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.

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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. 

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!

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.

TRANSPORTATION

We will be processing refunds owed to families for bus fees for the spring of 2020 when the Milton Public Schools moved to a remote model.  Families who paid the transportation fee are due a $90 refund per rider with a maximum of $180 per family.  These refunds are only available to families who paid to have students ride the bus in the 2019-2020 school year and are NOT currently paid riders for this school year.

Please complete the form below for each rider in your family owed a refund (maximum of two submissions per family) by October 15. All refunds will be by check and mailed from Town Hall.

The Transportation Refund  form 2019-2020 can be found here. Please forward questions to Rachel Schewe at bus@miltonps.org.

 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.

 

A 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 

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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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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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.

SUPERINTENDENT SHOUTOUT 

Jack and Jai on the road!

Thank you to Milton High School student athletes Jai Twyman and Jack Haley, captains of the MHS boys crew team, who raised $3,800 to benefit MHS students who want to participate in the sport of rowing and need help with the open water sport’s expenses. Jai and Jack rode their bicycles 145 miles from Concord, New Hampshire, to Newport, Rhode Island, over the Labor Day weekend.

Jai and Jack raised money so members of the community who would not otherwise have access to the crew program can be afforded the opportunity to row. Jack and Jai said, “While crew has been an awesome experience for the both of us, we realize that it is too expensive for the vast majority of students to enjoy.”

This ride was their chance to give back to the sport that has given them so much. A scholarship fund has been set up at Friends of Milton Crew/Neponset Rowing Club with the $3,800 raised to date, which will help ensure that the sport of crew in Milton is more accessible to all.

We are proud of Jai and Jack’s efforts to make the sport of rowing more accessible for their MHS classmates.

Thank you to my blog contributors this week: Kim Coughlin, Jen Van Hill, AJ Melanson, Sara MacNeil, Bernadette Butler, Ellen Lohan, Jackie Morgan, Marti O’Keefe McKenna, Rachel Schewe, Ada Rosmarin, and Liddie Sutter.

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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