November 24, 2020

To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
From: James F. Jette
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: November  24, 2020

FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT

I hope this communication finds you well and in good spirits.  

I would like to take a moment to express my sincere gratitude to all Milton Public Schools families for your ongoing support. Your attentiveness to all communications, your participation in virtual meetings, your ongoing support of your children, and your critical feedback is truly appreciated and is essential to the overall success of the Milton Public Schools.  I know this year has not been easy, and it is definitely not what any of us expected or hoped for, but we all have to work together to make the best of it. Today marks the 47th day of this academic year, and although we have faced many challenges, I am optimistic that better days are coming.

In my email to MPS staff earlier today,  I expressed my gratitude to the MPS faculty and staff for their commitment, support, and professionalism during what is arguably one of the most challenging times in the history of our educational careers. I know many of you join me in this gratitude as I receive emails of thanks for our staff every single day.

To keep our community safe, healthy, and physically in school, we need your ongoing awareness and steadfast commitment to Protect the Paw!  Please refer to the COVID-19 page on the MPS website for all updated COVID -19 safety guidelines.  As a friendly reminder, please adhere to the MA travel guidelines and tips on Thanksgiving gatherings. Thank you for your continued vigilance around these health and safety guidelines.

As a reminder, our weekly drive-through for breakfast and lunch pick up is OPEN tomorrow, Wednesday, November 25. All families are welcome to come to Milton High School on any Wednesday from 9:30-10:30 and 12:30-1:30pm to pick up a week’s worth of breakfast and lunches. 

If you are looking for a safe and fun family activity next month, Milton Community Schools has asked me to let you know about an upcoming virtual family event  – Holiday Wreath Making –  on December 9. Attendance is limited, so please sign up soon and join us for this fun family event!  

Finally, I wanted to share how honored and thankful I am to work in one of the best communities in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, where the families are supportive of the schools and value their children’s education. It is truly special and I thank you for choosing the Milton Public Schools!

On behalf of all MPS faculty and staff, I would like to wish you a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday. Please enjoy our Thanksgiving video below.

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 a 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: Asst. Superintendent for Curriculum & Human Resources, Dr. Karen Spaulding, (617) 696-5040 ext. 5582.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on November 24, 2020

November 19, 2020

To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
From: James F. Jette
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: November  19, 2020

FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT

During the week of Thanksgiving, we will celebrate MPS Spirit Week. We are asking all in MPS to show their school pride on Tuesday, November 24, by wearing red and white and their school gear, both at home and in school.  We also invite everyone – our hybrid and remote students, staff, families –  to share what they are thankful for right now. It’s a difficult time in our country and it’s even more important for all of us to focus on the good and what we are thankful for, whenever possible.

Next week, we will share some of the messages, pictures, and videos of gratitude that we receive. If you would like to share your message of gratitude – about your family, school, community, friends –  with the MPS community, I invite you to do it here. Notes, short videos, or pictures are all very welcome. 

Personally, I am grateful for the partnership of our six school Principals and the Central Office staff with whom I work closely every day. I am so thankful for our dedicated administrators, teachers, and staff who work tirelessly – in person or remotely – on behalf of our students. 

I appreciate and value the many creative and respectful emails and calls I receive from our MPS parents and guardians with ideas and encouragement to improve the school experience for MPS students during these unprecedented times.

I am the most grateful for our almost 4500 students, who range in age from 3 to 22.  These young people are funny and kind, hardworking and resilient and they motivate and inspire many of us in education to strive to be better each day. 

I have enjoyed my listening sessions with many remote families over the last few weeks and look forward to my school specific meetings with hybrid families in December and January. I am also pleased to have been invited to several PTO meetings this month. The exchange of ideas and thoughtful feedback is valuable as we constantly strive to adjust our best practices. 

I also want to acknowledge that November is Native American Heritage Month. The traditions, culture, and contributions to the nation from Native peoples cannot be overstated and I hope you will take a moment to read about Native American Heritage Month here and here

Massachusetts and MPS Thanksgiving travel guidelines are detailed under the HEALTH AND SAFETY heading below and MA guidelines are also linked here. These guidelines were sent to all families within the MPS testing email sent on Wednesday as well.

I wish you a safe, healthy, and happy Thanksgiving holiday. I thank the many in our community who are forgoing traditional Thanksgiving plans in an effort to Protect the Paw and keep our MPS and Milton community as safe and healthy as possible in the weeks ahead. 

SCHOOL COMMITTEE

I encourage you to regularly watch Milton School Committee meetings. At each meeting, I give a comprehensive Superintendent update which includes COVID-19 updates as well as many updates about the general business of the Milton Public Schools. The School Committee discusses current business and plans for the future. School Committee meetings are open and transparent and in our virtual world, even easier to attend. You can watch live on Milton Access TV online, live on Milton Access cable channels (Comcast 22, RCN 15), via Zoom (link to attend found on the Town of Milton SC page), or on-demand in the days following the meeting.

The next School Committee meeting will be on December 2, 2020, at 7pm.

IMPORTANT UPCOMING DATES

  • Nov 25-27 Thanksgiving Recess
  • Dec 2 School Committee Meeting
  • Dec 7 Special Town Meeting
  • Dec 10 Early Release, P/T Conferences K-5
  • Dec 16 School Committee Meeting
  • Dec 24-Jan 3 Winter Recess

The full MPS calendar can be found here.

HEALTH AND SAFETY

Over the Thanksgiving holiday our health rooms will be closed from Tuesday, November 24 at 3pm until Monday, November 30 at 8am. If you have health questions during this time, please contact your pediatrician.

If you have any travel questions about your child returning to school on Monday, November 30, please email us by Monday, November 23. If your question arises over the Thanksgiving holiday, we will be responding to all new emails and calls on Monday, November 30. If you are unsure if your child should return to school, please keep them home until you speak to your school nurse on Monday, November 30.


Thank you to Manet Community Health Center who is performing COVID-19 testing for the MPS community on Friday from 10 am- 2pm at Milton High School. All details can be found here and here. If you did not register for testing, there will be limited additional tests available for those who did not register. You can also visit the Manet website and register for a test at their North Quincy location at any time. 


As Milton residents plan for the Thanksgiving holiday, we offer the following considerations to help keep our friends, families, and community safe during COVID-19.

We are about to embark upon the holiday season, which is typically a social time for many of us. In addition, many of our students’ siblings will be returning home from colleges out of state. Per MA DPH guidelines, these college students will need to quarantine until they receive a negative COVID test. I am also asking each of you to be mindful of your own social gatherings and the need to adhere to the health and safety guidelines set by the CDC and MA DPH. Small gatherings of family and friends have repeatedly been shown to be super spreader events.

If you are traveling, please follow Massachusetts Travel orders linked here and adhere to MPS Policy that all students and staff must provide a negative COVID 19 test taken upon 72 hours of arrival back in Massachusetts or quarantine for 14 days after travel prior to returning to in person learning.

These reminders for a safe and healthy Thanksgiving during COVID from MA DPH are important to read through. Also, this Thanksgiving Poster from Mass.gov is available in several languages.

FOOD SERVICE 

There are two ways to take advantage of the FREE TO ALL to-go breakfasts and lunches this year.

Weekly Pick Up: Weekly pick up is available at two different times on Wednesdays. Come to MHS 9:30-10:30 or 12:30-1:30 (please don’t arrive before 12:15 to allow for MHS pick up) to pick up 7 days of breakfast and lunches for your child.

Weekly Pick Up will be available EVERY Wednesday in November, including the Wednesdays when there is no school at MPS – November 25 (Wednesday before Thanksgiving).

Grab and Go: Encourage your student to check out our to go lunch and breakfast bags. They (and you!) will not be disappointed. Multiple breakfasts, lunches, and snacks are included in each bag. Students can take a grab and go bag with several breakfasts and lunches as they leave school each day.

Free student meals have been extended through the school year. All details on pick up options can be found in this link.

MPS STAFF UPDATES

Please join me in welcoming three new employees to the Milton Public Schools. Thank you to our all who joined our search committees and devoted their time to finding just the right candidates for these positions. 

Kimberly Kaplan is joining us as our Elementary Social Studies Coordinator. Ms. Kaplan has taught history at both the middle and high school levels in public and private schools. She is currently a professor and practicum coordinator at Lasell College where she both supervises pre-service teachers and teaches courses such as Teaching Social Studies in the Elementary Classroom. She holds an Undergraduate Degree in History and Marketing from Lehigh University and two Masters of Science in Education degrees from Boston College Lynch School of Education- one in teaching history and one in special education. Kimberly’s references described her as being committed to anti-racist education and social justice. The committee was impressed with her commitment to all children and her passion for history and teaching. We are all looking forward to benefiting from her expertise and leadership.

We are pleased to announce that our new Senior Director for Educational Equity is Somaly Prak-Martins. Ms. Prak- Martins immediately got our attention during the interview process- standing out from the other candidates. It was clear that she was knowledgeable, experienced in diversity, equity, and inclusion work as well as strategic leadership, and yet still connected with each of us on a personal level. We were drawn to how she wove together her personal and professional experiences as she shared with us her story. We were in awe of her courage, persistence, and compassion. We were impressed with her understanding of not only the critical importance of fostering an anti-racist educational system but also her experience in doing precisely that. Somaly holds a Bachelor of Science degree in International Business Administration from the State University of New York and a Masters in Education degree in Administration Management and Leadership from Phoenix University. Her references described her as a warrior, and we cannot wait to get to work with her.

Assistant Superintendent for Business Dr. Glenn Pavlicek is retiring from the Milton Public Schools in December after many years of service to our schools and town. I will share more about Dr. Pavlicek in an upcoming blog. I am pleased to share that Amy Dexter will be our new Assistant Superintendent for Business. 

Ms. Dexter has more than 10 years of financial management experience in municipal government and more than 15 years of experience in management experience with publicly traded and private companies. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Bentley College and an Associates Degree in Management. Amy is a certified public accountant and a certified government accountant. Amy is a long-time resident of Milton and knows first-hand of the excellent work of the Milton Public Schools as her children attend or have graduated from  MPS. We are really looking forward to working with Ms. Dexter in her new position. 

MHS HAPPENINGS

MHS student leaders will be hosting a virtual pep rally event on Tuesday, November 24 at 2pm for all MHS students. Students should check their emails and will receive a link to attend. Have fun, Wildcats! 

PIERCE PAGES

For a recent lesson, Mr. Manning’s 8th graders had to dig deep and reflect on their identity, who they are as a person, their family makeup, and cultural values in order to create unique identity tattoo designs. They were disappointed to learn there would be no real tattoos given at the end of the lesson!

Mr. Manning’s 7th grade artists focused on the work of Wayne Thiebaud and his simple but elegant food paintings. Thiebaud’s most famous work was a painting of four cupcakes that sold for over 2 million dollars. Students learned about shadows and highlights and how to draw with depth and dimension. Thiebaud’s most famous work was a painting of four cupcakes that sold for over 2 million dollars. Students said that those cupcakes were probably not at Montilios!

INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

Cunningham 4th graders are reading A Boy Called Bat, an inspiring story about differences and acceptance. Students are asked to respond to a fun prompt on Flipgrid, where they record a video of themselves. They can view their friends’ responses and comment on their friends’ answers as they read the book together. 

With the challenges this school year, Mrs. Caswell, Ms. Hyde, Mr. Young, Ms. Harris, Mrs. McKay, and Mme. Mushin thought this would be a great way to have remote and hybrid classes mix for this inclusive group project. The Cunningham 4th grade is enjoying this fun way to come together and interact with friends who they are not seeing in person right now! 


Tucker 2nd and 3rd graders recently read the book Click Clack Moo by Doreen Cronin for inspiration for an art project. Students talked about how to draw a cow moving, by bending arms and legs and movement lines. Students went on a scavenger hunt in their yard or house to find objects that have texture to add to the grass of their project and they showed space in this project by drawing a horizon line.


Ms. McDermott’s 3rd grade Collicot class wrote this week about what they are thankful for this year. To complement their writing, they decorated fall thankful trees. Students all mentioned that 2020 was a year like no other and there were many hard parts and challenges. However, students were able to express gratitude for many things in their lives including family, friends, pets, teachers, frontline workers, and medical professionals. 3rd grader Brenna Monahan is thankful for more time with her grandparents who are helping bring her to school and who read with her, and she ended her essay best by saying, “2020 is a rollercoaster, but we made it work.”


The Glover and Tucker Diverse Reads Book Club had a fantastic visit with
Claribel Ortega,  author of The Ghost Squad.  Thank you to the Diverse Reads Book Club for a powerful discussion!


Ms. Lennon’s  3rd grade Cunningham class enjoyed having a  guest reader this week during their  virtual meeting. MHS senior Ilisa Risal shared some of her Nepali family traditions, Dashain and Tihar, by reading the book Dashain Aayo! Tihar Aayo! A Napalian Festival Celebration by Anita B. Adhikary. After listening to the story, the students enjoyed writing their names using the Nepali alphabet.


Mrs. Spitz’ Collicot 4th graders completed family trees to go with Reach for Reading Unit 1. Students asked: How important are traditions? Where do we learn about traditions? The family trees helped them visualize how traditions are passed down from generation to generation.

SPECIAL EDUCATION

Administrator for Pupil Personnel Services, Sue Maselli invites you to read her monthly Special Education update at this link.  Information on the upcoming Glover Special Education Coffee, important contacts, and more can be found in the update

MPS GIVES BACK

Each year the Milton Public Schools join together in partnership with Milton Residents Fund and My Brother’s Keeper to collect toys and gift cards for our Milton families who need a little extra support during the holidays. Due to Covid restrictions schools cannot have children bring gifts directly to school as had been done in previous years. The PTOs have come up with some alternatives that will still allow children to participate, and that will benefit our friends and neighbors in Milton and beyond, and even some of our neighborhood businesses. Despite these challenging times, we hope to make this year just as successful, perhaps even more so.

How can you participate?

Gift cards: We are hoping to have enough $25 Target gift cards to allow each Pierce and MHS student in need to directly receive a gift card through the school, and also to be able to provide families who submitted wishlists with a $25 gift card to purchase essentials like socks and underwear for their children.

Shop with a local business:  Shop in-person, online, or over the phone with The Toy Chest in East Milton Square or The Toy Box in Hanover (owned by an MPS family).  Mention your purchase is part of the MPS Holiday Giving Drive and the items will be held there and distributed.

Elementary families: Please see Cunningham School Sign Up; Collicot School Sign Up; Tucker School Sign Up; Glover School Sign Up.

Pierce and MHS families: We are collecting $25 Target gift cards. Please drop your gift cards to the drop box at the front of Milton High School by December 3. The locked drop box will be emptied several times each day.

FAMILY RESOURCES

Caroline Mannion, Inclusion Specialist/BCBA for Pierce and MHS, recently offered a session focused on how parents and guardians can support their middle and high school age children as they navigate through their Hybrid/Remote learning schedule.  Thank you to Ms. Mannion for offering this resource and thank you to all who attended. You can view Ms. Mannion’s powerpoint presentation here. 


The Milton Public Schools is committed to being a resource for you. Whether you are unsure how to connect with school staff or directly need a referral for services or supplies, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Marti O’Keefe McKenna, MPS Family Outreach Liaison at 617-980-7343 or by email at mmckenna@miltonps.org. All calls and emails are confidential.

All updates on Family Resources – food, heating assistance, health insurance, financial assistance, contacts – can be found at this link.

COMMUNITY SCHOOLS

Milton Community Schools is pleased to offer a series of Virtual Family Events this winter. First up is Holiday Wreath Making on December 9. Attendance is limited so please sign up soon and join us for this fun family event!

