From: Mary C. Gormley
To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: August 20, 2020
FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT
This week’s post is the first of my weekly Thursday blog posts for the 2020-21 school year. If you are new to the Milton Public Schools, I welcome you to what I hope will be a multi-year partnership as we work together toward the common goal of providing an excellent and equitable education for each one of our 4497 current Milton Public Schools students.
In a typical year, I would be reminding families and staff of important upcoming dates, as well as sharing interesting summer program updates, fun summer reading pictures and logistical details. While the beginning of this school year is vastly different, much of the logistics of opening our schools remains the same.
There will be Principal emails and welcoming activities, the much anticipated classroom and cohort assignments, new school supplies to purchase, and 1st days of school for all of our students and staff. Each of these will look and feel differently than they have in the past and it is our job – parents/guardians, administrators, teachers and staff – to work together to make our new (and temporary) normal feel welcoming and safe for our students.
In the coming days, you will hear more about Protect the Paw, our MPS effort to energize the Milton community around making decisions that will allow our students and staff to begin the school year in the safest possible environment. Small decisions that we all make every day can have a big impact on the health and safety metrics in the Town of Milton.
In addition, we’ll share education and resources about masks, hand hygiene, technology support, social emotional well being, MPS building safety measures and more as we prepare for our students and staff to return to school.
I know that by working together we can achieve the goal of a safe return to school and I look forward to partnering with you in the weeks and months ahead.
RETURN TO SCHOOL UPDATES
The Return to School Milton website continues to be the hub for all Return to School information. You can read details on our Hybrid/Remote Choice model, which is how we will begin the school year. If you have not chosen Hybrid or Remote for your child, please email your child’s principal ASAP to make this choice. Cohorts and schedules are being developed now.
Transportation: Given the significant restrictions placed on the number of students who can ride a bus at any given time (33% of normal capacity), we are recommending that parents/guardians of students who do not qualify for transportation under state law should plan to make other transportation arrangements as the number of available seats beyond those required by law will likely be very small, if available at all.
State law requires that transportation be provided for students in grades K to 6 who live 2 miles or more from school.Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
Our FAQs are updated regularly and you can often find answers to your questions here.
What is the 1st day of school? Can I make a cohort request for my child? Can we borrow a Chromebook? These answers and many more can be found in the FAQs.
The next School Committee meeting will be on August 26, 2020 at 7pm and all School Committee meetings can be watched on Milton Access TV. In the days leading up to each meeting, call in/log in information is available on the Town of Milton website.
SCHOOL SPECIFIC INFORMATION
The 20/21 school year starts on Monday, August 31 for staff, on Wednesday, September 16 for grade 1-12 students and on Monday, September 21 for our kindergarten and preschool students. On Friday, September 4 and Monday, September 7, the Milton Public Schools is closed for Labor Day weekend. Follow our MPS Facebook page and MPS Twitter account for news and information throughout the year. The full MPS calendar can be found here.
You will find school specific contact information below. School based welcoming activities will be shared by each Principal in the coming weeks.
MILTON HIGH SCHOOL
Principal Mr. James Jette and Assistant Principals Mr. Ben Kelly and Mr. Brian Mackinaw
Administrative Assistants Mrs. Maureen Kennedy and Mr. Brad Spindle and Ms. Meghan Connors
MHS Athletic Website
Principal Mr. William Fish and Assistant Principals Dr. Nick Fitzgerald and Ms. Janice Mazzola
Administrative Assistants Mrs. Sandy Wyse and Mrs. Susan Higgins
6th grade welcome activities will take place during the school day during the 1st weeks of school
Pierce PTO email contact
Pierce PTO Facebook page
Principal Dr. Jon Redden and Assistant Principal Mrs. Bernadette Butler
Administrative Assistant Ms. Erica Cadigan
Cunningham PTO email
Cunningham School Twitter
Cunningham School Instagram
Principal Dr. Elaine McNeil-Girmai and Assistant Principal Ms. Kristen Driscoll
Administrative Assistant Mrs. Eileen Keaney
Tucker School Supply lists
Tucker PTO email contact
Tucker PTO Facebook page
UPDATE ON MPS ANTI-RACISM WORK
The Milton Public Schools invites parents, guardians and staff to apply for positions on the new Anti-Racism Action Team. This group will be charged with drafting an Anti-Racism Action Plan to guide the district’s work moving forward in diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, with a particular focus on anti-racism. After the Action Plan is reviewed by our staff and community, the Action Team will present to the School Committee. The Action Team will continue to play an important role in supporting implementation, as well as monitoring and reporting quarterly to the School Committee.
The job description on the new senior leadership position, Director of Educational Equity, as well as dates for community conversations among parents, staff, and community members about diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and anti-racism in MPS will be included in an upcoming blog.
We have created a new section on the MPS website, highlighting recent, ongoing, and upcoming work related to building an anti-racism school district. The pages will continue to be updated as our work in diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging expands and accelerates in the months ahead.
Please see below from Administrator for Pupil Personnel Services, Sue Maselli.
Many thanks to the staff and families who made our ESY program such a success. I appreciate the positive feedback and will continue to address any issues that arose.
By now you have indicated your preference for your student’s return to school. A few notes: Students with a level of need 3 or 4 will attend school daily until the all school dismissal time (before lunch, time varies by school). Students with a level of need 1 or 2 will attend a hybrid schedule in an assigned cohort. Long term planning includes consideration for level 4 students to attend school in person for a longer day.
