December 3, 2020

To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
From: James F. Jette
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: December 3, 2020

FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT

Next week, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Glenn Pavlicek will retire from the Milton Public Schools. In one capacity or another, Dr. Pavlicek has been actively involved with the Milton Public Schools for over 20 years; as a member of the  Warrant Committee and Master Planning Committee as both a member and chairperson of the Milton School Committee and finally, since 2013,  serving in his current role. As former SC member Lynda-Lee Sheridan stated at the School Committee meeting this week, Dr. Pavlicek has been actively involved with preparing, presenting, or reviewing the school budget, every single year of the last 20 years. To say his institutional knowledge of school and town finances is vast is a huge understatement and we will all miss his steady and informed stewardship going forward. 

Our six principals expressed their gratitude to Glenn at this week’s SC meeting. I share some excerpts of their words here. 

Karen McDavitt shared that “Glenn has led the district with grace, dignity, and professionalism. He is a wealth of knowledge and I often marvel at how much he actually has stored in that incredible brain of his! Glenn is always there for us when we need him”.

Jonathan Redden said that “In all the districts I’ve worked in or observed, Glenn is by far the most involved business superintendent. My first interaction with Glenn was presenting to him at School Committee as a first-year principal. He quickly put me at ease and he pushed me on data which I really appreciated. I didn’t realize it then, but his ability to ask questions as a helpful thought partner would be what I would come to value the most”. 

Elaine McNeil Girmai stated “Glenn is an all around great leader in MPS! He can always be counted on for his amazing calculations but also for a bright smile, an adventurous story, and a unique gift! He is always supportive and prompt with information and thinks big picture to help solve complicated problems”.

Holly Concannon wrote that Glenn “has been a mentor, a calming presence, a friend, and a wonderful supporter of Collicot. I will miss his wit and humor along with his expert guidance”.

Karen Cahill told me that “Glenn has been a quiet support for me over the years. He is always available to provide advice, give direction or just listen. I appreciate all he has done to support our students and staff throughout the years”. 

Bill Fish noted “It has been a pleasure to work closely with Glenn over the past year and a half. As a member of the Milton Public Schools and a parent of MPS students, I am grateful for Glenn’s unwavering commitment to our schools and community for the past 20 years and wish him a healthy and well deserved retirement”.

Dr. Karen Spaulding asked me to share these words about Dr. Pavlicek.  “In education, most especially, we often cross paths with individuals who are kind, who are giving, and who are just really good human beings. Yes, Dr. Pavlicek is brilliant and can solve an AP level math problem in his head. Yes, Dr. Pavlicek can prepare, present, amend, and resolve a budget like no one else. Yes, Dr. Pavlicek is a walking encyclopedia of legal findings, employment regulations, and political processes. However, what is most true and most precious and will be missed deeply…is that he is one of the kindest, gentlest, funniest, and caring human beings I know. I will miss you greatly Dr. Pavlicek. Thank you for all you have given to the Milton Public Schools and thank you for all you have given to this fledging Assistant Superintendent”.

Personally, I have worked with Glenn in various roles for the past two decades.  I value his advice, vast knowledge, calm demeanor, and above all, his ability to look at the big picture.  As he steps down as the Assistant Superintendent of Business of the Milton Public Schools,  we recognize that woven throughout his many responsibilities, his talent, dedication, and trustworthiness informed every aspect of his time volunteering and working in Milton. Director of Food Services, Jackie Morgan shared that Glenn is one of the smartest, kindest, and funniest people she has ever had the honor of working with. I know that you join me, Dr Spaulding, Central Office and the MPS Principals as we wish Glenn and his wife Anita a long, happy, and wonderful retirement. 

Next week we will welcome Amy Dexter to the role of Assistant Superintendent for Business. Ms. Dexter (who has worked for the Town of Milton for many years)  and Dr. Pavlicek have worked closely for years and we know this will be a smooth transition. 

SCHOOL COMMITTEE

At last night’s School Committee meeting, I updated the committee during the Superintendent’s report, as I do at every meeting. As part of last night’s update, I shared that our self contained special education programs have returned to full days in person as of this week. We are grateful to our Special Education staff and families for partnering with us on this change as we continue to evaluate and adjust our school models this year.

I also presented about our general education model and the possible adjustments we are reviewing and vetting. We are exploring: extending the current Hybrid Model to a longer or full day; allowing more time for students to see teachers in the Remote Model; creating a morning and afternoon cohort five (5) day a week at the elementary level and enhancing the synchronous time for middle and high school students. These discussions are exploratory as there are pros and cons to each model change. Our leadership team is engaged in ongoing discussion and planning for any changes we may make as the school year progresses.

I encourage you to regularly watch Milton School Committee meetings. Last night’s meeting is now available on-demand .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 December 16, 2020, at 7pm.

