March 22, 2018

From: Mary C. Gormley
To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
Re: Weekly Update
Date: March 22, 2018

FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT

I want to share a letter to the town of Milton written by Police Chief John King, Health Dept. Director Caroline Kinsella, and Director of the MSPAC and SEL  Facilitator for MPS, Laurie Stillman, and me, in my role as Superintendent of MPS. The letter is excerpted below and the links will bring you to more detail.

There has been a growing spotlight and concern about mental illness in the aftermath of recent mass shootings. While it is true that many mass shooters have a history of behavioral health disorders, it is also true that most people with mental illness or emotional problems are not violent.  

Mental illness is very common. One in five children will experience a behavioral health illness in their lifetimes and late life depression affects about 6 million Americans age 65 and over. (NAMI).  Between 2010 and 2015, the number of U.S. teens who felt depressed surged 33 percent in large national surveys, and the number of 13- to 18-year-olds who committed suicide jumped 31 percent. (Washington Post) A recent study released by Mass. General Hospital showed that 1 in 10 Americans have reported a drug or alcohol problem in their lifetimes, yet only a fraction of people with emotional health or substance use problems seek out and receive the treatment they need.  This is a public health crisis.

The Milton Public Schools, the Milton Police Department, the Milton Public Health Department, and the Milton Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition (MSAPC) have been deliberating about addressing mental health issues in our community for a few years now.  We are all proactively united in seeking out ways to better identify and help our residents and students. We call this effort “Milton Cares!”, because we are striving to eliminate the shame and embarrassment that people of all ages feel about having emotional or substance abuse problems.  We want to make it easier for people to get the help they need and deserve. We want to share with you just a few of the important initiatives that our organizations have embarked on recently. We are collectively proud of our efforts.

Please continue reading about our efforts within The Milton Police Department, The Milton Public Schools, The Milton Public Health Department and future plans for the MSPAC and Interface.  

SCHOOL COMMITTEE UPDATE

The  School Committee met last night, March 21st, for an Open Budget Hearing. The meeting was  held in the Milton TV Access studio, Room 245, Milton High School. Meetings can be viewed in their entirety on demand on Milton Access Television and meeting notes and agendas can be found on the MPS website.

PARENT SPEAKER SERIES

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 MPS parent, author and former teacher 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.  

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Save the date for our next speaker, Michael Thompson, Ph.D. presenting:“Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Lives of Boys” on Thursday April 5th at 7pm. 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.

 

HIGH SCHOOL HAPPENINGS

The debate team attended a tournament at Needham High School this past weekend, and Senior Captain Jack Cullen came in first place out of 110 teams as well as top speaker out of about 200 students. Additionally, Jack competed by himself while most other students competed as a team of 2. Congratulations to  Jack (pictured at left)  on this impressive showing.

 

 

Seniors Gigi Jiang, Josie Cousineau, James Le, Dominik R. Hyppolite, and Ty Wilhelmsen from Milton High School’s INIT hosted a  panel discussion Tuesday night  to discuss the impact and effects of classism in our society.  The presenters and panel discussed important – and sometimes difficult – topics such as racism and prejudice, and were able to do so with the support of members of the Milton Community. INIT is a year-long program offered through the YWCA that supports area high school students in becoming strong leaders in their community, and each school’s INIT team needs to complete a capstone community action program.  Last night’s presentation was the capstone project for the MHS students. The MHS members of INIT are recipients of the Milton Interfaith Clergy Association (MICA) Dr. Martin Luther King scholarship, so the students who attended the INIT program were sponsored by the generous donations of MICA. Thank you to panelists Dr. Yndia Lorick-Wilmot, Professor of Sociology at Northeastern University, AP US History teacher Nancy Warn, teacher and advisor to the Young Men’s and Young Women’s Group Larry Jordan, and seniors Aliyah Farnum and Nuasheen Chowdhury who cultivated a rich discussion for all who attended.

