January 11th, 2018

From: Mary C. Gormley
To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
Re: Weekly Update
Date: January 11, 2018


After our two recent snow days, I wanted to take this opportunity to share the process around cancelling school for inclement weather. As Superintendent, the final decision to cancel school rests with me, however I am in consultation with the DPW, MPS custodial staffs and administrators during the decision process. Prior to and during a snowstorm, we receive up-to-date reports on road conditions, transportation capability, and the status of our buildings. We will keep schools open if these reports indicate we can safely transport children, and open and operate our buildings.

The primary criteria we consider when making a decision include: the safety and well-being of students and staff, severity of the weather (extreme cold, amount of snow, etc.), timing of weather (during the school day, overnight, weekend, etc.), the ability for busses and cars to travel safely and the safety of all who walk to school and wait at bus stops. 

We continually monitor the forecast from local sources and the National Weather Service, and I consult with numerous stakeholders in order to make the best decision for students, staff and families. In spite of Doppler radar and other advances in weather prediction, it is difficult to be sure about how inclement weather will impact road conditions as each event is unique. In the event that school is canceled due to severe weather, MPS makes every attempt to notify families (via phone, email, social media, MPS website) as soon as possible. There is no set time for notifying families as the weather forecast and our ability to respond is specific to every event. To ease the burden on families, I ask that families have tentative childcare plans in place if a snow day seems possible but not definite. We want to give every opportunity to fully assess the storm before cancelling school.    

With our two recent snow days, here is the revised 2017-2018 school calendar.  


I greatly value Milton Public School’s partnership with MICA (the Milton Interfaith Clergy Association) especially as it relates to their annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration on Monday, January 15th.  The  theme this year is: A Single Garment of Destiny

“In a real sense all life is inter-related. All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be… This is the inter-related structure of reality.”    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from a Birmingham Jail

Our students from Kindergarten through 12th grade participate with essays, poems, art projects, musical selections and more. Please join me in congratulating our four outstanding MHS students whose work was chosen to represent MHS in honor of MLK Jr.  We are very proud of Maggie Haley, June Padera, Catherine Le and Alisa Lorden for their excellent submissions. You can view their work by clicking on their name. 

New this year, MICA is offering Day of Service opportunities for all ages. If your family can help with an outdoor clean up behind Cunningham/Collicot or a storage area clean up at the Milton Food Pantry, I hope you will consider signing up. I know I will see many MPS families on January 15th at the Evening Community Celebration at the Concord Baptist Church, 180 Blue Hill Ave from 6:30-8pm.


There has not been a  School Committee meetings since my last E-blast. The next meeting will be held on January 17th at  7 pm in the Milton TV Access studio, Room 245, Milton High School. Previous School Committee meetings can be watched on demand on Milton Access Television


Join us TONIGHT (January 11th) for an information evening at 6:30pm and please review the important preschool dates.  The information session will take place at Milton High School, 25 Gile Rd.  Milton Public Schools has a variety of programs for those children who will turn three or four on or before August 31, 2018.  This is guaranteed to be an informative evening as preschool staff and administrators outline the similarities and differences in the programs offered as well as answer any questions families may have.  Please email Marti O’Keefe McKenna, Family Outreach Liaison, or call 617-980-7343 if you have additional questions. We look forward to seeing you as your child begins their time in the Milton Public Schools!  


L-R first row: Alex Dhima, Shoilee Banerjee, Nuasheen Chowdhurry, GiGi Jiang, Daniel Truog
L-R back row: Al Lez, Ralph Destin, Domenic Jancaterino, Philip Ng Pack, Jack Cullen

I am happy to report that the MHS debate team competed successfully at another  tournament this past weekend.  10 students traveled to Newton South High School to the   Speech and Debate Winter Festival. The students were a mix of 4 year veterans and brand new competitors. All students were able to win at least one of their rounds, with our Senior Captain Team of Domenic Jancaterino and Jack Cullen winning 3 out of their 4 rounds and Domenic receiving 2nd place speaker (out of 192 students).  This coming weekend the team will be attending a National Tournament at Lexington High School with the hopes of receiving a bid for the National Tournament in the spring. The students are  very busy preparing this week!  


Kelsey McCarthy, PT, DPT at Elliott Physical Therapy and member of the US Powerlifting Team presented on Powerlifting safety and competition to 25 interested students this week  at the Wildcat Wellness Center. Our students were engaged and enthusiastic about this informative session.  


