To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
From: James F. Jette
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: November 5, 2020
FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT
As I write to you, our country awaits the results of a highly charged presidential election. We recognize that in this political environment, the stakes are high, and many of us are deeply passionate about the issues at hand. In a community composed of people with different viewpoints, we will undoubtedly encounter people whose opinions may not only be different from ours, but may even seem offensive, prejudicial, and out of step with our own values. As objectionable as these viewpoints may be to us, they do not negate our shared responsibility to maintain a safe and civil learning environment focused on your children’s – our students’ – academic growth and social-emotional well-being.
In addition to the tremendous challenges presented by the COVID virus, there is no question that the highly charged political climate in our country can have a significant impact on our students, our schools, and the educational process. Elections at the state and federal levels, as well as the complex issues related to racial injustice, can be very polarizing and often lead to heated discussions among educators, families, and students. At the Milton Public Schools, we adhere to the relevant policies and guidelines when approaching these topics, strive to foster thoughtful academic discourse, protect the rights of those involved, and ensure safe, inclusive learning environments.
Our educational system is designed not to tell students what to think about issues, but rather, how to gather and examine information, think critically, engage with their peers, and draw informed conclusions. This year in particular, with so many members of our community feeling the anxiety and strain of the COVID-19 pandemic, we must be more vigilant than ever about creating school cultures rooted in empathy and support rather than conflict and opposition.
The Milton Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition is hosting a valuable resource for parents/guardians on Tuesday, November 10 from 4-5:30pm. Are you wondering how can we come together as a community to prevent adversity, support families, and promote resiliency in children? Register now for this important and informative webinar with Dr. Christopher Jones from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. This webinar is hosted by the MSPAC, with funding from a federal Drug Free Communities grant and support from BID Hospital-Milton. It is free and open to the public.
If you have questions or concerns about these matters, please contact me directly. I am truly grateful to the members of this community for demonstrating kindness, compassion, and decency during these incredibly challenging times.
Thank you to the many parents and guardians who attended this week’s School Committee meeting and to those who spoke and sent follow up emails. I appreciate your engagement. We would all like to have our students in school more, as I have stated, that is just not possible at this time. We will continue to reassess the health metrics, the DESE guidelines, and the issues specific to the Milton Public Schools as the school year progresses.
I encourage you to regularly watch Milton School Committee meetings. Now that so much of our world takes place virtually, there are even more ways to watch. You can watch live on Milton Access TV online, live on Milton Access cable channels (Comcast 22, RCN 15), via Zoom (link to attend found on the Town of Milton SC page), or on-demand in the days following the meeting.
The next School Committee meeting will be on November 18, 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.
MPS GOOD NEWS
Have an MPS Good News story to share? Please do so here and we will share it in an upcoming communication. Today I am very happy to share a few teacher and staff compliments we have recently received.
Mrs. Delaney is an amazing rock star with endless patience and positivity. She has been consistently supportive and helpful in guiding her students to learning in a totally new world, making sure to figure out technology and to meet the varying needs of kindergartners at the same time.
Ms. Morton invests a lot of time in planning and is very organized and prepares the children for their weekly events especially during remote learning time. Her thoughtful strategy has helped to build confidence in my child! She also has worked to establish strong relationships with the children as well as working to ensure that they’re comfortable navigating all of the tools. Finally, she keeps them very engaged during remote class time and is creative with the movement breaks. I feel so fortunate and happy for my child that they are receiving such a wonderful school experience despite a pandemic. Keep up the great work- it’s paying off, and we are thankful for you, Ms. Morton!!
The staff at Tucker is working so hard and it shows! Our kids and our staff are resilient, creative, patient, and working their tails off to make the best of a bad situation. We see our boys smiling, laughing, and learning every day. In that way, nothing has changed!
My daughter is a 6th grader at Pierce and I am very grateful for how the teachers and staff have helped her with the transition to middle school. Her nerves on the first few days have disappeared and she is excited to be part of the Pierce community. Teachers have been extremely responsive and supportive and when we have had to switch to fully remote it has been seamless.
IMPORTANT UPCOMING DATES
- Nov 11 Veterans Day, No School
- Nov 12 Parent/Teacher Conferences, Grades 6-12
- Nov 25-27 Thanksgiving Recess
There are two ways to take advantage of the FREE TO ALL to-go breakfasts and lunches this year.
Weekly Pick Up: Weekly pick up is 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.
