January 24, 2019

From: Mary C. Gormley
To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: January 24, 2019

FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT

I am pleased to share some exciting news with you. Milton High School is proud to announce that they will become a Unified Champion School this Spring. I have asked Athletic Director Ryan Madden to share the details here.

The Milton High School Athletic Program, governed by the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) in partnership with Special Olympics Massachusetts (SOMA), is focused on the inclusion of all students. This program is a comprehensive model of our Unified Schools’ strategy that combines Unified Sports, Inclusive Youth Leadership and Whole School Engagement to create the greatest impact. These activities aim to help reduce bullying and exclusion, promote healthy activity and interactions, combat stereotypes and stigma, eliminate hurtful language in our school and engage people in social activities that lead to personal growth.

Milton High School looks to take the first step by creating a Unified Track and Field Team starting March 25, 2019! This Track and Field program is open to all students with and without intellectual disabilities to participate alongside one another. There are over 73 schools participating in the state of Massachusetts. Students are not paired, like in Best Buddies, but rather teammates that mentor and coach each other as they train and compete together.

Students in grades 9 thru post-graduate year may participate. The track program will run from late March to early May and will include the following events: shot put, javelin, long jump, 100 meter run, 400 meter run, 800 meter run, 4×1 relay. Each schools team must consist of equal number of students with and without disabilities who will serve as partners for the events. Beginning March 25th , practices will be held Mondays and Tuesdays from 2:30 to 3:30pm at Milton High School. Students will also compete in four meets that will generally be held on Thursdays. Two of those meets will be at home and two away. This will be followed by a district qualifier and then a State Championship for those individuals who qualify. Competition is based on students of similar athletic ability in heats/flights. All students’ performances count and potentially contribute to the team’s success, not just the fastest runners and longest throwers. 

If your child might be interested, we encourage getting a new physical as soon as possible. For more information, please visit the Unified Sports website.  An application of interest can be found here. We will also be looking for fans in the stands during our meets so stay tuned for updates!

SCHOOL COMMITTEE

Last night the School Committee welcomed almost 60 citizens to the Public Forum on Space held in the Cunningham/Collicot Library. A Public Forum allows the opportunity for an exchange between citizens and Milton School Committee members. Dozens of citizens spoke, expressing concerns, offering ideas and engaging in dialogue with the School Committee. You can watch the meeting On Demand at Milton Access TV 1-2 days after each meeting. I also suggest watching the School Committee meeting from January 16th which contains the most recent space presentation from DRA.  You can view a PDF of the presentation here. There will be more Public Forums in the coming months as the School Committee works to identify short term (3 year) and long term (5 year) solutions to our space and enrollment issue. We will announce the dates of these meetings next week. 

How can you stay informed?

PRESCHOOL AND KINDERGARTEN

Kindergarten Information Night: TONIGHT, 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.

The information session will take place in the Charles Winchester Auditorium located at Milton High School, 25 Gile Rd.  Please email Laurie Dunn with questions about kindergarten.

Preschool: Preschool pre-registration is underway. The deadline for pre-registering is TODAY, Thursday January 24th. Families who are presently residing in Milton with children age three on or before August 31, 2019 for the half day programs and children who will be four years of age on or before August 31, 2019 for half and full day programs are invited to complete the pre-registration. Please review the program overview, MPS program fact sheet and important preschool dates.  If demand exceeds availability, a lottery will be held on January 25th. Any family who has completed the pre-registration by Thursday, January 24th will be included in the lottery. Families pre-registering after January 24th will be awarded a seat based on availability or added to a waitlist. If you have any questions please email Marti O’Keefe McKenna or call 617 980 7343. For preschool special education and evaluation questions please email Jayme Szymczak.

You can see what our happy preschoolers are up to this year in this short video.

PIERCE UPDATES

Congratulations to the almost 120 Pierce students who wowed the community with their recent performances of High School Musical, Jr! Through 3 sold out shows, students acted, danced and sang their way into the audience’s hearts. The sets were impressive, the lighting and sound perfect and the crew deserves a huge round of applause.

