February 13, 2020

From: Mary C. Gormley
To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: February 13, 2020


Just after the upcoming February recess, we will hold 1st Grade Information Night on Tuesday, February 25th at 6:30pm in the MHS Auditorium. Parents and guardians of current MPS kindergarten students are invited to learn about our two first grade programs: the English Innovation Pathway (with STEM & Spanish) and French Immersion. We will explain the assignment plan, lottery (if needed) and the timeline. The night will end with a Q&A session.

We will also hold a STEM Information Night on March 2nd, in the Collicot/Cunningham cafe, for current kindergarten families to preview an overview of the STEM Program in the English Innovation Pathway and participate in a hands-on engineering activity.

In addition, all parents/guardians of rising 9-12th graders are invited to join us on Thursday, February 27th  at our MHS Program of Studies Information Night. During this evening presentation we will review graduation requirements, course offerings and answer any questions you may have about our program of studies.  The presentation will begin promptly at 6:30 pm in the MHS Auditorium. Following the presentation department heads will be available to answer any questions you may have. We are committed to taking comprehensive steps to ensure you have the information to make an informed decision about your student’s courses for next year. The MHS Program of Studies booklet can be found here.

I hope all of our students, staff and families enjoy a healthy and restful February recess. We will see you on Monday, February 24th, as we return to school.


Feb 13 Pierce Middle School Science Fair
Feb 17-21 February Recess
Feb 24 Transportation & Traffic Safety Advisory Comm meeting  – MHS/Pierce, 6:30pm MHS Auditorium
Feb 25 1st Grade Information Night
Feb 26 Milton School Committee
Feb 27 MHS Program of Studies Night
Mar 2 1st Grade STEM Information Night
Mar 3 Parent Speaker Series, Ivy Watts, Mental Health Empowerment
Mar 4 Milton School Committee
Mar 5 Early Release Day
Mar 7 Minority Job Fair
Mar 10 Harlem Wizards vs. Staff Basketball

The 4th Annual South Shore Regional Minority Educator Recruitment Fair, hosted by Milton Public Schools  and sponsored by PROforma Printing & Promotion will take place at the Copeland Field House at Milton High School on Saturday, March 7th from  8am- 12pm.

The number of Latino, African-American, and Asian students in kindergarten through grade 12 public school classrooms is expected to exceed the number of non-Hispanic, white students, but the racial and ethnic makeup of our country’s teaching staff does not reflect this shift. There is a shortage of African American, Hispanic and Latino, Native American, and Asian educators, and this recruitment fair helps to encourage those individuals to pursue a career in education.

During the event, representatives from South Shore public school districts (all levels: elementary, middle/Jr. high and high school) will meet with potential employees in an effort to find the most qualified minority teachers, administrators, librarians, administrative assistants, instructional aides, custodians, food service personnel, coaches and more. Please contact James Jette via email or phone (617-696-4470) with any questions.


The Harlem Wizards vs. the MPS staff game is less than a month away! Save the date for this family friendly night out on March 10th at 7pm in the Copeland Fieldhouse at MHS. Come and show your school pride by wearing your school colors or gear with your school’s name. Check out the fun in this video  and be sure to get your tickets at this link now!


Recent School Committee meetings can always be watched on Milton Access TV.  The next School Committee meeting is on February 26th , 2020 at 7pm. School Committee agendas and documents can be found in the School Committee tab on the front page of our website. 


Congratulations to MHS Theatre on a wonderful run of An Evening of One Act Plays. Students, staff and volunteers work so hard on these productions and I would like to recognize them here. The reviews of both The Women of Lockerbie and These Shining Lives were stellar, as fellow students, staff and community members enjoyed these shows.

A community member wrote the following  to me: Tonight my husband I went to Milton High School where we saw An Evening of One-Act Plays. I cannot even put into words how moving and powerful these shows were. The kids were AMAZING and knowing that they had mid-terms this week makes it even more impressive.

We are so lucky to have the quality of performances here in Milton from our own kids. Ten dollars  bought us two hours of top quality entertainment, close to home, in a beautiful theater.  Thank you to all who brought this theater experience to our community!



Mrs. d’Entremont’s Cunningham 5th graders have been sharing stories of unsung heroes of black history during Black History Month. After a presentation by author  Joel Gill, in January, students were inspired to undertake this project. As part of a Diversity Committee initiative, Joel Gill visited Cunningham 4th and 5th graders and shared his graphic novels about unsung heroes of black history. He spoke to students as a group and then joined each 5th grade class for a 45 minute hands-on comics workshop.