TRANSPORTATION

At their meeting on November 18, the School Committee approved changes in the bus fees for the 2020-2021 school year.  Fees to ride for elementary students will be $150 and fees to ride for students at MHS and Pierce will be $90.  The family maximum will be $300.  Bills for transportation will be issued in December and January. 

ART AND MUSIC

Movement is a fun and important part of the elementary music curriculum. It is particularly essential for younger students and remote learning where students are often sitting for longer periods of time.  Movement is a great way to instill musical concepts kinesthetically for more involved, in depth learning.  

Our elementary general music team readily incorporates movement into each lesson in various ways such as adding hand motions and body movements to a song, performing simple folk dances, using body percussion to learn the form of a popular song, tapping rhythm sticks to march and move to the beat and purposefully moving using ribbons, scarves, and other household items to feel phrases, beat and flow. Cross-body movements help the left and right hemispheres of the brain to connect and coordinate, aiding in balance and stronger motor skills. The ultimate goals of incorporating movement with music are to internalize the beat, move rhythmically, develop coordination and confidence to move freely, gain an understanding of how music is connected to and can be expressed through movement, to find joy in dancing to music, and to understand that everyone can dance and make music! 

Currently, Ms. Martin is teaching warm-up dances to various songs such as  “Sunday Best“ By Surfaces with her grade 2-5 students. Here is an example of Tucker 4th graders  and Glover 3rd graders warming up to “Sunday Best.”  In the photos below, Mr. Good’s students are tapping and moving with sticks they’ve found at home as they march to internalize the beat.  Mrs. Allegrezza’s students created movements to the song “Wake Me, Shake Me.” Check out this link to see 2nd grade in action. Students are also learning a Chinese ribbon dance using scarves and ribbons found at home. Ask your students to show you some of the moves they are developing in their elementary music class!

ATHLETICS

Please see below from MHS Athletic Director Ryan Madden.

Thank you to all student-athletes and coaches for making this past fall season possible! A special thank you to our senior student-athletes who have helped to build our programs to where they are now. Though this is not how anyone would have imagined their senior year would look, our students made the most of their fall seasons.. The seniors have all set examples to the younger students on how to battle adversity.


The Boosters Winter Pop-up with limited-time only gear closes early next week. Don’t miss out! All details are here and once you place an order you will be contacted mid-December with local pick-up information.

COMMUNITY NEWS 

The Milton Interfaith Clergy Association asked me to share information about their (virtual) Thanks for Giving Service on Sunday, November 22, at 4pm.

Please join us in gratitude for our many blessings, including this year’s Extraordinary Honorees from many of our Communities of Faith and Civic Organizations. Register in advance for this virtual webinar here. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. 

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgiving, turn routine… into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”  William Arthur Ward


Support our local businesses!  2020 has been an unusually challenging year for many, and this has been true for small businesses too. Many small businesses in Milton have been especially impacted. Though the Chamber of Commerce is doing all it can to help, as is the state, many are still struggling and are in danger of closing.

Small Businesses are at the core of every successful neighborhood, so the Milton Chamber of Commerce is promoting Small Business Saturday starting on 11/28. Small Business Saturday is a day to celebrate and support small businesses and all they do for their communities. Many businesses have specials that they’re offering, and all details can be found here. 

Many of these businesses have been very generous in supporting Milton Public Schools through fundraisers and other events, and I know our support of our local businesses will be much appreciated.


Thank you to Milton Access Talk of the Town host Brian Kelley and  Tom Fahey for the Milton documentary “Remember This Year”.  This excellent documentary is a look at the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic in Milton. Residents and local business people talk about their anxiety about coping with a looming public health threat.

Tom Fahey is one of New England’s most experienced television photographers. His work is seen regularly on some of America’s best-known TV programs such as 60 Minutes, CBS Sunday Morning, HBO Real Sports, and The Daily Show. He has performed principal photography on many documentaries and worked with corporate producers and international news agencies. Tom received a national EMMY in 2013 for a 60 Minutes feature and has shot other programs that have won national awards including the Peabody and Cine Golden Eagle.


The Cardinal Cushing 5K RUN/WALK (formerly the Best Buddies 5k) has gone virtual!

  • The where and what are up to you!
  • Complete your miles from November 18-21, then upload your results.
  • Create a personal or team page, then train and ask your friends and family to donate.
  • Share photos and videos on our Facebook event page.
  • Register here.

Thanks for participating and supporting our very important cause!


The Milton Public Library has some terrific programs for students of all ages. Check out next week’s activities here. 


Forbes House Museum is seeking volunteers for its new DEI Committee. The Forbes House Museum has formed a new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee. It’s vital that we include voices from outside the institution in this initiative. If you or someone you know would be interested in joining this committee, please send an email to Heidi Vaughan, Executive Director


Nature Tails! Children’s Program – Join us for the first of four free, fun, literacy and STEM Saturday morning programs with Trailside Museum staff. Programs are designed for children ages 2.9 to 7 years old and their parent or guardian and will include a story, guided movement, two live animal encounters, and a Q&A session! This program will be held on Saturday, November 21st at 11:00 AM and the topic will be Owls. These sessions will be held live, via Zoom. Registration is required to obtain the Zoom link and password. Please register here. Mark your calendar for the remaining sessions: January 23, 2021, Animal Habitats; March 27, 2021, Animal Movements; and May 22, 2021, Animal Five Senses. Many thanks to our kindergarten t-shirt sponsors. Their generosity has made this programming possible!


Cunningham 4th grader Sophia is back with her Sock Drive! The 6th Annual Sophia’s Socks for the Homeless has kicked into gear. 2020 has been a lot different than years in the past, but that is why we need your help more than ever! Please consider helping the homeless of Boston, by donating NEW socks to the drive. Every pair you donate will help the life of someone in need. We will be collecting socks until Friday, December 18 and will be dropped off at St. Francis on December 19/20. Let’s make this year the best and help brighten someone’s day. Sox Box locations are Cunningham School, 3 Phyllis Lane, and 178 Lyman Road.


Chess Club with Mr. Vigorito – Winter Session- Begins December 7th!

International Chess Master David Vigorito has been teaching chess in Milton for over 10 years. He teaches at all 4 elementary schools as well as Milton Academy and St. Agatha’s. He also usually teaches at the Milton Summer Enrichment program. For information and to register, please see this link.

SUPERINTENDENT SHOUTOUT

Congratulations to the following MHS Music students who were accepted to the Massachusetts Music Educator’s Association Eastern District Senior Festival!

Barron Clancy- Orchestra; Timothy Fay- Band; Isabelle Feloney- Chorus;
Max Hollingsworth Hays- Band and Jazz Band; Michael Howard- Band; Nesta Ryan Malin- Chorus; Madison Massad- Band; Aislinn Mershon- Band Claudia O’Neill- BanD; Abigail Taugher- Chorus

Students spent time creating audition videos and were adjudicated amongst students from over 30 surrounding communities that make up the Eastern District.

Bravo to the following students who also received All State recommendations: Timothy Fay, Isabelle Feloney, Max Hollingsworth- Hays and Claudia O’Neill. These students will continue to a second round of auditions that will include students from all of Massachusetts. We are so proud of these talented students!

Thank you to my blog contributors this week: Kim Coughlin, Susan Maselli, Jackie Morgan, Marti O’Keefe McKenna, Caroline Mannion, Ryan Madden, Jon Redden, Elaine McNeil-Girmai, Rebecca Damiani, April Allegrezza, Jess Gillooly, Colleen Martin, Gary Good, Courtney Lennon, Patrick Manning, Liz Spitz, Karen Spaulding, Nawar Mushin, Ellen Lohan and Karen McDavitt.

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 a 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: Asst. Superintendent for Curriculum & Human Resources, Dr. Karen Spaulding, (617) 696-5040 ext. 5582.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on November 19, 2020

November 12, 2020

To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
From: James F. Jette
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: November  12, 2020

FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT

Yesterday, we observed Veterans Day in Milton and across the United States. Our schools have a long tradition of Veterans Day events that honor Veterans in our MPS community. This year, we were unable to gather in person, but our schools held virtual assemblies, made artwork, wrote about important Veterans in their lives, and more. Please see below for some of the highlights of this year’s events.  We look forward to gathering in person next year to honor our Veterans.

MHS Music students participated in this year’s Veterans Day Ceremony at Milton’s Town Hall on Wednesday, November 11. Senior MHS Chorus member Anna Hoey performed the National Anthem, and a small delegation from the Wildcat Marching Band performed “God Bless America.”  MHS Marching Band performers include Senior Drum Major Aislinn Mershon (flute), Brian Fay (trumpet), Junior Drum Major Michael Howard (mellophone), Timothy Fay (trombone), and Junior Drum Major Max Hollingsworth-Hays (baritone sax). You can watch our musicians here. 

Thank you for your service, Mr. Troxell.

Glover principal Mrs. McDavitt’s father, Dean Troxell, spoke to Glover students about Veterans Day. Thank you for your service, Mr. Troxell. You can watch Mr. Troxell’s video here. 

Cunningham dedicated this Veterans Day to Beirne Lovely, and you can read the tribute to Mr. Lovely here. We received the note below from Mr. Lovely’s family as a piece of MPS Good News.  

Mr. Lovely’s grandson Scott with the Cunningham Veterans Day display.

Thank you to the PTO, administration, and school community at Cunningham for dedicating this year’s Veterans Day event to Beirne Lovely, who passed away in June. Beirne was devoted to the Milton Public Schools in various capacities – as a proud parent and grandparent, School Committee Chair, and super fan, among other things – and he was a fierce advocate for his fellow Veterans. The family is so touched by Cunningham’s recognition of him, and we know that Beirne would have been deeply honored by this gesture.

Thank you to all who have served and continue to serve our country.

During the week of Thanksgiving, we will celebrate MPS Spirit Week. We are asking all in MPS to show their school pride on Monday and Tuesday, November 23/24, by wearing red and white and their school swag. In addition, we’ll be asking students and staff to share what they are thankful for. In this very trying time, it’s important for all of us to focus on the good and what we are thankful for, whenever possible. We received this comment below earlier this week and I share it with you now. It helped me to take a moment and reflect on the many positives in my professional and personal life. 

If it hadn’t been for the pandemic, I would never have had the chance to experience my kid’s teachers in action. To preface this statement, I don’t hang over their shoulders during their zoom lessons. But, as I check in on them from time to time (my son sequestered in his room) and my daughter (working off the dining room table), I do also get to experience fleeting moments of teaching. These have all been lovely but I will only mention a few. While I was doing dishes, I became captivated by a Latin mythical tale and could have listened for hours. When I was cleaning up after breakfast, I was soothed by an endlessly patient teacher greeting all her students, some logging on early, some late, and gently suggesting to those who were there by mistake that maybe they would like to log on tomorrow instead. I can’t imagine how my kid’s teachers can keep up with all that they need to do, juggling various technological challenges, yet see and hear every student. I am grateful. The pandemic will eventually pass. 10 or 20 years from now, I will close my eyes and remember these moments and still be grateful.

***

The Milton Interfaith Clergy Association asked me to share information about their (virtual) Thanks for Giving Service on Sunday, November 22, at 4pm. 

Please join us in gratitude for our many blessings, including this year’s Extraordinary Honorees from many of our Communities of Faith and Civic Organizations. Register in advance for this virtual webinar here. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. 

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgiving, turn routine… into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” 

William Arthur Ward

SCHOOL COMMITTEE

The next School Committee meeting will be on November 18, 2020, at 7pm, and all School Committee meetings can be watched live and later on-demand on Milton Access TV.  In the days leading up to each meeting, call in/login information is available on the Town of Milton website.

MPS GOOD NEWS

Have an MPS Good News story to share? Please do so here and we will share it in an upcoming communication. Today I am pleased to share a few good news stories we have recently received.

Working from home, I get the chance to occasionally pop by the kids as they do their remote learning. Getting to finally hear them use their French in depth is so much fun. I also loved getting to listen to my highschooler debate Medicare for all on a zoom call. I value the opportunity to be a “fly on the wall” and see how much they are learning.

On October 22nd, at the Town Flu Clinic, so many members of our community came together to help provide the flu vaccine in a safe environment. Big shoutout to the school nurses who worked all day and then provided our most vulnerable community members with this important health care. Thank you!

The way every MPS staff member makes this crazy process seem like a walk in the park is amazing! Kudos to all for continued dedication, professionalism, care, and devotion to fostering a love for learning for all the children of Milton.

IMPORTANT UPCOMING DATES

  • Nov 25-27 Thanksgiving Recess

The full MPS calendar can be found here.

HEALTH AND SAFETY

As Milton residents plan for the Thanksgiving holiday, we offer the following considerations to help keep our friends, families, and community safe during COVID-19.

We are about to embark upon the holiday season, which is typically a social time for many of us. In addition, many of our students’ siblings will be returning home from colleges out of state. Per MA DPH guidelines, these college students will need to quarantine until they receive a negative COVID test. I am also asking each of you to be mindful of your own social gatherings and the need to adhere to the health and safety guidelines set by the CDC and MA DPH. Small gatherings of family and friends have repeatedly been shown to be super spreader events.

If you are traveling, please follow Massachusetts Travel orders linked here and adhere to MPS Policy that all students and staff must provide a negative COVID 19 test taken upon 72 hours of arrival back in Massachusetts or quarantine for 14 days after travel prior to returning to in person learning.

These reminders for a safe and healthy Thanksgiving during COVID from MA DPH are important to read through. Also, this Thanksgiving Poster from Mass.gov is available in several languages.

FOOD SERVICE 

There are two ways to take advantage of the FREE TO ALL to-go breakfasts and lunches this year.

Weekly Pick Up: Weekly pick up is available at two different times on Wednesdays. Come to MHS 9:30-10:30 or 12:30-1:30 (please don’t arrive before 12:15 to allow for MHS pick up) to pick up 7 days of breakfast and lunches for your child.

Weekly Pick Up will be available EVERY Wednesday in November, including the Wednesdays when there is no school at MPS – November 25 (Wednesday before Thanksgiving).

Grab and Go: Encourage your student to check out our to go lunch and breakfast bags. They (and you!) will not be disappointed. Multiple breakfasts, lunches, and snacks are included in each bag. Students can take a grab and go bag with several breakfasts and lunches as they leave school each day.

Free student meals have been extended through the school year. All details on pick up options can be found in this link.

INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS


3rd grade students worked on a nighttime owl picture focusing on making implied texture in their artwork. Be sure to look at the details in their trees and owl feathers.

3rd grade students also learned about Mattie Lou O’Kelley, a folk artist from Georgia, and created these stunning landscapes. Students created three distinct sections to their landscape; a foreground, middle ground, and background. Look at all the details in each section!


As a supplement to the On the Farm Reach unit of study, Tucker kindergartners in  Mrs. Barker’s class were asked to evidence their learning by creating a farm diorama using a shoebox, construction paper, popsicle sticks, and Model Magic.

FAMILY RESOURCES

Milton Public Schools is proud to have a thriving Inclusion Task Force. The purpose of the Inclusion Task Force (ITF) is to foster authentic relationships in schools and the broader community for our students with disabilities. The ITF works to promote awareness of inclusive opportunities throughout the school district and community. The ITF is asking all parents to take a brief survey about inclusion in the Milton Public Schools.  You can complete the short survey here.


Join Caroline Mannion, Inclusion Specialist/BCBA for Pierce and MHS, for a session focused on how parents and guardians can support their middle and high school age children as they navigate through their Hybrid/Remote learning schedule. This evening will focus on identifying strategies on how parents can set up their home working environment to support at home learning, how to support your child with planning and organizing their workload, behavioral strategies to increase independence with remote learning, and strategies to monitor your child’s social and emotional well being. Join us online on Tuesday, November 17th, at 6:30 pm for this valuable session. Please click here to receive a link to attend a few days before the event.


