide some comfort and continuity, despite the very uncertain and challenging times that we’re all facing. Many thanks to the schools for their support. Good luck!

***

They’ve done it in London and New York City, and now this Friday we will do it in greater Boston: a collective round of applause for workers who are on the front lines of the coronavirus battle.

Everyone from Milton to Mount Washington and Beacon Hill to the Berkshires can participate in #ClapBecauseWeCare.

Here’s how: At 7 p.m. on Friday, open up a window, or stand in front of your house, and clap and whoop, ring a bell, or bang some pots and pans together, for five minutes as if J.D. Martinez just hit a home run in Fenway Park.

Organizers are hoping residents will cheer for the doctors, nurses, and first responders; the pharmacists and grocery workers, delivery drivers and postal employees, restaurateurs who have stayed open, and other essential personnel who are risking exposure to COVID-19 so everyone else can stay home and stay healthy.

The plan is to keep this up EVERY Friday at 7:00pm until we emerge on the other side of this pandemic.  Post a video of your celebration on social media with the #ClapBecauseWeCareMilton and make sure that the video is set to ‘public.’

***

Even though we are in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, there are still important functions we must attend to which include being counted in the 2020 Census. This mandatory head count happens once every decade and every person in the Commonwealth must be counted in their community.

This count is vital as it determines federal and state funding, which go to services that we rely upon every single day including education, public health, public transportation, and services that will benefit our children for the next 10 years.  As such, having an accurate count is critical for our community and we do not want any of our services to be shortchanged.

We want to stress the importance that every person in your household be counted, including newborns and the very young.  The funding for services will benefit them as they develop and grow and a response is crucial to an accurate count.  The next opportunity to secure more funding for these services will be another decade from now. We also want to note that this information is completely confidential and your information is never shared with any other agency.

Please respond as soon as possible and be counted—it’s quick and easy.  You can respond online at my2020census.gov. If you have additional questions or need  language support to respond over the phone, please visit  2020census.gov.

It only takes a few minutes to complete but will have a great impact on our lives. Thank you for ensuring an accurate count for our community and for your children.

***

Brookwood Community Farm is producing garden seedlings for early May sales and will be harvesting their produce from late May through late November for CSA shares, farm stand sales, and the Roslindale Farmers Market along with their regular weekly fresh food donations to multiple local food pantries.  Please consider joining as a member or donating to support the farm, buying CSA shares (full, half, plus eggs and fruit), and later on stopping by the farm stand or Roslindale Farmers Market to purchase their organically grown produce and flowers.  Definitely check out their website, www.brookwoodcommunityfarm.org for updates and like/follow them on Facebook and Instagram for inspiration, education and of course, updates on how the staff are managing to produce seedlings and food for you under the restrictions and limitations due to COVID-19.

Do you have some time to help at Brookwood this spring? Ellen, Audrey and Andrew Mak helped for 2 hours last Saturday to spread compost in the future flower beds at Brookwood Community Farm.  Family or housemates are great volunteers at the farm because they do not need to worry so much about social distancing when working together!   Any group as described or an individual willing to work on a project 1 time or repeatedly, please contact Cathy Smith at president@brookwoodcommunityfarm.org

***

There is much fun to be had virtually this season in the Children’s Room at the Milton Public Library!

Cool family activities including electronic and audio books, live programs, virtual storytimes and more are available every day from ​www.miltonlibrary.org​ and the Library’s Facebook pages. We have these exciting online programs happening for the young people in your life during the week of April 10 – April 17, 2020.

***

In closing, I want to share a poem with you that was sent to me by School Committee Chairperson Sheila Varela. This poem was written by one of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s educational authors and consultants.   

