March 15, 2018

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


Over the past two months, The Milton Public Schools has held a series of information nights to inform and engage parents and guardians about programs offered within the Milton Public Schools.  In January we held Preschool and Kindergarten Information Nights to welcome families to MPS and share the processes around registering for one of our preschool programs, the preschool lottery and the kindergarten registration process. Our preschool process is complete, as is the majority of kindergarten registration and we look forward to welcoming our new students in September.

In February and early March we held 5th Grade Information Night as well at 1st Grade Information Night and STEM Information Night. Dr Spaulding welcomed 5th grade families to Pierce with practical information and reassuring advice as these students prepare to transition to middle school. 1st Grade Information Night served to apprise kindergarten parents and guardians about the two programs offered in 1st grade – French Immersion and English Innovation Pathway – and give time frames, school assignment and lottery details. STEM Information Night was an opportunity for kindergarten  families to experience the STEM curriculum in action.

Our final information night, MHS Program of Studies/Advanced Placement Information Night, takes place tonight, Thursday March 15th, at 6:30 pm at MHS.  During this evening presentation we will review graduation requirements, course offerings and answer any questions you may have about our program of studies.  

If you have questions about any of the programs offered above, please email Marti McKenna for preschool, Laurie Dunn for kindergarten, your current principal for 1st grade, Karen Spaulding for 5th grade and James Jette or Karen Cahill for MHS. 

With the two snow days this week, the final day of school is now Friday, June 22nd. The MPS calendar can be found here


On March 9th, MHS students Sarah Mitchell, Isabelle Richer, Vanessa Lorden and Alisa Lorden travelled  to Northeastern University for their Marine Science Symposium. High school students and teachers from the Boston area came together to learn about research and practice around marine science topics and issues. The event featured both keynote speakers in a plenary format as well as hands-on break-out workshops led by scientists, policymakers, graduate students, and others engaged in marine-related careers.  


Art in action at MHS!


The art room at Pierce has been busy with 8th grade students completing their ceramic vessels as they are glazed and  fired. Students created pinch pots with fitted lids using slab, scoring and slipping, and adding texture techniques. They explored the different stages of clay from plastic to leatherhard,  bone dry, bisque, and glazeware thoughout the process of creating their vessels.


The Pierce Middle School Science Fair is Tuesday, March 20th from 6:30-8pm.  In addition to many interesting science projects, the New England Aquarium will be on-site with a hands-on exhibit and the MHS Robotics Team will be doing demonstrations. We hope to see you there – as a participant or spectator. 


STEM Night for our kindergarteners was very well attended this week.  Families gathered around using spoons, popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, and more to create catapults that  successfully launched marshmallows over hedges. Families talked with World Language Director Martine Fischer to learn about Spanish in the English Innovation Pathway curriculum, children used Osmo Technology and coded Dash the Robot. The level of engagement and excitement was palpable. Our rising first graders are fortunate  to have the choice between two incredible programs – French Immersion and English Innovation Pathway.  

If you missed the 1st Grade Information Night on March 6th, you can view the presentation here


Mrs Stefanick and Cunningham 5th graders headed into the Starlab

The Starlab is a 5th grade highlight of the Sun, Moon and Planets Unit of study.  For 3 months our fifth graders study the phases of the moon, the Earth’s place in the solar system and motion of the objects in the sky. This unit culminates in a session in the Starlab with students observing and learning about the constellations visible from the Northern hemisphere, the daily motion of the objects present in the sky and how this is used as evidence of the rotation of the Earth on its axis. The Starlab is also used at the middle school as part of the astronomy unit in the fall and as part of a mini lesson on the chemistry of stars as a connection to the unit Chemical Interactions. The high school uses the Starlab in the physics, astronomy and biology classes. Starlab was recently used with great success by Pierce science teachers Allison Meleedy and Rachel Clancy during the February Vacation Camp sessions they ran at Tucker and Collicot. They planned and implemented activities for kids across all grades who attended camp. The Starlab was a grant purchase from the MFE, written for MPS by Moira Downes. As always, we are grateful to the MFE for their ongoing support!  


Each spring, thanks to the generosity of M-PACE, our 4th graders are treated to a trip to Boston Symphony Hall to attend the Boston Symphony Orchestra Youth Concert. This annual trip acts as an introduction to the full orchestra experience, encouraging long-term interest in orchestral music and the BSO, and delivering positive character development messages through each performance. This year’s program was titled, “Learning By Heart”-A Journey of Exploration and Engagement (Lesson: Following Your Heart Requires the Brain, as Well) and included the music of BERLIOZ (Roman Carnival Overture),  BIZET (Intermezzo, from Carmen), DVOŘÁK (4th movement from Symphony No. 8) and others.


