October 22nd E-blast

From the Desk of the Superintendent:

One topic I frequently discuss is the issue of family engagement. With Parent/Teacher conferences coming up in the next few weeks, it is critical to emphasize the importance of family engagement.

Recent studies have confirmed that family engagement matters for student success. According to research done by the Harvard Family Research Project, family engagement improves school readiness, student achievement, and social skills.

We all know that family engagement is not something that happens overnight, nor is it something that works without commitment from both the family and the school. Parent teacher conferences are the perfect tool to facilitate family engagement.

We all share the common goal of working together to improve children’s educational outcomes. By attending these conferences, parents and guardians can share the different aspects of a student’s personality, compare notes on the student’s achievements or behavior and provide insight into the home and school environment. When parents and teachers work together to provide the best circumstances for learning, the child stands to benefit the most.

Here are some additional articles you might want to read before heading to your next Parent-Teacher conference:






Please note  the following parent/teacher conference schedule:

  • November 13th, Milton High School afternoon and evening conferences
  • November 14th,  Half-day for students to allow for early and late afternoon parent teacher conferences
  • November 14th, Pierce Middle School Evening Conferences
  • November 15th, Elementary School Evening Conference
– Mary C. Gormley


There have been three school committee meetings since my last Eblast. Below is a summary of those meeting:

October 3rd: This meeting began with a Citizen’s Speak during which Jerry Vitti came to speak on behalf of the PAC asking the school committee to consider capping the French Immersion program. Gary Kelly came to publicize the upcoming Milton High Booster’s Swing for Sports fundraiser. Mike Drosdick came and described his family as a “straddle family,” with one child in French Immersion and a younger sibling waiting to enter the program. He asked for a “phase-in” period for families like his.

As part of the Superintendent’s Report, the Grade One Assignment Plan was presented. This plan called for instituting a cap starting with 2013-14 school year with the following steps:

  1. Each year determine the level of interest in the Grade 1 English and French programs
  2. Accommodate and assign all student to Grade 1 English who select English
  3. Hold School-based lotteries for FI seats
  4. Determine the number of Grade One English and French Immersion sections and class sizes at each school
  5. Assign students to FI classes via school-based lottery system

No sibling preference or grandfathering would be given as part of this plan. To view the entire plan as presented on October 3rd, please click here:


School committee members then made comments and asked questions about the plan. As part of the discussion, it was noted that the elementary school buildings are configured to accommodate 14 sections of Grade One. If necessary, a 15th classroom can be added. There was some discussion about whether it is educationally sound to have 26 students in a first-grade classroom. It was agreed that 26 would remain the cap for first grade French classes. There was discussion about sibling preference and the rationale was that sibling preference has typically been extended to keep families in the same building, not in the same program. There was also concern about placing Milton Public School kindergarten students first, then filling seats from non-MPS kindergartens. Members agreed to find a date to hold a meeting so that citizens could express their opinion on the plan.

Next, Rick Neely of the Town Government Study came to update School Committee members on the work of this group. He mentioned the Department of Revenue’s Bureau of Local Services and said they can come into towns to help organize financial issues. He thought this might work well for Milton.

Jackie Morgan, Food Services Director for MPS, came to discuss the Wellness Policy as well as recent changes to state law that governs what foods can be offered or sold before, during and after school.

Next, Assistant Superintendent John Phelan and Milton High School Math Department Head Courtney Walsh discussed the recent changes in reporting data from MCAS to the committee. To view this presentation, click here:


A Capital Committee proposal was presented to the committee by Technology Director Bob Pattision, with a list of capital expenses for the next 5 years. The committee suggested this document go back to finance subcommittee and return on Oct. 17th for a vote.

The policy subcommittee voted on several policies before adjourning.

October 16th: This meeting was held in the Milton High School Auditorium with the purpose of allowing citizen input into the proposed Grade One Assignment Plan. Nearly 50 people took the opportunity to speak about the plan. School committee members along with the administration provided information about plan details.

October 17th: Citizens Speak was extended to accommodate the people who came to speak about the proposed French Immersion cap. A dozen speakers were heard during Citizen’s Speak.

