October 25th 2018

From: Mary C. Gormley
To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: October 25, 2018


Earlier this summer, Governor Charlie Baker declared that October 22-26 would be STEM Week in Massachusetts schools. Our science coordinators, principals and teachers ran with the idea and as you’ll see below, our schools were awash in STEM activities this week. Our K-12 curriculum has a strong STEM component on a daily and weekly basis and it was interesting to see a concentrated week of STEM cooperative activities, challenges, speakers, field trips and more. Please enjoy these highlights!

Our administrative team participated in their own STEM challenge to kick off the week. Students enjoyed seeing their principals and teachers working in small groups, just like they do!





Pierce 8th graders heard from Pierce parent Mr. Thomas Angus, who works for MassDEP, and presented on the topic of human health and ecological risks from toxic chemicals at old industrial sites and contaminated rivers. This was a valuable and interesting presentation for our 8th graders, as evidenced by the rapt audience and well thought out questions.


Students in MHS Engineering 1 utilized the Engineering Design Process to lead the Gile Rd preschool class through designing, building, testing, and redesigning a sail for a zipline sailboat.  Sailboats ran on two drinking straw “pontoons” which were carried on fishing line. The sailboats were propelled by a hair dryer. Results were determined by measuring how far the sailboat traveled.  

Students in Child Development drew two ideas for their sails, then decided on which one to build.  Students in Engineering helped the preschoolers capture their ideas and the results of their test. The preschoolers then used what they learned to redesign and improve the sails.  The students tested their new sails and saw the boats went farther than they did the first time!


Sedna Darkey is a MHS alumna who graduated in 2007.  She has since graduated from the University of Hartford with a BS in Chemistry and gone on to work in varying roles at Batelle Worldwide, the MWRA, Smithers Viscient, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, and Immunogen.  Ms. Darkey shared her journey from communications major to chemist with Mr. Damiani’s biotechnology classes. We were extremely fortunate to have such a wonderful alumna come back to share her story with our students.



At Pierce, Ms. Magill’s  STEM students kicked off their participation in the Cyber Robotics Coding Competition this week by beginning work on the pre-competition boot camp.  Look for updates as the competition continues.  



ASE  joined in the first statewide STEM week. ASE supervisors, teachers and students planned special activities that emphasize the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math in our lives.  ASE 2nd-5th grade learned about chemistry with M&M’s (and got a little treat as well) and recreated an oil spill and learned how environmental disasters affect natureASE Kindergarten students were intrigued and waited patiently to observe the raisins dance. This simple and fun experiment can be done at home! ASE Pre-K learned about life cycles with apples.  Students were fully engaged in this great, simple and fun activity.


As part of our Schools to Careers program, a group of interested MHS students took a field trip to Boston Children’s Hospital today to learn about a career in nursing. 


There has not been a School Committee meeting since my last blog post. The next School Committee meeting and site visit will be at Glover on November 7th. All are welcome to attend. School Committee meetings can be watched On Demand on Milton Access Television at any time.


The 20th Annual Monster Dash is this Sunday! Online registration closes FRIDAY at 10:00 pm. Early bib pick-up on SATURDAY, 1:00 – 4:00 pm at Cunningham Hall and if you miss online registration, you can register in person on SATURDAY, 1:00 – 4:00 pm at Cunningham Hall.  Join the fun on Sunday, October 28th at 10am at Cunningham Hall. Each of the elementary schools has a Monster Dash team – Join your school when you sign up!

Ghosts & Goblins who benefit from smaller crowds to reduce sensory input are invited to join the SEPAC in partnership with the MFE for a sensory friendly hour at the Milton Monster Dash. Families are strongly encouraged to register in advance either online, with the form that came home from school, or on Saturday 10/28 from 1-4 at Cunningham Hall.


On November 6th, Casey Corcoran will present Healthy Relationships: Talking to Your Kids about the Birds, the Bees, AND the Butterflies with Casey Corcoran.  This presentation will focus on concrete strategies, conversation starters, and resources that parents and caregivers can use with their kids to promote healthy relationships. As the Center for Disease Control points out, “unhealthy relationships can start early and last a lifetime.” Casey previously worked at the Boston Public Health Commission as the director of the Start Strong: Building Healthy Teen Relationships Initiative. He received his M.A.T. from Trinity College and is a certified batterer/dating violence intervention counselor.