MIDDLE SCHOOL NEWS

8th grade team

Congratulations to the Pierce Junior Division Future Problem Solving Team, 6th grade students Jasmine Bethea, Frank Hawker, Tucker Korman, and Taylor Xu and the Pierce Middle Division FPS Team, 8th grade students Anderson Korman, Henry Synott, and Ian Lundeen.  Both teams competed successfully and were invited to move onto the Future Problem Solving State Bowl! In FPS, students learn 

Pierce Junior Team

 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. Our students were excited to approach a new future scene related to the topic of philanthrocapitalism at the Canton Bowl. These two FPS teams have begun  research on Cloud Storage to prepare to move forward to the State Bowl in April where they will compete for the opportunity to represent Massachusetts at the FPSP International Conference in June. If anyone in the MPS community has expertise around Cloud Storage and would be willing to speak with our teams, please email Pierce principal Dr Spaulding. Good luck to the teams from Pierce as they compete in the State Bowl!  

INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

Checking out solar panels

It’s been a big week at Collicot! One Book, One School was in full swing with both Adventure Night and a hands on, interactive day – “Go Green with Collicot!” –  with Boston Solar and Science from Scientists. This year’s book choice is “Chandra’s Magic Light, A Story in Nepal” by Theresa Heine and Judith Gueufier. The plot of the book is a little girl’s mission to obtain a solar powered lantern in order to ease her brother’s asthma symptoms that are exacerbated by their kerosene lamps. Students participated in a school day Boston Solar assembly that related to solar and alternative energy, BID-Milton Hospital came  to Collicot for Adventure Night to educate students and families about asthma, students “traveled to” Nepal, learned about bees and the vital part they play on our planet, played trivia games, worked on art projects and more. What’s One Book, One School? Learn more about this amazing year long project that takes place at Collicot every year.  

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Some talented Cunningham and Collicot Irish Step Dancers treated their classmates to dancing and music during last Friday’s lunch.  The audience loved seeing their peers perform! Check out their moves in these videos – Talented dancers  Dancing across the stage   Looking good!  Nice job, girls!  Kindergarten dancers and their fans

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Mrs. Chen’s Cunningham 5th graders celebrated World Down Syndrome Day this week with crazy socks and a  terrific lesson about down syndrome from their classmate’s mom, Mrs Soloman. Mrs Soloman shared information about Down Syndrome and created her own DNA model to show students the extra 21st chromosome.

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Tucker Saturday Academy has been a wonderful experience for our students. Recently third grade journalists interviewed Principal McNeil-Girmai, 3rd grade scientists worked on the best way to separate oil from water and the following week tackled a STEM challenge to create a catapult to launch a marshmallow. 

UPCOMING MPS EVENTS

Mar 22  Milton High Passport to the Arts
Mar 22  Strings MIOSM Concert
Mar 26  Tucker Passport to the Arts
Mar 26  Glover Passport to the Arts and Science Fair
Mar 27  Band MIOSM Concert
Mar 28  Celine Coggins 6:30 at MPS
Mar 30  No School Good Friday
Apr  4 Early Release, Professional Development
Apr  4 Milton School Committee 7pm
Apr  5 Michael Thompson 6:30 at MPS

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!

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5th grade parents/guardians – MPS is hosting the 5th grade Growth and Development program on Thursday, April 12th at 6:30pm at Glover. This program is for parents/guardians only and is in advance of the Growth and Development curriculum your children will have at school this spring. ​ You’ll have an opportunity to preview the video and ask questions to MPS staff. The video is different than what has been shown in the past.  Through extensive research, a review of best practices, consultation with site council parents/guardians, teachers, principals, nurses and Dr. Guglietta, we’ve updated our curriculum to include a new video and a blended learning environment.  Contact Health and Wellness Director Noel Vigue with any questions.   

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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.

PAC/SPECIAL ED NEWS

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.

Our FCSN presentation, “An IEP for My Child”, (originally scheduled for March 13th) has been rescheduled for Tuesday, April 10th from 7-9pm in the Glover Library. Join us  to learn about the Individual Education Program (IEP). This presentation will explain the document, its development, how to articulate a vision, write measurable annual goals, monitor a child’s progress and understand how the document will support a student. Attendees will also have the opportunity ask questions about any aspect of IEPs.

GRANT/FUNDRAISING NEWS

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.

