September 6, 2018

From: Mary C. Gormley
To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: September 6, 2018


I hope our students, teachers and staff are settling in to the school routine and keeping cool. Our heat wave looks like it is breaking today – cooler days ahead!

Next week, many of our families will celebrate Rosh HaShanah and the following Wednesday, September 19th our schools will be closed in honor of Yom Kippur. I have asked Rabbi Alfred Benjamin from Congregation Beth Shalom of the Blue Hills to share some information about these two important holidays in the Jewish faith.

“At the invitation of Superintendent Gormley, here is a little information about Rosh HaShanah, and Yom Kippur.  These two holidays encompass a 10 day period of deep, personal reflection that is often referred to as The Days of Awe.

Rosh HaShanah is a two day family and community oriented holiday that celebrates creation and the start of a New Year which by our counting is 5779.  Rosh HaShanah begins on the first of the Hebrew month of Tishri and so this year starts at sundown on Sept 9th and continues on the 10th and 11th.

Traditions include eating apples dipped in honey, in the hope of having a year filled with sweetness, and also special round challah bread to represent that we have been blessed to come around to another New Year.  Attending religious services is when we, both as individuals and as a community, are to reflect on how we could have been better human beings and how we have gone astray. The goal is to admit our misdeeds and then do all that is necessary to scrub them away thus metaphorically tipping the scales of judgement in our favor.  Our hope is to be inscribed in the “Book of Good Life”.

This holiday gives us the opportunity to reset the course of our lives so we can begin the New Year with a clean slate.  The process for making that happen involves three steps:

  • Acknowledging where we have done harm
  • Offering a sincere, direct apology to anyone we have hurt and
  • Committing ourselves not to make the same mistakes.

No surprise then that this holiday is also called: The Day of Judgement, The Day of Remembrance and finally, The Day for Sounding the Shofar (ram’s horn) which is blown 100 times during services.  The Shofar’s ancient call is meant to shake us out of any spiritual lethargy that might be keeping us from confronting ourselves with honesty and integrity, humility and contrition.

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is the holiest day in the Jewish calendar.  This year it begins before sundown on September 18th and ends 25 hours or so later after sundown on the 19th.  This holy day marks the crescendo and final opportunity for us to take off our protective, self-deceptive masks, “come clean” and ask for forgiveness.  The spiritual seriousness and focus of this day involves putting all physical appetites aside. Thus, for those over Bar/Bat Mitzvah age, it is a day of fasting – no food or water (unless you are ill) – and a day when we refrain from other physical pleasures.

I am often asked what are appropriate holiday greetings for these holidays. For Rosh HaShanah: “Wishing you a good and sweet year!”  and after Rosh HaShanah through Yom Kippur: “May you be written in the Book of Life” are both welcome and appropriate.”       All the best and Shalom, Rabbi Alfred Benjamin


MPS Leadership with District Attorney Michael Morrissey

I also want to share an inspiring press conference and announcement I was honored to attend this week. I have asked our Director of Social Emotional Learning, Laurie Stillman (who is also the Director of the Milton Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition) to share some information about these exciting developments.

Coinciding with National Recovery Month, the Milton Police Department and the MSAPC are pleased to announce the official launch of “Milton Cares”.  Milton Cares partners include the Manet Community Health Center, the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (PAARI), Fallon Ambulance, Milton Health Department and the Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital. 

Milton Cares has been a vision of Police Chief John King, as the opioid crisis had been gaining momentum in our community.  Over the past six months, Laurie Stillman conducted research on similar programs across the state and investigated who might serve as partners in the delivery of the program.

Laurie Stillman addresses those assembled.

The program’s goal is to support families who are experiencing drug and/or alcohol dependency.  A team, comprised of a Substance Prevention Counselor certified to train and provide Narcan, and a Recovery Coach who has lived experience with addiction and is trained to help others struggling with drug and alcohol dependency, will visit a household where there was a recent overdose or request for assistance.  The team will be accompanied by a plain-clothed police officer to support the team. The individual who overdosed, or their loved ones, will be provided information on how they can receive support and access to treatment.