Weekly Pick Up will be available EVERY Wednesday in November, including the Wednesdays when there is no school at MPS – November 11, Veterans Day and November 25 (Wednesday before Thanksgiving).
Grab and Go: Encourage your student to check out our to go lunch and breakfast bags. They (and you!) will not be disappointed. Multiple breakfasts, lunches, and snacks are included in each bag. Students can take a grab and go bag with several breakfasts and lunches as they leave school each day.
HEALTH AND SAFETY
As you are aware, Governor Baker has instituted new advisories to help stop the spread of COVID-19. These new advisories, specifically the new mask advisory, will not affect our planned mask breaks throughout the day. Our mask breaks are protected under the school exemption for mask removal and will continue with safety modifications.
Per the Commonwealth of Massachusetts guidelines, all students will be expected to have received a flu vaccine by December 31, 2020 for the 2020-2021 influenza season, unless either a medical or religious exemption is provided. Elementary and secondary students in districts and schools that are using a remote education model are not exempt.
Please email documentation of your child’s flu vaccination to your child’s school nurse.
HIGH SCHOOL HAPPENINGS
In Foundations of Art, Milton High School student artists recently created collage covers for their sketchbooks.
The Milton Public Library is in need
of some high school volunteers this season. There are quite a few openings for both afterschool and weekend slots. All details can be found here and the application form can be found here.
Mme. Radwan shared these pictures of the results of a recent French Club meeting. Students baked French apple pies while speaking French and connecting virtually. Mme Radwan shares that it was one of the most successful (and delicious!) clubs she has ever had!
The Pierce Adjustment Counselors are excited to offer a Google Classroom again this school year. Twice weekly, they will post valuable activities, exercises and videos that promote mindfulness and enhance social/emotional well-being and learning. The classroom code is luzd6uw and all are welcome to access the content. Please feel free to reach out to our Pierce Adjustment Counselors – Kelly Dearing email@example.com, Myriam Francoeur firstname.lastname@example.org, Kara Sheridan email@example.com – at any time with questions or for more resources.
INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS
Ms. Aldrich’s Cunningham 2nd graders recently brought their book Creepy Carrots to life. While being safe and socially distanced and using their own materials, students worked together to develop a plan to create a fence to keep the creepy carrots inside the garden.
How many seeds are in Ms. Coates’ pumpkin? These Glover 2nd graders are having fun skip counting, estimating, streaming live into the classroom, and being matheMAGICIANS!
Book Character Day was a BIG hit at Tucker last week even though Ms. Frossard was a bit crabby and Mssr. Leite had quite the roar! Students enjoyed dressing up and sharing their favorite books with classmates.
Ms. Johnson’s Cunningham 3rd graders got out the vote last week! Students wrote letters to our elected leaders (Governor or President) and used big vocabulary words as they discussed how elections work. Everyone visited the voting booth and received a sticker for voting.
Collicot Kindergarten students enjoyed studying pumpkins last week! Students measured the height of pumpkins, and made predictions about whether pumpkins would float or sink and water and the number of seeds inside. Kindergarten students in Mrs. Giffune’s class were surprised to find a pumpkin with 614 seeds!
The sun was out this week and so were these Cunningham 5th graders!
Mrs. Steuterman’s and Ms. Staker’s class played socially distant
shadow games as part of the Earth and Sun unit.
Tucker artists captured the fall beauty at Tucker this week.
Administrator for Pupil Personnel Services, Sue Maselli shares the following information for all families.
What is the Student Support Team (SST)? Student Support Teams (SST) are a resource within the Milton Public Schools that parents and staff may access when they have concerns about a student’s learning. SSTs are designed to support students both by anticipating and preventing issues before they occur and by providing interventions and/or resources when issues do arise. SST is available to all students in the Milton Public Schools. Each school building has a team that meets to support students and team members include teachers, building administrators, and related providers.
The SST team reflects Massachusetts’ Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s (DESE) guidance to ensure all students have access to effective Teaching and Learning by implementing a model of Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS). MTSS ensures teaching and learning is monitored to ensure student learning needs are met.
To facilitate this process, the SST Team has a guidance document, the District Curriculum Accommodation Plan (DCAP) linked here that outlines strategies for individual learning styles under a model of Universal Design for Learning (UDL). The DCAP is used to guide administraters, department heads and teachers in ensuring that all possible efforts are made to meet a wide range of student learning styles and needs in the general education classroom.
The Individualized Curriculum Accommodation Plan (ICAP) is a document that can be created at SST to identify accommodations or action steps that will occur to meet the needs of the individual student.