As part of the Superintendent’s Report, the Grade One Assignment proposal was scheduled for a vote. School committee members discussed aspects of the plan, including no sibling preference, no grandfathering and preference for Milton Public School kindergarten students during the assignment process. After lengthy discussion, the School Committee unanimously approved the Superintendent’s plan as proposed.

School Committee members also voted on four MASC resolutions; approved a diversity report; approved the list of submitted field trips and approved a wellness policy before adjourning.

The next School Committee meeting will be held November 7th.


             The following item on our elementary STEM program was written by Marilyn Decker, Director of Science for the Milton Public Schools.

Our new STEM program is well underway in our first grade English classes.  Each week the classroom teachers challenge students to use engineering design to develop a solution to a problem.

One week, the students were asked to build a sturdy wall — one that would survive a drop from their ankle, their knee and their waist. They researched how real walls are put together and noticed the arrangement of the bricks. Teams then worked together to design and test their wall. If the wall failed, they re-designed their wall until they had a successful design.

Another challenge involved building a sturdy car that would travel at least 12 feet down an incline.  On the first attempt, many students found that their car had too much friction between the wheels and the body, or did not travel in a straight line. Working together, students re-designed their vehicles.  As the students worked, you could hear them using the vocabulary of the lesson.  “I think our wheels are too close to the frame, we need to stretch them out.” “We need to take off the brake; I think it is stopping our car.”  As the students re-tested their newly designed car, you could hear the excitement as students counted out the blocks on the floor. “One, two, three,…..fourteen blocks.  We did it!”

The project has required that students use team work to solve each problem. Teachers have been amazed at the creativity and inventiveness of their students. If a group gets stuck they might ask another group what they did to solve the problem. This kind of cooperation is encouraged.  Each week the students record what they have learned through pictures and words and nearly all projects require students to use math, science and engineering.

To prepare for the STEM initiative all first grade English teachers attended a two day  professional development workshop at the Tufts University Center for Engineering Education and Outreach (CEEO).  Teachers include:  Sheila Arens and Mary Ellen Burke from Collicot, Bernadette Moonan from Cunningham, Mary McCarthy, Kim O’Leary, and Lea Campbell from Glover, and Bonnie Johnson, Caitlin O’Brien and Cassi Kelble from Tucker.  The workshop was led by Dr. Chris Rogers, Co-Director of the CEEO and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Tufts and Elissa Milto,  Director of Outreach Programs, CEEO.  Ongoing in-district professional development with pilot teachers will be led by Holly Concannon, Elementary Mathematics & Technology and Marilyn Decker, Director of Science.

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Milton High School recently participated in the annual Japanese Exchange Program. Our students and staff welcomed Principal Junko Tanaka, along with 303 Japanese students and 13 teachers and chaperones from Sakae Higashi High School in Japan.

Milton students volunteered to be ambassadors to the Japanese students. The group attended an assembly which included performances by the MHS Marching Band and the Sakae Higashi Cheerleaders, and speeches by the principals and senior class presidents. Japanese students then shadowed their ambassadors for the remainder of the day.  There were lots of smiles and conversations between the two cultures.

This annual event is a highly successful collaboration and cultural exchange, organized by Kathleen Kelley of the Social Studies department at Milton High School and Milton resident Steve Shapiro.


          Milton High School proudly presents Hairspray, Broadway’s musical comedy hit.

The play will be performed on Friday, October 26th at 7 pm and Saturday, October 27th at 2 pm & 7 pm at the Charles C. Winchester Audtorium at Milton High School.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for students and seniors. Many thanks to Director & Choreographer Rebecca Damiani, Music Director Noreen Diamond Burdett and Technical Director Paul Damiani.

Tickets are available at the MHS main office and Pierce main office between the hours of 9 am and 1 pm on weekdays.


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 The Milton Foundation for Education will be hosting the 14th Annual Monster Dash on Sunday, October 28th at Cunningham Park.  As in past years, all proceeds from this event are used to enhance our elementary science program.

This year’s Monster Dash promises to be the most fun, yet!  The Toy Box in Hanover will be on hand to organize some “hands on” art and science projects; there will be rocket balloons launched all over the park; the kids will certainly be tuckered out after the “fun run” races with prizes awarded to all; and the DJ will keep the young and young at heart, alike, dancing and playing all sorts of fun games and giving away prizes!

