From the Desk of the Superintendent:
Like many of you, I spent the weekend absorbing the news from the tragedy in Connecticut. My office has received many phone calls from parents and guardians who have questions about this event and our district’s response.
I would like to keep the Milton Public School community up to date on all issues and concerns we are addressing. Some of you may have noticed police officers posted outside all public, private and parochial school entrances this morning. This was a one-day measure, requested by Milton Police Chief Richard Wells and will not be part of our daily routine.
This is my third blog updates since this tragedy occurred. You can find all of my previous posts in the archive on the right hand side of this page.
We would like to emphasize that in this final week before vacation, it is our intention to keep routines the same. All sports, concerts and holiday events scheduled this week will continue as planned.
I have been in constant communication with Chief Wells and Sgt. Richman about our safety practices and protocols. Each of our building principals is keenly aware of this situation and has staff in place to help students and school personnel who may feel overwhelmed by these events.
There are some excellent resources in the prior blog posts for families who are looking for guidelines on helping their children. In addition, there are some links below with additional information.
One of my colleagues from the Belchertown Public Schools, Dr. Judith Houle, posted some excellent information on her blog, with age-specific advice from Pre-K through high school. Click here to view this post:
Also, the National Association of School Psychologists has very informative materials on its website: http://www.nasponline.org and Maria Trozzi’s information is posted on our homepage.
We know that media coverage of this event will be ongoing for the days and weeks to come. This is a difficult topic and we ask for your patience and understanding as we all work together to respond to this devastating event.
SCHOOL COMMITTEE UPDATE
There have been two School Committee meetings since my last E-blast. Below are summaries of those meetings:
December 5th: We invited members of the Milton High School football team to attend this meeting in order to congratulate them on their winning season. In addition, we recognized Andrew Mowe, who has been accepted to the All Eastern Division Honors Chorus — a very prestigious honor; and Gary Good, MHS music teacher, who has been selected to be conductor for Senior SEMSBA festival this spring.
There was a presentation from the Collicot Elementary School Site Council, led by Principal Janet Sheehan. This presentation outlined the School Improvement Plan, and reviewed recent assessment data.
School Committee members voted to accept the district’s Annual Report and the Superintendent’s Evaluation. As part of the Finance Subcommittee Report, there was a proposal for an advancement budget. This year’s Advancement Budget has three main initiatives: Initiative One: Emphasizing Early Literacy Achievements; Initiative Two: Closing the Proficiency Gap; and Initiative Three: Advancing Science and STEM (Science and technology, engineering and math) initiatives. The dollar amount for the advancement budget is $515,000. The presentation can be viewed by clicking here:
December 12th: This meeting was scheduled specifically to discuss the FY14 Budget Request. Ms. Gormley presented the budget “drivers” which include Advancement Initiatives, Contractual Obligations, Central & Technology Costs, Special Education Mandated Services, Transportation Expenses, Facilities Expenses and Negotiated Agreements with Instructional & Non-Instructional Staff. She described the district’s cost-saving initiatives, including the introduction of the NECC program at Collicot as a way of keeping some of the district’s younger special needs students in-district. Mr. Gillis explained how the facilities department has instituted many cost-saving measures and each of the School Committee budget categories was detailed for the FY13 cost, the FY14 cost and the dollar change.
To view the presentation online, click here: http://www.miltonps.org/documents/FY14BudgetRequest12-12-12.pdf
School Committee members voted to approve a budget of $38,379,680 and forward that budget amount to the Warrant Committee.
Parents and guardians of children entering Kindergarten in the Milton Public Schools should be aware of a potential change in the state grant funding formula. If enacted, a worst-case scenario would be that Milton Public Schools could lose the current grant money, which could increase tuition for Full Day Kindergarten by as much as $800 per student.
More information on this issue will be dependent on state budget figures. We will try to keep our families updated as the news changes. If you have questions, please contact Matt Gillis at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Our Milton High School Mock Trial Team is participating this year in the Statewide High School Mock Trial Tournament, which will take place in January and February of 2013. The tournament is sponsored by the law firm Brown Rudnick in association with the Massachusetts Bar Association. Our high school team, under the leadership of newly elected Captains Mittou Metayer and Sharon Lui, are currently investigating a “murder case” in which a woman was allegedly poisoned by a family member for her extensive fortune. The students are working diligently to prepare opening statements, direct and cross examination of witnesses, closing arguments, and studying witness affidavits and exhibits to prepare for their first competition against Newton Country Day School. The team will also be competing against Newton South High School and Belmont High School. Good luck to the team, and many thanks to high school team advisor Mike Matisoff, and attorney coach volunteers Pierre Monette and Michael Chinman.
