July 21, 2020

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

FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT

The Return to School Task Force and MPS Administrators have been working every day toward a safe return to school. Since we last wrote to you on July 9th, we have shared updates on our Return to School website, via text and at our Q&A session. Please read through this section to remain up to date on our RTS efforts.

As a Task Force, we are working very hard to ensure that our families and students of color are represented. Thank you to the BIPOC who have already reached out and been welcomed onto our subcommittees and Core Team! We continue to prioritize this as we are committed to making the safest and most equitable recommendations possible on behalf of all students in the Milton Public Schools. If you are interested in joining us in this critical work, particularly if you are a volunteer of color, please reach out to your building principal or directly to Ada Rosmarin and Karen McDavitt, Co-chairs of the Return to School Task Force.

Important Upcoming Return to School Dates

  • Monday, July 27th: MPS Initial Return to School plans – In-person, Hybrid, Remote – emailed to all MPS families
  • Monday-Thursday, July 27-30th: Submit your questions about these plans in a link provided on Monday. 
  • Wednesday, July 29th: Presentation of Initial Return to School plans to the School Committee. We will send a link to view the School Committee meeting in the Monday email with MPS Initial RTS Plans. Please watch this meeting to hear a live presentation of the three plans. This meeting will be recorded and available to view later on Milton Access TV. 
  • July 30th: Return to School Q&A 5:45-7pm. Details to join Zoom Webinar or view on another platform will be sent in the Monday email. The Q&A will be a very short presentation of plans followed by the Q&A. If at all possible, we encourage you to read through the plans and/or watch the School Committee presentation on Wednesday night. 
  • July 31st: MPS Initial RTS Plans (In-person, Hybrid, Remote) due to MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).
  • August 10: MPS detailed plan for the anticipated return to school model due to MA DESE and MPS community.

Return to School Updates

  • On July 10th, The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education(DESE)  issued a list of Frequently Asked Questions about planning a safe return to school. You can read the document here .
  • Thank you to all who attended the July 16th Parent/Guardian Zoom Webinar with MPS administrators and members of the Return to School Task Force. We reached our capacity of 500 attendees, and apologize to those who were unable to log in. We have upgraded our account to accommodate 1000 attendees and will offer additional viewing opportunities prior to our next Return to School Q&A. The Q&A was recorded and can be found here.
  • On July 17th, DESE provided districts and schools with additional information on protocols for responding to specific COVID-19 scenarios this fall, including in school, on the bus, or in community settings. Please note that CDC protocols related to this topic may be released in the coming weeks, and this guidance may be updated accordingly. The full DESE guidelines on protocols can be found here. 
  • We have continued to update our FAQs in response to questions asked on our contact us form as well as at the Q&A. The FAQ is date stamped, please check back often for updates.
  • Last week, on July 15th and 17th, we sent texts through our communication system, with a reminder about the Q&A and RTS info. If you DID NOT receive those texts and would like to receive RTS updates via text when they are sent, please enter your cell phone number here. 

Our Family Survey closed last week and while the qualitative analysis will take some time, we can share some quantitative information here. MPS  currently has 4493 registered students and 2876 families. 2360 families completed the survey. These results are new and will be used by our subcommittees to inform their recommendations for best practices. You can view the quantitative results here.

At any time, please reach out to the Task Force with questions, comments or concerns through this comment form.

SCHOOL COMMITTEE

The next School Committee meeting will be on July 29, 2020 at 7pm and all School Committee meetings can be watched on Milton Access TV.  In the days leading up to each meeting, call in/log in information is available on the Town of Milton website.

MPS DRAFT REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS FOR DISTRICT WIDE EQUITY AUDIT 

We are seeking feedback from the community on this MPS Draft Equity Audit Request for Proposals (RFP) to select an external consultant that will conduct an equity audit of the entire district.

We are seeking an organization with deep experience in anti-racism work to help us assess where we are and chart a course for reform moving forward. We appreciate any feedback you have so we can ensure that the RFP reflects the needs of the district and the community. If you would like to provide feedback, please do so by Friday, July 24 here:  Draft RFP Equity Audit Feedback Form

SUMMER LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES 

All MHS  summer assignments can be found at this link. In addition,  the link for the summer reading challenge that all high school students will complete can be found here.

