I would like to extend a warm “welcome back,” to all of the parents/guardians of our students and staff to the Milton Public Schools and an equally warm “welcome” to all of our new parents/guardians and staff.
Please allow me this opportunity to thank our custodial and maintenance staff; administrative assistants; Central, Special Education and Business office personnel; principals and administrators who ran the summer marathon that involved the cleaning of each of our educational spaces, interviewing our new staff, processing of purchase orders, and communicating with our Milton Public Schools families every day through the summer months. I told our administrators at our Leadership Retreat and our new teachers/staff at their luncheon this week, that this is an amazing school system with outstanding teachers and staff, supportive and involved parents/guardians and most importantly, wonderful students who come to school every day eager to learn and excel.
On behalf of the Milton Public Schools, we are committed to working with our students’ families to maximize the individual potential of our students. The beginning of each school year is always a fresh start for all of us — our students, our staff and our administrators. Let us all embrace this opportunity — this fresh start — to strive to reach the highest academic goals for each and every student.
SCHOOL COMMITTEE UPDATE
The most recent School Committee meeting was held on Wednesday, August 21st. Following is a summary of that meeting:The meeting began with a back-to-school update as part of the Superintendent’s Report. This included information on student and staff handbooks, as well as an enrollment chart and the 2013-14 School Calendar (http://www.miltonps.org/documents/2013-14SchoolCalendar.pdf) It was reported that the cap for kindergarten students has been raised from 22 per classroom to 23. It was also reported that all of those who chose the French Immersion option were placed in that program, although not every FI student was placed in their home school.
Next, School Committee Vice Chairman Leroy Walker discussed the Security Improvements that have taken place over the past few months. Please see the item below under “Security Improvements.As part of the Chairman’s Report, Ms. Sheridan discussed a new schedule for signing the warrant, which was unanimously approved. Members also voted to approve an RFP to create a Strategic Plan for the Milton Public Schools; to approve the FY14 Budget; and to accept two sizable donations from the Copeland Family Foundation. Members then voted to move into Executive Session to discuss negotiation strategy for collective bargaining with the AFSCME and MEA.
The next School Committee meeting will be held on Wednesday, September 18th.
- Pierce Middle School will be hosting an Information Night for incoming sixth graders on August 27th at 6 pm.
- School is back in session for grades 1-12 on Wednesday, August 28th and Thursday, August 29th
- There is no school on Friday, August 30th and Monday, September 2nd
- Kindergarten and Pre-School will begin on Tuesday, September 3rd
- There is no school on Friday, September 6th for Rosh Hashanah
School Committee Vice Chairman Leroy Walker discussed the Security Improvements that have taken place over the past few months. He reported that work began on this initiative about six months ago and targeted five key objectives. The first was to ensure adequate police department communication capability in all six schools. The second objective was to “harden” some of the physical facility access points in school buildings. Third, all six schools will now have access control systems that will keep doors locked and only allow authorized access as well as better monitoring of who enters each school. The fourth objective was to ensure that security levels at the high school were consistent during the school day and during the after-school hours when music lessons, adult education, clubs and sports activity are all occurring. The fifth objective is staff training that will take place for school personnel to ensure that all staff members are familiar with safety and security protocols and recognize their responsibility in creating a culture of safety and proper emergency response.
Mr. Walker reported that work on these objectives is approximately 90% complete. Mr. Walker also mentioned that he had been active on the Norfolk County School Security Task Force created by Norfolk District Attorney, Michael Morrissey. “Having participated on this task force and hearing what some other school committees are doing, I can say with confidence that once we’ve completed these initiatives, the Milton Public Schools will be in the forefront in terms of school security and school safety,” said Mr. Walker.
Finally, Mr. Walker commended Superintendent Gormley for her vision in this important matter and thanked the Milton Public Schools Security Task Force convened by Ms. Gormley that included Milton Police Chief Richard Wells, Director of Consolidated Facilities Bill Ritchie, Information Technology Director Bob Pattison, Milton Police Sgt. Jack Richman, Community Schools Director Pam Dorsey, Fine Arts and Family/Consumer Studies Director Noreen Diamond Burdett, Milton High School Principal James Jette, Assistant Superintendent John Phelan, Food Service Director Jackie Morgan, Milton High School Senior Custodian Jason Scherer and School Committee Vice Chairman, Leroy Walker.
