February 15th, 2018

From: Mary C. Gormley
To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
Re: Weekly Update
Date: February 15, 2018


We are heartbroken over yesterday’s news of a school shooting at a Florida high school. Our thoughts and prayers are with students, families, teachers and staff of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

I would like to assure our parents and guardians that safety is a priority of the Milton Public Schools. We treat each and every student in the Milton Public Schools as if they were our own, and we regularly schedule lockdown, shelter-in-place and fire drills as well as additional safety precautions throughout the year. We have a security team comprised of Milton Police Officers, MPS Administrators, Principals, MPS Athletic Director, After School Coordinators and more. This committee had their most recent  meeting on Monday, February 12th. At that meeting the committee decided to share an updated communication plan with  parents/guardians that outlines the difference between a “Lockdown Drill” and a “Shelter-in- Place Drill”(sometimes referred to as a Stay-in-Place). Our safety protocol is in coordination with the Milton Police and Fire Departments under the direction of Sgt. Jack Richman.

Please feel free to contact my office at 617-696-4809 if you have any further questions about safety precautions in our schools. As we share in the shock and sorrow of the nation, I have asked Maria Trozzi, friend of the Milton Public Schools and nationally-recognized grief counseling expert, to provide our MPS Community with advice on how to answer questions and deal with the grief of students, teachers and staff in the days and weeks to follow.


The most pressing questions that we, as parents and adults, have as we face yesterday’s tragedy are:

  • How do we talk to our children?
  • How can we reassure our children and ourselves that we are doing everything we can to keep us safe?

The airline instruction to ‘put on our OWN oxygen masks before we put on our children’s’ comes to mind.

What can we do? We can create a conversation in our own community about:

  • Early identification of ‘troubled’ children and adolescents and access to effective psychiatric treatment  
  • A renewed look at the role of social media
  • Better access for ALL children and families to mental health services
  • Home, school, community focus on modeling tolerance and mitigating isolation for children who are ‘different’
  • Making informed decisions about our children’s exposure to media violence, both on television and films.
  • Rethinking our decisions about our children’s exposure to violent video games
  • Reconsidering our nation’s laws about purchasing and possessing automatic weapons

It is emotionally incongruous for us to move forward into the February vacation week while we as a nation grieve this tragedy. However, renewing and sustaining a conversation within our families, our schools, our houses of worship and our communities about what we CAN do going forward will ultimately protect our children and their future.

Please enjoy the following good news stories from all six of our schools, highlighting the creativity, ingenuity, intelligence and kindness of our students, staff and community.  


The Milton High School Robotics Team,  Milton State 5060, ended their season at the Robostorm Qualifier on January 27th, in Andover, MA.  The team, (Ryan Au, Edward Enyedy, Cooper Madigan and Austin Au) coached by MHS chemistry teacher Mr. Jon Diamond, made an amazing jump from 16th to 4th place, making it into the semi-finals, where they completed their 2017-2018 season. They will continue meeting this spring to prepare for next season and the 2018-2019 competition year. 


This past week, MHS students from The Young Women’s Group, The Young Men’s Group, The Calculus Project, and others interested in careers in the financial sector, traveled to KPMG for the second annual Black History Month Celebration: Recruiting the Next Generation of Accountants. KPMG sponsored the trip, covering the cost for transportation, lunch, and provided the students with a parting gift.  Students interacted with senior associates, managing directors, associate directors, and the office-managing principal, attended small group sessions and had the opportunity to learn more about the financial services that KPMG provides to clients around the world.  MHS teacher Larry Jordan shared more details from the trip here


More than 200 of our sophomores attended a live performance by the  Bay Colony Shakespeare Company of integral scenes in the play Macbeth,  a play all of our students read during sophomore year. The actors hosted a Q&A session after the play and talked about everything from historical context of the play within Shakespeare’s life to ways in which our students could pursue careers in acting.  Thank you to M-PACE and Milton Excise Tax payers who funded this performance for our students.


Ms. Jarrett and her father, James S. Dilday, Esq.

Our Pierce 6th graders were mesmerized by James S. Dilday, Esq. (father of 6th grade teacher Ms. Jarrett), who spoke to them in small groups this past week  about his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement as a member of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) from 1961-1966. Thank you to Mr Dilday for sharing his real life experiences with our students! 


Calling all Pierce golfers!  Is golf your thing? Or maybe you’re looking for a fun project this spring?  If so, we need YOU!  We are looking for a group of parents to help out with the first ever Pierce Middle School Golf Tournament on April 30th at Granite Links.  We have a great cause to raise money for – expanding the athletic teams at Pierce!  We have two Pierce parents who have stepped up to chair the event, now we need YOU to make it happen.  If you are willing to help in some way, please contact co-chairs Susan DiSandro or Debra MacNeil to get involved.  Our Pierce student athletes thank you!