The SST Process is facilitated by the district’s Inclusion Specialists. These positions are designed to ensure all students have effective and meaningful instruction and learning in the general education setting under a model of MTSS.
Maureen Butler is the SST chair for Collicot, Cunningham, Glover, and Tucker and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Caroline Mannion is the SST chair for Pierce Middle School and Milton High School and can be reached at email@example.com.
Please email Ms. Butler or Ms. Mannion if you have questions about the SST Process.
Please see this message below from the Milton SEPAC to Milton Special Education Parents.
The Milton SEPAC’s goal in the coming year is to grow our base of parents and community members and continue to foster an environment of support, education, and empowerment through parent meetings; informational sessions on topics such as IEPs and special education rights; and a speaker series on topics of interest to our community, such as executive function and anxiety, among others. We encourage all of you to spread the word about all that the SEPAC has to offer, particularly among our special education community, and to encourage participation in our meetings and events. This year we will be conducting our meetings via Zoom and we are hopeful that this will make attending meetings more accessible to parents who in the past may have struggled with getting childcare.
If you would like to be more involved with the SEPAC in the coming year, we encourage you to join our board as an Officer or participate as a Member-at-Large. We are now holding elections for these positions and a description of the responsibilities of each role is attached. If you are interested in nominating someone or being nominated for a board position, please follow the link to the nomination form and fill it out by Monday, November 16th. Thank you for your time and we look forward to seeing you at an upcoming meeting.
Join Caroline Mannion, Inclusion Specialist/BCBA for Pierce and MHS, for a session focused on how parents and guardians can support their middle and high school age children as they navigate through their Hybrid/Remote learning schedule. This evening 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 with 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. Join us online on Tuesday, November 17th at 6:30 pm for this valuable session. Please click here to receive a link to attend a few days before the event.
The Milton Public Schools is committed to being a resource for you. Whether you are unsure 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. All calls and emails are confidential.
Thank you to everyone who has helped support and protect our MPS community by purchasing and displaying one of our signs!
The MILTON signs are now SOLD OUT and APPLE signs are GOING FAST!
Proceeds from the sale of all signs will be divided equally among the PTOs of ALL SIX schools to enhance and elevate the opportunities and experiences of the MPS community during this unprecedented school year. To order your Milton Apple sign online, please fill out the google form and submit your payment via PayPal.
With gratitude, The PTOs of Cunningham, Collicot, Glover, Tucker, Pierce Middle School, and Milton High School
FRUIT CENTER SHOPPING WEEK
- Download a shopping voucher for your school here. Print as many as you’d like and share them with friends, family, and neighbors.
- Present your voucher when you make purchases at the Fruit Center Marketplace from Monday, November 4, through Sunday, November 10. Shop as often as you’d like during that week.
- The Fruit Center Marketplace will donate 20% of your total purchase back to your school.
- That’s it – you’re done!
ART AND MUSIC
Students in grades 4 and 5 have been exploring with musical patterns and sequences through Chrome Music Lab’s Song Maker. Chrome Music Lab is a website that makes learning music more accessible through fun, hands-on experiments. It can also be used as a tool to explore music and its connections to science, math, art, and more (Check it out here!).
Some students broadened their own exploration and decoded some of their favorite songs! They created the visuals by matching it to an example they’ve seen on youtube and also by using their ears to decode the rhythm and notes! You might catch some of these familiar tunes when listening to the examples. Musical elements such as melody, instrumentation timbre, rhythm, and tempo were explored. Students had creative choice on these elements and how to stylize their own music. The self-composed videos in this link are examples of this exploration!
Shop Fair Trade and support MPS Music Programs! Proceeds go towards instruments and scholarships. With the absence of our music concerts, candy sales, and other fundraising initiatives this year, we appreciate your support. Please consider purchasing any of these wonderful items and unique gifts, responsibly sourced through The Fair Trade Caravan while supporting the Milton Public Schools Music Programs.
The swim and dive season is still under way, with 4 more meets in the season. The team record is currently 2-1, and 3 school records have been broken. Congratulations to Elle Anthony who broke the school record in the women’s 50 and 100 yard freestyle, and to Andrew Tran who broke the school record in the men’s 100 yard freestyle!
For the first time in MHS history, we also have a Dive team! Abigail Callahan is doing a wonderful job coaching the dive team and each week we are seeing great improvements. Freshman diver Andrew Scapicchio shows tremendous potential and is scoring key points in our meets.