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT UPDATE
- Enhancing curriculum content knowledge
- Improving instructional practices
- Reinforcing State Standards
- Developing Common Assessments
- Administering State and Federal Testing (MCAS and PARCC)
The Milton Public Schools has joined with the districts of Brockton, Pembroke, Taunton, and Holbrook to form a partnership called the Massachusetts Aspiration and Achievement Partnership (MAAP). The MAAP mission is to provide school communities with the tools to prepare students for college and career success by providing inter-district collaboration opportunities for teachers, and additional instructional time for students. MAAP is committed to creating and reinforcing a regional school community that believes in collaboration, opportunity, engagement and programmatic efficacy. Specifically, the collaborative aims to strengthen the member districts’ Advanced Placement (AP) programs by harnessing the benefits of inter-district collaboration – among teachers and students. The teachers and administrators who belong to the MAAP collaborative seek to increase student enrollment, ensure academic rigor, and raise students’ exam scores in their district’s AP classes. By forming an inter-district collaborative, MAAP plans to accomplish these goals by providing teachers and students with opportunities and resources not currently available in individual districts. The ultimate goal is to expand beyond the AP program to provide additional resources and instruction for teachers and students in all classes at all levels.
MAAP’s first venture was to bring together AP teachers for a teacher-designed and facilitated conference focusing on instructional strategies within content areas. The conference took place last October at Stonehill College. Milton Public School parent and former Stonehill College Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Katie Conboy, who now serves as Provost and Senior Vice President at Simmons College, facilitated the Partnership’s first conference and endeavor at Stonehill College. 87 AP teachers from 19 school districts attended. Milton High School AP teachers Nick Fitzgerald, Kara Yifru, Jessica Parsons, and Tom Shaw served on the Design Team that planned, organized and facilitated the conference. UMASS Boston Chancellor Keith Motley served as the keynote speaker. Teachers who attended described the conference as a unique, perhaps unprecedented, opportunity to collaborate with colleagues from other districts within their content area. Additionally, members of the Design Team that planned the event respected the – also unprecedented – opportunity to conceptualize and implement their own professional development. The superintendents and assistant superintendents from the member districts, as well as the five teacher association presidents, attended and fully supported the conference, but did not determine the agenda. In order to sustain the group, MAAP plans to incorporate itself into an official 501(c) organization. MAAP will establish a board and attempt to raise necessary funds to continue providing similar opportunities for our teachers and students.
This year, MAAP has already begun to organize a second professional development conference for AP teachers in October as well as a multi-district student study workshop in the spring. Milton High teachers Nick Fitzgerald, Jessica Parsons, Kristin Masciarelli, Jeny Gonzalez, Claude Bird, Dan Jarboe and Karen Hughes volunteered to serve as members of the Design Team that will plan these events. Districts will send students to the UMASS Boston campus on a Saturday morning in March where they will meet AP students from the four other districts and participate in three, one-hour review sessions to prepare for their subject area AP exams in May. Milton Public School students will have the opportunity meet AP students from other districts and be taught by AP teachers from Milton and other districts. We expect the event to enhance the culture of rigor and aspiration that we strive to instill in all of our students. We expect that excitement of the multi-district event will inspire more and more of our students to embrace rigor and attain their full potential.
On Sunday, July 28th, a team of five educators from the Milton Public Schools traveled to Alexandria, Virginia to attend the week-long 2013 International K-12 Science Education Institute for Leadership Development and Strategic Planning. This team included: Dr. Karen Spaulding, Principal of the Pierce Middle School, Mr. Jonathan Redden, Principal of the Cunningham Elementary School, Mrs. Marilyn Decker, K-12 Director of Science, Mr. David Romeo, 7th grade science teacher at Pierce Middle School, and Ms. Bernadette Moonan, 2nd grade teacher at Cunningham Elementary School.The Smithsonian Science Education Center has been facilitating the Strategic Planning Institute (SPI) for more than 25 years, and this summer the Milton Public Schools SPI leadership team joined schools and school districts from locations such as North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio, and Mexico as well as experts in the field of science education reform. Through their work and based on extensive research of systemic change in schools and school districts, the Smithsonian Science Education Center has identified five core areas that are critical for effective science education reform. These areas- Curriculum, Professional Development, Assessment, Materials Support, and Administrative & Community Support- were examined in depth by participating districts through a number of hands on experiences, simulations, and presentations by researchers and theorists in education reform, inquiry based science instruction, and the Next Generation Science Standards. In addition, participants engaged with leading researchers such as Dr. Jay Labov, Senior Advisor for Education and Communication, at the National Academies of Sciences National Research Council, Washington D.C. and others to gain expertise and skill in brain-based learning, strategic planning, and change theory.
