February 14, 2019

From: Mary C. Gormley
To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: February 14, 2019


Over the last 3 weeks, the School Committee has held 4 Public Forums on Space and Enrollment with hundreds of Milton residents in attendance. Thank you to all who attended, asked questions and offered suggestions.  If you were unable to attend a forum, you can stay informed with the help of the links below:

The School committee has submitted a warrant article to the Special Town Meeting on February 25th asking for the formation of a School Building Committee. The School Committee intends to decide in the next few weeks on a course of action to address the long term needs of the system. Once this is done, the School Building Committee will contract with architects to begin the design and ultimate construction of the resulting project. We will plan additional community outreach and keep you updated on our progress.


Debate Team advisors Kacy Kalell, Kathleen Kelley, and Dana DePaul share that on Saturday, February 9, the MHS Debate Team competed at the NCFL Qualifier at Shrewsbury High School. Led by Matt Sullivan and Fritz Lalley, who finished the preliminary rounds with a record of 3-1 and made it to the run-off rounds, the team performed well.  Matt and Fritz finished 9th overall, just one place short of being an alternate team for the National Tournament. Congratulations on a strong showing!


If you missed our talented MHS students at their recent cabaret, you can watch these impressive performers here!


Last week the MHS  Asian Culture Club visited the Child Study class to share about the  Lunar New Year. MHS student Onn Ye Young shares the following. Lunar New Year is a holiday whose date changes every year, as it is determined by the moon. In many countries that celebrate Lunar New Year,
people celebrate with lucky red envelopes, elaborate lion dances, and seasonal dishes. This year, the Child Studies students were taught about the significance of Lunar New Year. We handed out lucky red envelopes, the children watched videos, colored  pages depicting this year’s animal, the pig, and wore the lion head and romped around the room. The Lunar Calendar goes through twelve cycles annually, each representing a different animal. You can read more at
Lunar New Year: Rituals and Legends.


Milton High School is pleased to offer preparatory classes for the May 2019 SAT to students who are looking to improve their scores.  Students can sign up for Reading, Writing, & Language Prep, Math Prep, or both classes. All sessions will be held at Milton High School and are designed to prepare students for the May 4th SAT Exam. All details can be found here.


Milton Junior Woman’s Club scholarship applications are now available. The club invites Milton residents graduating from high school this year to apply for scholarships to further their education. The scholarships will be awarded to qualified applicants who plan to enter schools or colleges in 2019. The scholarships are not limited to four-year accredited programs.


Mr. McElhinney’s 8th grade Orion students celebrated Dr Martin Luther King’s birthday by decorating the school with their own dreams for the world, the nation and their local communities, as well as with their personal dreams. Their inspiring work can be seen throughout the halls of Pierce all month!


The Pierce Wrestling Team wrapped up their inaugural season with a great scrimmage and lots of smiles! Thank you to all of the parents who supported the Play FORE Pierce Golf Tournament last year in support of Middle School sports. Our wrestlers are grateful!


As part of Black History Month, Glover 5th graders studied two important leaders – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and Nelson Mandela.  Students read French comics written about each figure and then watched documentary videos explaining their lives and numerous accomplishments.  Students were then given the task of comparing the two using a Venn diagram. The finished work can be found in the fifth grade hallway at Glover all month.


Ms. Fitzgerald’s Cunningham 3rd graders enjoyed a special visit from a generous parent,  who shared traditions and customs around the Lunar New Year. Students made their own Chinese Lanterns, received “lucky” red envelopes and played their own festival music with Chinese instruments as they took turns dancing inside of the handmade dragon costume! Celebrating the Year of the Pig was an exciting way to end the week at Cunningham!

In honor of Black History Month, Cunningham 5th graders have been sharing the accomplishments of prominent black Americans during morning announcements. Today’s announcers shared information about the first African–American Congresswoman, Shirley Anita Chisholm.  5th graders  are also celebrating Black History Month by researching black activists and making posters about their lives. Students wrote summary biographies, researched quotes from their activists, made up movie titles for their activists’ lives (along with three scenes from that movie), thought about life lessons they learned from their activists, and came up with five words to describe each activist. They are writing their activists’ words on sentence strips to hang throughout the building.

Mrs O’Leary’s 1st grade Cunningham students enjoyed enthusiastically reciting I too sing America by Langston Hughes this week. You can see their efforts here.


To celebrate Tết (the Vietnamese New Year) and the Lunar New Year Mme Brown’s Glover 1st graders learned how to say the Mandarin New Year greeting “XinNian KuaiLe” , made and decorated red envelopes that had lucky money inside, practiced writing chinese characters  and wrote their wish for their community, their family and themselves on a red dragon. Some of the wishes expressed were for good health, prosperity, and happiness as well as a wish that every child in the world could go to school.