The program team will be activated following an overdose call to 9-1-1. However, referrals to the program can be made by anyone, so long as the need is for a Milton household.  Confidential help from Milton Cares is available at You can read the full press release here.


There has been one School Committee meeting since my last update. You can watch School Committee meetings (and other town meetings) at your convenience on Milton Access TV .  

The Milton School Committee has a Facilities Subcommittee chaired by School Committee Member Ada Rosmarin. One of Milton Public Schools Strategic Goals is to address our Facilities needs – in particular, how we may best address the increasing enrollment and space issues in our elementary schools.  The School Committee would like to have one interested/available parent from each of our elementary schools on our Facilities Committee. The next meeting of our Facilities Committee is on Wednesday, September 26th at 5:30 pm at the Superintendent’s Conference Room at Milton High School. We will continue to meet throughout the school year. If you would consider joining this committee, please email Ada Rosmarin.

The School Committee will be holding upcoming meetings in each of our schools, with the goal of involving more parents, touring each school and hearing the school’s Site Council Presentation. Please consider attending your own school’s date or another school that may interest you. The dates are as follows: MHS October 17th, Glover November 7th, Cunningham January 23rd, Tucker February 27th, Pierce March 27th and Collicot May 15th.

The School Committee is in need of a Secretary to the Milton School Committee. This is a stipend position and all details can be found here. Please email Charlene Roche with any questions.


Our 1st PARENT Speaker Series is one week from today! We are excited to kick off the 2nd season of this successful program.  Jane Hardin will be discussing Social Emotional Learning in the Home on Thursday, September 13th at Milton High School. Ms. Harden will discuss ways to help parents and guardians navigate some of the social and emotional challenges that their children and adolescents face on a daily basis. She will offer strategies and provide concrete examples of how parents/guardians can develop constructive dialogues with their children in ways that foster essential social-emotional skills. 


The Milton Public Health Department was notified this week, by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration that the Milton Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition (MSAPC) will be awarded $125,000 per year for the next five years to focus on youth substance abuse prevention in the town.  The Drug Free Communities (DFC) grant application was submitted by the coalition in March, and the funding will officially begin on September 30th. This is fantastic news for our town as well as great news for MPS as the Milton Public Schools will be a significant beneficiary of the grant. We will be able to hire a part time Schools Prevention Coordinator,  significant funding has been allocated to the PARENT Speaker Series, to fund a data analyst for our next round of administering the Youth Risk Surveys and to promote Social Emotional Learning in the district.

The overall grant funding will focus on reducing underage drinking and marijuana use amongst youth, as well as promoting teen mental health and prosocial out of school opportunities. Milton would never have gotten this grant without the strong partnership of the MPS leadership, Law Enforcement, Town Government, business and faith leaders, health professionals, as well as parents, students and people in recovery. The Milton Health Department will be managing the program.


Students receiving their backpacks from our generous sponsors.

On Wednesday, August 29th, Milton High School officially began Bring Your Own Device (BYOD).  All MHS students bring a device to use in class and at home. To ensure the student devices are stored in a safe spot MPS Educational Technology Director, AJ Melanson, reached out to local businesses to see if they would help with this initiative.   Steve Sullivan, Sullivan Insurance, and Bill Resnick, Proforma, jumped at the opportunity to support the high school. Steve and Bill recruited the Milton Fruit Center, Coffee Break Cafe, and Senator Walter Timilty to fund this initiative. Together the team designed and purchased the backpacks for all MHS students.  The Milton Public Schools would like to thank all of the sponsors, Sullivan Insurance, Proforma, Milton Fruit Center, Coffee Break Cafe, and Senator Walter Timilty, for their support. A special thanks to Steve Sullivan and Bill Resnick for leading this initiative.  


We were happy to have our youngest students start school this week. Welcome to our kindergarten and pre-kindergarten students!