Trophies and other prizes will be awarded to the race top finishers in various age groups as well as to those that sport the best costumes!  Registration open at 9:30am the 5K begins at 11am, and exciting kids’ activities will take place throughout the morning.

To pre-register for the 5K, visit www.active.com.  To learn more about sponsorship and volunteer opportunities, please visit www.miltonfoundationforeducation.org or email denisequeally@comcast.net.  The Registration fee is only $20 by 10/22 and $25 on race day. The kids’ fun run registration is only $7/child with a $15/family maximum.


            The annual flu clinic held by our school nurses will be held on Wednesday, October 24th from 3:30 to 6:30 pm at the Pierce Middle School cafeteria.

Parent/guardian permission and Health Insurance information are necessary to get the flu vaccination.  This year, we are including grades 1-12.  Parents are to accompany the students.  If there are any questions please contact Margaret Gibbons @ mgibbons@miltonps.org or 617-696-4470 ext. 1

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 Milton Public Schools have a new school physician, After 33 years, Dr. Anthony Bonacci retired from the district and recently, Dr. Brieanne V. Midura became our school physician.  Dr. Midura is a graduate of Sweet Briar College with a degree in Biochemistry/Molecular Biology. She is a graduate of the George Washington University School of Medicine.

Dr. Midura and her husband Ben came to Boston in 2006, when she began internships and residency programs (combined) at Boston Children’s Hospital and Boston Medical Center in Pediatrics. Mr. Midura is a history teacher at Milton High School. The couple, along with their twins, moved to Milton in 2009.

Dr. Midura joined the Dedham Medical Associates practice in 2009 and is an American Board of Pediatrics Board-Certified Pediatrician.

She has met with the Milton school nurses and has consulted on many health issues already since the school year started. We are very happy and lucky to have such a talented and committed school physician.


The annual Swing for Sports fundraiser will be held on Tuesday, October 23rd at the Wollaston Golf Club in Milton. Golf registration begins at 10 am, with a shotgun start at 11 am.  Tennis registration begins at 10 am with a round robin style tournament beginning at 10:30 am.  A reception will be held at 5 pm for tournament attendees and those who wish to attend the reception only.

All proceeds benefit the athletes of Milton High School.  Many thanks to the Wollaston Golf Club and Curry College.

Online registration can be handled at www.miltonboosters.com

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The Fruit Center at Milton Marketplace is hosting its Third Annual School Fundraising Week from Monday, November 5th to Friday, November 9th.

Up to 20% of your purchase will be donated back to your child’s school!  Over the past two years the Fruit Center has donated thousands of dollars to schools in Milton and Hingham through this yearly giveback program. This year, the Fruit Center is  expanding the shopping timeframe to five days (Monday, November 5 through Friday, November 9). To participate, simply download a shopping voucher for your school using the link below. Print as many as you’d like and share them with friends, family and neighbors.

Present your voucher when you make purchases at the Fruit Center from Monday, November 5 through Friday, November 9. Shop as often as you’d like during that week. The Fruit Center will donate 20% of the total purchases back to your school.

So stock up on your favorite Fruit Center items and help out your school!

Please visit this link to download the voucher:



 The Milton Foundation for Education is pleased to announce the 2012 Fall Grant Cycle for the Milton Foundation for Education.

The grants are part of our Competitive Grants Program, which is designed to encourage and reward innovative teaching for Milton Public School teachers.

Qualified proposals must demonstrate a direct benefit to students and may involve an individual classroom, several classrooms and/or school-wide activities.  Teachers and staff members in grades pre-kindergarten through twelve are eligible and may apply individually or in groups.  For a listing of previously awarded grants, please go to our website, www.miltonfoundationforeducation.org.

This fall we will be using the same revised Grant Guidelines that we used last Spring.  The addition of support technology was very popular.  As many of you know, the MFE Celebration for Education this year will be focusing on Technology needs in all schools. Therefore, the grant committee is hoping to be able to focus on more traditional grants this fall. Please feel free to contact Leslie Collins about proposal questions. As in the spring, we are requesting that all grant proposals be reviewed and approved by the appropriate principal and department head.