Did you know we have passed the 100th day of school? Our kindergarteners and 1st graders certainly do! The 100th day is a big milestone in our youngest grades and students celebrate by sharing collections of 100, playing math games around the number 100, singing songs and reading books about the 100th day of school and more. Glover students used the 100th day celebration for a fun movement break! You can see some of the 100 days adventures below! 


We are proud to announce that the 3rd Annual BoomWriter Bee will kick off on Monday, February 25!  All students in grades 4 and 5 across the district will participate in this collaborative and engaging online writing contest. This year the BoomWriter featured author is Nick Bruel, author of the Bad Kitty series.  Children will begin by reading chapter 1 of a story written by Bruel, then write the chapters that follow. A voting process will anonymously select a winning chapter each week. At the end of the project, we will have a published book written by the pens (actually keyboards) of many of our students. All students along the way will have the opportunity to provide feedback and determine the direction of the story, thus making it a truly collaborative writing process. Stay tuned for updates as our 4th and 5th graders write their new book!


Collicot hosted Science Fairs for students in Kindergarten through Grade 2 and Grades 3-5 on January 31st and February 7th. The cafeteria was filled with thoughtful projects in the areas of physical, life, and Earth Science both nights. There were also a record number of STEM projects represented this year! A new format was used this year and instead of awarding winners, each student received personalized feedback on their project from members of the Milton High School Science Club or alums returning to Collicot from Pierce or Milton High School. All participants received a bracelet to congratulate them for their participation. Thank you to all students and families for their participation and a big thank you to all of our volunteers from Pierce and Milton High School!


Our next PARENT Speaker Series event is titled: Romaine Calm: Tips to Feed Your Family for Health. Registered dietician, Tara McCarthy’s talk will give parents the tools they need to give their child the nutrition they need to grow and thrive. Please join us on Tuesday, March 5th at 6:30pm at MHS for this valuable discussion! 

Due to the snow earlier this week, we have rescheduled Catherine Steiner-Adair for April 11th. Please save the date!


Just as it is important to assess the academic skills of our students, it is just as important to collect information directly from students concerning their social and emotional competencies.  One important source of this data is from student surveys. We have several surveys that are being planned in the coming weeks for Milton middle and high school students and you can read more about the following validated questionnaires promoted by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education below. Thank you to MPS SEL Coordinator Laurie Stillman and head Nurse Margaret Gibbons for sharing this information.

Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) focuses on prevention, early detection, risk assessment, brief counseling and referral for assessment that can be utilized in the school setting. The use of this mandated and validated screening tool enables school health teams to detect risk for substance use related problems and brief intervention strategies will help to address these concerns at an early stage in adolescents. The results do not appear in student records. Nurse Leader Margaret Gibbons, who oversees SBIRT in Milton, recently sent out a letter to parents with more information. You can  find out more about the law and the process here.

The Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) and the Youth Health Survey (YHS) are valuable and anonymous student surveys offered by many schools across the Commonwealth. The YRBS is administered in Milton High School and the YHS is administered at Pierce Middle School. The last time these surveys were administered were in 2015.  These surveys ask students similar questions regarding their behaviors, attitudes and emotions at home, in school and in the community. Questions about feelings of safety, behavioral health, and engagement in risky behaviors such as substance abuse are asked in this online survey. Individual responses cannot be tracked; rather a statistician compiles them for an overall picture of the school so that we can better address the social and emotional needs of our students overall.  

Since the last surveys, the Milton School District and the Town of Milton, have adopted a number of new social and emotional programs and interventions to support our youth, tailored to the results of, and needs presented in, these surveys.  We are hopeful that we may see improved results this time around.



Ditch the minivan and take a chance on a Jeep! The MFE is selling raffle tickets (only 500 of them!) for a chance to win a Jeep (or $25,000 if you still need the minivan). Contact Liddie Sutter via email, reach out to any MFE board member or stop into any of our 6 schools during the school day to purchase a raffle ticket.

Save the date for the MFE Celebration “Beyond the Books”  on April 6th at Lombardos. The MFE has exciting plans for our libraries as we bring our libraries into the 21st century!


Milton Partnership for Arts and Cultural Enrichment (M-PACE) is a program that brings art, music and drama opportunities to our MPS students at a level they might not otherwise experience. You will receive a communication from M-PACE in your excise tax bill this month. If you would like to donate, please check off the donation box at the bottom of your Excise Tax Bill. Add your donation amount to your payment. You can also mail a check in support of our students to: M-PACE, Milton Town Hall, Attn: Treasurer’s Office, 525 Canton Ave, Milton MA. Thank you for considering a donation so that we can continue to provide these enhancements for our Milton Public Schools students!  


