October 4, 2018

From: Mary C. Gormley
To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: October 4, 2018


As the nation awaits the outcome of the Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings, there are many conversations going on in our homes, in the media, and in public places about the topic of teen sexual assault.  It is hard to imagine that our children are not aware of the controversy and trying to make sense about what they’re hearing. This is a teachable moment-a good opportunity to initiate honest conversations with our youth about this sometimes difficult topic.  I have asked MPS Social Emotional Learning Facilitator Laurie Stillman, in consultation with MPS parent Casey Corcoran, a national expert on dating violence, to share some facts and resources with you here.

According to Futures Without Violence, a national organization dedicated to preventing dating violence, teen dating abuse involves actual or threatened acts of physical, sexual, psychological and verbal harm by a partner, boyfriend, girlfriend or someone wanting a romantic relationship. Unfortunately, dating violence is commonplace amongst teens.  The statistics are telling:

  • One in three adolescent girls in the U.S. is a victim of physical, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner.  Teens in same sex relationships experience similar rates of abuse.
  • About 16% of high school females, and 5% of high school males, report they were victims of sexual violence from a dating partner in the past year on a federal survey. At Milton High School, 5% of both males and females reported experiencing sexual violence in 2014.
  • Of teens in abusive relationships, fewer than one in three confide in their parents.

It is so important that parents talk with their children about what it means to have healthy relationships, not only as a measure of prevention, but to protect them if they are feeling unsafe. Most youth, on a national survey, report that their parents have NOT spoken with them about this topic.  But the bottom line is that it is the job of parents to communicate and demonstrate how to be respectful in relationships. These conversations should include discussing the concept of giving consent and the importance taking cues from others about unwanted behaviors. These are concepts that can be taught and modeled.

Reinforce to your children that they deserve to be in relationships where their decisions are honored and respected.  These conversations can start taking place with young children, and even though raising the issues may feel uncomfortable, you are communicating to them (both sons and daughters) that they can feel safe about having these conversations with you…especially if the need arises.

It is also important to communicate with your children that they can come to you at any time when they feel in danger or have experienced a violent event.  Tell them that they won’t be judged; that you are there only to support them, even if the news will be upsetting. Be aware that many children are still uncomfortable about telling their parents about dating abuse. They don’t want to hurt or disappoint their parents.  You can also encourage your child to think of another adult (such as a teacher or relative) they might go to for help if they are not ready to share their experience with their parents.

In Milton, the school district has engaged MPS parent Casey Corcoran, a national expert on dating violence, to develop professional trainings for staff on recognizing and addressing student trauma.  He will also be sharing resources for parents on how to talk to their teens about healthy relationships and violence prevention. Casey Corcoran will be presenting as an important part of the PARENT Speaker Series on November 6th, which we encourage parents and guardians to attend.  It is entitled, “Healthy Relationships: Talking to Your Kids about the Birds, the Bees, AND the Butterflies.” Not to be missed!


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


Last week, the spring 2018 Next-Generation MCAS data was released by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Our Data Specialist, Vy Vu, has prepared a detailed and concise summary of the district’s Next-Generation MCAS results and we share it  here. These results will be presented at a School Committee meeting in the coming weeks. The full MCAS report can be found on the DESE website.  


In the Spring of 2015, the Milton School Committee passed a Residency Policy that states “students who are enrolled in the Milton Public Schools shall be required to re-establish residency prior to entering grades six and nine as well as Milton Public School students who attend school out-of-town.” Each spring and summer we work with MPS parents/guardians to assure that our residency policy is being properly enforced. This process, now in its 4th year, is one of the safeguards used by MPS to ensure that all students enrolled in our schools are residents of the town of Milton.

In addition to periodic re-establishment for certain grades, we work year-round on residency issues. Ms. Sarina Burke, the MPS Residency Coordinator, works throughout the year ensuring residency compliance. Ms. Burke can be reached via email or at 617-696-4470 ext 5516. More information can be found on the MPS registration and residency webpage.  All calls or e-mails regarding residency are followed up on and staff and residents can use these options:  call anonymously at 617-698-1213, contact any school administrator, or contact Superintendent Mary Gormley via email or by phone at 617-696-4808. Residency is an important issue for the Milton Public Schools and Milton’s taxpayers and residents.


Last week, MHS students enjoyed their 14th annual visit from students Sakae Higashi High School in Japan.  MHS teacher and visit coordinator Kathleen Kelley shares the details of a great day at MHS!

There were five hundred Japanese visitors and 450 Milton student volunteers who hosted the visiting students for the day, bringing  them to all of their classes. Students attended classes over a variety of disciplines from science and phys ed to math and culinary arts.  For the 1st time this year, the assembly was in the field house so we could invite the entire school to see the exchange of cultural performances.  Part of the Japanese culture is to bring a small gift to their MHS volunteer. The MHS students reciprocated this gesture and weeks before their arrival students purchased gifts representative of the Boston/Milton area to present to their visitor.  This week students have shared that they spoke to their new Japanese friends via social media all weekend long and some of the seniors say they are still in touch with their Japanese student from their freshman year.  