The “I Survived” series by Lauren Tarshis has quickly become a favorite series in Mrs. Fradette’s 4th grade classroom at Tucker. Each book in the series tells a terrifying and thrilling story from history, through the eyes of a boy or girl who lived to tell the tale. Last month, Mrs. Fradette’s class was presented with an amazing opportunity through Mrs. Gartaganis, mother of George Gartaganis.  The class was asked to submit questions to the author, Lauren Tarshis. What the students did not know at the time is that the author would be recorded answering their questions on camera. The students did an amazing job working together and coming up with thought provoking questions for Mrs. Tarshis. Not only were students surprised by the personalized video but Mrs. Tarshis also provided the class with a signed copy of her latest book, “I Survived the American Revolution, 1776“.  


The Winter Olympics come to Milton!  To coincide with the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, our elementary Physical Education classes have been transformed into winter wonderlands!  Our PE teachers have collaborated with  classroom educators to provide a variety of cross-curricular opportunities.  Students experienced several aspects of winter Olympic sport, history, culture, training and fitness.  Whether they have been using scooters to recreate the bobsled, or using bean bags to mimic curling, students have been having fun being physically active while immersed in Olympic culture.


Glover has launched a Winter Olympics Challenge.  In honor of the Olympic Games, each child was issued a challenge to complete at least 10 fun and engaging activities over break that keep our Glover Kids moving, creating, playing, and learning. We will hold a Winter Olympics Challenge Closing Ceremony on Friday March 2nd with special guest Tara Mounsey, member of the 1998 Gold Medal United States Women’s Olympic Hockey Team and proud mother of  Glover students Teddy and Liam. Tara will join us at Glover to speak to all students about perseverance, big dreams, and determination.  We are so excited to have Tara join us and hope that this challenge keeps all of our Glover Kids engaged and learning even when they’re not here at school! 


This week the American Library Association announced the 2018 book awards for young adults and children.  The young adult honors include the Edwards Award, awarded to  Angela Johnson, the Morris Award winner is ​The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, the Nonfiction Award went to Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers by Deborah Heiligman,  the Odyssey Award was awarded to  ​The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, narrated by Bahni Turpin and the Printz Award winner is We Are Okay by Nina LaCour.  

The awards for children’s books include the Newbery Medal,  awarded to Hello, Universe written by Erin Entrada Kelly, the  Caldecott Medal awarded  to Wolf in the Snow, illustrated and written by Matthew Cordell and the Coretta Scott King Book Awards.  The 2018 King Author Award winner is Piecing Me Together, written by Renée Watson and the 2018 King Illustrator Award winner is Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets, illustrated by Ekua Holmes, written by Kwame Alexander with Chris Colderly and Marjory Wentworth.

Our MPS librarians Jess Royster, Jen Troy and Josh Coben have compiled a full list of  this year’s winners for our MPS families to enjoy and they encourage you to stop by your school or Milton Public Library to check out one of these titles!  


Due to parent/guardian feedback, we have now updated our automated messaging system to read directly from our bus rider information.  As a result, principals can now send emails, phone calls or texts to the parents/guardians of riders of any particular bus to alert them of any problems or delays that get reported to us. We hope this new functionality, particularly the ability to send text messages, helps to improve communication.


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   
Mar 7    Early Release Day Gr. K-12/PD Day
Mar 7    Milton School Committee 7pm
Mar 8    After School/Evening P/T Conferences
Mar 12  STEM Information Night 6pm

Full MPS Calendar


Nothing soothes the soul like music, especially when performed by talented high school musicians! Please join our MHS musicians TONIGHT (2/15) at their  Cabaret 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.


The Collicot Preschool PTO is hosting a February Vacation Playdate for ALL Milton preschoolers on Wednesday, February 21st from 9-11am at Toddler Town at Marina Bay SportsPlex. $6.50 per child. RSVP to the PTO to reserve your spot. 


5th Grade Families – Pierce Middle School would like to invite you (students are welcome too!) to come to the Pierce to learn all about the enriching learning opportunities your child will experience as a middle school student next year.  Please join us on Thursday, March 1st  at 6:30 PM in the Pierce auditorium for 5th Grade Information Night so we can tell you all about it!  Please email Pierce Principal Dr. Karen  Spaulding  if you have any questions. 


