From: Mary C. Gormley
To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date May 9, 2019
FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT
This week we are celebrating our dedicated teaching and school staff during Teacher Appreciation Week. We are lucky to have 6 enthusiastic school communities who have offered their thanks with meals, notes, decorations, flowers, treats and more. The teachers, paraprofessionals, food service employees, school nurses, custodians, administrative assistants, administrators and curriculum coordinators who comprise the staff of the Milton Public Schools are among the best in Massachusetts and we are thrilled to see them celebrated by MPS families and students. Thank YOU for taking the time to say Thank You to these dedicated individuals.
I am pleased to inform you that Pierce Middle School Principal Dr. Karen Spaulding has been appointed to the position of Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Human Resources. Dr. Spaulding joined the Milton Public Schools in 2008 as the Assistant Principal of Pierce Middle School and later became the Principal of the Cunningham Elementary School. In 2012, Dr. Spaulding returned to Pierce Middle School as Principal.
I want to recognize and thank the members of our two important Screening Committees for their valuable participation in the process. The Screening Committees included parent/guardian representation along with representatives from the Milton Educators Association, Citizens for a Diverse Milton, Milton Special Education Parent Advisory Council, Milton School Committee and Milton Public School administration.
I am sure that you join me in congratulating Dr. Karen Spaulding and wishing her success in this new position.
At the next School Committee meeting on May 15, 2019, the Milton School Committee will hold its annual School Choice Hearing. This hearing will take place at 7pm in the Collicot Elementary School Library. Information on previous meetings can be found here and all meetings can be watched live or on demand on Milton Access TV.
HIGH SCHOOL HAPPENINGS
In honor of Teacher Appreciation week, MHS hosted their first ever Future Teacher Signing Day ceremony celebrating Massachusetts’ next generation of educators. 11 students from the Class of 2019, who intend to pursue a career in education, were recognized in a ceremony that emphasized educators’ importance and the impact they can have on children’s lives.
Massachusett’s Teacher Association President Merri Najimy, MA State Senator Walter Timilty, Head Nurse Margaret Gibbons and Superintendent Mary Gormley were on hand to share a few words with the future teachers and the audience. Each of our future educators signed a letter of intent acknowledging the commitment they are making to the field of education and their communities. Each student talked about their decision to pursue a career in education, and recognized an educator who has influenced them.
Congratulations to Eve Brearley, Isabelle Driscoll, Grace Finnegan, Ailish Flynn, Deianeara Johnson, Katherine Kates, Chandler Laing, Celia Mahoney, Conor McAuliffe, Gwyneth Sauter and Milan Smith for choosing to pursue a career in education! You can watch the 30 minute ceremony here.
Students from the MHS Earth Club recently volunteered to help out at the annual neighborhood brook cleanup. They picked up trash from around the brook as well as around various areas of the high school grounds. Students had a great time enjoying the outdoors and helping out the community!
9th grade students in Modern World Cultures classes at MHS recently attended a live performance of The Pianist of Willesden Lane at Fontbonne Academy’s CSJ Center. 250 MHS students were graciously invited to attend this free performance by Fontbonne, the Early College of Boston. Our students experienced a story of determination and courage despite a world refugee crisis in 1938 based on intolerance, anti-Semitism and bigotry.
In The Pianist of Willesden Lane, Grammy-nominated pianist Mona Golabek performs some of the world’s most beloved music as she shares her mother’s riveting true story of survival. Ms. Golabek told our students the story of her own mother – Lisa Jura – who, as a young teenager escaped Austria prior to World War II and lived in England with other Jewish refugees throughout the war. Her grandparents had to make a decision to send only one of their three daughters to safety, and young Lisa was chosen in part because of her amazing talents as a pianist. Ms. Golabek told the story through music, imagery and monologue. Our Milton students were mesmerized by both the story and the music, as Ms. Golabek is an internationally known pianist who was able to weave her story together through her piano performances throughout the play.
Students also received the book The Children of Willesden Lane by Mona Golabek and Lee Cohen of which the play is based and teachers received on-line classroom resources from Facing History and Ourselves and the Hold Onto Your Music Foundation to encourage discussion and learning.
The Pianist of Willesden Lane is infused with hope and invokes the life-affirming power of music. The production made its way to Fontbonne and to students of the community after critically acclaimed, sold- out runs in New York, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, San Diego, and London. Thank you to event sponsors Frances and Robert Birmingham and numerous benefactors who made the benefit a reality for our MHS students and staff who were invited to attend.