Milton Daffodil Days are almost here!  Help support the American Cancer Society in saving lives, celebrating lives and leading the fight for a world without cancer through Daffodil Days. Make a donation from now until February 18th to receive fresh-cut or potted daffodils in March to brighten your day or that of others through flower delivery to cancer patients at a local cancer center, hospital, or American Cancer Society Boston Hope Lodge® community.  Place your order by clicking “register” and be sure to select your school at checkout. Pick up will be at the school you have selected. Contact Kate Lockhart for more information.


We know that when students start the day with a nutritious breakfast, they start the day ready to learn. Some students skip breakfast at home because they are not hungry when they first wake up and any many families find it difficult for their children to get up, dressed, fed, and off to school in time. When parents rely on the School Breakfast Program, they can be assured that their child will receive a healthy breakfast every day.

The Milton Public School offers breakfast at every school, every day, for twenty minutes before school begins.  There is no need to sign up for breakfast and we have breakfast supervisors in our cafeterias each day with our students.  School breakfast is an excellent opportunity to ensure that your child is receiving a nutritionally balanced meal at the start of each day at a reasonable price as we offer a complete breakfast for $1.25. There is no charge for students who are eligible for free and reduced lunch.

Breakfast at MPS consists of a variety of whole grain items, egg sandwiches and grab and go items for students who may want to eat their meal a little later in the morning. Each meal includes fresh fruit, 100% juice and white milk.  All students are welcome to attend Monday through Friday and we also offer breakfast on half days.

Studies have shown that children who eat a nutritious breakfast have better behavior, better attendance, and improved grades. We are here to help you and our students and we hope that you will try school breakfast soon!  You can learn more about the benefits of school breakfast here. Please contact Director of Food Services, Jackie  Morgan, via email or phone at 617-898-1051 with any questions. 


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. Our website has full course descriptions, dates, and online registration.  Registration is OPEN until Friday, February 22nd! There is still time to join the fun!


Feb 18–22  February Recess
Feb 25  Special Town Meeting
Feb 27 School Committee Meeting at Tucker 
Feb 28 Tucker Activities Fair , Pierce Science Fair, Cunningham Science Fair
Mar 4 1st Grade Information Night
Mar 5 PARENT Speaker Series “Romaine Calm”
Mar 6 Milton School Committee Meeting
Mar 7 Early Release K-12
Mar 9 Minority Recruitment Fair  
Mar 11 1st Grade STEM Night


Many of our talented high school students performed at the MHS Cabaret last week. Thank you to Milton FAME for sharing these pictures with us. Be sure to follow FAME on Facebook to keep up with music news.

On Sunday, April 28th , Milton FAME is pleased to host a unique fundraising event, our fifth annual mattress sale! Our goal is to sell over 100 mattresses, with proceeds going directly to benefit music in the Milton Public Schools. If you, or anyone you know might be in need of a mattress, please save the date and visit our mobile showroom at the Pierce Middle School Gym. This is the time to buy and save up to 50% off retail, all while supporting our students. There will be 29 sets on display and a team of experts on hand to answer any questions you may have.  More details to follow as the date gets closer.


Wrestling Wins the Division II Metro Sectional Championship!

The Milton High School Wrestling Team won the 2019 Division II Metro Sectional Championship as Coach Ted Carroll wins Division II Metro Coach of the Year! Eleven Wrestlers qualified for the State Tournament at Beverly High School on Friday (2/15) and Saturday (2/16). Congratulations to Coach Carroll, Coach Smith, the Wrestling Team and Good Luck this Weekend!

Boys Basketball have clinched the tournament with a few wins on the trot! After beating Weymouth last Friday, they beat Canton on Sunday and took the season series with Walpole on Wednesday night. They are now 11-7 and will play in the Quincy Tournament next week before entering tournament play.

Support our Wildcats over the vacation! We have runners in the DIII Championships, All-States, Wrestlers in the State Finals, Hockey and Basketball Teams in tournaments. They may have no school but our student-athletes are still working hard!

For updates, scores, highlights and information, make sure to check us out on Twitter. 
Don’t forget to spend some time over the break registering for Spring Sports. The deadline to register is March 8th!  If you don’t get your registration in on time, you’ll have to sit out the first day of practice. Don’t let that happen to your athlete!


The Forbes House Museum 2019 Lincoln Essay & Drawing Contest is open for students in grades K-8. The deadline for submissions is Friday, April 12 and the awards ceremony will be held on Sunday, May 19 at the museum. All details on this year’s drawing and writing topics can be found here. 