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We also have great news from our Milton High School Debate team, which competed in the Lincoln Sudbury Speech and Debate Tournament recently. This was the second consecutive weekend our students dedicated their time to competing in public forum debate, since they also attended the Dighton-Rehoboth tournament. At Lincoln-Sudbury, within public forum debate alone, there were 89 teams (178 students) competing. Throughout the day, our students debated the resolution: The United States should prioritize tax increases over spending cuts. Milton High had a strong showing, with 23 students participating. Although all of our students were successful in at least one round, Ailsa Jeffries and Chris Dsida went 3 and 1 for the four regular rounds; winning many compliments from their judges. In addition, the pair of Cormac Conners and Isabelle Smith won all four of their regular rounds, making it to the final rounds of the tournament (along with 7 other teams). Although they lost in their final round, they came in 6th place overall for the day, edging out some incredible competition. Cormac was also able to secure 10th place individually, for speaker points.
We are grateful to Debate Team Coaches Nick Fitzgerald and Nancy Warn, as well as parents Mike Dsida, Lisa Rebrovic, Mike Caljouw and Rob Shepard. Our next tournament is at Newton South on January 12th.
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The following item was submitted by Barbara Wright, Humanities Director at Milton High School:
Students play the role of detective every day at Milton High, as they enter their history class and are asked to critically think about how the decisions of the past influence the world in which we live. If you were to walk into Nancy Warn’s sophomore US History class you might see students using case studies to analyze the challenges faced by a post revolutionary America. In Michael Matisoff’s class you might be asked to be a member of the jury as his Law and Government class prepares for their Massachusetts Bar Association Mock Trial competition in January. And in Bill Donovan’s AP European History class you may find yourself in an Enlightenment salon with students playing the roles of historical figures like Napoleon Bonaparte, Adam Smith and Voltaire.
The subject of History has changed drastically over the past few decades, and it no longer a study of dates and wars. With lessons that ask students to critically think about the decisions and actions of people in history, students read, watch and listen to primary and secondary sources that represent multiple points of view, and are expected to appraise, critique, predict, interpret, compare or contrast. In the past few years teachers unified the curriculum so that each course focuses on the most important “driving questions” in every unit. Teachers have the creativity to approach the main areas of focus, but every student will be asked to analyze and research the same important facets of history.
History teachers have also worked individually to understand the latest interpretations of history and the newest methods of teaching. Teachers have participated in the Broad Foundation’s Teachers as Scholars program, taking classes that ranged from the history of Boston to the French Revolution. Others have participated in Primary Source courses that focus on the study of Asian and African culture. Michael Matisoff and Kathleen Kelley participated in a three year, extensive study of American history through the CHARMS collaborative, where they spent two weeks every summer studying the foundations of our country. Jim Bowes and Nancy Warn each participated in programs that supported their teaching of our AP courses in the History Department.
Students are only required to take three years of history, but many take Social Studies electives in their junior and senior year. We have three different Advanced Placement offerings in Psychology, US History and Modern European history, as well as our Contemporary Issues course that spotlights important current topics locally, nationally and internationally. There also partnerships with associations beyond the walls of our classes. Modern World Cultures teachers will partner with Milton Academy and two Boston Public Schools to work with Axis of Hope, and students will be asked to take on the role of prominent Middle Eastern leaders to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict. In January our students will use the documentary Coexist, to study the genocide and after-effects in Rwanda, and how people learn to overcome hatred, mistrust and adversity. The documentary has been viewed in more than 3,000 high schools and colleges throughout the United States.
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I would also like to report that our Assistant Superintendent for Business, Matthew Gillis, has accepted a new position in the Hull Public Schools and will be leaving Milton in February.
We are very appreciative of Mr. Gillis’ work in developing the Milton Public Schools budgets over the past three years. He has also been instrumental on developing our Solar Panel project, along with other cost-saving initiatives for our schools. He has worked closely with our Food Service, Transportation, Community Schools and Facilities Departments.
We wish Mr. Gillis all the best in his new position. An interim Assitant Superintendent for Business will be appointed and information on the search/screening process will be coming soon.
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Last month, a group of 40 of our Pierce Middle School and Milton High School students travelled to Lowell to attend the “Stand Up to Bullying 2012” conference at Tsongas Arena. Nearly 5,000 students from across the commonwealth attended this event and we were proud to have such a wonderful group of Milton students to represent our schools.
