November 14, 2019

From: Mary C. Gormley
To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: November 14, 2019

FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT

Last week I shared a curriculum overview on World Languages. This week, I have asked Elementary Science Coordinator Ellen Lohan to share an outline of our elementary STEM curriculum. If there is a component of our Milton Public Schools curriculum that you would be interested in reading about in this space, I encourage you to let me know at mgormley@miltonps.org. Ms. Lohan’s overview follows.

During the Raising the Bar Conference on the September 27th Professional Development day, teachers had the opportunity to hear from neuroscientist Dr. Kenneth Wesson. In his keynote address, Dr. Wesson compared teachers to coaches of Olympic athletes. The particular challenge teachers face, is we do not know what “events” in which our students will compete! Many of the jobs our elementary students will hold in the future do not exist yet. In order to prepare elementary students for an ever-changing world, STEM is particularly important. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. It is an interdisciplinary approach that fosters problem solving, critical thinking, and collaboration. STEM encourages hands-on experiences and gives students the chance to apply “real world” knowledge in the classroom.

The STEM component of the English Innovation Pathway begins in first grade with the LEGO Engineering Curriculum, which was developed in partnership with Tufts University. Through this program, students work collaboratively to solve real-world problems using legos as their tools. Students go through the Engineering Design Process to guide them. Many of these lessons are based on high-quality children’s literature, and are tied to other content areas.

In second grade, students continue to use legos as their tools, but the focus shifts from mainly engineering to engineering, robotics, and computer programming. Through the LEGO WeDo Robotics Program, students are building simple robots using legos, tilt sensors, motion sensors, motors, gears, pulleys. After the students have followed instructions to build their robots, the real fun begins! Using bluetooth technology, these robots are connected to a chromebook. Students are then able to use drag and drop programming software to allow their robots to move and make sounds.

In third grade, students build upon the computer programming skills they learned in second grade by engaging in the Creative Computing Curriculum.The curriculum uses a program called Itch as a platform to write digital stories, build games and puzzles, and more. Later in the year, third grade students can transform their virtual coding skills to a tangible experience with Dash and Dot robots. Using an iPad, these robots can be programmed to navigate around objects, respond to voice commands and even sing and dance! Our third grade STEM curriculum puts an emphasis on students as the producers of technology, rather than just the consumer.

Both fourth and fifth grade students engage in a program called Project Lead the Way. Project Lead the Way introduces 4 modules at each grade level – 2 of which are Engineering, 1 is Biomedical, and 1 is Computer Science. Each module is tied to Next Generation Science and Technology Standards. Students develop skills and knowledge about real world topics including spread of infection and car seat belt design throughout the course of the modules. At the end of each module, students are challenged to work through the Engineering Design Process to solve a real world problem on the topic presented in the module.

The STEM component at each grade level is aligned with content standards in other disciplines, which allows our teachers to connect their STEM learning to other content areas, including general science, math, reading, writing and art. Efforts are made to make meaningful connections between weekly STEM activities and other content areas.

The Milton Public Schools offers STEM experiences to all students regardless of which pathway they choose. Through our general science program, FOSS, all students participate in investigations tied to Massachusetts Science Technology and Engineering standards throughout the year. Professional development with FOSS representatives and the Elementary Science Coordinator is ongoing. Each year students participate in Massachusetts STEM Week and complete grade level challenges throughout the week. All students enjoy the opportunity to work through the Engineering Design Process during classes with our Instructional Technology Specialist and during lessons in the Makerspace. Community Schools, after school classes at our elementary and middle schools and summer offerings at Milton Summer Enrichment also provide opportunities for STEM education to all students.

