September 27, 2018

From: Mary C. Gormley
To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: September 27, 2018


Earlier today, the spring 2018 Next-Generation MCAS data was released by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The Next-Generation MCAS is an updated version of the nearly 20-year-old MCAS assessment and focuses on students’ critical thinking abilities, ability to apply their knowledge, and ability to make connections between reading and writing. It gives a clearer signal of readiness for the next grade level and is much more rigorous than the legacy MCAS. School year 2017-18 was the second year of the Next-Generation MCAS state assessment for all students in Grades 3-8 in both English language arts and mathematics. The majority of students in grades 3-8 statewide, including Milton’s students, took the Next-Generation MCAS on a computer. Grade 10 will transition to the Next-Generation MCAS in spring 2019 in ELA and Math; and Grades 5 and 8 will also take the Next-Generation MCAS in science this spring. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) plans to transition all high school legacy MCAS testing in science to the Next-Generation version in the next few years, as well as develop a new test for history/social studies.  A letter from DESE with more detail can be found here

As in previous years Milton’s students outperformed the state average in every grade and testing subject. Standardized testing is one of many measures we use to assess learning and progress in our students. We rely on classroom and grade level assessments, as well as the ever important teacher feedback and expertise which drives the excellent, creative and differentiated instruction in our classrooms everyday.

Individual student results will be sent to families in the coming weeks. The summary of the district’s Next-Generation MCAS results can be found here and the full report can be found on the DESE website. I encourage you to contact your principal with any questions. 


¡CelebrateMilton! is this Sunday, September 30th from 12-4pm at Pierce Middle School. The  Community Builders Award is a moving part of the day. This award is given in recognition and appreciation to Milton residents or organizations that have been instrumental in bringing people of diverse culture and backgrounds together to interact, develop an understanding of one another, or to engage in civic activities that make the town a more welcoming and inclusive place to live.  I am pleased to be able to share this year’s Community Builders and recognize them for their valuable contributions to Milton.

Tucker parent Winston Daley and Tucker Assistant Principal Cat DesRoche are being recognized for increasing participation of Tucker students in town-wide sports.

MPS Social Emotional Learning Facilitator and MSAPC Director Laurie Stillman is being recognized for helping to launch The Milton Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition.

MPS parents Jerry Vitti, Becky Padera and  JP Plunkett are being recognized for coordinating the Challenger baseball league.

Rev. Rachael Pettengill-Rasure and Karen Groce-Horan are being recognized as co-founders of Courageous Conversations toward Racial Justice.

¡CelebrateMilton! is committed to bringing diverse people together from across the community; we are determined to help make the community more interactive by promoting a deeper understanding of one another; and we are further committed to the development of new initiatives fostering social justice, peace and harmony within our town. This special community event is held rain or shine from 12-4pm at Pierce Middle School. Admission is free and includes children’s amusements, the CHIP program, and over 70 local exhibitors. The MHS Ski Team will have food for sale. 


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


Newly pre-registered to vote!

It was National Voter Registration Day on Tuesday, September 27th and we are happy to report that Milton has 75 newly registered voters! It was a great day at Milton High School as the  goal of registering 35 new voters was more than doubled. MHS administrators and teachers shared with students how important the right to vote is and encouraged anyone over the age of 16 to pre-register. All of these newly pre-registered students will be able to vote in the 2020 Presidential Election.

Thank you to our volunteers who made this pre-registration day possible.  Elizabeth Johnson volunteered on behalf of her business, EMJ Financial Services, and Cicily Shaw is a guidance counselor at Boston Trinity and volunteered on behalf of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, of which she is an alumnae.