While the whole class is involved in the research and preparation, 10 students are sharing these stories over morning announcements each day. Students chose 5 of the unsung heroes that can be found in his graphic novel , Strange Fruit Volume 2 to share with the Cunningham community all week. The black Americans that were highlighted this week are: Jourdan Anderson, who requested payment from his former slave owner; Stagecoach Mary Fields, the first African-American female star route mail carrier; Willie Kennard, the Sheriff of the Colorado gold mining town of Yankee Hill; Cathay Williams, the only known female Buffalo Soldier; and Blind Tom Wiggins, an autistic musical prodigy.




Ms. Caswell’s Cunningham 4th graders have enjoyed working on their graphic biographies for Black History Month. These graphic biographies are set up as flip books focusing on the early life and accomplishments of the subjects. Students read a biography about a notable African American from history and complete questions to demonstrate what they’ve learned. The flip book is then put together in a way that you can ‘flip’ through and learn about the subject of the biography. At left, students show their flip books about Jackie Robinson and Ruby Bridges.


Collicot 3rd graders in Ms.Liz  Spitz and Mr. Rosner’s class were asked the question, “What happens when hot or cold water is put into room temperature water?” Students added red food dye to hot water and blue food dye to cold water and  then submerged them into glasses of room temperature water. The students could determine where the hot and cold water went based on where the food dye was in the container. They were excited to find that colder water stays submerged because it is more dense than room temperature water, and hot water rises to the top because it is less dense than room temperature water!


Glover 2nd graders in Ms. Rachel Spitz’s class have been working hard with Ms. Van Hill to produce stop motion animations.  In the first class, students learned what stop motion was and how to use the app Stop Motion Studio.  The students created LEGO stop motion animations that told a simple story. During the second lesson, students started to create animations that will teach others something. Students got into groups and chose a topic based on things they have been learning in class.  They started by planning out their stop motion animations by creating a story map with simple illustrations and sentences for each part of our animation. In the next step, students will be going to the Makerspace with their classes to create the props they will need to create their final animations.  Next month, students will use their story maps and props to create their final stop motion animations to share with others.


In celebration of Black History Month and partnership with the Glover Diversity Committee, Glover students have begun an exploration into influential black individuals and prominent landmarks associated with Boston’s Black History. Our intention is to educate our students on local history and prominent black figures who have ties to our area, inviting students to learn more about our local heroes and visit important landmarks right around the corner.

  • Monday: Mme. Brown’s class taught us about the ties that Martin Luther King Jr. had to Boston: Did you know he earned his Doctorate in Theology from Boston University?
  • Tuesday: Mr. Hoff’s class taught us about Horatio Julius Homer, Boston’s first black Police Officer (1878).
  • Wednesday: The fourth graders in Ms. Morris’s class taught us about WEB DuBois, American civil rights activist, leader, historian, writer, editor, poet, and scholar. He was the first African American to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1895!
  • Thursday: We learned about our first Black Boston History landmark as Ms. Craven and Ms. Renehan’s class introduced us to the home of Lewis and Harriet Hayden, escaped slaves who lived in Boston. Lewis Hayden went on to become a Massachusetts State Representative. You can visit their home at 66 Philips Street in Beacon Hill!
  • Friday: Ms. Elovich’s Kindergarten class taught us about William Monroe Trotter, Civil Rights Activist who launched “The Guardian” newspaper and was the first African-American person inducted into Phi Beta Kappa at Harvard.

In addition to researching their important figures and landmarks, students and teachers have been working hard to decorate their classroom doors to represent their person or place. Glover is slowing becoming a Black History Learning Walk – students are educated through pictures and quotes as they travel the hallways!


Bring a book, take a book! It’s book swap time at Glover! The annual February break book swap is all set up in the Glover library and has been available to eager readers all week during Library classes. During this long standing tradition, students bring up to 10 books and take up to five. To help in the process, parent volunteers come in during class library time and help students pick books that might be “just right” for them. Every student leaves with at least one new book to read over break. What a great way to keep our reading skills active while school is not in session.

The 100th day of school is a big milestone in our elementary schools and celebrated as such. Students worked on counting, sorting and building with legos in groups of 100, celebrated with art work, collaborated to form the number 100 outside, made signs, and did science projects- all around the number 100!