The Milton Public Schools team reflected on the current status of K-8 science education in the district, gained expertise in the areas above, and developed a strategic plan for improving science education in the Milton Public Schools. This work included authoring a mission and vision for K-8 science in the Milton Public Schools, articulating goals in each of the five core components of successful science education reform, and delineating specific action steps and time lines to move K-8 science education forward in the Milton Public Schools. In addition to the this critical work, participating teams interacted with business leaders such as John Tully, President and Chief Operations Officer of Michelin Development Company and others to better understand the workforce needs of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) businesses and how schools can better prepare students to fill STEM related positions. The Milton Public Schools SPI leadership team looks forward to recruiting additional members from the community to continue this critical work. Finally, the Milton Public Schools would like to thank Raytheon’s Math Moves U STEM Education Initiative for the generous contribution of $5,000 to support our participation in this institute.
Mary Shapiro, 8th grade mathematics teacher at Pierce Middle School, attended the Massachusetts Intel Mathematics Initiative (MIMI) professional development course. MIMI is an 80-hour (6 credit) graduate course that addresses the relationship between arithmetic, geometry, and algebra in the context of rigorous problem solving. Teachers gain a deep understanding of how mathematical topics are connected and reflect upon instructional practices that provide access to the curriculum for a broad range of learners. For the past five years, MIMI has been the cornerstone of mathematics professional developing offerings from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and is widely considered a national model. Ms. Shapiro will work with her colleagues to share key insights and materials from the course.
As part of the state’s new Massachusetts Kindergarten Entry Assessment system, Milton Public Schools is launching a pilot of the Work Sampling System – “an authentic performance assessment to assess students’ development in multiple domains”. In 2013-14, Work Sampling will be piloted in the Cunningham School Kindergarten and Collicot Integrated Preschool classrooms. New report cards will also be piloted and better aligned with our Full-Day Kindergarten curriculum and the Work Sampling system.In the Spring of 2013, our pilot team participated in professional development to learn about the new assessment system, to visit the Brookline Public Schools to see Work Sampling in action, to align the assessment with Milton kindergarten and preschool curriculum and assessments, to learn how to use their new iPads that will be useful tools in gathering evidence of children’s work, and to make plans for implementation. This has been an excellent opportunity for our preschool and kindergarten teams to work together to align their programs and practices
In the Spring of 2014, the rest of the district’s kindergarten teachers will begin professional development to implement Work Sampling in the 2014-15 school year. The experiences of our pilot classroom teachers will be very helpful in informing our district-wide roll-out.
UPCOMING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES
Bernadette Moonan has been appointed to the position of Elementary Science Coordinator.Strengthening the Science program in elementary is a priority for the district. Ms. Decker did an excellent job organizing the work and supporting teachers across the district from K – 12. In order to continue the momentum it is essential that we as a district build on the successes of having elementary ELA and Math coordinators. The Elementary Science Coordinator will need to pilot and lead the implementation of a new curriculum across the four elementary schools. It is vital they have the interpersonal, communicative, and leadership skills to effectively guide teachers and administrators. Throughout her career in Milton, Bernadette Moonan has exemplified these qualities and has recently accepted the position of Elementary Science Coordinator.