What a night! While many folks were celebrating another Red Sox win last night at Fenway Park, Milton High School students were watching a “championship performance” over at the Boston Opera House in downtown Boston. Last night, 60 Milton High School students and 6 chaperones traveled to the Boston Opera House to see a performance of Hamilton sponsored by the Marilyn Rodman Theatre for Kids Foundation. Mr, Jette shares the following: “Marilyn Rodman knew theatre could have a profound effect on kids, so she encouraged her husband Don to send kids to a show instead of yet another sporting event. In 2001, Don sent 2,000 kids to see South Pacific, and they never looked back”. You can read more about the Rodman Foundation here.

Well, thanks to Mr. Rodman and the foundation, 60 MHS students were blessed with a riveting performance of Hamilton. Albeit 3 hours long, the performance itself had our students on the edge of their seat and focused on every word and innuendo of the cast. This show was informative yet very entertaining and had our students salivating for more. I have been to many shows myself and several performance with our students over the years but Hamilton by far is one of my favorites. The music, dancing, and acting and the message inspired our students to learn more about history. One student even commented, “It gave me a new interest in history” and another student stated, “The creator was so innovative that he made our founder fathers oblivious to race”.

As expected, our students were well behaved and so appreciative of the opportunity. What a great night!



Among the over 600 participants, there was a strong showing of SADD students who came to support the Milton Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition walking team on October 20th for the Mikes 5k to Crush Substance Abuse.  Pictured L-R  – Jean Peterson (Milton Health Dept), Caitlin Heelan (MHS Senior)), Laurie Stillman (MSAPC Director), Elizabeth Thomas (MSAPC member), Caroline Kinsella (Health Dept Director), Molly Baker (Senior). Laura Sauter (SADD President), Michael Johnson (Senior), Bruce Talanian (MSAPC member)


Last weekend the students in the MHS Debate class and Debate team beginners, competed in their first Massachusetts Public Forum Debate at Walpole High.  Shout outs to freshman Bradan O’Loughlin, who competed maverick (by himself) and won two out of three debates and freshman team Ciara Fitzgerald and Nina O’Loughlin who won all three of their debates!  Out of the eight Milton teams competing they had nine wins. All of these students were first time debaters and a bit nervous walking in; walking out they were elated and proud. Our teacher advisors Kathleen Kelley, Dana DePaul and Kacy Kalell  share that “watching the transition of confidence was awe-inspiring”.  The future is bright for MHS Debate!


Pierce recognized LGBTQ Spirit Day on Friday, October 19th.  The Pierce GSA organized Spirit Day by encouraging staff and students to wear purple – a color from the Pride Flag that represents the “human spirit”- to show their support for the LGBTQ community. Pierce is proud to have taken part in this national movement, which is described by GLAAD as “the largest, most visible anti-bullying campaign in the world.” The students of the GSA, along with co-advisors Mrs. Kelli Prodanas and Ms. Liz Hallisey, would like to thank the Pierce community for their support and participation.


The Pierce Middle School Student Council will be leading its 2nd annual “March For Peace” on Friday afternoon, November 2nd, starting in the school’s back parking lot at 2:45.  We are asking for your support by showing up and marching with us as we celebrate the theme of the day: Peace and Love. This is not a protest, nor a political statement, but rather a gentle reminder that we live in a world where all humans can coexist peacefully.

Please help us by spreading the word, showing up, and walking from Pierce Middle School, up to the Town Hall Gazebo (with a police escort) and listening to our Town’s youth share their words of wisdom through song and brief messages. Light refreshments will be served after the event. 


The Pierce 8th grade is busy planning for the 8th grade Washington DC trip! This year we have more students than ever before signed up to go.  We are thrilled about that as it is important to us that everyone who wants to go-does go. That said, we now have a lot of fundraising to do for the DC Scholarship Fund. This fund provides critical support to families in need so that their children can participate in this amazing opportunity and have lifelong memories too.  