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Pierce Diverse Book Giveaway:Calling all incoming 6th, 7th and 8th grade students! Stop by Pierce Middle School on Friday, July 24th, from 9am-12pm to pick up free books with a broad range of diverse characters and authors. All books are based on students’ interest with characters that are their age dealing with the same middle school issues they are. Books will be distributed as long as supplies last, so come early. Thank you to the Daley Family for their diverse Little Free Library project highlighted below in our Elementary section for this donation of diverse books to our Pierce students.

Pierce Summer Reading: This year’s approach to summer reading will focus on a school-wide read of Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson. Our goal is to provide a common book for students, staff and faculty to read over the summer with the intention of holding small group conversations in the fall.  The conversations will focus on the themes of equity, access, belonging, and community.  By ensuring that all students and staff access the text, the focus will be less on accountability and more on rich conversation in relevant topics. Please see this  link to learn more about Harbor Me.

Pierce Summer Math Enrichment: All rising or current Pierce Middle School students, as well as their parents, are encouraged to enroll this summer in the free online self-paced course titled How to Learn Math: For Students offered through the math education department at Stanford University. You can find a description and enrollment link for this course, which will address math myths, growth mindset thinking, the valuable role that mistakes play in mathematical development, and much more, here. Please also see this link for additional resources, enrichment activities, games, and puzzles.

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The MPS At Home Learning website will continue to be available to students and families all summer long. All weekly plans will be archived and available throughout the summer!

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It’s not too late to sign up for summer reading! Milton’s elementary schools are once again partnering with the Milton Public Library for our Summer Reading Challenge. This year’s theme is “Imagine Your Story!” All details can be found here and you won’t want to miss this video featuring MPL Assistant Director Sara Truog and children’s librarian Jen Struzziero, with cameos from our elementary principals.

Registration is open for all students entering Grades K-6. Students can sign in to their old summer reading account or create a new one here.  Register your child for the 2020 Challenge with one click, then submit this short Google Form to let their teacher know they’re registered. For more help, view this slideshow or contact Sara Truog at struog@ocln.org.

The Challenge will run through September 2. By logging the minutes they read, students will receive virtual badges, win prizes, and earn virtual tickets that they can put into drawings for a host of other prizes, like gift cards, mystery book boxes, and swag bags. Readers can also earn rewards for writing book reviews, attending virtual library programs, and completing fun activities. Happy reading!

A NOTE FROM THE NURSE

We have received many questions about face coverings and how parents can get students prepared to return to school wearing a mask.  As more people wear cloth face coverings, children will get used to seeing them and not feel strange about wearing them.  We encourage families to start getting kids used to masks now, well in advance of the start of school in a comfortable, safe environment.  Please review some strategies suggested in this  Mask Toolkit  link and reach out to your pediatrician or school nurse with any questions or concerns. More MPS specific information about masks can be found in our Return to School FAQs.

MSAPC

This Behavioral and Mental Health Resource Guide, compiled by the MSPAC, is an easy to use reference, replete with hotlines, mental health resources, support groups, culturally competent care, social services and more.

SPECIAL EDUCATION

Susan Maselli, Administrator for Pupil Personnel Services,  shares the following update.

This is week three of Extended Year Programming for our students in special education. We appreciate everyone’s patience while we have problem solved.

  • If you are having trouble accessing ESY services, please let us know. We know there have been some technical issues.
  • If your child is attending in person, we ask you to be sure students arrive with masks on.
  • Our next Parent Coffee will be Thursday, July 24 at 9am. Please join us for any questions or concerns related to this summer or fall. If you had a chance to participate in the parent forum on 7/16/20, I was able to provide some updated information from the Department of Education related to fall guidance, and will answer any additional questions during the coffee.
  • Link to join the Parent Coffee: https://us04web.zoom.us/j/78455570074?pwd=MUp6MWloS0JKTGduNDlMcFY2WnJoQT09
    Meeting ID: 784 5557 0074
    Passcode: UKE4SD
  • If you have not had a chance to meet Mark Harrison, the new Assistant Director for Pupil Personnel, he will be joining  the coffee and it’s a great time to say hello.

As always, please be in touch with your questions or concerns. You can reach Susan Maselli via email at smaselli@miltonps.org

FOOD SERVICE

Weekly to-go bags with  7 breakfasts and 7 lunches are available for pick up every Wednesday from 8-9am and 5-6pm at MHS and Tucker through August 26. Weekly produce boxes are also available for pick up. Each box contains 22lbs of produce including carrots, onions, potatoes, romaine, peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, apples, oranges, pears and cantaloupe. ANY Milton family is welcome to pick up a weekly to-go bag as the goal is to support any food insecure student.

