From: Mary C. Gormley
To: Students, Parents/Guardians and Staff
Re: E-blast Update
Date: Friday, February 13, 2015
FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT
As we are all very well aware at this point, we have been experiencing historical amounts of snow this winter. Milton is one of the communities in the state that has received the most snowfall in the past several weeks.
As a result, the town administration has declared a storm related State of Emergency due to the large amount of existing snow cover as well as another anticipated blizzard this weekend.
The Milton Police Department sent a message to all Milton residents last night regarding the upcoming assistance of the National Guard. According to the MPD, “the Massachusetts Emergency Management and the National Guard will be assisting the Town DPW in large scale snow removal operations. The primary goal is to widen roads and intersections for emergency vehicles. Please expect road closures, noise from overnight work, and an emergency parking ban on all roads. Violators are subject to ticketing and towing at the owner’s expense”.
It is hoped that, with the assistance of the National Guard, our roads and sidewalks will be safer for everyone. The upcoming vacation week will also enable our staff to continue their maintenance of our parking lots, sidewalks and roadways surrounding the Milton Public Schools.
We have had seven snow days this winter so far. As of today, February 13th, the last day of school will be June 25th. This will be a half-day.
SCHOOL COMMITTEE UPDATE
There have been two School Committee meetings since my last E-blast, held on February 4th and February 5th. Below is a summary of those meetings:
February 4th: This meeting began with a Glover School Site Council Presentation. Dr. Sheila Kukstis, Glover Principal, along with members of the school’s site council, presented the School Improvement Plan to the School Committee. Next, there was a presentation from the Milton Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC). The group’s chairperson, Michelle Connolly, updated the School Committee on the work of the SEPAC. Members of the School Committee reviewed their upcoming meeting schedule. The Finance Subcommittee requested approval for a vendor warrant and also presented the Second Quarter Report. The Policy Subcommittee Committee requested a vote on Policy ADDA, Background Checks, which was approved.
February 5th: This meeting featured a Data Presentation on the French/English Programs. Dr. Laura O’Dwyer, an Associate Professor at Boston College’s Department of Educational Research, Measurement and Evaluation presented a report, along with Avery Newton, Doctoral Student, Boston College-Dept. of Educational Research, Measurement and Evaluation. This report will soon be posted online.
The next School Committee meeting will be held March 4th at 7 pm in the Milton High School library. This meeting will be preceded by the Open Budget Hearing.
Congratulations to the following students and their art teachers, Ms. Karen Hughes and Ms. Kassandra Aloe, for their success in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards:
Gold Key: Joshua Kery (Drawing) and Michael Wyatt (Drawing)
Silver Key: Emma Pred-Sosa (Drawing)
Honorable Mention: Maia Adley (Painting), Mairead Dambruch (Painting), Meghan Donelan (Art Portfolio), Anna Gaden (Drawing), Madeline Hoy (Painting), Joshua Kery (Painting).
Cole Kroninger won an Honorable Mention for his Personal Essay in the Writing Competition. Cole takes the American Experience course with English teacher Steve Tart.
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Many of our music students recently travelled to the Qualters Middle School in Mansfield for the Junior and Senior SEMSBA (Southeastern Massachusetts Band Masters Association) auditions. The good news is that 64 students have been accepted to these festivals.
The following 25 students were accepted by audition to the Junior Festival (grades 7-9): Milton High School: Miwa Joiner, Shoilee Banerjee, James DiSandro and Arielle Solomon. Pierce Middle School: Ece Buyokozer, Colleen Conley, Ava Duggan, Esme Link, Lemuel Marc, Zach Vaughn, Kiley Check, Lilja Cormack, Gray Davis, Paula Hogan, Maju Joiner, Moses Moiwo, Milan Smith, Julia DeFilippo, Catherine Le, Kenya Mathieu, Julia Nerenberg, Giselle Neville, Laura O’Hanlon, Emme Schewe and Annabel Botsford.
