January 3rd, 2019

From: Mary C. Gormley
To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: January 3, 2019


Today we welcomed back over 4200 Milton Public Schools students after what we hope was a restful and enjoyable winter break. We are ready as a district to take on 2019 and look forward to continuing our journey of learning and excellence in the new year. There are several important dates that come up quickly in January and I want to call your attention to them here.

Preschool Information Night: Mark your calendars and join us at Milton High School for a preschool information evening next Thursday, January 10th at 6:30pm. This is guaranteed to be an informative evening as preschool staff and administrators outline the similarities and differences in the programs offered as well as answer any questions families may have. Milton Public Schools has a variety of programs for those children who will turn three or four on or before August 31, 2019.

Kindergarten Information Night: On January 24th, at 6:30 pm, we hope to see many kindergarten parents and guardians at Milton High School for Kindergarten Information Night.  As we prepare to welcome our new kindergarteners next September, the first step for families is to pre-register your new student. Pre-registration is  live on our website. Please note that your child must be five years old on or before August 31, 2019 to start kindergarten in September 2019.

Both information sessions will take place in the Charles Winchester Auditorium located at Milton High School, 25 Gile Rd. Please email Marti O’Keefe McKenna, Family Outreach Liaison, or call Ms. McKenna at 617- 980- 7343 if you have questions about preschool. Please email Laurie Dunn with questions about kindergarten. 

PARENT Speaker Series: Please join us at Milton High School on Monday, January 7th at 6:30pm for a showing of Race to Nowhere.  Race to Nowhere is a call to action for families, educators, and policy makers to challenge current assumptions on how to best prepare the youth of America to become healthy, bright, contributing and leading citizens. Tickets are FREE and like every PARENT Speaker Series event, this event is open to the public.  


On Wednesday January 2nd, the Milton School Committee welcomed Carl Franceschi and Paul Moore from Drummy Rosane Anderson to present preliminary findings and potential solutions on our space and enrollment issue. The presentation was informative and interactive as School Committee members discussed possible solutions. I urge all Milton residents to take the time to watch the recorded version of the meeting, which is available on Milton Access TV. The powerpoint presentation can be found here.

On Wednesday, January 16th at 7pm, there will be an extended Citizens Speak on Space at the School Committee meeting held at Milton High School. On Wednesday, January 23rd at 7pm, there will be an Open Forum on Space and all are invited to attend and participate. The January 23rd School Committee meeting will be held in the Cunningham School Library.

Our space and enrollment issue is one that we must solve both as a district and as a town in order to continue to maintain the excellence of the Milton Public Schools. Please email School Committee member Ada Rosmarin, Chair of the Facilities Advisory Committee with comments or questions. 


While families enjoyed the last day of winter break, all MPS staff was hard at work on Wednesday, January 2nd for a day of Professional Development. PD consisted of Reach for Reading, collaborative grade level planning, science education, best practices for educational assistants, creative curriculum mapping, exploring google classroom, a discussion about teaching about racist language for our PMS and MHS teachers, school law updates and more. A full day of PD for the entire MPS staff is a rare occurrence and our staff used their time together wisely. Cat DesRoche, Jon Redden, Nancy Warn, Janet Sheehan and Ellen Lohan share some highlights below.

Above is a Word Cloud generated through Poll Everywhere. Teachers were asked upon arrival to answer the question at the top.

All elementary staff gathered at  Collicot and Cunningham, as teachers collaborated with grade level teams across the district.  Teams worked together on planning grade level writing projects and how to calibrate assessments of those projects. This work gave teachers an opportunity to examine student work samples and discuss grade-level expectations and goals at different points of the year.  Teachers also heard from and shared with colleagues about small group literacy stations. Literacy stations are a way to differentiate for a variety of student learners that address the many components of literacy skills. Through collaboration and conversation, teachers left the session with ways to apply new ideas in the coming weeks.  Thank you to all the presenters and teachers for a day full of good conversation and planning!


5th grade teachers, educational assistants and service providers worked with Science Coordinator Ellen Lohan to review the new science standards in preparation for the Science MCAS 5th graders will take on computers in the spring. They also enjoyed the dissection lesson led by scientists Dr. Elizabeth Bless and Dr. Sandy Pearl.  


Elizabeth Stordeur [pronounce Store-door] Pryor ran a workshop with middle and high school teachers yesterday that focused on strategies for teaching about the history of the n-word, race and racism in the United States. Pryor is an associate Professor of History at Smith College, where she serves as the current faculty teaching mentor for equitable and inclusive pedagogies. She has also received multiple awards for teaching. Professor Pryor’s first book looks at African Americans, travel and citizenship before the Civil War and her current research is on the history of the n-word in the United States. Two resources that were shared with staff prior to the workshop may be of interest to you.

“Tackling the N-word on Campus,” NEPR, February 28, 2018.

“Smith College Professor Elizabeth Stordeur Pryor on Teaching Racist Language,” WGBY: Connecting Points, April 2, 2018.


Paige Tobin, Esq., of Murphy, Lamere & Murphy, P.C, spoke to all MPS employees on the topic of Sexual Harassment at School and in the Workplace. The presentation was informative and is part or our continuing education for all employees.