The Milton Public Schools is committed to being a resource for you. Whether you are unsure how to connect with school staff or directly need a referral for services or supplies, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Marti O’Keefe McKenna, MPS Family Outreach Liaison at 617-980-7343 or by email at mmckenna@miltonps.org. All calls and emails are confidential.

All updates on Family Resources – food, heating assistance, health insurance, financial assistance, contacts – can be found at this link.

PTO UPDATES

Fruit Center Shopping Week is November 9-15!
 
The Fruit Center has donated over $117,000 to schools in Milton and Hingham over the last ten years! 
 
It’s easy to participate and raise funds for your child’s school:
  • Download a shopping voucher for your school here. Print as many as you’d like and share them with friends, family, and neighbors.
  • Present your voucher when you make purchases at the Fruit Center Marketplace from Monday, November 9, through Sunday, November 15. Shop as often as you’d like during that week.
  • The Fruit Center Marketplace will donate 20% of your total purchase back to your school. 
  • That’s it – you’re done! 
Let’s make this our most successful year of shopping yet. This is an easy way for our PTOs to raise funds for your child’s school and they appreciate your support! ,

You may have received emails from your PTO regarding the Rustic Marlin signs that all six Milton PTOs are selling.

The MILTON signs are now SOLD OUT and APPLE signs are GOING FAST! These would make a great addition to teacher’s gifts this year, especially since proceeds from the sale of all signs will go directly towards the needs of the teachers. If you’d like to order one to include with your class gift please fill out the google form and submit your payment via pay pal.

ART AND MUSIC 

Shop Fair Trade and support MPS  Music Programs! Proceeds go towards instruments and scholarships. With the absence of our music concerts, candy sales, and other fundraising initiatives this year, we appreciate your support. Please consider purchasing any of these wonderful items and unique gifts, responsibly sourced through The Fair Trade Caravan while supporting the Milton Public Schools Music Programs. 

ATHLETICS

Please see below from MHS Athletic Director Ryan Madden.

As we finish our fall season this week, I would like to thank all coaches, student-athletes, and parents/guardians for their help in making this season happen. Without total buy-in and with everyone following social distancing and mask-wearing protocols, we would not have been able to complete this season. 

Winter season will start no sooner than Monday, December 7th. Information will be released in the coming weeks, and registration will open as soon as possible. Once information becomes available, it will be communicated to families.

As always, parents/guardians are encouraged to complete the Feedback Survey for Fall Sports found here. 


Thank you to everyone who purchased merchandise in our Fall Pop-up and supported our student-athletes. Check out our Winter Pop-up with limited-time only gear. Remember once you place an order you will be contacted mid-December with local pick-up information.,,

COMMUNITY NEWS 

The Cardinal Cushing 5K RUN/WALK (formerly the Best Buddies 5k) has gone virtual!

  • The where and what are up to you!
  • Complete your miles from November 18-21, then upload your results.
  • Create a personal or team page, then train and ask your friends and family to donate.
  • Share photos and videos on our Facebook event page.
  • Register here.

Thanks for participating and supporting our very important cause!


The Milton Public Library has some terrific programs for students of all ages. Check out next week’s activities here. 

Do you like to write stories, comics, poems, and movies? Sign-up for our new  Zoom program for ages 8-11, The Young Writers Club! Thursday, November 19th, @ 4:00 PM, sign up at miltonlibrary.org/events/upcoming-events.

There are virtual ukulele meetups once a month at the MPL!  Register online. Have a ukulele sitting in the garage?  Well, now’s the time to dust it off and join us for our next session on Friday, November 20th, @ 4:00 pm. We will begin by introducing the ukulele, basic chords, and then take turns strumming online.  This program is half an hour long, and is for ages 8+. Sign up at miltonlibrary.org/events/upcoming-events.

The library has a limited amount of Ukuleles it can lend out. First-come, first-serve. 


Forbes House Museum is seeking volunteers for its new DEI Committee. The Forbes House Museum has formed a new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee. The group will identify and address inequities and gaps across all museum operations. They will work closely with the board on ongoing cultural fluency training. They will also be tasked with cultivating partnerships with other local groups working to advance DEI efforts in our community.

It’s vital that we include voices from outside the institution in this initiative. If you or someone you know would be interested in joining this committee, please send an email to Heidi Vaughan, Executive Director


Reserve your spot at the Brookwood Community Farm Thanksgiving Sale!  Preorder harvest boxes through November 14 and pies by November 19. This sale will be masked and socially distanced, and you have to sign up for a shopping slot online! All options are online, and you will choose one of the following:

  • Shopping slot, with no pre-order box
  • Pre-order box and shopping slot
  • Pre-order box, with box pickup only (no shopping slot)

Both shopping slots and pre-order boxes are limited, so sign up HERE soon.  Brookwood Farms is happy to provide local food for the local community! 


Milton Early Childhood Alliance invites you to two upcoming programs.

Parent Education Workshop – Join us for the second of four free virtual parent workshops to help families with children ages 2.9 to 10 years old who are at home learning this school year in either the remote or hybrid model. Our second workshop, Creating a Supportive At Home Learning Environment, will be held on (NEW DATE!) Wednesday, November 18th at 7:30 PM. Two additional workshops will be held in January and March. These workshops will be held virtually via Zoom from the comfort or your home. Registration is required to obtain the Zoom link and password. Please register to receive the Zoom link and password. Our program facilitator will be Beth Greenawalt, Parent Coach and founder of www.Parent-Solutions.com. Many thanks to the generous support of the Milton Junior Woman’s Club for their support of this programming.


Nature Tails! Children’s Program – Join us for the first of four free, fun, literacy and STEM Saturday morning programs with Trailside Museum staff. Programs are designed for children ages 2.9 to 7 years old and their parent or guardian and will include a story, guided movement, two live animal encounters, and a Q&A session! This program will be held on Saturday, November 21st at 11:00 AM and the topic will be Owls. These sessions will be held live, via Zoom. Registration is required to obtain the Zoom link and password. Please register here. Mark your calendar for the remaining sessions: January 23, 2021, Animal Habitats; March 27, 2021, Animal Movements; and May 22, 2021, Animal Five Senses. Many thanks to our kindergarten t-shirt sponsors. Their generosity has made this programming possible!


Chess Club with Mr. Vigorito – Winter Session- Begins December 7th!

International Chess Master David Vigorito has been teaching chess in Milton for over 10 years. He teaches at all 4 elementary schools as well as Milton Academy and St. Agatha’s. He also usually teaches at the Milton Summer Enrichment program. For information and to register, please see this link.

Thank you to my blog contributors this week: Kim Coughlin, Susan Maselli, Jackie Morgan, Marti O’Keefe McKenna, Caroline Mannion, Ryan Madden, Jon Redden, Elaine McNeil-Girmai, Rebecca Damiani, Laurel Bernini and Karen McDavitt.

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 a 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: Asst. Superintendent for Curriculum & Human Resources, Dr. Karen Spaulding, (617) 696-5040 ext. 5582.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on November 12, 2020

November 5, 2020

To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
From: James F. Jette
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: November 5, 2020

FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT

As I write to you, our country awaits the results of a highly charged presidential election. We recognize that in this political environment, the stakes are high, and many of us are deeply passionate about the issues at hand. In a community composed of people with different viewpoints, we will undoubtedly encounter people whose opinions may not only be different from ours, but may even seem offensive, prejudicial, and out of step with our own values. As objectionable as these viewpoints may be to us, they do not negate our shared responsibility to maintain a safe and civil learning environment focused on your children’s – our students’ – academic growth and social-emotional well-being.

In addition to the tremendous challenges presented by the COVID virus, there is no question that the highly charged political climate in our country can have a significant impact on our students, our schools, and the educational process. Elections at the state and federal levels, as well as the complex issues related to racial injustice, can be very polarizing and often lead to heated discussions among educators, families, and students. At the Milton Public Schools, we adhere to the relevant policies and guidelines when approaching these topics, strive to foster thoughtful academic discourse, protect the rights of those involved, and ensure safe, inclusive learning environments.

Our educational system is designed not to tell students what to think about issues, but rather, how to gather and examine information, think critically, engage with their peers, and draw informed conclusions. This year in particular, with so many members of our community feeling the anxiety and strain of the COVID-19 pandemic, we must be more vigilant than ever about creating school cultures rooted in empathy and support rather than conflict and opposition.

The Milton Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition is hosting a valuable resource for parents/guardians on Tuesday, November 10 from 4-5:30pm. Are you wondering how can we come together as a community to prevent adversity, support families, and promote resiliency in children? Register now for this important and informative webinar with Dr. Christopher Jones from the U.S. Centers for Disease ControlThis webinar is hosted by the MSPAC, with funding from a federal Drug Free Communities grant and support from BID Hospital-Milton.  It is free and open to the public. 

If you have questions or concerns about these matters, please contact me directly. I am truly grateful to the members of this community for demonstrating kindness, compassion, and decency during these incredibly challenging times.

SCHOOL COMMITTEE

Thank you to the many parents and guardians who attended this week’s School Committee meeting and to those who spoke and sent follow up emails. I appreciate your engagement. We would all like to have our students in school more, as I have stated, that is just not possible at this time. We will continue to reassess the health metrics, the DESE guidelines, and the issues specific to the Milton Public Schools as the school year progresses.

I encourage you to regularly watch Milton School Committee meetings. Now that so much of our world takes place virtually, there are even more ways to watch. You can watch live on Milton Access TV online, live on Milton Access cable channels (Comcast 22, RCN 15), via Zoom (link to attend found on the Town of Milton SC page), or on-demand in the days following the meeting.

The next School Committee meeting will be on November 18, 2020, at 7pm, and all School Committee meetings can be watched live and later on-demand on Milton Access TV.  In the days leading up to each meeting, call in/login information is available on the Town of Milton website.

MPS GOOD NEWS

Have an MPS Good News story to share? Please do so here and we will share it in an upcoming communication. Today I am very happy to share a few teacher and staff compliments we have recently received.

Mrs. Delaney is an amazing rock star with endless patience and positivity. She has been consistently supportive and helpful in guiding her students to learning in a totally new world, making sure to figure out technology and to meet the varying needs of kindergartners at the same time.

Ms. Morton invests a lot of time in planning and is very organized and prepares the children for their weekly events especially during remote learning time. Her thoughtful strategy has helped to build confidence in my child! She also has worked to establish strong relationships with the children as well as working to ensure that they’re comfortable navigating all of the tools. Finally, she keeps them very engaged during remote class time and is creative with the movement breaks. I feel so fortunate and happy for my child that they are receiving such a wonderful school experience despite a pandemic. Keep up the great work- it’s paying off, and we are thankful for you, Ms. Morton!!

The staff at Tucker is working so hard and it shows! Our kids and our staff are resilient, creative, patient, and working their tails off to make the best of a bad situation. We see our boys smiling, laughing, and learning every day. In that way, nothing has changed!

My daughter is a 6th grader at Pierce and I am very grateful for how the teachers and staff have helped her with the transition to middle school. Her nerves on the first few days have disappeared and she is excited to be part of the Pierce community. Teachers have been extremely responsive and supportive and when we have had to switch to fully remote it has been seamless.

IMPORTANT UPCOMING DATES

  • Nov 11 Veterans Day, No School
  • Nov 12 Parent/Teacher Conferences, Grades 6-12
  • Nov 25-27 Thanksgiving Recess

The full MPS calendar can be found here.

FOOD SERVICE 

Pick up EVERY Wednesday in November!

There are two ways to take advantage of the FREE TO ALL to-go breakfasts and lunches this year.

Weekly Pick Up: Weekly pick up is available at two different times on Wednesdays. Come to MHS 9:30-10:30 or 12:30-1:30 (please don’t arrive before 12:15 to allow for MHS pick up) to pick up 7 days of breakfast and lunches for your child.

Weekly Pick Up will be available EVERY Wednesday in November, including the Wednesdays when there is no school at MPS – November 11, Veterans Day and November 25 (Wednesday before Thanksgiving).

Grab and Go: Encourage your student to check out our to go lunch and breakfast bags. They (and you!) will not be disappointed. Multiple breakfasts, lunches, and snacks are included in each bag. Students can take a grab and go bag with several breakfasts and lunches as they leave school each day.

Free student meals have been extended through the school year. All details on pick up options can be found in this link.

HEALTH AND SAFETY

As you are aware, Governor Baker has instituted new advisories to help stop the spread of COVID-19. These new advisories, specifically the new mask advisory, will not affect our planned mask breaks throughout the day. Our mask breaks are protected under the school exemption for mask removal and will continue with safety modifications.


Per the Commonwealth of Massachusetts guidelines, all students will be expected to have received a flu vaccine by December 31, 2020 for the 2020-2021 influenza season, unless either a medical or religious exemption is provided. Elementary and secondary students in districts and schools that are using a remote education model are not exempt.

Please email documentation of your child’s flu vaccination to your child’s school nurse.

HIGH SCHOOL HAPPENINGS 

In Foundations of Art, Milton High School student artists recently created collage covers for their sketchbooks.


The Milton Public Library is in need
of some high school volunteers this season. There are quite a few openings for both afterschool and weekend slots. All details can be found here and the application form can be found here.


Mme. Radwan shared these pictures of the results of a recent French Club meeting. Students baked French apple pies while speaking French and connecting virtually. Mme Radwan shares that it was one of the most successful (and delicious!) clubs she has ever had!

PIERCE PAGES 

Please click here for the latest edition of Pierce Pages. The most recent Pierce PTO update can be found here.


The Pierce Adjustment Counselors are excited to offer a Google Classroom again this school year. Twice weekly, they will post valuable activities, exercises and videos that promote mindfulness and enhance social/emotional well-being and learning. The classroom code is luzd6uw and all are welcome to access the content. Please feel free to reach out to our Pierce Adjustment Counselors – Kelly Dearing kdearing@miltonps.org, Myriam Francoeur mfrancoeur@miltonps.org, Kara Sheridan ksheridan@miltonps.org – at any time with questions or for more resources.

INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

Ms. Aldrich’s Cunningham 2nd graders recently brought their book Creepy Carrots to life. While being safe and socially distanced and using their own materials, students worked together to develop a plan to create a fence to keep the creepy carrots inside the garden.


How many seeds are in Ms. Coates’ pumpkin? These Glover 2nd graders are having fun skip counting, estimating, streaming live into the classroom, and being matheMAGICIANS!


Book Character Day was a BIG hit at Tucker last week even though Ms. Frossard was a bit crabby and Mssr. Leite had quite the roar! Students enjoyed dressing up and sharing their favorite books with classmates.


Ms. Johnson’s Cunningham 3rd graders got out the vote last week! Students wrote letters to our elected leaders (Governor or President) and used big vocabulary words as they discussed how elections work. Everyone visited the voting booth and received a sticker for voting.


Collicot Kindergarten students enjoyed studying pumpkins last week! Students measured the height of pumpkins, and made predictions about whether pumpkins would float or sink and water and the number of seeds inside. Kindergarten students in Mrs. Giffune’s class were surprised to find a pumpkin with 614 seeds!


The sun was out this week and so were these Cunningham 5th graders! 
Mrs. Steuterman’s and Ms. Staker’s class played socially distant
shadow games as part of the Earth and Sun unit. 

Tucker artists captured the fall beauty at Tucker this week.


SPECIAL EDUCATION

Administrator for Pupil Personnel Services, Sue Maselli shares the following information for all families.


What is the Student Support Team (SST)? Student Support Teams (SST) are a resource within the Milton Public Schools that parents and staff may access when they have concerns about a student’s learning. SSTs are designed to support students both by anticipating and preventing issues before they occur and by providing interventions and/or resources when issues do arise. SST is available to all students in the Milton Public Schools.  Each school building has a team that meets to support students and team members include teachers, building administrators, and related providers.