Please join us Wednesday,  October 17th at 6:30pm at MHS  for a presentation on College Funding 101. Todd Weaver, from Strategies for College, Inc. , will be discussing what types of funding is available, what forms need to be completed,  how to complete them, who should fill the forms out and the timeline for doing this. Every parent/guardian of a high school student should attend this event to learn how to get the most out of their student’s financial aid package. Yes, EVERYONE should file the forms, regardless of income. Do NOT assume you are not eligible! Learn the answers to these questions and more. Students are more than welcome to attend and we hope to see you there.


Milton High School will hold a Parent Information Night for grades 5-8 –  TONIGHT- 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. 


Rehearsals are ongoing!

Coming soon to MHS – Les Miserables, School Edition!  Four shows in three days, tickets are on sale now in the MHS office during the school day and online.

Pick your show  – Thursday, November 1st at 7pm; Saturday November 3rd at 2pm and 7pm; Sunday November 4th at 2pm – and join us at MHS for an unforgettable performance! 


Our 8th graders visited MHS earlier today as part of Step Up day.  8th graders were given a tour by our student leaders, attended an assembly in the auditorium, and visited the activities fair in field house.  Time moves fast and these smart, creative and energetic 8th graders will be MHS freshman before we know it!  


The Green Team is back in action at Pierce! Community volunteer Beth Neville and Pierce teacher Oliva Hupp met with students after school this week. Students discussed pumpkin planting, the uses for pumpkin seeds, and using pumpkin to make pie. They took home basil and are  planning their own slices of pizza with their favorite spice on it. They have plans to sprout acorns to try to grow oak trees and will try their hands at dogwood seeds as well. They finished their afternoon of gardening with a warm slice of pumpkin bread. 


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!


Tucker’s youngest artists are having fun with Ms. Caroline on Monday afternoons. Students are exploring all kinds of ways to create beautiful art in the after school club, Preschool Picassos.


A bit of rain did not dampen the spirits of Collicot’s Walk to School Wednesday! Thank you to Firefighter Nee for coordinating the walk to school from Brueggers with the help of a 50 foot fire hose, and to the MPD and parent volunteers for a successful morning!  


As part of the elementary science curriculum at Cunningham, Mme. Muhsin’s 4th grade scientists were hard at work observing rocks and testing how they react with liquid substances.  Students added vinegar to 4 different types of rocks to study the effects of chemical erosion, modeling acid rain and its effects on the environment. All results were recorded in their science journals.  


Glover 4th graders in Ms. Morris’ and Ms Donohue’s class were introduced to the concept of abstraction and data representation in a computer system. They learned that all electronic information must be translated to bits of data to be understood by the computer.   Learners spent time writing and translating binary code messages.



The Tucker School has a fun raffle calendar happening his fall. Enter for a chance to WIN over $2,300 worth of local prizes plus a Bonus Raffle of tickets to see HAMILTON! Raffle tickets can be purchased online.


Oct 4  Grade 5-8 Information Night
Oct 4  Glover Open House
Oct 8  No School Columbus Day
Oct 17  Early Release Day (Grades K-12), PD Day
Oct 17  MHS Financial Aid Night
Oct 17  Milton School Committee Meeting
Oct 18  SEPAC Board Meeting
Oct 22  Special Fall Town Meeting
Oct 24  5th Grade Information Night
Oct 25  District Wide Diversity Event


Ms. Doherty – I look forward to when my son attends the Milton Public Schools, so that he can benefit from the amazing technology we have in our town.   We are also very fortunate to have so many devices available for student use every day. In addition, teachers are doing amazing things integrating technology and the curriculum into their classroom on a daily basis.

The MPS Elementary School Instructional Technology Specialists play a vital role in shaping the technical skills for all students in the school system.  Not only are MPS students entering Pierce ready to use all types of technical devices, but they are better digital citizens. You may ask yourself, why? The Instructional Technology Specialists, Ms. Sara Doherty and Ms. Jen Van Hill,  collaborate with teachers to support their use of technology in the delivery of curricula through a variety of instructional methods, including planning, modeling, co-teaching, and reflecting, and also deliver a hands-on digital citizenship curriculum.

Ms. Doherty and Ms. Van Hill are also crucial partners in a variety of other endeavors: 

  • Integrate the use of hardware, software, and Internet resources to support student learning.
  • Create learning resources for students and support teachers in producing their own resources – including websites, tutorials, and databases to support technology integration.
  • Provide technical support and report technical

    Ms. Van Hill – Our goal is not to teach technology; our goal is to use technology as a learning tool.  As a former classroom teacher, I loved integrating technology into my lessons and creating student projects using technology.  I found that when I had my students used technology for learning they were more engaged in the learning process.  I want to share my passion for technology and empower teachers to use technology to create more efficient and enjoyable learning experiences for students.

    problems to district technicians.