Our first Pierce Movie Night in support of the DC Scholarship Fund will take place on Friday, November 2, at 6:30 PM. We will be showing the movie, “Black Panther”. The suggested donation to attend is $10.00. This night is open to Pierce Middle School students only. This is a drop off event and there will be  a small concession stand. If this night is successful, we will plan another Pierce Movie Night the following month. Finally, if you would like to donate directly to the Pierce Middle School DC Scholarship Fund, you can just send in a check made out to the Pierce PTO with “DC Scholarship” in the notes section.


Hispanic Heritage Month was celebrated in Pierce  Spanish classrooms with parent presentations by Mr. Aaron Navas, Mrs. Pilar Alcaide, Mr. Carlos Quiñones and Ms. Mannie Fernandez. These parents represent four different Spanish speaking countries, Nicaragua, Spain, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, respectively.  Parents discussed aspects of their culture including food, phrases, songs, dances, athletes, academics, geography and history. It was an interesting and engaging event for all involved! Muchisimas gracias to everyone who made these presentations possible.


Maybe Squash is your next sport? You’ll never know unless you try! Milton Academy is offering another introduction-to-squash clinic exclusively for MPS high school and middle school students. No experience necessary. Morgan Poor, Boy’s Coach at Milton Academy, will provide instruction. Throughout the sessions, the kids will learn the rules of the game, do various drills that teach different elements of the game and eventually play games and matches. Racquets, eyeguards and balls will be provided. All participants need their own non-marking court shoes.


Did your elementary school child come home this week talking about broccoli and edamame? You can thank Director of Nutrition Services Jackie Morgan and Health Barn USA and their healthy lifestyle “Try it, You’ll Like it” school assembly. Students at Cunningham, Collicot, Tucker and Glover enjoyed fun, engaging and  hands on assemblies all week. Students learned about the importance of trying new foods from the five food groups presented in the USDA MyPlate. After discussing eating breakfast, exercise, types of food and healthy eating, they enjoyed student volunteer tasters, making smoothies on the “smoothie bikes” and sharing their new “name” (be sure to ask your child their name). Every student sampled a variety of healthy food – the aforementioned broccoli and edamame, as well as melon, cheerios, peppers, tomatoes and the “smoothie bike blended”  smoothies!


Elementary school students rocked the summer reading challenge, “Libraries Rock”.  The Milton Public Schools, in partnership with the Milton Public Library, challenged students to log in the minutes they spent reading over the summer. Almost 2000 K-5 students across the town registered for the challenge. The goal was set at 500,000 minutes.  Students not only met, but surpassed the goal with flying colors, logging in 1,134,142 minutes!

During library class all students who logged in minutes received an ” I rocked my summer reading challenge” bookmark.  Top readers from each elementary school had their names entered into a grade-wide raffle with the raffle winner receiving  a $25 gift card to Barnes and Nobles thanks to the generosity of the PTOs from each elementary school.

The Summer Reading Challenge is a partnership initiative between the Milton Public Schools and the Milton Public Library.  A special thank you to Sara Truog, Assistant Director, and her dedicated team of librarians, for their hard work and commitment to this program.  We would also like to thank Cunningham, Collicot, Tucker and Glover PTOs for their generous support of the Summer Reading Challenge.


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 if you purchase your calendar by 10/25! Raffle tickets can be purchased online.


Oct 28  MFE Monster Dash
Nov 1, 3, 4   MHS Les Miserables
Nov 6  Parent Speaker Series-Casey Corcoran
Nov 7  Milton School Committee Meeting
Nov 8  Early Release (Grades K-12), PT Conferences Gr 6-12 Only
Nov 12  No School Veterans Day


Les Miserables has thrilled audiences around the world since its 1985 London premiere, proving to be one of the most enduring theatrical productions in history. Next week, the Milton High School drama department will present Les Miserables, School Edition, in the Charles Winchester Auditorium in four performances over three nights. Les Miserables is directed by Kevin Black and tickets are available at the high school during school hours or online at anytime.  Thursday, November 1 at 7pm; Saturday, November 3 at 2pm and 7pm; and Sunday, November 4 at 2pm. Tickets are $10.00 and are now available online at and at Milton High School. Above is a link of the recent sitzprobe. In opera and musical theatre, a sitzprobe (from the German for seated rehearsal) is a rehearsal where the singers sing with the orchestra, focusing attention on integrating the two groups. It is often the first rehearsal where the orchestra and singers rehearse together.