The SST team reflects Massachusetts’ Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s (DESE) guidance to ensure all students have access to effective Teaching and Learning by implementing a model of Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS). MTSS ensures teaching and learning is monitored to ensure student learning needs are met.

To facilitate this process, the SST Team has a guidance document, the District Curriculum Accommodation Plan (DCAP) linked here that outlines strategies for individual learning styles under a model of Universal Design for Learning (UDL). The DCAP is used to guide administraters, department heads and teachers in ensuring that all possible efforts are made to meet a wide range of student learning styles and needs in the general education classroom.

The Individualized Curriculum Accommodation Plan (ICAP) is a document that can be created at SST to identify accommodations or action steps that will occur to meet the needs of the individual student.

The SST Process is facilitated by the district’s Inclusion Specialists. These positions are designed to ensure all students have effective and meaningful instruction and learning in the general education setting under a model of MTSS.

Maureen Butler is the SST chair for Collicot, Cunningham, Glover, and Tucker and can be reached at mbutler@miltonps.org.

Caroline Mannion is the SST chair for Pierce Middle School and Milton High School and can be reached at cmannion@miltonps.org.

Please email Ms. Butler or Ms. Mannion if you have questions about the SST Process.


Please see this message below from the Milton SEPAC to Milton Special Education Parents.

The Milton SEPAC’s goal in the coming year is to grow our base of parents and community members and continue to foster an environment of support, education, and empowerment through parent meetings; informational sessions on topics such as IEPs and special education rights; and a speaker series on topics of interest to our community, such as executive function and anxiety, among others. We encourage all of you to spread the word about all that the SEPAC has to offer, particularly among our special education community, and to encourage participation in our meetings and events.  This year we will be conducting our meetings via Zoom and we are hopeful that this will make attending meetings more accessible to parents who in the past may have struggled with getting childcare.

If you would like to be more involved with the SEPAC in the coming year, we encourage you to join our board as an Officer or participate as a Member-at-Large. We are now holding elections for these positions and a description of the responsibilities of each role is attached.  If you are interested in nominating someone or being nominated for a board position, please follow the link to the nomination form and fill it out by Monday, November 16th. Thank you for your time and we look forward to seeing you at an upcoming meeting.

FAMILY RESOURCES

Join Caroline Mannion, Inclusion Specialist/BCBA for Pierce and MHS, for a session focused on how parents and guardians can support their middle and high school age children as they navigate through their Hybrid/Remote learning schedule. This evening will focus on identifying strategies on how parents can set up their home working environment to support at home learning, how to support your child with planning and organizing their workload, behavioral strategies to increase independence with remote learning, and strategies to monitor your child’s social and emotional well being. Join us online on Tuesday, November 17th at 6:30 pm for this valuable session. Please click here to receive a link to attend a few days before the event.


The Milton Public Schools is committed to being a resource for you. Whether you are unsure how to connect with school staff or directly need a referral for services or supplies, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Marti O’Keefe McKenna, MPS Family Outreach Liaison at 617-980-7343 or by email at mmckenna@miltonps.org. All calls and emails are confidential.

All updates on Family Resources – food, heating assistance, health insurance, financial assistance, contacts – can be found at this link.

PTO UPDATES

Looking for a Milton Apple sign? Visit our Apple Sign Pop-up Shop Friday morning 7:45-8:30 am in front of Collicot. Supply is limited!

Thank you to everyone who has helped support and protect our MPS community by purchasing and displaying one of our signs!
The MILTON signs are now SOLD OUT and APPLE signs are GOING FAST!

Proceeds from the sale of all signs will be divided equally among the PTOs of ALL SIX schools to enhance and elevate the opportunities and experiences of the MPS community during this unprecedented school year. To order your Milton Apple sign online, please fill out the google form and submit your payment via PayPal. 

With gratitude, The PTOs of Cunningham, Collicot, Glover, Tucker, Pierce Middle School, and Milton High School

FRUIT CENTER SHOPPING WEEK

Fruit Center Shopping Week is November 9-15!
 
The Fruit Center has donated over $117,000 to schools in Milton and Hingham over the last ten years! 
 
It’s easy to participate and raise funds for your child’s school:
  • Download a shopping voucher for your school here. Print as many as you’d like and share them with friends, family, and neighbors.
  • Present your voucher when you make purchases at the Fruit Center Marketplace from Monday, November 4, through Sunday, November 10. Shop as often as you’d like during that week.
  • The Fruit Center Marketplace will donate 20% of your total purchase back to your school. 
  • That’s it – you’re done! 
Let’s make this our most successful year of shopping yet. This is an easy way for our PTOs to raise funds for your child’s school and they appreciate your support! 
 

ART AND MUSIC 

Students in grades 4 and 5 have been exploring with musical patterns and sequences through Chrome Music Lab’s Song Maker. Chrome Music Lab is a website that makes learning music more accessible through fun, hands-on experiments. It can also be used as a tool to explore music and its connections to science, math, art, and more (Check it out here!). 

Some students broadened their own exploration and decoded some of their favorite songs! They created the visuals by matching it to an example they’ve seen on youtube and also by using their ears to decode the rhythm and notes! You might catch some of these familiar tunes when listening to the examples. Musical elements such as melody, instrumentation timbre, rhythm, and tempo were explored. Students had creative choice on these elements and how to stylize their own music. The self-composed videos in this link are examples of this exploration! 

Shop Fair Trade and support MPS  Music Programs! Proceeds go towards instruments and scholarships. With the absence of our music concerts, candy sales, and other fundraising initiatives this year, we appreciate your support. Please consider purchasing any of these wonderful items and unique gifts, responsibly sourced through The Fair Trade Caravan while supporting the Milton Public Schools Music Programs. 

ATHLETICS

The swim and dive season is still under way, with 4 more meets in the season. The team record is currently 2-1, and 3 school records have been broken. Congratulations to Elle Anthony who broke the school record in the women’s 50 and 100 yard freestyle, and to Andrew Tran who broke the school record in the men’s 100 yard freestyle!

For the first time in MHS history, we also have a Dive team! Abigail Callahan is doing a wonderful job coaching the dive team and each week we are seeing great improvements. Freshman diver Andrew Scapicchio shows tremendous potential and is scoring key points in our meets.


Updates to the MA Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) guidelines have not been made at this time.  Governor Baker indicated during his press conference a release of updated EEA guidelines by week’s end.  The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) will follow recommended steps recently approved by the MIAA Board of Directors following the release of updated EEA guidelines:

  • Sport Committees present proposed sport specific guidance and modifications to the Sports Medicine Committee within 5 school days after the release of EEA guidance.
  • The Sports Medicine Committee presents viable winter sports and their modifications to the MIAA Covid-19 Task Force.
  • The MIAA Covid-19 Task Force recommends sports to be included in the winter season to the MIAA Board of Directors
  • MIAA Board of Directors meets within 3 school days and votes on the MIAA Covid-19 Task Force recommendations and notifies MIAA member schools of the approved interscholastic sports for the winter season.

Additional information will be provided to member schools as soon as it is available.


Thank you to everyone who purchased merchandise in our Fall Pop-up and supported our student athletes. Check out our Winter Pop-up with limited-time only gear. Remember once you place an order you will be contacted mid-December with local pick-up information.

COMMUNITY NEWS 

The Milton Public Library has some terrific programs for students of all ages. Check out next week’s activities here. 

Do you like to write stories, comics, poems, and movies? Sign-up for our new  Zoom program for ages 8-11, The Young Writers Club! Thursday, November 19th, @ 4:00 PM, sign up at miltonlibrary.org/events/upcoming-events.

There are virtual ukulele meetups once a month at the MPL!  Register online. Have a ukulele sitting in the garage?  Well, now’s the time to dust it off and join us for our next session on Friday, November 20th, @ 4:00 pm. We will begin by introducing the ukulele, basic chords, and then take turns strumming online.  This program is half an hour long, and is for ages 8+. Sign up at miltonlibrary.org/events/upcoming-events.

The library has a limited amount of Ukuleles it can lend out. First-come, first-serve. 


Milton Early Childhood Alliance invites you to two upcoming programs.

Parent Education Workshop – Join us for the second of four free virtual parent workshops to help families with children ages 2.9 to 10 years old who are at home learning this school year in either the remote or hybrid model. Our second workshop, Creating a Supportive At Home Learning Environment, will be held on (NEW DATE!) Wednesday, November 18th at 7:30 PM. Two additional workshops will be held in January and March. These workshops will be held virtually via Zoom from the comfort or your home. Registration is required to obtain the Zoom link and password. Please register to receive the Zoom link and password. Our program facilitator will be Beth Greenawalt, Parent Coach and founder of www.Parent-Solutions.com. Many thanks to the generous support of the Milton Junior Woman’s Club for their support of this programming.


Nature Tails! Children’s Program – Join us for the first of four free, fun, literacy and STEM Saturday morning programs with Trailside Museum staff. Programs are designed for children ages 2.9 to 7 years old and their parent or guardian and will include a story, guided movement, two live animal encounters, and a Q&A session! This program will be held on Saturday, November 21st at 11:00 AM and the topic will be Owls. These sessions will be held live, via Zoom. Registration is required to obtain the Zoom link and password. Please register here. Mark your calendar for the remaining sessions: January 23, 2021, Animal Habitats; March 27, 2021, Animal Movements; and May 22, 2021, Animal Five Senses. Many thanks to our kindergarten t-shirt sponsors. Their generosity has made this programming possible!


Join the Eustis Estate for our annual celebration of fall with a special day for families. Our Fall Family Day: Fairies in the Foliage will take place in Saturday, November 7, 11am – 4pm (Rain Date Nov 8) at the Eustis Estate, 1424 Canton Avenue, Milton.   This year’s exploration of the landscape will have a magical twist, with a fairy house scavenger hunt, crafts, and activities that will guide you around the property. Special thanks to the Amateur Gardeners of Milton.   All activities are designed to maximize social distancing and will take place outdoors. All guests must wear a mask. Advanced tickets required. Note that this ticket does not include the inside of the museum. If you wish to also visit the mansion, please purchase your house tour reservations here.  Please call 617-994-6600 for more information.  


The Cardinal Cushing 5K RUN/WALK (formerly the Best Buddies 5k) has gone virtual!

  • The where and what are up to you!
  • Complete your miles from November 18-21 then upload your results.
  • Create a personal or team page then train and ask your friends and family to donate.
  • Share photos and videos on our Facebook event page.
  • Register here.

Thanks for participating and supporting our very important cause!

SUPERINTENDENT SHOUTOUT 

Thank you to Tucker Junior Girl Scout troop 72131 who are working to welcome new Tucker Tigers to the Tucker community! 
 
Troop member Libby Dunphy shared the following with us.
 
Tucker Junior Girl Scout troop 72131 is working on leadership badges in 2020. This project is a way for the troop to become leaders in our community. We hope that these welcome bags will help kids who are new to Tucker feel welcomed into our school community. The “Welcome to Tucker” bags project was sponsored with a $500 grant from the Milton Junior Women’s Club community grant program. The 20 bags contain Two folders (for homework and notices), Milton Library card form, Tucker t-shirt, Tucker Bracelet, Tucker car magnet, Tucker Tiger pencils, colored pencils, pencil case, pencil sharpener, and puzzle eraser. 
 
Way to go, Troop 72131!

Thank you to my blog contributors this week: Kim Coughlin, Bill Fish, Ellen Lohan, Susan Maselli, Shawna Steuterman, Jackie Morgan, Marti O’Keefe McKenna, Caroline Mannion, Ryan Madden, Kristin Driscoll, Nicole Davis, Jon Redden, Libby Dunphy, Elaine McNeil-Girmai, Amal Radwan, Magen Slesinger and Karen McDavitt.

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 a 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: Asst. Superintendent for Curriculum & Human Resources, Dr. Karen Spaulding, (617) 696-5040 ext. 5582.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on November 5, 2020

October 29, 2020

To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
From: James F. Jette
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: October 29, 2020

FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT

I look forward to a time when I can more consistently use my introduction to share and celebrate the many good things happening in the Milton Public Schools. While these good things continue to take place in our schools, and we do share them below, for now, the business of our COVID-19 reality continues to dominate my communications to you.

It’s crucial that all stakeholders fully understand our current challenges, policies, and situation. Earlier this week I sent a short video to all MPS families and staff, sharing updates on our current COVID situation. I invite you to watch it here.

At this time, with cases in Massachusetts rising significantly, the plan is to remain in the Hybrid/Remote Choice Model until there is a significant reduction in positive cases AND the Governor of Massachusetts or the Commissioner of Education determine that we no longer need to provide social distancing. The Milton Public Schools had an enrollment challenge and space issue prior to the pandemic that is only exaggerated by the restrictions. We do not have the ability to bring all students in full time under the current circumstances.

I understand that this model does not replicate the “normal year” experience and poses many challenges, especially for our students with special needs, English Language Learners (ELL), and families with younger children. In our model, all hybrid choice students get to see their teachers in person every other day and connect with MPS teachers virtually every day. Many of our students in special education have more in person time as well. The MPS faculty and staff are committed to doing our very best for all of our students within the Hybrid/Remote Choice Model.

CDC guidelines about close contacts have recently changed to include “someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to test specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated”. The Milton Public Schools has been following these updated guidelines for several weeks. The full guidelines can be found here.

On Monday of this week, Milton High School moved to a Remote Model for two weeks. We plan to resume the in person Hybrid Model at MHS on Tuesday, November 10, 2020. Please see Principal Cahill’s letter to MHS families from earlier this week here.

Pierce Middle School is back in an in person Hybrid Model after two weeks of a full Remote Model.

Both schools moved to a Remote Model due to positive cases of COVID-19, the subsequent quarantine requirements of close contacts, and the lack of the necessary staffing to safely keep the building open.

Our four elementary schools have experienced positive cases of COVID-19 and the subsequent quarantines, but due to the elementary model of one teacher with a small group of in person students, these cases have not forced the school into a full Remote Model.

We are able to keep the district open in the Hybrid/Remote Choice Model because we are enforcing the following:

  • Mask wearing
  • Social Distancing
  • Hand washing
  • Not serving food during the school day (All students are offered free meals each day at dismissal)
  • Providing adequate time for our custodial staff to complete a thorough cleaning each day
  • Keeping in person class sizes low for social distancing
  • Minimal sharing of items (sharing only happens when absolutely necessary)
  • Continuous education on COVID health and safety measures for our students and parents/guardians
  • Daily Pre-Screening for Symptoms and encouraging students and staff to stay home if sick
  • Encouraging our close contacts to quarantine and get tested.

As our understanding of COVID-19 continues to grow, our MPS policies continue to evolve. Our COVID-19 webpage is updated regularly; please refer to it often.

As effective contact tracing is very time sensitive, I ask that you please confirm that your contact information is up to date. Please email the administrative assistant at your child’s school if your contact information has changed and needs to be updated.

If you question what to do if someone in your circle tests positive or what to do if you are a close contact of someone who is awaiting test results, please review our FAQs here and our Close Contact flow chart here.

To ensure expedient contact tracing and help to stop the spread in our schools, please contact your school nurse immediately if someone in your household tests positive. This information allows us to act quickly to identify and isolate your student’s potential close contacts (while we await your student’s test results) and hopefully limit any school wide moves to a fully remote model.

Our Milton Public Schools COVID-19 Positive Case and Close Contact Determination Process, MPS Health Prescreening Checklist, and MPS Face Covering Policy are among the items that all MPS families should be familiar with.

I would also like to share that MHS Principal Karen Cahill and I are hearing talk of Halloween student gatherings this weekend.

I am pleading with families to have a direct conversation with your student to deter them from attending any large gatherings this weekend. Some local districts have been forced to a remote model for these types of gatherings, and we do not want to face that decision at Milton High School. Everyone – students, families, and staff – MUST adhere to best practices to ensure the possibility of staying in the hybrid model. Please help us as we Protect the Paw and work together to keep our students attending school in person in the Hybrid/Remote Choice Model.