One of our Pierce students who attended, Jessica Julmice, wrote the following item about her experience at the conference:
Stand Up to Bullying 2012 Conference
By Jessica Julmice
On November 29, 2012, 19 phenomenal students from Pierce Middle School and 18 extraordinary students from Milton High School travelled by bus to Tsongas Arena in Lowell to participate in the 2012 Stand Up to Bullying Conference. Five thousand middle and high school students from all over Massachusetts were at this event. My experience was awesome but heartwarming because there were so many speakers who told their extraordinary stories about how they overcame bullying. One brave speaker that stood out to me was Lizzie Velasquez. She was called “the ugliest woman in the world” on Youtube because she has a syndrome where her body can’t gain any weight. It also caused her to become blind in her left eye. Many people bullied her but she didn’t let them get to her. What kept her going was her friends and family that cared and loved her. She has written two books and is graduating from college soon! Even though all the speakers were bullied, they each learned something from their experiences and they all became very successful in life.
This conference was also exciting because I saw new musicians who use their music to combat bullying. One musician, named Breje used his song “Facebook Lover” to spread wonderful messages throughout the world instead of creating Facebook drama. This field trip taught me that if someone sees anyone getting bullied they should get involved. I loved this field trip because it really made me think that we are all unique and special in our own way.
It’s time to register for Kindergarten!!
Step 1: Pre-register online here.
Step 2: Attend the Kindergarten Information Night will be held on Thursday, January 17th at 7 pm at the Charles C. Winchester Auditorium at Milton High School.
Students must be five years old by September 1st, 2013 to enter Kindergarten.
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Many of you have heard about our innovative new STEM program. This is a curriculum-based program (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) that has been piloted in each of our first-grade English classrooms this year.
There will be a STEM information night held on Thursday, January 31st at the Cunningham/Collicot cafeteria at 7 pm.
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Grade One Information Nights will be held in each of our elementary schools on Tuesday, February 12th at 7 pm. This evening event is for parents and guardians of current Kindergarten students who will be entering first grade in the Milton Public Schools. Information about our World Language programs, curriculum, co-taught classrooms and the STEM program will be presented.
Save the Date of March 9th! LiveWire will get charged up for technology in Milton’s Public Schools! The lights will be low. The tables will glow. Where this night ends? Nobody knows. This year’s Celebration for Education is going to be a party like no other. All to support innovative, cross-curriculum technology in all six Milton Public Schools.
Tickets will go on sale in January. Stay tuned – and join the Milton Foundation for Education email list to be sure you get your invitation. (See the email sign up form at the bottom right of the homepage.)
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Who’s going to be behind the wheel on March 10th? The Milton Foundation for Education presents the 2013 Jeep Raffle! Only 500 tickets will be sold and somebody’s going home in a brand new Jeep Wrangler. Why not you? 500 Tickets will be available for $100 each. Winning tickets will be drawn at our LiveWire Celebration for Education event on Saturday, March 9, 2013 at 10:00pm at the Boston Marriott Quincy. Prize: 2013 Jeep Wrangler Sport from Planet Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram two-door, with manual transmission ($23,190 MSRP) OR $18,000 cash. Contact Co-Chairs Patti Elliott at (617) 291-3172 or Eileen Heller (617) 775-0149 to purchase tickets!
NEWS AROUND TOWN
The Milton Parks & Rec Department has scheduled several “Middle School ID“ events during the next few months. Event tickets sales for the winter will take place at Cunningham Hall on Tuesday, December 18th from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Photo IDs will be taken for those who do not have an ID. Tickets will be sold for the following events:
Winter Fest Dance: All Grades. Saturday, January 12th
Coco Key Water Resort: All Grades. Monday, January 21st Valentines Day Dance: All Grades. Saturday, February 2nd
Green Dance: All Grades. Saturday, March 2nd
For further information, please contact 617-898-4940 or visit the Parks & Rec web site at www.townofmilton.org
The Milton Public Library Board of Trustees has appointed William Adamczyk as the Library’s new Director. Adamczyk, currently the Circulation Manager and Reader’s Advisor at the Thomas Crane Public Library in Quincy and a Library Trustee for the Abington Public Library, will begin his new role on January 1, 2013.
Brendan McLaughlin, Chairman of the Milton Public Library, said “I am delighted that Will Adamczyk will be joining us as Director. He has a strong record of leadership in both his professional and volunteer public library career, significant professional service in the Massachusetts Library System and Old Colony Library Network. He will be able to build on the success of the Milton Public Library and ensure that the Library continues to be a provider of knowledge and information access to all of Milton’s citizens. On behalf of the Trustees, we all look forward to welcoming Will to the Milton Public Library and to working with him.”