I have asked World Language Director Martine Fisher and Collicot Assistant Principal Zeina Hamada to share some information below about science in our French Immersion curriculum.

The teaching, in French, of mathematical, scientific, historical and social concepts advances students’ linguistic proficiency in the target language while developing their content knowledge and problem solving skills. In elementary schools, French Immersion students and English Innovation Pathway students learn science through FOSS (Full Option Science System): a research-based curriculum presenting science as an inquiry driven activity, a process for producing new knowledge (content) and strategies (practices and experiments). Students are naturally curious, which makes science an ideal subject. Science study teaches rigor and logical methods of inquiry, stimulates creative thinking and exposes students to a wide range of hands-on activities and visual materials leading to the development of content based skills, academic language and scientific vocabulary.

Science is taught in French from grades 1 through 4 in the French Immersion Program. Immersion teachers work with their English Innovation Pathway colleagues on content and pedagogy under the supervision of Ms. Lohan, Elementary Science Coordinator.  All teachers use the online components, visuals and experiment materials of the FOSS Program. In immersion, the textbooks and instructional have been translated into French. In grade one, students tackle three units: Air and Weather, Sound and Light and Plants and Animals. Second graders learn about Pebbles, Sand and Silt, Solids and Liquids and Insects and Plants.  Third graders learn about Water and Climate, Structures of Life and Motion and Matter.  The fourth grade FOSS units are Energy and Electromagnetism, Environments and Soils, Rocks and Landforms. All immersion students have science notebooks where they record and reflect – in French – on their experiments and observations

In 3rd grade Collicot students recently experimented with magnets and rotating tops to reflect on magnetism, gravity and patterns of motion during the Motion and Matter unit. Cunningham students learned during the Structures of Life unit about some of the unique features of the human body. They also learned about fingerprints: what types of fingerprints there are, how each person’s fingerprint is unique, and how to get a print of their fingerprints. At the Glover School, students recently focused on another aspect of structures of life by studying food chains. At the end of the unit, they worked in small groups to create their own food chain on land or in water. Each group presented – in French –  to the class. Correct use of scientific vocabulary and academic language was a criterion of success. At the Tucker School, students are starting the Water and Climate unit based on two essential questions: how is water involved in weather, and are weather conditions the same around the world and throughout the year? Science kits with experiment materials are rotating around the district, therefore all classes will cover the three units of the program over the school year.


Thank you to all who attended Jon Mattleman’s talk earlier this month. Jon’s website is full of valuable information and he shares his Top 15 Parenting Tips here. 

Up next in our PARENT Series we welcome Ivy Watts presenting “Breaking the Stigma of Mental Illness: How You Can Make A Difference” to be held on Tuesday March 3rd at 7:00pm in the MHS Auditorium.  

  • Learn about Ivy’s story of her struggle with her mental health as an athlete (anxiety, depression), her fear of speaking up due to the stigma around mental illness in athletics, but how speaking up saved her life.
  • Feel empowered as a parent/guardian, teacher or coach to provide support for the mental health of their children/students
  • Feel empowered to recognize the warning signs of mental health issues and how to have conversations with your child about mental health
  • Understand the importance of practicing mindfulness and how to be an advocate for yourself and others
  • Learn about the vast number of resources available in the school system, locally and online
  • This presentation would be appropriate for parents, guardians, caregivers and teachers of students ages 10 and older.


The cold and flu season is upon us and with that comes an increase in trips to the nurses offices for students. On occasion the nurse needs to reach out to families to update them on the health status of their child. At other times, your principal or Central Office may need to reach out to families to communicate school happenings and snow days. It is very important that the schools be able to reach families in these situations.

We know that on occasion a parent/guardian changes their phone number and/or email address or decides to use a different email for school business other than the one they provided  at the beginning of each school year. Please email the administrative assistant at your child’s school at any time to provide needed updates to your contact information including primary and secondary telephone numbers, new or preferred emails and your emergency contact person’s information.
Administrative Assistant Contact Info: MHS – Brad Spindle, Meghan Connors; Pierce –  Susan Higgins, Sandy Wyse; Collicot – Joanne Barker ; Cunningham School – Erica Cadigan  ; Glover School – Deb Woods; Tucker School – Eileen Keaney


We are looking forward to a fun-filled summer  at Milton Summer Enrichment!  The full MSE letter linked here will serve as the first of many communications in the upcoming months about MSE, and contains important information about our program.  In addition to updates, there are two important changes related to course registration and course payment increases found here.