Requests for $1,000 or less per grant preferred, although requests for more may be considered. There are no limits on the number of awards per school.  The Foundation attempts to award each school about the same amount of funding, but will grant awards on the basis of the number and quality of proposals received.  Teachers and staff members in all grades may apply individually or in groups. Each grant needs to be approved by your principal and department head.  Because applications are electronic, please respect the honor system for approvals.

We look forward to receiving your grant proposals by Monday, November 19th. For more info, contact Leslie Collins: mfegrants@gmail.com or 617-821-9560.


                       The Milton Public Library presents a Star Wars Symposium on Saturday, October 27th at 2:30 pm. Come dressed as your favorite character for our costume contest. Bring your show & tell items. Learn about Star Wars history. Join in a trivia contest. Play video games….lots more. Jointly presented by the Children’s Room and the Teen Space, the program is open to everyone ages 8 and up. Registration is required (opens October 1). Sponsored by the Friends of the Milton Public Library.

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 Teens and pre-teens (grades 6-12) are invited to kick-off the Halloween weekend with a scary movie on Friday, October 26th from 3 to 5 pm. The choices are: The Addams Family, Cloverfield, The Haunting in Connecticut and When A Stranger Calls. Watch the trailers on our Facebook page, then vote for your pick here.  Join us at 3 p.m. on Oct. 26th for snacks and the winning movie! This program is sponsored by the Friends of the Milton Public Library.

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 Please join us at the Milton Public Library on Sunday, October 28th at 2:00pm for dramatic readings from the Milton Reads! 2012 book selection To Kill a Mockingbird. The Milton Players are partnering with the Milton High School Drama club to present selections from this classic Pulitzer prize winning novel.

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           Cradles to Crayon’s Milton Community Collection Drive will be taking place from November 1st to November 17th with our grand volunteer sorting day at Cunningham Hall in Milton on Saturday, November 17th ! Please circle your calendars, clean your closets and let all of your friends and neighbors know.

Organizers are hoping that the Milton Public Schools will step up again to help them collect critically needed items for local children in need (they expect over 17000 orders this winter for coats and warm clothing) Interested volunteers can contact  Kathy@cradlestocrayons.org

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             Registration for our town’s Parks & Recreation programs are now being held. Snowball League Basketball for Grades 3-8, along with Youth Instructional Basketball for grades K-3 are currently registering for programs. For more information, visit the Parks & Rec website:



            Artspace Milton will be staging the third and final installment of Milton Faces Forward on Friday, October 26th from 6:30 – 8:30pm. This multi-screen public media presentation will be shown at the gazebo show will feature the facesof Milton taken by people here in Milton. We welcome your contributions. Please send your portraits of neighbors, friends, teams, or organizations to artspace02186@gmail.com.  Also, visit our photography exhibit at in the Keys Community Room of Milton High School featuring both professional and amateur talent.

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           The Milton Art Center is hosting “Art Bingo,” – an event that promises to allow players a chance to “win your favorite piece of art.”

            The event will be held on Friday, November 2nd from 7 to 10 pm at the MAC, 334 Edge Hill Road. Admission is $20 in advance and $25 at the door.

For more information, visit this link:  http://www.miltonartcenter.org/


           The Milton High School Athletic Hall of Fame held its 2012 Induction Ceremony this past weekend. This incredible event honors Milton High School’s student/athlete alumni in a two-part festivity. First, an unveiling ceremony was held at the Copeland Field House, followed by a banquet at Lantana in Randolph. Thank you to Michael Goodless and the members of the Milton High School Athletic Hall of Fame committee for organizing this annual event. Congratulations to the following inductees:

Kevin Blake — 1975 Student/Athlete football, hockey, indoor track, baseball

Tara Bligh — 2000 Student/Athlete field hockey, basketball, lacrosse

Jenna Bortolotti — 2007 Student/Athlete softball, soccer, gymnastics and dance team

John “Jackie” Donahue Jr. — 1973 Student/Athlete football, track

Adam Donovan — 2007 Student/Athlete football, basketball

Dennis M. Duggan, Jr. — Friend/Contributor from 1980-2002

Daniel Egan — 1982 Student/Athlete soccer, ski team, track

Michael Ferris — 1999 Student/Athlete soccer, hockey, lacrosse

James M. Flaherty — 1955 Student/Athlete basketball

Jim Fredericksen — “Coach Fred” Coach football, basketball, indoor track, softball

