February 8th, 2018

From: Mary C. Gormley
To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
Re: Weekly Update
Date: February 8th, 2018

FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT

As some of you may know, Milton High School is exploring the option of implementing Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) for the 2018-19 academic school year. I have asked Educational Technology Director AJ Melanson to share the process behind this initiative.

The Milton Public Schools strives to ensure all students are college and career ready.  According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, “Employment of computer and information technology occupations is projected to grow 13 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations.”  In addition, more than seventy-eight percent of MHS alumni report they submit over seventy-five percent of college assignments electronically.  

With this information in mind, we have been exploring the option of implementing Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) for the 2018-19 academic school year. The Technology Department has submitted a request to purchase three hundred Chromebooks through capital funds for next year.  If this request is funded, MHS will implement BYOD next year.  The new devices will be available to students who do not have a device, other than their phone, and students who have computer issues with their own device during the school day.  

In preparation for this initiative several committees have been formed to research other school districts across the commonwealth, and develop detailed researched action plans.  The committee members include teachers, administrators and parents/guardians. The committee has been researching and assessing many facets of this idea including: professional development for staff; current infrastructure and needed improvements; web based applications that run seamlessly on all devices; minimum device specifications; single sign-on; acceptable Use Policy; a new Technology Plan; other district’s successes and challenges implementing 1:1 initiatives; extra IT support needed; insurance; family purchases of the same device MPS uses and a system for signing in and out devices.

In order to help us better prepare for the BYOD initiative, we ask all 8-11th grade families to complete this short survey.  Thank you for your help and support with this exciting advancement.

PARENT SPEAKER SERIES

I hope you can join me tonight (Thursday, February 8th), to hear Dr. Ruth Potee speak at 6:30pm at MHS. Don’t miss this fascinating presentation by Dr. Potee, a nationally recognized pediatrician and expert on youth risk-taking behavior, who provides parents with practical information on how to prevent their children from abusing alcohol and drugs.

Before Dr. Potee speaks, be sure to visit the exhibit “Hidden in Plain Sight”, which shows the clever hiding spots that kids use to hide their secret activities.  Every parent should be aware of them.  “Hidden in Plain Sight” will be in the MHS foyer from 6-6:30pm.

SCHOOL COMMITTEE UPDATE

There has been one School Committee meeting, on February 7th,  since my last update. The next meeting will be held on February 28th at  7pm in the Milton TV Access studio, Room 245, Milton High School. School Committee meetings can be viewed in their entirety on Milton Access Television.  

HIGH SCHOOL HAPPENINGS

550 of our 8th and 11th graders were able to attend Thurgood, a one-man show produced by the New Repertory Theatre, at MHS on Wednesday,February 7th.  Actor Johnny Lee Davenport plays Thurgood Marshall, the first African American member of the Supreme Court. The play takes place during the Obama administration and Justice Marshall reflects on the many challenges and successes of his lifetime, retelling his participation in landmark cases in American history, including Brown vs. Board of Education.

Our juniors focus on American history and literature and the message of the play and the time period which it spans are very fitting for our students. Our 8th graders are reading Lay that Trumpet in Our Hands by Susan Carol McCarthy, a novel with Thurgood Marshall as one of the major characters.   

The school day performance was sponsored by M-PACE and Courageous Conversations for Racial Justice sponsored an evening performance for the community. The Milton Public Schools is grateful to both M-PACE and Courageous Conversations for bringing this play to Milton High School during Black History Month.

MIDDLE SCHOOL NEWS

In addition to the Thurgood play (above) and Future Problem Solving (below), I wanted to share some fun news from Pierce. Our 8th graders took on their teachers in a fiercely contested annual Staff vs. Student basketball game last week. After 40 minutes of intense play in front of a cheering crowd,  I am happy to report that our 8th graders pulled off the win in a very close game! Congratulations to all who played and continued this fun tradition at Pierce. 

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As the Pierce Ski & Board Club winds down for the season I want to thank the parent volunteers who made the club possible for the second year in a row. As you can see in these pictures, our Pierce students ( almost 90 of them!) enjoyed this opportunity.

INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

Our 5th, 6th and 8th grade FPS teams at the Canton Bowl this past weekend

All MPS 4th graders participate in Future Problem Solvers as part of the 4th grade curriculum. Students learn a six-step problem solving process which they then apply, along with their research on specific topics, to solve social and scientific problems. A “future scene” prompts students to explore challenges as they refine their critical and creative thinking skills, focus on one problem area to solve, produce solution ideas, generate criteria to evaluate their solutions, and develop an action plan. In 5th grade and middle school, students are selected for 4 person teams to compete in FPS bowls. 10 teams from the 5th, 6th and 8th grade competed in a regional bowl in Canton on February 3rd. Our students were excited to approach a new future scene related to the topic of philanthrocapitalism at the Canton Bowl. 5th grade parent Heather Bergin shares that “I love that FPS is a highly competitive activity that is focused on intellectual challenges and peer collaboration. My daughter absolutely loves it. Her first meet was just as exciting as any sports tournament!” Her daughter Reilly, a Collicot 5th grader shares that “This was my first bowl and I got nervous, but my teammates gave me courage and it was so, so, so fun!”