MSE will be held at Milton High School and will run Monday – Friday, 8:00-12:00 from July 6 – 31, 2020. Please read the full MSE letter here with information on tuition, registration and important dates. 

We are looking forward to a fantastic summer at MSE 2020! Please be on the lookout for more communications in the coming months.  If you have questions at anytime, please  contact Ms. DesRoche and Ms. Lohan via email.


Registration is open to sign up for one of our fabulous Adult Education courses  for our spring term beginning in March. Please visit our website and scroll through our menu of courses where you will find Zumba, Restorative Yoga, Knitting, Beginner French and Intermediate French Level 3, Beginner Ukulele,  Beginner Guitar, our ever popular Pickleball courses and more! There is something for everyone to melt away the winter weather and join other like-minded adults and enjoy the spring together. Registration will be open until February 24th.


The MFE is busy planning Celebration 2020!

Join us on April 4, 2020 at Granite Links for a seated dinner, black tie optional event with dancing and amazing auction items in support of all six Milton Public Schools. We are raising funds to expand the competitive grants in all six schools and we are excited to support even more innovative requests to help MPS students learn and grow

MFE Celebration tickets are available in the coming weeks and will be $95 per person, (with discounted tables of 10 so start talking to your friends!) If you are interested in sponsoring or have an auction item, please email the MFE.


The Milton Public Schools are in need of daily substitute teachers. If you have a Bachelors degree, experience with children and a desire to help MPS students achieve, please visit our website  for details and to apply to be a daily substitute teacher. 


In addition, please see the following Legal Notice: Milton Public Schools Transportation Bid.


Sleepless in Milton? Not after March 1! The Milton Music Department is excited to announce their 6th annual mattress fundraiser on Sunday, March 1, from 10am to 5pm.
The MHS auditorium will transform into a mattress showroom during the one day only sale, with 25+ brand‐name, brand-new mattress models to test, all discounted 30 to 50% off retail. Brands include Simmons Beautyrest, Wellsville, Intellibed and Therapedic beds, which are manufactured locally here in Massachusetts.

All mattresses are made to order in all sizes and have full factory warranties. Twins start at $199, Full $289, Queen $299, King $499 and delivery or pick-up  is available 8-10 days after the sale. To give back even more to the community, teachers and school faculty, police and fire personnel, EMTs, nurses, military and veterans all receive additional offers.
Adjustable power bases, weighted blankets, body massagers, massage chairs, luxury pillows & sheets, bed frames and mattress protectors will also be sold the day of the event. Delivery, removal and financing also available. Every purchase supports the music programs.

For more information about the sale, please visit the Beds4Milton website.  Take a peek of what to expect in this video. Please see this link for a special offer.


Boys Hockey won their 5th game out of 6 last night, beating Walpole 3-1 to clinch a spot in the tournament!

Boys Basketball also punched their ticket, beating Walpole to earn their 10th win of the season.

Spring Athletics Registration is now open. See link here. Deadline is March 11th and Sports start Monday, March 16th. Tryouts are mandatory for all levels, returning students and new students. Schedule will be posted at the beginning of March on the Athletics Website.

We have officially hired our new Girls Varsity Softball Coach for this spring, Emma May. Emma comes to us with a ton of softball experience. She graduated from Milton High School in 2006 and was a part of the 2005 Sectional Champion Softball Team that is now in the MHS Athletic Hall of Fame. She went on to play Division I Softball at Loyola Marymount University in California. She has since coached softball at various levels, and is currently a private softball instructor at the David Valdez Baseball and Softball Academy in Medford, MA.

On Thursday, March 5th, the Milton High School Athletic Department will hold Team Meetings for Parents and Guardians of Spring Student-Athletes. This will take the place of the normal Parent/Guardian Meeting after tryouts as some teams have done in the past. Please make every effort to make the meeting as this is a great chance to meet the coach, learn expectations, and open a channel of communication for the season. Below is the schedule of meetings on Thursday, March 5th in the MHS Copeland Field House:

  • 5:30pm – Boys/Girls Tennis, Unified Track, Boys/Girls Crew
  • 6:00pm – Baseball, Boys/Girls Outdoor Track
  • 6:30pm – Boys/Girls Lax, Rugby

Softball will have their own meeting during tryouts in the field house at a date and time TBA.