UPCOMING MPS DATES 

Nov 14 Early Release Day for Students/Conferences Grades 6-12
Nov 23 Eastern District Sr Auditions
Nov 20 Milton School Committee Meeting
Nov 21 MHS Cabaret
Nov 27,28,29 No School-Thanksgiving Day Recess
Dec 2 Town Meeting
Dec 4 Milton School Committee
Dec 5 MHS College Information Night
Dec 9 Pierce Gr. 6 Winter Concert @ MHS
Dec 10 Pierce Grs 7&8 Winter Concert @MHS
Dec 11 MHS Winter Concert
Dec 12 Early Release Day for Students-Conferences Grs K-5 Only
Dec 16 PARENT Speaker Series
Dec 18 Milton School Committee Meeting
Dec 23-Jan 1 Winter Break

The 2019-20 calendar can be found here.

SCHOOL COMMITTEE

Recent School Committee meetings can always be watched on Milton Access TV.  The next School Committee meeting is on Wednesday, November 20th at 7pm. School Committee agendas and documents can be found on the front page of our website. 

HIGH SCHOOL HAPPENINGS

Milton High School students visited Siemens Healthineers last week where they learned about immunoassay technology, a diagnostic device that locates specific antigens that bind to antibodies and detect disease. The trip was sponsored by the School to Careers program.

Siemen’s hosts Kent Richards, Missie Karch and Ragina Santos spoke with our students about the merits of this health care technology facility. Ms. Santos, who works in Human Resources, spoke at length about what the company looks for when hiring employees and supplied helpful tips on writing resumes, common interview questions, and developing a “30 second pitch”.  In addition to giving their presentation, Mr. Richards and Ms. Karch, took students on a tour of the building and into a real lab and had them assess the preparation of 0.01 M Sodium Phosphate Buffer. Our students were excited to see actual lab work! Before a delicious lunch in the Siemens cafeteria, students learned about manufacturing molecular technology, basic lab skills, and gathered interview tips and strategies.

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Gym Buddies is a program run by the Milton Parks and Recreation Department in coordination with Milton High School’s Community Service Program.
Gym Buddies is a gathering for developmentally delayed and/or physically handicapped adults and children. The program offers activities such as athletics, arts and crafts, games and special events. The purpose of the program is to provide an opportunity for developmentally delayed and/or handicapped adults and children to socialize and interact with their peers. It also provides a community service learning opportunity for MHS students. Each participant is teamed up with two “buddies” from MHS. MHS students volunteer through the Community Service Learning Program at Milton High School.Thank you to the Milton Park and Recreation Department and MPS teacher Bridget Renehan for the coordination of this ongoing community program.

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Please join the Guidance Department for our annual College Information/Post Secondary Planning night, at Milton High on Thursday, December 5th at 6pm in the MHS Auditorium. The following topics will be presented in order to help you and your child successfully navigate the college application process:

  • Financial Aid
  • Standardized Testing
  • Supporting your senior throughout the year
  • NCAA Requirements
  • Overview of the College Application Process
  • Naviance

Representatives from Emmanuel College Admissions, Summit Educational Group, American Student Assistance and Milton High School staff will be running all sessions. After a brief introduction in the auditorium, each sessions will run in 30 minute intervals. Students & Parents/Guardians are invited to attend any sessions during that window.
This workshop is open to all parents/guardians & students in any grade level. A breakdown of specific topics covered in each session will be sent out as we get closer to the event.

PIERCE PAGES 

The Commonwealth’s Project 351 celebrates the ethic of service, youth leadership, and the unifying and uplifting power of community. Pierce is pleased to announce that 8th grade student Josh Ricciardi has been selected as Milton’s Project 351 Ambassador for the 2019/20 school year!

The following comments were submitted by one of Josh’s teachers as part of the recommendation process: “Joshua Ricciardi is a person who sincerely cares about his community, and he shows this each day through a kind, honest, inclusive attitude—never asking for recognition. He is naturally a reserved person, but you will soon notice that he gets charged up by his work to support others. Whether it was being a model in class for a struggling fellow classmate or his steadfast support of his Best Buddies group, Josh is the quiet leader of his class of over 300 students. Josh never misses the opportunity to include someone. Whether it is a weekend event or afternoon meeting to support favorite cause, or the chance to sit and eat lunch with a classmate from a different walk of life —Josh makes himself available.” Congratulations to Josh! We know Josh will represent Pierce and the Milton Public Schools well and we look forward to supporting his work with Project 351.

INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS 

After attending the amazing Raising the Bar Professional Development day in September, Cunningham 3rd grade teacher Taylor Windwer was inspired by the session titled ‘Building A Thinking Classroom’ led by Pierce math teachers Kate Capasso and Sarah Pullia. Ms. Capasso and Ms. Pulia shared their strategies and success in building “thinking classrooms” at Pierce. A thinking classroom is a classroom that is not only conducive to thinking but also occasions thinking, a space that is inhabited by thinking individuals as well as individuals thinking collectively, learning together, and constructing knowledge and understanding through activity and discussion (Peter Liljedahl).

Ms Windwer has been implementing this style of teaching in her math lessons whenever possible. This does not look like a typical math lesson, as students think both  independently and collaboratively, and work on vertical nonpermanent surfaces (white boards and white board dry erase posters). Students are placed into random groups for these lessons versus being grouped by ability.

During these lessons, Ms. Windwer notices her students are opening up with new ways to try and solve the same problem after conversing and sharing ideas and strategies with their classmates. Students are noting that some classmates questions are extremely helpful and students said that they loved having time to solve on their own and then together within a group.

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Our schools spent time honoring our Veterans last week with letters and cards, ceremonies and gatherings to thank and remember the Veterans in our community. Thank you to all who attended and participated.

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Glover Gives was excited about their post Halloween initiative: Candy for Cancer. Students sent their Halloween candy to school in the days following Halloween. On Thursday, November 7, students gathered in the cafeteria to package the candy and prepare it to be sent to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Through these efforts, 24 boxes of donated Halloween candy were delivered to both the Milton Food Pantry and Dana Farber.

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Milton Soccer Uniform program; Pass us your soccer uniforms and we’ll pass them on to children all over the world! Collection dates are November 18- December 20.

Drop off your used soccer uniforms (and equipment) in collection bins located in the lobbies of  Collicot, Cunningham, Glover, Tucker and Pierce and at 34 Cliff Road. Any donations of CLEAN T-Shirts, shorts, socks, shin guards, cleats, and deflated balls and pumps and uniforms from other sports will be gratefully accepted. For more information, call Madame Brown @ 617-696-8125. This project is supported by the Milton Public Schools and Milton Soccer.

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Thank you to all who attended Glover Math Information Night this week. Families came and learned about the curriculum and ways to support their mathematicians at home. A special thanks to Assistant Principal and Curriculum Coordinator Sara MacNeil and Tucker/Glover Math Coach Mary Schapiro for planning and facilitating and to Glover teachers Sarah Hammond and Rachel Spitz for joining and supporting families as they learned how to play engaging math games. Our 5th grade student leaders James Long and Thomas Hayden were a big help as they  modeled math games and interacted with families!

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Collicot 5th grade students in Mrs Curran’s class read a how-to-article from the Reach For Reading anthology titled “How to Make a Solar Oven” by Solargirl. After reading the online documents students compared it with a previous online document titled “Energy for the Future” by Thomas Taha Rassam Culhane. Students discussed the point of view of each article and determined if the writer used formal or informal language. As a culminating project, students created their own solar ovens using the directions from the article “How to Make a Solar Oven.” Students worked in four groups and melted a piece of chocolate in their made ovens.

TECHNOLOGY

The Wait Until 8th Pledge is the first step in uniting like-minded parents and alleviating some of the social pressure that comes with smartphone use. However we all realize it takes more than a pledge to bring about healthy and safe technology use by our children. Our hope is that we can grow this community and support both parents and kids in making healthy technology decisions.