The Milton Public School system does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, gender identity, transgender status, gender transitioning, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its programs, activities or operations. These include, but are not limited to, admissions, equal access to programs and activities, employment, provision of and access to programs and services, as well as selection of volunteers, vendors and employers recruiting at the Milton Public Schools.  We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our staff, students, volunteers, subcontractors, and vendors. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Asst. Superintendent for Curriculum & Human Resources, Dr. Karen Spaulding, (617) 696-5040 ext. 5582.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on April 9, 2020

April 3, 2020

From: Mary C. Gormley
To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: April 3, 2020

FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT

I begin today by sharing a message with all of you that I received in an email from Pastor Shelly Davis from East Congregational Church on behalf of Milton’s Interfaith Clergy Association:

On behalf of the entire Milton Interfaith Clergy Association I write with our deep gratitude and unending prayers for each of you, the entire staff of our MPS, and all your families and loved ones.

These unprecedented times are asking each of us to make phenomenal adaptive changes on a moment’s notice and your rapid, compassionate, comprehensive response and contributions are nothing short of heroic. 

Please know that we are holding each of you in all our different ways of praying as you continue to educate our children and youth —and everyone of us—in new and challenging, exciting and daunting ways.

Please remember to dedicate time to caring for your selves too, so that you can continue caring for all whom you have never stopped educating.

I asked Pastor Shelly for permission to share her words as they echo the many, many emails I have received and they also encapsulate much of what I want to say to you today.

All of us – staff, students and families – are experiencing an unprecedented time in our
nation’s history.   None of us were prepared for the changes we are currently facing.  As you and your family grapple with this new reality, our goal is to support you while we continue to remotely connect with your children, in a way that acknowledges these changes while continuing to keep learning alive for our students.

In the Milton Public Schools COVID-19 School Closure Remote Learning Plan section below, you will read more about the specifics of the Remote Learning Model which we crafted under the guidelines of the DESE guidance document linked here. This Remote Learning Plan document is the foundation for remote learning in the Milton Public Schools for the days and weeks to come.

Our teachers and administrators have been working to find the best possible realistic and
sustainable remote learning plans for students. This may look a bit different for each class as teachers know their classes best. There are as many ways to make remote learning successful as there are students in our schools, and our teachers are adapting quickly to what platforms will be successful for their students.

As always, parents and guardians know their individual student best. As you navigate this
school closure, please continue to communicate with your child’s teacher, as you would if
school were in session. If your child is struggling to complete the work, if your current
family situation does not allow for much schoolwork right now, if you would like access to
additional resources – contact your child’s teacher, school adjustment counselor and/or principal. They need and want to know.

We know you are receiving a lot of MPS emails right now. This is especially true for
families with multiple children and for those with children at Pierce and MHS where
students have multiple teachers. Teachers are trying to be sure important classroom
information gets to you – and your student – which creates a lot of communication. We
hear you and are trying to streamline what you receive from us. Please know that you will
receive my weekly blog on Thursdays, and an email from your principal at the beginning of
each week. Individual teachers are developing ways to effectively communicate in the
coming weeks. Any feedback is welcome as we continue this process.

In closing, I want to share the video clips below. You have probably seen professional and
college musicians sharing compilations of performances in the past several days. Now you
can see our own MHS musicians do the same! MHS student Barron Clancy undertook the
engineering of both recordings below. Thank you to Barron and these talented MHS
musicians!

Below, watch and enjoy violinists Sam Higgins and Barron Clancy perform Handel and also a Handel Concerto Grosso Allegro performed by Sam Higgins, Barron Clancy, Dominique Thomas, Aoife Ruth and Claire Walko.

The priority of the Milton Public Schools is and will always be the health and safety of our students and staff members. We remain committed to supporting every student, family and staff member as we work together to support each other in the days, weeks and months to follow.