Collicot students have been interacting with STEM everywhere they go.  On Friday December 21, MHS students came to code with Collicot 5th graders. Additionally, 5th grade families and 3rd and 4th grade students were able to visit the first Collicot Toy Show presented by our very creative 5th grade inventors.  Students made the most of their recycled materials to put together an outstanding showing of games and toys.  Thank you to the 5th grade team and all of our supportive families for providing a very fun Friday in December.  We hope this becomes a Collicot tradition.


As we begin the winter season, we want to share links to two important documents that were sent to families in December. Please review our Winter Weather/Snow Day communication and Bus Text App for Major Delays. Inclement weather is a part of life in the northeast and the better we manage these challenges as partners, the more successful our winter will be.


A breakfast survey was recently conducted at Milton High School and students were asked if they consumed breakfast in the morning.  We found out that 29% of our students do not consume breakfast and they stated it was because they don’t have time or they usually do not eat breakfast. Fortunately, 70% of the students do consume breakfast with 16% of them eating breakfast at school.

Don’t have time for breakfast? Did you know MHS and Pierce have a grab-and-go cart available with breakfast options? If your student prefers to bring something from home, quick and healthy options can be a granola bar, overnight oats with fruit & cinnamon, or a 5oz yogurt with granola, oats, or muesli with a side of  fruit to go.

Studies show that those who skip breakfast: have a lower nutrient and energy intake across the day (consuming more calories later in the day does not make up for the skipped breakfast); will make unhealthy choices and overeat for their next meal which is associated with strong risk of excess weight gain as the first step to obesity, metabolic disorders, diabetes, & cardiovascular diseases; and have decreased cognition and learning throughout the day.

A full breakfast at school costs $1.25 and is free to the students who qualify for free and reduced meals. MHS Dietetic Intern Hillary Wong shares more information here.  


MPS SEL Facilitator Laurie Stillman wants to remind the Milton Public School community about a few important free resources in town which provide help for mental health, behavioral health, and substance use.  The New Year is a good time to reach out and get help, when needed.

Interface Referral Service – Call the William James College INTERFACE Helpline

Milton Residents can now get free referrals to help for children, adults and seniors struggling with problems such as anxiety, depression, family crises, behavioral and substance abuse problems, etc. Call  888-244-6843 for confidential resource information and/or provider referrals from a mental health professional.

Email Milton Cares for Drug & Alcohol Addiction

If you, a loved one, or a neighbor are struggling with drug or alcohol problems, Milton Cares is a new program in Milton that will confidentially and discreetly send over a team of specialists who will come to your home and provide your family with help.  A Substance Abuse Counselor and Recovery Coach will be accompanied by a plain-clothed Milton community officer to offer your family support, advice and resources for how to access life-saving medically assisted treatment, rehabilitation, or just support about how to handle a family member or friend at home struggling with addiction.  Email Milton Cares at anytime for assistance. 


Jan 10  Preschool Information Night
Jan 16  Milton High/Pierce Jazz Concert
Jan 16 Milton School Committee Meeting at MHS
Jan 17, 18,19  Pierce Players
Jan 21 MLK Jr. Holiday No School
Jan 23 Milton School Committee Meeting at Cunningham
Jan 24 Kindergarten Information Night
The full calendar can be found here.  


The Department of Public Works would like to remind residents that Christmas tree and wreath pickup will be on January 9 and 10, on your trash day. Only trees and wreaths will be collected – no leaves or yard clippings. To view the full yard waste schedule through June 2019, click here.

Milton community grant applications are now available through the Milton Junior Woman’s Club. The deadline for applications is Feb 15, 2019.


The MHS Ski Team will be hosting a Cans for Cats can/bottle drive on Saturday, January 5th from 9am to 12pm  at Milton High School.   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:

Mrs. Abdon with her family and MPS Director of Nutrition Services Jackie Morgan

Staff: Please join me in wishing Deb Abdon, a 23 year employee of the Milton Public Schools, a wonderful retirement. Mrs. Abdon has managed the Cunningham/Collicot cafeteria for many years, serving thousands of healthy meals to students and staff. Her professionalism, kindness and creativity will not be forgotten. Students and staff bid a fond farewell to Mrs. Abdon on the Friday before break. We wish you nothing but health and happiness in retirement! 

Volunteers: MHS students Grace and Katherine Baker spent much of November collecting  supplies and treats to send to troops stationed overseas. Other Milton Girl Scouts assisted in collecting and packing the supplies. On Tuesday, December 11th, Girl Scout Troop #85439, Grace and Katherine shipped 9 very large boxes (over 400 pounds!) containing snacks, toiletries, games  and other goodies to the sailors serving on the USS Rushmore. They also shipped a large care package to a new Marine stationed in Norway on his first deployment. We are very proud of Grace and Katherine for organizing this effort!

Thank you to my blog contributors this week:  Jon Redden, Cat DesRoche, Bernadette Butler, Zeina Hamada, Ryan Madden, Dawn Sykes, Laurie Dunn, Marti O’Keefe McKenna, Laurie Stillman, Ellen Lohan, Hillary Wong, Nancy Warn, Janet Sheehan, Jackie Morgan, James Jette and Noel Vigue.

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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