  • Provide training for teachers for technology integration by coaching, mentoring and teaching workshops.
  • Assess student technology skills
  • Assist teachers in self-assessment of technology skills.
  • Recommend and structure technology education of teachers and students.
  • Work closely with the school librarian to develop and implement a comprehensive research and digital citizenship curriculum.
  • Create and update user and group profiles and accounts on the school network.
  • Maintain inventory of devices in school.
  • Embed typing into the everyday curriculum.
  • Create tutorial videos to support teacher needs.
  • Collaborate with other technology team members in advancing the curricula.
  • Contribute expertise to a variety of technology committees.

Technology is constantly changing and it is important to keep up with the latest trends, especially when it comes to teaching students how to be safe online.  Ms. Van Hill and Ms. Doherty are passionate about teaching students about how they can be good digital citizens while they are at school and at home. Needless to say, our  Instructional Technology Specialists play a critical role in helping prepare our elementary students with the foundation of technical skills they will use for the rest of their lives while educating them to be ethical digital citizens. 


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 


The Wait Until 8th campaign is off to a great start!  Over the next few weeks, we will hold informational coffees with Educational Technology Director AJ Melanson at each of the elementary schools. You are welcome to attend any of the coffees and we look forward to seeing many parents/guardians for these casual, roundtable discussions.  Will you join us as we Wait Until 8th?

Collicot/Cunningham Coffee  – Friday, October 26th, 8:30am  in the cafe
Glover Coffee – Monday, October 29th, 9am
Tucker Coffee – Friday, November 2nd, 9am


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.


This weekend:

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.

Next week:

Milton Junior Woman’s Club is holding an open house for new members 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.


The Forbes House Museum is hosting its biggest annual fundraiser, the Keechong Dinner, at the newly renovated Milton Club on Wednesday, October 10th starting at 6pm. Hear award-winning historian and author Stephen R. Platt speak about his latest book, “Imperial Twilight: The Opium War and the End of China’s Last Golden Age.” According to The Wall Street Journal, the “book is important reading not only for those interested in China’s history but also for anyone seeking to understand the explosive intersection between trade and politics today.” For more information and to purchase tickets, visit our website. 


The first Teen Film Night at the Milton Art Center will take place Friday, October 12, 6:30-8:30pm.  Teens will create short films using a smartphone guided by instructor Marianne Murphy. This informal learning experience with friends and pizza has a drop in fee of $5 or register online here.

Later in October:

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.


Tickets are available for Milton raised Evan Murphy of Mile Twelve,  opening the show will be Anthony Ratti. The show is on  October 19th at 7:30pm at the Milton Art Center, doors open at 7pm.


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.


There is a terrific opportunity for students to be introduced to tournament chess run by International Master David Vigorito , as well as for experienced players to participate in a competitive event for established players at the Milton Scholastic Chess Tournament on Saturday, October 27th 9am- 2pm at the Milton Public Library. 



Milton Historical Society’s  is offering “Till We Meet Again – Songs of World War I” on Thursday,  November 1st.


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 Milton Art Center has issued a Call for Textile Artists for a show in November, Standing On Stories.  This show will highlight textile arts as an art form that historically has been created by underrepresented voices. If you create rugs, quilts, wovens, tapestries, embroideries, functional or non functional and would like to be considered, please email info@miltonartcenter.org or visit our website for info on this upcoming gallery show.  The deadline for consideration is October 15.


Girls XC Team

As we have grown to expect, the Girls Cross Country Team won again, beating Framingham on their home course on Wednesday afternoon. The Boys Team also beat Framingham.

The Football Team opened up Bay State Herget league play travelling to face the Walpole Rebels Friday night. The Wildcats dominated early building a 27-0 halftime lead and cruised to a 34-16 victory to raise their record to 3-1 overall and 1-0 in conference. Full recap can be found here.

The Swim Team beat Brookline by 10 points to improve to 3-0.

Jared Carney and Jack Boylan both finished as Bay State League 1st Team All-Stars after placing in the top 10 at Presidents Golf Course on Wednesday morning.

The Boys and Girls Soccer Teams will host Braintree tonight, Thursday, October 4th. They will honor the Milton Youth Soccer Program at half-times.

Student-Athletes of the month will be honored in next weeks blog.

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:

Volunteers:  Congratulations to all of the Celebrate Milton Community Builders! They make a huge difference in our community every day. We commend Winston Daley, Cat DesRoche, Laurie Stillman, Jerry Vitti, Becky Padera, JP Plunkett, Rev. Rachael Pettengill-Rasure and Karen Groce-Horan for their ongoing work in Milton. 

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, Laurie Stillman, Cat DesRoche, Karen Cahill, Kathleen Kelley, Sara Doherty, Jen Van Hill, Nawar Muhsin,  Casey Corcoran, Vy Vu, Sarina Burke, Olivia Hupp, Karen Cahill, Beth Neville, Heather Norris and Moira Donahue.

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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