October 17, 2019

From: Mary C. Gormley
To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: October 17, 2019


We are just 10 days away from one of the premiere fall events in Milton – the Milton Foundation for Education’s Monster Dash! The Monster Dash is a perennial family favorite event with a “costume encouraged” 5K,  bounce houses, a costume Fun Run, kids’ crafts, science fun, face painting and more. Your friends and neighbors will be there – will you? I encourage all of our MPS families and staff to register now for the MFE Monster Dash on Sunday, October 27th!

The Monster Dash, now in its 21st year, benefits the Sam Cichello Memorial Fund. The Cichello family created this fund in memory of their young son, Sam, who died tragically in a 1999 playground accident at Tucker Elementary School. Sam’s Fund supports the science curriculum in all Milton schools.

The Milton Foundation for Education is an independent, not-for-profit corporation, separate and distinct from the Milton Public Schools. The Foundation was established in 1995 to make possible innovative programs and opportunities that are beyond the reach of the school system’s budget. Foundation Trustees are people from the community who donate their time to help the Foundation achieve its goals. The Milton Public Schools continues to be the thriving school district it is, in part due to the unwavering and generous support of the MFE.

I hope to see you and your family on Sunday, October 27th at 10 am at Cunningham Hall at the Monster Dash!


This morning we experienced a power outage at Milton High School and the Pierce Middle School. Our safety protocols were followed and I would like to commend our Milton Public Schools staff and students for their attention to safety and other instructions as our day continued. Our staff worked to keep students safe, reassured and engaged and allowed us to maintain a sense of calm and order. Thank you as well to the Department of Public Works, the Milton Police Department and the Milton Fire Department who are always available to support our schools.


Thank you to all who have registered for the PARENT Speaker Series – PARENT University, tonight, Thursday, October 17th at the Pierce Middle School. We are excited to bring you workshops that will focus on promoting the academic and social and emotional well being of your children and teens.

The evening will begin at 6:00pm in the foyer of the auditorium with a small reception where attendees can enjoy a light refreshment, pick up their course schedules and have a chance to connect with other attendees and presenters. If time is tight be sure to join us by 6:30 when the first session begins.

Spots are still available for some courses if you are interested in joining us. Please complete the registration form on-line , email Marti O’Keefe McKenna  or call 617-980-7343.  Please don’t hesitate to contact Ms. McKenna if you have any questions or need additional information.

The PARENT Speaker Series is made possible with financial support from Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Milton, Milton Public Schools, Milton Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition, Parent Teacher Organizations and Special Education Parent Advisory Council.


Oct 17 PARENT University – Pierce Middle School
Oct 23 Early Release Day
Oct 23 Milton School Committee
Oct 27 MFE Monster Dash
Oct 30 The Addams Family at MHS
Nov 2 The Addams Family at MHS
Nov 3 The Addams Family at MHS
Nov 6 Milton School Committee Meeting
Nov 11 No School-Veterans Day
The 2019-20 calendar can be found here.

Save the date for the November 13th showing of Screenagers NEXT CHAPTER – Uncovering Skills for Stress Resilience. The film there focuses on understanding anxiety and providing strategies, skills and solutions to help build resilience in the face of hard emotions. Knowing how to lovingly and effectively be with your kids and teens as they experience difficult feelings and display challenging behaviors is immensely complicated. But there are lots of solutions out there—knowing the science, knowing strategies and sharing this with our friends, colleagues, parent groups, and on and on is crucial. Good Morning America had a recent piece on Screenagers NEXT CHAPTER that you may find interesting. 


Recent School Committee meetings can always be watched on Milton Access TV.  The next School Committee meeting is on Wednesday, October 23rd (note date change due to Milton Public Library event) at 7pm. School Committee agendas and documents can be found on the front page of our website. 


They’re creepy and they’re kooky; Mysterious and spooky; They’re all together ooky…. The Addams family! Come see them at Milton High School on October 30th, November 2nd and 3rd! Tickets are available online here.


This week the Gile Road Preschool Program had a visit from the Milton Fire Department. Our preschool students were able to see and hear all about the gear the firefighters wear, they learned how to stay safe if there is ever a fire and they even got to sit in the fire truck!


All 6th grade parents/guardians are invited to a meet and greet sponsored by the Pierce PTO on Wednesday, October 23 from 7-8:30pm at the Common Market in Quincy. The event is meant to help build community among 6th grade parents, providing a venue for parents to connect with one another. We hope you can drop by to meet your fellow 6th grade parents. We’ll have some appetizers and a cash bar.

