From: Mary C. Gormley
To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: October 10, 2019
- 1 FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT
- 1.1 MILTON FOUNDATION FOR EDUCATION
- 1.2 UPCOMING ALL MPS DATES
- 1.3 SCHOOL COMMITTEE
- 1.4 HIGH SCHOOL HAPPENINGS
- 1.5 PIERCE PAGES
- 1.6 INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS
- 1.7 TECHNOLOGY
- 1.8 SPECIAL EDUCATION
- 1.9 TRANSPORTATION
- 1.10 FOOD AND NUTRITION
- 1.11 MA TEACHER OF THE YEAR
- 1.12 ART AND MUSIC
- 1.13 ATHLETICS
- 1.14 NEWS AROUND TOWN
- 1.15 AMBASSADORS
FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT
I am pleased to share the latest iteration of The PARENT Speaker Series. On Thursday, October 17th from 6-8:40pm, we will offer PARENT University at the Pierce Middle School. While the event is being held at Pierce, the sessions are appropriate for parents/guardians across the age spectrum, Prek-12th grade.
PARENT University is a series of short educational and skill-building workshops for parents and guardians that cover a wide range of topics. Workshops focus on promoting the academic and social and emotional well being of children and teens. We offer a variety of workshops in one evening, each lasting just one hour and each workshop offered twice-back to back.
Classes like: I Have Concerns, Now What? Navigating Your Way Through the Special Education Process; Mind Full or Mindful? Building Mindfulness into Family Life Through Games, Stories and Maybe Just Sitting Still! and How to Make the Most of Your School Parent/Guardian – Teacher Conference are all being offered and will prove to be a valuable piece of your parenting toolkit.
The evening will begin at 6:00pm in the auditorium at the Pierce Middle School. The first session will begin at 6:30pm. The second session will begin at 7:40. Click here for course descriptions. Click here to complete course selection registration.
Childcare is available. However, space for childcare is limited. Registration is required and can be found on the registration link above. Children must be of school age and toilet trained to access childcare. If you have any questions or need additional information, please email Family Outreach Liaison Marti O’Keefe McKenna or 617-980-7343.
The PARENT Speaker Series is made possible with financial support from Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Milton, Milton Public Schools, Milton Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition, Parent Teacher Organizations and Special Education Parent Advisory Council.
There was another wonderful Milton community event this past weekend as Celebrate Milton 2019 was held at the Pierce Middle School. Celebrate Milton is an annual fall event run by a group of volunteers committed to bringing diverse people together from across the community. Music and entertainment, a food tent sponsored by the MHS Ski Team, children’s amusements, a silent auction and raffles, and a true sense of community were some of the highlights of the day. I am thrilled to share that Tucker Principal Dr. Elaine McNeil-Girmai was honored for her work as a Community Builder for her inclusive practices at the Tucker School and that MHS students Emily Dobrindt and Vincent Luong were honored for their work as Junior Community Builders.
MILTON FOUNDATION FOR EDUCATION
I encourage all of our MPS families and staff to register now for the MFE Monster Dash on Sunday, October 27th! The Monster Dash is a perennial family favorite event with bounce houses, a costume Fun Run, kids’ crafts , science fun, face painting and more. Be sure to wear your costume!
The Monster Dash, now in its 21st year,benefits the Sam Cichello Memorial Fund. The Cichello family created this fund in memory of their young son, Sam, who died tragically in a 1999 playground accident at Tucker Elementary School. Sam’s Fund supports the science curriculum in all Milton schools.
The Milton Foundation for Education is an independent, not-for-profit corporation, separate and distinct from the Milton Public Schools. The Foundation was established in 1995 to make possible innovative programs and opportunities that are beyond the reach of the school system’s budget. Foundation Trustees are people from the community who donate their time to help the Foundation achieve its goals. The Milton Public Schools continues to be the thriving school district it is, in part due to the unwavering and generous support of the MFE.
I hope to see you and your family on Sunday, October 27th at 10 am at Cunningham Hall at the Monster Dash!
UPCOMING ALL MPS DATES
Oct 14 No School – Columbus Day
Oct 17 PARENT University – Pierce Middle School
Oct 23 Early Release Day
Oct 16 Milton School Committee
Oct 27 MFE Monster Dash
Oct 3 The Addams Family at MHS
Nov 2 The Addams Family at MHS
Nov 3 The Addams Family at MHS
The 2019-20 calendar can be found here.
