January 25th, 2018

From: Mary C. Gormley
To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
Re: Weekly Update
Date: January 25th, 2018

FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT

As we are currently registering our September 2018 Kindergarteners at Milton Public Schools, I’ve asked Asst. Superintendent for Business Affairs, Glenn Pavlicek to share some history of free full day Kindergarten below:

Prior to the School Building project, Milton only had sufficient space to offer Kindergarten on a half day basis.  Thanks to donations from the Copeland Family Foundation and the Cunningham Foundation to that project, our schools were renovated with enough classrooms specifically designed for Kindergarten students to accommodate Full Day Kindergarten.  Full Day Kindergarten began with a pilot program of three classrooms at the Tucker School in 2007-2008.  It then expanded to all four elementary schools the following year.  At the time, it was partially funded with a grant from the Commonwealth but was primarily tuition-based.  The intent of the grant was to fund the first year of the program with increased state aid helping to defray the cost in subsequent years.  Unfortunately, the grant was only $200,000 and the cost of the program was, at the time, over $700,000, so tuition was still necessary. It was not until the 2016-2017 school year that tuition was finally eliminated when the Town allocated funds from “Free Cash” to fully fund the program for one year.  The increased Chapter 70 state aid that resulted from eliminating tuition now permits us to continue offering the program on a tuition-free basis.  The program has grown as a result, from 249 students in 2007-2008 to over 350 today, contributing not only to student achievement but to the reputation of the School system as a whole.

If you have not registered your child (who will be 5 on or before 8/31/18) for kindergarten yet please email Laurie Dunn  as soon as possible. The recent Kindergarten Information Night presentation can be found here

PARENT SPEAKER SERIES

Please join us for the next Speaker Series event – Jon Mattleman – Just Talk About It – on January 30th at 6:30 PM in the Pierce Middle School Auditorium. This interactive presentation is an introduction to adolescents’ mental health, which is designed to train attendees on how to recognize the warning signs of stress, anxiety, depression and crisis.  In addition, self-harm, suicide, and the emotional impact of social media will be explicitly addressed.  Participants will discuss ways to assist others to cultivate positive coping skills and the ability to ask for help.  Crisis intervention is emphasized by learning the signs of suicidal ideation and risk, and how to encourage those at risk to seek help.For more information on the Just Talk About It presentation, please visit the Minding Your Mind website.  Mr Mattelman has shared two interesting reads in advance of his presentation – How Facebook Makes Us Unhappy and Selfie-Loathing.

HIGH SCHOOL HAPPENINGS

MHS Seniors Domenic Jancaterino and Ornella Ebongue.

Earlier today, MHS Seniors Ornella Ebongue and Domenic Jancaterino shared their senior project presentation, “Topics in Mathematics”  with faculty and staff.  Ornella and Domenic have taken on the challenge of designing their own course in mathematics for their senior year.  For their project, they shared some of what they have experienced and explored over the past few months, including: differential equations, voting theory, and game theory.  The Mathematics Department and these two students are to be commended for this individualized approach to learning. 

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The Class of 2019 would like to thank everyone who donated to the Savers FunDrive which took place on January 20th. The Junior Class brought in just under 3,000 pounds of donated goods, keeping the good out of a landfill and raising $500. We had an incredibly successful day and filled the truck to capacity an hour before the scheduled end time. The Class Officers would like to thank those who drove their donations that did not fit on the truck to Savers to help the junior class.  We will be holding another drive in the Spring so be on the lookout for collection dates!

MIDDLE SCHOOL NEWS

Josh Ricciardi reads his submission at a recent School Committee meeting

In honor of Inclusive Schools Week, students at Pierce were recently asked to develop a creative expression (essay, poster, song, etc) of what inclusion means to them.  8th grader Josh Ricciardi’s “Inclusion Man” stood out as a powerful story about inclusion. Josh wrote “Have you ever been asked if you could have any superpower?  If so, what was your answer?  Mostly, people say super speed, super strength, or even the ability to fly. But a lot less popular ability is the ability to include someone. So if you don’t have this ability, then Inclusion Man will come and help you gain such an ability”. Josh read his entire submission at a recent School Committee meeting. Congratulations to Josh on his winning submission and kudos to his family for raising a kind and empathetic young man.  

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In December I shared that Pierce 8th Grader Matthew Paquette beat out thousands of students to win the second place prize for his essay on combating racism.  8th graders from around the commonwealth were prompted to choose a political or community issue that impacts young people and determine how they would make a difference, if they were the Chief Municipal Officer for their community.  Last week, Town Administrator Mike Dennehy attended the Massachusetts Municipal Association Annual Conference at The Hynes Auditorium and sent along his congratulations to Matthew.  Thank you to Mike Dennehy who presented this Massachusetts Municipal Association’s composition and art competition to Milton Public School students.   

