From: Mary C. Gormley
To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
Re: E-blast Update
Date: December 7th, 2017
FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT
Last week I attended a District-wide Diversity Meeting, a joint effort of the Milton Public Schools and Citizens for a Diverse Milton. Approximately 60 MPS educators, parents, guardians and Milton community members gathered for a ‘Courageous Conversation’ at Milton High School. Together with Citizens for Diverse Milton these meetings have been taking place for over 20 years. Karen Horan from CDM shares some thoughts below.
This particular gathering brought in community members from Courageous Conversations (CC) towards Racial Justice, a Milton organization begun last year to hold monthly events to examine topics, history and manifestations of race in our society so that by becoming informed, our community can work to break down barriers that divide us and move to build meaningful relationships across differences so that we can reform our greater society and dismantle racism. We began our time together with this Ted Talk.
In addition to our monthly events, we are sponsoring Bystander training sessions, the first of which will be held on Saturday, January 27th. This is an opportunity to learn strategies to utilize if you witness episodes of prejudice or bigotry. This session will be offered two additional times in 2018 at no charge.
“In this society when people feel “courageous” for speaking toxic, divisive opinions, we need the courage to say NO to what keeps malice alive and find a community interdependence where all can thrive,” says Lisa Ward one of the facilitators of these conversations.
If you are interested in learning more about the monthly events and the Bystander Training workshops please email Karen Horan. Thank you to CDM and Courageous Conversations for facilitating our time together and for their continued partnership with the Milton Public Schools.
SCHOOL COMMITTEE UPDATE
There has been one School Committee meeting, on December 6th, since my last E-blast. The Milton Public Schools Fiscal Year 2019 Budget was presented. The next meeting will be held December 20th at 7 pm in the Milton TV Access studio, Room 245, Milton High School. All School Committee meetings can be watched on Milton Cable Access.
HIGH SCHOOL HAPPENINGS
During the month of November Milton High School celebrated Family Literacy Month. History teachers sent home a short reading with a discussion question for parents and students to talk about. Parents were encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to celebrate family literacy and strengthen the home-school connection. The feedback from both students and parents was positive. One parent wrote, “It was nice to read the article as it is relevant to what is going on today. It is important to have these conversations at home.” Another parent contributed, “We often talk at dinner, but to have a guided conversation allowed us to discuss a topic we would not commonly bring up on our own. Thank you.” The goal of Family Literacy Month is to highlight the importance of creating a literacy rich environment. Thank you to the History teachers for starting the conversation and to all of the families who participated. Happy reading!
Our MHS students from The Young Men’s Group, The Young Women’s Group and The Calculus Project had a valuable opportunity to attend Northeastern University’s Building Bridges Program last week. Students were able to explore Northeastern University’s College of Engineering and experienced a full day of interactive engineering activities led by Northeastern faculty and students from all of the engineering departments, which helped students understand the various engineering disciplines. They were introduced to research programs and initiatives at Northeastern, discussed an overview of potential career paths and higher education options and were able to network with current University students and faculty members. Below you can see our students and MHS teacher Mr Jordan standing on the earthquake table to experience what the Bakersfield Earthquake of 1995 felt like.
Thanks to the generosity of Milton excise tax payers and MPACE, MHS students learned about American history through a unique lens this week – through the history of the Blues. 230 American History students experienced a live show at the House of Blues in Boston. The concert is sponsored by the Music Forward Foundation, which works with the House of Blues to educate students about the history of music. The Blues is rooted in African music traditions that traveled to America during the slave trade. Blues has influenced almost every form of American music since then, from gospel to jazz to rock, soul, funk and hip-hop. The show was created to help students see the connections between music and culture, and the students thoroughly enjoyed the experience. One of the House of Blues performers said after the show, “Your students were so much fun! They got up and danced and were singing throughout the show. We haven’t seen that much enthusiasm all season!” The House of Blues field trip is generously sponsored by the MPACE and without the donations from Milton residents our students would not have been able to attend such an amazing show.
MIDDLE SCHOOL NEWS
The Pierce Middle School Math Team competed in the “Team Round” of last weeks Intermediate Math League of Eastern Massachusetts Math Meet at Boston Green Academy. There are six rounds of questions in each meet: Geometry, Number Theory, Arithmetic, Algebra, Mystery, and a Team Round and our Pierce Team competed against 4 other schools – Milton Academy, British International Academy, Edwards Middle School and Boston Green Academy. I am proud to say that in their first meet, Pierce Middle School came in second place, finishing behind only British International Academy. Congratulations to our Pierce Math Team and a special congratulations to Logan Do, who scored the highest of any 7th grader at the Math Meet.
