November 21, 2019

From: Mary C. Gormley
To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: November 21, 2019

FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT

As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday next week, I want wish you a happy and healthy Thanksgiving Day with family and friends and a restful long weekend. When we return from the Thanksgiving holiday, we will have just three weeks of school before Winter Break begins on Monday, December 23rd.

I would like to share two important staffing updates with the Milton Public Schools community.

Margaret Gibbons began her career in the Milton Public Schools in 1984 and worked in Milton’s elementary schools prior to her transfer to Milton High School in 1999. She was shortly thereafter appointed to the position of Head Nurse for the Milton Public Schools.

It is next to impossible to detail the many ways that Margaret has positively impacted the lives of Milton Public School students, staff and the Milton community as a whole. She worked closely with our School Physician, Milton’s Board of Health, Milton’s Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition, Milton Public School Administration, Milton School Committee members and town officials on many initiatives to improve the health, safety and the social emotional well-being of students, families and staff. In her role as the President of the Milton Educators Association, Margaret advocated for all.

On behalf of the Milton Public Schools, I want to thank Margaret Gibbons for dedicating her professional life to our students, staff, families and community. I am sure that you join me in wishing Margaret health and happiness in her retirement . 

Please join me in congratulating Milton High School nurse Kimberly Coughlin on her appointment as Director of Nurses for the Milton Public Schools.

Ms. Coughlin began her career with Milton Public Schools in 2011 as a substitute nurse. In August 2018 she was hired as the full time nurse for Milton High School. Ms. Coughlin is a Registered Nurse, holds her Masters in Nursing as a family nurse practitioner and has worked at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston since 2001. Her 19 years of clinical experience and her advanced training in pediatric and adolescent health make her uniquely qualified for this important position. Ms. Coughlin will continue to serve as the Milton High School nurse in addition to assuming the responsibilities of Director of Nurses.

UPCOMING MPS DATES 

Nov 21 MHS Cabaret
Nov 21 Karin Roethke-Khan – Effects of Technology
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.

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. 

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Please save the date for these grade specific Information Nights:

  • January 9, 2020, Preschool Information Night, MHS Auditorium, 6:30pm
  • January 23, 2020, Kindergarten Information Night, MHS Auditorium, 6:30pm
  • February 25, 2020, First Grade Information Night, MHS Auditorium, 6:30pm
  • Feb/March, 2020, Date TBD, STEM Information Night, Collicot/Cunningham Café, 6:30pm

SCHOOL COMMITTEE

Recent School Committee meetings can always be watched on Milton Access TV.  The next School Committee meeting is on Wednesday, December 4th at 7pm. School Committee agendas and documents can be found on the front page of our website. 

HIGH SCHOOL HAPPENINGS

Ralph Destin

Congratulations to Debate Team members Ralph Destin, and Philip Ng Pack who teamed up and won 4 out of 5 debates at the Lexington tournament this past weekend. This impressive shoring qualified them for the Massachusetts State Tournament in the spring. This was a big win for Phil and Ralph early on and definitely gave the team as a whole motivation to keep working and practicing.  Bravo to them!

Philip Ng Pack

The topic for this  tournament was: Resolved: The benefits of the United States federal government’s use of offensive cyber operations outweigh the harms. This is a 2 month topic – so the students will be debating on this topic again at our next tournament on December 7th. We have 16 students from grades 9-12 competing at this tournament.

Between now and the spring state tournament the Debate Team has 7 more local tournaments (one of them is  2 day national level tournament). Additionally the students work 3 days a week after school to prepare for the tournaments.

Thank you to Debate advisors Dana DePaul, Kacy Kalell, and Kathleen Kelley for their mentorship of our students. The MHS Debate Team is  looking forward to a successful year!

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On Thursday November 30th , the Neponset River Regional Chamber and the Schools to Careers program invited local business and legislative leaders to “Go Back to School” at MHS. Our guests attended several classes and engaged students by answering thoughtful questions and sharing information about their chosen careers and their personal career paths. Attendees shared that they saw creative, energetic and innovative teaching and were hosted by well spoken, engaging and knowledgeable students. Thank you to BID Milton Hospital’s CEO Richard Fernandez, State Senator Walter Timilty, Selectboard Member Melinda Collins, MSAPC Director Laurie Stillman  and MPD Police Chief John King for sharing their time and talents with our students.