MPS is hosting the  South Shore Minority Educator Recruitment Fair   at The Copeland Field House at MHS on Saturday, March 3, from 9:30am – 12:30pm. There is a shortage of African American, Hispanic and Latino, Native American, and Asian educators, and the South Shore Minority Educator Recruitment Fair  helps to encourage those individuals to pursue a career in education. Representatives from South Shore public school districts will meet with potential employees in an effort to find the most qualified minority teacher and administrator candidates. Resumes will be accepted at the event, applications will be distributed, and interviews will be held.  


We recently provided information about staff PD planned for our early release and full days that are built into the school calendar. I would also like share with you information about our district PD Program for educational improvement, which provides additional professional growth opportunities to Milton educators beyond the school day.

1st and 2nd grade French Immersion teams at PD on Saturday, January 27th

We have a district-wide PD Committee of teachers and administrators who review educator submitted proposals for PD Strands.  These offerings assist in keeping Milton educators current in educational research, subject matter knowledge, pedagogy, and curriculum resources that impact teaching and learning.  A recent example of this type of PD is a workshop, led by World Language Director Dr. Fisher, which focused on Language Arts instruction and assessments in immersion setting. 1st and 2nd grade French Immersion teams (teachers and reading specialists) met for a district-wide professional development workshop on Saturday, January 27.  Teachers focused on formal reading assessments, the development of writing skills, diversity and multiculturalism in immersion classes and the addition of developmentally appropriate class activities, projects and resources on topics such as race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities in grade 1 and 2 immersion curricula.

The active participation of our first and second grade immersion teams, their productive collaboration and readiness to further develop their instructional skills and repertoire contribute greatly to the rigor and quality of our French immersion program. The workshop’s next session will take place in the spring.  


Milton taxpayers are receiving their excise tax bills this week and we hope you’ll take a moment to read this letter from Milton Partnership for Arts & Cultural Enrichment (M-PACE).  Please consider a donation to M-PACE when you pay your excise tax bill so our MPS students can continue to experience the cultural events made possible by M-PACE.  


L-R MPS Asst Supt Dr. Janet Sheehan, Health Department Director Caroline Kinsella, MSAPC consultant Deborah Milbauer, BID Milton Hospital President Rich Fernandez, and MSAPC Director Laurie Stillman.  Photo Credit: Steve Nelson

Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital Milton’s President and CEO Richard Fernandez  recently presented the Milton Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition with a check for $4,000.00 to support town wide participation in a free mental health referral service to become available for students and adults residing in the town of Milton in April 2018.  The service is called Interface and it is sponsored by William James College school of professional psychology.  


The Milton SEPAC will host our next Parent Speak event on March 6th from 6:30-8:30 pm for parents of high school students who receive special education services. Parents will have the opportunity to share their experiences, express concerns, and ask questions they may have about parents’ rights or the IEP process. We hope you’ll join us for this event which will be held in the conference room at the Milton Public Library.


For some students social media isn’t simply a way of life….it’s life itself.  Director of Educational Tecnology AJ Melanson shared the information below as it  provides great information and resources on how to keep online interactions safe, productive, and positive, by offering the most up-to-date research and guidance on social media.

In addition , School Committee member Margaret Eberhardt shares the following information: The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) position statement on Technology and Interactive Media as Tools in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children from Birth through Age 8.


Save the date!  This year’s Celebration for Education will be held on Saturday, April 28th at Granite Links. All proceeds raised will fund fine arts initiatives in all six schools. Get ready to dance your arts out!

On behalf of the MFE, I am pleased to share that $18,000 in Monster Dash funds have been allocated to science in the Milton Public Schools. $6000 at each level (elementary, middle and high school) will be used to purchase exciting and innovative supplies and equipment to enhance science in our schools. Thank you to all who supported the Monster Dash, a 5K race held each year in loving memory of Sam Cichello.


This week we received official notification that all six of our schools were  awarded the Healthier US School Challenge Bronze award. The HUSSC: Smarter Lunchrooms  award recognizes schools who have demonstrated a commitment to excellence in both nutrition and physical education, and actively work to promote a healthier school environment for children. As only 7% of schools in the U.S. are recognized as HUSSC schools this  is a wonderful accomplishment for each of these schools, Director of Nutrition Services Jackie Morgan and  our MPS Food Service Department.  


Busy weekday mornings make it a challenge for many families to find time for a healthy breakfast.  Studies show that students who eat school breakfast are more likely to: reach higher levels of achievement in math; score higher on standardized tests; have better concentration, memory and alertness; have improved attendance, behavior, and academic performance and maintain a healthy weight.

To encourage more families to take advantage of the healthy choices available for school breakfast, MPS will celebrate National School Breakfast Week the week of March 5-9th.