Ms. Moonan is a Milton native who began her education at Cunningham School and graduated from Milton High School. She received her bachelor’s degree from Salve Regina with a minor in Special Education. She received her master’s from Bridgewater State University in Elementary Education. Her teaching began in East Providence but for the last three years she has worked as a first grade teacher in Cunningham/Collicot. Many parents can speak to her engaging, motivating, and inclusive approaches to instruction that has helped numerous students make significant academic progress. Ms. Moonan also was an active member in the school community. She was a member of the School Site Council, Science Team and Math Team. Last year, she was part of the first grade team that rolled out the new STEM Robotics curriculum in the first grade English classes.
Recently, Superintendent Mary Gormley sent a Milton team to Alexandria, Virginia to the International K – 12 Science Education Institute. The goal was to develop a strategic plan for moving Milton forward in Science. On the last day of the institute, each team was asked to present their plan in front of all staff and participants. Without hesitation, Ms. Moonan asked to present the plan the team developed and respond to the questions from the audience. Dr. Spaulding immediately turned to me an explained, “I am now convinced Ms. Moonan is ready for a leadership position and would be a good fit for the Science Coordinator position.”
As a principal, you never want to lose a phenomenal classroom teacher but I am confident her impact on Elementary Science will benefit all students and position the district to increase achievement in the area of science. Congratulations Ms. Moonan and welcome to the administrative team!
Russ Wilson has been appointed to the position of Assistant Principal at Pierce Middle School.Russ Wilson is an experienced, knowledgeable, and compassionate educator. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Fordham University, a Master in the Art of Teaching degree from Emmanuel College, and a Master of Science in Administrative Leadership from Boston College. Mr. Wilson was the Principal of the Blessed Sacrament School in Walpole, MA for 9 years and most recently oversaw four campus locations as the Regional Director of Schools for Pope John Paul II Catholic Academy in Dorchester. Mr. Wilson accomplishments in school leadership include: being recognized for high growth in student achievement; instituting data teams; supporting and expanding music programs for children; leading a group of teachers as part of a student initiated service learning project on a journey to West Africa to rebuild a school and library; and developing an innovative program to strengthen school/parent partnerships. In honor of his efforts, Mr. Wilson was given the 2013 Excellence in Education Legacy Award. Mr. Wilson is deeply committed to helping students succeed, and we are thrilled to welcome him to the Pierce Middle School as the Assistant Principal for Student Affairs.
- Dr. Elaine McNeil-Girmai was appointed to be the principal of Tucker Elementary School
- Dr. Sheila Kukstis was appointed to be the principal of Glover Elementary School
- Ms. Amy Gale was appointed to be the Math and ELA Curriculum Coordinator at Glover Elementary School in addition to her responsibilities as Coordinator of Humanities at Pierce Middle School
- Mr. Larry Rooney was appointed to be the Athletic Director/K-12 Physical Education/Health/Wellness Director
- Ms. Karen Cahill has been hired as the new Director of Guidance for Milton High School
- Ms. Holly Concannon was appointed to be the Math and ELA Curriculum Coordinator at Collicot and Cunningham Elementary Schools
- Ms. Stephanie Nephew was appointed to be the Math and ELA Curriculum Coordinator at Tucker Elementary School
- Ms. Laurie Dunn was appointed to be the Human Resource Specialist at Central Office
- Ms. Karen O’Connell was appointed to be the Guidance Department Administrative Assistant at Milton High School
- We are still interviewing candidates for the position of Secondary Science Coordinators a result of Marilyn Decker’s late summer appointment.
Simply select a K–12 school from our list of eligible schools and vote for it weekly until September 21 or until $5 million has been awarded, whichever occurs first. It takes just 25 votes to start. After that, Target will donate $25 to your selected school. Upon receiving 25 votes, each additional vote equals $1 more for up to $10,000 per school. If your favorite school is not on our list, please choose another school. There is no purchase necessary and voting ends on 9/21/13 at 11:59:59 p.m. CT or when $5 million has been awarded, whichever comes first. Max of $10,000 awarded per school. Voting is limited to legal residents of the 50 US/DC, 13 years of age and older. Limit one vote per person per week.
The following item was written by Courtney Walsh, director of Adult Education.