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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 description of topics and locations  can be found here.

PIERCE PAGES 

Concepts in math build within and across grade levels, so it is vital for the math curriculum in the Milton Public Schools to reflect that. In the pictures below, our 7th grade students are ordering rational numbers on a number line, a review of a 6th grade math standard, that will help them to perform operations on rational numbers, as well as to solve real-life and mathematical problems containing rational numbers. You also see students working in groups, using paper strips to find equivalent fractions, an important foundational concept for the work in 7th grade around adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing rational numbers.

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Thank you to all who submitted name ideas for the new Teen Center. The names have been narrowed down to 4 possibilities. All middle school students who live in Milton are invited to vote for their favorite name here – please submit a vote for your favorite! The vote closes on November 25th at midnight, so vote now!

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The Town of Milton is excited to be moving closer to the Teen Center opening date. The opening date is not set due to some work that needs to be completed prior to opening. However, there are some things that we need from parents/guardians of children that plan on attending the Teen Center located at the base floor of 495 Canton Ave. Middle School ID registered participants have access to this space and will need to present the Park and Rec ID prior to entry. It is also required that anyone planning to attend complete and return the waiver found here – this waiver must be completed prior to attendance. This waiver cannot be scanned or faxed, a hard copy may be mailed to Town of Milton, Parks and Rec, 525 Canton Ave Milton, MA 02186or dropped off at the Parks and Rec office at Town Hall (Monday -Thursday 8:00am to 5:00 pm. Lunch 12:30pm.-1:30pm. Friday 8:00am -1:30pm).

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8th grade parents/guardians are invited to attend an informational meeting about the 8th grade Washington, DC trip Thursday, November 21 at 6:30 p.m. in the Pierce Auditorium. Information about registration and details regarding this year’s trip will be shared. You will also have the opportunity to ask any questions. All information presented will be emailed home after the meeting for any parents who are not able to attend.

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INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS 

The Milton School Food Service Program is partnering with EvanLee Farms to provide sustainable gardens to our schools and last spring we installed the first indoor “Grow Rack” at Tucker School. 2nd graders planted romaine lettuce, green leaf lettuce, micro mix, kale and basil. Last year’s 2nd graders cared for and nurtured the Grow Rack with great success! Students harvested the greens after about three weeks of growth and all students at the Tucker School enjoyed a beautiful salad from our Grow Rack. Milton High School also has a set of Grow Racks and students in the Achieve classroom care for and maintain the produce grown there.

Now it is the current crop of Tucker 2nd graders who get show their prowess as gardeners! These 2nd graders had their first harvest last week they cut the lettuce and delivered it to the cafeteria for use in salads that same day. It has been inspiring to watch these young students take ownership of the Grow Racks as they plan for their next harvest.

This program will be expanding to Collicot, Cunningham, Glover and Pierce this year and we look forward to sharing the growth at all of our schools in the months to come.

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Our 4th grade students at Tucker, Glover and Cunningham and 3rd grade students at Collicot are beginning the 2nd unit of the Celebrating our Differences program this month. In Celebrating our Differences, students celebrate differences in our community over 5 sessions throughout the year. Students have multiple opportunities to walk in the shoes of individuals who experience different learning styles, physical limitations, visual impairment, living with autism and hearing loss. Community volunteers work alongside parent coordinators, classroom and special education teachers to present hands on experiences for the 4th grade students.

Cunningham 4th grader Jersey Baxley speaks to his classmates.

Cunningham 4th graders had the opportunity last week to experience navigating obstacles and playing basketball in wheelchairs thanks to a visit from the amazing and generous group Paralyzed Veterans of America, New England Chapter. As part of the physical limitations session, Inclusion Specialist Mrs. Maureen Butler also speaks to students about cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries and limb differences. Our students then had the opportunity to hear from someone they know well their classmate and Cunningham 4th grader Jersey Baxley, who spoke to the students about his experience living with cerebral palsy. A special thank you to Jersey, who will visit each school as part of their physical differences unit.