Save the date for the November 13th showing of Screenagers NEXT CHAPTER – Uncovering Skills for Stress Resilience. The film there focuses on understanding anxiety and providing strategies, skills and solutions to help build resilience in the face of hard emotions. Knowing how to lovingly and effectively be with your kids and teens as they experience difficult feelings and display challenging behaviors is immensely complicated. But there are lots of solutions out there—knowing the science, knowing strategies and sharing this with our friends, colleagues, parent groups, and on and on is crucial. To access the full article about Screenagers NEXT CHAPTER and parenting tips click here. More details regarding the Milton showing of the film will be coming soon.
Recent School Committee meetings can always be watched on Milton Access TV. The next School Committee meeting is on Wednesday, October 23rd (note date change due to Milton Public Library event) at 7pm. School Committee agendas and documents can be found on the front page of our website.
HIGH SCHOOL HAPPENINGS
They’re creepy and they’re kooky; Mysterious and spooky; They’re all together ooky…. The Addams family! Come see them at Milton High School on October 30th, November 2nd and 3rd! Tickets are available online here.
On behalf of the Milton Garden Club, Milton resident and MPS volunteer Beth Neville is documenting the history of Milton’s many public garden spaces for the Smithsonian Archives of American Gardens. This past Sunday, students from the Green Team and members of the Milton Garden Club toured the Pierce garden and learned its history, as part of Ms. Neville’s work for the Smithsonian Archives.
Please see the note below from Principal Bill Fish regarding homework free weekends. I want to applaud Principal Fish and Pierce teachers and staff for recognizing the social emotional value of occasional homework free weekends.
As a school community, we regard homework as an integral part of the academic program. We believe that homework serves a critical role in achieving instructional objectives.
A body of research suggests that homework enhances the educational process. Homework provides opportunities for students to reinforce old skills or practice newly acquired ones. Homework also provides students with opportunities to prepare for new information or apply and elaborate on information that has been introduced. Additionally, homework acquaints parents with what their children are learning in school and also improves a student’s organizational and self-discipline skills.
Whether homework is assigned during the week or on weekends, it is evident that teachers, students, and parents understand and value the ways in which homework reinforces and enriches the knowledge and skills that students acquire during instructional time. Beyond the academic benefits of homework, the Pierce Middle School faculty recognizes that there are times throughout the school year when students need time to relax, recharge, and have time to spend with their family without academic demands.
Beginning this fall, Pierce Middle School will implement four homework free weekends. During these weekends, homework will not be assigned. Additionally, faculty will also be expected to take a break from schoolwork during these four weekends.
The following weekends have been identified as homework free weekends at Pierce:Term 1
October 12 – October 14; Term 2 November 27 – December 1; Term 3 January 31 – February 1; Term 4 May 23 – May 25.
INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS
Cunningham 2nd graders in Ms. McGill and Ms. Herbert’s class focused on community helpers throughout our first Reach for Reading Unit. Students worked in pairs to research community helpers, gather facts, and create an “All About” book explaining how their community helper are important in our community. Students worked to create a book comprised of a dedication page, all about the author page, as well as a rough and final draft of their work. The class then celebrated completing their first writing project with a publishing party! Students walked around the room writing kind words and compliments about all of their peers work. Other faculty was also invited to read our books and write compliments for students!
Glover students in Mme. Bonner’s 1st grade French Immersion classroom have been busy investigating different plants in the Plants and Animals unit in FOSS. Students started by growing ryegrass and alfalfa plants. Students observed the lawn growth for over a week, making observations in their science notebooks. Students “mowed” their lawns and are excited to see what will happen next! Students are also growing wheat seeds in a straw, students are watching for roots and green growth!
Collicot 3rd graders were inspired by the big question of unit 1 in Reach for Reading, “How do people help each other?” The class read The Quiltmakers Journey and The Quiltmakers Gift. The students made two of their own quilts that are being donated to children in need.
We know that students learn and develop leadership through practical application of leadership skills. These skills should be cultivated at a young age so that students understand the concept of stewardship and ownership of their environments. When students are provided with this opportunity, they experience responsible citizenship and engage positively with community members. Those who are given the opportunity to engage in the process of leadership development at an early age increase the capacity of involved citizens in the future (Krista Ullestad, 2009, Leadership Development for Elementary Students).