In addition, we learned that the following 39 students were accepted by audition to the Senior Festival (grades 9-12). Milton High School: Dylan Banh, Emily Chow, Kyle Dempsey, Liam Hines, Dane Matejka, Christine Stafford, Michael Wyatt, Samantha Antoniewicz, Julia Butler, Monika Cormack, Cameron Delerme, Hope Huban, Dominik Hyppolite, Domenic Jancaterino, Johance Liverpool, Colette Nourie, Aislinn O’Brien, Elizabeth O’Connor. Joshuea Ogbuike, Tatiana Perez, Jacqueline Ruscito, Katherine Steele, Matthew Wong, Shareen Alsebai, Ryan Au, Eva Chow, Anna Gaden, Abigail Jean-Baptiste, James Le, Nethania Marc, Amiel Marc, Ocean Marescal, Isabelle Neville, Hu-Ninh Nguyen, Emma Pred-Sosa, Madeline Scott, Hannah Solomon, Alice Truong, Liezel Warner and Tansy Massey-Green.
We are very grateful to David Adams, Gary Good and Dawn Sykes and Dr. Noreen Diamond Burdett for their work with this group of students.
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The following update on our Future Problem Solvers program was sent to us by MPS Librarian Lori Henry, who coaches our FPS teams, along with Nicole Hoyceanyls, Pierce Middle School science teacher.
Milton’s thirteen FPS teams (five from Pierce and two from each of the elementary schools) are hard at work preparing for the FPS Qualifying Bowl on Saturday, February 28th at Canton High School. This year Canton will host the Bowl and teams from Canton, Dedham and Milton will complete the six-step FPS process on the topic of Propaganda.
The teams have been researching our topic, analyzing the feedback that we’ve received from our practice problems (The Impact of Social Media and Processed Food), reviewing the elements of the FPS six-step process and this coming week each team will participate in a two-hour simulation. The two hour simulation will help the teams master the time management piece of the competition and build confidence and stamina. Nicole Hoyceanyls and I will give the teams feedback on the simulation. We’ll meet again after February vacation and be ready to go on February 28th.
We will hear some time in the middle of March about the results of the Qualifying Bowl. In the event that a team is not invited to the FPS State Bowl on April 11 (topic: Enhancing Human Potential) we will have the option of sending an individual to compete. Based on the enthusiasm that the team members display at our meetings, I imagine that we will have plenty of interest in the Individual Competition.
UPCOMING MPS EVENTS
Milton High School’s Robotics Team, “Milton Static” has rescheduled the Robotics Tournament for Saturday, February 21st. Team members are asking for members of the community with an interest in robotics or engineering to come and lend a hand, as well as anyone who can help out by selling tickets, concessions, etc. Matches start around 11am and run until 5pm. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in helping. There is no cost to attend.
The team is sponsored by PTC (a software company based in Needham) and the Milton House of Pizza. Members of the team volunteer by working with the robotics teams at the elementary and middle schools. They’ve presented at elementary science fairs and were featured as an exhibition last year for First Night in Boston. Please come to support this team.
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Grade One Parent Information Night will be held for all parents/guardians of children entering first grade in the next school year on Monday, February 23rd, 2015, at 7:00 pm in the Milton High School Auditorium.
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The Milton High School Drama Club is presenting “Tracks” on Wednesday, February 25th at 7pm in the Milton High School Auditorium. The same show will be presented at the Massachusetts Educational Theater Guild Festival on February 28th at Brookline High School. Please come on February 25th to support these talented students.
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Please note that there is also a change in the district wide STEM Night, which is an event for parents of current kindergarten students. This event is now planned for Monday, March 2nd, at 6:30 pm in the Collicot/Cunningham Cafetorium.
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We will be holding a PTO/School Committee Budget Information meeting for all six schools on one night. This event will be Tuesday, February 24th at 6:30pm in the Pierce Middle School auditorium.
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We had two successful Kindergarten Registration Days this past week, where we welcomed incoming Kindergarten parents and guardians, who successful finished registering their children for the 2015-16 school year.