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Did you love Suessical Jr? There is a parent run fundraiser happening to support the theater program at Pierce. You can download some amazing pictures from the production for only $2.50 a picture and all of the profits go towards future Pierce productions.  

INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

Every classroom at the Cunningham School has Flexible Seating Options for students to use.  We have seen that students will seek out ways to move or fidget to stay engaged and focused in their work. By providing some options and opportunities in the classrooms, the students are able to gain movement while working, which is resulting in increased performance and engagement. As with anything, there are rules that are applied when using the Flexible Seating tools and these tools should support learning, not hinder it. When first introducing items to the class, we find it helpful to have all students explore the options for a bit. Students who need a bit more movement gravitate towards the Flexible Seating tools and items, while some students find they use the items less. The items that have been implemented this year include: standing desks, wobble stools, stability ball seats, cycle desks, scoop seats and stadium seats for the floor, as well as an air-filled cushion on the chairs and therabands for under their feet. Students are learning what works for them to be successful learners and finding the tools that help them work their best. Many of our classes are having great success with integrating these items into a productive school day.

The Cunningham School has been extremely fortunate to have received items through sources such as Donors Choose and the Cunningham PTO. We also will be able to purchase more items through the MFE grant that was recently awarded.

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This week the Clavette Family visited Collicot and Cunningham  to donate a collection of 45 art books for children to the  Collicot/Cunningham library.  Caitlin Clavette was a beloved MPS elementary art teacher who was killed in a tragic car accident in 2016. Caitlin’s parents, Louanne and Skip Clavette and aunt Maureen Costa read one of the books to Mrs Lamonica’s 2nd grade class. The books have special memorial plates inside them and will  be kept together in a permanent collection in the library. We are grateful for the ongoing partnership between the Milton Public Schools and Caitlin’s family.  

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The Glover Staff would like to thank our Glover PTO for generously providing ALL  staff members at Glover with fleece jackets and vests!  They were purchased with money raised through our GLEA (Glover Enrichment Activities- after school clubs) run by the teachers. It has already brought such a sense community among staff! 

 

UPCOMING MPS EVENTS

Jan 30 PARENT Speaker – Minding your Mind Program Pierce Middle School at 6:30 pm
Jan 31  No School K-12 Teacher PD Day
Feb 7    Milton School Committee 7pm
Feb 8    PARENT Speaker – Dr Ruth Potee 6:30 MHS Auditorium
Feb 13  K-8th Math Night for Parents/Guardians at Pierce 6:30-8pm
Feb 15  MHS Caberet
Feb 19  February Recess begins

TECHNOLOGY

How Much Screen Time is Appropriate? AJ Melanson, Educational Technology Director shares that 90% of U.S. households contain at least one smartphone, desktop/laptop computer, tablet or streaming media device.  The typical (median) American household contains five of them. And nearly one-in-five American households (18%) are “hyper-connected” – meaning they contain 10 or more of these devices! (PEW Research Center)  With that said, what is the appropriate amount of screen time for our students? Continue reading here.

FUNDRAISING NEWS

The MSAPC asks – Will you support an important opportunity for Milton families? We want to share with you an important resource that school leaders believe will benefit our students, and we are wondering if you would consider donating to this effort, personally or through your business or company.

As you may know, mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety or ADD, are significant issues facing people of all ages.  In Milton, a significant number of our students and elderly have reported on surveys that they suffer from these issues.  Unfortunately, our mental health system is tedious to deal with, and because of the stigma and embarrassment associated with behavioral health issues, very few people who are experiencing these problems know where to turn for help.  

Many communities in Massachusetts are taking advantage of a highly-regarded mental health information and referral service called Interface, at William and James College in Newton.  Interface helps people of all ages find the appropriate mental health services they need.  This invaluable service comes with a cost, however, of $12,500 per year.  The Milton Public Schools, Milton Police Department and Milton Health Department understand the value of this service, and have each agreed to commit $2,000 to this effort.  We need to raise the balance of $6,500 from other sources by February 1st.

Would you be willing to contribute to this important resource that will surely benefit many Milton families?  The Milton Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition is coordinating the fundraising.   If you are able to donate $100 or more to our $6,500.00 goal, please let us know with an email to info@milton-coalition.org  Let us know your name and the amount that you are willing to commit to. Thank you in advance for considering this request.  Please review this brief fact sheet for more information about Interface.  

SEPAC  NEWS

Milton SEPAC is excited to present “What Matters Most”, An Evening of Heartfelt Storytelling with Carrie Cariello, tonight, January 25th, 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm  at Abby Park, 550 Adams Street in Milton. Carrie will be joining us for the second time to share stories about her life raising five children, one of whom has autism. Admission is free, all are welcome, light apps will be served and there is a cash bar. We hope you will join us for this informative and enjoyable evening.