IMPORTANT MPS DATES

The MPS school calendar remains the same  as if school were in session, with No School/No Remote Learning on Good Friday (April 10th) and April vacation (April 20-24). In addition,  I contacted Rabbi Alfred Benjamin and he confirmed that Passover Observance is from sundown April 8th – sundown on April 16th. In honor and recognition of the Biblical Festival of Passover, the Jewish holiday that commemorates freedom from slavery in Egypt, Milton Public Schools will consider it an excused absence for those who, in their observance of the holiday, do not log in to on-line classes on April 8, 15 and 16.

IMPORTANT MPS CONTACTS

MPS school Adjustment Counselors:  Jennie BeliveauMary Bianca MattocksKenneth Adelmann (Milton High School); Myriam FrancoeurKara Sheridan, Kelly Dearing (Pierce) Jaclyn Germano (Cunningham); Elizabeth Caruso (Collicot) ; Ramsay Cadet (Tucker) Brian Powers, Christine Howley (Glover)

Central Office is staffed every day (we are practicing safe social distancing) and you can reach the Superintendent’s office any time via phone at 617-686-4808 or via email.

We have compiled a comprehensive and ever changing list of Frequently Asked Questions linked here. It will be linked on the front of our website and shared in each blog post. Please refer back to it often.

REMOTE LEARNING

The priority of the Milton Public Schools is and will always be the health and safety of its students, families, and staff members. Further, we recognize that this global health crisis is affecting every aspect of life for each member of the Milton Public Schools community. This updated remote learning plan is crafted with the realization that its implementation by educators and families at home is highly dependent on their own current state health, that of their families, and the new reality within which each is living. We remain committed to supporting every student, family, and staff member as we navigate this new reality and the implications it has for learning.

Please take the time to read through The Milton Public Schools COVID-19 School Closure Remote Learning Plan  crafted under the guidelines of the DESE guidance document linked here. This Remote Learning Recommendations document is the foundation for remote learning in the Milton Public Schools for the weeks to come. Your principal will continue to provide school specific updates as to remote learning at your child’s school.

MPS STAFF NEWS 

It is with great pleasure that I share with you this good news story. Our own Cunningham principal Jonathan Redden has officially completed his Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership from Boston College with his successful defense of his dissertation this week! The new Dr. Redden, along with several colleagues,  defended remotely, and I had the distinct pleasure of watching Dr. Redden speak about his dissertation, entitled: Leadership for Inclusive Practices: Supporting Special Education Needs of Students in the General Education Classroom.

I know you join me, and the Cunningham and MPS community below, in sending a big Congratulations to Dr. Jonathan Redden!

FOOD SERVICE

The MPS Food Service effort continued this week with Wednesday pick up of weekly to-go bags of breakfasts and lunches for any Milton student. Weekly to-go bags with 5 breakfasts and 5 lunches are available for pick up every Wednesday from 8-9am and 5-6pm at MHS and Tucker.

These FREE 5 day to-go bags contain low sugar cereal, shelf stable milk, sunbutter and jelly sandwiches, grilled cheese sandwiches, fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, and snack bags. ANY Milton family is welcome to pick up a weekly to-go bag as the goal is to support any food insecure student.

This past Wednesday, Jackie Morgan and our Food Service team gave out 185  weekly bags for a total of 1850 meals distributed this week. This FREE service will be available throughout the school closure.   

If you have a hardship and are in need of more convenient hours for pick up, please contact Food Service Director Jackie Morgan via email at jmorgan@miltonps.org or phone at 617-898-1051. MPS families in need of support during this time are also encouraged to email MPS Family Outreach Liaison Marti O’Keefe McKenna at mmckenna@miltonps.org or by phone at 617-980-7343.

HIGH SCHOOL HAPPENINGS

MHS students and staff have been participating in a virtual book club to stay connected. This is not your typical book club. Based on feedback from our members the purpose is to share recommendations of books and audiobooks, listen to podcasts, read short stories, and reflect. Each week a new activity is posted for individuals to participate at their leisure. This has been a fun way to maintain our sense of community while we are away from school.

If you are an MHS student interested in joining contact MHS librarian JT. There are also many book club resources available online if you are interested in starting your own with your family, friends or community members. Happy reading!