The Milton High School Marching Band competed at the Massachusetts Instrumental and Choral Conductors Association Division festival in Wakefield this past Saturday. The festival brought in high school marching bands from Massachusetts as well as New Hampshire and the students were treated to a performance by the UMASS Lowell Marching Band. The Wildcats, led by student drum majors and captains Colleen Conley, Sarah Hancock, Claire Mandel, JJ Hainline and Paula Hogan performed their show “Memories of Ireland” and received 3 star ratings across all categories for an overall rating of 3 stars. The Marching Wildcats will continue to perform selections from their halftime show at the remaining home football games as well as at the Town Veteran’s Day Ceremonies. Check out some clips from the festival here


We are over halfway through our Marching Wildcats Fair Trade Fundraiser  to benefit our Band. Please consider purchasing some fair trade holiday gifts or everyday items and we will receive 25% of product sales!

Please go to FairTradeCaravans.com; Log in to our fundraising event with “Participant Code” MarchingWildcats to participate in the fundraiser; Fill your shopping cart ; Check out and include your Fundraising Representative – the name of your student or staff member that will help us get your order to you (use Rebecca Damiani if you don’t know a member of the band or email Ms Damiani if you  have questions). All orders will be delivered to MHS the week of November 26th. Thank you for your support!

Order Delivery – All orders will be delivered to Milton High School the week of November 26th. From production to purchase, fair trade is model of ethical, sustainable trade that puts people and planet first, so please share this fundraising opportunity with your friends and family!


Mrs. Van Allen and the Collicot ASE students are working on creating beautiful and easy to make lanterns to join the 1st annual Collicot lantern walk. Join them and the PTO to make a lantern after school this Thursday October 25th 3:05-4:00 beside Collicot. They will be there rain or shine. Be sure to bring a 1 or 2 liter plastic bottle with the top ½ cut off. Other supplies will be available and children must be accompanied by an adult. The walk will take place this Friday October 26 at Cunningham Hall. Activities start at 5:30 with a bake sale, music, fall fun and light distribution inside the hall. The stroll begins at 6:45.


This weekend:

Get your Dash on at the 20th Annual Monster Dash on Sunday October 28th! 

Milton Rx Drug Take Back Day is on Saturday October 27,  10am – 2pm at the Milton Police Station, 40 Highland Avenue. Unused medications thrown in the trash can be retrieved and abused, or illegally sold. If medications are flushed, they can contaminate the water supply. Do your part to curb the opiate crisis and dispose of unused medications at the Rx Drug Take Back Day.


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.

Forbes House Museum will host  a Halloween Pirate Party on Sunday, October 28th from 3-5pm. When the Forbes brothers set sail to China in the 1800’s, they kept a wary eye on the sea to avoid pirates. But now the pirates have taken over and they’re throwing a Halloween Party at the Forbes House! Join us for pirate-themed games, activities and treats! Costumes are encouraged. Tickets are  $5 per person ( child; adults, members) and pirates are free!

Next weekend:

The Bradley, Eustis, and Wakefield Estates will show off their fall colors during the  2nd Annual Blue Hills Great Estates Fall Foliage Weekend.

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

Later in November:

Comfort Zone Camp is having a Holiday Family Day program in Weymouth on Saturday, November 10th from 12-4pm. Comfort Zone supports families who have experienced the death of a loved one.   

Waking Up White: And Finding Myself In The Story of Race , written by educator Debby Irving, is a book widely considered to be an essential text on how to unpack racial privilege in the American context. Hosted by Courageous Conversations Towards Racial Justice, join us for a conversation with Debby Irving, Monday, November 19th 6-9pm at Milton High School.

Brookwood Community Farm  will hold a Thanksgiving Sale on Sunday, November 18 from 11-2pm. Pick up locally grown veggies for your Thanksgiving Feast! Brookwood’s annual sale includes pre-ordered Harvest Boxes, Turkeys & Pies! This year enjoy kids activities, free warm drinks, self-guided scavenger hunt and more!

Also at Brookwood Farm there will be an Apple Pie Class with Chef Clare Garland on Sunday, November 18 2:30-4:30. Make your own perfect pastry crust and take home a delectable unbaked apple pie! Learn from pastry chef Clare Garland from the Ashmont Grill. Ages 14+.