These families are all looking forward to the Kindergarten Screening Event that will take place this May. More details will follow in our upcoming E-blasts.
We are having another registration on Tuesday, February 24th, so if you still need an appointment, please contact Laurie Dunn at email@example.com
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The Pierce Middle School will be holding its second annual “Push Hard for Pierce” CPR/First Aid fundraiser. This is a great time to learn or refresh life-saving skills.
The event is being held with the support of Professional Ambulance (Pro EMS) and Pro EMS Center for MEDICS. Instructors from Pro EMS and Center for MEDICS will provide basic first aid and CPR certification classes on Saturday, February 28, from 9am to 12:15pm at the Pierce Middle School in Milton. Proceeds from the event will be donated to the Pierce Middle School PTO. Last year’s event drew more than 100 attendees and raised over $4,000 for the PTO.
Three types of classes are scheduled for the event: Heartsaver CPR and AED, BLS for Healthcare Providers, and Medical Basics for Babysitters. Heartsaver CPR and AED is open to everyone, and includes instruction on compression-only adult CPR and choking, as well as the use of an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) on an adult or child (not infant). This course is offered at 9:15 a.m. and 11:15 a.m., and the registration fee is $35.
BLS for Healthcare Providers allows current medical professionals to obtain or renew their required certifications. The course teaches CPR skills for helping victims of all ages (including ventilation with a barrier device, a bag-mask device, and oxygen), use of an AED, and relief of foreign-body airway obstruction. This course is offered at 9:30 a.m. and the registration fee is $40.
“Last year’s event was really fantastic,” said Sheila Varela, a member of the Pierce PTO Leadership Team. “The instructors were excellent communicators and had great energy. We’re bringing the event back this year because so many people have requested it.”
All participants will leave the event with certification cards in hand.
The event will also offer Medical Basics for Babysitters, designed for young adolescents between the ages of 10 and 14, who may be starting to care for younger siblings or neighbors. This course provides instruction on pediatric and infant CPR and AED, as well as how to recognize an emergency situation and respond appropriately. Medical Basics for
All proceeds from class registration fees will be donated to the Pierce Middle School PTO. The PTO raises funds to pay for field trips, educational guest speakers for students and parents, teacher appreciation efforts, and social events for the students.
Online registration for all classes is available at www.centerformedics.com/training.
Click the Class Calendar button and scroll to February 28 for links to each class. For additional information, please e-mail the Pierce PTO at PierceMiddlePTO@gmail.com.
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The following item was submitted by Karen Cahill, Milton High School’s Director of Guidance:
This week was “International Random Acts of Kindness” Week. With all of the snow that we have (and are about to get) please take some time to see if a neighbor needs any help with snow removal. There are still driveways around town that need to be shoveled. If a driveway isn’t shoveled at this point there is a good reason why; so why don’t you do something about it? Whether you do it for community service hours or just because it is the right thing to do — make someone’s day!
PAC/SPECIAL ED NEWS
Special Education Parent Advisory Council News: The Milton SEPAC invites all interested parents and school professionals to join us for a presentation on anxiety in the classroom by Dr. Angela Currie, March 24 from 7-9pm at the Pierce Middle School auditorium. Dr. Currie is a pediatric neuropsychologist and program director of Anxiety & Attention Skills Coaching (AASC) at Neuropsychology & Education Services for Children & Adolescents (NESCA).
School Committee Update: The Milton Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC) delivered a presentation outlining internal changes being made in order to better support parents in the district. The SEPAC also outlined priorities and policies to work on in partnership with the school district including inclusion, co-taught classrooms, extended school day/year services, social/emotional curriculum and the SPED achievement gap. SC Chairman Walker reported on actionable concerns and next steps from his meeting with the SEPAC on January 20, 2015.
The following essay was written by MHS student Joshua Kery as part of the AP Language & Composition course taught by Nicholas Fitzgerald. The assignment part of a “Write Like Emerson,” contest. Each year Mr. Fitzgerald’s AP Language students participate in this contest, where students are expected to capture the essence of the transcendentalist period in American literature. Josh Kery’s submittal truly captures the ideals of Emerson.