I know you will love this beautiful mural as much as I do.  The mural was completed before school started  as a gift from the Tucker Class of 2018. Local artist Kendra Stanton Lee (pictured at left) completed the work to provide positive messages to children each day as they head to recess. It is a wonderful addition to the Tucker School.  



Ms. Hyde’s Cunningham 4th graders start off the year working as a team!



Sep 6  Beginner Instrumental Registration Night
Sep 12  Milton High School Back to School Night
Sep 13  SEL at Home, Jane Hardin
Sep 17  Tucker Open House
Sep 19  Yom Kippur No School
Sep 20  Pierce Middle School Open House
Sep 25  Cunningham Open House
Sep 26  Milton School Committee Meeting
Sep 27  Collicot Elementary Open House
Sep 30  Celebrate Milton
Oct 4    Glover Open House
Oct 4.   Grade 5-8 Information Night at MHS


The MPS Adult Education Program is pleased to announce our exciting fall line up of classes. We have many new and returning instructors offering an amazing selection of Adult Education courses to serve our community and know you will find what you are looking for. Both our online registration and our mailing registration are due on September 24th. Look for our mailing coming soon to your mailbox!


Registration for After School Enrichment has reopened. Register between September 4th and 12th and your child will be able to start on Monday September 17th. After this date, new registrations will be taken on a monthly basis. Register by the last Wednesday of the month and start the first Monday of the following month. For more information, please visit the Community Schools website


25 MPS elementary teachers attended a day long writing PD on August 22nd. During this 7 hour workshop, K-5 teachers were invited to come and share their experience with the writing portion of the Reach Curriculum in order to inform our implementation for year 2.   After our first year of working with the Reach for Reading Curriculum, teachers had excellent feedback to share with each other as they worked in grade level teams to develop common writing assessments and guides, exemplars for writing projects and responses, and a universal rubric using the reach rubric as a guideline.

Additionally, teachers discussed the differences between writing to text and the writing projects, along with how best to balance all the components of the program to meet the standards and the writing needs of the students. The day of professional development was welcomed by many as they were  preparing plans for the school year. 


Now that the kids are back in school, perhaps a part time job is in your future?

There is a terrific opportunity for part time jobs in our food services department. We are hiring for substitute positions at all schools. You’ll be serving healthy food to kids and be home when your kids are home due to the school schedule – what’s better than that?! This can be a great opportunity for parents and retirees and food service experience is a plus, but not required. The starting pay for the food service substitute position pays $15.05 per hour. Please email Jackie Morgan  or call 617-696-5040 X 5514 for more information.

We are also hiring for a Unit C Lunch/Recess Aide position in the elementary schools. This job is 3 hours per day, 5 days per week when school is in session. The position pays $14.97 per hour and can be perfect for someone looking to work just a few hours a day. Please refer to our website  if you are interested in applying. 


Halloween is around the corner, and once again the Milton Foundation for Education is looking for artwork to print on the front of race t-shirts for the Milton Monster Dash. Create your best design and submit one entry by Wednesday, September 26th. The winner will see their drawing on race t-shirts, and help start the runners on race day, October 28th.


On Sunday, September 23, Caitlin Clavette’s family, friends, colleagues, students, and art enthusiasts will be running in a 5k road race in Milton to raise funds to support the Arts programs in the Milton Public Schools and to also sustain Caitlin’s passion for celebrating children’s creativity and individuality, the arts, and physical fitness. Caitlin was a Milton Public Schools art teacher who lost her life in a tragic car accident in February of 2016. The Caitlin Clavette Memorial Foundation, a licensed 501c3 corporation, was established in 2016 after this sudden and tragic event. Our goal is to continue Caitlin’s vision of supporting a community where all people support and appreciate the arts, respect and protect all living things, lead healthy lives through exercise and diet, and live with passion.   The first 500 pre-registered runners receive t-shirts and the cost is $30 per runner with a family cap of  $75.