Up next for the SEPAC – Collaborative Problem Solving, February 13th from 7- 9 pm at Glover Library.  Milton SEPAC will host Linda Perry, MA of Avalanche Advocacy Agency, Inc. for a discussion about raising kids with behavioral challenges.

The SEPAC would like to thank all the parents who attended our recent Parent Speak for the Glover school. Your feedback is valuable and necessary. We will be announcing the dates and location of our next Parent Speak events soon.

MFE NEWS

The Milton Foundation for Education is thrilled to announce the funding of $16,810 in teacher grants from our Fall 2017 Grant Cycle. These grants, which enrich the educational experience of students in all six schools, are the core mission of the MFE. These grants include, among others;  materials to support STEM classes, hop balls for physical education classes, and a financials skills initiative for high school students.

The Milton Foundation for Education thanks our hard working grant committee and the chair of the grant committee Amy Carleton Mills. Amy, who has announced she is leaving the MFE, has been a stalwart on the grant committee for several years and has been the chair for the last few grant cycles.

FOOD SERVICE

Milton Public Schools Wellness Policy  acknowledges the district’s responsibility to protect children’s health, well-being, and ability to learn by supporting wellness, good nutrition and regular physical activity. The district promotes healthy eating and regular exercise, which is linked to reduced risk of the development of many chronic diseases. The MPS Food Service and Athletic departments teamed up with Framingham State University’s Food and Nutrition Coordinated Program to provide nutrition education to their students. FSU Dietetic Undergraduate Student Jane Minton educated the MHS Boys Soccer Team about how to fuel their sports performance. Student-athletes learned the importance of proper nutrition and hydration before, during, and after sports activity. Continue reading here

MILTON SUMMER ENRICHMENT

Do you have a MHS student interested in applying for volunteer or paid Red Shirt Positions this summer at MSE? The link to apply is now open.  The deadline for applications is February 16th.

MILTON ADULT EDUCATION

Milton Adult Education is currently seeking a yoga instructor for the spring session, beginning the week of March 5th. (Registration will open soon) If you currently teach yoga, have availability on Monday, Tuesday, and/or Wednesday evenings this spring, and would like to share your talents with the community, please contact Sara Warner by this Friday, January 26th.

ART AND MUSIC NEWS

Exciting News for Milton’s Student Musicians! Milton Public Schools will be strongly represented at this year’s Massachusetts Music Educators Association All State Conference and Festival. In the upcoming weeks, students from Pierce Middle School and Milton High School will be joining select students from across Massachusetts to rehearse and perform in the honors ensembles.

This year, six Pierce Middle School singers were selected for the All State Treble Chorus.  Kyla Miller, Julia Mangum, Owen Creamer, Zoie Lebron, Fiona Zimon and William Heffron will prepare a full program of concert repertoire to be rehearsed and performed at the festival. Also, four of the MHS musicians who advanced to All State auditions will perform in the Massachusetts Concert Band, Mixed Chorus or Orchestra. Annabel Botsford (Chorus, Alto), Nethania Marc (Orchestra, Violin), Kaleigh Pentland (Chorus, Alto), and Benjamin Scott (Concert Band, Euphonium) will spend three days in rehearsal preparing for a performance culminating at Boston’s Symphony Hall. Congratulations to the students and their directors for this notable accomplishment!

Did you know the Cellar Dwellers have an album on iTunes?

In addition to individual student participation in the All State Festival, ensembles are encouraged to audition to be featured as exemplary performing groups at the music educators conference that runs in conjunction with the festival.  This year, MHS’s Cellar Dwellers Jazz Combo have been invited to perform!  Congratulations to group members Coleman Rose, Lemuel Marc, Dylan MacLeod, Henry Link, Jamie Eder, Billy Liddell, and their Director, Rebecca Damiani in receiving such an immense honor.  You can hear the Cellar Dwellers on iTunes! 

NEWS AROUND TOWN

Discovering Justice is co-hosting an event on Wednesday, February 14th, 3:30 – 6:00 pm in commemoration of Frederick Douglass’ 200th birthday and the Museum of African American History’s acclaimed exhibit: Picturing Frederick Douglass: The Most Photographed American of the 19th Century.

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

Please see the Milton Early Childhood Alliance Winter Newsletter, filled with many free activities for families to do together this season.

The Forbes House Museum presents their newest exhibit – Massachusetts Help to Ireland During the Great Famine. Come see artifacts and historic accounts at the opening reception on Saturday, January 27th, 4-6pm $10/person.