The American Dollar: The soul of man attaches itself to his property. When the tax collector arrives at man’s doorstep and demands of him an index of his possessions, he lifts himself from the distractions of his routine, and summons, with ease, an inventory for the purposes of audit and review. But should the scholar arrive at the same threshold, and ask of man his understanding of self, an explanation of who he is, man falls into consideration of his occupations, and unsatisfied, draws his answer from nothing save for his list of possessions. Man is awash in his struggle to comprehend himself, and he discovers, that in attempting to distance himself from his property, he has distanced himself from the limits of his knowledge of himself. In a moment of contemplation, he flounders, and loses his sight to his understanding that, separate from his possessions, he is underdeveloped, a sniveling babe, and barely more than nothing. Like a sea, the realization immerses him and sinks him into depression. Consider the man who is the victim of fire, which has destroyed his home, and has burned his possessions to ash. He may have refused, throughout all his life, to bow before an idol, or stoop before a pulpit, but before the remains of his property he falls to his knees and offers his tears to the charcoal mess. Between the king and the pauper, the size of his possessions makes no difference; the poor man cherishes his trinkets; the wealthy man worships his palisade. To the extent that this is the reality for all men, it signals the stagnation of man’s sense of self. Man returns to the solace of property, and of the acquiescence of property, rather than learn to live without them.
Please note that tickets to this year’s Celebration for Education are already available via the MFE website www.miltonfoundationforeducation.org.
A group of Milton citizens are working to keep artistic and cultural offerings available to Milton Public School students. The group, M-PACE (Milton Partnership for Arts & Cultural Enrichment), works through the excise tax billing program to request donations.
With the cooperation of the Town of Milton treasurer’s office, M-PACE has enacted a “check-off” campaign to raise funds for field trips to museums, live Shakespeare performances or trips to Boston’s Symphony Hall.
In addition, M-PACE funds bring exciting program into our schools. For example, they have funded “Historia Antiqua” — a traveling museum of Greek and Roman artifacts; and an interactive geography game show for seventh-graders; and live performances of Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet.
By checking the box on the excise tax form, Milton taxpayers can help to keep these types of culturally enriching programs in our public schools. The excise bills are expected to be mailed out during the next several weeks.
The board of M-PACE is composed of Treasurer Jim McAuliffe, Roxanne Musto, Meredith Hall and Charlotte Streat, along with Superintendent Mary Gormley.
We hope that our Milton Public Schools families will help to support this worthwhile cause.
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Please save the date! The 5th Annual Milton Teens in Need Fundraiser is being held on Saturday, February 28th at the Milton Hoosic Club from 7 to 11pm.
This event features a live band, line dancing, raffles and door prizes. Tickets are $25 and are sold at the door. All proceeds will be benefit Milton Teens in Need program and the Peter J. Muse Memorial Fund.
The following item was submitted by Food Service Director Jacqueline Morgan:
Milton Schools is participating once again in the Farm to School Program and the Harvest of the Month campaign. This will be our seventh year having farm fresh produce on our menus.
Mass. Farm to School’s Harvest of the Month campaign promotes a different Massachusetts-grown food each month in K-12 cafeterias across the state. The program’s goal is to encourage healthy food choices by increasing students’ exposure to seasonal foods while also supporting local farmers and building excitement about school meals. Featured local foods for 2014-2015 include:
September – Tomatoes October – Pears November – Kale December – Carrots January – Apples February – Butternut Squash March – Dairy April – Potatoes May – Seeds and Seedlings June – Strawberries
Harvest of the Month is a great opportunity to celebrate local abundance, experiment with new foods and recipes, and get some positive recognition for your school. We want to help you to continue to lead the way in making farm-fresh foods available to students and staff whenever possible.
It also provides wonderful opportunities for school food and nutrition staff, educators, school administrators, family members, and students to collaborate, and to celebrate our commitment to serving locally grown foods with the community.