IMPORTANT UPCOMING DATES

  • Dec 7 Special Town Meeting
  • Dec 10 Early Release, P/T Conferences K-5
  • Dec 16 School Committee Meeting
  • Dec 24-Jan 3 Winter Recess
  • Jan 4 Classes Resume
  • Jan 7 Preschool Information Night
  • Jan 28 Kindergarten Information Night

The full MPS calendar can be found here.

HEALTH AND SAFETY

With recent updates from the CDC, we have updated some of our health policies including a modification to our close contact policy. All current policies can be found on the COVID-19 page on the MPS website. This will always be the place to find the most up to date information about the Milton Public Schools COVID-19 policies.

A reminder that if you are traveling this month, please follow Massachusetts Travel orders linked here and adhere to MPS Policy that all students (regardless of age) and staff must provide a negative COVID 19 test taken upon 72 hours of arrival back in Massachusetts or quarantine for 14 days after travel prior to returning to in person learning. Please see the most updated CDC travel guidelines and restrictions here. Please contact your school nurse with any questions.

The Town of Milton is pleased to announce the Milton 2020 Seasonal Flu Clinic for the General Public (ages 4 years & older).

  • When: Wednesday, December 9th from 4:00-6:30 PM
  • Where: Milton Town Hall Basement
  • Seasonal Flu Vaccines are available in injection form only
  • Please bring your health insurance card with you
  • For ease of vaccination, please wear a short-sleeve shirt.
  • Please call the Board of Health at 617-898-4886 with any questions.

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.

MPS GIVES BACK

The MPS gift and gift card drive has been extended through Monday, December 6th!

Each year the Milton Public Schools join together in partnership with Milton Residents Fund and My Brother’s Keeper to collect toys and gift cards for our Milton families who need a little extra support during the holidays. Due to Covid restrictions, schools cannot have children bring gifts directly to school as had been done in previous years. The PTOs have come up with some alternatives that will still allow children to participate, and that will benefit our friends and neighbors in Milton and beyond, and even some of our neighborhood businesses. Despite these challenging times, we hope to make this year just as successful, perhaps even more so.

How can you participate?

Gift cards: We are hoping to have enough $25 Target gift cards to allow each Pierce and MHS student in need to directly receive a gift card through the school, and also to be able to provide families who submitted wishlists with a $25 gift card to purchase essentials like socks and underwear for their children. Please drop your gift cards to the drop box at the front of Milton High School by December 6. The locked drop box will be emptied several times each day.

Shop with a local business: Shop in-person, online, or over the phone with The Toy Chest in East Milton Square or The Toy Box in Hanover (owned by an MPS family).  Mention your purchase is part of the MPS Holiday Giving Drive and the items will be held there and distributed.

Elementary families: Please see Cunningham School Sign Up; Collicot School Sign Up; Tucker School Sign Up; Glover School Sign Up.

Pierce and MHS families: We are collecting $25 Target gift cards. Please drop your gift cards to the drop box at the front of Milton High School by December 6. The locked drop box will be emptied several times each day.

FOOD SERVICE 

There are two ways to take advantage of the FREE TO ALL to-go breakfasts and lunches this year.

Our Food Service staff os staying warm at the weekly drive though!

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 December. Visit us on December 2, 9, 26, 23 and 30!

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.

Free student meals have been extended through the school year. All details on pick up options can be found in this link.

PIERCE PAGES

Mr. Manning’s 7th and 8th grade art classes finished the first term strong with colorful graffiti designs. Students learned about street art and how graffiti is now being brought off the street and into art galleries. Students were asked to create a “TAG” name for their design. Students learned about fonts and lettering styles and had to create color schemes for their pieces. The class learned about graffiti artists Banksy, Weeno, and Keith Haring, pioneers who kept pushing the limits of creativity, how different cultures can promote graffiti, and how it can be used politically. Students also studied murals that were created in the cities where protests were happening during the summer. Students asked if they could “TAG” up the Pierce Middle School and Mr. Manning sadly declined their request.

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Our middle school strings musicians have just completed their Term 1 Projects. The choices for these projects included performing a solo or duet, composition, and arranging, video with musical accompaniment, pieces of music that reflect “you” and dancing to your favorite piece. Please enjoy these beautiful pieces here: 6th grader Avery Squiciarino , 6th grader Lena Do and 8th grader Will Malec.

INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

Ms. Bernini’s 5th grade students recently worked on a harvest still life focusing on adding depth and value in their artwork.  Students learned about linear perspective and created a floor with a horizon and vanishing point.  Students then applied shadow to their fruits and vegetables to transform 2-Dimensional shapes into 3-Dimensional objects in conjunction with their science curriculum.  The completed work is stunning!

