October 1, 2020

To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
From: James F. Jette
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: October 1, 2020

FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT

As we settle into the school year, I want to call your attention to several important topics below.

This week we have had three positive Covid -19 cases in the Milton Public Schools. I ask that we all take personal responsibility and remain vigilant in helping to stop the spread of Covid-19 within our schools and community. We all must:

  • Limit social gatherings
  • Wear a mask
  • Practice consistent hand hygiene
  • Social distance from those not in our immediate family
  • Not share materials, food, etc.

We need to remain vigilant to these proven safety practices at all times, including evenings, weekends, and holidays. Your cooperation is absolutely necessary to maintain our current in person school schedule.

Living within the construct of Covid-19, we will likely experience more positive cases in the Milton Public Schools. With the health and safety of our students and staff paramount, we will continue to enforce our many safety protocols already in place  – mask wearing, cohorts and assigned seating for contact tracing, enhanced cleaning, ventilation, health screening, quarantine requirements –  to reduce the risk of spread within our schools. We will follow our Milton Public Schools COVID-19 Positive Case Process with all positive cases. Please contact Kimberly Coughlin, Director of Nursing with any questions.

Our MPS COVID Metrics Advisory Team meets regularly and as needed to review metrics and to address positive cases. Members include James Jette, Kim Coughlin, Dr. Patricia Guglietta, Caroline Kinsella, Dr. Patricia Janulewicz Lloyd, Dr. Jon Pincus, Dr. Maryann Dakkak, Dr. Geoff Walford, Ada Rosmarin, Amy Tom, Dyanne Crowley, and Karen McDavitt. As discussed in my last blog post, the team will continue to review health metrics as the school year progresses.

The identity of any positive cases is not shared with metrics team members. Due to privacy requirements, we do not release the name of the individual or details that may identify them.

If a student is asked to quarantine, they will be able to live stream into their class(es) on days of in school learning only, if they are well enough to do so. If a student is not well enough to attend virtually, that student will work with individual teachers to make up work as appropriate.

All families and staff must complete the MPS Daily Health Screening every school day and all families must submit a signoff agreeing to this. Please see Health and Safety below for more information.

SCHOOL COMMITTEE

The next School Committee meeting will be on October 7, 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.

HEALTH AND SAFETY

A vital element of ensuring the health and well-being of our students and staff this year is the MPS Daily Health Screening.

All families and staff in the Milton Public Schools are required to perform this health screening every school day. Please take a moment now to familiarize yourself with the MPS Pre-Screening Checklist. If your child has any of these symptoms, they must be tested for COVID-19 (SARS CoV-2) and submit a negative test to their school nurse; or have a medical clearance note submitted to the school nurse, or complete the required quarantine before returning to school.  Students should not return to school until cleared by the school nurse.

Please click this link by Monday, October 5, 2020, to verify that you have received, read through, and understand the requirements of the MPS Daily Health Screening. You must verify receipt separately (by completing this link) for each child who attends the Milton Public Schools.  Please continue to work with the MPS community to Protect the Paw.

IMPORTANT UPCOMING DATES

School Virtual Open House – Each of our schools will host a virtual Open House over the next two weeks. Dates are found below under Important Dates 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 1 Glover Virtual Open House
Oct 6 Tucker Virtual Open House
Oct 7 School Committee Meeting
Oct 8 Cunningham Virtual Open House
Oct 12 Columbus Day, No School
Oct 13 Pierce 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 

What’s in a typical MPS take home lunch and breakfast bag? A lot of great food!

All details on pick up can be found in this link. Students and families have two options  – grab and go (several breakfasts and lunches) as they leave school on their in-person days or once a week pick up (at MHS near the field house doors behind the school) of multiple breakfasts and lunches on Wednesday at MHS from 12:30-1:30. So that students and staff can safely exit MHS, please do not arrive for weekly meal pick up before 12:15 on Wednesdays. We appreciate your cooperation, and we hope you and your student will take advantage of our lunch and breakfast options this fall!

Due to an extension by the USDA, all meals will be free to all students through December 2020. Please consider trying a grab and go meal on your students in person days or visiting our drive through on Wednesdays.