Mar 15  Program of Studies AP Info Night MHS 6:30pm
Mar 19  Pierce Middle School Passport to the Arts 5:30-7pm
Mar 20  Cunningham Passport to the Arts
Mar 20  Pierce MS Science Fair
Mar 20  Collicot Passport to the Arts
Mar 20  SEPAC Board Meeting
Mar 21   Glover Passport to the Arts
Mar 21   Milton School Committee and Open Budget Hearing
Mar 22   MHS Passport to the Arts
Mar 22   MISOM String Ensemble Concert at MHS

The full MPS calendar can be found here.  

Members of the MHS 2018 social justice group YW InITA invite the MPS community to join them for a discussion on racism and classicism on March 20th, 6-8pm at MHS.


Please join us for our Music In Our Schools Month Concerts. Our next concert is March 22- Grades 5-12 string ensembles. The performance begins at 7pm at MHS and admission is free.


The MHS Rugby Players will be hosting a  Wildcat Fun Night fundraiser Friday March 23rd, 6- 8:15 pm at the Glover School for children in grades K – 5 who attend Milton Public Schools. What is a Wildcat fun night? The Milton High Rugby players and some of their cheerleader friends will play games with your children while YOU have a night out!


Welcome to Middle School is a 3 0r 4 day camp that takes place at Pierce in June or August to acclimate rising 6th graders to middle school. Details and new dates can be found here.


Another recent study confirms the health harms of e-cigarettes, shares Laurie Stillman. MPS SEL Facilitator.  A report in the Journal of Pediatrics (Jan 2018) found that adolescents who used e-cigarettes (but did not smoke regular cigarettes), had higher levels of multiple cancer-causing chemicals in their urine.  They concluded that, “while e-cigarette vapor may be less hazardous than tobacco smoke, our findings challenge the idea that e-cigarette vapor is safe, because many of the compounds in them are carcinogenic. Messaging to teenagers should include warnings about the potential risk from toxic exposure to carcinogenic compounds generated by these products.” The same Journal reported last year that there is an explosion of use of e-cigarettes among youth in recent years.  Nearly one-third of high school students have used e-cigarettes, and at least half of them are regular users. E-cigarettes, which are hard to detect because they release an odorless vapor, have become the new delivery system for tobacco, marijuana and other drugs among our youth. We must be vigilant about speaking with our children to stem this growing public health threat.


Our next speaker in the PARENT Speaker Series will take place on Wednesday, March 28 in the MHS Auditorium at 6:30pm. Please join us as Dr. Celine Coggins along with an MPS Leadership panel, presents “What’s the Deal with Testing? Separating the Myths from What Matters”.  Testing in schools has been a fixture in the news over the past few years and almost none of the press has been positive. Added to this uncertainty have been multiple changes to the state test (MCAS to PARCC to MCAS 2.0) leaving many parents with more questions than answers.  This event will tackle the myths and realities of testing, and spark an open dialogue on the role of testing in the Milton Public Schools. After Dr. Coggins presentation, there will be an MPS Leadership panel open to parent/guardian questions.  


Save the date for our April 8th speaker,  Michael Thompson, Ph.D. presenting:“Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Lives of Boys”. Dr. Thompson gives suggestions to teachers and parents about how to support a boy in the early years of school and how to help a boy remain emotionally open in adolescence.  


We are pleased to present the 2018-2019 Milton High School Program of Studies.  Course selection for next year is an exciting time for students, parents and the MHS staff.  Please join us on Thursday, March 15th at 6:30 pm at MHS for our Program of Studies/Advanced Placement Information Night. We will review graduation requirements, course offerings and answer any questions you may have about our program of studies.  


The  2018 Massachusetts State Champion MHS LifeSmarts Team, is raising money to travel to San Diego on April 20th  to compete for the LifeSmarts National Championship.  LifeSmarts is a rigorous consumer literacy program that is open to high-school students nationwide. Sponsored by the National Consumers League the focus of LifeSmarts is on real-world topics relevant to all teens: personal finance, consumer rights, health and safety, technology and the environment.  At the Nationals, the winning teams have the opportunity to meet other students from across the country, win individual and team awards and scholarships, and demonstrate leadership, teamwork, and their consumer smarts. Details on how to  support these talented students can be found here.  


Please join the Milton SEPAC for our upcoming event: Understanding School Refusal in Children and Teens. On March 29th at 6:30 in the Keys Community Room at the Milton Public Library, Dr. Ryan Ruth Conway will share information about warning signs and strategies for managing this increasingly common issue.