***

Course verification forms have been emailed for any student attending Milton High School for the 2020-2021 school year. Students are asked to check their school emails for the course verification forms. If a student wishes to make a change, please  submit this Course Verification Changes Form. All changes need to be submitted by Thursday, April 9th.
Questions?  Students/parents/guardians should email Karen Cahill  or Ben Kelly, with questions.

***

MEFA has cancelled all in-person After the College Acceptance (ACA)Seminars.
However,  MEFA is now offering Family Webinars on ACA, College Admissions and College Financing. Please see attached MEFA update for more information.

PIERCE PAGES 

Team Phoenix sent a fun message home to their students this week. We know how much our staff and students are missing each other right now! You can watch their video message to students here.

INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

First Grade Lottery Update: First  grade placements were made on Thursday, April 2. Each school will have the same number of first grade classrooms next year as it has Kindergarten classrooms this year. Based upon parent/guardian choice, the distribution of programs is as follows: Cunningham and Collicot will each have one French Immersion and three English Innovation Pathways first grade classes. Tucker will have two English and two French classes. Glover will have three English and two French classes.

As a result of this distribution, we have waiting lists for French Immersion at the Collicot and Glover schools, but still have French Immersion seats available at Cunningham and Tucker. Central Office will begin making calls to parents and guardians on the district-wide waiting list offering them the opportunity to take a French seat at a different school while maintaining their spot on their current school’s waiting list.  As always, we will be monitoring this situation and continuing to make placements throughout the summer and into the first ten days of next school year.

***

Mrs. Fahey does a CARDio Dance, Play a little Slam Ball with Ms. Finnegan; Mrs. Fahey shows us the Sid Shuffle 

***

Although students are at home, the science doesn’t stop! Elementary students across the district are keeping busy completing fun science and STEM activities with their families. All daily science assignments are posted on the MPS at home learning website. You will also find additional STEM challenges each week.  Please continue to send pictures or videos of science in action at your home to Elementary Science Coordinator, Ellen Lohan. Here is a great Rube Goldberg video Ms. Lohan received this week.

***

Last Friday, March 20th, was Rock Your Socks Day at MPS! Our students and staff Rocked their Socks at home in support of World Down Syndrome Day and we shared those pictures last week. In this video by Glover’s Ms. Craven, you can see the Glover community Rocking their  Socks!

***

The staff and families at Collicot are spending a lot of extra time in the kitchen these days and they share their favorite recipes here. Take a look at their recipe book here – maybe you’ll be inspired to try something new this week! 

***

Glover students spent time this week creating Vision Boards. Now is a great time to take stock of who we are and where we are going.  Thanks for the idea, Glover! We love seeing the future these Glover students envision.

***

Cunningham students and staff spent time this week reading and sharing their favorite books this week. Some of their favorites are below.

***

Tucker students and staff are participating in Spirit Week this week. They’ve had Motivate Monday, Tucker Pride Tuesday, Wacky Wednesday, Thankful Thursday and Fancy Friday. Their creativity and spirit has been contagious!

TECHNOLOGY 

Google Classroom: Many teachers in the Milton Public Schools use Google Classroom to help manage their class.  This is not a requirement for teachers. It is a common misconception that family members can join a Google Classroom.  Only students and staff in the miltonps.org domain have the right to join a Google Classroom. Teachers can invite family members to receive summaries.  For more information on Guardian Summaries please click here.

Families have asked how to help their students turn in assignments on Google Classroom. Here are instructions on how a student can turn in an assignment on Google Classroom.

Elementary families who need support with their student’s Google username and password, please email your student’s teacher for this information.

PlusPortal: If you need support navigating PlusPortals here are support instructions and tutorials. If you need help with your username and/or password please contact the following individuals: Elementary- Jen Van HillPierce –  Jess RoysterMHS-  J Troy

EverFi Remote Learning: EverFi has offered enrichment lessons for students at all grade levels.  In these lessons, students will learn about real-world skills like career readiness, financial literacy, and health & wellness.