TECHNOLOGY

Elementary Tech Night: Wednesday, October 7th at 6 pm. Parents/Guardians will be able to attend three different sessions: Google Classroom, Meet, and Seesaw.   Each session will be offered three times (the same content will be covered in each session) allowing parents/guardians the opportunity to attend all three sessions.  We will also offer IT support.  If you have a question with regard to your student’s Chromebook/connecting to wifi please click the link below to ask an IT question.  Each session will have a 250 participant capacity.

6:00 pm – 6:15 pm – Breakout Session 1

6:20 pm – 6:35 – Breakout Session 2

6:40 pm – 6:55 pm – Breakout Session 3

6:00 pm – 6:55 pm  – IT Support – link to ask an IT question.

We understand that the School Committee has a meeting that will start at 7 pm.  Parents/guardians do not need to attend all three sessions.  However, if you choose to attend all three sessions the final session will end promptly at 6:55 pm allowing participants and presenters five minutes to get ready for the School Committee meeting.  Each session will be recorded and posted for families who have a conflict.

Google Classroom: All teachers in grades two through twelve in the Milton Public Schools use Google Classroom to help manage their class(es).  It is a common misconception that family members can join a Google Classroom.  Only students and staff in the miltonps.org domain have the right to join a Google Classroom.  Teachers can invite family members to receive Guardian Summaries.  Guardian Summaries allow families to see class activities, upcoming work, and missing work.  For more information on Guardian Summaries please click here.

Families have asked how to help their students turn in assignments on Google Classroom. Here are instructions on how a student can turn in an assignment on Google Classroom.

Here are some more resources to help families better understand Google Classroom: Common Sense Media’s Ultimate Guide to Google Classroom; Google Classroom Cheat Sheet for Students

Google Accounts: Need your child’s school Google username and password? Please email your child’s classroom teacher if they are in elementary school.  Please contact Jess Royster if your child is in middle school and JT if your child is in high school.

Technology Troubleshooting: Can’t hear the speaker on Google Meet? Camera isn’t working? Before you email for help with your school issued Chromebook, please check out the Troubleshooting Guide on the Family Tech Support website.  If you still can’t solve the issue, please email helpdesk@miltonps.org.

Password not working? All school issued passwords are 8-digits long. If the password you were given by your classroom teacher is not 8-digits, please add zeros in front of it to make it 8-digits.  If it is still not working, please contact the following people to reset your child’s password. Elementary – Jen Van Hill; Pierce – Jess Royster; MHS – JT

Please include all of the following when requesting a password reset to make for a faster process: child’s full name, homeroom teacher, and school.  

HIGH SCHOOL HAPPENINGS 

Some of the Debate Team practices earlier this year.

Congratulations to the MHS Debate Team on an excellent showing at last weekend’s Massachusetts Debate League tournament. With over 130 contestants, Ralph Destin and Bradan O’Loughlin took third place in the Varsity tournament. Ralph and Kiera Glazer, competing at the junior varsity level, earned a speaker award.

In addition, Anderson Korman, Jonathan Waldmann, Bradan O’Louhglin, and Ralph Destin all competed and won enough debates to earn bids for the Massachusetts State Tournament at the end of the year. What a way to start the season!

This month’s debate team topic was Resolved: The United States federal government should enact the Medicare-For-All Act of 2019. The team is debating the same topic this weekend in the Yale Tournament, a tournament they would not have been able to attend if not remote.

Kevin Rasch, VP of Government Affairs at Harvard Pilgrim Health, spent some time with members of the team this week. He shared the following  ” It really was a great experience for me. Renews my faith in humanity and this country when I see kids of that caliber and know they are the future. Thanks for letting me have that experience.”

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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 this most recent communication dated 9/29/20 to the Pierce community from Principal Fish to stay up to date on all things Pierce.

INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

During the summer break, Glover staff created DonorsChoose projects to acquire a series of books that focus on promoting social and emotional wellbeing, diversity and inclusion. The collection is available to all Glover teachers who might be interested in using any of the stories in their SEL lessons. The books can be used individually with our students in counseling sessions or more broadly in classrooms if teachers find that a particular story might be helpful for a lesson that they are teaching. The hope is that students will see some of their personal experiences reflected in these books and the stories will also help them to consider the experiences of others.

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Kindergarten Days are here! During the week of October 4,  the sponsors listed here will offer free gifts or discounts to children who are entering kindergarten this fall when they visit wearing their bright yellow “I’m Going To Kindergarten!” t-shirt. Participating businesses will display a special sign in their window to remind you to visit them. You don’t need to turn anything in to take advantage of the offers – but your child must be present, entering kindergarten in September, and wearing his or her yellow Kindergarten t-shirt. As you visit our sponsors, please join us in thanking each of them for their support of Milton’s young school children!