Pierce Players would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of drama teacher and director Bill Deschenes and a host of other adults who support our Pierce Players. Bravo to all!

INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

On Friday, January 18th, the Tucker Community gathered in the morning to start a school-wide day of service.  Organized by the PTO, each grade level had a service project for a different organization or group of people. Throughout the day on Friday, grade levels were visited by the various groups and context was given to the projects that were being completed.  Preschool classes made cards for the Milton Fire and Police Departments and these were given to Officer Maria Poles and Fireman Malik Gibbons. Kindergarten classes were visited by Officer Nancy to presented her with tied fleece blankets and toys for the Animal Shelter.  1st graders made cards for patients at Milton Hospital and Director of Volunteer Services, Janet Evans came to collect the cards and meet the students. Our 2nd graders made cards for active service members while 4th graders wrote letters to Veterans in the community.  3rd graders made bagged lunches for clients at Father Bill’s whose mission is to support families and individuals struggling with homelessness. Julia Palmerino from Dana Farber came to speak with 5th graders about her work with the Philanthropy Office and cancer research. Following her presentation and a Q&A  session, students assembled chemotherapy bags to be available for patients receiving treatment. The bags held blankets, hats, socks, colored pencils, puzzles, coloring books, journals, pens, and water bottles. Students were encouraged to connect the work done on Friday to the works of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and to be community helpers in whatever ways they can going forward.  Throughout the day, students and staff could be seen working together to complete these projects with energy and enthusiasm. A big thank you to PTO leaders Meena Tondravi, Lacy Stoneburner and Stacey Solomon for their organization and commitment to this important Tucker event!

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Ms. Windwer’s Cunningham 3rd graders enjoyed playing math games this week while learning more about area and perimeter.  Working in small groups, students measured and calculated their findings, writing explanations of why they were measuring area or perimeter while showing the correct formulas they used.

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To begin their Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration projects, 5th graders in Ms. Craven and Mrs. Bodkin’s classes read  about other influential people who were critical components of the civil rights movement. They talked about Ruby Bridges, Barbara Johns, Rosa Parks, and The Little Rock Nine and how their actions helped create a much larger movement led by MLK, Jr. This led them into a conversation about fixed vs. growth mindset. The people they read about stood up for something  they believed in and because of that, change happened. Students then created a mural which depicts other famous people throughout history whose successes came from having a growth mindset. This lesson was an excellent segue as 5th grade begins unit 4 of Reach for Reading which will focus on the essential question – “What is Justice?”

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As part of the new FOSS curriculum, Collicot kindergartners started an investigation into the unit titled Animals Two by Two. In this science unit, students will explore red worms and nightcrawlers. Let the investigation begin! 

SOCIAL EMOTIONAL LEARNING

On January 31, at 7pm at BID Milton in the  Nangeroni Conference Room, Professor Margie Skeer will speak on the topic of  “Underage Drinking Prevention: Practical Parenting Facts and Tips for ‘The Talk’ and So Much More”. Learn why talking to your kids works, get specific tips on how to talk to your kids and observe practice role-playing. The MSAPC invites all Milton community members to attend this important, free talk and the MSAPC meeting that will follow.

HEALTH NEWS – VAPING

As we continue to share resources on vaping, our goal is prevent young people from starting to vape. While we would  like to prevent all youth from using in the first place, Director of Health and Phys. Ed Noel Vigue shares this tool from the Truth initiative that could be a great resource to help users quit.

If you need help quitting, text Quit to 202-804-9884 and begin to get support from the Truth Initiative. This 5 minute video introducing the program on NBC Today is worth watching to understand how this free service works.

MILTON FOUNDATION FOR EDUCATION

For over 20 years the Milton Foundation for Education (MFE) has been funding initiatives that have positively altered the educational landscape of our community. As we look ahead to the next 20 years, we ask ourselves: Where will it take the children of Milton? With your continued help, the possibilities are endless.