Pierce Players presents “Suessical the Musical” Come see our talented middle school students in their upcoming performance on January 18th, 19th and 20th in the Pierce auditorium. Tickets can be purchased in the Pierce office or by using this form.  Learn more about the cast and crew and see some rehearsal sneak peeks on the Pierce Players website.


On Monday, February 5th, Pierce Middle School will have live grades!  The goal of the live grades is to create an open line of communication between teachers, students, and families in order to best support your child’s learning and growth.  The ability to view grades through your PlusPortals account provides families more information about what occurs in the classroom, helping you become better equipped to support your child’s strengths and areas of growth.  Continue reading here.


Getting ready for your school’s Science Fair and feeling a bit overwhelmed by the idea of a science fair project?  Watch these Tucker 5th grade student produced videos  to see how easy it can be to just take it step by step and work your way through a scientific process. If looking to do a STEM style project the process is very similar, just add testing your idea or prototype and redesigning it based on the data collected while testing. For questions and help while working on a science fair project please contact elementary science curriculum coordinator  Linda Stefanick,  (no question is too small – please feel free to ask them!) Happy Exploring and Investigating!


We are pleased to share that the Rachel Simmons event was a tremendous success.  Thank you to all of our sponsors (BID-Milton, MSAPC, Isabel Joyce Piliavin Charitable Trust, Milton PTOs, SEPAC, Milton Times and the MCC) for making this possible.  There were over 550 people in attendance for Rachel Simmons presentation of “Odd Girl Out”.   It was a powerful presentation, Rachel provided so many takeaways for parents/guardians and she was extremely relatable to the young girls in the audience.  In fact, many of them were admittedly reluctant to attend, but ended up on the edge of their seats completely engaged, laughing at Rachel’s goofy jokes and raising their hands with questions.  It was impressive to see so many girls in line to have Rachel sign their books after the show.  Rachel touched on authentic friendships and what that means and should look like.  She addressed aspects of social media and how to use this form of communication in a safe and healthy way.  She also discussed the pressures to be perfect and living up to the expectations of others.  It was an enlightening presentation that sparked so many conversations after the event, on the way home and on social media.  Thank you to all who attended! In an effort to keep the conversation going, we are offering “Odd Girl Out” breakout sessions around Milton this Saturday. You can sign up to attend a session here

Next up in PARENT Speaker Series: 


Jan 11  Preschool Information Night 6:30pm MHS Auditorium
Jan 15  No School-MLK Jr. Holiday
Jan 17  Milton School Committee
Jan 18-20  Pierce Players Performance
Jan 23  Kindergarten Information Night 6:30pm MHS Auditorium
Jan 30  PARENT Speaker – Minding your Mind Program PMS 6:30  
Jan 31 No School K-12 Teacher PD Day
Feb 7 Milton School Committee
Feb 8 PARENT Speaker – Dr Ruth Potee 6:30 MHS Auditorium Add link


Thank you to the Milton Cultural Council (MCC) who is a regular supporter of the Milton Public Schools. Just this week I was made aware of four recent grants – $500 in support of the Pierce Mosaic Project, $375 towards the PARENT Speaker Series, $675 for a Caribbean and Latin America Music Assembly at Pierce and $500 for Cunningham’s spring Mandala Art Project. On behalf of the Milton Public Schools, thank you to the MCC!   


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.  Questions? Please email Laurie Dunn. We look forward to meeting the class of 2031!​    


Suicide Risk among Teens:  A Hard Topic to Tackle. MPS SEL Facilitator Laurie Stillman shares that although we as parents are reticent to think and talk about it, teen depression and suicide are significant and growing problems in our country.  Prolonged feelings of stress, sadness, isolation and confusion—along with raging hormones—can leave youth feeling sad and hopeless for long periods of time. In Milton, about 25% of our high school students reported, in the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), having depressive symptoms, and 12% indicated that they had considered suicide in the past year. While these statistics are lower than the U.S., it is still a big concern that we should take seriously. Continue reading here.


Courageous Conversations is holding bystander intervention training to address implicit and explicit racism and bias in our everyday lives.  Please follow this link to register in advance. 

It’s Chess-a-Palooza time at the Milton Public Library.

See what’s happening for kids  at the Milton Public Library next week and the week after.  