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 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 via email at or by phone at 617-980-7343.

We have openings in our Food Service Department. If you are interested in flexible hours and working at MPS food service this school year, please email Jackie Morgan at jmorgan@miltonps.org.

HIGH SCHOOL HAPPENINGS  

MHS Adjustment Counselors will be available this summer to provide additional support to our MHS students as needed. Our goal has been, and continues to be, supporting our students social and emotional health. MHS Adjustment Counselors will have office hours on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays through Friday, August 21 and will  schedule a phone call or Google meet with students. Please contact counselors via email:  Jennie Beliveau @ jbeliveau@miltonps.org; Mary Bianca Mattocks @ mmattocks@miltonps.org, and Ken Adelman @ kadelman@miltonps.org.

The Interface Helpline is also available all summer Monday-Friday from 9-5. This service provides free referrals for mental health support and can be reached by calling 888-244-6843. Additionally, attached are great mental health resources that are available for all of our students and families.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact Principal Jette at jjette@miltonps.org at any time.

PIERCE PAGES 

Pierce Principal Fish recently sent a letter to all Pierce staff and families. You can read the entire letter in the link here or below.

As I reflect on my first year as the principal of Pierce, there is a great deal to be proud of as a school community. From implementing one-to-one computing to revamping our master schedule, we have brought about necessary and important changes for our students’ learning and school experiences in a relatively short period of time. However, when I think about our efforts in a broader context, there is a tremendous amount of work that needs to be done. Racial injustice is a reality for many of our students, staff, and families, and our school and district have a responsibility to use its platform and resources to equip our educators and students with the tools and support necessary to combat these injustices in our community and society. As a principal, parent, and member of the Milton community, I am committed to leading this work in our school community.

Please continue reading Principal Fish’s letter here.

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Some local (and not so local!) celebrities wanted to congratulate and wish our Pierce 8th graders the very best. Thanks to Pierce’s Ms. McEvoy for putting this together and to all who contributed along the way!

INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS 

As part of the Tucker community calendar students are accessing diverse reads during our 4 book swap days. We are utilizing our Little Free Library and highlighting the diverse reads added by the Daley Family, as part of their efforts highlighted below. Diverse reads are available at all of our elementary schools in our Little Free Libraries.

Little Free Library Support: In addition to our regular Little Free Library titles,  we are excited to now have diverse reads that can be swapped and savored by Milton families. Inspired by Sarah Kamya and her Little Free Diverse Libraries project, MPS parents Winston and Nicole Daley have launched “Little Free Diverse Libraries – Milton” in our town. Their goal is to fill the “Take One, Leave One” libraries throughout Milton with books written by diverse authors, to promote anti-racist literature, celebrate a wider spectrum of characters, and support Black-owned bookstores.  They have now purchased almost 700 books and placed them in 17 Little Free Libraries in Milton. There has been tremendous support from individuals and families willing to share resources and donate. There is a  Little Free Library at each elementary school and the Pierce Middle School, at every playground and next to the Milton Public Library. To learn more or to donate,  please follow @littlefreediversemilton on Instagram, Venmo @Winston-Daley or email winston.daley@gmail.com.

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This year, Tucker’s Girl Scout troop 72131 worked on “Be a Leader” painted rocks. The rocks were on display this past Monday for all Tucker students to view and to leave a message or painted rock of their own. The rocks share how they have been or will be a leader in their community.

Are you enjoying your summer reading? Send us your summer reading picture and we will share it with the MPS community! Send all pictures to sokeefe@miltonps.org. 

TECHNOLOGY 

During the week of August 3rd all elementary families who borrowed a Chromebook from Milton Public Schools will be required to return the device(s) to their school.  Please plan to deliver the borrowed Chromebook(s) to your school during one of the following dates and times:

Collicot – Monday, August 3rd, 8-10 am & Wednesday, August 5th, 12:30-2:30 pm at the cafeteria entrance in the back of the school

Cunningham – Monday, August 3rd, 12:30-2:30 pm & Wednesday, August 5th, 8-10 am at the cafeteria entrance in the back of the school

Glover – Tuesday, August 4th, 8-10 am & Thursday, August 6th, 12:30-2:30 pm at the right side door closest to the gymnasium 

Tucker – Tuesday, August 4th, 12:30-2:30 pm & Thursday, August 6th, 8-10 am at the right side door in the faculty parking on the front right of the school

All families are asked to return both the Chromebook and charger.  Please make sure the Chromebook is completely charged when it is returned.  Finally, you will be asked to turn the device on to show that it still works properly, and wipe it down with a disinfectant wipe that will be provided.  Thank you for your help with this process.