NEWS AROUND TOWN

Is trash pickup delayed a day? Parks and Rec have a new program? Any MPD updates? Want to be in the know? Subscribe to receive town emails, you can customize what news you want and manage preferences easily.  

Hitting the library this week? You can find what’s happening for kids right here

The Town of Milton, the Neponset River Watershed Association, Sustainable Milton, and local organizations are partnering to organize a town-wide cleanup on Saturday, April 28th, from 9am – 12pm. Please join us in celebrating Earth Day by helping clean up around town! Sign up for a neighborhood cleanup or a  Neponset River cleanup.

Got a little gal or guy who wants to play t-ball? Milton American Baseball T-Ball registration is still open for players who are between 4 and 5 years old. The T-Ball program is held at Cunningham Park, and gets young players introduced to the game with skills stations. The season starts with a parade on April 21st and there are 6 sessions – April 22, 29, May 6,  20,  June 3, 10. No baseball on Mothers Day or Memorial Day Weekend. If you are interested,  you can register here.  For questions about T-Ball and other baseball programs please email Milton American.

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 23rd (note date change from flyer) in the Collicot/Cunningham Library.

ART AND MUSIC NEWS

For Music in Our Schools Month, small ensembles are performing in the MHS lobby to greet students and teachers as they arrive to school.  Here is a glimpse of the performance by MHS Pretty Sharp Girls Chorus, a student-run group that rehearses after school.  

Also,  TONIGHT is the MIOSM Strings Concert at MHS, 7pm.  Here is a preview of one of the performance selections by the MHS Full Orchestra from today’s rehearsal. It’s Phantom of the Opera Medley. Prepare to be impressed!

The MIOSM Chorus concerts cancelled due to the storm are being rescheduled as a daytime assembly on Wednesday, April 4th at Pierce Middle School.  It will feature the Pierce choruses and the MHS small ensembles including the sing-along performers. It is scheduled for 10:30-11:20 AM and families are welcome to attend. 

ATHLETICS

Sports schedules for all MHS teams 

Two (three!) birds, one stone! Support the MHS Rugby team, pick up flowers for your aunt or cousin who is hosting and arrive at Easter or Sunday dinner with a clean car! The MHS Rugby team will be hosting a double event on Saturday March 31st, just in time for Easter.  CAR WASH & TULIP SALE, Cunningham/Collicot driveway, 3/31, 9am-12pm

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: I am proud of our Glover 5th grade leaders who volunteered at Unquity House last week.  As part of the fifth grade community service project this year, students played games and visited with residents. It’s wonderful to see our young people giving back to the community.  

Staff:  I would like to recognize the High School World Language Teachers for their professional development work on a recent Saturday. MHS Principal James  Jette and World Language Director Martine Fisher shared that the presentations given by MHS teachers Houda Robert and Marie Penner-Hahn  enabled the group to further reflect on diversity, multiculturalism and biases and on the necessary attributes of culturally competent classrooms. Thanks to the collaborative spirit and open mindedness of all present, teachers reflected on and exchanged views on a wide range of sensitive issues in a safe and productive learning environment. Kudos to the teachers who facilitated and attended,  as your active and productive participation in professional development is a testament to your strength as educators.

Volunteers: Thank you to the volunteers who coordinated the One Book, One School effort at Collicot this year. Parents Kerry Kelly, Michelle Kennedy and Jessica Cherry took the lead on fundraising, planning events, choosing a theme and book, communicating with parents and staff, organizing in school and evening activities and more. One Book, One School is a vibrant program at Collicot and we appreciate the investment of time and effort of these parents who coordinated this year’s efforts.  

Thank you to my blog contributors this week:  Noel Vigue, Kathleen Kelley, Kacy Kalell, Dana DePaul, Martine Fisher, James Jette, Suzanne Fitzsimmons, Christine Morrow, Karen McDavitt, Jean Scarborough, Dawn Sykes, Bernadette Butler, Jon Redden, Cat DesRoche, Elaine McNeil-Girmai, Noel Vigue, Laurie Stillman, Jen Grubler, Kerry Kelly, Karen Spaulding, Holly Concannon and Amy Gale.

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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