December 10, 2020

To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
From: James F. Jette
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: December 10, 2020


Over the past nine months, guidance from health and medical professionals has evolved as we have learned more about COVID-19. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), in conjunction with the Center for Disease Control (CDC), recently issued revised guidelines related to quarantine requirements for individuals who have been identified as “close contacts”. There are now shorter quarantine options for those individuals if certain conditions are met.

The Milton Board of Health has confirmed that they are currently using the new CDC guidelines and will adopt the updated Department of Public Health guidance.  The Milton Public Schools will also follow this new guidance. 

Under this new guidance: 

  • If you are identified as a close contact of a positive case, you should begin to quarantine. You can test as soon as day 5 from the date of exposure (counted as day 0), and if you receive a negative test result and don’t have any symptoms, you can resume normal activities and return to school as soon as day 8. You should not return to school or resume normal activities until you actually receive the negative test result and receive clearance from your school nurse. A negative PCR or antigen test are both acceptable.
  • If you are identified as a close contact and do not test and do not have symptoms, you must quarantine for 10 days and return to school on day 11.
  • If you are identified as a close contact and are experiencing symptoms,  the 14 day quarantine remains in place even with a negative test.

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.

Please note these additional details: 

  • If your student or someone in your household tests positive, please notify your school nurse as soon as possible and keep your student home.
  • The Contact Tracing Collaborative (CTC) is the entity communicating on behalf of the town with positive cases and close contacts. Currently, the CTC is extremely backed up, and calls are not coming promptly. It is imperative that if you are notified by MPS, a sports team, a friend, family member, or someone else that you or your child has been identified as close contact, that you comply with the current guidance for close contacts. Do not wait for the CTC to contact you, follow the guidance as it currently stands. 
  • If your student is a close contact of a positive case (close contact is defined as within 6 feet for a cumulative 15 minutes during the infectious period), please contact your school nurse and keep your student home.  Your student’s siblings may come to school in most instances, but please check with your school nurse before sending siblings to school.
  • All remote stream-in access must be approved by the school nurse or administration 24 hours before stream-in date.  Parents/ Guardians should make this request via email to their school nurse.
  • Continue to use MPS Pre Screening Checklist every day and stay home if sick.

There  are several upcoming local testing options:

Thank you for your continued support of our efforts to Protect the Paw and keep our Milton community safe and healthy. We are grateful for your partnership to ensure the safe continuation of our in-person learning. We continue to monitor changing guidance and will update the community as needed.


The next School Committee meeting will be on December 16, 2020, at 7pm. You can watch School Committee meetings 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.


  • 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.

Preschool Information Night is on January 7, 2021, at 6:30 pm.  Preschool staff and administrators will highlight programs offered as well as answer any questions families may have. This information session will take place virtually, and a link will be posted on our website before the event. To get an idea of the programs MPS has to offer, please visit our Preschool webpage.  Details and specifics about programs for the SY ‘21-’22 will be posted to our website shortly.  Children attending an MPS Preschool Program must be three years old on or before August 31, 2021.

Kindergarten Information Night will be held on January 28, 2021, at 6:30 pm. We hope many incoming kindergarten parents and guardians will join us to learn about our programs and have an opportunity to ask any questions you might have.  This information session will take place virtually, and a link will be posted on our website before the event.  As we prepare to welcome our newest kindergarteners next September, the first step for families to take is to complete the pre-registration form found here.  Please note that your child must be five years old on or before August 31, 2021, to start kindergarten in September 2021. 


A reminder that if you are considering 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 before returning to in-person learning. Please see the most updated CDC travel guidelines and restrictions here. Please contact your school nurse 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.


Our weekly pick up includes a box of fresh produce prepared in our MPS kitchens. Below you can see a couple of produce box creations from last week’s bounty!

Kale, sweet potatoes, eggs, and last week’s peppers were put to good use in this smoked turkey, sweet potatoes and kale hash, and kale with red pepper frittata. Zucchini bread is on the menu this week.

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 December. Visit us on December 16, 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.


In their Foundations of Art class, students choose six words to represent their life story. In their accordion books, they created a visual accompaniment for the words that highlight all of the elements of art, including color, texture, depth, form, shape, line, and value. Ms. Aloe remarked, “It has been inspiring to me to see how thoughtful the students are. I hope you find it inspiring, too”! Ms. Aloe invited MHS staff and students to leave comments on the student’s work to create a sense of community. You can see a few examples of the work below. 


6th grade math classes worked on rate conversion using Thanksgiving recipes and created their own cooking shows to demonstrate their skills! You can get a glimpse of their creativity in the picture at right. 


Mrs. Miller’s Pierce Strings ended their first term with projects that included solos of their choice, dance and special playlists. You can enjoy some of their work here. Richard Lee on the Violin; Fedor Myshkin on the Viola;Elias Caros on the Violin; Rachel McNulty –  Ballet


Pierce will celebrate spirit week from December 14- 23. All students and staff are invited to dress up for each day’s theme during in-person and remote classes. We are looking forward to having some fun as we get closer to the winter break!