Middle Schoolers like to hop, too! Thank you to the MFE for the new Hippity Hops at Pierce.

Ask Kindergarteners what they want to be when they grow up, and the responses are adorably familiar. Ask students on the cusp of graduation that same question, and the answers get more complex. The career opportunities of the future are changing rapidly. What exciting possibilities await!

We owe it to them to keep pace: to offer opportunities which inspire curiosities and engage minds; to help our children prepare for whatever tomorrow brings; to support Milton’s incredible teachers as they suggest meaningful, forward-thinking programs and initiatives. The MFE supports all 6 of our schools with teacher grants, major initiatives, support of science in all schools and more. I hope you will  consider  a gift to the MFE today.  

The MFE has distributed over 3 million dollars to the Milton Public Schools, impacting 3,400 students every year. Please consider a tax-deductible gift. Every dollar changes lives!

ADULT EDUCATION

Milton Public Schools Adult Education aims to support lifelong learning by providing courses on a wide range of subjects and skills to adults in Milton and neighboring towns. Whether you want to try something entirely new or nurture an existing passion, we hope that you find what you are looking for in our new and returning courses. Registration for our Spring term ends February 22, 2019 online and by February 15th. by mail. The town-wide mailer features a listing of all 15 courses offered while our website has full course descriptions, dates, and online registration.

BUS UPDATES

With the hard work of our MPS custodians and support of all staff, as well as the cooperation and flexibility of families, we successfully navigated the winter weather early this week. Bus delays proved to be challenging for some routes while more manageable for others. Our new Remind text program got its first real workout and while it was not perfect, it did prove effective and helpful for many families. I encourage every parent whose child takes the bus to sign up for Remind. The directions can be found here.  

Remind has notified us that due to an unresolved dispute with Verizon, beginning January 28, 2019 Remind subscribers who have Verizon Wireless as their phone carrier, who normally get our Remind messages as texts, will no longer receive these messages. If you do not have Verizon wireless, your Remind updates will continue unchanged.

What can you do as a Verizon customer to continue to receive important MPS Bus updates?

To continue receiving our messages, please download the mobile app or enable email notifications—both of which are free of charge. Please read more about the Remind text program and how to sign up here. 

Please also review our Winter Weather/Snow Day communication. There are details about a 2 hour delay and how that would impact your child’s day if MPS had a delay, as well as information about the process used to open, cancel or delay school. 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.  

PARENT SPEAKER SERIES

Our next PARENT Speaker is Catherine Steiner-Adair, Ed.D, on February 12th at 6:30 pm in the MHS Auditorium.  Dr. Steiner-Adair will speak on The Big Disconnect: Protecting Family Relationships in the Digital Age.

Come hear Dr. Steiner-Adair speak about how to maintain important relationships as a family, in our ever-increasing digital world.  Dr. Steiner-Adair address topics such as:

  • Developing a thoughtful approach to technology in school and life.
  • Insights and advice that help parents achieve greater understanding, authority, and confidence as they engage with the tech revolution unfolding in their homes.
  • How to strengthen children’s social and emotional development to help them grow to be responsible, resilient, confident, and capable young adults.
  • Skills to deconstruct unhealthy messages from online culture and create space for nourishing deep attention, creativity, empathy, and healthy relationships.

As always, the PARENT Speaker Series is FREE and open to the public. This presentation is relatable to parents/guardians of all ages.

UPCOMING MPS DATES

Jan 24 Kindergarten Information Night
Jan 25  Pierce Movie Night
Feb 6  Early Release (Grs K-12) PD Day
Feb 6  Milton School Committee Meeting
Feb 7  MHS Winter Cabaret
Feb 12  PARENT Speaker Series: Dr. Catherine Steiner-Adair, “The Big Disconnect-Protecting Family Relationships in the Digital Age”
Feb 13  Pierce Global Celebration
Feb 18–22  February Recess
Feb 25  Special Town Meeting

The full calendar can be found here.  

