May 21, 2020

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

FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT

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

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

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

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

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

Many of us have similar questions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

SUMMER PROGRAM UPDATES 

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

With gratitude, Cat DesRoche and Ellen Lohan, MSE Directors

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

Martha Sandoval
Milton Community Schools Director, Camp Cunningham Director

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

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

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

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

SCHOOL COMMITTEE

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

RESIDENCY RE-ESTABLISHMENT 

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

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

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

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

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

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

IMPORTANT MPS DATES

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

FOOD SERVICE

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

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

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

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

HIGH SCHOOL HAPPENINGS  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PIERCE PAGES   

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

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

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

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

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

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

INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CURRICULUM CHALLENGE 

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

TRANSPORTATION 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

STUDENT REGISTRATION

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

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

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

MSAPC 

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

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

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

LIBRARY RESOURCES 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

COUNSELORS CORNER 

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

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

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

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

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

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

FAMILY RESOURCES 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PHYSICAL EDUCATION/HEALTH 

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

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

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

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

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

ART AND MUSIC  

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

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

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

ATHLETICS

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

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

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

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

COMMUNITY NEWS 

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

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

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

IMPORTANT MPS CONTACTS

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

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

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

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