Your student can go through these online resources independently and will be asked to show learning through mini-quizzes at the end of each lesson.

Here is each school’s flyer with more information on the modules offered at each grade level along with how to create an account for your student. Collicot, Cunningham, Glover, MHS, Pierce, and Tucker

***

Educational Technology Director AJ Melanson shares the following enrichment materials you may find helpful in the coming weeks.

K-2 Screen Time Leisure Activities; 3-5 Screen Time Leisure Activities; Common Sense Media’s Events and Activities for Kids at Home

LIGHT IT UP BLUE 

Many in the Milton Public Schools participated in “Light it up Blue” this week in recognition of people with autism and those who love and support them. It was great to see so much blue in the homes of MPS staff and students!

SPECIAL EDUCATION 

Administrator for Pupil Personnel Services, Susan Maselli, shares the following. She can be reached anytime via email.

The Office of Pupil Personnel Services wants to thank families who were able to join in our “coffee” parent check-ins this week. If you are still interested, please email Patty Lesenechal to sign up for a google hang out. This is an opportunity for parental connections during school closure.

In the coming week you will be hearing from your student’s special education staff regarding your student’s Remote Learning Plan as outlined in the last email update. Please be certain to reach out with any questions. We recognize that for many of our students, this plan will evolve slowly over time and may change as we consider all the variables that impact remote learning and engagement. This past week, I have worked closely with all special education staff Prek-22 to discuss how we can support special education learning during this school closure, and am excited to see all the ideas they have already begun to implement on behalf of your students. If you have not opened the link from Dr. Spaulding’s communication regarding the Remote Learning Plan for students with special education, I would encourage you to do so so you might review the Learning Plan Template. This document will record how your student will receive support. For most students, this document will change over time as staff respond to students’ engagement in learning. Your child’s special education team chairperson will be the person to facilitate the development of this document and can address any questions you have during this time.

We will continue to provide you updates both in this blog, as well as each principal’s weekly newsletters. Thank you for your continued support of this work as we work together to refine support for Milton students who have disabilities. Please reach out with any questions.

FAMILY OUTREACH LIAISON 

We hope many families are taking advantage of the MPS Food Service To-Go Program. Each Wednesday, families can pick up 5 days of breakfasts and lunches. Pick up times are 8-9am and 5-6pm at both the Tucker School (behind the school) and Milton High School (on the Canton Ave side of the building). ANY Milton family is welcome to pick up a weekly to-go bag as the goal is to support any food insecure student.

In addition, the Milton Food Pantry will be open this Saturday, April 4th from 9:15 – 11:15am with pre-bagged food ready to go for anyone that is in need. The pantry has shifted to an every other Saturday schedule including April 4th, 10th, May 2nd, 16th, 30th. Social distancing will be practiced throughout the process. If you are in need of food outside of those hours please call the Food Pantry line at (617) 696-0221 and leave your name, address, and how many people are in your family and that you are requesting a donation of food. Volunteers are ready to pick up the food and deliver.

The Interfaith Social Services Food Pantry, located at 105 Adams St., Quincy is open Monday – Friday, 10-11:45am and Wednesdays 5-7pm for families in need during this difficult time. The food pantry asks those families arriving by car to please remain in your vehicle and you will be directed by a volunteer. Those who walk to the pantry are also welcome and should enter through the pantry lobby. New clients are welcome.

Milton Public Schools is committed to being a resource for you. Whether you are unsure of how to connect with school staff or directly need a referral for services or supplies please don’t hesitate to reach out to Marti O’Keefe McKenna, MPS Family Outreach Liaison at 617-980-7343 or by email at mmckenna@miltonps.org. All calls and emails are confidential.