The 8th Grade Advanced Creative Writing class at Pierce enjoyed a visit this week from Globe columnist Joanna Weiss. Ms. Weiss shared how she began her career, as well as advice to young writers. The students asked questions and were captivated by Ms. Weiss’s journey as a writer and the local and national stories she has covered.
“For the students to hear from someone who has made their living as a writer, how important the revision process is, knowing what the take- away of your story is, and how important telling your story, or somebody else’s story is…it was just a great experience for them. They were so engaged.” said Ms. Power, the writing teacher.
INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS
In our Physical Education classes, Collicot Students are acquiring and refining a variety of manipulative, locomotor, and non-locomotor movement skills in the gym with Mrs. Fahey. Students in grades three through five are currently learning how to use the Rock Wall!
Celebrating our Differences is a program for 4th grade students at Cunningham. Students have multiple opportunities to walk in the shoes of individuals who experience different learning styles, physical limitations, visual impairment, and hearing loss. Community volunteers work alongside parent coordinators, classroom and special education teachers to present hands on experiences for the 4th grade students.
PARENT SPEAKER SERIES
Mark your calendars as you don’t want to miss the next speaker in the MPS PARENT Speaker Series. We are pleased to welcome Rachel Simmons – Expert in Girls’ Bullying & Young Women’s Leadership. Rachel will be presenting “Odd Girl Out: Coping with Best Friends, Worst Enemies, and Everything in Between” on Monday, January 8th at 6:30 pm at the Milton High School auditorium. This event is free and open to the public.
Exclusion. Abusive friendships. Cyberbullying. When a girl’s relationships are in trouble, her core sense of self is threatened. Parents feel anguished and helpless. For over ten years, Rachel has studied the politics of girls’ relationships. Every year, she empowers thousands of parents to help their daughters negotiate some of the most painful moments of their lives.
Rachel’s rigorous research and unparalleled experience with girls makes her a favorite of parent associations around the world. Weaving down-to-earth advice with analysis of girls’ development, Rachel provides parents with concrete strategies and scripts to help kids cope with best friends, worst enemies and everything in between. An intimate observer of girls’ social world, she offers parents a window into the hidden culture of girls’ aggression. Rachel also coaches parents to interface effectively with the adults in their children’s lives. Her presentation will last about one hour and will be followed by 30 minutes of Q & A.
There is an terrific opportunity for part time jobs in our food services department. We are hiring immediately for substitute positions at all schools. You’ll be serving healthy food to kids and be home when your kids are home due to the school schedule – what’s better than that?! This can be a great opportunity for parents and retirees and food service experience is a plus, but not required. The Food Service substitute position pays $12.95 per hour. Please email Jackie Morgan for more information.
UPCOMING MPS EVENTS
Winter concerts continue on Tuesday, December 12th with the Milton High School large ensembles: Jazz Band, Concert Band, Girls Chorus, Mixed Chorus and String Orchestra. The performance will begin at 7:00 in the Charles C. Winchester Auditorium. All are welcome to attend!
Kindergarten Registration for September 2018 is upon us! As we prepare to welcome our new kindergarteners next September, the first step for families is to pre-register your new student. After you pre-register, we hope to see many kindergarten parents and guardians at Kindergarten Information night on Tuesday, January 23rd at Milton High School. The final step is to attend Kindergarten Registration (by appointment on February 13th, 14th, 15th) with your completed registration packet that you will receive on January 23rd at information night. Details and links are found here – Welcome to Kindergarten. Questions? Please email Laurie Dunn. We look forward to meeting the class of 2031!
Pierce (drop off!)Movie Night for 4th and 5th Graders on December 15th.
Please join us for MPS Pre-School information night at Milton High School on January 11th at 6:30 pm.
December is Computer Science month in MPS. Our schools will be joining in on the largest education events in history: The Hour of Code. In honor of Computer Science Education Week (December 4-8), during the month of December, our students will be amongst over 2 million worldwide spending one hour learning the basics. Our students also participated in many Computer Science activities this week as part of Computer Science Education Week.
SOCIAL EMOTIONAL LEARNING
The topic of sexual harassment has been in the news recently and while the subject can make us feel uncomfortable, and the thought of having to speak with your children about it can be embarrassing, the best thing we can do as parents is not to avoid the topic but instead talk about it directly with your children. MPS Facilitator of Social Emotional Learning Laurie Stillman shares talking points for parent and guardians here.