Will Adamczyk commented upon his appointment; “It is a huge honor to have the opportunity to lead one of Massachusetts’ finest public libraries at a time of exciting change driven by the internet and connected media. The Milton Public Library is a very well regarded organization with state of the art infrastructure in a new building which continues to increase its connections to the Milton community in important ways. I look forward to working with the Library’s talented staff and committed leadership to take it to the next stage of development and to realize the vision presented in the Library’s Long Range Plan.”
Mr. Adamczyk, an Abington resident, will be responsible for the planning, direction and leadership of all aspects of library service for the Milton Public Library. In addition he will work with the Milton Public Library Board of Trustees, Friends, Foundation, Town and community leadership to implement the Library’s Long Range Plan and to expand community outreach to build upon partnerships with patrons, schools and other Milton organizations.
The Director Search Committee voted unanimously to recommend Mr. Adamczyk’s selection as the next Director to the Trustees and was aided in the selection process by many community leaders, former Trustee chair Andrea Gordon; Jeffrey Erickson, Elizabeth Mock, and Connie Spiros from the Friends of the Milton Public Library; and Kathy Fagan and Aisha Saunders from the Milton Public Library Foundation. Members of the Search Committee were Gene Boylan, Elizabeth Buchanan, Hyacinth Crichlow, Janet Evans, Brendan McLaughlin and chair, Mary Riffe Hiss.
Will Adamczyk graduated from the College of the Holy Cross in 1997 with a B.A. in Classical Studies and from Southern Connecticut State University with a Master’s degree in Library Science (M.L.S.) in 1998. He began his professional library career as a Reference Librarian in the Meriden, Connecticut Public Library followed by service as the Youth Services/Reference Librarian in the Somerville Public Library in Massachusetts. Will moved to the Thomas Crane Public Library in Quincy in 2003 as their Reference Librarian and was promoted to Circulation Manager and Reader’s Advisor there in 2006. Will was elected as a trustee of the Abington Public Library in 2007 where he continues to serve his town in that capacity.
Will assumes responsibility as Milton Public Library Director from Assistant Director Dan Haacker who has ably served as Interim Director since June of this year.
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On Saturday, January 26, International Master David Vigorito will serve as tournament director for the 2nd annual “Chess-a-Palooza!” – a fun and friendly scholastic chess tournament open to all Milton school students. Players of all abilities are welcome.
The tournament will be limited to the first 50 entrants. Trophies and prizes will be awarded in grades K-2, grades 3 – 5, and grades 6 – 9. Sections may be modified depending on the number of entrants. Cost is $5 in advance or $8 at the door. This event is sponsored by The Friends of the Milton Public Library and starts at 9:30am in the Keys Community Room at 476 Canton Avenue on the Library’s lower level. To register, please visit www.miltonlibrary.org and click on Event Calendar. For more information contact Christy Daniels at email@example.com
As part of our E-blast, we highlight students, teachers and members of the community whose hard work deserves recognition. Please read about some of their outstanding accomplishments below:
Students: A group of Cunningham students who are also members of Girl Scout Troop 85212 recently made a very generous donation to their school. For the past two years, the troop has been raising money through cookie sales. When it came time to choose how to use the funds, options included a trip to a theme park, an overnight camping trip or a charitable donation. The girls chose to use the money to buy a Smart Board for their fourth-grade teacher, Erin Power. Although some classrooms at Cunningham have a SmartBoard, the goal of equipping every classroom has not yet been achieved. This donation will immediately benefit the learning experience of 50 Cunningham 4th graders. It is amazing that these Girl Scouts are willing to use their raised money to provide Cunningham with such an important learning tool! Many thanks to: Eliza Callahan, Jocelyn Ridge, Jamie Milliken, Rhiannon Morris, Juliana Pires, Sophie Boucher, Giana Gallagher, Gwen LaLecheur, Molly Lynch, Cecily Wambold, Lila Slymon and Elana Naide.
Teachers: I would like to recognize Pierce Middle School teachers Dawn Sykes and Bill Deschenes. Dr. Spaulding, Pierce principal, said that Chorus Director Dawn Sykes is miraculous in her work with students, whose voices sound “like angels in the hallways.” Dr. Spaulding described Drama teacher Bill Deschenes as the epitome of commitment to students, a teacher who is somehow able to take a group of 100 children and shape them into a cast and crew. She said, “We see only the momentary effect play out as a top notch production. What we do not see in those moments is the lasting impact of giving voice to students who otherwise might not find theirs.” I cannot agree more.
Volunteers: I would like to thank Anacristina Kenny and Anne Gatnik, this year’s co-chairs for the Milton Foundation for Education’s Celebration for Education. Organizing this event is an extraordinary time-consuming role and we are very grateful for their time and effort. My sincere thanks to both of them.
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.