In order to get an accurate count for food & drink, we are requesting that parents register and pay $10 to help cover the cost of the room and appetizers. This event is open to all 6th grade parents, so please email the PTO if you need a waiver. You can click HERE to register. Thanks and we hope to see you there! 6th Grade Parent Social Committee –    Kerry Hurley, Maggie Kessler, Christina Lilliehook, Jackie Slavik and Heidi Vaughan


Pierce 7th grade artists have been studying the art of Wayne Thiebaud. Thiebaud is a contemporary artist known for his unique style of painting cakes and assorted pastries. Students were given several choices of mediums to work with and were asked to create a piece inspired by Thiebaud. This rather large cake was created with small pieces of torn colored paper and glue. Students learned about shadows, complementary colors, and chiaroscuro by using strong areas of contrast in their pieces. The 7th grade artists created foods like colorful ice cream cones, favorite candies, multiple layered wedding cakes, and an assortment of delicious looking cupcakes. Our 7th grade artists had a full class critique to view each other’s work and share feedback, and of course to discuss their favorite food.


Collicot 2nd graders in Mrs Lamonica’s classroom were introduced this week to building and coding using the Motor Power Block to make the motor turn at different speeds. Once the students created and ran their programs, they thought about and explained the program and the function of the fan. At the end of the lesson, students could answer questions like: How does the program work? What do the different program blocks do? and will increase their mastery of the Motor Power Blocks in lessons to come.


The theme for Unit One in the 2nd Grade Reach for Reading curriculum is all about community. Students learn what a community is and how an effective one works. Mrs Walsh’s Cunningham 2nd graders read many high-quality books about community workers, and decided as a class which buildings should be a part of “Walshville”, which is a fictional town the class created using boxes and art supplies at home. Students then tied in the writing process to their learning by writing and sending friendly letters to members of the community in conjunction with their project. As a result, many community members have agreed to visit the classroom and talk about their roles in our Milton community. So far, the class has visitors lined up from the Milton Fire Department, the Milton Post Office, Pat’s Pizza, Launch Trampoline Park, Citizens Bank, and a local veterinary clinic. This is a great real-world connection to our first unit in Reach for Reading!


Glover’s Diversity Committee began an initiative last year to introduce all Glover Kids to prominent diverse authors. We were fortunate last year to meet Varian Johnson, Veera Hiranandani, and Jessica Hische. This year, we have plans to bring author, librarian, and researcher Meg Frazer Blakemore to Glover in December and a Diverse Reads Family Book Club event planned with Erin Entrada Kelly in the spring.

On Wednesday, we welcomed volunteers from neighboring Milton Academy into each classroom to participate in a special One Book, One School project. The PTO generously purchased a copy of Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson for every classroom. This unforgettable book is written and illustrated by the award-winning team that created The Other Side and the Caldecott Honor winner Coming On Home Soon. A  group of students led by Ms. Morris are also studying Ms. Woodson’s work as part of Glover’s extracurricular programming.

After reading Each Kindness with our volunteers, students completed activities and connected this powerful story to the conversations we have every day about kindness, empathy, compassion, and friendship. This special One Book, One School initiative is brought as a joint effort between Glover’s Diversity Committee and the Glover PTO.
With its powerful anti-bullying message, Each Kindness resonated across every Glover classroom as we continue to recognize National Bullying Prevention Month, a campaign founded by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. Alongside schools across the country, we will unite by wearing orange on Wednesday, October 23 in honor of “National Unity Day”. “Together against bullying- united for kindness, acceptance, and inclusion.”


Science is alive at Cunningham! The third graders are studying Life Science and have been observing various seeds and discovering how they develop into plants. After focusing on plants, students transitioned onto a new organism this week…crayfish! Students observed their crayfish in small groups and discussed the structures they noticed. Teams then discussed what function they thought each structure served. This will help them understand how different organisms have developed structures to better adapt to their environment and how this increases the chance of their survival. Our 3rd grade teachers were sure to wear their special crayfish socks for the special delivery!