If you have not already, please read the new Student-Athlete Handbook in preparation for the meeting. This handbook should help answer many of your questions regarding sports offered, eligibility, playing time, captains, tournament qualification, and much more. Ryan Madden, Director of Athletics, will also be in attendance at all meetings to answer any remaining questions you may have.

Lastly, as the winter season winds down, please take a few minutes to complete the winter feedback form. This feedback form for athletics will be kept live all academic year. Parents and Guardians may complete this form at any point during their season. Please click here to direct you to the form, found in the red box. It can be anonymous but it is recommended that you leave your contact information so that the Athletic Director can contact you regarding the feedback and work to improve each program.


Milton High School would like to thank the Milton High School Boosters for the purchase of 30 brand new chairs for the indoor athletic programs. These chairs are also used during graduation and is another step towards improving the branding of Milton High School!


The Commission on Disability reminds everyone,  whether you’re young or old, a Milton resident or not, healthy or ill, disabled or not disabled, please register your cell and home phones on WWW.SMART911.COM.

Milton pays for this HIPAA secured safety service which provides contact information should you be injured or unable to respond to emergency personnel. The SMART911 APP allows some information to be entered and computer entry allows more specific information such as how many people live in your home, names, ages, where your electrical panel is to shut it off in an emergency, etc.

Please email any questions to the Chair of the Commission, Diane DiTullio Agostino 


Visit the Eustis Estate during February Break on Monday 2/17 and Thursday 2/20 – Sunday 2/23!

The Eustis Estate is a spectacular 19th century house museum that sits on 80 acres of beautiful landscape, right at the base of the Blue Hills (Eustis Estate is located at  1424 Canton Avenue, Milton) This lovely estate offers up all kinds of fun for families during the Winter Break. Take a guided tour of the mansion at 11 am and 2 pm, explore the house on your own using the kiosks and tablets, stop by the craft room and create a love bug or fairy, go on a scavenger hunt adventure and be sure to visit the whimsical Fairy Village created by the Amateur Gardeners of Milton which will be on display through February 23. The grounds may be explored everyday and are open dawn till dusk. Free for Milton residents and Historic New England members, $15 non-member adult and $8 student. Please call 617-994-6600 for more information or visit the Eustis Estate website.


Milton Girl Scouts has  new Troops forming for 2020. Join us for a free, sample troop meeting for girls in K-3 to learn more! Wednesday, February 26th at 5:30pm Milton Public Library – 476 Canton Ave Questions? Contact Christine Candler at ccandler@gsema.org. All details can be found here. 

The Friends of the Milton Public Library present the ninth annual Chess-a-Palooza on Saturday April 4th,  9:30-1pm at the Milton Public Library (Keys Room lower level). Chess-a-Palooza is open to all Milton residents, Milton school students, children of Milton teachers, and returning Chess-a-Palooza players!Please join us for a fun and friendly chess tournament with International Master David Vigorito.  All details can be found here.


The Milton Public Library has programs available all month for children and families.


As part of our E-blast, we highlight students, teachers or members of the community whose hard work deserves recognition.  Please read about some of their accomplishments below:

VOLUNTEERS: Thank you to the Gavin family for their generous donation to Ms. Spitz’s Collicot 3rd grade class. The Gavins all attended Collicot and donated board games, marbles and math logic games to the class in loving memory of their dad, Jim Gavin.

STUDENT: MHS English teacher Michael Young shares that MHS junior Charlotte Lawrence recently  won a “localizing contest” award her coverage of last year’s MCAS dilemma regarding the pulled question about The Underground Railroad from the New England Scholastic Press Association headquartered at Boston University.

Charlotte won this special achievement for localizing the 2019 MCAS dilemma. Her piece “Everyone has their Stereotypes” captured MHS sophomores’ mixed emotions regarding the removal of an essay question about Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad. This exemplary work of journalism was selected among hundreds of entries from around New England. Congratulations to Charlotte as well as  to all the other members of the MHS produced Elephant in the Room who submitted work to their first writing contest. You can read Charlotte’s submission here.


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: Sara MacNeil, Ryan Madden, Marti O’Keefe McKenna, Jon Redden, Jen Rhodes,  Liz Spitz, Suzanne Caswell, Zeina Hamada,  Caroline Morton, James Jettes, Joanna Weiss, Bernadette Bentley, Tracy d’Entremont, Martine Fisher, Michael Young, Laurie Dunn and Mary Scott.

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

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