Sean Goodwin — 1990 Student/Athlete soccer, hockey, outdoor track

Paul MacDonald — 1950 Student/Athlete football, hockey, baseball

Ellen McCarthy Needham — 1985 Student/Athlete volleyball, basketball, tennis

Alisha Moran — 2001 Student/Athlete soccer, basketball, outdoor track

Elimu Nelson — 1991 Student/Athlete soccer, basketball

Joe Sidoti — 1964 Student/Athlete football, wrestling, track

John Whelpley — 1950 Student/Athlete football, baseball, basketball

The 1955 Indoor Track Team:  Coach Arnold Adams, Phil Holden, Bill Machardo, John Clasby (Captain), Tom Hagan, Roger Nyberg, Gordon Grose (Captain), Bill Kantaros, Robert O’Leary, John Avery, Don Keith, Robert O’Malley, Jim Bourdon, Paul Keddy, Pete Paterson, Frank Courtney, Kevin Kearny, Dave Peatfield, John Culleti        , Jack Lane, Frank Rowbotham, Dan Dexter, Bill Lane, Donald Schneider, Richard Driscoll, Randy Loud, Ed Steinberg, Mike Farrington, Paul Masterson, Fred Sullivan, Walter Green, Earl Maclary and John Wilcox

The 1957 Outdoor Track Team: Coach Arnold Adams George Devoe, Fran McCabe, Tom Hagan (Captain)Peter Gasddah, Robert McInnes, Don Keith, (Captain) Manny Hamelberg, Bill Murdock, Bob Guarino (Manager), Tom Heffernan, Bill Nelson, Dave Borden, George Hockaday, Jim O’Leary, John Bowie, Steve Hoxie, John Prall, S. Brayton, Gene LeBlank, Walt Robertson, Mike Callahan, William Lane, Walter Whalan, John Colletti, Machato, Charlie White, Nate Deter and Richard MacNeil.

The 1972 Indoor Track Team: Coach Robert Kent, Kenneth Gershman, Bruce Novick, Coach Richard Fitzhenry, Mark Gershman, Bob O’Leary, Brian Devin (Captain), Patrick Grant,     Howard Pepi, Bob McAuliffe (Captain), Andy Guerini, Barry Penn, John McClellan (Captain), Harold Kelley, Dave Perry, Richard Boyd, Michael Kuppens, Eric Peterson, Peter Ciano, Stanley Levinson, Verne Rentel. Kevin Connor, Larry Liberfarb. Peter Shea, Roger Connor, Bob Lobban, Brian Smith, John Donahue, Jonathan Losordo, Arthur Vercollone, Michael Downes, Peter Manak, Leo Vercollone, Michael Elliott, Charlie Messinger, Barry Williams, Joe Fahey, Brian Mullen and Michael Wluka.

The 1996 Girls’ Cross Country Team:  Coach Dale Snyder, Christine Curley, Erin Flynn (Captain), Kerry Curran, Jessica Gray (Captain), Meagan O’Halloran, Noreen Anastasia, Kate O’Neill, Laura O’Neill, Maria Fiore and Liz Bradley.

The following Athletic update was submitted by Athletic Director Steve Traister:


The Milton High School cheerleaders are led by the senior captains Maddie Richards and Amanda Pages. Coach Jessica Parson’s squad is busy preparing for their competition season. They will be competing at several invitational competitions and will be competing in the BSC competition on November 1st in Milton’s Copeland Field House. You can also see them performing every week at the Milton football games.


The boys’ team has a record of 2-8 and is led by Captains Peter Eberhardt and Nick Orlando; the girls’ team has a 3-7 record and is led by captains Molly Dempsey and Sinead O’Connor. Coach Dale Snyder’s teams have one more dual meet and will compete in the BSC meet next Saturday in Norwood.


Coach Jamie Donovan’s team has a record of 6-8-2 with 3 games left and is battling to make tournament. They need to 5 points in their last 3 games. The team is led by senior captains, Nicole Regan, Bailey McDonnell and Monica Riordan.


Coach Jim Bowes football team currently has a record of 1-5. Since the team has played the iron of the league in the first six games there should be some opportunities to improve their record over the latter half of the season. They have been led by the play of senior captains Kareem Patterson, Connor Reagan, Andrew Hunt and James Linehan. The team plays at Framingham on Friday night.