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It is with great excitement that the Milton Public Schools shares with you the new Family Technology Support Help Center website.  This site was created after hearing the feedback MPS families provided.  The site provides information on PlusPortal, Google: Clever: Guardian Monitoring, and Who to Contact. 

STAFF NEWS

A note from Mark Harrison, Assistant Director for Pupil Personnel Services, follows below.

As you may have read in Superintendent Gormley’s blog post on June 4th, 2020, I recently accepted a new position within the Milton Public Schools. I am excited to now be serving as the district’s Assistant Director for Pupil Personnel Services.

Prior to joining the Milton Public Schools as the Team Chair of Milton High School in November 2018, I taught in Westwood, Wellesley, and Wayland for over ten years. As Milton High School’s Team Chair for the past two years, I have had the opportunity to work closely with the high school’s students, families, staff, and administrators; the elementary and middle school’s Team Chairs; and Ms. Susan Maselli, the district’s Director for Pupil Personnel Services. I look forward to establishing new relationships across the district when school reopens in the fall.

I am pleased to announce that Ms. Gabriella Diller has been hired as the next Team Chair at Milton High School. Ms. Diller has worked at Boston Prep for the past seven years, five years as a special education teacher, and the last two as the Assistant Director for High School Support Services. She is certified in Moderate Disabilities (5-12) and English (8-12)
and is a graduate of Boston University. We are so pleased to welcome her to the team at MHS!  She will assume her new role on August 31, 2020 and can be contacted at gdiller@miltonps.org.

If you need to contact me at anytime, I can be reached at mharrison@miltonps.org.

FAMILY RESOURCES 

Emergency Rental Assistance Fund: The Town of Milton has established a $100,000 emergency rental assistance fund to assists tenants who have lost employment or otherwise suffered income losses as a result of the COVID-19 related economic closures.

The Town will partner with Metro Housing Boston to administer the Program. The Program will provide financial assistance to eligible households who owe back rent or don’t have the ability to make their next scheduled rent payment and are at risk of losing their housing. All details can be found here.

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 Wednesday from 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 and a 22lb box of produce every Wednesday through August 26th.

The Milton Community Food Pantry located in the Parkway Methodist Church, 158 Blue Hills Parkway is open this Saturday, July 25 from 9:15-11:15am.  

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. 

If you have received a P-EBT card in the mail and are having trouble activating the card, this link will help you correctly set up your P-EBT card.

Brookwood Community Farm is accepting applications for SNAP farm shares.  This produce would be picked up at the farm every other week July through Sept and/or Oct and Nov.  The on site pickup not only allows for a visit to the farm but also allows for more choice and some weeks there is pick-your-own (PYO) included.  If transportation is not possible, the farm will work out  delivery through a farm member.  The application can be found here.

Health Insurance: If you do not have health insurance, MassHealth open enrollment has been extended.  Visit their website for details on how to apply.

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.

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.

COMMUNITY NEWS 

Join Courageous Conversations Milton Community Forum on Police and Race Relations with Milton Chief of Police John King and Moderator Mark Conrad. This event will take place on Wednesday, July 29, 7-8:30pm. This is a virtual event on Zoom, please register here.

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Milton Early Childhood Alliance is offering a free Parent Café: Getting Ready for Kindergarten.  Will your child be attending Kindergarten in the fall? Then, our free Parent Café is for you! Join us on July 23, 2020, 7:30 PM via Zoom. Email cpcmecasld@verizon.net to receive meeting link and password.

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Milton Soccer Registration is open for children entering grades K-8 through August 1st. Please click on this link: Milton Soccer Website for more information and to register your child. Milton Soccer intends that no child be denied the opportunity to participate in the soccer program due to family financial problems. Portions or all of player registration fees may be waived if situations warrant such action. Requests can be made during registration and questions can be sent to registrar Heather Montgomery at hjmontgomery@me.com.

IMPORTANT MPS CONTACTS

MPS school Adjustment Counselors:  Jennie BeliveauMary Bianca MattocksKenneth Adelman (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 and you can reach the Superintendent’s office any time via phone at 617-696-4808 or via email.

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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