Once again, the Marylin Rodman Theater for Kids program has treated our Milton Public Schools students to an exciting night at the theater! 50 of our MPS students and chaperones were treated to a spectacular presentation of Disney’s The Lion King on Tuesday of this week. Those attending boarded a bus at the Tucker School and travelled to the Boston Opera House where they were dazzled the minute the opening act began. As the curtain rose, giraffes loped gracefully across the stage while gazelles floated in unison just above the stage floor. A life size elephant stomped down the orchestra aisle to the wonderment of the audience. Throughout the performance students and chaperones were entertained by amazing scenery, familiar songs and music and outstanding performances, some by actors the same age as the MPS audience members! This special theater performance was dedicated to Don Rodman, a patron and benefactor of the arts, for many years, and a friend to Milton Public Schools.


It’s raffle time once again at Tucker Elementary School! This year the raffle has 22 amazing prizes, including gift certificates to favorite local spots, Patriots and Bruins tickets and even a getaway at the Park Plaza hotel! Raffle tickets are only $10 each and every purchase enters you to win ALL 22 prizes! Want to get in on the fun? Tickets can be purchased online. Don’t know a Tucker student? No problem! Simply enter “Tucker Tiger” in the student name field. Thank you and good luck in the raffle drawings!


The Milton Times ran an excellent story about our full day Professional Development day on September 27th and they have given me permission to share it here. I urge you to read it as it gives a full picture of our day of (adult!) learning at Milton Public Schools that we were lucky to recently experience.  Page 1, Page 2, Page 3.

The Milton Times covers much of what happens in the Milton Public Schools. Our sports teams are often featured, special events in our schools are regularly highlighted and articles on the “business” of running a school system are reported on in detail. If your household does not receive the Milton Times, I encourage you to consider a subscription to stay abreast of the news both in our schools and in our town.


Milton Public Schools holds periodic preschool screenings once a month and the next opportunity is Oct 23rd. If your child is ages 3 to 5, and not yet eligible for kindergarten this message may be helpful. If you have concerns about your child’s development MPS offers screenings through the early childhood department. This screening is open to Milton Residents who have concerns related to their child’s development. If you would like to discuss this opportunity for your child, please contact Jaymne Szymaczak via email. 


Due to unforeseen challenges with the FirstView app we are unable to roll it out for bus tracking and messaging purposes this year and we will again be utilizing the Remind app system for bus delay notifications. This year families will be invited to join the messaging system for the specific route(s) their student(s) ride. Families can join more than one route. Emails have been sent from the Transportation Department to the emails submitted in the bus registration process. The email included a unique code for their student’s bus route that when texted to 81010 allows families to OPT IN to the messaging system. To receive updates you MUST OPT IN by texting this code to 81010. Families can leave the message alert system at any time. If you did not receive an invitation please email bus@miltonpsorg requesting a code. Please include your student’s name, school and bus route number. If your child rides different am and pm routes, please include both in your request (for example, 5c am and 8c pm).


There is a terrific opportunity for substitute jobs in our food services department. We are hiring for substitute positions at all schools.  This can be a great opportunity for parents and retirees and food service experience is a plus, but not required. The starting pay for the food service substitute position is $15.05 per hour and these positions often lead to permanent positions. Please email Jackie Morgan or call (617-696-5040 X 5514)  for more information.



The Boys and Girls Cross Country teams will host a fundraiser on October 20th at Cunningham Park. The Kids Trail Run is a big hit every fall!

All game schedules can be found on our  MHS Athletics website.


The Massachusetts Department of Transportation invites you to a Public Information Meeting on the Canton-Milton- Roadway Improvements on Route 138 on Tuesday, October 22nd, Presentation/Open House from 6:3opm-8pm in the Fuller Village Function Room, 1372 Brush Hill Road. Milton, MA 02186.

You are invited to join MassDOT at a Public Information Meeting on the Canton-Milton- Roadway Improvements on Route 138 project. A presentation will be made at 6:30 PM and will be followed by an open house style meeting, where each interested person will be allowed to review the concepts and discuss the project with the Project Team. The presentation will include an update on the project status and include a discussion of the preliminary concepts that are currently being considered for advancement to 25% design. The approximate project limits along Route 138 are from Brush Hill Road in Milton to the Canton/Stoughton Town Line. All views and comments made at the meeting will be reviewed and considered to the maximum extent possible. The meeting notice can be found here. 


National Prescription Drug Take Back Day at the Milton Police Department, 40 Highland St is on Saturday, October 26th from 10am – 2pm.  The Milton Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition and the Milton Police Department are sponsoring our local Prescription Drug Take Back Day. Research has shown that the majority of abuse prescription drugs come from home medicine cabinets. Protect our community and protect our environment by turning in your unused or expired prescription drugs, safely and anonymously.