Four students from Pierce and one student from Collicot have advanced to the International Future Problem Solving Competition held on June 6-9th at UMASS Amherst. These students will be participating in a unique FPS tradition called the Memento Exchange. Students will have the opportunity to meet other students from all around the world and exchange mementos from their respective home region. If any local businesses have small decals, patches, pencils, pens, etc that students could bring to trade, we would love to represent the town of Milton and surrounding areas at competition. Please contact Nicole Lauria, Pierce FPS Coach to donate items to the FPS team.
INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS
Cunningham 3rd-5th graders are enjoying Mindfulness Mornings in the library each day this month. These drop-in sessions are available to students from 8:05-8:20. Students take just a few minutes participating in seated and walking mindfulness sessions to center themselves with deep breathing, stretching and quiet meditation before going on to their homerooms. Students are sharing that they feel energized and ready to start the day after their Mindfulness Morning.
Thank you to Jaclyn Germano and Alysa Buchanan for offering this opportunity to our students and to Mary Beth Callahan for introducing the practice of mindfulness to our educators 3 years ago in an after school professional development. Mary Beth Callahan has been teaching mindfulness to her preschoolers for several years and it has been seen as effective as students transition from preschool to kindergarten and continue this practice at Cunningham. The Cunningham PTO has also been very supportive of the mindfulness efforts at Cunningham and has provided a year long subscription to MindYeti.com for grades 2-5 to use in the classroom as a transition and calming strategy since 2016.
Over the past few weeks, Cunningham 3rd and 4th graders have read and learned about the Quilts of Gee’s Bend. The Quilts of Gee’s Bend are quilts that were created by a group of women and their ancestors who either live or had lived in an isolated part of Alabama, along the Alabama River, known as Gee’s Bend. These quilts represented their lives and stories and even some of their fondest memories. After reading and learning about Gee’s Bend in both French and English classes, the students were paired up and asked to collaborate in order to create their own quilts.
On Thursday, May 2nd Collicot held its annual celebration of One Book One School – the Jennifer Kelly Project. Collicot staff and One Book One School Committee organized amazing activity centers for Adventure Night around allergies and movement, including running a difficult course, making one’s own avenger, making teal bracelets (teal is the color representing allergies) and playing matching games and a Kahoot Trivia game. School nurse Mrs. Sgroi , assisted by parents, organized an activity center for students and parents to receive Epipen training and learn what to do in case of an allergic reaction or emergency. The Allergy Avengers author Todd Civin and illustrator Jay Boucher were on site signing books. Families donated allergy safe food for the Milton Food Pantry and all enjoyed the evening, the 10th and final year of One Book One School – The Jennifer Kelly Project.
On Friday, May 3rd, Tucker 5th graders showed off their talent at Milton High School during their Talent Show. Students showcased everything from comedy to dance, tae kwon do to violin. Under the direction of Tucker parents Katie Manning and Star Baylon, students were asked to submit their talents in early April, attend a series of talent screenings, participate in the dress rehearsal then shine at the performance on May 3rd. The following students performed in the ‘Tucker’s Got Talent’ Fifth Grade Talent Show: Khaliyah Johnson-Cornett, Lia Duran, Cole Fletcher, Anthony Guglietta, Osagie Odion-Ukpebor, Raegan Hopkins, Grace Porter, Abby Scheller, Zariah Daley, Alden Goodman, Alle Tuozollo, Xiomara Quinones, Channing Howse, Aamir Taylor, Christian Louis, Nate Codio, Fedor Myshkin, Reed Anthony, Justin Pires, Bediako Jean-Charles Asare, Christian Pascal, Nayeli Thayer, Arianna Wright, Delia Henry, Georgia Manning, and Lulu Baylon. Thank you to Katie Manning, Star Baylon, all the students and families for a fantastic night!
Walk and Wheel Wednesday was a big success at Glover this week! Thank you to the families and staff who helped us have a successful Walk to School Day!
GRADE SPECIFIC INFORMATION
Please scan below for your current grade level
Pre-K – Parent Café – “Getting Ready for Kindergarten!” Tuesday, May 14th. The Milton Public Schools, in partnership with the Milton Early Childhood Alliance, will offer a free Parent Café to parents/guardians of children entering kindergarten in fall 2019, “Getting ready for kindergarten!”. We hope you will be able to join us for the session being offered on Tuesday, May 14th from 9- 10 am at Cunningham Hall.