The Glover School is excited to share about the 2019-20 Glover Student Leadership Team. SLT is a group of 4th and 5th Graders who take leadership seriously and are interested in helping out around the school, in the community, and modeling positive behaviors for younger students. SLT members are role models for the other students and act accordingly at all times during the school day (recess, bus, lunch, classroom, etc.) in order to maintain the privilege of participating in SLT. There are many different assignments they can choose from such as helping out in Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grades, PE, Art, Library, and Bus Assistants, Kindness Squad, School Spirit Team, Poetry Club, the Glover Gazette Newspaper Club and Safety Patrol Teams to name a few. SLT members are assigned a teacher-mentor who checks in with them frequently and the relationship that is built between mentor/mentee is powerful. We are so proud of our Student Leaders at Glover School!
We are happy to report that across Milton, more than 2000 students registered for our summer reading program and logged in a total of 1,411,451 minutes. That’s a lot of reading! During library classes this past month each student who logged in minutes received a bookmark. Top readers were announced during lunch and their names were entered into a raffle with one lucky student from each grade at each school winning a $25 gift certificate to Barnes and Noble. We are so proud of all of our summer readers!
The Milton Public School’s Wait Until 8th campaign has five parent volunteers, Teresa Cook, Tara McCarthy, Allison Norton, Rachel Pauli, and Patty Sanchez who serve as the ambassadors. They are currently working with the Educational Technology Director, AJ Melanson on an action plan. Thank you to these parent volunteers and Mr. Melanson for bringing Wait Until 8th to our community. If you have any questions regarding the campaign please email AJ Melanson.
Did you know that the average age a child gets a smartphone is 10 years old and that children are spending between 6 and 9 hours a day on media? Childhood is changing, and the negative impact of too much screen time is hitting kids hard.
We have good news for you though. There is a wonderful resource to help families delay the smartphone and give their children more time smartphone free. 300+ Milton families have taken the Wait Until 8th pledge. The Wait Until 8th pledge empowers families to rally together to delay giving children a smartphone until at least 8th grade. By banding together, this will decrease the pressure felt by kids and families alike over the kids having a smartphone.
Please note that this pledge is for smartphones only! If you would like your child to have a basic phone that just calls and texts, you still can sign the pledge! The basic phone avoids many of the distractions and dangers of the smartphone. A pledge becomes “active” once 10 or more families from a grade at a school sign. The organizers designed the pledge this way so you don’t have to fear “what if I am the only family that signs this in my kid’s grade.” This takes the pressure off because the pledge only kicks in once at least 10 families sign from your grade.
More than 8,000 families from all 50 states have said yes to waiting for the smartphone. 300 + from Milton alone! Will you join us? Childhood is too short to waste on a smartphone. Let’s let kids be kids a little longer. Take the pledge at www.waituntil8th.org. When taking the pledge please use the following names for each school:Collicot Elementary School; Cunningham Elementary School; Glover Elementary School; Pierce Middle School; Tucker Elementary School.
Milton Public Schools holds periodic preschool screenings once a month and the next opportunity is Oct 23rd. If your child is ages 3 to 5, and not yet eligible for kindergarten this message may be helpful. If you have concerns about your child’s development MPS offers screenings through the early childhood department. This screening is open to Milton Residents who have concerns related to their child’s development. If you would like to discuss this opportunity for your child, please contact Jaymne Szymaczak via email.
Due to unforeseen challenges with the FirstView app we are unable to roll it out for bus tracking and messaging purposes this year. Instead, we will be utilizing the Remind app system for bus delay notifications. This year families will be invited to join the messaging system for the specific route(s) their student(s) ride. Families can join more than one route. Emails will be sent from the Transportation Department to the emails submitted in the bus registration process. The email will include a unique code for their student’s bus route that when texted to 81010 allows families to OPT IN to the messaging system. To receive updates you MUST OPT IN by texting this code. Families can leave the message alert system at any time. Please be on the lookout for the invitation to join the Remind bus alert system. If you do not receive an invitation please email bus@miltonpsorg requesting a code. Please include your student’s name, school and bus route number. If your child rides different am and pm routes, please include both in your request (for example, 5c am and 8c pm). Additionally please note that the Remind bus alert message group from last year will be archived and families that participated in that group may get a text message notification when that occurs.
FOOD AND NUTRITION
There is a terrific opportunity for substitute jobs in our food services department. We are hiring for substitute positions at all schools. This can be a great opportunity for parents and retirees and food service experience is a plus, but not required. The starting pay for the food service substitute position is $15.05 per hour and these positions often lead to permanent positions. Please email Jackie Morgan or call (617-696-5040 X 5514) for more information.