MPS GOOD NEWS

Each of our schools has completed their Open House in the last few weeks and we received many positive reviews. Although we are all aware of the challenges the hybrid model presents, I am pleased to share these positive comments with you here.

Have an MPS Good News story to share? Please do so here and we will share it in an upcoming communication.

SCHOOL COMMITTEE

I encourage you to regularly watch Milton School Committee meetings. Now that so much of our world takes place virtually, there are even more ways to watch. You can watch live on Milton Access TV online, live on Milton Access cable channels (Comcast 22, RCN 15), via Zoom (link to attend found on the Town of Milton SC page), or on-demand in the days following the meeting.

The business of the Milton Public Schools is conducted transparently and much of it takes place or is reported on in these meetings. We welcome your attendance and input at every meeting. 

The next School Committee meeting will be on November 4, 2020, at 7pm, and all School Committee meetings can be watched live and later on-demand on Milton Access TV.  In the days leading up to each meeting, call in/login information is available on the Town of Milton website.

IMPORTANT UPCOMING DATES

  • Nov 3 Election Day, No School, Staff PD Day
  • Nov 11 Veterans Day, No School
  • Nov 12 Parent/Teacher Conferences, Grades 6-12

The full MPS calendar can be found here.

FOOD SERVICE 

There are two ways to take advantage of the FREE TO ALL to-go breakfasts and lunches this year.

Weekly Pick Up: Weekly pick up is available at two different times on Wednesdays. Come to MHS 9:30-10:30 or 12:30-1:30 (please don’t arrive before 12:15 to allow for MHS pick up) to pick up 7 days of breakfast and lunches for your child.

Grab and Go: Encourage your student to check out our to go lunch and breakfast bags. They (and you!) will not be disappointed. Multiple breakfasts, lunches, and snacks are included in each bag. Students can take a grab and go bag with several breakfasts and lunches as they leave school each day.

Free student meals have been extended through the school year. All details on pick up options can be found in this link.

HEALTH AND SAFETY

Per the Commonwealth of Massachusetts guidelines, all students will be expected to have received a flu vaccine by December 31, 2020 for the 2020-2021 influenza season, unless either a medical or religious exemption is provided. Elementary and secondary students in districts and schools that are using a remote education model are not exempt.

Please email documentation of your child’s flu vaccination to your child’s school nurse.

HIGH SCHOOL HAPPENINGS 

The MHS string orchestra and chamber ensembles continue to rehearse “live” during our days in school. Below you can hear one of last week’s chamber ensemble rehearsals outside at Milton High School. Students performing movement II of Telemann Viola Concerto are Soloist Dominique Thomas with Sam Higgins, Barron Clancy, Ha-Yen Nguyen, Diana Duran, Hoku Panerio-Langer, Isabel Murley, and Sofia Harris. We will continue to rehearse outside as weather permits!

PIERCE PAGES 

Sixth grade students engaged in a socially distanced Trade Activity in social studies. They were each given a role within society (ex. farmer, baker, merchant) and a list of resources and goods they created, they produced, or would have access to because of where they lived. They then went to the Trading Market to barter with others to increase their abilities to make goods. The students had to negotiate with their classmates and determine if the offer was a good option. The new personal whiteboards came in handy to keep track of the goods and resources and do the math when determining the profits made through trading with their classmates!

INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

Mrs. Chen’s Cunningham 5th graders explored shadows by participating in some “Shadow Challenges” at school.  Students tried to separate themselves from their shadows, to make their shadow shake hands with someone else’s shadow, to use their real hands to touch their shadow heads, and more.  At home, students observed how their shadows changed direction and orientation throughout the day.  They also made a shadow clock,  and they used flashlights to see how the shadow clock works.


This past week, Glover School celebrated Unity Day and united in our commitment to kindness, inclusion, and acceptance. Here at Glover, we stand committed as one Glover community to ensure every child, staff member, and family member feels welcome, included, celebrated, important, and valued. Last week, every student created a sneaker with a powerful friendship message, reminding us to “walk the walk and talk the talk,” emphatically saying NO and stamping out bullying and uniting to be kind, inclusive, and accepting. Our hallways are adorned with bright orange sneakers reminding us how we can be a good friend. If you follow us on Twitter (@GloverSchool), you’ll see some great pictures of our “orange-out” here at Glover! Please enjoy this video and learn more about how Glover School stomps out bullying and promotes kindness, acceptance, and inclusion. Thank you to Ms. Melissa Craven for putting this video together and Mrs. MacNeil for spearheading this Unity Day celebration each year at Glover.


This week Tucker celebrated Spirit Week with Tucker pride day, crazy/hat hair day, cancer awareness day, book character day, and pajama day. As part of our Spirit Week, we also held a virtual Community Circle on Wednesday, using google live stream. Community Circle is a monthly school wide assembly that brings our whole school together to celebrate the achievements of our students. We love this time to come together as a community and are so glad we found a way to continue the tradition this year. Wednesday’s Community circle included celebrations of some student work. Tucker fifth grader Gio Jimenez was so inspired on our Tucker Pride day that he wrote a poem sharing his feelings and he read the poem aloud during our celebration. We also enjoyed a performance by a Brazilian drumming group, Grooversity. Their name comes from combining the words groove and diversity and their music got our students up out of their seats and inspired them to use household objects to drum and dance along. We loved the opportunity to come together as a community and celebrate music and culture!


During October, Collicot celebrated Emotional Wellness Month. Our 4th and 5th graders were surveyed to share strategies for staying emotionally well and showing gratitude for what they have and these ideas were shared daily on the Collicot Morning Announcements website.

In addition, Collicot adjustment counselor, Mrs. Caruso, held virtual social emotional lessons with students in all grade levels throughout the month. Teachers have continued to focus on strategies to help students feel comfortable and ready to learn at school, including the use of the Calm Classroom and Second Step Social-Emotional Curriculum.

In the video above, kindergarten students work on writing and drawing while listening to calm music to focus attention and do their best work.

COMMUNITY SCHOOLS

ASE Virtual Enrichment Fun! Sign up for the Fall/Winter session here: Registration and see all of our offerings here: Brochure

SPECIAL EDUCATION

As part of the Tiered Focus Monitoring System we complete every few years for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Milton Public Schools has updated its policy, procedures, and guidelines regarding crisis interventions. Please find the revised policy here and the handbook here. Please email Administrator for Pupil Personnel Services, Sue Maselli with any questions.

We also want to share information about a series of upcoming webinars offered by Schools for Children entitled Take the Next Step: Conversations About Transition. These webinars beginning Tuesday, November 17, will discuss the path to college, work, and more for high school students with Learning and Other Challenges. All information and links can be found here.

Please also see these resources from the Asperger/Autism Professional Coaching Association for professional opportunities.

TECHNOLOGY 

All elementary, Pierce, and families of students who loan out an MHS Chromebook have the option of purchasing insurance for their student’s Chromebook for the 2020-21 school year.  The optional insurance is thirty dollars and will cover any accidental damages to your student’s Chromebook.  Here is a link with instructions on how to purchase Optional Chromebook Insurance.

COUNSELOR’S CORNER

I have asked our district wide team of Adjustment Counselors to share mental health resources with you regularly. This installment is from Glover Adjustment Counselor Brian Powers.

We are facing an unprecedented amount of stress in our lives these days and no one is immune from the effects of stress on our physical and mental health, when left unchecked. We might not all be fighting the same battles, but we are all affected by multiple stressors, many of which are not going to magically disappear right away. A global pandemic, socio-political circumstances, racism, food insecurity – the list seems never ending.

When faced with these adverse experiences, we have to be more deliberate in making sure we counter those stressors with actions that increase our resilience, physically and mentally. With the example of the pandemic, we have certainly taken steps in the Milton Public Schools to increase our safety, through our mask wearing, hygiene practices, and sanitization protocols. However, children, families, and teachers still feel the stressful effects of changes to their routines and anxiety about potential health risks to themselves and loved ones, so we all need to consider ways to address the effects of those stressors in our lives.

There is no “one size fits all” approach to managing stress, but the good news is that there are many effective ways to do so and most people can find a coping strategy that works for them. This is not an exhaustive list of coping strategies, but just a few common ones that immediately come to mind:

Get outside! Research has shown that physical exercise and activity offers both physical and mental health benefits, especially when that activity occurs out in nature. Hiking is one of the things that I do on a weekly basis to manage my own stress and I’ve run into many Milton families doing the same in the nearby Blue Hills. My family also regularly walks around Turner’s Pond and we get to experience the therapeutic effects of a beautiful outdoor space like that together as a family group. This time of year is perfect for such activities, because of the cooler temperatures and fewer insects.

Have faith! Another effective way to manage stress is through faith and spirituality. The American Psychological Association recently published an article that focused on the benefits of faith during the pandemic and they concluded that religious belief helps people to cope with trauma and distress in their lives and leads to reduced feelings of anxiety and depression.

Talk about it! Therapy is another positive way to cope with stress. It’s a different experience than talking to a friend or loved one, but sometimes that’s exactly what we need in our lives. A good therapist is non-judgmental in practice, allowing you to share your thoughts and feelings freely as you work together to address the stressors in your life. If you are interested in this option, the Town of Milton subscribes to a therapy referral service called Interface to help match families with a therapist.

In conclusion, do something! Managing stress requires action, it is not something we can do passively. Whatever coping strategy works best for you, do your best to dedicate time to that activity and regularly invest in your wellness!

Our Adjustment Counselors are available as resources for your family. Please reach out to your Principal or Adjustment Counselor for support at any time.

MPS School Adjustment Counselors:  Jennie BeliveauMary Bianca MattocksKenneth Adelmann (Milton High School); Myriam FrancoeurKara SheridanKelly Dearing(Pierce); Heather Kantrowitz (Cunningham) Elizabeth Caruso (Collicot); Lisa Stahl (Tucker) Brian PowersChristine Howley (Glover)

PTO UPDATES

The Pierce, Collicot, Cunningham, Glover, and Tucker PTOs and the MHS PTSFO work continuously on behalf of our students and staff throughout every school year. We are so grateful for their ongoing efforts to enhance the school experience for the MPS community.

Signs will be available for purchase at our schools that host voting locations – Cunningham, Tucker and MHS – on Election Day.

This year our 6 PTOs are collaborating on the MPS Apple Project & Protect the Paw Project in support of our students, teachers, and staff.

All are invited to purchase a sign (or two!) at this link and display it to show your support of our MPS community. These signs would be an excellent gift for friends and family, a nice remembrance for a special teacher or staff member, and are an easy way to show support for our schools and our MPS community. Thank you to our PTOs for spearheading this project!

Funds raised from the sale of these Rustic Marlin signs will be divided equally among the PTOs of ALL SIX schools to enhance and elevate the opportunities and experiences of the MPS community during this unprecedented school year.

FAMILY RESOURCES

There is a series of upcoming webinars offered by Schools for Children entitled Take the Next Step: Conversations About Transition. These webinars beginning Tuesday, November 17, will discuss the path to college, work, and more for high school students with Learning and Other Challenges. All information and links can be found here.

The Milton Public Schools is committed to being a resource for you. Whether you are unsure how to connect with school staff or directly need a referral for services or supplies, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Marti O’Keefe McKenna, MPS Family Outreach Liaison at 617-980-7343 or by email at mmckenna@miltonps.org. All calls and emails are confidential.

All updates on Family Resources – food, heating assistance, health insurance, financial assistance, contacts – can be found at this link.

MILTON FOUNDATION FOR EDUCATION

Congratulations to Glover 5th grader, Sophie Middleton, winner of the Monster Dash art contest. Sophie’s happy and masked monster beat out hundreds of other creations from all four elementary schools!

Look for Sophie’s monster on the Monster Dash 2020 (the year without a dash!) t-shirts.  Milton students can win the Monster Dash T-shirts by submitting a picture in their Halloween costume. There will be a winner chosen in EVERY grade from EVERY school. 

Pictures are due by Election day, November 3rd so that we choose the winners. Email your picture to MiltonMonsterDash@gmail.com and please include name, school, grade and teacher.  See the link for rules. 


There is only one day left to apply for an MFE COVID-19 grant. The MFE has created a new innovative grant process to help relieve the pandemic’s impact on MPS students and families. This year, grant ideas may be submitted by MPS teachers and programs and students, parents, and other community members. The MFE is committed to helping Milton families through these unprecedented challenges in new and unique ways.

Applications are due October 30 at 5PM. Please find more information, including the grant guidelines and application, here.

ATHLETICS

Please see the update below from MPS Athletic Director Ryan Madden.

As we look to wrap up our Fall Season in the next two weeks, please be on the lookout for Winter Sports updates. The EEA and MIAA will be making recommendations to the Winter Season, and the Bay State Conference will make any modifications necessary to hold any sports allowed in the Winter Season.

Registration will likely open around November 9th, with tryouts starting no earlier than December 7th. 

Congratulations to the Golf Team for finishing their season 5-4-1, while the JV Team finished 5-0! So happy to have successfully completed a season!

Big thanks to the COVID Return to School Athletics Task Force and all our coaches and student-athletes for their work to make sports happen!

COMMUNITY NEWS 

The Milton Public Library has some terrific programs for students of all ages. Check out next week’s activities here. 


 Join the Eustis Estate for our annual celebration of fall with a special day for families. Our Fall Family Day: Fairies in the Foliage will take place in Saturday, November 7, 11am – 4pm (Rain Date Nov 8) at the Eustis Estate, 1424 Canton Avenue, Milton.   This year’s exploration of the landscape will have a magical twist, with a fairy house scavenger hunt, crafts, and activities that will guide you around the property. Special thanks to the Amateur Gardeners of Milton.   All activities are designed to maximize social distancing and will take place outdoors. All guests must wear a mask. Advanced tickets required. Note that this ticket does not include the inside of the museum. If you wish to also visit the mansion, please purchase your house tour reservations here.  Please call 617-994-6600 for more information.  


The Cardinal Cushing 5K RUN/WALK (formerly the Best Buddies 5k) has gone virtual!

  • The where and what are up to you!
  • Complete your miles from November 18-21 then upload your results.
  • Create a personal or team page then train and ask your friends and family to donate.
  • Share photos and videos on our Facebook event page.
  • Register here.

Thanks for participating and supporting our very important cause!


The Milton Early Childhood Alliance’s second workshop to assist families with at home learning will be held on November 17th at 7:30 PM. The topic will be Creating a Supportive at Home Learning Environment and is for families with children 2.9 to 10 years old. To register for this program and receive the Zoom meeting link and password, please use this link.

SUPERINTENDENT SHOUTOUT 

Congratulations to MHS senior Franklin Ollivierre who was accepted into the competitive Young Scholars Program (STEM) this past summer at Northeastern University. Despite the program change to remote, it was a worthwhile and inspirational experience for him.

After completing his research project this summer, Franklin and his partner were asked to join the professor’s research lab for the upcoming school year and despite his busy MHS schedule, Franklin has attended several sessions. Franklin, his partner, the lab professor, and Northeastern students are collaborating and preparing the research project for publication in a scientific journal. Hopefully, it’s published by the end of the year. You can view the powerpoint presentation of Franklin’s summer research project here.

We are so proud of Franklin, who continues to take advantage of these opportunities, even in this uncertain time. We look forward to watching Franklin’s next steps as he graduates from MHS next spring. The future is bright for this motivated and smart young man!

Thank you to my blog contributors this week: Kim Coughlin, Debra Miller, Janice Mazzola, Ellen Lohan, Jackie Morgan, Marti O’Keefe McKenna, Brian Powers, Christie Chiappetta, Laurel Bernini, Kristin Driscoll, Rina Chen, Nicole Davis, and Karen McDavitt.