5th Grade – Sign up soon for Welcome to Middle School, a 3 day program designed to help acclimate all students to Pierce. Middle school is quite different from the elementary setting, and the transition can sometimes be intimidating (but shouldn’t be!). Our program allows students to experience “a day in the life of a grade six student.” We encourage all families to enroll your current 5th grader in our camp. Details can be found here.
5th, 6th and 7th Grade – There is an opportunity for 5th, 6th and 7th grade families that we would like to call to your attention. If you are interested in learning ways to help your kids make healthy choices, we have the perfect research study for you! The SUPPER Project is a research study whose purpose is to understand how to help young people make choices that will support their well-being. This study is being conducted by researchers at Tufts University School of Medicine and Brown University and is funded through the National Institutes of Health. MPS students and their families in grades 5th-7th have been invited to participate. If you are interested, simply email the SUPPER Project team at TheSUPPERProject@tufts.edu with the subject line “Interested in the SUPPER Project” and your name in the body of the email. A member from the study team will reach out to you with next steps. You can also give them a call at (617) 636 – 3587. All personal data will be kept confidential and participation is limited. Please take a moment to read through the details found here and consider participating in the SUPPER Project.
5th, 6th and 7th Grade – School supplies already? Yes! The Pierce PTO has partnered with Yubbler to bring quality, economical school supplies to Pierce families. All supplies are delivered right to your house! All details, links and coupon codes can be found here.
5th-9th Grade: Have you wondered what the best approach is when speaking with your children about using drugs? It’s not an easy topic and many of us are at a loss as to how to start the conversation. Through a grant from the Milton Junior Women’s Club, MPS is thrilled to be able to offer parents and guardians a wonderful opportunity to attend an award-winning workshop designed to help parents strengthen communication with their children and prevent them from using drugs.
This interactive, skills-based program teaches parents of students in 5th-9th grade how to promote positive health and personal development in their children. The curriculum covers collaborative techniques that parents can use to reinforce their children’s competencies in skills that have been found to reduce and prevent substance use. These tools help parents prepare their children for a successful transition from adolescence to early adulthood.
There is one more opportunity to attend the LifeSkills Parent Program on June 3, 6:30-8pm at the Pierce Library. To reserve your spot, please give a quick RSVP here. For questions or further information about these programs, please contact Director of Health and Physical Education Noel Vigue via email or phone at 617-696-4470 x5547.
Registration for Milton Summer Enrichment (MSE) is live! To register, go to Family ID and go to ‘search programs’ and type in ‘MSE 2019’. You will see a registration option for PreK-8, click on that and follow the prompts! For more information about MSE including the 2019 At A Glance Document with course descriptions, please visit the MSE website. Any further questions can be directed to Cat DesRoche and Ellen Lohan.
Registration to ride the bus for the 2019-2020 school year will be open May 15th – June 14th. All registration will be done online and this link to register will be live on May 15th. Every student who plans to ride the bus must register regardless of distance lived from your assigned school and no students will be rolled over for ridership from the current school year. If you are planning for your child to ride the bus in the 2019-20 school year, we strongly encourage you to read through this transportation letter which details the process. Please refer any questions to Rachel Schewe, Transportation Director.
The Milton Public Schools Residency Policy states that “students who are enrolled in the Milton Public Schools shall be required to re-establish residency prior to entering grades six(6) and nine(9), and during other times as determined by the Superintendent or his/her designee. Students who are enrolled in the Milton Public Schools but who attend an educational program outside of the town shall be required to re-establish residency on an annual basis.”
A letter has been sent via US mail to all who must re-establish residency. You can reference that letter, which contains all details, here. Beginning June 3rd Sarina Burke, MPS Residency Coordinator, will be in the Milton High School main lobby (25 Gile Road) with extended hours. The residency packet can be found here.
This process is one of the safeguards used by the Milton Public Schools to ensure that all students enrolled in our schools are residents of the Town of Milton. Although the re-registration process may be an inconvenience for some families, we hope that residents understand that this is a valuable tool to protect taxpayers in the Town of Milton. We work year-round on residency issues and this is simply one more method to assist us in ensuring residency compliance.