As we move into fall, your team chair will be in touch regarding inclusion schedules for students who attend daily to address how those inclusion services will be provided, given that we are trying to minimize cross exposure. There are several options to discuss, and this will be a work in progress as we return to the classroom.
Our next special education parent coffee will be on Friday, August 28 at 9:30. Join the Zoom Meeting here: ID: 77697687517; Password: r4l6LDl26s
We would also like to welcome two Team Chairs to our department.
- Gabriela Diller will be the new Team Chair at Milton High School. She begins this fall and you can reach her at email@example.com
- Holly St. Peter joins us at Pierce Middle School as the 6th grade Team Chair. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tracy Grandeau will continue to chair all of grades 7 and 8 and the specialized programs for grade 6
Pierce Principal Bill Fish recently sent an update to all Pierce families which you can read below.
After several months of uncertainty and questions around what the district’s plans for reopening school would look like, we now have a decision. I realize that families have weighed a variety of factors to inform the decision to have their children return to school in person or remotely. I respect every family’s choice.
We all desperately want to get back to normal. However, the reality is that this school year will be quite different than any other year. We will have teachers and students working and learning both in school and remotely. When we are in school, we will be wearing masks and maintaining physical distancing between one another. School days, bell schedules, and class periods will be altered significantly from what we once knew. There will be new sets of procedures and protocols to facilitate the day. There will be challenges, but a commitment to safety, well being, and learning will remain at the center of our work.
A great deal of information has been shared with families regarding the district’s school reopening plan. The district’s full reopening plan can be found here. I will remain in contact with families in the coming weeks to provide you with ongoing updates relative to the opening of the new school year. I hope you find the general information below helpful.
INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS
I hope you were able to visit the recent Sensory Sidewalk at Tucker. The pictures below do not do it justice – it was a creative and fun way to get our students moving. Thank you to Inclusion Specialist Maureen Butler for adding this to the Tucker summer calendar and thank you to our student chalk artists, Max Mitchell and Rose Gillooly as well as to Tucker art teacher Jess Gillooly for their contributions to the Sensory Sidewalk.
Great news from the Milton Public Library!
With the start of school in Milton being pushed back, we at the Milton Public Library are pleased to report that the 2020 Summer Reading Challenge has been EXTENDED until September 16! More time to log your minutes, write reviews of the books you read, and complete activities.
This also means that we are going to push back the drawings, to give all of our readers time to earn as many tickets as possible. Drawings for all of our cool summer reading prizes will take place on September 12
The MPL offers fun and FREE virtual programs for kids almost every day of the week – and we’re adding a few extra to keep kids busy in the first half of September while you’re waiting for school to start. Keep an eye on our program calendar for information about how to register for crafts, STEM activities, storytimes, book club, and more!
We have so enjoyed seeing many of our families at our weekly meals to-go pick up every Wednesday at Tucker and MHS from 8-9am and 5-6pm. Thanks to a just received waiver from the USDA, we are able to continue our grab and go meals on Wednesdays through the beginning of school.
When school resumes, all students will have the opportunity to pick up grab and go meals as they leave school each day. Students who apply and qualify for free and reduced meals will receive to go meals for free or at the reduced price. The Free and Reduced meal application can be found here.
Additional food resources can be found here. MPS families in need of support at anytime are encouraged to email MPS Family Outreach Liaison Marti O’Keefe McKenna via email at or by phone at 617-980-7343.
Elementary Families: If you have not had a chance to take the technology survey emailed to all elementary families on Wednesday, the MPS Return to School Technology Subcommittee asks that you and your student(s) complete this Elementary Technology Survey. Please complete the first five questions and then ask your student to complete the remainder of the questions. Younger students may need help completing the survey. Thank you for your help and support.
Secondary Families: In an effort to improve students’ remote learning experience, we ask that you have your student(s) check their MPS Gmail account to take a short technology survey that was emailed to them on Wednesday. Thank you for your help and support.
We invite you to visit the Milton Public Schools new Family Technology Support Help Center website. This site was created after hearing the feedback MPS families provided. The site provides information on PlusPortal, Google: Clever: Guardian Monitoring, and Who to Contact.
Please see below from MPS Athletic Director Ryan Madden.
As many of you may have heard, DESE and the MIAA have released their guidelines and recommendations for returning to Athletics. Just like the EEA and DESE guidelines for return to school, they are guidelines, not official plans. There is still work to do in our Athletic District 7, Bay State Conference, and Milton Public Schools to finalize a plan for returning to athletics.
I would ask for patience while we make these decisions. We will be receiving input from our Athletics Return-to-School Task Force, and making a recommendation to the Superintendent in the next two-three weeks. If you have any questions/comments/concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to Ryan Madden, Director of Athletics, at email@example.com. Registration information will be sent to families ASAP. You have not missed registration.
In the meantime, I would urge you all to have your son/daughter get a physical. The State has not waived the requirement for a valid physical to play sports, meaning students will not be able to play without a valid physical within 13 months.
Also, be sure to check out our Twitter (@MHS_Wildcats_) for our summer-long countdown of our #MHSTop32 Moments in MHS History. Number one will be revealed today!
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.