In upper elementary, children and parents begin to really feel the pressure for a smartphone as they prepare for middle school. That’s why we feel it is critical for parents to come together to talk about why it is important to not only delay smartphone use, but also create strategies for managing tech in our kids’ lives.

Please mark the dates below on your calendar and bring a friend. All events are open to all parents/guardians and are geared towards the parents/guardians of upper elementary and middle school students.

November 21 at  6:30 in the  Pierce Library: Parent discussion led by Karin Roethke-Khan, Cunningham parent, Milton Academy faculty member, and dorm parent to teenage girls for nearly 20 years. She will share her insights about the effects tech has had on her students and share strategies for managing it. You can register for this event here. 

February and March coffee chats at each elementary school: Join other parents to talk about the challenges that tech presents and strategies for working with kids to find solutions. Noel Vigue, Director of Health and Physical Education for MPS and AJ Melanson, Educational Technology Director will join these chats to share insights and strategies.

We will have Healthy Digital Citizenship Days at each elementary school on the following dates: Collicot and Cunningham – Friday, February 14th. Glover – Tuesday, February 11th,
Tucker – Thursday, February 13th. If you would like to volunteer please complete the Google Form for your student’s school: Collicot, Cunningham, Glover, Tucker.

The Parent Guide from last night’s presentation of the Screenagers: Next Generation can be found here. If you were unable to attend, this guide will give you some of the information discussed last night.

You can also find research and support on the MPS website.

Thank you to our Wait Until 8th team of Teresa Cook, Glover parent; Tara McCarthy, Glover, Pierce, and MHS parent; Allison Norton, Glover parent; Rachel Pauli, Cunningham parent; Patty Sanchez, Collicot parent; AJ Melanson, Educational Technology Director; Noel Vigue, Director of Health and Physical Education,  for facilitating this effort and these events.

FOOD AND NUTRITION

There is a terrific opportunity for part time jobs or substitutes in our food services department. We are hiring for substitute positions at all schools. You’ll be serving healthy food to kids and be home when your kids are home due to the school schedule – what’s better than that?! 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. Please email Jackie Morgan or call (617-696-5040 X 5514)  for more information.

TRANSPORTATION

This school year, we will be utilizing the Remind app system for bus delay notifications. Families are invited to join the messaging system for the specific route(s) their student(s) ride and can join more than one route. If you have not received an email with a unique code for your student’s bus route, please email bus@miltonps.org with your student’s name, school and bus route number and request a code. Text that code to 81010 to OPT IN to the messaging system. To receive updates you MUST OPT IN by texting this code to 81010. The Remind app is the only way families will be notified of significant delays or breakdowns and  multiple family members can join the system.  Please email bus@miltonps.org with any questions.

ATHLETICS 

The Boys and Girls Cross Country Teams both won the Division 3 Eastern Mass Championships in Wrentham this past Saturday. Bobby Carew finished in 1st place overall, while Ava Duggan finished second in her race. They will compete in All-States next Saturday at the Gardner Golf Course.

The Swim Team finished the season 6-3 while also earning the Division 2 Sportsmanship Award for the 2019 Fall Season. Presentation and recognition for this achievement will take place during the State Tournament @ MIT on Sunday, November 17th during the State Meet, that 13 swimmers will be swimming at after an excellent showing the Sectional Meet. They had top 8 finishers in every event we swam in at sectionals. See more results on the athletics website!

The undefeated Football Team will host Plymouth South on Friday at 7:00pm in the Division 4 South Sectional Final. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for students & seniors. We advise Milton fans to show up early as there will be a big crowd. They finished the regular season 7-0, dispatching Westwood and Silver Lake in the tournament thus far.

The Golf Team showed well in the Bay State Conference Championships, with both Jack Boylan and Ben Ryan claiming BSC All-Star status.

The Volleyball and Girls Soccer Team both bowed out in the first round of the tournament after great seasons.