The Fifth Annual Dan Breen Memorial 5K Red Shoe Run presented by Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Milton is a run and walk in memory of our team member who passed away in 2013.  All funds raised support education and equipment for the Emergency Department staff for disaster preparedness and haz-mat training initiatives. The event starts at Cunningham Elementary school at 10am on Saturday, September 8th.  Registration is $30 in advance online  or $35 day of. Registration and bib pick up opens at 9am in the Cunningham cafeteria on the day of the event.


On Saturday, September 8, from 9-10 am, come explore the grounds of the Eustis Estate and look for birds with staff from Mass Audubon’s Museum of American Bird Art. The property is filled with features that birds like, including a pond, meadows, an orchard, tall trees, and chimneys. Learn about the interesting species that thrive in these unique habitats.  Advance tickets are required and Mass Audubon members must call to register. Admission to the house not included. Please call 617-994-6600 for more information or buy tickets online.


The Collicot School library will be the site this fall of two free support programs offered by Joanna’s Place. Circle-S is a unique and exciting, FREE support group serving children whose siblings have a disability or a significant special need. Circle-G (for grief) offers comprehensive family support where children (ages 6-18) are surrounded by others facing the death of a parent or a sibling. Registration for either Circle is easy. Call or email Mary Boyle at 781-413-5141 to reserve your spot today.


Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Milton will hold its ninth annual Walk for Wellness, Health Fair and Family Fun Day on Saturday, September 22, from 9:30 am – 1:30 pm at the hospital, located at 199 Reedsdale Road, Milton. The family-oriented, health and wellness event starts at 9:30 am with registration for a 5K  or one mile walk which will start at 10 am from the hospital’s Highland Street Parking Lot. Visit the hospital’s website  to download registration forms. Registration is $10 per walker, children under the age of 12 are free.


The Milton Art Center has sewing, quilting, drawing, figure studies, pastels, clay, comics, animation, puppetry,  screen printing, digital photography and more classes available for children and adults starting late September. Register now at our website


Food, fun, and football will be on the menu on Wednesday, October 17th, at Granite Links Golf Club as the Milton Library Foundation presents its annual gala to benefit the Milton Public Library.   After music , hors d’oeuvres and dinner, legendary sports personality Upton Bell will regale the audience with some of the colorful stories contained in his book, “Present at the Creation: My Life in the NFL and the Rise of America’s Game”.  The Gala will also honor the citizen volunteers who served on the Library Study and Building Committees leading up to the 2009 reopening of the Library. Tickets, along with sponsorship and advertising opportunities, can be found here.

The Milton Public Library has activities and events for children all month long!

There are many great programs for young children offered by the Milton Early Childhood Alliance. You can check them out here.


Please note the following DATE CHANGE: Instrumental Beginner Registration Night has been CHANGED to TONIGHT Thursday, September 6th, at 7:30 pm at Milton High School.  Any students wishing to start instrumental lessons, including those who pre-registered, should attend. Please contact program directors Rebecca Damiani  and Gary Good  with any questions. Please see the Applied Instrumental Lessons Program (ALP)  information here.


Milton High School Athletics is off to a great start, with Volleyball earning back-to-back wins and Girls Soccer winning their first game under new coach Gary Burke.

Football travels to Belmont in their season opener on Friday. The game is at 6pm at Belmont High School and tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students and seniors.

The girls Volleyball team with be hosting a Cans for Cats event at MHS this
Saturday 9/8 from 9am to 12pm. They will also simultaneously hold a car wash at Town Hall.


Please see the Milton Wildcats website for schedules, rosters, and updates!

Thank you to my blog contributors this week: Jon Redden, Jean Scarborough, Emily Hyde, Liz Spitz, Holly Concannon, Elaine McNeil- Girmai, Karen McDavitt, Cat DesRoche, Jaclyn Germano, Laurie Stilman, AJ Melanson, Noel Vigue, Ryan Madden,    Jackie Morgan, Martha Sandoval, Karen Hughes, Rebecca Damiani and Rabbi Alfred Benjamin.

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