MA TEACHER OF THE YEAR
I recently received an email that the nomination and application forms for the 2021 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year are now available! Anyone can nominate a teacher, and educators can apply regardless of whether they have been nominated. The Commonwealth is full of strong public school teachers and DESE hopes to receive at least one nomination from every district. Please take a moment to consider if there is an exceptional Milton Educator who you know who you might nominate.
Nominations will be accepted only online and are due February 3, 2020, and applications must be completed by February 14. Before completing an application, teachers are asked to download and read the Massachusetts Teacher of the Year Overview. Anyone with questions can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Massachusetts School Administrators Association writes that Principals are educational visionaries who work hard to create outstanding schools for every student, and they deserve to be honored nationwide. That’s why NASSP, the National Association of Elementary School Principals, and the American Federation of School Administrators—three groups who believe in the importance of effective school leadership—have declared the entire month of October as National Principals Month. The Massachusetts School Administrators’ Association (MSAA) proudly joins this well-deserved celebration at the state level.
At the Milton Public Schools, we couldn’t agree more, and ask that you take a moment this month to thank your school Principal with a note or kind word. These personal thank yous are appreciated more than you can imagine.
ART AND MUSIC
Students in the art room at Tucker are exploring color, shape and pattern. 2nd graders read the book Chameleon’s Colors by Chisato Tashiro for inspiration for their chameleon drawings and learned about ROY G BIV to apply the colors of the rainbow. 4th grade students studied the work of amazing artist Laurel Burch, and how she dealt with a debilitating disease her whole life and was still able to become an accomplished artist. Kindergarten students made some fun literacy connections with the book Elephant and Piggie by Mo Williams to create dancing pigs!
Glover 2nd-5th graders started off the year by reading the classic story The Dot, and then used dots in their own work! Each student took the project in wild and creative directions, turning a few simple circles into works of art that were funny, surprising and beautiful! Below is: Turtles (top left) by Caroline Haley; Breakfast BFFs (top right) by Sasha Darmon; Waffle Monster (bottom left) by Marc Gimbrone-Naviloff and Piano Music (bottom right) by Hanna Do.
Football will play Ipswich (away) on Saturday at 1pm in an effort to stay undefeated.
Boys Soccer and Field hockey both take on Wellesley High School tonight on Brooks Field.
Volleyball will take on Canton High School tomorrow night at home.
The Boys and Girls Cross Country teams will host a fundraiser on October 20th at Cunningham Park. The Kids Trail Run is a big hit every fall!
All game schedules can be found on our MHS Athletics website.
NEWS AROUND TOWN
Tickets are now available for the 2019 Milton Library Foundation Literary Gala on Wednesday, October 16 at Granite Links, Quincy, MA.
The evening will feature New York Times Bestselling Author, Milton Academy Graduate, & Dorchester Native Patrick Radden Keefe, the author of Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland. The evening begins at 5:00 pm with a VIP Cocktail Reception with Patrick Radden Keefe where you can meet the author and have your book signed and personalized. At 6:00 pm, general admission to dinner includes a signed book and the author’s presentation and a Question and Answer Session with Mr. Keefe. Tickets and more information are available here.Saturday,
National Prescription Drug Take Back Day at the Milton Police Department, 40 Highland St is on Saturday, October 26th from 10am – 2pm. The Milton Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition and the Milton Police Department are sponsoring our local Prescription Drug Take Back Day. Research has shown that the majority of abuse prescription drugs come from home medicine cabinets. Protect our community and protect our environment by turning in your unused or expired prescription drugs, safely and anonymously.
Teams are now forming for the 2019-2020 season of Destination Imagination (DI). DI is non-profit, volunteer-led organization that provides unique educational experiences across seven project-based Challenge types–Technical, Scientific, Engineering, Fine Arts, Improvisational, Service Learning, and Early Learning. MPS parent Cindi Melanson mentored a team of four 4th grade girls last year and they had a wonderful experience designing and presenting their creative solution to the 2018-19 STEAM-based (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) engineering challenge called “Monster Effects”. The girls placed 3rd at the elementary level in the Massachusetts Regional Tournament for Destination Imagination last March and plan to enter again. Ms Melanson would be happy to talk to any interested MPS parents/guardians about mentoring a team for this year’s tournament. DI would love more Milton teams to get involved! Learn more at Massachusetts DI!