Why Buy Local? Because purchasing locally grown food is a great way to encourage students to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and it also supports local farms. Buying local products in season is often very affordable. Food service directors who have introduced local foods programs often report increased meal participation and decreased wastage.
Recently the food service staff was invited to Whole Foods in Dedham for a culinary training course in their educational center. We spent the day developing recipes using butternut squash. Our staff made apple and squash soup, Pasta with squash, cranberries, cheese and nuts and squash and sausage patties. One of our favorites is still cutting the squash in half the long way and baking in the oven with a little butter, cinnamon and maple syrup.
FAMILY OUTREACH LIAISON
The following item was submitted by Marti O’Keefe McKenna, MPS Family Outreach Liaison.
For those tired of fighting the elements and are looking for an indoor activity, we are very fortunate to have so many wonderful museums right nearby including Children’s Museum of Boston, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Institute of Contemporary Art, Museum of Science, Museum of Fine Arts and the JFK Library. Remember to visit their websites for hours and costs or visit the Milton Public Library’s website and use your library card to get passes for reduced admission fees. Just a reminder for our families in the Milton Public School Community who receive Transitional Assistance, bring your EBT card to many area museums to receive free or reduced admission.
Wishing you all a safe, healthy and happy vacation.
NEWS AROUND TOWN
The following item was submitted by DPW Engineer Allan Bishop:
Please be advised that the new Solid Waste collection schedule will no longer have delays due to the George Washington’s Birthday holiday occurring on a Monday February, 16, 2015. Please Remember that if a holiday occurs on a Monday, Tuesday or Friday
there will be regular collections for that week on Wednesday and Thursday, (NO DELAYS). If a Holiday occurs on a Thursday all collections will occur on Wednesday the day before the holiday.
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The following item was written by Pierce Middle School Humanities Coordinator and Milton High School AP teacher Nancy Warn:
Snow Slows, But Doesn’t Stop the Forbes House Museum Lincoln Essay and Drawing Contest for Milton Middle and Elementary School Students
Although our students are not charged with clearing the snow from the Lincoln Memorial after record snowfall, they are charged with learning about Lincoln, the Civil War and Reconstruction with record snow days frustrating the process! So far this February, we have only been in school 6 days (with two shortened days).
With unprecedented snowfall over the past 18 days, attention to this contest and finding time for the great lessons (created by our fabulous 6th grade ELA team) on Abraham Lincoln, Civil War and Reconstruction, has been challenging at Pierce. With many other curriculum demands on our teachers, lessons on our 16th president have been tough to fit in. Our teachers and students have adapted well as they have made, modified, re-planned and modified again. However, nothing can stop this group!
Thankfully, there is still time. Our 6th Grade ELA students, as well as some of our 8th graders, have taken the challenge and are building their knowledge of Lincoln and his attempts to repair the nation after the devastating Civil War. With some class time remaining after the break, our teachers have focused on the political, social and economic causes of war, the human toll on generations of Americans and the monumental task of rebuilding American after the war.
Pierce students are being asked to consider the following words spoken by Lincoln in his second Inaugural Address:
“With malice toward none; with charity for all … let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds … to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.”
Once they attempt to understand Lincoln’s intentions when he spoke those inspirational words, they are then being asked to make decisions for the war-torn nation as if they were president in 1865. Here is the writing prompt presented to our students:
Unfortunately, Lincoln was assassinated on April 15th, 1865 and did not live to “bind up the nation’s wounds.” If you had been president at that time, how would you have gone about binding up the nation’s wounds? Our relationship with the Forbes House Museum and the Annual Lincoln Essay and Drawing Contest also affects all of our elementary aged students. Currently elementary students across the district are working hard to create original works of art based on Mary Bowditch Forbes’ Lincoln Collection. Students are tasked with viewing the exhibit on display on the second floor Local History Room at the Milton Public Library or virtually on the Forbes House Museum website and creating versions of the pieces displayed. Teachers are using literature, history and their knowledge of the collection itself to create context for students when viewing the collection and creating their representations. Students have represented the works in multiple mediums including; crayon, pencil sketching and painting.