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 a 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: Asst. Superintendent for Curriculum & Human Resources, Dr. Karen Spaulding, (617) 696-5040 ext. 5582.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on October 29, 2020

October 22, 2020

To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
From: James F. Jette
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: October 22, 2020

FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT

These are challenging times for all of us. After eight months of our new –  temporary –  normal, we can all elaborate on the many challenges,  as we are all too familiar with them. 

In spite of this, there is so much good to celebrate in the Milton Public Schools. Your children, our students, are intrinsically kind, positive, and hardworking. Our MPS staff are dedicated and passionate professionals. Our families are involved and supportive. With this in mind, I invite you to “Share the Good” with the MPS community. If you have a MPS good news story to share, I invite you to do so here. These do not need to be detailed or amazing stories – just the everyday good that takes place, each day, in every school, all year long. Below is an example that caught my eye recently, shared by a community member (and former MPS parent) as well as a comment sent to me by an MPS parent. 

“I’m a Milton resident who works for Hayward Photography. I have been photographing Milton High seniors for their senior portraits for the past 12 weeks. I need to tell you something…
These seniors, every one of them, are polite, engaging, and fun to be with. They are uniquely kind, thoughtful, and happy. I am humbled to have the chance to share this tiny bit of time with them.
Congratulations, parents, and guardians! Our whole “village” can be proud of the wonderful adults we are launching into the world. I just thought you should know”.

Following what I’m sure has been another trying week, and weekend, I just wanted to send thanks on behalf of my family, including our 2 MPS students, for the way you continue to manage the challenges we face. I’m sure you tend to hear from parents, including me, when there are concerns to raise but I want you to know that I, and I’m sure many others, fail to reach out to share our thanks for the many things you are doing so well“.

The Hybrid Plan – I can’t imagine how difficult this plan was to create, implement, and manage. You are doing a wonderful job with all aspects of this plan. The difficult decision to shut down Pierce in accordance with the plan is the right one and was communicated well. For our first and fifth grade sons , the hybrid plan has been excellent and the ability to have some in person instruction for our youngest has been invaluable. Also, and I’m sure this doesn’t get much attention given all of the other priorities, but the remote portion of the hybrid plan is so well organized and planned. Thank you for your continued support of this plan”.

If you have a MPS good news story to share, please do so here and we will share it in an upcoming blog. Thank you for taking the time to help us all focus on the good!

In the last ten days, I have enjoyed visiting our schools and speaking with faculty, students, and staff. I experienced some classroom lessons and was able to speak with students of all ages. I plan to do the same with some of our full remote students and staff in the coming weeks to learn from them and to discuss their experience. It’s a priority that all of our students and staff feel connected to and supported by the Milton Public Schools.

SCHOOL COMMITTEE

I encourage you to regularly watch Milton School Committee meetings. Now that so much of our world takes place virtually, there are even more ways to watch. You can watch live on Milton Access TV online, live on Milton Access cable channels (Comcast 22, RCN 15), via Zoom (link to attend found on the Town of Milton SC page), or on-demand in the days following the meeting. add links 

The business of the Milton Public Schools is conducted transparently and much of it takes place or is reported on in these meetings. Last night the School Committee discussed an upcoming equity audit, COVID metrics, budget issues, and so much more. Put your headphones in and listen on-demand this weekend on a walk or while you multitask. The 10/21/20 meeting will be available soon at this link. We welcome your attendance and input at every meeting. 

The next School Committee meeting will be on November 4, 2020, at 7pm, and all School Committee meetings can be watched live and later on-demand on Milton Access TV.  In the days leading up to each meeting, call in/login information is available on the Town of Milton website.

IMPORTANT UPCOMING DATES

  • Nov 3 Election Day, No School, Staff PD Day
  • Nov 11 Veterans Day, No School
  • Nov 12 Parent/Teacher Conferences, Grades 6-12

The full MPS calendar can be found here.

HEALTH AND SAFETY 

Many answers to questions about COVID-19 as it pertains to the Milton Public Schools can be found on the COVID-19 page of the MPS website.  Please visit the site, linked on our homepage for all current information.

CDC guidelines about close contacts have recently changed.  The Milton Public Schools has been following these updated guidelines for several weeks. 

Our Milton Public Schools COVID-19 Positive Case Process, MPS Prescreening Checklist, and MPS Face Covering Policy are among the items that all MPS families should be familiar with. In last week’s blog post, I gave a long update on metrics, MPS cases, and more. I invite you to read it here.

FOOD SERVICE 

We have good news to share.  Free student meals have been extended through the school year!

Encourage your student to check out our to go lunch and breakfast bags. They (and you!) will not be disappointed. Multiple breakfasts, lunches and snacks are included in each bag. Students can take a grab and go bag with several breakfasts and lunches as they leave school each day.

Also, consider trying weekly pick up. Weekly pick up is available at two different times on Wednesdays. Come to MHS 9:30-10:30 or 12:30-1:30 (please don’t arrive before 12:15 to allow for MHS pick up) to pick up 7 days of breakfast and lunches for your child.

We hope you and your student will take advantage of our lunch and breakfast options this fall! All details on pick up options can be found in this link.

HIGH SCHOOL HAPPENINGS 

Milton High School AP and Advanced Art students got outside this week to participate in an “Oblique Strategies” activity where students explore letting go of creating representational images and instead see where their hand takes them.


In partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (read the full statement from DESE), GBH, and NEPM are providing a daily block of broadcast educational programming on the WORLD Channel to serve students at home with no or limited internet access, or to augment online learning. The broadcasts are for students in grades 6-12 and feature award-winning shows in science, engineering, social studies, ELA, and math. View the full schedule of broadcasts for this fall here. 

The WORLD channel can be found on: Comcast 956 | FiOS 473 | RCN 94 | Cox 807 | Charter 181

PIERCE PAGES 

The Pierce Mosaic Club is an affinity group for students of color who identify as African American/Black, Latinx/Hispanic American, Native American, Middle Eastern American, Asian/Asian American, or Multiracial. The purpose of the affinity group is to provide students of color with a safe space to build connections, provide academic, social, and cultural affirmation, foster healthy identity development, and develop leadership and self-advocacy skills. Student participation in this group is voluntary. The common themes for this group will focus on affirming and celebrating identity, building community, and cultivating leadership. The meetings will be held virtually every Thursday after school from 2:50- 3:20 pm. Student participation in this group is voluntary and there is no cost for participation. The Mosaic Club is an open-ended group where students can join at any time. This group will start on Thursday, October, 22nd. Please click here for a letter from Mrs. Myriam Francoeur, the program coordinator. Please complete this form to sign your child up for the Mosaic Club.


School pictures were postponed for all Pierce remote students, 6th grade hybrid students, and 7th grade hybrid students. Below please find the new dates that photos will be taken. October 26th – Grade 7 (Hybrid Cohort 1); October 27th – Grade 7 (Hybrid Cohort 2); October 28th – All Remote Students (3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.); October 30th – Grade 6 (Hybrid Cohort 1); November 2nd – Grade 6 (Hybrid Cohort 2)

INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

Mr. Young’s Cunningham 3rd grade class practiced measuring the mass of various classroom objects this week. Students worked in partnerships (maintaining social distance) using pan balances, standard weights, and paperclips to measure the mass of their objects in grams. As a class, they then compared the masses of objects and designed a table to help them better conceptualize what 1g, 10g, 50g, 100g, and 1 kg feels like. 


Ms. Vanacore and Ms. Craven’s Glover 2nd graders are beginning their first science unit on Solids and Liquids. During this unit, students will have experiences that heighten students’ awareness of the physical world around them. Students began by exploring and investigating solid outdoor objects. During this remote lesson, Ms. Vanacore used the Elmo (document camera) to clearly demonstrate how she would observe, describe, and sort the solid objects she found outside according to their properties. Thank you to the Glover PTO for our 26 Elmos!


As part of the FOSS Science unit, Air and Weather, Mrs. Gale’s Collicot 1st grade class visited the Collicot/Cunningham Green Space for a science lesson. Students made observations about their outdoor surroundings using their five senses and discussed the changes in trees and weather we notice in the fall. After the outdoor lesson, students completed a science journal assignment and wrote about what they could see, hear, smell, and feel outside. Students safely socially distanced while outside and came together briefly for a photo in the beautiful new C&C Greenspace!


Tucker students have been busy making art! We have been making literacy connections, studying different artists, and practicing creating space in fall landscapes.


The Cunningham and Collicot virtual Art room is impressive to view! 4th grade students have completed their first assignment which was a self-portrait based on the book, The Day You Begin by, Jacqueline Woodsen. Students worked on creating proportional portraits and then filled their composition with character traits that best describe them.

3rd grade artists read the story, Maybe Something Beautiful by Isabel Campoy and then learned about organic and geometric shapes. Students then drew organic shapes to fill their background and then added self-portraits to their work. Notice how the colors are blending off the paint brush in their drawings. They did that by using Q-Tips and markers and “painted” over the colors to make the ink from the markers blend together!

5th grade students worked on geometric shapes and line designs inspired by the artist Joseph Amedokpo.  Students learned about this Nigerian artist and then created these stunning artworks!

COMMUNITY SCHOOLS

We’re excited to announce the Fall/Winter session of our After School Enrichment virtual program!  From Star Wars Art to Fun Science we have classes for everyone! Register here and view the entire brochure here. 

STEM WEEK 

Elementary students were invited to participate in design challenges created for MA STEM week by the Boston Museum of Science.  K-2 students are working on designing a habitat for turtles while grades 3-5 are working on to design a solution to help minimize trash in our waterways.  You can find the MPS 3-5 STEM Week Challenge and the MPS K-2 STEM Week Challenge in the links above.

 


Every week is STEM Week at the Pierce Middle School, but we have some special activities kicking off this week.  Mrs. Magill’s FUSE classes are off to a great start! One class of 7th graders wrote their first code in the Python coding language to make a heart display on a Micro:bit. The other 7th grade class and the 8th graders weren’t left out because they started accessing the FUSE website. The Sculpty Pet challenge was definitely a favorite! In the 6th grade, we are combining STEM Week and Digital Citizenship Week by learning a little about cryptography and how we use cryptography to keep our information safe.  
 

 
Ms. Windwer & Ms. Schramm’s Cunningham 3rd graders enjoyed a fun STEM  challenge of their own this week. Who had the tallest structure, the sturdiest structure, the most creative structure, and the most interesting structure? It was fun to find out! 

MILTON FOUNDATION FOR EDUCATION

Your Monster Dash submission is due TOMORROW! 

The MFE’s Monster Dash, held in loving memory of Sam Cichello, is a staple of fall fun in the Town of Milton. Unfortunately, this year, we can’t hold the actual Monster Dash but the MFE has some fun planned for our students. This year, there will be two Monster Dash contests to celebrate the spirit of the Monster Dash.

  • The MFE is pleased to announce a Monster Dash Costume Contest! They want to see you in your most creative, scary, or kooky costume ever.
  • The annual Artwork Contest is on as usual!  Students can submit their drawings to be on our official Monster Dash T-shirts.

All information on both contests can be found in this link. Join us as we celebrate the spirit of the Monster Dash!


In addition,  the MFE has created a new innovative grant process to help relieve the impact of the pandemic on MPS students and families. This year, grant ideas may be submitted not only by MPS teachers and programs, but also by students, parents, and other community members. The MFE is committed to helping Milton families through these unprecedented challenges in new and unique ways.

Applications are due October 30 at 5PM. Please find more information including the grant guidelines and application here.

SPECIAL EDUCATION

Please see this latest update from Administrator for Pupil Personnel Services, Sue Maselli with opportunities for:

You can also read Ms. Maselli’s October update here. 

TECHNOLOGY 

We are aware of intermittent brief internet outages in the Milton Public Schools over the last several days. These outages are not specific to MPS but are coordinated efforts to disrupt the internet globally. Our Information Technology Director and IT staff are working around the clock to resolve all issues as they arise. Our internet service provider is doing further mitigation and escalating the case as our firewall is stopping the attacks, but the volume is overwhelming to our system. These types of attacks have skyrocketed across the world in the last few months.


Elementary Virtual Tech Q&A Coffee Talks: In an effort to support families through these challenging times, MPS Educational Technology Director, AJ Melanson, will be available for technology Q&A sessions at the following dates and times. Attend the session that works best for your schedule. Sessions will be held on Monday, October 26th, 7-8 pm – Meet join link and Tuesday, October 27th, 7:30-8:30 am – Meet join link.

Please remember the MPS Family Tech Help Center website has an abundance of support materials.

MPS FAMILY LIAISON

Joanna’s Place knows that this time is particularly triggering and stressful for families experiencing grief and loss in any form and they have been working hard to develop some virtual opportunities. They are excited to offer two virtual trainings for parents and professionals, as well as our Circle-G support group. add links 
 
Parenting through Loss: Helping your child process and understand death Thursday, October 29th at 6:30PM.
 
Facilitated by Maria Trozzi, this webinar will provide a developmentally-informed framework for children’s understanding of death and concrete strategies for how to best approach talking about, and supporting them through their grief.
 
Grief and the Family Experience: Promoting resilience during stressful times  Thursday, November 12th at 6:30PM.
 
Facilitated by Maria Trozzi, this webinar will provide concrete strategies for promoting resilience and strengthening coping skills for families facing grief and loss in any form.
 
Circle-G Family Support Group Mondays 6-7:30 starting November 9th.
 
The Circle support program is a 10 week support group focused on supporting children 8-18, and their caregivers, who have had a sibling/child or parent/spouse die. Priority will be given to those families that have not participated in the Circle in the past. The group will be held virtually and registration/screening is required. Please register here. 
 
If you have any questions or would like to learn more about Joanna’s Place, email us at info@joannasplace.org or call 781-266-6776.
 

The Milton Public Schools is committed to being a resource for you. Whether you are unsure of how to connect with school staff or directly need a referral for services or supplies please don’t hesitate to reach out to Marti O’Keefe McKenna, MPS Family Outreach Liaison at 617-980-7343 or by email at mmckenna@miltonps.org. All calls and emails are confidential.

All updates on Family Resources – food, heating assistance, health insurance, financial assistance, contacts – can be found at this link.

PTO UPDATES

The Pierce, Collicot, Cunningham, Glover and Tucker PTOs and the MHS PTSFO work continuously on behalf of our students and staff throughout every school year. We are so grateful for their ongoing efforts to enhance the school experience for the MPS community.

This year our 6 PTOs are collaborating on the MPS Apple Project & Protect the Paw Project in support of our students, teachers and staff.

Funds raised from the sale of these Rustic Marlin signs will be divided equally among the PTOs of ALL SIX schools, to enhance and elevate the opportunities and experiences of the MPS community during this unprecedented school year.

All are invited to purchase a sign (or two!) at this link and display it to show your support of our MPS community. These signs would be an excellent gift for friends and family, a nice remembrance for a special teacher or staff member, and are an easy way to show support for our schools and our MPS community. Thank you to our PTOs for spearheading this project!

MSAPC

After a socially distanced walk, walkers gathered for a quick, masked, photo together.

The Milton Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition supported Mike’s 5K to Crush Substance Abuse this weekend and walked the 5K route with a team made up of members of MSAPC’s Milton Youth Advocates for Change, staff, and family and friends of Julianne Scott.  We walked in memory of Julianne, a former Milton Public Schools student who recently died after a long battle with addiction.  The Scott family is dedicated to reducing the stigma of addiction so that people can speak up and get help before it is too late.  MSAPC is grateful for their openness and bravery.  It is not too late to support Mike’s 5K.  To accept the challenge, register here or make a donation here. 

ATHLETICS

Milton Boosters Fall Pop-up merchandise update. To all who ordered gear, thank you for your support. Almost all of the items are in and you should be receiving an e-mail with pick-up information.