The Milton Public Library has great programs for children on an ongoing basis.


On behalf of the MIAA Golf Committee, the Milton High School Golf Team has been chosen as the recipient of this year’s Division 2 Sportsmanship Award for Fall Golf. This award will be presented at the State Championship Match on Tuesday, October 30th at Marshfield Country Club.  It has been a great week for the Golf Team, with Jack Boylan knocking down a hole-in-one, and Jared Carney earning a trip to the State Finals. Congratulations to Coach Ben Kelly for another tremendous year!

Pictured L-R Stephen Affanato, Hudson Smith, Dieter Werner, Patrick Kennedy, Hayden Kelley, Fritz Lalley, and Bobby Carew.

In the Boys Cross Country invitational this past weekend, Milton won the freshman team division at Saturday’s Brown Invitational.  Christopher Sullivan placed 1st (13:22). Ross Tejeda was 2nd (13:23). John Carew was 3rd (14:16). In the Varsity race, Bobby Carew led the team as usual. He placed 2nd overall running a new personal best of 15:48.

The Girls Cross Country Team also did well. Elise O’Leary, Ella Affanato, Anna Cakouros, Grace Sullivan, Grace Dwyer, and Clodagh Corcoran came in 4th overall. Grace Dwyer and Anna Cakouros both broke 20:00 in the 5K for the first time.   In the sophomore race, Maggie Mitchell, Bronwen Mandel, and Ilisa Risal all came in the top 30.

The Swim Team won yet again, beating Newton North to improve to 5-2 on the season! They host Weymouth at the Egan Center on Friday for their Senior Day Meet!

Volleyball beat Weymouth 3 sets to 1 on Tuesday to improve to 9-8 and secure a spot in the tournament.

Football lost a tough game over the weekend to Newton North.  However, they earned the #2 seed and will host Westwood on Friday, October 26th at 7pm here at Brooks Field, Milton High School.  Tickets are $3/students and $5/adults and senior citizens. There is no re-entry, no bags, and no pets allowed in the stadium.

Girls Soccer will host Walpole on Thursday, October 25th at 7pm for their Senior Night.

Boys Soccer dropped their game against Weymouth on Senior Night but will look to punch their ticket to the tournament with a win over Falmouth or Catholic Memorial in the next coming days.

Field Hockey beat Brookline on their Senior Night and they will wrap up their season this week against Walpole and Weymouth.

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:

Students and Staff:  Congratulations to MHS Golf Team and their Coach, MHS Assistant Principal Ben Kelly who have been chosen as the recipient of this year’s Division 2 Sportsmanship Award  for Fall Golf. These awards are presented at the state championship final of every MIAA sponsored sport to a worthy team in each division of competition. The awards are presented to those teams who have demonstrated a sincere commitment to the highest ideals and objectives of sportsmanship during their season of play. Not only did our MHS Golf Team have a terrific season, they clearly did so while displaying excellent sportsmanship. Congratulations to the team and Coach Kelly!

Volunteers: A huge shout out and thank you to Diane Ferrari, who is retiring from her position as Program Coordinator of the Milton Residents Fund.  Ms. Ferrari has been a true friend to the Milton Public Schools over her 15 years overseeing the Fund. The Milton Residents Fund and its programs provide critical support and assistance to MPS students and their families, throughout the academic year, over the summer and at the holiday season.  Ms. Ferrari has been a valuable resource to our students and their families needing support from the Milton Residents, which is a relationship that grows in importance for our students each year. On behalf of the entire Milton Public Schools community we want to sincerely thank Ms. Ferrari for her dedication to our families and wish her the best in her future endeavors.

Thank you to my blog contributors this week:  Jon Redden, Holly Concannon, Karen Spaulding, Elaine McNeil- Girmai, Karen McDavitt, James Jette, Liz Hallisey, Kelli Prodanas AJ Melanson, Noel Vigue, Ryan Madden, Rebecca Damiani, Marti McKenna, Martha Sandoval, Kathleen Kelley, Karen Cahill, Joe Dolan, Jake Smith, Laurie Stillman, Tina Greene, Christie Chiappetta, Ellen Lohan, Amy Tom, Paul Damiani, Dawn Sykes, Jackie Morgan, Christine Blagrove and Kevin Black.

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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