Relax at the Library

The MHS Library has been busy this month with freshman orientations. Each 9th grader, accompanied by their English class, made their way to the library to learn more about the resources that are available to them through the school, town and state. Students were offered the opportunity to sign up for Milton Public Library cards. These cards will be processed in the next few weeks courtesy of our friends at the MPL. All residents of the state have access to resources at the Boston Public Library with an eCard – this includes databases, streaming of audiobooks, eBooks, etc.  After learning about opportunities for library cards (September is National Library Card signup month) students participated in a brief library challenge that encouraged them to move throughout the library to learn how it is organized and become familiar with the physical space and digital resources. Classes were very excited to experience our new “Relax @ the library” area, funded by the MFE, that provides tools for individuals to de-stress. At the end of the session we gathered as a group and debriefed. The goal of the orientation is to ensure that every student feels welcome and understands that libraries are community spaces designed for them where everyone has the opportunity to learn and grow. If you or your student are interested in any particular library resources, feel free to email MHS librarian  JT Troy



Milton High School will hold a Parent Information Night for grades 5-8 on Thursday, October 4th at 6:30pm.  This event will afford parents/guardians an opportunity to learn about course offerings, academic and extracurricular programs, athletics and activities that prepare students for college and life beyond high school. Parents/guardians will meet faculty and students and also have the option to take a tour of the building.  


After the success of our Play Fore Pierce Golf Tournament in the spring, we are thrilled to share pictures of the inaugural year of the Pierce Volleyball team! Under the direction of coach Jen Rhodes, the team has played 2 games so far and will face Wellesley later today. The team has looked strong so far but lost both in close matches –  2-1. Hoping for a win today!  Next up for new Pierce sports? Wrestling this winter!  


Join your Pierce pals at the Cornhole and Celebrations! parent night at the Milton Club (formerly the Hoosic Club) on Saturday, October 13th at 7pm.  Let’s have fun and raise money to support some great Pierce initiatives! Our community will come together this fall to create and install a mosaic celebrating Pierce. The newly announced prize for the Cornhole winners will be two Patriots tickets for Sunday, October 14th , courtesy of Elliot Physical Therapy!  The money raised at this night out will support this amazing and important community art project. Join us for fun, music, cash bar, some light bites, raffles, friends and Cornhole!  


It was great to have 2 students from the  MHS chapter of  SADD at the Pierce Open House last week. Thanks to Gwyneth Sauter and Michael Johnson for staffing the MSAPC table and keeping our parents informed! 


Dr. McNeil-Girmai addresses the visiting educators

It was an amazing day at Tucker this past Tuesday as they hosted a delegation from China through the ATM English program. In partnership with Dr. Dennis Slaughter  and Paul O’Sullivan, Tucker welcomed 30 members of the group to learn more about American education.  The group was comprised of principals and after school program owners, a school leader with a district of over 30,000 students and best selling author Christina Lee, the founder of the educational app, JiLiGuaLa.

Our particular focus at Tucker was on observing the importance of teacher/student relationships and introducing our guests  to the PBIS model the district has recently adopted. Two impressive teacher leadership teams led professional development sessions for the group and countless teachers welcomed educators into their classrooms for observations.  It is rich cultural exchanges such as this that serve to enhance our schools.


Ms. McGill’s Cunningham 2nd graders took part in their 1st  STEM challenge of the year last week. Students worked collaboratively to create a tin foil boat that would sustain the weight of pennies.  They tested the boats as a group and found that some boats were able to hold upwards of 25 pennies!


United Nations International Day of Peace (”Peace Day”) takes place globally on September 21st. This year art teacher Jess Gillooly and preschool teacher Marybeth Callahan teamed up to offer Tucker students the opportunity to engage in this worldwide event. Students were offered Peace, Art, Mindful Awareness, Kindness, Collaboration and Social Engagement activities.  

Children also designed their own piece for a Peace Quilt, around the reflective question – What does Peace mean to you? The Peace Quilt will be displayed on the boards near the art room.