The winter Booster online pop-up store is coming in early November with delivery before the holidays. Thank you for supporting our athletes!


Thank you to the Milton Boosters for coordinating the most successful Swing for Sports to date, with 100 plus golfers in attendance! All money goes to support our MPS student-athletes.  Thanks as well to all of the golfers and volunteers who made this beautiful fall day a wildly successful one in support of our students.


All athletic schedules and updates can be found on the athletics website linked here.

COMMUNITY NEWS 

Rx Drug Take Back Day is October 24 from 10am-2pm. Misuse of drugs often starts with medication taken from homes. Keep your families and friends safe. Bring your unused or out-of-date prescription medications to the Milton Police Station to disposed of safely. Contactless drop off available on Saturday, October 24 from 10am – 2pm.


Calling pumpkin-carvers of all ages! Enter the Forbes House Museum’s contest for your chance to win a gift card from The Ice Creamsmith, Flat Black Coffee, Sweet Frog, or other local businesses, plus recognition on our social media outlets. Prizes will be awarded in two age groups: 13 and over, 12 and under; and three categories: Scariest, Funniest, Most Creative. 

To enter, simply drop off your pumpkin at the museum between 4:30 and 5:30 pm this Saturday, Oct. 24th. If you are unable to make that time slot, please call 617-696-1815 for alternate arrangements. Winners will be announced at 7:00 pm and need not be present to claim their prize. Pumpkins may be retrieved at 7:00 pm or the next day.

The pumpkin carving contest is part of the Forbes House Museum’s Halloween event, which is at capacity. However, there are no restrictions on how many can enter the contest and we encourage anyone interested to show off their skills and creativity!

Thank you to Elliott Physical Therapy and Vargas & Vargas Insurance for generously sponsoring the event. 


The Milton Early Childhood Alliance has installed a Story Walk at Milton Public Library. This Story Walk video will provide a quick overview of this fun activity for families with children through grade 5.


The Milton Public Library has some terrific programs for students of all ages. Check out next week’s activities here. 


 
Join the Eustis Estate for our annual celebration of fall with a special day for families. Our Fall Family Day: Fairies in the Foliage will take place in Saturday, November 7, 11am – 4pm (Rain Date Nov 8) at the Eustis Estate, 1424 Canton Avenue, Milton.
 
This year’s exploration of the landscape will have a magical twist, with a fairy house scavenger hunt, crafts, and activities that will guide you around the property. Special thanks to the Amateur Gardeners of Milton.
 
All activities are designed to maximize social distancing and will take place outdoors. All guests must wear a mask. Advanced tickets required. Note that this ticket does not include the inside of the museum. If you wish to also visit the mansion, please purchase your house tour reservations here. 
Please call 617-994-6600 for more information.
 

The Cardinal Cushing 5K RUN/WALK (formerly the Best Buddies 5k) has gone virtual!

  • The where and what are up to you!
  • Complete your miles from November 18-21 then upload your results.
  • Create a personal or team page then train and ask your friends and family to donate.
  • Share photos and videos on our Facebook event page.
  • Register here.

Thanks for participating and supporting our very important cause!

SUPERINTENDENT SHOUTOUT 

We are pleased to share the news that nine exceptional Milton High School students are being recognized by the College Board this year as Commended Students in the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program or have been selected for the College Board African American and Hispanic Recognition Programs. We are so proud of these outstanding students! 

Commended students placed among the top 50,000 scorers of more than 1.5 million students who entered the 2021 competition by taking the 2019 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). All recognized students show a commitment to learning and great academic potential.  These Milton High School students were notified this week by Mrs. Cahill of this recognition of their outstanding academic promise.

Please join us in congratulating Abigail Tran, Jared Robinson, Ilisa Risal, William Milliken, Daniel Truog, Clare Walko, Demi Davis, Laura Braithwaite, and Yeager Ferreira. The future is bright for these talented students! 

Thank you to my blog contributors this week: Kim Coughlin, Jess Gillooly,
Magen Slesinger, Bill Fish, Karen Spaulding, Karen Cahill, Ellen Lohan, Karen Cahill, Jackie Morgan, Marti O’Keefe McKenna, Jennie Beliveau, Christie Chiappetta, Andy Young, Laurel Bernini, and Sara MacNeil. 

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 a 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: Asst. Superintendent for Curriculum & Human Resources, Dr. Karen Spaulding, (617) 696-5040 ext. 5582.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on October 22, 2020

October 15, 2020

To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
From: James F. Jette
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: October 15, 2020

FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT

As of yesterday, with increasing COVID-19 numbers, the Town of Milton is now at high risk (designated as RED) for COVID-19, according to the state guidelines. Twenty-three additional communities have been added to the high-risk category since last week’s report. We are also aware that there has been a shift throughout the State from confirmed cases in long term care facilities at the beginning of the pandemic to now an increase in cases in individuals 16-39 years of age.

For now, this will not change our hybrid school model and we are currently planning for Pierce Middle School to resume in the hybrid model on Monday, October 19.

I know this shift in Milton’s status will generate some questions. Often I am asked: What is the number of positive cases that will make MPS shift to a full remote model? There is no magic number. On the contrary, it will depend on who the positive cases are, where the positive cases are, and the impact on the schools.

Below are a few examples of why there is not a concrete number that will shift our model.

  • If the town has 10 cases but the cases do not involve MPS students or staff, we do not need to close the schools.
  • If we have 8 positive cases (students) at one school and they do not have siblings in other schools, we may have to close that one specific school but not all of the other schools.
  • If we have 8 positive cases (staff) at one school, we may have to shut down that particular school because we may not have the staffing due to “close contact” (i.e the recent closure of Pierce Middle School) but the other schools can remain open.
  • If we have 6 positive cases (staff or students), which we have had already, spread out across the district and contained, then there was no need to shut down any of the schools.

Current State guidance is that all schools will pivot to a full remote model if the State’s positivity percentage hits or exceeds 5%. The daily rate is found by dividing total tests in a day by positive results. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health then reports out a weighted 7 day average on a daily basis on their website.

Over the last week, the Town of Milton has had between 4 and 7 new cases each day. Although the numbers in Milton are increasing, many of these cases are not MPS students or staff. Additionally, these numbers do not take into account the positive COVID cases of MPS faculty and staff who do not live in the Town of Milton. Therefore, we continue to monitor all cases in and outside of the Town of Milton.

I have communicated that we will use several data points to monitor COVID-19 cases within the Town and the MPS community. For example:

  • Positive cases per 100,000 metric established by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. This data is based on the average daily cases per 100,000 residents, each city or town has been designated as a higher risk (red), moderate risk (yellow), or lower risk (green) community. Communities with fewer than 5 cases are not given a designation. It is important to note that while average daily cases per 100,000 is the metric that determines the color coding for each community, districts/schools should also monitor whether cases are increasing or decreasing vs. the prior period. This is the information that propelled Milton into the red.
  • The State positivity percentage – currently the number is 5% to trigger a move to fully remote for schools.
  • Total positive cases in the MPS community.
  • Age of demographic of the positive cases.
  • How and where people contracted the virus.
  • What is the impact on each of the schools individually and as a district?

We are about to embark upon the Holiday season which is typically a social time for many of us. In addition, many of our students’ siblings will be returning home from colleges out of state. Per MA DPH guidelines, these college students will need to quarantine until they receive a negative COVID test. I am also asking each of you to be mindful of your own social gatherings and the need to adhere to the health and safety guidelines set by the CDC and MA DPH. Small gatherings of family and friends have repeatedly been shown to be  super spreader events.

What can we do to keep our numbers low and our community as healthy as possible? The steps are relatively simple, but it is clear that many of us are not acting as safely as we can. Please, reconsider some of your family’s activities and work with us to keep our MPS students in our buildings!

  • Adhere to the mandatory MPS Daily Pre Screening Checklist
  • Stay home when you are sick and notify your School Nurse for return to school guidance.
  • Maintain at least 6 feet of distance between non-household members
  • Wear a mask when maintaining distance is not possible
  • Do not gather in groups inside and limit groups outside
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer if soap and water is not available.
  • Avoid coughing or sneezing into your hands or in the air.
  • As much as you can, avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.
  • Be alert for Covid-19 symptoms.

Many answers to questions about COVID-19 as it pertains to the Milton Public Schools can be on the COVID-19 page of the MPS website.

If Milton’s numbers continue to increase, at some point, we will be forced into a full remote model. While we are ready for this potential change, I can assure you that the teachers, staff and administrators of the Milton Public Schools want to continue with in person school for as long as safely possible.

Our ability to continue in person school rests with all of us. Please continue to be vigilant and follow best practices to keep our community safe.

As a reminder, all families and staff in the Milton Public Schools are required to perform the MPS Daily Health Screening every school day. If you have not already done so, please click this link asap and complete the sign off to verify that you have received, read through, and understand the requirements of the MPS Daily Health Screening.

***

As the election season is fully upon us, I want to share a recent communication I sent to all MPS staff concerning the highly charged political climate in our country that can have a significant impact on our students, our schools, and the educational process. Please read the communication here. 

SCHOOL COMMITTEE

The next School Committee meeting will be on October 21, 2020, at 7pm, and all School Committee meetings can be watched live and later on demand on Milton Access TV.  In the days leading up to each meeting, call in/login information is available on the Town of Milton website.

IMPORTANT UPCOMING DATES

Oct 15 MHS Virtual Open House
Oct 21 School Committee Meeting
Nov 3 Election Day, No School, Staff PD Day
Nov 11 Veterans Day, No School

The full MPS calendar can be found here.

FOOD SERVICE 

We have good news to share.  Free student meals have been extended through the school year!

Encourage your student to check out our to go lunch and breakfast bags. They (and you!) will not be disappointed. Multiple breakfasts, lunches and snacks are included in each bag. Students can take a grab and go bag with several breakfasts and lunches as they leave school each day.

We are grateful for this recent message from an MPS parent: “Kudos to Milton food services for their efforts to send kids home with nutritious, non perishable meals that kids want to eat on a consistent basis And to remove the stigma by making the meals available for all families. It is REALLY hard to accomplish all of that on a budget. Tonight’s meal – burritos and carrots. I’m so impressed.” Thanks for the kind words and we hope they encourage even more families to try our to go meals!

Also consider trying weekly pick up. Weekly pick up is available at two different times on Wednesdays. Come to MHS 9:30-10:30 or 12:30-1:30 (please don’t arrive before 12:15 to allow for MHS pick up) to pick up 7 days of breakfast and lunches for your child.

We hope you and your student will take advantage of our lunch and breakfast options this fall! All details on pick up options can be found in this link.

HIGH SCHOOL HAPPENINGS 

We are lucky to still be hearing our talented MHS musicians in the halls of Milton High School! Pictured below  is one of the cohorts of the MHS Concert Band. As we have had to find creative ways to have all of our band members making music during synchronous, in-person learning time, the band has been rehearsing percussion ensemble music. This allows all students, whether they are in the hybrid or remote model, to participate in the music making process in a safe and socially distant way. Be on the lookout for some performance videos in the coming weeks!

***

Our Woodshop students were hard at work this week in class. Woodshop introduces our students to the designing, planning and manufacturing of wood products. Students work on craftsmanship and safe working habits and procedures in the use of industrial-type machinery and power tools.

***

We hope all MHS parents and guardians will join us for the MHS Open House tonight. All details can be found here. 

PIERCE PAGES 

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and many of the Pierce staff and students showed off their pink last week. Some shared their personal reasons for wearing pink and supporting breast cancer awareness.

“I am wearing pink for my amazing mother who courageously battled breast cancer for over 20 years and for all of the beautiful and strong men and women who have fought this battle and continue to fight today.”
“I’m wearing pink in memory of all the courageous men and women who have had to suffer from this disease in hopes that there will soon be a cure.”
“I wear pink in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness.”
“I wear pink for my close friend who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.”
“I’m wearing pink for my aunt and sister-in-law who lost their battle with breast cancer and for my cousin and my mother who continue to fight!”
“I wear it to make my future and the future of all others, healthier.”
“I wear pink to show support to all the brave men and women fighting this disease, and to honor those who lost their battle.”

***

Pierce students in all three grades recently completed some ice breaker activities in their Health classes. Pierce is focused on making connections, building relationships, and bolstering SEL skills as we navigate this school year. Students created and presented All About Me slides that included 3 things they wanted us to know about them, including sharing their pronouns if they wished.

INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

Ms. Lennon’s Cunningham 3rd graders are learning to work together – in person and remotely. Students participated in a group read aloud and reviewed the unit reading skill: Plot. Students were paired up in break out rooms to decide what they would both write for the beginning, middle and end on the plot map. It was terrific to see these responsible and respectful 3rd graders navigating their breakout rooms in small groups.

***

It’s All About Instruments in the Elementary Music Classrooms!

With elementary music being taught virtually currently, the elementary music staff is engaging students with ways in which they can create percussion instruments at home, made from everyday household items. Students are enjoying participating in the process of finding just the right items at home to create the perfect sound for each of their instruments, including drums, shakers and scrapers. The instruments are stored at the students’ home learning spaces and played during the weekly music class to enhance activities in rhythm, tone color, movement and the study of the science of sound. Students in grades 4 and 5 are also learning to identify orchestral instruments by sight and sound and many are beginning and continuing their private instrument lessons through the Applied Lesson Program!

***

During our Fire Prevention Week, our Tucker preschoolers in Miss Nicole’s class participated in a fire truck project. Students followed step by step directions identifying the different shapes to make their own firetrucks! Our youngest students were very proud of their efforts!

***

As a part of the Everyday Math Curriculum, Mrs. Curran’s Collicot 5th graders explored finding the volumes of different cylinders. Using individual materials, students constructed cylinders and made estimates of the volume. Next, students used unifix cubes to find the total volume of the different cylinders, Students also learned they can find the volume of a cylinder by multiplying the length, width and height.

MILTON FOUNDATION FOR EDUCATION

The Milton Foundation for Education has supported the mission of the Milton Public Schools for over twenty years. In these challenging times, they have creatively rethought how to support our staff, students, and families and have several current initiatives that I share with you below. 

The MFE’s Monster Dash, held in loving memory of Sam Cichello, is a staple of fall fun in the Town of Milton. Unfortunately, this year, we can’t hold the actual Monster Dash but the MFE has some fun planned for our students. This year, there will be two Monster Dash contests to celebrate the spirit of the Monster Dash.

  • The MFE is pleased to announce a Monster Dash Costume Contest! They want to see you in your most creative, scary, or kooky costume ever.
  • The annual Artwork Contest in on as usual!  Students can submit their drawings to be on our official Monster Dash T-shirts.

All information on both contests can be found in this link. Join us as we celebrate the spirit of the Monster Dash!

In addition,  the MFE has created a new innovative grant process to help relieve the impact of the pandemic on MPS students and families. This year, grant ideas may be submitted not only by MPS teachers and programs, but also by students, parents, and other community members. The MFE is committed to helping Milton families through these unprecedented challenges in new and unique ways.

Applications are due October 30 at 5PM. Please find more information including the grant guidelines and application here.

SPECIAL EDUCATION 

Please see this latest update from Administrator for Pupil Personnel Services, Sue Maselli.

SOCIAL EMOTIONAL HEALTH 

I have asked our district wide team of Adjustment Counselors to share mental health resources with you regularly. This installment is from MHS Adjustment Counselor Jennie Beliveau.

