November 15, 2018

From: Mary C. Gormley
To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: November 15, 2018


As we approach Thanksgiving week in the Milton Public Schools, I would like to take this opportunity to say how thankful I am for the staff, students, families and volunteers who make the Milton Public Schools the outstanding district it is.  I am thankful to work alongside a dedicated staff, to witness first hand our engaged, empathetic and hardworking students and to see our volunteers in action throughout all of our schools. I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving with loved ones.     

Last week, in honor of Veterans Day, our schools paid tribute to those who have served in the military. Veterans were invited in to our schools, students wrote letters, drew pictures, sang songs and sent care packages. The connections made between students and Veterans is priceless and these events are an important part of the Milton Public Schools. 


For years, the Milton Public Schools has partnered with the Milton Residents Fund to ensure that any MPS families in need would be supported with gifts and gift cards during the holiday season. You may know this program as Snowball or the Giving Tree or a similar name. This year, we are partnering with the Milton Residents Fund, My Brother’s Keeper and Pierce’s Families Helping Families in a district wide Holiday Giving Drive with the goal of supporting our Milton neighbors and friends who may need some assistance this holiday season. Details can also be found on the Sign Up Genius. Our PTOs and student organizations at the middle and high school level are supporting and coordinating this effort. 


Our next speaker is Jessica Minahan, M.Ed, BCBA who will present Stressed Out! Reducing Anxiety in Children. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that one in four, 13-18 year olds has had an anxiety disorder in their lifetime. Without intervention, these children are at risk for poor performance, diminished learning, and social/behavior problems in school. This presentation will introduce preventive tools, strategies, and interventions for reducing anxiety, increasing self-regulation, executive functioning, and self-monitoring. Jessica Minahan, MEd, BCBA, is a board-certified behavior analyst and special educator and a consultant to schools nationwide. Jessica has over 17 years of experience supporting students who exhibit challenging behavior in public school systems.


Forty Milton High School students  were inspired when they connected with premier business leaders last week  at a Business, Finance and Marketing Seminar offered through our ongoing partnership with School to Careers (STC).  STC’s mission is “action + inspiration + direction” is a recipe for students who ask the question; “How do I connect with my future dreams”? Katherine Touafek, Director of the School to Careers program works between the two communities to develop mentoring and opportunities for students.  

Last week’s keynote speaker, Michelle Cully, had a message that resonated with students.  The 10 panelists spoke on such topics as: Creating a vision; building your social skills, surrounding yourself with confident like minded people; and to work on your “elevator pitch” (a 30 second speil to relate trust, reliability and knowledge).

Milton High school is hosting a Health and Medical Seminar in December. Over 200 students will be visiting to learn about the unlimited opportunities available for every type of student. We are so grateful for our partnership with STC and appreciate these ongoing opportunities for our students to experience the “real world” while still in high school.


Save the date for the upcoming MHS guidance event, College Information/Post Secondary Planning night at Milton High on Thursday, Dec 6th  at 6pm. The following topics will be presented in order to help you and your child successfully navigate the college application process: Financial Aid, Standardized Testing, Supporting your senior throughout the year, NCAA Requirements, Overview of the College Application Process, and Naviance. We look forward to seeing you Wednesday, Dec 6th at 6pm. This workshop is open to all parents/guardians & students in any grade level.    


Milton Public Schools strives to ensure all students are college and career ready.  According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, “Employment of computer and information technology occupations is projected to grow 13 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations.”  Plus, more than seventy-eight percent of Milton High School alumni report they submit seventy-five to one hundred percent of college assignments electronically.

With this information in mind,  along with the successful implementation of BYOD at MHS, Pierce Middle School is planning for the implementation of 1:1 Chromebooks for the 2019-20 academic school year.  The Milton Public Schools has submitted a request to purchase nine hundred Chromebooks through capital funds for next year. If this request is funded, Pierce will be a 1:1 school next year.  Unlike BYOD, in this 1:1 environment, the new devices will be stored in a Chromebook cart in all of the core subject classrooms for students to use during class time. The Chromebooks will stay inside each classroom and not be available for students to use at home.  Currently, Pierce has twelve Chromebook carts. These carts will be available for the World Language and elective teachers. Read more about this initiative here.


Our 3rd graders visit Plimoth Plantation as an interactive field trip aligned with what they are learning this year in school. Students draw on information from local historic sites, historical societies, and museums. In 3rd grade, students learn about the history of Massachusetts from the time of the arrival of the Pilgrims. The field trip to Plimoth Plantation gives our students a chance to learn more about life in the 17th century, as they  visit several villages and learn  more about what the Wampanoags ate and wore for clothing back in the 1600-1700s. Last week was Cunningham’s turn, all the schools will visit Plimoth Plantation this year for this rich look at history. 


The cold weather is not keeping these 1st graders from getting their gardening done! This week, Mrs. McClain’s Cunningham 1st graders learned  about bulbs from our D.I.G. (Discovery in Gardening)/ Outdoor Classroom parent volunteers. Students planted bulbs and planned for the spring – when warmer weather will send them back out to the Cunningham garden!