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Milton Firefighters worked with Glover’s before school “Crazy 8s” math club this morning. Our MFD guests talked about how important math is in their every day jobs as First Responders and how being able to do math quickly is essential and literally life saving. Students weighed and measured equipment and felt first hand just how heavy the equipment is! Thank you to Glover parent Emily Duffy for fostering our “Crazy 8s” throughout the year  and to Lieutenant Jim Daley, Firefighter Tom Cicerone, and Firefighter Phil Wornum for joining our students before school this week.

MPS GIVES BACK 

Milton Soccer Uniform program is a yearly tradition at MPS. 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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Cunningham 3rd grader Sophia started doing a sock drive for the homeless when she was just 4. This is her 5th year and she hopes to be able to deliver over 1000 pairs of warm socks to Boston’s homeless men and women. It’s easy to donate – drop your socks into the donation bin in the lobby of Cunningham or the front porches of 3 Phyllis Lane or 178 Lyman Road.  Thank you for helping Sophia to deliver new socks to those who need them!

PARENT SPEAKER SERIES 

Up next, on Monday December 16th at 6:30pm at the MHS auditorium, author and Tucker parent, Calvin Hennick presents “Great Expectations: What Do We Want From Our Boys?”

As parents, we know that the old ways of raising boys into men no longer works. But once we leave behind outdated “boys will be boys” notions of masculinity, what are we left with? What exactly do we want from our boys, and what kind of men do we want them to become? In this talk, author and parenting writer Calvin Hennick explores historical expectations of men and boys, unpacks how those expectations have already changed and continue to evolve, and suggests ways that parents can prepare their sons to meet the challenges of today’s world. His upcoming memoir “Once More to the Rodeo” was named as one of Amazon’s Top 100 Books of 2019 and Winner of Pushcart’s 2019 Editor’s Book Award. This will be a night not to be missed.

HEALTH AND WELLNESS

The cold weather is upon us and with the cold weather comes a rise in heating costs that can put a strain on family budgets. MPS Family Outreach Liaison Marti O’Keefe McKenna shares some local resources below.

Heating assistance: Quincy Community Action Programs (QCAP),  located at 1509 Hancock Street, Quincy Center is the official government fuel assistance agency covering Milton. They began taking applications on October 1st, with the program officially opening Nov 1st. All Milton residents below the Heating Assistance Income limits should apply as soon as possible to receive hundreds of dollars directly towards winter heating bills. The current limits set by the federal government are $46,437 for a family of 2, $57,363 for a family of 3, $68,289 for a family of 4, and $79,215 for a family of 5.

If families expend their fuel assistance, but still need a tank of winter heating oil they can reach out to Noreen Kearney Dolan at the Milton Residents Fund by phone at (617) 696-1214 or by email. Those with gas or electric shutoff notices are also encouraged to call.
Other options include Metro Boston Housing’s ‘Housing Consumer Education Center’ (HCEC), located at 1411 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02120. HCEC offers a program called RAFT for those with shutoff notices or a notice to quit for eviction. They can be reached by telephone at (617) 425-6700 or by email.

Food Assistance: The Milton Community Food Pantry is open every Saturday from 9:15 – 11:15 am at the Parkway Methodist Church, 158 Blue Hills Parkway. The pantry offers monthly vouchers for free milk and eggs from the Milton Food Mart, fresh fruits, vegetables and meat, as well as some non-perishable items. They also offer larger holiday meals by appointment. Please contact them at (617) 696-0221 with any questions. Residents must be able to show some proof of address/residence and low income verification such as SNAP benefits, Fuel Assistance, free or reduced school lunch for Milton children, MA health, etc.

The FoodSource Hotline connects people struggling to put food on the table with SNAP benefits and other food resources in their communities. The multilingual staff, complemented by able translators, can assist callers in over 180 languages. Foodsource Hotline hours are Monday-Friday: 8AM to 7PM and Saturday: 10AM to 2PM. The Food Source Hotline is 1-800-645-8333.

For families with children under 5, WIC offers personalized nutrition consultants, free healthy food, tips for eating well to improve health, referrals for medical and dental care, health insurance, child care, housing and fuel assistance, and other services that can benefit the whole family. To see if your family would qualify contact WIC by telephone at 1-800-WIC-1007 or visit them online.