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Ms. Bernini’s 3rd grade students recently made these beautiful renditions of Henri Matisse’s, The Goldfish. Students began this project by drawing a cylinder for their fishbowl and added an additional ellipse for the reflection of the water in the bowl. Students then worked on details like a table, plants, and flowers to fill in the foreground and background of their composition.

***

Tucker Preschool architects from Room 105 took advantage of the warm weather this week to work on their observational drawing skills. The November unit of study is called The Building Study and the Tucker School building has become an integral part of this discovery.  The children focused on design, building materials, color, texture, shape, details both new and original as well as a challenging opportunity to count plenty of windows.

***

Collicot 3rd, 4th and 5th graders have been enjoying some healthy competition over the past few weeks by participating in a Greek roots challenge. At the beginning of the week, a new root word from the Reach for Reading curriculum is introduced to all students. Throughout the week, students are challenged to find as many words that contain the Greek root and add them to the vocabulary word wall in the hallway. So far students have enjoyed learning new words with the Greek roots “port”, “graph” and “meter”. This week Mr. Rosner’s  5th grade class and Mrs. Spitz’s  4th grade class are head to head in competition to see who can record the most new vocabulary words! Thank you to 5th grade teacher Erin O’Brien for this great idea!

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Mrs. O’Leary’s Glover 3rd graders got a chance to practice their multiplication facts in a fun way with peers this week. They each made a fortune teller out of paper and paired up with a classmate to challenge their facts!

INCLEMENT WEATHER POLICY

Commissioner of Education Jeff Riley has determined that for this school year only if schools must close school buildings because of inclement weather or another emergency, districts may choose whether to treat those days as “snow days” to be made up later or provide all students with remote learning on those days. The Milton Public Schools will be providing learning opportunities consistent with DESE guidelines (see item 4) on days of inclement weather/emergencies where the buildings need to be closed and will therefore NOT have traditional snow days this year.

For this year only, on what would typically be considered a snow day, we will pivot to a “remote snow day” and provide all students with learning opportunities. On these days, the following will take place:

  • MPS faculty, staff and students will all work from home (with the exception of custodial staff who will be partly responsible for snow removal on each school’s campus)
  • Students and staff will follow the schedule that is previously planned for that day.
  • Attendance will be taken.
  • There will be no delayed openings – we will simply shift to a remote model for that day only.
  • Students will engage in a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning opportunities.
  • Notification of a “remote snow day” will be made as soon as possible but could come as late as the morning of the “remote snow day”.

Factors that will contribute to pivoting to a “remote snow day” include, but are not limited to: the amount of accumulated or expected snowfall; road conditions, sidewalk/bus stop conditions, safety for walkers, and conditions for the school parking lots/school grounds.

A complete cancellation of school may happen if there are wide power outages or connectivity issues for the student or staff population or if the Town of Milton has widespread power outages or any other unforeseen circumstances that require a complete shutdown of the schools. Notification of a remote school day will come in the typical way – via tv and radio, MPS Twitter and Facebook and with and email and robocall to all families.

SPECIAL EDUCATION

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

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We are pleased to welcome Ms. Suzanne Shaw, who is joining us at Pierce Middle School and as an Out of District Coordinator. Ms. Shaw can be reached at sshaw@miltonps.org. Ms. Shaw replaces Ms. St. Peter and shares the message below: 

I am the new Team Chair here in Milton and I am very pleased to join your fine community. I will be working as .5 Team Chair at Pierce Middle School and a .3 Out of District Coordinator so I will have the chance to interact and support many of you in meetings. I have been in Education for many years as a teacher, administrator, team chair, consultant, and state-level compliance monitor. Although I grew up in Massachusetts, I have lived and worked in many states and enjoyed the diversity and ability to learn to see things in different ways.

I chose Milton because of its high standards and dedication to excellence and the chance to be around middle schoolers again. I enjoy the challenges of early adolescents and the days are never dull!

I am mother to a three year old Teddy Roosevelt Terrier named Finian Weir O’Rourke and he keeps me very entertained. He is a retired show dog who hasn’t lost his love of the spotlight. I hope you will meet him at a school event someday. I am thrilled to be here in Milton and cannot wait to be able to meet you in person.

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We are happy to welcome Ms. Lindsay Moonan as the Interim Cunningham Team Chair. Ms. Moonan will be filling in for Ms. LaPierre, who is taking a leave of absence. Ms. Moonan has been a special education classroom teacher at Cunningham for the last three years and is excited to pivot into this new role. She will remain in the building and looks forward to checking in with her former students throughout the year. Cunningham families can reach Ms. Moonan at lmoonan@miltonps.org

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Milton SEPAC held elections for the new board last week and the new elected board is: Jenny Sheehan – Chairperson; Jennie Mulqueen – Co-Chair; Clare Keating – Treasurer; Amanda Serio – Secretary; High School Rep – Jenny Mulqueen and Clare Keating (seeking additional members.); Pierce Rep – Jenny Sheehan (seeking additional members); Glover Rep: Nora Harrington; Cunningham Rep: Jennifer Dunford; Collicot Rep: Amy Masferer; Tucker Rep: Seeking membership; Out Of District/504 Rep: Melissa Feldman.