Sep 27  Collicot Elementary Open House
Sep 30  Celebrate Milton
Oct 3     Milton School Committee Meeting
Oct 4     Glover Open House
Oct 4     Grade 5-8 MHS Information Night
Oct 8     No School Columbus Day
Oct 17    Early Release Day (Grades K-12), PD Day
Oct 17    Milton School Committee Meeting
Oct 22   Special Fall Town Meeting
Oct 25   District Wide Diversity Event


Save the date for the next three PARENT Speaker Series events!

November 6th: Healthy Relationships: Talking to Your Kids about the Birds, the Bees, AND the Butterflies with Casey Corcoran

November 26th: Stressed Out – How to Reduce Anxiety in Children with Jessica Minahan

January 7: Race to Nowhere film screening 


Registration for After School Enrichment is open on a rolling basis. At any time, you can 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.


The safety of our students and staff  is the highest priority of the Milton Public Schools and we regularly schedule lockdown, shelter-in-place and fire drills as well as review additional safety precautions throughout the year. In the month of September, each of our schools has a lockdown drill and receives feedback from the Milton Police Department. We have a security team that meets regularly, comprised of Milton Police Officers, MPS Administrators, Principals, MPS Athletic Director, After School Coordinators and more. Our safety protocol is in coordination with the Milton Police and Fire Departments under the direction of Sgt. Jack Richman.

Sgt. Richman and his friend Jimmy from Glover after the successful Glover lockdown drill.

During our district wide PD on August 26th, all MPS staff participated in a 3 hour safety professional development session. Staff were trained in various aspects of school safety and participated in a Lockdown Drill at MHS. I have shared this document outlining the difference between a “Lockdown Drill” and a “Shelter-in- Place Drill”(sometimes referred to as a Stay-in-Place) in previous communications.  I share it again with you now, in the hope that you will read it to better understand the terms we use and how you, as parents and guardians, can help us keep your children safe in the event of an emergency. 

Please feel free to contact my office at 617-696-4809 if you have any further questions about safety precautions in our schools. 


The Wait Until 8th campaign is off to a great start!  One of the leading digital safety experts in North America, Katie Greer, provided Milton Public Schools with the following quote, “This is such a fantastic, organic campaign that is creating pressure of a different kind that communities can get behind. It’s taking the pressure off of parents to conform to getting their kids smartphones at a super young age, and allowing parents to come together to make an informed choice about when their kids can have their own. Oftentimes parents admit that this choice isn’t theirs, but it’s forced upon them, so if enough in the community vow to hold off until 8th grade, then the decision is put back in the hands of the parents, who know their kids best. The research backing the Wait Until 8th Campaign (around addiction and the complexity of these devices) is broad, and I wish more communities would adopt this fantastic campaign.”

The Pew Research Center released the following alarming statistics: The average age a student gets a smartphone is 10 years old; children are spending between 6 and 9 hours a day on media; 95% of teens have smartphones ; 45% of teens say they are online “almost constantly”;24% report social media has had a negative effect on their life.

Will you join us as we Wait Until 8th?


It is time to get your Monster Dash costume ready to go! The Milton Monster Dash is organized by the MFE, a non-profit group that funds innovative programs and opportunities that are beyond the reach of the Milton Public School’s budget.  All proceeds of the Monster Dash benefit the Sam Cichello Memorial Fund which was created in 1999 in loving memory of Sam Cichello, a Tucker Elementary School student who died following a playground accident. To honor Sam’s love of science, proceeds of the Monster Dash-Sam’s Fund support science enrichment in all six of Milton’s public schools. Join the fun on Sunday, October 28th at 10am at Cunningham Hall.


In October:

Please join the Milton Board of Selectmen and the Milton Police Department in extending our heartfelt welcome and congratulations to Milton’s own, Boston Police Commissioner William Gross! The public is welcome and encouraged to join us for “Coffee With A Cop” on October 1st at 9am at Milton Council on Aging, 10 Walnut Street, Milton.