What is Circle-S? Circle-S is a unique and exciting, FREE support group serving children whose siblings have a disability. Children (age 6-18) come with their parent and enjoy a pizza supper, and join other “typical sibs” who face similar experiences of living with a brother or sister with special needs. Parents have the opportunity to meet and make connections with other parents in a safe, confidential environment. They can speak honestly about the joys and challenges of raising a child with special needs, while also raising a “typical” child. Starts April 9th in the Collicot/Cunningham Library.


This is what the MFE looks like in action. Pictured is  Elementary Science Coordinator Linda Stefanick in her glory surrounded by new Dashes that were funded by the Monster Dash. Our elementary students will be thrilled to get these in classrooms in the coming days. Thank you to the MFE!

The next big MFE event is around the corner. Save the date for Celebration 2018 to benefit art in our schools. Celebration is April 28th at 6:30 pm at Granite Links. There will be food stations, auctions, raffles, MPS friends and FUN. Get ready to dance your ARTS out for our kids!    


See what the library has to offer this week!  

Tonight’s the night for  a fun night out in support of the Milton Public Library. A live Beatles Tribute Band, along with craft beer, wine, and cheese will accompany Rolling Stone columnist Rob Sheffield as he discusses his critically acclaimed book, “Dreaming The Beatles,” at Milton Academy’s Kellner Performing Arts Center on Thursday, March 15, from 7-9pm. Tickets are $50.00 and may be purchased online at the Milton Library Foundation’s website.

Keep Calm and Get Your Irish On, a St. Patrick’s Day fundraiser for the Milton Art Center being held Friday, March 16th, 7:30-10: 30 pm at the MAC at 334 Edge Hill Road.  $30 per person for Shepard’s pie, Irish Bread, refreshments, step dancers, silent auction. Get your tickets here.


Music in Our Schools Month continued with festival performances last week.  MMEA-Eastern District and SEMSBA hosted their junior and senior music festivals, and 41 Pierce and MHS students participated.  You can see our MHS participants in the senior festival at the top of today’s blog. 

Join your school community for Passport to the Arts in the coming weeks! We encourage you to visit your own school for Passport to the Arts as well as any of the other schools in the district. Below is a sneak peek of a few of our Passport displays! 


Sports schedules for all MHS teams

Spring Athletics Registration is open.  Tryouts are Monday, March 19th.   Please be on the lookout for registration hours posted on Twitter and the website.


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:

Butch Stearns, Olivia DiSandro and Erin McDonough Photo Credit: Steve Babineau

Students:  Please join me in congratulating  7th grade writer Olivia DiSandro. Olivia won first place in the 7th grade division of the 2018 Will McDonough Sports Writing Contest.  Olivia wrote about an incredible show of sportsmanship during the 5,000 meter race in the summer Olympics. After a fall on the track, New Zealand’s Nikki Hamblin and U.S. runner, Abbey D’Agostino, crossed the finish line together.  Olivia was honored for her thoughtful piece of writing by the New England Sports Museum at Sunday night’s Celtics game.

Who’s excited for Flipgrid?

Staff:  Thank you to Collicot 3rd grade teacher Liz Spitz whose class entered and won a contest allowing access for her students to Flipgrid for 1 year. This exciting technology program is amazing and is a great example of how teachers are using innovative technology everyday to enhance curriculum and engage students.  In order to celebrate March 2 Read Across America Day, Fligrid wanted to celebrate diverse global readers across the entire world. Students in Mrs Spitz’ class shared favorite books from home and school, had the most videos and views and were one of only 10 classes world wide who won the contest and a free membership to Flipgrid! Mrs Spitz’ creativity and excitement in the classroom has clearly translated to her students. 

Volunteers: I would like to thank Tucker dad Keith Wick (who just happens to be the MHS boys lacrosse coach) who kicked off the first of two lacrosse camps at Tucker this week. 30 kids, grades K-5, learned stick handling, throwing and catching and how to move with the stick. Thanks to Coach Wick and members of the boys lacrosse team who joined in to teach and mentor the next generation of MHS Lax superstars!

Thank you to my blog contributors this week:  Holly Concannon, Amy Gale, Laurie Stillman, Stephanie Sherman, Linda Stefanick, Dr Karen Spaulding, Susan DiSandro, Dawn Sykes, Laurel Bernini, Maureen Butler, Karen Cahill, Noel Vigue, Tim Te, Jennifer Struzziero, Cat DesRoche, Gigi Jiang and Trish Heleen.

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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