INTERFACE REFERRAL SERVICE 

Interface is  important mental health resource for Milton families. The following was submitted by Laurie Stillman, MMHS.

Positive mental health is critical to children’s healthy development.  Yet one in every five youth will eventually meet criteria for a mental health disorder.  This risk of mental illness is on the increase, and is probably exacerbated by the physical and social challenges presented by the Covid-19 crisis.

Unfortunately, most children and their family members, who can benefit by therapeutic mental health services, do not seek them out.  There are many possible reasons, including the stigma and cultural beliefs associated with experiencing emotional problems, as well as the practical difficulties involved with accessing care.  The Milton Public School system is cognizant of these challenges and is doing what it can to make more resources available.

One such resource is the Interface Referral Service.  This service offers a free and confidential Helpline, providing mental health referrals and information for Milton adults and children.  Their website has lots of useful information on a variety of mental health topics such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and family problems. There are a few interesting current articles on their website, including such topics on how to stay calm and cope during the Corona Virus epidemic. 

Since the program’s inception in Milton nearly two years ago, a few hundred families have taken advantage of this service.  Many families are grateful to Milton Public School faculty who have provided them with this helpful resource.  The service is coordinated by the Milton Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition and is paid for by the Milton Public Schools, Milton Police Department, Milton Health Department, BID Hospital-Milton and Mike’s 5K to Crush Substance Abuse.

If you, as a parent or faculty member, are experiencing mental health challenges, or if your children and students could benefit by professional help, please contact Interface Referral Service, a program of William James College.  They are open 9am-5pm Monday-Friday. Their contact information is online or call their Helpline:  888-244-6843  

COUNSELING CORNER 

Each week, one of our MPS Adjustment Counselors will share information or resources. Last week, Cunningham’s Ms. Germanno  wrote to the MPS community. This week,  Ms. Dearing from Pierce checks in.

I frequently tell students at Pierce I have the world’s greatest job. I earn a living encouraging kids and teaching them how to be the very best version of themselves. I help them learn how to keep their thoughts as positive and realistic as they can, how to not let their feelings be the boss of them and to show the world how unique and amazing they are through the choices they make and the things that they do. I sometimes use a simple equation to help illustrate this, Thoughts + Feelings = Behavior. The way we think about ourselves, the world around us and the things that happen to us has a great deal to do with how we feel about those things and what we do with those feelings. Today, I want to encourage all of you as the adults that make up the Milton Public School community to consider the same equation paying particular attention to your thoughts.

As parents, guardians and educators, we all want to provide the children in our lives with the support they need to make it through this difficult time. We are worried about them. We are also worried about family, friends, jobs, bills, money, health issues, and the list goes on…One of the best ways to keep these worrisome thoughts from becoming the driver of our “feeling’s bus” is to take the time we need to pay attention to our own emotional well-being, spend a few minutes each day to regain some control over our thoughts, and think about how we as individuals are making it through this new way of living.

Consider the following questions as frequently as you need to help positively impact your emotions and better manage the way you are coping:

  • Have you set up a structure and routine that works for you? If it is not working, determine what is within your power to change and change it. Tomorrow or next week just might go a bit more smoothly.
  • Are you staying connected to the people and activities that cause you to feel supported, cared for, healthy and more peaceful? Actively seek out these things and build them into your daily routine.
  • Are you taking the time you need to grieve your own losses with routines and past way of living? It is important to acknowledge these losses in order to move through them and function in a healthy way.
  • Are you forgiving yourself and others as needed? This “new normal” is not normal and none of us are perfect humans. You are going to make mistakes in
    the days and weeks ahead. Be gentle with yourself, the people around you and stay hopeful. Tomorrow is one more shot to get it right.