Join the fun at the Milton High School Boosters 1st Annual Cornhole Tournament & Social
to benefit Milton High School Athletics!  All ages welcome on  Saturday, November 30th from 6pm to midnight at Florian Hall, 55 Hallet Street, Dorchester.
$40 for General Admission, $100 per team of two to play in the tournament

All pricing includes dinner and dessert. There will be a cash bar, raffles, a 50/50 and music, so grab a partner, or plan to come as a spectator! Register at miltonboosters.com,
limited tickets will be available at the door.

All game schedules can be found on our  MHS Athletics website.

IN THE COMMUNITY

NOVEMBER:

Milton’s Select Board and the Town’s Airplane Noise Advisory Committee (ANAC) will be hosting an airplane noise and health meeting on Thursday, November 14th  at 7 pm at the Council on Aging located at 10 Walnut Street, Milton, MA.

This public meeting will give residents a better understanding of the growing issue of airplane noise and air pollution affecting the town and its more than 27,000 residents, the ways the town is actively fighting this issue on a local and federal level, and how residents can get involved to help propel the cause.

For more information about this issue and recent announcement, please visit the town’s website. Questions? Contact:Christine Stanton, Contract & Licensing Agent/Benefits Assistant – cstanton@townofmilton.org or Andy Schmidt, Chair, ANAC – aschmidt.email@gmail.com

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Cardinal Cushing Centers, supported by Best Buddies of Massachusetts, is excited to host its inaugural Run to Change Lives Run, Walk or Roll on Saturday,  November 23rd! The race will take place at the Cunningham Elementary School. Participants can register for a traditional 5K, or opt for a 1-Mile Walk or Roll. All abilities welcome

Participants who raise over $50, or Teams of 10 that raise over $200, will each receive a free race t-shirt. Top fundraising team wins a Gingerbread House Party courtesy of Montilio’s Baking Company!
Create or join a fundraising team to help us change lives.

Our own Pierce Pals have a team – and they would love for you to join them.  Be sure to register now! 

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Milton Community Concerts presents “WEILL/LENYA: AN UNUSUAL LOVE STORY”, Saturday, November 23th  at 7pm, at the First Parish of Milton, 535 Canton Avenue. Recognized as one of the world’s foremost interpreters of the music of Kurt Weill, UTE GFRERER is both a singer and a storyteller in this musical exploration of the remarkable love story between Weill and Lotte Lenya. With Timothy Steele, pianist. $20 general/$15 senior/free for 18 and under (at the door only). Visit miltoncommunityconcerts.com for more details.

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Brookwood Community Farm is is hosting their annual Thanksgiving Sale & Family Fun at the DCR property where they farm from 11 am – 2 pm on Sunday, November 24th. See the list online of BCF produce & products for sale. Order a BCF Harvest Box by Nov 21 for pickup on Nov 24. We are also a site for DaSilva Farm turkey orders and Bushel & Crumb pie pickup. This DCR property has plenty of farm roads which are great for strollers, kids bikes and walking. We’ll have lawn games to entertain, bring a picnic or just grab a warm drink, learn more about honey bees and find a moment to just ask the farmers some questions.

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Quincy Choral Society will be joining with Eastern Nazarene College on November 24th  to rekindle an ENC tradition of performing Handel’s Messiah and celebrate the College’s Centennial. This is going to be an impressive performance. In addition to QCS, Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s chamber choir and members of the ENC choir and community will be performing. Please visit this link to purchase tickets. 

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The Milton Public Library has fantastic programs for students thoughout the month of November.

DECEMBER:

Please note that the Special Town Meeting has been moved to Monday, December 2, 2019 at 7:30pm @ Milton High School. This meeting will take place in lieu of the previously scheduled January 13, 2020 Special Town Meeting.