I cannot believe that a month of school has elapsed! I continue to be amazed by the resiliency of the students, families, and staff as we all continue to adjust to this school year. One conversation that has continually come up with many of the high school students that I work with is about creating a good schedule and consistent, positive habits. There is much more unstructured time available to them now and some are having a difficult time with time management. Here are a few tips that I have found to be helpful for them.
Create a schedule Write it down and follow it. Add everything to your schedule including wake times, meals, school work, exercise/sports/activities, and breaks.
Set a timer Sometimes sitting down for over an hour to get work done can be too much for students. Set a timer for 30 minutes, so when the timer goes off you allow yourself a 5 minute break and then go back to work for another 30 minutes.
Stack your habits When we are trying to create new healthy habits, it can be helpful to stack the habit on top of one you already do. For example, I brush my teeth every day. I have been wanting to write in my gratitude journal more often but never found the time to do it. So I stacked writing on top of brushing my teeth. Every morning it is now a habit and routine for me to brush my teeth and write in my gratitude journal to start my day.
Do you have any good tips that have helped your family adjust to this new schedule? Reach out to your school adjustment counselor to share!

Our Adjustment Counselors are available as resources for your family. Please reach out to your Principal or Adjustment Counselor for support at any time.

MPS School Adjustment Counselors:  Jennie BeliveauMary Bianca MattocksKenneth Adelmann (Milton High School); Myriam FrancoeurKara SheridanKelly Dearing(Pierce); Heather Kantrowitz (Cunningham) Elizabeth Caruso (Collicot); Lisa Stahl (Tucker) Brian PowersChristine Howley (Glover)

MPS FAMILY LIAISON

The Milton Public Schools is committed to being a resource for you. Whether you are unsure of how to connect with school staff or directly need a referral for services or supplies please don’t hesitate to reach out to Marti O’Keefe McKenna, MPS Family Outreach Liaison at 617-980-7343 or by email at mmckenna@miltonps.org. All calls and emails are confidential.

All updates on Family Resources – food, heating assistance, health insurance, financial assistance, contacts – can be found at this link.

ATHLETICS

As we monitor Milton’s COVID numbers, be assured that I am in ongoing conversations with MPS Athletic Director Ryan Madden concerning our athletics program. Our goal is to continue athletics for as long as safely possible.

All athletic schedules and updates can be found on the athletics website linked here.

A great way to support our student-athletes is by playing in the Boosters’ upcoming golf tournament on October 19 at Granite Links. Click here to REGISTER for the 2020 MHS Boosters Swing For Sports!

COMMUNITY NEWS 

Rx Drug Take Back Day is October 24 from 10am-2pm. Misuse of drugs often starts with medication taken from homes. Keep your families and friends safe. Bring your unused or out-of-date prescription medications to the Milton Police Station to disposed of safely. Drive through, contactless drop off available on Saturday, October 24 from 10am – 2pm.

Rx Drug Take Back Day is sponsored by the Milton Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition and the Milton Police Department.

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Milton Early Childhood Alliance invites you to a parenting workshop series: Helping Families with Learning at Home (for families with children 2.9 to 10 years old). 

Join us for four virtual parenting workshops to help families with at home learning this school year. Tips to Helps Manage Anxiety & Engage and Motivate Your Child will be held on Tuesday, October 20 at 7:30 PM. Create a Supportive At Home Learning Environment will be held on Tuesday, November 17 at 7:30 PM. Two additional workshops will be held on January 26 and March 16. All four workshops will be held virtually, via Zoom, from the comfort of your home. Registration is required. Please register here  to receive the Zoom link and password. Our program facilitator will be Beth Greenawalt, Parent Coach and founder of www.Parent-Solutions.com. Many thanks to the generous support of the Milton Junior Woman’s Club for their support of this programming.

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Celebrate Halloween at Forbes House Museum, Saturday, October 24 , 5:30-7:00 pm

Calling all kids in grades K-5: You’re invited to wear your costumes and join the Halloween party at the Forbes House Museum! There will be ghost stories in the backyard and tricks and treats throughout the property.

New this year: Bring a Jack-O-Lantern to enter in our pumpkin carving contest. People’s-choice prizes will be awarded for the scariest, funniest and most creative pumpkins in categories separated by age. All ages are welcome to enter and participating in the contest only is free. Winners need not be present to claim their prize. Jack-O Lanterns may be picked up at the end of the evening or retrieved the next day.

Please visit this link for more information and to register for the event. All visitors to the property must wear masks and socially distance. Attendance is limited and advance registration is required. $10/child; $20/family max

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Mike’s 5k is going VIRTUAL! So gather your friends and family and get out there to walk or run to crush substance abuse. Run a 5k anywhere you’d like anytime from October 17 to October 25, 2020. Wear your mask and socially distance! After you register, we will send you a link to record your time. Register here and join Team MSAPC!   Bring your own mask and water.  You can also support Mike’s 5K here.   Or register and walk/run any time before Oct. 24th, your own route and distance.  Thank you for your support!

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The Cardinal Cushing 5K RUN/WALK (formerly the Best Buddies 5k) has gone virtual!

  • The where and what  are up to you!
  • Complete your miles from November 18-21 then upload your results.
  • Create a personal or team page then train and ask your friends and family to donate.
  • Share photos  and videos on our Facebook event page.
  • Register here.

Thanks for participating and supporting our very important cause!

SUPERINTENDENT SHOUTOUT 

The Pierce, Collicot, Cunningham, Glover and Tucker PTOs and the MHS PTSFO work continuously on behalf of our students and staff throughout every school year. We are so grateful for their ongoing efforts to enhance the school experience for the MPS community.

This year our 6 PTOs are collaborating on the MPS Apple Project & Protect the Paw Project in support of our students, teachers and staff.

Funds raised from the sale of these Rustic Marlin signs will be divided equally among the PTOs of ALL SIX schools, to enhance and elevate the opportunities and experiences of the MPS community during this unprecedented school year.

All are invited to purchase a sign (or two!) at this link and display it to show your support of our MPS community. These signs would be an excellent gift for friends and family, a nice remembrance for a special teacher or staff member, and are an easy way to show support for our schools and our MPS community.

Thank you to our PTOs for spearheading this project!

Thank you to my blog contributors this week: Kim Coughlin, Courtney Lennon, Nicole Davis,  Ellen Lohan, Jackie Morgan, Marti O’Keefe McKenna, Megan Pallai, Jennie Beliveau, April Allegrezza, Colleen Martin, Bernadette McEvoy, Janice Mazzola, Rebecca Damiani, and Erin Jaquette.

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 a 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: Asst. Superintendent for Curriculum & Human Resources, Dr. Karen Spaulding, (617) 696-5040 ext. 5582.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on October 15, 2020

October 8, 2020

To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
From: James F. Jette
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: October 8, 2020

FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT

The Milton Foundation for Education has supported the mission of the Milton Public Schools for over twenty years. In these challenging times, they have creatively rethought how to support our staff, students, and families and have several current initiatives that I share with you below. 

The MFE’s Monster Dash, held in loving memory of Sam Cichello, is a staple of fall fun in the Town of Milton. Unfortunately, this year, we can’t hold the actual Monster Dash but the MFE has some fun planned for our students. This year, there will be two Monster Dash contests to celebrate the spirit of the Monster Dash.

  • The MFE is pleased to announce a Monster Dash Costume Contest! They want to see you in your most creative, scary, or kooky costume ever.
  • The annual Artwork Contest in on as usual!  Students can submit their drawings to be on our official Monster Dash T-shirts.

All information on both contests can be found in this link. Join us as we celebrate the spirit of the Monster Dash!

In addition,  the MFE has created a new innovative grant process to help relieve the impact of the pandemic on MPS students and families. This year, grant ideas may be submitted not only by MPS teachers and programs, but also by students, parents, and other community members. The MFE is committed to helping Milton families through these unprecedented challenges in new and unique ways.

Applications are due October 30 at 5PM. Please find more information including the grant guidelines and application here.

HEALTH AND SAFETY

As the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing in our community, we know that we will also have positive cases in our schools. Our priority is the health and well being of our staff and students and that priority will guide all decisions we make. When a positive case is reported to us, we follow the  Milton Public Schools COVID-19 Positive Case Process.

As you know, Pierce Middle School has shifted to remote learning for a period of two weeks. With six positive cases of COVID-19 at Pierce over the past 5 school days and the subsequent quarantine requirements of close contacts, we do not have the necessary staffing to safely keep the building open and adequately educate students in the hybrid model. If all goes well, Pierce will resume in the hybrid model on Monday, October 19. We will revisit this decision during the week of October 13.

To keep students and staff safe when in the building, employ the following preventive measures:

  • Adhere to the mandatory MPS Daily Pre Screening Checklist
  • Stay home when you are sick and notify your School Nurse for return to school guidance.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer if soap and water is not available.
  • Avoid coughing or sneezing into your hands or in the air. Always try to cough or sneeze into a tissue, then throw the tissue away and wash your hands.
  • As much as you can, avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.
  • Maintain at least 6 feet of distance between non-household members and wear a mask in places where maintaining that distance is difficult.
  • Be alert for Covid-19 symptoms.

When should students and staff quarantine?

  • Students and staff will be instructed to stay home and quarantine for 14 days if they have been notified by the Milton Health Department or MPS Director of Nurses Kim Coughlin that they are a close contact of a positive case.
  • Because the Milton Health Department may have a short delay before they are able to reach all contacts, students and staff should also stay home and quarantine if they have been notified by a COVID-19 positive friend or family member with which they have been in close contact.  Please notify your school nurse if you are considered a close contact of a friend or family member.
  • These guidelines remain in place, even if the student’s or staff’s COVID-19 test is negative.
  • Students and staff will be instructed to stay home while household members are waiting for the results of a test. This eliminates additional potential exposures if that household member ends up testing positive.
  • In short, staff and students should stay home if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or someone in your household is waiting for results of a COVID-19 test.

If a student is asked to stay home for any of these reasons, that student will be allowed to live stream into their regularly scheduled in-person classes on the day(s) they would have been in school for those in-person classes.

All families and staff in the Milton Public Schools are required to perform the MPS Daily Health Screening every school day. If you have not already done so, please click this link asap and complete the sign off to verify that you have received, read through, and understand the requirements of the MPS Daily Health Screening.

No school can combat this situation alone. It is mandatory that parents/guardians are equal partners in this fight against Covid-19, and we need your help and unwavering support in reinforcing the CDC safety guidelines, at home and at school.

As we embark upon a three day weekend, it is even more incumbent upon all of us to be vigilant. The need for socialization is real, but the need for safe behaviors is critical. Please wear a mask when you are out in public – even for recreational outdoor activities – and continue to practice social distancing with anyone not in your immediate household.

All of us – educators, support staff, students, and families – want the Milton Public Schools to be a place for young people to learn, thrive, and grow.

Thank you for your understanding, cooperation, and continued support of our efforts to Protect the Paw and keep the Milton community safe and healthy. Each of us has a role in this endeavor. We are grateful for your partnership to ensure the safe continuation of our in person learning.

SCHOOL COMMITTEE

The School Committee’s Strategic Planning Advisory Committee has both crafted a Strategic Plan for the Milton Public Schools and defined a strategic planning process. Since June 2018, when the School Committee approved the 3-5 year Strategic Plan, the Strategic Planning Committee has met quarterly to review progress and revise the objectives and activities as needed. After each meeting, when the Strategic Planning Committee has reviewed updates on goals and approved any proposed changes, the plan is officially updated and the revised plan is posted on the Milton Public Schools website.

At the September 9, 2020 School Committee meeting, the updated Strategic Plan was reviewed and approved. After a challenging summer, the Strategic Plan updates addressed the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and the call for MPS to become an anti-racist school district. The updated Strategic Plan can be found here and a presentation that highlights the most recent changes made can be found here.

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The next School Committee meeting will be on October 21, 2020, at 7pm, and all School Committee meetings can be watched live and later on demand on Milton Access TV.  In the days leading up to each meeting, call in/login information is available on the Town of Milton website.

IMPORTANT UPCOMING DATES

School Virtual Open House – Each of our schools has hosted or will host a virtual Open House over the next two weeks. Dates are found below and school specific information will come from your principal. Please plan to listen to or watch the valuable events to stay up to date with information about your child’s school and class.

Oct 12 Columbus Day/Indigenous People Day, No School
Oct 13 Pierce Virtual Open House
Oct 14 Cunningham Virtual Open House
Oct 14 Collicot Virtual Open House
Oct 15 MHS Virtual Open House
Oct 21 School Committee Meeting

The full MPS calendar can be found here.

FOOD SERVICE 

Weekly pick up is now available at two different times on Wednesdays! Come to MHS 9:30-10:30 or 12:30-1:30 (please don’t arrive before 12:15 to allow for MHS pick up) to pick up 7 days of breakfast and lunches for your child.

This week we served 728 student weekly bags which translates to 10,192 meals!

Students can also take a grab and go bag with several breakfasts and lunches as they leave school each day.

Due to an extension by the USDA, all meals will be free to all students through December 2020. We hope you and your student will take advantage of our lunch and breakfast options this fall! All details on pick up can be found in this link.

TECHNOLOGY

Please see below for answers to some of our most frequently asked technology questions.

Computer vs. Laptop: We are encouraging students currently using iPads for Google Meet sessions at home to use the school issued Chromebooks instead.  The iPad apps do not have all of the features that the web-based apps do; so students may not be able to fully participate if they are only using an iPad. For PreK-1 students who are completing assignments on Seesaw, an iPad or Kindle Fire is a great supplement but a computer is preferred.
Computer Tutorials: Here are some computer tutorials that might be helpful:

Google Meet for PreK-1 – All PreK-1 families should access Google Meet sessions through the website meet.google.com and enter the meeting code that the teacher has provided.  This is the safest way for children to meet with their teachers as it only allows students to enter if they are on their school google account and if the teacher is already in the meeting. Here is a video showing you how to join a Google Meet.

Google Meet in Google Classroom (2-5) – All Grades 2-12 should be using the Google Meet link within Google Classroom to hold all of their remote sessions. Here is a video showing you how to join Google Meet in Google Classroom. 

Seesaw Login: Students in PreK – 1 also have Seesaw accounts as their main learning platform.  Classroom and Specialist Teachers will give you the join code to join a class, if they haven’t already had students do it in class. To log into Seesaw and other school apps, your child will use Clever.  Go to Clever.com, and choose Log in as a Student.  Then type in the name of the school and Log in with Google.  Then scroll down to the Seesaw button.  If this is your first time, you will need to sign in with Google.  Then anytime in the future it will automatically log you into Seesaw.

Google Class Assignments: All students grades 2-5 should be turning in their work to their teacher through Google Classroom.  Here’s a short video on how to add materials to a Google Classroom assignment. Don’t forget to click on the Turn In or Mark as Done button once you are finished so that your teacher knows you have completed the assignment.

HIGH SCHOOL HAPPENINGS 

Milton High School is offering an online Driver’s Education course for Junior Operators.  You must be 15 years and 9 months old to register.  The program includes the 15 modules required classroom training, 12 hours of behind the wheel instruction, and 6 observation hours.  More information can be found on the Milton High School Driver’s Education website.  Please email James Moonan at jmoonan@miltonps.org or Richard Guarino at rguarino@miltonps.org if you have any questions.

PIERCE PAGES 

Please see Pierce’s Remote Classroom Expectations linked here to be sure your student is fulfilling their responsibility during their remote sessions. 

INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

As part of the FOSS Sun, Moon and Planets Unit, Collicot 5th grade students began studying shadows. Students traced their shadows in the morning and afternoon. They use this information to monitor the position of the Sun as it moves across the sky. Teachers introduced these concepts in class. Students continued to monitor their shadows at home at different times in the day. In order to share their results with classmates, students uploaded pictures to a Padlet page. Here is a link to our Padlet page so you can see how shadows shift throughout the day.

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Many of our elementary students walk or bike to school each day but this week some of our elementary students enjoyed two official Walk and Wheel to School days! It’s great to see so many families taking advantage of the beautiful fall weather.

You can check out this bike safety video from Coach Jones, Coach Gauthier and Coach Finnegan here.