Dreaming of spring? Well then register now for Milton spring sports! Softball, baseball, Lacrosse.

Here are the top ten Most Borrowed Adult Books from the Milton Public Library in 2017.  How many did you read?  

Let’s get reading! A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW, the best seller by Amor Towles, has been
selected for Milton Reads 2018

The Town of Milton has just completed the FY2018 Storm Water Utility rates and fees and mailed the bills out to all residents beginning on Monday January 8, 2018.


This week, the Music Department wrapped-up the winter performance season on Thursday night with a final concert featuring the Pierce Middle School and Milton High School jazz ensembles.  The program showcased large bands and small combos, and included the MHS Jazz Ensembles 1 and 2, the MHS Jazz Quintet, the MHS “Cellar Dwellers” and the Pierce Jazz Band.  The night ended with a combined performance of the traditional jazz standard, Second Line. Congratulations to Directors Rebecca Damiani and Kaitlyn Laprise, and their students for a swinging night enjoyed by all! 


Make a New Year’s Resolution to clean out your closets and  help the Milton High School Class of 2019 at the same time! The MHS  Class of 2019 FUNDrive  will be held on  Saturday, January 20th , from 9 am – 2 pm  at the high school’s front entrance. If you would like to drop off in advance, we will be accepting donations (gently used clothing, shoes, textiles, household items, etc) that are boxed or bagged from January 15th- 19th at the MHS Main office during school hours. All details can be found here. The class of 2019 thanks you!


I enjoyed this informative video from PBS entitled “The Big Education Issues Ahead for 2018” and I hope you will too. 


The Wrestling Team won a thriller against Wellesley 39-33!  Micah Allen, Austin Wright, Mark LaBelle, Xavier Fischer, Liam Kelly, and Chris Little all won their matches, with Alex Caputo earning a match sealing pin!

The Track Team participated in the Dartmouth Relays on Sunday, with many great results.  Jayda Dillon finished 11th out of 76 athletes in the 300m dash with a time of 43.73.  Josie Cousineau had a personal best for the season in the 600m running 1:44.36 finishing 7th out of 63 competitors.  Genevieve Connelly had a season best in the mile running 5:24.52 finishing 10th out of 46 competitors.  Ornella Ebongue had a season best throwing the shot put 31′ 6″ for 14th place out of 38 competitors.  The 4x400m relay team of Jayda Dillon, Josie Cousineau, Genevieve Connelly and Elise O’Leary finished 3rd overall with a time of 4:11.  Elise O’Leary won the 400m in a time of 59.76. Also a personal best for her this season.  Smith Charles won the LJ with one jump of 22′ 3.25″ and ran a season best time in the 55m dash of 6.45seconds.  Congratulations to all of the athletes who competed!

The Ski Team have their first race today at Ski Ward. Good luck!

Sports schedules for all MHS teams 


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:  Please join me in recognizing our student leaders who make up the Safety Patrol at Collicot, Glover, Tucker and Cunningham. These 4th and 5th graders are chosen for their maturity and commitment to safety in our schools. The Safety Patrol serve as role models to other students and help with arrival and dismissal, special events, safety drills and more. We are proud of our students who serve on the Safety Patrol and thank them for their service.


Staff:  I want to  acknowledge the hard work of our custodial staff at all six schools who worked diligently over the past several weeks to maintain our buildings in difficult conditions. The extreme cold and large amount of snow we received in a short time made for challenging conditions. Our custodians made an extra effort to make sure all school grounds were prepared and ready for school each school day.                                        

Volunteers: Our 2017-18 PARENT Speaker Series has been a tremendous success this year and would not be possible without the generosity of our sponsors. Please join me in thanking BID-Milton, MSAPC, The Isabel Joyce Piliavin Charitable Trust, The Milton PTOs, SEPAC, The Milton Times and the MCC for their consistent support of the Milton Public Schools. 

Thank you to my blog contributors this week:  Kacy Kalell, Dana Depaul,  Kathleen Kelley, Noel Vigue, Marti McKenna, Holly Concannon, Jon Redden, Dr. Elaine McNeil-Girmai, Karen McDavitt, The Rev Shelly Davis, Patti Eliott, Karen Cahill, Laurie Stillman, Abigail Callahan, Ryan Madden, Dawn Sykes, James Jette, Linda Stefanick and Dr Karen Spaulding.

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.  

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