Coach Brian Borde’s team is 5-8-2 and fighting to qualify for the state tournament, needing five points in their final three games. The captains are Nicole Ruffo, Molly McDonough and Nicole Cremmen.


Coach Mike Madden’s team has a 5-9 record and has already qualified for the MIAA Division 2 state tournament.  Senior captains Roy Butlin, Brendan Kelly and Nick Savage have led the team this year. The boys’ have four more games to play including their senior game next Thursday.


The Volleyball team has a record of 5 – 9 with four games left and has already qualified for the MIAA State Tournament. Tri Captains Caitlin Griffin, Camille Van Allen and Christine Murphy have led Coach Robin Lee’s team this year.


Coach Ben Kelly’s team finished with a record of 5-8. They were led by captains Ryan Clarke and Colin McCabe. The team also took second place honors at the Bay State Conference Tournament last week in Framingham. With McCabe and Marc Giammarco making first team all conference team. McCabe will also compete in the MIAA Division 2 South Individual Tournament in Easton on Monday.


Coach Milos Nikolic’s fall crew team is enjoying a great season. The teams had a highly successful race at the South Shore Invitational last weekend. The crew captains for the fall are Kayla Drummond, Anne Statham and Daniel Nabi.


As part of our E-blast, we highlight students, teachers and members of the community whose hard work deserves recognition. Please read about some of their outstanding accomplishments below:

 Student: We are so proud of a group of children from Glover Elementary School! Six third grade students at Glover School recently started an anti-bullying group. One of their first activities was to develop a poster campaign with the slogan “Stand up, Speak up.”  The group partners with Glover School adjustment counselor Brian Powers who supervises and supports the students with their efforts. The students: Madison Ford, William McElroy, Lilly Pathak, William Kelly, Finn Suppelsa and Rohan Meier.

 Staff: Congratulations to this year’s Community Builder Awards, who were recently honored at the Celebrate Milton event, three of whom have connections to our schools. Frank Schroth of MyTownMatters, Tucker Principal Marcia Uretsky; Sherrie Holder-Watts from the Celebrate Milton Working Group and Christina Mines from the Milton High School Diversity Committee.

Volunteers: Each of our six schools has a very dedicated group of parents who make up the School Site Council. These parents assist the principal in the identification of the educational needs of the students; in the review of the annual school budget; and in the formulation of a school improvement plan and education goals. Site councils are made up of parents, staff members, community members and the building principal.

Tucker Site Council: Parents: Katie Manning, Piel Hollingsworth, Kristen O’Hara.  Tucker staff: Mary Tipping, Catherine DesRoche and Principal Marcia Uretsky. Community member: Joan Gancarsku.

Collicot Site Council:  Parents: Courtney Affanato, Patricia Facey and Sheila Paolucci. Collicot Staff: Kathy Caccamo, Zeina Hamada and Principal Janet Sheehan. Community Member: Margo Tansey.

Glover Site Council:  Parents: Raj Pathak, Jim Suppelsa and Adrienne Sullivan.   Glover Staff: Kristen Palatt, Chase Eschauzier, Janis Powell and Principal Drew Echelson.

Cunningham Site Council: Parents: Jeanne Conley, Linda Thernize, and Stephanie O’Keefe. Cunningham staff: Kathy Mulligan, Bernadette Moonan, Janis Gordon, Roberta Williams and Principal Jonathan Redden. Community Member: TBA.

Pierce Site Council: Parents: Amy Flanagan, Lisa Viola, Marc Check, Gillian Najarian.  Pierce staff: Jimmy Moonan, Melissa Webber, Jeff Stoodt and Principal Karen Spaulding. Community Member: Anne Murphy

Milton High Site Council:  Parents: Veronica Guerrero-Macia, Students: Stephanie Charlemagne. Community Members: Betty White, Vickie McCarthy and Mike Zullas. Milton High Staff: Tracy Grandeau, Vernon Nelson, Cathy Queally, Vice Principal Michelle Kreuzer and Principal James Jette.

The Milton Public School system is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to the provision of quality educational programs for all students.  The Milton Public School system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability, genetic information, age or sexual orientation.



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