Pass us your soccer uniforms…and we’ll pass them onto children all over the world! Drop off your used soccer uniforms and equipment in collection bins located in the lobbies of The Collicot, Cunningham, Glover, Tucker and Pierce Schools and at 34 Cliff Rd. Any donations of clean t-shirts, shorts, socks, shin guards, cleats, and deflated balls and pumps will be gratefully accepted. We will also happily accept uniforms from other sports. Please contact Madame Brown at 617-696-8125 with any questions.
There are many holiday season giving opportunities within Milton Public Schools:
The Milton High School Key Club is collecting socks for children in kindergarten through middle school. The socks will be donated to the Milton Residents Fund who will distribute them to families in need along with other gifts. We will take new socks of any kind for this age group. The collection will run through December 8th at MHS.
Pierce Middle School is holding a drive for Fr. Bill’s and MainSpring in December, in hopes of gathering much needed goods for families in need as they transition into new housing and hopeful futures.
NEWS AROUND TOWN
What’s happening for teens at the Milton Public Library?
What’s happening for kids at the Milton Public Library?
Milton Art Center Holiday Artisan Fair takes place on Saturday, December 9th from 10-4pm. We are featuring over 20 local artists including Pierce Middle School student Maggie Mannion who sews skirts and pillow cases.
The Forbes House Museum is hosting a Holiday Open House on Saturday, December 16th, from 11-3 pm.
Milton’s Music Department Winter Concert Series continued this week with performances featuring the MHS student-directed, before and after school ensembles. Performing groups included the Saxophone Choir, Brass Ensemble, Gospel Choir, Jazz Quintet, Cellar Dwellers Jazz Combo, Chamber String Ensemble, Christmas Carolers, and the Pretty Sharp and Do ReMigos choruses.
The evening also included the debut performance of Milton High School’s Full Orchestra, a new partnership between the string orchestra and concert band.
In addition the MHS Christmas Carolers performed at the Caroling on the Commons community event. This event also featured Boston Conservatory at Berklee Cabaret students. On Sunday the caroling continued at Thayer Nursery’s Holiday Open House.
Members of the Milton Mountain Bike Team volunteered in clearing trees and shoring up trails in the Blue Hills Reservation on December 2nd. 16 riders, coaches and students teamed up with the Friends of the Blue Hills to maintain the Reservation. Local businesses are supporting the team this year, including Green Oaks Financial Services, the Fruit Center Marketplace, and Elliott Physical Therapy. If you would like to help out the team in any way with equipment or time, or have a student in grades 7-12 interested in riding this spring, contact coach David Mills.
Student athletes work throughout the year to raise money to support their athletic endeavors. Two ways you can support them are Cans for Cats and Car Washes. Cans for Cats is held once a month, usually on the first Saturday of each month during the school year. Teams choose a month to work and raise money which goes to the team’s administration account. Cans for Cats is a rain or shine event and teams usually raise between $300-600.
There are also approximately 10 car washes (held at Cunningham/Collicot driveway) each school year. Car washes on a good sunny day can raise over $1000 so please consider stopping by for a wash!
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:
Students: I am honored to announce that Pierce Middle School 8th grader Nina Zimmermann was chosen as the winner from the Middle School entries for the JFK Centennial Celebration Poetry Contest sponsored by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and the Mass Poetry Society. Over 410 submissions for the contest were received, celebrating the life and work of John F. Kennedy in celebration of the centennial of his birth. This was an incredible testament to his legacy, and we are very proud that Nina was able to play such an honorable role in the celebration. The final winners were chosen by Former US Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky. Nina read her poem on December 2 at the JFK Library celebration.
Staff: At the suggestion of our Elementary Principals, I am so pleased to recognize our new Elementary Inclusion Specialist, Dr. Maureen Butler, for her incredibly powerful work in all four elementary schools. Dr. Butler’s commitment and skilled manner allows her to work with teachers to ensure that all students engage with and access curriculum in the most supportive way possible. This position was funded by the 2017 override and Principals report that her work with students and staff has been meaningful and impactful. Thank you to the voters of Milton for funding this vitally important position.
Volunteers: I am so grateful to the dedicated parents and guardians from our Elementary Schools who coordinate our BOKS (Building Our Kids Success) before school fitness and activity program. Please join me in thanking Meena McWeeney from Tucker, Eric Kelly from Collicot, Megan Walsh from Cunningham and Courtney McNaught from Glover for their consistent effort and dedication on behalf of our youngest students.
The Milton Public School system does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, gender identity, transgender status, gender transitioning, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its programs, activities or operations. These include, but are not limited to, admissions, equal access to programs and activities, employment, provision of and access to programs and services, as well as selection of volunteers, vendors and employers recruiting at the Milton Public Schools. We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our staff, students, volunteers, subcontractors, and vendors. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Human Resources, 617-696-4812.