HEALTH AND WELLNESS
K-12 Director of Phys Ed and Health Noel Vigue shares that during the 2017-18 school year, we started to notice a new trend in teen behavior that came on like a tsunami (silent and sudden) – Vaping/E-Cig use. Milton isn’t alone in this issue, many towns throughout Greater Boston and Massachusetts have been dealing with teen vape/e-cig use. During the spring of 2018, to help address this, Milton Public Schools offered an evening program for parents/guardians called PREP (Prevention Resources & Education for Parents) regarding vaping/e-cigs that addressed the effects and consequences of gateway/trendy drugs use. It provided caregivers strategies on how to use effective communication skills when talking with children about alcohol, tobacco/vape, and other drug use and focused on the importance of establishing clear rules and consequences at home regarding substance use. During May 2018, we also brought in professionals from Caron Treatment Centers to speak to MHS students in small groups to help educate about the dangers of vape/e-cig use and to promote resiliency and drug resistance skills. Over the summer, we updated our health education curriculum at Pierce and MHS to include the latest health information regarding vaping/e-cig use and opioid misuse/abuse. Our health educators and school nurses have been on the cutting edge of this disturbing trend.
In August 2018, Principal Jette addressed all MHS students regarding drug use (including vape/e-cigs). We brought in Drug Story Theater to present their evidence-based performance regarding drug use education/prevention in September 2018 to grade 9 and 10 students and a community presentation during January 2019. Throughout the school year 2018-19, we’ve provided prevention education for parents/guardians regarding vaping/e-cig use in the Superintendent’s blog. Students in grades 7 and 9 go through brief intervention interviews with school nurses regarding drug/alcohol use and responsible decision-making. We recently installed a vape detection system in all student bathrooms at MHS to deter student use.
Through a generous grant from BID-Milton, we are currently implementing the Botvin LifeSkills Training program for all 5th grade students throughout the spring of 2019. This evidence-based drug resistance program provides education and skills for students to continue to make healthy choices. We coupled this with Stanford University’s Vaping Prevention lessons. We’re excited to say that we’ve seen great results through student surveys. The LifeSkills program is funded for the next two years.
Also, with funding from Milton Junior Women’s Club, we are offering two parent/guardian LifeSkills workshops, to help educate and provide parenting skills around drug use prevention. The first session was on May 6th and the next session will be June 3rd at Pierce Middle School at 6:30pm. Lastly, as part of our PARENT Speaker Series, we will be bringing in Mary Cole to speak to parents/guardians about vaping/e-cig use this fall 2019. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Noel Vigue, K-12 Director of Health & Physical Education.
This short video from PBS Vaping Cost One Teen His Health and Dreams is worth watching with your child.
SOCIAL EMOTIONAL LEARNING
I am proud to share that Dr. Spaulding and Principal McDavitt received wonderful feedback on their presentation at this week’s Safe and Supportive Schools Commission meeting in Sturbridge. Thank you to Dr. Spaulding, Principal McDavitt, MPS SEL Facilitator Laurie Stillman and countless others who have made Social Emotional Learning an important piece of every conversation we have here in the Milton Public Schools!
UPCOMING MPS DATES
May 15 Milton School Committee Meeting
May 21 MHS Spring Concert
May 22 MFE Teacher of the Year Celebration
May 23 MHS Music Awards Night
May 28 Glover Art Show, Sr. Awards Night
May 29 Boosters Banquet, Tucker Art Show
May 30 Collicot Art Show
FOOD AND NUTRITION
Join the Food & Nutrition Services Team! Food Services is now hiring on call and part-time positions for school year 2019-2020. The position allows you to be at home when your family needs you and at school during the day when our students need you! The hourly rate is $15.05 an hour. Please call 617-898-1051 for more information.
ART AND MUSIC
The Milton Music Department’s Instrumental Lesson Program will be holding an informational session and instrument petting zoo on Tuesday, June 11th at 6 PM in the Charles C Winchester Auditorium at Milton High School. This is open to interested students entering 4th and 5th grade and their parents/guardians. .Parents will have the opportunity to learn about the program and pre-register their students for music lessons for the upcoming school year, while students will have a chance to try out instruments at our instrument petting zoo. Please contact program directors Rebecca Damiani and Gary Good with any questions.
Unified Track Meet
Milton High School will host its final home meet of the regular season today at 3:00pm. Last week, the Wildcats competed against Westwood’s Unified Team. It was a great event! Please click here for a video showcasing the team!