COMMUNITY SCHOOLS 

ASE Virtual Enrichment Fun! Our students are having a great time learning and creating in our online classes. Harry Potter Art Class, Yoga, Drawing Class, Seasonal Art, Cooking class, and more are all on the ASE calendar this year. We’ve got Harry Potter’s Golden Snitch, english muffin pizzas, votive candles, and more. Take a look below to see what they’ve been up to!

SPECIAL EDUCATION 

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

Parent Series: All are invited to participate in a parent series for parents/guardians of students in grades 6-12 that will focus on how parents can support their children as they navigate through their Hybrid/Remote learning schedule. This series 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 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.  Please use this link to register. 

Please click here for a Financial Planning Toolkit for parents of children with Autism.

MassMATCH  is the Commonwealth’s Initiative to Maximize Assistive Technology in Consumer’s Hands. MassMATCH assists individuals with disabilities, family members, and disability-related providers, agencies, and organizations across the state with getting AT through the following programs: device demonstration program, device short term loan program, device re-utilization program, and state financing activities. The MassMATCH website provides a wealth of information on AT services for people of all ages with disabilities. You can also call the Mass Assistive Technology Helpline: 877-508-3974; Voice: 617-204-3851; TDD: 617-204-3815 or reach them via email at info@massmatch.org.

SEPAC News: The SEPAC will be meeting its first meeting of the school year via Zoom on Wednesday, October 7th from 7-9pm. We will be discussing information about the SEPAC board election, including a description of each board position. Following that, we will have an open forum during which parents can ask questions about the SEPAC, as well as ask questions or share comments about Special Education in Milton. We look forward to seeing many new faces at the meeting. Zoom information on joining the meeting can be found here.

Inclusion Task Force (ITF): The inclusion task force is a group of parents, school staff, and community members who meet to ensure that the Milton Public Schools are a welcoming place for students of all abilities. The purpose of the ITF is to foster authentic relationships in schools and the broader community for our students with disabilities and to promote awareness of inclusive opportunities throughout the school district and community.

The first remote meeting of the 2020-2021 school year will be on October 19 from 4-5pm. Please contact Elementary Inclusion Specialist Maureen Butler if you are interested in joining the task force meeting. All are welcome!

SOCIAL EMOTIONAL HEALTH

I have asked our district wide team of Adjustment Counselors to share mental health resources with you each week. This installment is from MHS  Adjustment  Counselor Kenny Adelman.

As parents/guardians of students in the Milton Public Schools, it can be easy to overlook your own personal needs for those of the child you are caring for. Caring for yourself is one of the most important aspects of being a caregiver. When you are able to effectively care for yourself, your child benefits too. Here are a handful of strategies to help recognize and manage caregiver burnout.

Setting Realistic Goals And Focus On What You Can Provide: With remote learning in effect at every Milton Public School, there is an emphasis now more than ever on caregivers to be involved in their students’ learning. There can be pressure to feel like you have to know everything that your student knows. It’s important to recognize that this isn’t realistic. Focus on your students’ learning process, rather than the content itself. When you are able to alleviate some of the pressure on yourself, your students will feel that too.

Get Connected: An increasing number of caregivers I’ve connected with share the same concern during the pandemic – Is my child too isolated? I share that same concern with the caregivers who are worried themselves. Now more than ever, it’s difficult to feel connected. Take some time to reflect on when you feel connected, and how you can continue to prioritize those situations.

Lean On Your Support System: Asking for help never feels easy. So often my meetings at the High School include working with students on identifying, growing, and utilizing their support systems when they need additional help. As caregivers, there can be the tendency to disregard the need for additional support for yourself when your children may need it too. Prioritize your needs, as well as those of your child, and lean on those who care about you too. Nobody is exempt from needing additional support at times.

Self Care: Self care is essential, but not always easy. We work with our students to balance work and play, and we should adhere to that as well. Remember, self care shouldn’t be something you “earn”. It should be something in both you and your child’s day, even if it feels like just a moment of time. Self care should be flexible as so often life gets in the way, but that doesn’t mean you can’t consistently make it a priority.