Adults have tremendous power to influence how children cope with stressful events. They take their cues from us. One of the most important things we can do for the young people in our lives is to model emotionally healthy behavior. The only way this is possible is to take good care of ourselves. When students leave the calm of my office and walk out the door into the crazy ups and downs of the great middle school adventure, I frequently tell them, “You rock!” or “You’ve got this!” The same is true for all of you. “You rock and you’ve got this”! Spend the time you need each day to take good care of yourself and please let us know if there is anything we can do to help you.

Your MPS school Adjustment Counselors:  Jennie BeliveauMary Bianca MattocksKenneth Adelmann (Milton High School); Myriam FrancoeurKara Sheridan, Kelly Dearing (Pierce) Jaclyn Germano (Cunningham); Elizabeth Caruso (Collicot) ; Ramsay Cadet (Tucker) Brian Powers, Christine Howley (Glover)

MILTON FOUNDATION FOR EDUCATION

What do April showers bring? The Jeep Raffle!  The socially distant raffle drawing will be Saturday night at 7:45 live on Facebook! Tickets are SOLD OUT – please continue to support the mission of the Milton Foundation for Education by donating at this link.

Tune into The MFE FB page on Saturday night!

ART AND MUSIC 

MPS music teacher  Colleen Martin made this short video for students. You can watch her version of Aiken Drum here.

Create your own version of your man in the moon! Draw, collage, sing your version, or find another way to share what your Aiken Drum looks like! What are his eyes made out of? His nose, his hair, his body? Share your pictures with your teacher through email! In addition, this is where you can share a silly rhyme for “Down By the Bay.” Email Ms.Colleen Martin ; Mr.Gary Good or Mrs.April Allegrezza with your submission.

***

Milton FAME (Friends and Advocates of Music Education) is currently hosting two fundraisers to support music programs and education in the Milton Public Schools!

MHS Senior and saxophonist extraordinaire, Caleb Smith is raising money for the Applied Music Lesson Program by doing a two day bike ride across the state of Massachusetts, May 30-31.  In Caleb’s words, “The physical challenge will be a testament to the gratefulness I feel towards the music department at Milton High.  I hope the money raised will pave the way for deserving kids, who otherwise could not afford to pursue music, grow as musicians and be a part of this amazing department!”  Read more about Caleb and donate to his go fund me page here.  Any amount is greatly appreciated!  

We have another fun fundraiser going on till May 7th through Boon Supply (formerly Mixed Bags).  Boon offers eco-friendly, stylish items in the areas of Waste-Free Living, Character Matters, Bags, Kitchen and Organization, Gifting and Accessories, Travel and On-The-Go, and Food.  Order anything from the on-line catalogue and FAME will receive 40% of the sale.  There is something for everyone!!   Items you order will be shipped directly to your home address.  Check out their catalogue here!

ATHLETICS

Senior Student-Athlete Spotlight
Each day we will spotlight our senior student-athletes from the spring season. Our student-athletes have worked for years towards their senior year. Some are captains, some are playing their last competitive season, others were looking for a 3rd straight State Title. Social Distancing will without a doubt save lives, but for our student-athletes, right now, it still hurts to miss out on their final season. Let’s give them the recognition they deserve! Here are this week’s highlights.

As Coach Dolan puts it, “Anthony Barros-Goncalves is a fleet footed winger. As a part of the back-to-back State Champion Rugby Team, he has a sweet burst of speed on the outside which is almost impossible to defend against. When the fire in his eyes lights up, get out of the way.

Olivia DiManno is one of the hardest working student-athletes in the school. Regardless if it’s Field Hockey, Basketball, or Lacrosse (she captains all three teams), she is always the one hustling. She leads by example and is not afraid to stand up for her teammates. Her leadership and attitude will definitely be missed next year!

Pat Kennedy – Pat delivered big time this indoor season and he looked poised to do the same in the outdoor season. Dropping his personal bests virtually every time he stepped on the track. Patrick entered the season running in the high 4:40s for the mile, but by the end of the season ran a 4:35! Consistently one of the hardest workers in practice, Pat’s efforts led to huge gains. When we needed points in our dual meets, Pat stepped up and did his part. Also, ran strong lead-off legs on our 4×800 relay. Looking forward to following Pat as he continues to improve as a collegiate athlete.