“A healthy breakfast at the start of the day is one way to ensure students are getting the best education possible,” shares Jacqueline Morgan, Director of Food Services. The district serves over 550 breakfast meals daily and we want to increase that number! Breakfast costs $1.25 and is available in all of our schools twenty minutes before the start of the school day.  We have grab and go carts in our middle and high school so our students can grab a hot breakfast on their way to class. If your child hasn’t tried school breakfast, please consider it during National School Breakfast Week.


MPS SEL Facilitator Laurie Stillman shares that social skills can be taught through conversation and practice with your children and modeling appropriate social skills. Knowing how to constructively deal with conflict is one important social skill to have. Few people enjoy having to deal with conflict, especially when it arises with family members, friends or coworkers. Many people who shy away from conflict do so because they want to be liked or loved, and fear that won’t happen if they confront a problem head-on.  But if interpersonal problems don’t get resolved quickly, bad feelings can linger, and relationships often suffer. There are empowering techniques to diffuse and resolve conflictual situations shared here


Classes for the spring 2018 Adult Education session are beginning to fill up!  If you are interested in taking one, please visit our website for course details and information on how to register, Questions?  Please contact Sara Warner. 


Brookwood Community Farm CSA Spring, Summer, Fall, Fruit and Half Shares are now available for purchase. Brookwood Community Farm’s mission is to build a farm-centered community that members call their own. Farm members are united by a shared passion for sustainable agriculture, fresh local food, and a commitment to increasing access to healthy food.  

Save the Date for the fifth annual Milton Music Festival and Fireworks on June 23-24 at Hutchinson’s Field.  If you’d like to give some input to what you will see/hear/eat that weekend, please take this short survey

Lots going on in the MPL vacation week and the week after


4th graders at Collicot and Cunningham  are learning about African American fiber artist, Aminah Robinson.  Aminah Robinson was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio and is known for her “RagGonNons” an often large and complex work of art that is on cloth and encrusted with buttons, beads, and other found objects.  Students started their version of a “RagGonNon” by drawing a self-portrait and then stiching it onto burlap.  They then chose yarn, fabric pieces, beads, pipe cleaners and wire to embellish their work. 


3rd Graders meditatively grinding ink for Sumi-E bamboo painting

In celebration of Lunar New Year , Glover 3rd and 4th graders are learning Sumi-E painting, which includes meditatively grinding ink and using value and line to create bamboo (3rd gr.) or animals(4th gr.)

Lunar New Year Sumi-E paintings


Sports schedules for all MHS teams.

Milton High School is hosting the MIAA Division 2 state wrestling tournament on February 16th and 17th. All details can be found here. Go Wildcats!  


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 MHS LifeSmarts Team who are the 2018 Massachusetts State Champions!  Captain Brendan Baker, and team members Thanh Nguyen, Aidan Braithwaite, Julia Nerenberg, and Anson Yip have been invited to travel to San Diego on April 20th  to compete for the LifeSmarts National Championship. In LifeSmarts, the ultimate consumer challenge, students learn about consumer issues that impact everyday life – everything from managing finances, making smart consumer choices, understanding technology, staying healthy, and helping the environment. This competition prepares students to enter the real world as smart, responsible, informed consumers. I am happy to acknowledge the students listed above as well as additional team members Wally Heller, Nessan O’Donnell, Brandon Seeto, Timothy Karoff, Khalil Darouichi, Will Jrolf, and Chris Caputo.

Staff:  I would like to recognize Director of Health and Physical Education Noel Vigue and SEL Facilitator Laurie Stillman for coordinating the MPS PARENT Speaker Series. They have worked to find speakers of interest to the MPS community as well as coordinating funding from multiple sources. We have had 4 well attended and valuable speakers and look forward to the next three – Celine Coggins on March 28th, Michael Cain on April 5th and Katie Greer on May 9th.

Volunteers: I am grateful to Maria Trozzi, M.Ed, who is a longtime friend of the Milton Public Schools and is always willing to support us in times of local or national crisis. The founding Director of the Good Grief Program at Boston Medical Center, Director of Joanna’s Place, and author of Talking to Children about Loss,  Ms. Trozzi’s information shared above and here is an invaluable resource for MPS families.  

Thank you to my blog contributors this week:  James Jette, Cat DesRoche, Dr Karen Spaulding, Karen McDavitt, Barbara Wright, Ryan Madden, AJ Melanson,  Noel Vigue, Laurie Stillman, Sara Warner,  Dr Karen Spaulding, Will Korman, Janet Sheehan, Maria Trozzi, Steve Nelson, Mike Goodless, Laurel Bernini, Star Baylon, Dr. Glenn Pavlicek, Jackie Morgan, Margaret Eberhardt, Tracy Grandeau, Dr. Martine Fischer, Amy Tom, Larry Jordan,  Zakia Jarrett, Jess Royster, Jen Troy and Josh Coben.

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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