Updates to the MA Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) guidelines have not been made at this time. Governor Baker indicated during his press conference a release of updated EEA guidelines by week’s end. The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) will follow recommended steps recently approved by the MIAA Board of Directors following the release of updated EEA guidelines:
- Sport Committees present proposed sport specific guidance and modifications to the Sports Medicine Committee within 5 school days after the release of EEA guidance.
- The Sports Medicine Committee presents viable winter sports and their modifications to the MIAA Covid-19 Task Force.
- The MIAA Covid-19 Task Force recommends sports to be included in the winter season to the MIAA Board of Directors
- MIAA Board of Directors meets within 3 school days and votes on the MIAA Covid-19 Task Force recommendations and notifies MIAA member schools of the approved interscholastic sports for the winter season.
Additional information will be provided to member schools as soon as it is available.
Thank you to everyone who purchased merchandise in our Fall Pop-up and supported our student athletes. Check out our Winter Pop-up with limited-time only gear. Remember once you place an order you will be contacted mid-December with local pick-up information.
Do you like to write stories, comics, poems, and movies? Sign-up for our new Zoom program for ages 8-11, The Young Writers Club! Thursday, November 19th, @ 4:00 PM, sign up at miltonlibrary.org/events/upcoming-events.
There are virtual ukulele meetups once a month at the MPL! Register online. Have a ukulele sitting in the garage? Well, now’s the time to dust it off and join us for our next session on Friday, November 20th, @ 4:00 pm. We will begin by introducing the ukulele, basic chords, and then take turns strumming online. This program is half an hour long, and is for ages 8+. Sign up at miltonlibrary.org/events/upcoming-events.
The library has a limited amount of Ukuleles it can lend out. First-come, first-serve.
Milton Early Childhood Alliance invites you to two upcoming programs.
Parent Education Workshop – Join us for the second of four free virtual parent workshops to help families with children ages 2.9 to 10 years old who are at home learning this school year in either the remote or hybrid model. Our second workshop, Creating a Supportive At Home Learning Environment, will be held on (NEW DATE!) Wednesday, November 18th at 7:30 PM. Two additional workshops will be held in January and March. These workshops will be held virtually via Zoom from the comfort or your home. Registration is required to obtain the Zoom link and password. Please register 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.
Nature Tails! Children’s Program – Join us for the first of four free, fun, literacy and STEM Saturday morning programs with Trailside Museum staff. Programs are designed for children ages 2.9 to 7 years old and their parent or guardian and will include a story, guided movement, two live animal encounters, and a Q&A session! This program will be held on Saturday, November 21st at 11:00 AM and the topic will be Owls. These sessions will be held live, via Zoom. Registration is required to obtain the Zoom link and password. Please register here. Mark your calendar for the remaining sessions: January 23, 2021, Animal Habitats; March 27, 2021, Animal Movements; and May 22, 2021, Animal Five Senses. Many thanks to our kindergarten t-shirt sponsors. Their generosity has made this programming possible!
Join the Eustis Estate for our annual celebration of fall with a special day for families. Our Fall Family Day: Fairies in the Foliage will take place in Saturday, November 7, 11am – 4pm (Rain Date Nov 8) at the Eustis Estate, 1424 Canton Avenue, Milton. This year’s exploration of the landscape will have a magical twist, with a fairy house scavenger hunt, crafts, and activities that will guide you around the property. Special thanks to the Amateur Gardeners of Milton. All activities are designed to maximize social distancing and will take place outdoors. All guests must wear a mask. Advanced tickets required. Note that this ticket does not include the inside of the museum. If you wish to also visit the mansion, please purchase your house tour reservations here. Please call 617-994-6600 for more information.
The Cardinal Cushing 5K RUN/WALK (formerly the Best Buddies 5k) has gone virtual!
- The where and what are up to you!
- Complete your miles from November 18-21 then upload your results.
- Create a personal or team page then train and ask your friends and family to donate.
- Share photos and videos on our Facebook event page.
- Register here.
Thanks for participating and supporting our very important cause!
Thank you to my blog contributors this week: Kim Coughlin, Bill Fish, Ellen Lohan, Susan Maselli, Shawna Steuterman, Jackie Morgan, Marti O’Keefe McKenna, Caroline Mannion, Ryan Madden, Kristin Driscoll, Nicole Davis, Jon Redden, Libby Dunphy, Elaine McNeil-Girmai, Amal Radwan, Magen Slesinger and Karen McDavitt.
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.