Milton Girls Softball is a recreational softball league open to girls K-8th grade who reside in or attend school in Milton. New softball players at all ages are welcome as this is an instructional program, yet competitive enough for everyone. The season runs from mid April until mid June. Register now to take advantage of FREE softball skills clinics to all registered girls in Grade 1 through Grade 8. Clinics will be held indoors at Dirt Dawgs in Stoughton on Sunday’s starting on January 28th until end of March. Clinics are free, but space is limited and we need your 2018 Spring registration paid in full prior to the first clinic.

MNLL 2018 Cooperstown Team will be having a “gently used” sports gear sale on February 3rd from 9am-12pm at Cunningham Hall.  Clean out your garage of your too small, last season sports equipment  for a good cause and they will pick up your donations!  Email Katy Koski  for pick up. Looking for good deals on used gear? Bring your kids to Cunningham Hall on Feb 3rd to pick up some bargains for next season!

ATHLETICS

Sports schedules for all MHS teams 

Boys Hockey has earned back-to-back ties against league foes Norwood and Braintree. Finn Doherty scored his first Varsity goal against the Mustangs over the weekend.

The Girls Hockey Team is 2-1 in their last 3 games, beating Weymouth and Norwood, while falling to Braintree last night. They sit at 7-3-3.

The Boys Basketball Team beat Norwood on Friday, with some excellent free throw shooting to kill the game off. They battled hard against O’Bryant and Braintree but could not take home the win. They will look to bounce back against Walpole this Friday.

Girls Basketball also took care of Norwood last Friday, with the Wildcats sharing the points. Jeanmarie Fallon finished with 9 points , while Meghan Kelly and Megan Lee both had 6 points each. After two tough games to Braintree and NDA, they’ll hope to right the ship against Walpole this Friday.

Wrestling enjoyed some success over the weekend in their Quad with Liam Kelly, Xavier Fischer and Chris Caputo all earning wins against Bridgewater Raynham. They took an undefeated Natick Team to the wire last night, eventually falling 40-30.

The Girls and Boys Track Teams fell to Natick last Thursday.  Smith Charles took 1st in the High Jump, while Andrew Flaherty won the shotput.  Tyrece Weekes set a personal record in his 2nd place finish in the 55 meter dash.  Genevieve Connelly took 1st in the 1000 meter, while Helen Juzyca won the shot-put for the girls. The Milton Girls also won the 4×400 meter relay.  They will look to get back to winning ways against Walpole tonight.

Mark your calendars! Make sure you come out and support our Cheer Team on Monday February 12th at Weymouth High School in their BSC Winter Competition.  Times are TBD, so be on the lookout for updates!

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The Milton High School Athletic Hall of Fame Committee needs you!  As we look to induct our  2019 HOF class we need your nominations of outstanding athletes for our 2019 ceremony. If you have an athlete, coach, team or supporter to nominate, please complete this form and email it to Billy Donovan or print and mail this form to Billy Donovan, MHS, 25 Gile Rd Milton MA 02186.

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MHS Boys Soccer will be hosting a Cans for Cats event on Saturday,February 3, 2018 from 9:00-12:00 at MHS. The event will benefit MHS Boys Soccer Team. Let’s help the team raise some money and recycle our cans  at the same time! A few weeks ago, the Ski Team (at left) made $203 on a very cold Saturday!

AMBASSADOR PAGE

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: Congratulations to the cast and crew of Pierce’s Suessical Jr. who put on THREE sold out shows last weekend! The talent was amazing, the set was impressive and the production wowed the audience. Congratulations to the Pierce Players cast and crew!

Staff:  As we acknowledge the students who worked hard on Suessical Jr. at Pierce, we have to thank the educators who made it possible! The Pierce Players is a true team effort. Putting on such a show requires the talent and dedication of many people. Fortunately for MPS, we had a fantastic group of Pierce folks working on this production. Credit goes to Bill Deschenes, Meghan Ohrenberger, Susan McKay, Susan Higgins, Jessica Royster, Stephanie Sherman, Erin Baldwin, Sandy Wyse, Erin Baldwin and Mike Buzell for their dedication to our students.

Volunteers:   Productions like Suessical Jr.  also take parent and community volunteers and engagement. Thank you to Shane Fuller, John Iltis, Gingy Grimes, Heather Utsler-Smith, Lily Doucette, Michelle Cardoza, Lauren Delaney, Juan Navarro and Katie Manning for supporting our Pierce Players!

Thank you to my blog contributors this week:  Michelle Kruezer, Dr. Glenn Pavilcek, Noel Vigue, Dr. Karen Spaulding, AJ Melanson, Tracy Grandeau, Jen Grubler, Llyod MacNeil, Jackie Morgan, Ryan Madden, Jean Scarborough, Heidi Vaughan, Holly Concannon, Jon Redden, Amy Harkins, Bill Deschenes, Dawn Sykes, Will Korman, Rebecca Damiani, Jennifer Struzziero, Sara MacNeil, Juan Navarro, Dawn Sykes and Laurie Stillman.

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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