The Milton Public Schools Adult Education Program is excited to announce the release of its Fall 2013 Course Brochure. The brochure can be viewed at http://www.miltonps.org/documents/AdultEdFall2013.pdf Courses will begin the week of September 30th, 2013 and will run until the week of December 16th, 2013. Online registration is now open. Walk-in registration will be held in the main office of Milton High School on Monday, September 23rd and Wednesday September 25th from 6:00 – 8:00p.m.
Please note the following information about SAT Prep Courses:
Milton High School is pleased to offer Fall 2013 SAT Prep courses to students who are looking to improve their SAT scores. Students may register for either SAT Verbal and/or SAT Math courses. Courses are $75 each. The Fall courses are designed to prepare students for the October 5th SAT exam. All courses begin on Saturday, September 7th and will meet for 2.5 hours on four consecutive Saturdays; 9/7, 9/14, 9/21, 9/28.
Register online at www.tinyurl.com/miltonadulted and select “SAT Prep”.
SAT Math ($75) – Saturdays 10:30a.m.-1:00p.m.
This course provides students with a review of Number and Operations, Algebra and Functions, Geometry and Measurement, and Data Analysis, Statistics, and Probability. The course also includes advice on exam-taking techniques.
SAT Math 550 ($75) – Saturdays 8:00a.m.-10:30a.m.
This is an advanced course designed for students who have previously scored a 550 or above on the SAT Math exam or who have scored a 50 or above on the Math PSAT.
SAT Verbal ($75) – Saturdays 8:00a.m.-10:30a.m.
This course provides students with a review of vocabulary, verbal understanding, and reading comprehension. The course also includes advice on exam-taking techniques.
SAT Verbal 550 ($75) – Saturdays 10:30a.m.-1:00p.m.
This is an advanced course designed for students who have previously scored a 550 or above on the SAT Critical Reading and/or Writing exams or who have scored a 50 or above on the PSAT Critical Reading and/or Writing exams.
NEWS AROUND TOWN
Are you tired of trying to find someone to cut the grass or shovel the snow? Is your home too big to maintain? Are you thinking of downsizing? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then it’s time to be “ON THE MOVE”!!This program will be sponsored by Thomas O’Neill, III, Esq., LLM of Success Real Estate here in Milton. The program will start at 5:30 pm with a delicious catered supper followed by the program which will start at 6 pm sharp. The program will last one hour so this gives you time to get home at a reasonable hour. Tom O’Neill will open the discussion by talking about the Milton real estate market and why you should “celebrate” the fact that you purchased a home in such a desirable community. Next, Mr. O’Neill will focus on the financial piece of selling your home and what you need to have in place to avoid those dreaded taxes! Rounding out the program will be Deb Ellis, an interior design and home staging professional, who will speak on preparing your home for the next step. Deb Ellis will share a few decorator secrets that can really make a big difference in selling your home for top dollar. Each speaker will talk for about 15 minutes and allow time for questions. They will also be available after the program for one on one questions. Reservations are a must and can be made by calling 617-898-4893 before Friday, September 6th. The event is sponsored by Tom O’Neill of Success Real Estate. All home-owners are welcome to join us.
The Suffolk Resolves House, located at 1370 Canton Avenue, Milton, will be holding its Annual Open House from 1:00 to 3:00 P.M. on Sunday, September 8th. The Open House is held in recognition of the historic meeting on September 9, 1774 at the home of Daniel and Rachel Smith Vose in Milton Village. Seventy delegates, representing 19 Suffolk County towns, adopted 19 resolutions known as the Suffolk Resolves. Two days after the meeting Paul Revere left Milton on horseback with the Resolves transporting them to Philadelphia to the Continental Congress. These Resolves were endorsed by a vote of the Congress on September 17th and were used to form the text of the Declaration of Rights. Two years later, Thomas Jefferson used much of the Suffolk Resolves phraseology when he drafted the Declaration of Independence. A copy of the Suffolk Resolves will be on display for all to read.Join the members of the Milton Historical Society on Sunday, September 8th. Meet Rebecca and Amram Migdal, the new curators for the Suffolk Resolves House. Tour the Suffolk Resolves House and beautiful gardens. Talk with Gordon Campbell and members of the 9th Massachusetts Regiment who will entertain you with stories about the Revolution. Socialize over punch and cookies in the lovely dining room. Come join us!