We await the results over the coming weeks as their work is judged and the FPS teams will begin  research on Cloud Storage to prepare the chosen teams to move forward to the State Bowl in April where they compete for the opportunity to represent Massachusetts at the FPSP International Conference in June. Congratulations to the teams from Pierce, Glover, Tucker, Cunningham and Collicot for what their coaches Justine S. Novak, Nicole Lauria and Thuy Nguyen tell me were impressive outings last weekend.  

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Collicot held two very successful Science Fairs in the past week. You can see many smiling faces and cool experiments in this photo link

In other science news, our Tucker students are preparing for their upcoming Science Fair and are being inspired by learning about accomplished African American scientists. This week they learned about Patricia Bath, the first person to invent and demonstrate Laserphaco Cataract Surgery.  

MPS CALENDAR

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 Cabaret
Feb 19  February Recess begins
Feb 26  School Resumes
Feb 28  Milton School Committee 7pm
Mar 1    Grade 5 Information Night 6:30 PM Pierce Auditorium
Mar 3    Minority Educators Job Fair  9:30am -12:30 pm MHS Field House
Mar 6    First Grade Information Night 6:30 pm at MHS   

UPCOMING MPS EVENTS

K-8 Math Night for Parents/Guardians – Do you ever wonder how can you support your child at home? Or how is learning math different from when you went to school? Then Math Night is for you! Join MPS educators on February 13th at 6:30pm at Pierce for an interactive evening where you attend sessions that interest YOU! We want to plan for attendees so please sign up here.  

Join your friends at Cunningham for the Cunningham Diversity Night on Feb 15th at 7pm.  It will be an exciting evening learning more about the cultures of Cunningham families and engaging in some fun activities! 

Please join our MHS musicians a their upcoming Cabaret on Thursday, February 15th at 7PM at MHS.  Cabaret is a student talent show and all proceeds go to supporting students attending the Music Department Cultural Trip to Philadelphia in April. 

MILTON SUMMER ENRICHMENT

Believe it or not, it is time to start thinking about Milton Summer Enrichment (MSE) 2018! We are looking forward to a fun-filled summer with your children. This letter will serve as the first of many communications in the upcoming months about MSE, and contains important information about our program. You can read the full MSE letter here.

MSE Volunteer and Paid Red Shirt Positions  are available and the deadline for these applications is February 16th.

 SUMMER CAMP INFORMATION

The very popular Camp Invention is returning to the Tucker School this summer! If you have any questions about Camp Invention, please email Camp Director Zeina Hamada.

Empow is also holding two summer camps at the Glover School.

GUIDANCE NEWS

Please join Principal James Jette and Guidance Director Karen Cahill on Tuesday, February 13th at 7:30 am (please note the morning time) in the MHS auditorium for a discussion on the elimination of class rank at Milton High School. This conversation is a follow up to our evening discussion with parents/guardians on December 6, 2017.

FUNDRAISING NEWS

The MHS freshman class is holding a Skate Night at Shea Ice Rink in Quincy this  Saturday, February 10th from 8-10pm for MHS and PMS students.  $5 a student with a $20 family cap. Please consider joining the freshman class on the ice!  

SEPAC NEWS

Milton SEPAC will host Linda Perry, MA of Avalanche Advocacy Agency, Inc. for a discussion about raising kids with behavioral challenges on February 13th  at  7pm at the Glover Library. This event is free and open to the public.

MILTON ADULT EDUCATION

Registration for the Spring 2018 session is now OPEN, so please take a look at our courses and sign up.  Many of the offerings have a maximum number of allowed students, so please register early to ensure your placement.  Questions?  Please email Sara Warner.   

SOCIAL EMOTIONAL LEARNING

I wanted to share a free opportunity for those who want to learn more about the mental health of our young people. Youth Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, health and human services workers, and other caring citizens how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health or addictions challenge or is in crisis. The course (on March 2nd in Randolph) introduces common mental health challenges for youth, reviews typical adolescent development, and teaches a 5-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations.  All participants will receive a certificate of completion and you can register here

FROM THE READERS

What is the MPS staff reading these days? The Diversity Committee is hosting a Cultural Competency Book Club as an opportunity to learn and share best practices in culturally competent education. Participants choose of one of three books to be discussed at meetings this spring. I share these titles because I know many families will find value in these books as well.  Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People by Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald, Square Peg: My Story and What It Means for Raising Innovators, Visionaries, and Out-of-the-Box Thinkers by Todd Rose and Schooltalk: Rethinking What We Say About and to Students Everyday by Mica Pollock are on many of our educators reading lists this spring.