The future engineers in Ms. Spitz and Ms. Renehan’s 4th grade class were challenged to build the tallest tower possible using only 12 index cards and one roll of masking tape. The first step they completed was to design a plan for what they would build and how they would build their tower. The next step was to create their tower and write about the problems they had while they were building. The last step was to try to work to improve their tower and write about it.  This was a fun and engaging way to get students excited about STEM!


Mme. Morton’s Cunningham 2nd graders love using Kahoot when working on their math skills.  Using their desk boards, students show their work and then record their answers in Kahoot. As the answers are tallied, students can share their thinking with the class. The class does this lesson in French to stay immersed in the language while strengthening their math skills.


This winter literacy display will be outside at Tucker to encourage students to continue their great reading habits during December. Special thanks to Tucker faculty member Cathy Mallory for spearheading this project and bringing it to life for our students.


Last week Collicot hosted their first ever school wide virtual assembly. Mrs. Concannon, Mrs. Caruso, and Ms. Lohan led students through an assembly on the topic of empathy. Students learned ways to read others’ feelings–even wearing masks–and listened to a read aloud of the story of “Stand in My Shoes” by Bob Sornson. As a follow up activity, students drew and decorated a pair of shoes and wrote about ways to share empathy. Students posted pictures of their shoes to this padlet and brought them in to fill a bulletin board at school.


This week Collicot 5th grade students from Mr. Rosner’s hybrid class and Mr. McMurray’s remote class collaborated to play math games. Each student in the hybrid class was paired with a partner in the remote class,, and the students played Number Top It from the Everyday Math Curriculum. This was an engaging experience for students and teachers in both classes and we look forward to finding more ways for students in both learning models to connect throughout the school year!


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

  • Mark your calendars: Our anticipated dates for Extended Year Services are 7/6/-8/13/2021- 8/13/2021. 
  • The Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC) announces their first meeting, on December17 at 7:30 pm. Email for details.


The Milton Foundation for Education has been funding initiatives for the Milton Public Schools for decades.  This year, we have found ourselves unable to fundraise in our traditional way, yet the need for our schools and student communities has never been greater.  The MFE has already answered this call by funding initiatives this school year to help with both in-person and remote learning in this unique year.  If your student uses Kami or math and STEM manipulatives at home, they were funded by the MFE Covid grants this fall.  Please consider making a donation to the MFE at this link to continue this critical work this year, as this will likely be our only fundraiser.  


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 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.


Please see below from MHS Athletic Director Ryan Madden.

Registration for the winter season is now open. Please visit the Athletics Website for information on how to register for winter sports.  All student-athletes must pass in a hard-copy of a current valid physical (completed within the last 13 months, no exceptions) during the registration period to the Athletic Director. Physicals should be dropped in the Athletic Director’s mailbox in the front office by the student or mailed to the school. 25 Gile Road, Milton, MA 02186. Students that dropped off physicals for fall sports do not need to drop another copy off, as long as the physical has not expired.

  • Tryouts start Monday, December 14
  • Games will start no sooner than Tuesday, January 5
  • The season will end by Saturday, February 13
  • Floating Season starts Monday, February 22

ImPACT Testing must be done at home, prior to the first contest for all freshman, juniors and new students. Students who did this do not have to do this again.

In order for you to do impact testing at home, you will first need to be in a quiet space for at least 30 min to take the test. You can not do this after you have worked out, for at least 2 hours. Also, you can not take this on your phone. You must take this test on a desktop or laptop. Internet explorer works best, but chrome does work.

  • Go to
  • Choose Milton High school
  • Enter the code: 2RIRKXSHAN
  • Press Launch & take the test
  • Input your demographic when given the choice.

Please email Athletic Trainer Patricia Pauris with any questions. 

Spectators: There are no spectators allowed at any sporting events this winter. MHS is working to livestream games to spectators. Once that information becomes available, it will be communicated to families.
Also, if you were unable to login to the Parent/Guardian Zoom Meeting last night, please view the PowerPoint Presentation here


We recommend checking with the local organizations below for any changes to the following events. 

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.

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!


Brookwood Community Farm would like to thank all 2020 volunteers, members, and customers for making the 2020 farm season a success! 2021 CSA share sales will be announced soon. We will welcome volunteers this Saturday at 10:30 am to plant bulbs to beautify Brookwood. Please bring work gloves, wear a mask and prepare to work in a socially distant manner. A great idea is to work as a group with members of your household – families welcome – but everyone must send an email to Please expect an email in response by Friday night. For anyone looking for local produce, winter markets can be found online.

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.


We are happy to share the announcement that The Washington Post has named Milton High School graduate Siobhán O’Grady as its Cairo bureau chief! We are so proud of Ms. O’Grady and are so proud of her success and contribution around the world. 


We are excited to share that MHS senior Sam Higgins has been selected as a YoungArts Finalist this year. Sam will be competing for the grand prize at YoungArts week during the week of January 3. 

Congratulations and good luck to Sam! We look forward to sharing good news after his competition in January. 

Thank you to my blog contributors this week: Kim Coughlin, Susan Maselli, Jackie Morgan, Marti O’Keefe McKenna, Debra Miller, Elaine McNeil-Girmai, Kassandra Aloe, Ellen Lohan, Bill Fish, Ryan Madden, Caroline Morton 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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