FAMILY RESOURCES

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 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.

ATHLETICS

Please see below from MHS Athletic Director Ryan Madden.

Congrats to our Fall All-Stars! We are proud of all of our student-athletes, especially during this unconventional season. 

  • Golf – Ben Catudal
  • Soccer – Josiah King, Miguel Varela, Justin Gomes, Ian Wick, Elaine Naide, Claire Walko
  • Cross Country – John Carew, Donovan Murray, Alec Carew, Stephen Affanato, Norah Affanato, Christina Sullivan, Olivia Duggan
  • Swim – Elle Anthony, Rose Gillooly, Madison Crummey, Andrew Tran, Christian Bartkiewicz, Andrew Scapicchio
  • Field Hockey – Kat Baker, Natalie Vaughan, Christina Sweeney

Winter Sports are set to commence on December 14th. Only Basketball, Hockey, and Ski are allowed to play this winter. Take a look at the Athletics Website for information on the seasonal structure and Athletic COVID Guidelines! 

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Thank you to all who supported our student-athletes by purchasing merchandise from the Milton Boosters Winter Pop-up. You will be contacted via e-mail this week with a pick-up date, time, and local location.

COMMUNITY NEWS 

The Milton Parks and Rec Department is excited to announce our first ever Holiday House Decorating Contest. It’s time for a fun, free, socially distant, family activity for all to enjoy in some fashion. A little healthy competition is good for the morale! Let’s end 2020 on a fun and decorative note.


The Eustis Estate has several ways to enjoy the property this month!

Enjoy a festive atmosphere and get in the holiday spirit with the Victorian Holiday Market at the Eustis Estate. This open air market features a variety of local craftspeople selling unique holiday gifts, including jewelry, fiber art, and foodstuffs. Due to COVID-19 considerations, this event has limited capacity. Advance tickets are strongly encouraged, as we cannot guarantee there will be tickets available at the gate upon arrival. Please call 617-994-6600 for more information.

Visits to the Eustis Estate mansion are available by reservation only. If you would like to visit the house on the day of the market, please purchase a house ticket here. Free for Historic New England members; non-member adult $5; free for children.

Visit the Eustis Estate during the holiday season and get into the Christmas spirit! Explore the beautiful 1878 Eustis Estate and its lavish decorations during A Victorian Christmas. There are bright lights, an enormous tree, garlands, and mantelpieces adorned with holiday decorations inspired by nature. There are floral arrangements from the Brush Hill Garden Guru, Cedar Grove Gardens, and floral designer Lisa Ahern. From December 4 to January 3, the mansion will be open for visits by reservation only Fridays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Masks and social distancing are required for all staff and visitors. Please call 617-994-6600 for more information. Historic New England members and Milton residents are free. Milton residents need to call to make a reservation. Non-member adults $20; seniors $17; children/students $10.


Forbes House Museum offers FREE tours to Milton residents in December! We’ve decked the halls and are eager to share the magic of the season. So if you’ve “lived in town forever but never visited,” here’s your chance! We’re offering FREE tours this month to any Milton resident. Simply call the main number at 617-696-1815 to reserve your spot. 48 hours advance notice is recommended. Tours will be available Wednesday-Saturday at 11 am and 1 pm. COVID safety guidelines will be observed; see website for more details.  

All visitors will also receive a coupon from our friends at Lower Mills Tavern, good for 15% off your order. Cheers!


The Milton Public Library has some terrific programs for students of all ages. Check out next week’s activities here. 


Cunningham 4th grader Sophia is back with her Sock Drive! The 6th Annual Sophia’s Socks for the Homeless has kicked into gear. 2020 has been a lot different than years in the past, but that is why we need your help more than ever! Please consider helping the homeless of Boston, by donating NEW socks to the drive. Every pair you donate will help the life of someone in need. We will be collecting socks until Friday, December 18 and will be dropped off at St. Francis on December 19/20. Let’s make this year the best and help brighten someone’s day. Sox Box locations are Cunningham School, 3 Phyllis Lane, and 178 Lyman Road.


Thank you to my blog contributors this week: Kim Coughlin, Susan Maselli, Jackie Morgan, Marti O’Keefe McKenna, Debra Miller, Laurel Bernini, Marybeth Callahan, Elaine McNeil-Girmai, Patrick Manning, Ellen Lohan and Sara MacNeil.

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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