Grace Sullivan – Sullivan’s hard work and determination were the epitome of the Milton High School girls distance running program. She improved considerably this indoor season and despite an injury that sidelined her for most of the championship meets, Grace consistently proved to be one of the girls top distance runners. Grace will continue to run and study at Bryant University in the fall of 2020.

Rob Ricciardi – Coach Lynch described this student the best. “Former goalie, future stud defense-man. Brings 150 volts of electricity to every practice and game. Double major in football and lacrosse, minors in hockey. All around good guy most of the time. Favorite quote- “Here come the penalties” –Rob Ricciardi”

Finn Doherty – Doherty is a 2-year captain. He was the winning pitcher in last year’s tournament game, which was Milton’s first playoff win in a couple years. He will be heading to Salve University next year to play Baseball. Finn was also a captain for the Hockey Team, which returned to the State Tournament this past season.

Johnny Carey – Johnny is a true Cinderella Story! After being cut from the Baseball Program his freshman year, Carey cracked the starting line-up his sophomore year. He would go on to score the game-winning run against Newton North in his first start, earning Milton’s first win over the Tigers in nearly 10 years! He is now a captain, as voted on by his peers! Johnny also played Hockey during his time at Milton High School.

Olivia Murphy – Olivia played Field Hockey, Ice Hockey and Softball during her high school career. This spring, Olivia was going to challenge herself and play tennis! She’s shown passion, determination and dedication in her 4 years here as a Wildcat- Good luck in all your future endeavors!

COMMUNITY NEWS

MHS teacher Tina Greene and Pastor Shelly Davis at East Congregational Church share the following:

They’ve done it in London and New York City, and now this Friday we will do it in greater Boston: a collective round of applause for workers who are on the front lines of the coronavirus battle.

Everyone from Milton to Mount Washington and Beacon Hill to the Berkshires can participate in #ClapBecauseWeCare.

Here’s how: At 7 p.m. on Friday, open up a window, or stand in front of your house, and clap and whoop, ring a bell, or bang some pots and pans together, for five minutes as if J.D. Martinez just hit a home run in Fenway Park.

Organizers are hoping residents will cheer for the doctors, nurses, and first responders; the pharmacists and grocery workers, delivery drivers and postal employees, restaurateurs who have stayed open, and other essential personnel who are risking exposure to COVID-19 so everyone else can stay home and stay healthy.

The plan is to keep this up EVERY Friday at 7:00pm until we emerge on the other side of this pandemic.  Post a video of your celebration on social media with the #ClapBecauseWeCareMilton and make sure that the video is set to ‘public.’

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There is much fun to be had virtually this season in the Children’s Room at the Milton Public Library!

Cool family activities including electronic and audio books, live programs, virtual storytimes and more are available every day from ​www.miltonlibrary.org​ and the Library’s Facebook pages. We have these exciting online programs happening for the young people in your life during the week of April 3rd – April 11th, 2020.

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The Commission on Disability asked me to share this John Hopkins video:  Stay Home and Follow Hand Washing Instruction to “protect our vulnerable family members and friends”.

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For all information on the Town of Milton’s response to the Coronavirus, please continue to refer to the Town of Milton’s website. 

 The Milton Public School system does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, gender identity, transgender status, gender transitioning, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its programs, activities or operations. These include, but are not limited to, admissions, equal access to programs and activities, employment, provision of and access to programs and services, as well as selection of volunteers, vendors and employers recruiting at the Milton Public Schools.  We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our staff, students, volunteers, subcontractors, and vendors. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Asst. Superintendent for Curriculum & Human Resources, Dr. Karen Spaulding, (617) 696-5040 ext. 5582.

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