ART AND MUSIC

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., Glover art teacher Mr. Reynolds grew this piece of art during each art class last week and all 610 Glover students contributed as it came together. Principal McDavitt shares that it is breathtaking to see in person. 

MILTON SUMMER ENRICHMENT

Believe it or not, it is time to start planning Milton Summer Enrichment (MSE) 2019!  Cat DesRoche and Ellen Lohan will be Co-Directors this year, as Bernadette Butler has stepped down from her role with MSE after 3 years of outstanding work.  We are looking forward to a fantastic summer at MSE and invite you to read our welcome letter here. Please be on the lookout for more communications in the upcoming months, but if you have questions in the meantime, please contact Ms. DesRoche and Ms. Lohan via email.

ATHLETICS

The MHS Boys Hockey Team will be hosting a Cans for Cats can/bottle drive on Saturday, February 2nd from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Milton High School.

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

NEWS AROUND TOWN

Milton Girls Softball is a recreational softball league open to girls in K-8th grade who reside in or attend school in Milton. New softball players at all ages are welcome as this is an instructional program, yet competitive enough for everyone. The season runs from mid-­‐April until mid-­‐June.
The league offers five divisions:Kindergarten Instructional Program ($80 per player); Grades 1 and 2 ($85 per player); Grades 3 and 4 ($150 per player);Grades 5 and 6 ($150 per player);Grades 7 and 8 ($150 per player)    

We are offering FREE pre-season softball skills clinics to all registered girls in Grade 1 through Grade 8. Clinics will be held indoors at Dirt Dawgs in Stoughton on Sunday’s starting late January until end of March. Clinics are free ($100 value), but space is limited so signup to reserve your spot! www.miltonsoftball.com

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

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

Summer on your brain? We are happy to welcome EMPOW Camps back to Milton this summer. All details can be found here.

A reader shared this video with me, a presentation by David O’Leary, Chair of the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention Board.

Save the date for the 42nd Annual Milton Road Race hosted by the volunteer members of the Milton Junior Woman’s Club. The race kicks off at 6:30 p.m., rain or shine, on Tuesday, June 11, 2019. Proceeds from this race are channeled right back into the Milton community in the form of scholarships for high school students living in Milton. Grants are also awarded to nonprofit entities that help Milton residents.

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. 

AMBASSADORS

Volunteer: Mary Claire Cantor is a Collicot parent who is instrumental in making the Collicot science fair a great success. Mrs. Cantor volunteered her time over two days to visit each Collicot classroom to demonstrate the components of a great science fair project! Mrs. Cantor talked to students about testable questions and variables. In each classroom she posed the question: What will happen if you put a can of soda in a fish tank filled with water? In this experiment she used diet soda and regular soda as her variables. Students were engaged by the demonstration and left excited to try their own projects. The Collicot community is very grateful for Mrs. Cantor’s dedication to the science fair!  

Staff: I want to take this space to recognize Mary Schofield, a long time educator in the Milton Public Schools who passed away this week. Many of us had the privilege of knowing and learning from “Miss Schofield.”  

Mary Schofield earned her amazing reputation when she was the Principal of the Glover Elementary School. She was known as a kind and compassionate person who treated everyone fairly and with respect and showed great consideration to her co-workers. Mary went on to serve as MPS Assistant Superintendent and served the district in many capacities after her retirement. Our elementary schools give a Mary B. Schofield Award to 5th graders each year, presented to two students who exemplify her character by consistently showing consideration for others and a caring spirit. Mary Schofield was a mentor to me and many others. She dedicated her life to the students and staff of the Milton Public Schools. 

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Thank you to my blog contributors this week:  Ellen Lohan, Kristen Giffune, Cat DesRoche, Ryan Madden, Karen Hughes, Sara MacNeil, Karen Spaulding, Taylor Windwer, Rachel Schewe 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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