Take a minute to reflect on the incredible and selfless work you do with those you care about, not only over the last six months. So often we teach children about self-compassion, but we too have that responsibility for ourselves.

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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 Sheridan, Kelly Dearing(Pierce); Heather Kantrowitz (Cunningham) Elizabeth Caruso (Collicot); Lisa Stahl (Tucker) Brian Powers, Christine Howley (Glover)

In addition to our adjustment counselors please feel free to reach out to our district Family Outreach Liaison, Marti O’Keefe McKenna at mmckenna@miltonps.org or 617 980 7343 for family resources.   All updates on Family Resources – food, heating assistance, health insurance, financial assistance, contacts – can be found at this link.

TRANSPORTATION UPDATE 

Thank you to all the MPS families for your patience with the challenges and delays in transporting your students to and from school. All bus passes for students who have been assigned seats have been distributed to schools and students. A reminder that no student will be allowed on the bus without a physical pass in their possession, must wear a mask, must sit in their assigned seat, and may only ride on their assigned route.

If you are in possession of a bus pass for your student and no longer plan to utilize it, please email bus@miltonps.org to notify us and return the pass to school. We have families on waiting lists for the limited seats on buses.

We will begin billing for transportation this week and next. Fees to ride are $275 per student with a family maximum of $550 except for students in grades K to 6 who live two miles or more from school who ride free. Credits to these fees will be applied where applicable. Students who qualify for free or reduced lunch do not pay transportation fees.

We will begin processing refunds from the spring of 2020 for families who did not ride this fall in mid October. Please watch for communications from the Transportation Department.

MILTON FOUNDATION FOR EDUCATION 

The Milton Foundation for Education recognizes that 2020-2021 is unlike any other school year in its more than 20 year history. In response, 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 30th at 5PM. Please find more information including the grant guidelines and application here.

ATHLETICS

Please see this link for a full fall athletics update from Athletic Director Ryan Madden. 

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

The Milton Boosters Fall Pop-Up store is open and can be found at this link. Be sure to support our student athletes and get your Milton swag at the same time. Act quickly – the pop-up store closes Friday night.

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

 

COMMUNITY NEWS 

It won’t be like the last 3, but the 4th annual Mike’s 5K is still on!  No big gathering this year, but we want to keep the momentum going.  Mike’s 5K to Crush Substance Abuse raises funds to erase stigma, spread awareness, strengthen treatment programs, and demonstrate the power of community and friendship in the battle against substance abuse.  Significant funds support Milton youth prevention programs.  As always, we do this to honor Mike Mulcahy and his family, as well as others who have struggled with addiction or loved someone who has struggled with addiction. 

Team MSAPC will be starting our walk/run as a physically distant- mask wearing group on Saturday, October 17th, at 9am, following the same route that leaves from Cunningham School.  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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Join the Milton Art Center  for a wonderful nature-inspired virtual open house filled with artwork, activities, and fun for all ages on Saturday, October 3 from 10-11am

Teacher Camille DeMarco will walk students through how to create an environmental art piece inspired by artist Andy Goldsworthy’s work. This is the perfect activity to get outside and enjoy this beautiful fall weather and create art! Drop into Zoom for an exciting free virtual experience filled with creative family fun!

The event is free. Please register here by – TODAY –  October 1 for the zoom link.

The Milton Art Center is offering in person classes through the end of October and Zoom online art classes, to view: Milton Art Center children’s classes.

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The Milton Public Library offers many children’s programs virtually every week.  See all the fun offerings here.

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Brookwood Community Farm updates:

  • Last chance this week for SNAP applications for fall farm shares.  The form can be found here.  
  • CSA pickup on Tuesdays and Thursdays is now 1-5:30 and there will be 4 pickups through Nov 2.
  • The Farm Stand is open Tuesdays and Thursdays 1-5:30 pm and Saturdays 9am-1pm until Thanksgiving at 11 Blue Hill River Rd, Canton – found between Houghton’s Pond and 138 in DCR’s Blue Hills Reservation.
  • Thanksgiving Sale details will be on the website soon.  
  • 2021 CSA shares will be for sale before the end of 2020.

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Thank you to my blog contributors this week: Kim Coughlin, Susan Maselli, AJ Melanson, Kathleen Kelley, Jackie Morgan, Jen Van Hill, Marti O’Keefe McKenna, Javana Samuels, and Brian Powers.

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.

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