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The Milton Early Childhood Alliance is offering a free parent education workshop, Beyond Time Out – Positive Parenting for parents/guardians of children age 2-5 on Wednesday, December 4th. All details can be found here.

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The Milton Art Center is holding Secret Elf Workshops! Your elves will create personalized gifts for loved ones, and enjoy holiday music, snacks, and a festive atmosphere. The $50 fee includes materials for several projects.
Sign up here for Nov. 30, 9am-Noon, Dec. 7, 9am-Noon or Dec. 14, 9am-Noon.

The Milton Art Center Holiday Artisan Fair on Saturday, December 14, 10am-4pm, is one of the premier Holiday markets in the Boston area. There are 20+ merchants selling unique, hand-crafted items including artwork, pottery, jewelry, home goods, soaps, candies and more. Shop local, enjoy the holiday cheer! The Milton Art Center is located at 334 Edge Hill Road.

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Rashi Day School in Dedham is hosting Dr. Michael Rich on Wednesday, December 11 at 6:45pm. This event is free and open to the public. You can register to attend here. 

After graduating college, Dr. Rich worked as a filmmaker in Japan for twelve years where he worked with director Akira Kurosawa (a Luce Scholarship sent him to Japan as an apprentice and assistant director) and then to Hollywood where he worked as a “script doctor”. He became frustrated with writing scripts “by committee” and wanted to have a positive impact on the world. This led him to pre-med training and then medical school.
As The Mediatrician®, Dr. Rich offers research-based, balanced and practical answers to parents’, teachers’, and clinicians’ questions about children’s media use and the positive and negative implications for their health and development. Dr. Rich will share how to encourage the children in your life to imagine, play, and think outside of the screen.

ONGOING
Milton’s Commission on Disability desperately needs a volunteer secretary. We’re especially in need of someone to proofread past minutes. Attending monthly meetings may be by calling in and we do not meet in the summer. This volunteer will write succinct minutes that will share important information for residents. Interested parties can call Diane DiTullio Agostino at 617-585-4546. Thank you.

AMBASSADORS

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: On Wednesday of this week we celebrated both our Students of the Quarter and National Honor Society inductees.

I am always happy to receive notice of the Student of the Quarter ceremony at Milton High School. These students are making a contribution to our community, and are nominated by their teachers. Students may have shown marked improvement, may have done a significant project or may have shown outstanding effort. Because of these individuals, Milton High School continues to be an outstanding school and it is a pleasure to recognize these students.

Our National Honor Society members are selected by the Faculty Council based upon careful consideration of their scholarship, leadership, service and character. National Honor Society is a great achievement. Congratulations to these new members and to our new officers (President: Emily Dobrindt, Vice President: Matthew Laine, Secretary: Clarissa Waldmann, Publicist: Sarah Mitchell, Historian: Isabelle Richer) for 2019-20.

Henry and Principal Redden at Cunningham.

STUDENTS: I would like to acknowledge Cunningham 5th grader Henry Michael for his under the radar community service. Henry walks through Cunningham Park with his new puppy each morning and began to notice trash and cans strewn about.  Last week, without  a word to his walking partner (his mom),  he took a large bag along on his walk and filled it with cans. Henry was sad to see our beautiful park littered with so many cans and glass bottles but he felt good going to school knowing he had helped out and done his part. Henry shared this story with his classmates and remarked that his friends seemed genuinely interested and want to help him continue this Cunningham Park clean up. Young people like Henry and his friends can inspire us all – if you see a problem, do something about it. Thank you, Henry!

BLOG SUBSCRIPTION

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Thank you to my blog contributors this week: Noel Vigue, AJ Melanson, Bill Fish,  Ellen Lohan, Zeina Hamada, Dr. Elaine McNeil-Girmai, Ryan Madden, Jackie Morgan, Karen McDavitt, Bernadette Butler, Jon Redden, Taylor Windwer, Jackie LaMonica, Marie Brown, Joyce White and Karen Cahill.

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

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