From: Mary C. Gormley
To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: March 16, 2020
FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT
We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work through this unprecedented situation as a school district, a town, a state, a nation, and quite frankly, as a global community.
We will often use the statement “At this time”, as we know you understand that this is a rapidly changing situation – for all of us. We will share information and answer questions to the best of our ability, with the information we currently have available.
Our goal is to support our students, families and staff in the trying weeks ahead. As we settle into this “new normal” we will also be sharing community building opportunities in an effort to keep connections alive in our MPS community. We will continue to send the blog to you every Thursday, or more often if needed.
I implore you to take “Social Distancing” as seriously as the experts tell us we should.
This school closure is not a vacation. It is an extreme measure to allow for social distancing so the virus is not spread. Not being exposed to the virus is the best way not to get sick.
Families should be in their home or yard, with only the immediate family with whom they live. Take a walk, hike or bike ride – with your immediate family only – and stay more than 6 feet away from anyone you see. Per Governor Baker, people should take only necessary trips to stores and workplaces when needed. Your children, our students, should not be socializing with anyone outside of their immediate family during this school closure. Continue best hygiene practices throughout this time. These actions are our best chance to slow the spread of this virus and not further overwhelm the medical system.
We are developing a new Frequently Asked Questions document that we will share widely in the coming days. This document will be updated as new information is received.
Please know that we are in this together and that the Milton Public Schools is here for you.
WHAT WE KNOW NOW – MARCH 16, 2020
The Governor of Massachusetts has closed all schools (excluding residential and day schools for special needs students) in Massachusetts, through April 7, 202o. At this time, the 1st day back to school would be Tuesday, April 7, 2020.
Could school be closed beyond April 7, 2020?
- Milton Public Schools will continue to monitor this fluid situation and will make determinations in the best interest of the students and staff. We are in regular communication with the Governor’s Office and the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
What will happen to April vacation (April 20-24)?
- At this time, the April vacation week is scheduled as planned. However, given these unexpected school closures we may revisit the need for additional school days as the situation progresses. We will share any changes to the calendar as we have them.
What is the last day of school?
- Milton Public Schools will be in school through June 23, 2020 which is our regularly scheduled 185th day. This is unlikely to change.
What will learning look like for my student going forward?
- Please refer to the emails you have received from your principal and will receive from your child’s teacher(s). Learning opportunities will begin this week and will be ever evolving. Per DESE guidelines, districts should strive to maintain a continuity of learning and keep learning alive. In the coming days, we will keep you updated in this space. Your principals and teachers will also be in communication with students and families.
What if I don’t have a device or internet service?
- Please email Educational Technology Director AJ Melanson if you have technology needs around internet or devices throughout this time.
- As the country deals with the effects of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), Comcast is taking immediate steps to help connect more low-income families to the Internet at home. Effective Monday, March 16, 2020, new Internet Essentials customers will receive two free months of Internet service. All details on Internet Essentials can be found here.
Will food services be available for students?
- Plans are in place to offer “to-go” breakfast and lunch to ANY student in MPS.
- We will have meals available for pick up at the Tucker School and Milton High School on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays throughout the closure. Families will have the opportunity to come to either of these schools between 7- 8am and 5-6pm to pick up a to-go meal (a breakfast and a lunch) for their children.
- Pick up at the Tucker School will be behind the school near the gym. Pick up at MHS will be at Door 13, on the side of the school near the auto shop, on the Canton Ave side of the building.
- 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 email@example.com or phone at 617-898-1051.
How can I help others in Milton who may need support, food or other essential items?
- First, thank you for asking! Our community is amazing. The Milton Public Schools is working with community groups and our Principals, Family Outreach Liaison Marti O’Keefe McKenna and Adjustment Counselors to develop ways to best support families in Milton. If you need assistance of any kind, please contact Ms. McKenna at any time. We will be in touch with ways that you can help in the coming days.
IMPORTANT MPS CONTACTS
Mary Gormley, Superintendent of Schools, firstname.lastname@example.org
MHS Principal James Jette, email@example.com
PMS Principal Bill Fish, firstname.lastname@example.org
Glover Principal Karen McDavitt, email@example.com
Cunningham Principal Jon Redden, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tucker Principal Elaine McNeil-Girmai, email@example.com
Collicot Principal Holly Concannon, firstname.lastname@example.org
Director of Pupil Personnel Services, Special Education, Susan Maselli email@example.com
Director of Food Service Jackie Morgan, firstname.lastname@example.org
Family Outreach Liaison Marti O’Keefe McKenna, email@example.com
A NOTE FROM OUR MPS ADJUSTMENT COUNSELORS
I reached out to our MPS Adjustment Counselors through MHS Adjustment Counselor Jennie Beliveau and Ms. Beliveau has communicated with all MPS Adjustment Counselors and shares the following. Our adjustment counselors will share ongoing resources on an ongoing basis.
To the Milton Families We Care about So Much:
We understand that this is a difficult time and that it is affecting everyone in our community in different ways. Although we are not in school, the adjustment counselors will continue to provide support to families and students through different modalities.
We have each set up a google classroom that we will use to post announcements and to provide regular mindfulness activities and tips for coping through this time. We will be in touch with our school communities in the coming days. We are also available for brief video conferencing through the Zoom app. Please email your adjustment counselor directly to set up an appointment. If your child receives outside counseling it is important to continue to access that service in whichever way the provider is able. If your child is in crisis, please reach out to emergency services.
When stressful situations occur, it can be difficult to navigate how to best support our kids. Whether they are five or seventeen, kids look to the adults to figure out what they need to know and how they should react. Here are some basic tips to help:
- Talk about it! Not talking about something can actually cause a child to worry more. Keep the conversation age appropriate and try your best to answer questions that your child has. Focus the conversation on what you are doing as a family to stay safe and healthy.
- Structure. Although it can be difficult, providing as much structure and routine at home will be helpful for everyone. Structured days with scheduled mealtimes, learning times, wake ups and bedtimes are an essential part of keeping kids healthy and happy.
- Manage your own anxiety. We are all having difficulty processing the current situation we are facing and what the future days will hold. It is important for us as parents to manage our own anxieties and fears. When you are feeling panicked, that is not the time to talk with your child about the virus. Take some time to yourself to cope, i.e. deep breathing in the bathroom for 2 minutes.
- Please follow the necessary precautions. Although social distancing is difficult, it is incredibly important at this time. We understand that kids (especially teenagers) would like to continue to socialize and spend time with their friends, but as a community it is imperative for the adults to enforce these guidelines and say no.
Please do not hesitate to reach out. The lines of communication are open as we all work together through this difficult time supporting ourselves, families and community.
Your MPS school Adjustment Counselors: Jennie Beliveau, Mary Bianca Mattocks, Kenneth Adelmann (Milton High School); Myriam Francoeur, Kara Sheridan, Kelly Dearing (Pierce) Jaclyn Germano (Cunningham); Elizabeth Caruso (Collicot) ; Ramsay Cadet (Tucker) Brian Powers, (Glover)
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.