April Athletes of the Month
Andrew Possi, Junior, Baseball
Andrew is the starting shortstop for the varsity baseball team. He bats third in the order every game. During April Andrew batted .455 (10-22) with a .636 On Base Percentage (11 walks). He has 6 doubles and 7 RBI. In addition, he has played terrific defense at shortstop and also helped Milton beat Braintree yesterday for the first time in 10 years!
Olivia DiManno, Junior, Lacrosse
Olivia is the Girls Lacrosse leading scorer right now with 22 goals as well as the most forced turnovers (16), ground ball pickups (38), interceptions (11) and draw controls (27) on our team. She has truly stepped up as an upperclassman leading her entire team, setting a positive attitude within the team, and keeping our team focused and on track. She is also putting a lot of work in off the field as well, as she was just inducted into National Honor Society, is about to take AP exams this week and next and carries a heavy course load.
June 12th Grades 5-8 Athletics Night
On June 12th, at 6:30pm, Milton High School will host an Athletics Information Night in the Charles C. Winchester Auditorium for students in grades 5-8 and their parents/guardians. You will get to hear from the Director of Athletics about the sports programs that Pierce and Milton High School offer. Coaches and captains for the fall sports will also be in attendance. This meeting is vital for parents/guardians of students in the 8th grade who will be at MHS in the fall.
All game schedules can be found on our MHS Athletics website.
NEWS AROUND TOWN
Join us for a Birding Walk at Eustis Estate, 1424 Canton Avenue – Saturday, May 11 8:30- 9:30am. Explore the grounds of the Eustis Estate and look for spring’s birds. May is the ideal time to spot a variety of migratory species and the property is filled with features that birds like, including a pond, meadows, an orchard, tall trees, and chimneys. Learn about the interesting species that thrive in these unique habitats. Admission to the house is included so visitors are welcome to explore inside after the tour. Advance tickets recommended. Be prepared for wet, uneven ground and some uphill terrain. Bring binoculars and a field guide if you have them. Please call 617-994-6600 for more information. $5 Historic New England members an $15 for non-members.
Saturday, May 18 12-3pm is Family Fun Day at the Eustis Estate. Join us for a day of retro backyard fun at the Eustis Estate in honor of the special exhibition, Patios, Pools, & the Invention of the American Backyard. Play lawn games, make pinwheels, go on a StoryWalk, and enjoy live music outside from the Heavenly Fire Steel Band of Dorchester. Snacks available for purchase and picnics are encouraged. Included with museum admission. Free for Milton residents. Pre-registration not required. Please call 617-994-6600 for more information. Rain date Sunday, May 19
Milton Community Concerts is presenting its final concert of the season on Sunday, May 26th at 3pm at First Parish of Milton. It is a drama/lecture about the life of bass-baritone Paul Robeson by British/Nigerian singer and actor Tayo Aluko. When he appeared this summer in one sold-out performance in Boston at the BCA he received a very long standing ovation. His appearances this May are in Glasgow, Scotland, Vancouver, BC, and Milton, MA.
Save the Date for the Milton Music Festival and Fireworks, June 22 and 23 on Hutchinson Field. Details coming soon at WeAreMilton.org.
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: Milton High School recently celebrated Scholastic Honors Night and I share Principal Jette’s words here and join him in congratulating these exemplary students. Scholastic Honors Night is an evening to recognize and honor students for their high academic achievement, excellent leadership skills and civic responsibility. The students who were honored exemplify and embody all that we hope for in every Milton High School student. They are intelligent, hard working, goal oriented and self motivated; they exude a commitment to academic excellence that should serve as a blueprint for others to follow. Moreover, these individuals make the school and community a better place. These prominent members of the school community will be the leaders of tomorrow, and I am certain that they will continue to succeed in life and make their families, Milton High School and the Milton community very proud. The entire ceremony can be watched here. All photos below can be enlarged.
Students: Congratulations to the students from MPS who were chosen selected as a winner in this year’s Lincoln Essay and Drawing Contest. These students will attend an awards ceremony on Sunday, May 19th at the Forbes House Museum. All winning drawings will be on display inside the museum and the first place winners in grades 6-8 will be asked to read their essays during the ceremony.
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: Ryan Madden, Sean Lopresti, Noel Vigue, Rachel Schewe, Sarina Burke, Jackie Morgan, Jaclyn Germano, Alysa Buchanan, Bernadette Butler, Cat DesRoche, Zeina Hamada, Karen McDavitt, James Jette, Rebecca Damiani and Maureen Kennedy.
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