Tucker School held it’s sixth annual Book Character Day on Friday, November 9th. Students and faculty members dressed as human or animal characters from a favorite book. Students kicked off the day with a special Community Circle where they learned new ways to earn Tiger stripes by caring for our library and books. Then students celebrated their love of literacy by sharing their favorite titles with book buddies from other grades and classrooms. This day was a great way start to start November, Family Literacy month. Check out our Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Pete the Cat, Fancy Nancy and more!


Mrs. Spitz’s Collicot 4th graders were all thumbs up and smiles as they reached for success during their Reach for Reading centers. 


Thank you to our Glover 5th graders who served as tour guides for a recent School Committee visit. Seeing the building through the eyes of students made for an interesting and authentic tour.


It’s not over after Hamilton has sung! Tucker announces a new Bonus Raffle: A Night on the Town featuring dinner at MJ O’Connors, 1 night stay at the Park Plaza including valet parking and breakfast for two. There are still over $3,000 in prizes. Take a chance to win!! Tickets can be purchased until November 30th at


Join us for a night of music, humor and song  at the MHS Cabaret, tonight at 7pm at Milton High School.  Only $5 admission for a wonderful night of entertainment.


Nov 15  MHS Fall Cabaret – TONIGHT
Nov 17  Eastern District Sr. Auditions
Nov 19  Waking up White Author Presentation
Nov 21-23  Thanksgiving Day Recess
Nov 26  Jessica Minahan, Stressed Out-Reducing Anxiety in Children
Nov 28  Milton School Committee Meeting
Nov 29  MHS Winter Concert
Dec 4  Pierce Winter Concert

The full calendar can be found here.


Did you know that you can influence your child’s prospects for successful employment and a higher income later in life?  You can because the skills that employers value and reward most often can be taught and fostered by parents. MPS SEL Facilitator Laurie Stillman shares the following.

The skills that I am referring to are not necessarily cognitive skills; they are attitudinal and behavioral.  They include such traits as diligence and collaboration. Employers lament that the young workforce does not exhibit these important personal qualities, and they hope that teachers and parents do more to foster them.  Other characteristics that employers value in their employees include: A strong work ethic ; Great verbal communication abilities; Good teamwork and collaboration; A positive attitude and adaptability; Ability to listen and learn

These qualities can be taught, modeled, practiced and reinforced with children by adults, in both the classroom and at home, and they are part and parcel of social emotional learning.  While we tend to focus on rewarding our children when they get good grades in their academic studies, we would do well to also acknowledge, develop and praise our children when these non-cognitive desired behaviors and attitudes are being displayed.  Afterall, we want our children to become successful adults in the broadest sense of the word. And some of the most critical predictors of success, based on numerous studies, show that strong social and emotional skills are an important part of the formula.


The SEPAC will be hosting a Basic Right’s Workshop on November 28th at 7:00 in the library at Tucker Elementary School. We will also hold a brief board meeting at 6:30 prior to the presentation. Both are free and open to the public. 


Director, Health and Physical Education Noel Vigue shared this article about cell phones and sleepovers with me and I think many parents/guardians will find it worth reading.


Ready to pedal for their smoothies!

This week our  Smoothie bikes launched at breakfast at the Cunningham/Collicot cafeteria and it was a huge success! Students gathered and volunteered to make smoothies and were grouped into two teams. The focus of this event was to have them exercise and make their own smoothie while biking.  The students were in a relay race in teams of six to fill and spin the smoothie bikes. It was very exciting and the resulting breakfast smoothies were gone in the blink of an eye with even more students asking for smoothies. All children are encouraged to participate in the breakfast program as it is a great way to consume fruits and protein while also getting exercise and being prepared for the day ahead. Smoothies will now be a part of breakfast at Cunningham and Collicot Elementary schools. The cost of breakfast is $1.25; however, if your child receives free or reduced lunch, they also qualify for free breakfast and the smoothies as part of a meal with a whole wheat muffin, 1% milk and 100% fruit juice. There is no need to sign up, just drop your child off for breakfast and have them join in the fun!  Want to try the HealthBarn smoothie at home? Here’s the recipe!

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 and substitute jobs often lead to permanent jobs. Please email Jackie Morgan or call (617-696-5040 X 5514) for more information.


This weekend:

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+.

Next Week:

I encourage you to read this note from Debbie Alsebai,  one of the members of Courageous Conversations towards Racial Justice.  Courageous Conversations is hosting educator Debby Irving, author of Waking Up White: And Finding Myself In The Story of Race , a book widely considered to be an essential text on how to unpack racial privilege in the American context. Please join many of your friends and neighbors  for a conversation with Debby Irving,  Monday, November 19th 6-9pm at Milton High School. All are welcome and encouraged to attend.


Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, all trash and recycling will be picked up on Wednesday, November 21. Please set out your bins, barrels, and carts by 7am on Wednesday. There will be no waste pickup on Friday, November 23.  For questions or to report a missed pickup, please call DPW at 617-898-4900 ext. 1.