Thayer Academy’s Parent Association is hosting a screening of the documentary Angst on Thursday, February 26 at 7:00 pm in the Center for the Arts.  Angst explores what causes anxiety, its effects, and what we can do about it. The film is appropriate for parents as well as children ages 11 years and older.  Following the screening, there will be a Q&A session with Thayer’s counselors, Jessica Matzkin and Jarvis Wyche. This is a complimentary opportunity that Thayer has invited the MPS community to attend.

Brookwood Community Farm is offering 3 different cooking classes for tweens (8-13)  over the February break.  Check out the different options available next week here.


Milton Town Clerk Susan M. Galvin  announces that Nomination Papers for both Town Wide and/or Town Meeting Members will be available beginning January 22, 2019 in the Office of the Town Clerk. All nomination papers are due on March 12, 2019. Ms. Galvin would like to encourage all residents to consider running for office. “Citizen participation in Town government is essential to providing the residents of Milton with clear access to our Town government.”

The annual Town Election will be held on Tuesday, April 30, 2019. To be placed upon the ballot, Town Wide candidates must obtain a minimum of 50 legible signatures from registered voters. Town Meeting Member candidates must obtain a minimum of 10 legible signatures from the precinct in which they reside. All details can be found on the Town of Milton website.


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


The Year of the Pig begins in February, and the Forbes House Museum is celebrating with a series of fun and educational programs based on New Year’s traditions and animal symbolism in the Chinese culture. To register for any of their programs and to find out more, please  visit our website or call 617-696-1815. The museum is located at 215 Adams Street in Milton.


The Milton Historical Society is hosting author Stephanie Schorow who will be discussing her book “Inside the Combat Zone: The Stripped Down Story of Boston’s Most Notorious Neighborhood” on Thursday, March 14, 2019, 7 pm., in the Keys Room at the Milton Public Library.


The Milton Young Musicians Festival is now accepting applications! For over 30 years, the Milton Young Musicians Festival has encouraged young people with an interest in music and fostered their developing performance skills.  All participants receive feedback from trained adjudicators, and a medal at the end of the day. Recipients of the Gold Medal are invited to perform in a concert the next weekend. The Festival will be held on March 31st, from noon to 5 pm at East Congregational Church, 610 Adams St, Milton.  The Gold Medal concert will be held the following Saturday, April 6th.


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:

Student: Congratulations to Tucker 4th grader Kwaku Jean Charles Asareo who emerged as the winner of the 6th Annual Tucker Spelling Bee this week. After almost 2 hours of Spelling Bee intensity, Kwaku came out on the top of a very talented field! Thank you to Rachel Spitz and Nora Sweeney who coached this group of superstar spellers.

Coach Smith is excited for Coach Carroll!

Staff: Congratulations to Coach Ted Carroll who is the MIAA D2 Metro Coach of the Year! This is a well deserved honor for our wrestling coach and we are thrilled to share this recognition with the MPS community.  

Volunteers: Three years ago, Heidi Schleicher, parent of a 6th grade student at the time, met with the Pierce PTO Leadership to propose the Pierce PTO Ski Club. Three years later, this labor of love has become an extremely popular after school opportunity for Pierce students. Mrs. Schleicher has dedicated hours to planning and leading this wonderful opportunity for our students. It is likely that few fully understand how many hours she has volunteered to make ski club a reality for our students.  Thank you to Mrs. Schleicher for giving Pierce students this incredible opportunity! Thank you also to the many parents who chaperoned, some attending several trips: Robin Gaynor, Heather Resnick, Kaitlyn Wood, Melanie Ramadan, Peter Hunt, Matt Mahoney, Erin Hellmuth, Trish Heelen, and Jamie Panucci. You can see some of the Pierce ski club at the top of today’s blog. 


If you do not receive the Superintendent’s Weekly Update and would like to, please enter your email here to subscribe to this one weekly email.

Thank you to my blog contributors this week: Cat DesRoche, Kacy Kalell, Kathleen Kelley, Dana DePaul, Sarah Slater, Kathy Mulligan, Ryan Madden, Karen Hughes, Sara MacNeil, Larry Jordan, Lauren Fitzgerald, Jake Smith,  FAME, Dawn Sykes, AJ Melanson, Onn Ye Young, Joyce White, Karen McDavitt, Bernadette Butler, Rina Chen, Tracy d’Entremont, Kerry O’Leary, Marie Laure Brown, Ellen Lohan, Holly Concannon, Laurie Stillman, Karen Spaulding, Nancy Warn, 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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