NEWS AROUND TOWN

Fontbonne Academy will be hosting a conversation with the former President of NAACP Boston Chapter Michael Curry on Friday 2/9 at 5:30pm and has generously extended an invitation to the MPS community to attend.  The conversation is geared towards high school students and adults and details can be found here

Three former MPS students, Elena Curran, Ruby D’Amato  and Sarah Ford, are hosting a fundraiser to improve education for Ecuadorian children. I am always happy to see our former students engaged in the community and invite you to view details here

Milton’s Coordinated Family and Community Engagement Program (MECA) has asked me to share their  Family Survey flyer.  Every family who completes the survey will be entered into a raffle to win a large basket of children books. 

There are many great programs for teens at the Milton Public Library this month.

Be sure to check out the programs for kids happening at the Milton Public Library during vacation week.

Girls K-5 – Grab your favorite (adult) dance partner and join the Girl Scouts for their Sweetheart Dance on Friday, March 9th.

Town spring sports will be starting soon! Register for Softball, Field Hockey, Baseball (Nat League) , Baseball (Amer League)  and Lacrosse before it’s too late.

ART AND MUSIC NEWS

The Music Festival season is upon us. Last weekend, 65 MHS and Pierce musicians   travelled to Hanover High School to audition for the junior and senior music festivals hosted by the Southeastern School Bandmasters Association (SEMSBA).  Of the 65 Milton students who auditioned for a seat in one of the ensembles, 48 were selected.  Among the notable highlights, Julia Nerenberg, a MHS junior, will serve as Concert Mistress in the SEMSBA Senior Festival Orchestra, and six of the 17 students in the SEMSBA Jazz Band will be from Milton.  On the weekend prior, 29 Milton students attended the Eastern District Junior Festival Auditions at Needham High School, and  14 students were accepted. Please join me in congratulating our students and their directors for another outstanding representation of Milton Music!  Thank you  to our audition chaperones Rebecca Damiani, Julia Hanna, Kaitlyn Laprise, and Debra Miller.

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I hope many of our student musicians will consider performing in one of the upcoming Milton Youth Musicians Festivals held at the East Congregational Church in Milton. The mission of the Festivals is to encourage town wide support of young people with an interest in music, and to foster the development of performance skills. Students in grades 1-12 are invited to apply to perform. Please visit Milton Young Musicians Festival Overview for details. 

ATHLETICS

MHS sports schedules for all teams

Congratulations to Chae!

 

I am thrilled to share that MHS senior Chae Diani signed her DI National Letter of Intent to Play Soccer at Bryant University this fall.  Congratulations to Chae and her family! 

 

 

 

It is that time of year again! Milton High School students are participating in the Boosters’ Annual Calendar Sales. The sale started February 1st and will run through Tuesday, February 27th.  Be on the lookout for the sale of these calendars and reach out to any MHS Athlete to purchase.  All money raised goes right back into the MHS Athletic Program. 

 

AMBASSADOR PAGE

Each week 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 congratulating the Milton High School Students of the Quarter who were recognized this morning in a ceremony at MHS.  In order to recognize those students who are making a contribution to our community, each department nominates two students who deserve commendation for the previous marking period.  These students may have shown marked improvement, may have done a significant project or may have shown outstanding effort.  Because of these individuals, Milton High School continues to be an outstanding school. It is a pleasure to recognize these students.  

Staff:  I would like to recognize Brian Powers, who followed the successful “teachers teaching teachers” professional development model and brought valuable and important information about SEL, behavioral health, and suicide prevention back to all teachers at Glover after a presentation by Jon Mattleman. Mr. Powers was joined by Sarah Whitten and Elizabeth Bowen, who presented strategies and classroom instructional opportunities for teachers to improve executive functioning skills in students, as inspired by Sara Ward presentations and their own ground-breaking work. Sara Ward and Jon Mattleman were both featured presenters in the MPS PARENT Speaker Series this year. This was a fantastic example of in-district professional development and we are so fortunate to have staff with such incredible knowledge and expertise. 

Volunteers: Thank you to Chris Twyman and Ken Haynes from BoomWriter who are once again bringing the Milton Annual BoomWriter Bee to all students in 4th and 5th grade. Our students will read chapter 1 of a story written by Jeff Kinney, author of the wildly popular series Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and each week that follows all students will write their own version of the subsequent chapter. A voting process will select a winning chapter each week and at the end of the project, we will have a published book written by the pens (actually keyboards) of many of our students. All students along the way will have the opportunity to provide feedback and determine the direction of the story, thus making it a truly collaborative writing process. The Bee will kick off next week with classroom based presentations for 4th and 5th graders and will culminate in the end of March when we will honor the writers and celebrate the completion of the book!

Thank you to my blog contributors this week: Bernadette Moonan, James Jette, Cat DesRoche, Dr Karen Spaulding, Karen McDavitt, Barbara Wright, Ryan Madden, Michelle Kruezer, AJ Melanson, Jen Grubler, Noel Vigue, Laurie Stillman, Heidi Schleicher, Sara Warner, Holly Conannon, Amy Gale, Susan Dolan, Liddie Sutter, Brian Sullivan,  Dawn Sykes, Zeina Hamada, Justine S. Novak, Nicole Lauria and Thuy Nguyen. 

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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