Thanks to the Forbes Museum, the deadline for submission has been extended and due date for essay and art submission is now Friday, March 6th. This should give our elementary students plenty of time to dazzle us with their artistic ability. It will also allow our 6th grade ELA students and our small group of dedicated 8th graders (working after school with Mrs. Prodanas) enough time to address the thought-provoking question and impress us all with their writing and decision making!
Contest results will be announced on Sunday, April 12th. Stay tuned…
If you want to check out the website, or any of the virtual resources on the Forbes House website, check out the following link. Happy Presidents Day! http://www.forbeshousemuseum.org/FHM_virtual_exhibit/vex1/index.htm.
MILTON PUBLIC LIBRARY
There’s always something cool for kids to do at the Milton Public Library! We are currently running a Winter Reading Program for kids aged 0-12 with fun activities and prizes! For more information and to pick up your BINGO card, please stop by the Children’s Room and see us.
We are also pleased to announce that the Children’s Room is participating in the 8th Annual PJ Drive! We will be partnering with Cradles to Crayons and the Boston Bruins to provide new pajamas (sizes 4/5T – 18/20) for local children in need across the Commonwealth. You can make a difference by bringing in new pajama donations to the Children’s Room from February 1 – March 16, 2015.
In addition to our regular storytimes on Tuesday and Wednesday, we have these exciting programs for the young people in your life happening during the week of February 22-28:
Friday, February 27, 2015 from 10:00 am – 12:00 noon
Free Play Friday, Ages 0-5
Drop by and enjoy puzzles, games and activities in the Story Hour room. The room will be open for two hours in the morning for you to enjoy with your little ones (ages 0-5). In partnership with the Milton Early Childhood Alliance.
Saturday, February 28, 2015 from 2:30 – 3:30 pm
Art with Ginny, Grades K-3
Children in grades K-3 can join Ginny Brearley and create an artistic masterpiece to take home. This week’s project: Birds on a Line! Have you ever seen birds on a clothesline? They love to sit, hang out and watch the world go by. We’ll use Sharpies and watercolors to create beautiful pictures! Registration is required. Sponsored by the Friends of the Milton Library.
Don’t forget to check the library web calendar for a listing of the many programs we offer year-round. Information about and registration for all of our programs can always be found on our online calendar at www.miltonlibrary.org, or by calling the Children’s Room at 617-898-4957 during business hours. Also, like the Milton Public Library on Facebook and get updates right in your news feed! Please contact the Children’s Room if you have questions about any of our programs or services.
To see a complete listing of library events, please click here:
Please note, the 2015 Milton HS Spring Registration begins on Thursday, February 19th. Spring Sports CLEARANCE CARDS will be available on the following dates: March 10-13 from 2:30-5pm at the Milton HS Athletic Office.
For sports schedules for all MHS teams, please click here:
Students, Staff & Volunteers: We had a memorable event in the Milton Public Schools this week that would not have been possible without the efforts of our students, staff and volunteers all working together. “50 Years Later: Why the Struggle for Civil Rights is Still Relevant,” was an informative, moving and educational evening for our community. I would like to thank the guest speakers – Fletcher H. “Flash” Wiley, Kenneth Guscott, Dr. Keith Motley and William “Mo” Cowan. The Diversity Committee did a fantastic job organizing this event — Larry Jordan, Steve Collyer, Ginny Kime, Jen Meunier, Jen Troy, Kassandra Aloe and Leonice Bernard. In addition, I am grateful to staff members James Jette, Barbara Wright, Brian Borde, Dr. Noreen Diamond Burdett, Jackie Morgan, Jason Scherer and Rebecca Damiani, all of whom assisted with the preparation. I was also impressed with the many students who volunteered to make this such a powerful event.
The Milton Public School system is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to the provision of quality educational programs for all students. The Milton Public School system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability, genetic information, age or sexual orientation.