A speaker on Deaf and Hard of Hearing is coming to Milton on October 30th.
Milton’s Commission on Disability is hosting a town-wide event to educate Milton residents on deafness and hearing loss, communication, and assistive technology. Jonathan O’Dell who is Assistive Technology Manager/Training Specialist from the Massachusetts Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing is coming to Milton on Wednesday, October 30th at 7pm in the Milton Public Library’s Keys Room. Mr. O’Dell will present information and answer questions on communication, assistive technology, and accessibility related to persons who have hearing loss and/or deafness.

Americans are likely to experience hearing loss either personally, or in our immediate family and/or circle of friends, as according to the Hearing Loss Association of America, 20% of Americans experience some hearing loss. Anyone who has hearing loss, or who has friends or family members with hearing loss, with whom communication has become more difficult, will benefit from this presentation. Additionally, anyone who has wondered about how to best communicate with people who are deaf, will benefit. All residents are welcome and encouraged to attend. The Milton Commission on Disability will try to have the event broadcast on local access television as well, for those who are unable to attend in person.

Anyone needing reasonable accommodations to access this presentation are encouraged to request them early by contacting Milton’s ADA Coordinator by email to jprondak@townofmilton.org.


Registration has opened for the 24th Annual Milton Cotillion.  Cotillion is a progressive course in social skills, dance and etiquette education – all learned while having a blast!  The classes will run bi-weekly on Sunday evenings beginning January 12, 2020 at the Granite Links Golf Club.  Please go to cotillion.com to learn more and register. When you think about adding yet one more activity to your families schedule, it feels good to know that the skills learned at Cotillion will last a lifetime.


Forbes House Museum presents Ghost Stories in the Barn… an afternoon of Halloween fun including visits with the Kitchen Witch, crafty activities and other tricks and treats!
Sunday, October 20th , 3-5 pm. Costumes encouraged! $5/child; caregivers and members are free.


The Milton Public Library has terrific children’s programs all through October.


Run or walk the THIRD annual Mike’s 5k to Crush Substance Abuse to raise money for substance abuse prevention and treatment programs! Mike’s 5k was founded in 2017 in memory of Mike Mulcahy who passed away on December 1, 2016 after a heroic battle against addiction. In 2018, we were very proud to dedicate our 5k in memory of Michael Jesson of Milton, who passed in 2017 after valiantly fighting addiction. Race day registration starts at 9 AM at the Collicot/Cunningham School Cafeteria and the 5k begins at 10 AM on October 19th through the beautiful streets of Milton. All details can be found here.


The Friends of the Milton Public Library invite you to help them celebrate the success of the Milton Public Library! On October 21st at Steel and Rye, 95 Eliot Street, from 6:30-8pm , join them for raffle prizes,  light refreshments and a cash bar. With programs like the Summer Reading Club, Cooking with Miss Debbie, Story Times, Taste Test Tuesdays, family concerts, the Cookbook Club and many other programs for children, teens, and adults sponsored by the Friends of the Milton Public Library, we have a lot to celebrate!  Be sure to come early and bring your friends to this complimentary event (with cash bar). For more information, please contact Alice Jamal.


Brookwood Community Farm is hosting their  annual Thanksgiving Sale & Family Fun at the DCR property where they farm from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm on Sunday November 24th. All are welcome to enjoy the farm, walk the farm roads, purchase fresh produce and other items to use for holiday gatherings into the winter. Turkeys can be picked up on site if ordered from Dasilva Farm and produce lists will be published on our website and FB page with at least a week to go before the sale. You will also find honey bee education, lawn games, warm drinks, and maybe a food demo!


If you do not receive the Superintendent’s Weekly Update and would like to, please enter your email here to subscribe to this one weekly email.

Thank you to my blog contributors this week: Noel Vigue, Patrick Manning,  Zeina Hamada, Ryan Madden, Dr. Elaine McNeil-Girmai, Marti O’Keefe McKenna, Bernadette Butler, Sara MacNeil, Karen McDavitt, Rachel Schewe, Susan Maselli and Janice Mazzola.

The Milton Public School system does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, gender identity, transgender status, gender transitioning, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its programs, activities or operations. These include, but are not limited to, admissions, equal access to programs and activities, employment, provision of and access to programs and services, as well as selection of volunteers, vendors and employers recruiting at the Milton Public Schools.  We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our staff, students, volunteers, subcontractors, and vendors. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Human Resources, 617-696-4812

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