Save the Munbax! Join the fun in an Immersive Wizarding Salon at the Eustis Estate.  Head to our Magical Creatures Preserve on October 6, 7, 8 and join a world of fantastic beasts in an 1898 historic mansion.  Discuss the issues of the day with your fellow magicians, examine and identify magical creatures, cast spells, mix potions, learn more about divination or just explore the lovely mansion! Speak with characters throughout the event to learn more about the story and help them solve puzzles and complete tasks. And most importantly, you can help us figure out why our dear Munbax has fallen ill. Together we can SAVE THE MUNBAX! Please visit our website for more information and tickets.


Milton Junior Woman’s Club is holding an open house on October 12th


Milton Parks and Recreation Dept. Presents New England Championship Wrestling On October 13th  to benefit the Parks and Rec Special Needs Programs. Get your tickets here.


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.


Run or walk Mike’s 5K to Crush Substance Abuse On October 20th! This is our second annual 5K to raise money for substance abuse prevention and treatment programs. We are running in memory of Mike Mulcahy, a proud Miltonian and lover of the outdoors, who passed away in December 2016 after a heroic battle against addiction. Mike wants us to CRUSH substance abuse! Free t-shirts to the first 200 registrants, please register in advance here.  Race day registration starts at 9am at the Cunningham School Cafeteria and the 5k begins at 10am. We will follow the route of the Milton Road Race through the beautiful town of Milton.


The Milton Public Library has great programs for children all month long.


The Milton Rotary invites you to remember a loved one this holiday season and donate a light for the Memorial Tree, which will be placed inside the Baron Hugo Gazebo on the Town Green. The lights will be turned on and the names of all remembered will be read at the gazebo in front of the Town Hall at 7pm on Friday, December 7th.


The Volleyball Team is having a great season!

Our MHS Girls Volleyball Team is now 6-1 after beating new Herget Division opponent, Weymouth High School.

The Swim Team is 2-0 after defeating Natick and Braintree in their first two meets.  There were 9 personal bests set on Friday and a full recap can be found on the athletics website.

The Field Hockey Team earned their first point last night against Weymouth, tying 2-2.

Girls Cross Country stayed undefeated last night as they host Brookline and Needham.  They are now 4-0.

Stay tuned as Milton High School will be introducing our first ever Student-Athletes of the Month for September.

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


As part of our E-blast, we highlight students, teachers or members of the community whose hard work deserves recognition.  Please read about some of their accomplishments below:

Sam Higgins, Julia Nerenberg, Barron Clancy, Veronica Harris and Nicola Cross at Milton Cemetery

Students:  Our talented MPS musicians perform at many community events each year, from events at Milton High School to entertaining Milton residents at the Council of Aging and Fuller Villages, at holiday open houses and at the annual MFE Celebration for Education. Last week, Sam Higgins, Julia Nerenberg, Barron Clancy, Veronica Harris and Nicola Cross performed at Milton Cemetery during the rededication of Myriam’s Memorial.  District Orchestra Director Debra Miller shared that the students performed a musically sophisticated piece with those assembled. Thank you to these students for adding music to this beautiful rededication ceremony. 

Volunteers:   Last week, physical therapists Robyn Stone and Samantha Fisk from Bay State Physical Therapy in Quincy came to the Girls and Boys Cross Country practice to help teach athletes about strength drills and exercises that help to prevent injuries in runners. Students practiced the drills and exercises while Robyn and Samantha explained proper form and why each move was important. Both teams plan to implement these strength routines into their weekly practices so that they have successful and healthy seasons! Thank you to Bay State PT for your investment in our athletes. 

Thank you to my blog contributors this week:  Jon Redden, Holly Concannon, Karen Spaulding, Elaine McNeil- Girmai, Karen McDavitt, James Jette, AJ Melanson, Lori Bilewicz, Noel Vigue, Ryan Madden, Debra Miller, Vy Vu, Barbara Wright, JT Troy, Laurie Stillman, Kelsey McGill, Jess Gilooly, Marybeth Callahan and Jen Meunier.

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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