Later in November:

Celebrate the Season at the Forbes House Museum, 215 Adams Street on Saturday, November 24, join the fun at the Lower Mills Merchant Holiday Stroll. The museum is joining over 20 local shops, restaurants, and small businesses in the historic Dorchester Lower Mills, Milton Village, and Central Avenue area to kick off the holiday season! Complimentary trolley service is provided throughout the evening. Come explore the Forbes House while enjoying festive decorations, drinks and treats. Bring the
family to try a scavenger hunt and check out the working model train.The museum will also be hosting a pop-up shop for The Petal Peddler’s Shop, a small local artisan business based in Milton. The Shop specializes in handcrafting beautiful flowers from unique papers including sheet music, book pages and maps.

The Milton Historical Society presents local author, furniture conservator and scholar Robert Mussey Jr. to discuss his book he co-authored with Clark Pearse, “Rather Elegant Than Showy: The Classical Furniture of Isaac Vose.” The lecture will be held on Thursday, November 29, 2018 at 7pm  at the Milton Public Library, 476 Canton Ave. The event is free and open to the public. The library is also a co-sponsor.   Although virtually forgotten for approximately 200 years, Milton Village native Isaac Vose built a substantial business empire in Boston and made furniture for the most prominent Boston families.


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

The Commission on Disability needs you! Whether you’re a parent, teacher or a student over the age of eighteen, Milton needs you to serve on the Commission to assist those who are living with disabilities enjoy all that Milton has to offer. Please contact Diane DiTullio Agostino, Chair of the Commission on Disability, via phone  617-698-8232 or email with questions.

Friend of MPS, Milton resident and Community Advocate Diane DiTullio Agostino suggests that we all take a moment to register with Smart 911. Registering for this underused resource can help your family if you need to call 911.


Milton High School would like to congratulate two students on signing their Division I Letters of Intent!

The Milton High swim team did great at the South Sectionals at MIT on Sunday!

  • Joe Pezzini broke the meet record with a personal best time of 102.01 in the 100 breaststroke and also won the 200 IM.
  • Andrew Tran, Christian Bartkiewicz, Sebastian Yunger and Ethan Dobrindt all took home medals and the boys finished 3rd!
  • Eliza Callahan had a personal best time and recorded a state cut in the 200 IM.
  • Rose Gillooly, Emily Dobrindt, Elle Anthony and Madison Crummey shaved off 3 seconds of their best time in the 400 freestyle relay to tie for 8th place.

Division III Eastern Massachusetts Cross Country Championships Recap!

  • The girls’ team (Elise, Ava, Ella, Anna, Grace S., Grace D., and Clodagh) won their race and will go onto All States next weekend!
  • Ava Duggan stayed with the top runner during the entire race, coming in 2nd place with a PR of 18:52
  • Elise O’Leary stayed strong the entire race, coming in 4th place overall
  • Ella Affanato placed 13th, running a faster time this week than at the BSC race two weeks ago
  • Anna Cakouros shaved 27 seconds off of her BSC time at Wrentham, placing 19th overall. She came in ahead of 2 Walpole runners which helped secure the win
  • Grace Dwyer came in 25th place, running a tough race the entire course
  • The boys’ team (Bobby, C.J., Ross, Fritz, Stephen, Dieter, and Hayden) came in 6th place, a 3rd place improvement from last year!
  • Bobby Carew placed 3rd in 16:18. This qualifies him to compete at the All-State meet as an individual!
  • The dynamic freshman duo of Ross Tejeda and Christopher Sullivan placed 25th and 26th.  There were only 4 freshmen in the entire top 50 of the race and Milton had 2!
  • Fritz Lalley shaved 13 seconds off his time from last year.
  • Stephen Affanato was our 5th runner and cut over 30 seconds off his time from last year.

The Football Team will travel to Braintree for a 10:00am start in this year’s Thanksgiving Day Game.

Girls Cross Country travel to Stanley Park on Sunday for States!

The Cheer Team will go to States at Worcester State University on Sunday!

The Swim Team now has 10 swimmers headed to States on Sunday at Harvard University!

Winter Registration is open and tryouts begin the Monday after Thanksgiving. 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: There are two outstanding groups of high school students to recognize this week:
Students of the Quarter
are recognized as students who are making a contribution to the MPS community. Each department nominates two students who deserve commendation for the previous marking period.  These students may have shown marked improvement, may have done a significant project or may have shown outstanding effort. Students of the Quarter receive a certificate and their pictures are posted in a wall case near the main office.  Because of these individuals, Milton High School continues to be an outstanding school. It is a pleasure to recognize these students.

National Honor Society students are selected by faculty after careful consideration of their scholarship, leadership, service and character. National Honor Society is a great achievement; congratulations to all ten new members and to our officers for 2018-19.

Thank you to my blog contributors this week:  Jon Redden, Holly Concannon, Karen Spaulding, Elaine McNeil- Girmai, Karen McDavitt, James Jette, AJ Melanson, Noel Vigue, Ryan Madden, Karen Cahill, Dawn Sykes, Jackie Morgan, Joyce White, Marti McKenna, Liz Spitz, Taylor Windwer, Maureen McClain, Eileen Keaney, Laurie Stillman, Iyamidé Olukosh and Ben Kelly.  

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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