If you are in need of additional services please feel free to reach out to the MPS Family Outreach Liaison, Marti O’Keefe McKenna via email or phone at 617-980-7343.

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The Tobacco Free Community Partnership is funded by the MA Dept. of Public Health and they have prepared this information about talking with family and friends about vaping over this Thanksgiving holiday week.

When you get together with family and friends around a Thanksgiving table do you expect the subject of vaping and vaping illnesses to come up? Do you worry that you don’t know how to respond because you want to share accurate and helpful information? Here are a few suggestions to help you respond about vaping tobacco and nicotine from the Tobacco-Free Community Partnerships in Massachusetts along with links you can follow to learn more.

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT 

On Monday and Tuesday of this week several of our health and physical education educators attended the 90th annual MAHPERD Convention in Worcester.  MAHPERD (Massachusetts Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance) is a non-profit organization for professionals and students dedicated to:

• Promoting healthy active lifestyles & advocating for quality programs
• Providing quality professional development opportunities
• Promoting leadership in each of the disciplines
• Recognizing outstanding professionals and quality programs
• Supporting research initiatives & disseminating research findings

This is the premiere event for professional development for our health and physical educators.  Julia Finnegan, Liz Gauthier, Brendan Bonn and John O’Leary participated in the 2-days of learning, participating in workshops, collaborating and networking with professionals from other districts. For more information about MAHPERD, please visit their website.

ATHLETICS  

The Swim Team placed 5th out of 17 teams at the State Meet at Harvard on Sunday. This was their highest ever finish!

The Cross Country Teams both placed 6th at their State Meet in Gardner. Ava Duggan had the highest individual finish of the day. She had a fantastic kick and finished 3rd! Bobby Carew placed 12th. We believe that this is the highest ever individual finish for a boy from Milton High School!

The Football Team fell just short again this year, though they finished their season with a very impressive 9-1 record. The Wildcats should be proud of their effort against Plymouth South.

The Cheer Team qualified for States at Worcester State University on Sunday. Their competition will start at 2pm. Best of luck to the Cats!

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

IN THE COMMUNITY

NOVEMBER:

TONIGHT – Come join the Milton Planning Board and our team of consultants for the first of three public workshops to brainstorm the future of land use in East Milton Square. WHEN: Thursday 11/21/19 • 7pm. WHERE:Council on Aging 10 Walnut Street Milton, MA 02186

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SATURDAY: 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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On Small Business Saturday, shop, dine and sightsee locally during the Lower Mills Holiday Stroll! On Saturday, November 30, 3-6 pm, a trolley will run throughout the afternoon between the Forbes House Museum and participating shops and restaurants in the Lower Mills business district of Dorchester and Milton. Be among the first to see the Forbes House decorated for the holidays! We’ll have refreshments, carolers, pop-up vendors, a raffle, crafts for the kids, and a working model train. Admission is FREE.

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

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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MILTON POP-UP ART SHOW : Saturday, December 7th 6-10pm. Live Music & Food by Blarney Stone, 1700 Dorchester Avenue, Boston ,MA. Tickets are  $25.00 and can be purchased here. A portion of the proceeds donated to MiltonArt & Music Program.

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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. 

ONGOING

Milton Police Chief John King shares this information about the 2019 Blue Hills Deer Hunt. 

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:

Our schools have been collecting canned goods, Thanksgiving items, pie donations and more in support of the Milton Food Pantry’s Thanksgiving Food Drive. Glover students gathered this week to pack dozens of boxes that will  be given to a family to round out their Thanksgiving meal. Our other schools will be packing their many boxes today and tomorrow and the Tucker community will also gather Friday evening to assemble pie making kits. We wish all in the Milton Community a wonderful Thanksgiving!

BLOG SUBSCRIPTION

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, Dr. Elaine McNeil-Girmai, Ryan Madden, Kacy Kalell, Dana DePaul, Kathleen Kelley, Karen McDavitt, Bernadette Butler, Jon Redden, Laurie Stillman, Brian Selig,  Holly Concannon, Dr. Elaine McNeil-Girmai, Sarah Callahan, Joyce White and Marti O’Keefe McKenna.

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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