Milton Early Childhood Alliance is pleased to present Come and Play Be A Kid Again! Wednesday, October 23, 7-9pm at the Discovery Schoolhouse, 101 Blue Hills Pkwy, Milton, MA for parents of children 2.5 to 4 years old.
Parents, come learn why play is so important to a child’s development and how it contributes to achieving developmental milestones. And, yes, you will be playing!! In this parent workshop, you will partake in hands-on play at learning centers, learn how play informs your child’s development, have some fun, and maybe even get a bit messy. Childcare will be provided and requires registration. Registration is required: email email@example.com or call 617-696-2262.
Forbes House Museum presents Ghost Stories in the Barn… an afternoon of Halloween fun including visits with the Kitchen Witch, crafty activities and other tricks and treats!
Sunday, October 20th , 3-5 pm. Costumes encouraged! $5/child; caregivers and members are free.
Run or walk the THIRD annual Mike’s 5k to Crush Substance Abuse to raise money for substance abuse prevention and treatment programs! Mike’s 5k was founded in 2017 in memory of Mike Mulcahy who passed away on December 1, 2016 after a heroic battle against addiction. In 2018, we were very proud to dedicate our 5k in memory of Michael Jesson of Milton, who passed in 2017 after valiantly fighting addiction. Race day registration starts at 9 AM at the Collicot/Cunningham School Cafeteria and the 5k begins at 10 AM on October 19th through the beautiful streets of Milton. All details can be found here.
The MHS Street Hockey Tournament is October 14th at 9am at the Kelly Field Tennis Courts and grades K-8th are welcome to participate. Teams should be 7-9 players, including goalie with a minimum of 7 and max of 9. The cost is $20 per player. Teams are responsible for their own equipment –helmets, sticks, gloves are mandatory. Goalies are responsible for their own pads and sticks. Children under the age of 10 must be accompanied by a parent. Please see the waiver and more info here.
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:
STAFF: On September 27, 2019, all MPS faculty and staff, along with teachers and leaders from across the commonwealth, rose up at Milton High School and Raised the Bar on Teaching & Learning! Milton Public Schools’ first annual full-day professional development conference included an inspiring keynote speaker, Dr. Kenneth Wesson, four breakout sessions with 20+ incredible options for each breakout session, breakfast, lunch, and snacks.
VOLUNTEERS: The Milton High School Booster Club is a group of parents, volunteers and other interested parties whose mission is to enrich the MHS Athletic community and the community at large by promoting athletic excellence, good sportsmanship and character-building relationships among athletes, coaches and parents as well as providing financial support and assistance for Milton High School Athletics.
The Boosters raises funds through our Swing For Sports annual event, concession stands sales and through memberships. The money raised is then used to offer scholarships for senior student athletes that are continuing on to post-secondary education. It is also used to support teams in obtaining new uniforms and equipment that the Athletic budget and user fees can not support. The Boosters also support an annual banquet to recognize all varsity athletes, individual awards and team successes. Over the last 5 years the Boosters contributed to every one of the 33 athletic programs at Milton High Schoo, granting over $100,000.00 and benefiting over 600 students annually.
Please join me in thanking the 2019-2020 Executive Board – President Jimmy Coyne, Vice Presidents Debra MacNeil and Susan DiSandro, Treasurer Trish Heelen and Secretary Rachel Shanor – for their countless hours of volunteerism on behalf of our student athletes. The Booster committee chairs – Catherine Lee, Patti Dobrindt, Elaine Shiffmann, Maggie Oldfield, Patty Andresino, Ellen Hoey, Shelia Paolucci, Abram Cardoza, Regina Yuen and Lloyd MacNeil – are to be commended as well for serving our students. If you would like to become more involved with the Boosters, please email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you do not receive the Superintendent’s Weekly Update and would like to, please enter your email here to subscribe to this one weekly email.
Thank you to my blog contributors this week: Noel Vigue, Bill Fish, Star Baylon, Zeina Hamada, Ryan Madden, Dawn Sykes, Jess Gillooly, Kim Tolleson, Kelsey McGill, Jon Redden, Dr. Elaine McNeil-Girmai, Marti O’Keefe McKenna, Sara MacNeil, Karen McDavitt, Dr. Karen Spaulding, Rachel Schewe, Susan Maselli, AJ Melanson and Kelly Herbert.
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: Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Human Resources, 617-696-4812