To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
From: James F. Jette
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: January 7, 2021
- 1 FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT
- 1.1 SCHOOL COMMITTEE
- 1.2 IMPORTANT UPCOMING DATES
- 1.3 HEALTH AND SAFETY
- 1.4 FOOD SERVICE
- 1.5 HIGH SCHOOL HAPPENINGS
- 1.6 INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS
- 1.7 AFTER SCHOOL ENRICHMENT
- 1.8 SPECIAL EDUCATION
- 1.9 MILTON FOUNDATION FOR EDUCATION
- 1.10 FAMILY RESOURCES
- 1.11 ATHLETICS
- 1.12 COMMUNITY NEWS
- 1.13 SUPERINTENDENT SHOUTOUT
- 1.14 Like this:
FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT
The past 24 hours have been a tumultuous and upsetting time for our nation. A state-wide election in Georgia with national consequences and a routine event of certifying the presidential election results on Capitol Hill were enough to have many of us already on edge even before yesterday’s events at the Capitol Building. What we witnessed yesterday brought to the forefront the feelings of fear, inequities, disbelief, and anger for many people as rioters pushed past police who were trying to block them from entering the Capitol Building as Congress counted electoral college votes confirming President-elect Biden’s victory. Many of you may have also been impacted by what happened in our country yesterday. The acts of terrorism, blatant displays of hate remind us how important it is for the Milton Public Schools to continue our work of inclusivity and provide our students and staff with the support they need, and continue with our work on anti-racism and developing a strong community culture of acceptance and equity.
In the Milton Public Schools, we look at these events through the lens of educators and how they will impact our students. As people, we of course have personal beliefs and emotions. Personally, I felt shock, anger, sadness, and disbelief. As educators, we recognize that this is not the time for us to express our opinions; this is a time to facilitate discussions, acknowledge students’ feelings, and practice empathy.
It is normal for students to look to the adults in their school to have the answers to their questions. In situations like this, we often don’t have the answers as we can be searching for them ourselves. What we can do is listen, acknowledge what has happened, acknowledge how we feel, and reiterate that whatever feelings our students have are real and valued. That is what happened in each of the Milton Public Schools this morning. MPS faculty, staff, and administrators met this morning prior to the students’ arrival to prepare for their arrival and allow for them to have a safe space physically, socially, and emotionally to ask questions and share their feelings.
As we try to make sense of what happened yesterday and what it means for us as individuals, as a community, and as a country, our thoughts are with our nation as our lawmakers continue to navigate maintaining our country’s democracy.
In this unsettling time, many of us look to traditions to maintain a sense of calm. The Milton Interfaith Clergy Association’s Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration is one such beloved tradition that I hope you will consider attending.
The theme of this year’s celebration is We Must Learn to Live Together as Brothers and Sisters or Perish as Fools. The MICA celebration will be on January 18 at 6:30pm and will be held virtually. The link to attend will be available here, before the event.
In addition, MICA has a wonderful opportunity to give back by safely volunteering at home, assembling blessing bags to be distributed to those in need. They invite the community to contribute Blessing Bags by collecting their contents, assembling them (in a safe manner consistent with COVID-19 guidelines) and delivering them to St. Michael’s by 11am on Monday, January 18. MICA volunteers will bring the Blessing Bags downtown for distribution to the MANNA community during its weekly Monday Lunch Program.
This is a family-friendly service project that can be accomplished at home, and support a population that is increasingly vulnerable, and fearful of whatever lies ahead for them. Here is a list that you can carry with you when you are next able to go shopping or collaborate with others in gathering what you need.
All are welcome to volunteer in the Day of Service activities and join in the MICA Celebration as we remember and honor the legacy of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
At last night’s School Committee meeting, several parents spoke during Citizen’s Speak, I gave an update to the School Committee, addressed some Frequently Asked Questions, the School Committee voted on the 2021-22 school year calendar, and more. My presentation including FAQs can be found here. The newly approved 2021-22 School Year calendar can be found here. This calendar is intended as a guide ONLY. It may be necessary to change this schedule to better serve instructional purposes. You can watch the meeting (and all SC meetings) On-Demand at Milton Access TV in the days following the meetings.
The next School Committee meeting will be on January 20, 2021, at 7pm. You can watch School Committee meetings live on Milton Access TV online, live on Milton Access cable channels (Comcast 22, RCN 15), attend via Zoom (link to attend found on the Town of Milton SC page), or watch on-demand in the days following the meeting.
IMPORTANT UPCOMING DATES
- Jan 7 Preschool Information Night
- Jan 18 MLK Day, No School
- Jan 20 School Committee Meeting
- Jan 28 Kindergarten Information Night
Preschool Information Night is TONIGHT – 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.
HEALTH AND SAFETY
COVID TESTING: The Town of Milton will host two additional, free, drive-through testing days – Sunday, January 10 and Sunday, January 17, both from 10am – 3pm at the DPW Yard located at 629 Randolph Avenue. This testing is run through the Town and is open to all residents and employees and their families through the COVID testing agreement with Fallon Ambulance/ Transformative Healthcare. Please visit the Town of Milton website for more information.
COVID REPORTING: Each week, school districts report the number of positive cases in the Hybrid Model only to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education (DESE). For the week of December 31 – January 6, MPS reported: 6 staff positive and 16 students positive.
Some additional information you may find helpful:
- DESE does not report out on the number of positive COVID 19 cases for students or teachers that are in full remote
- DESE does not collect or report out on the number of people (staff or students) that are considered “close contacts.”
- Each Wednesday afternoon, the above data is reported to DESE, and DESE publishes this information on their website on Thursdays.
- The data collection period is from Thursday – Wednesday.
TRAVEL REMINDER: If you are considering traveling, 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.
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 and a fresh produce box.
Grab and Go: Available each day as your student leaves school. 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.
HIGH SCHOOL HAPPENINGS
MHS Adjustment Counselor Jennie Beliveau shares the following.
“Every child deserves a champion: An adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connections, and insists they become the best they can possibly be.”
Teachers and staff members who work in Milton Public Schools have always prided themselves on creating strong connections with students and families. With the current hybrid and remote learning models, we are continuing to find creative ways to build these connections and enhancing engagement in learning. As an adjustment counselor at the high school, I have seen teachers go above and beyond in reaching out to students who have struggled with being engaged in their classes and completing their work to their full potential. One way we have attempted to increase engagement is through driveway visits, visiting students outside of their homes to build connections and provide support. Through a recent grant funded by the Milton Foundation for Education, we have created small goody bags to be given to students when we do these visits. Stress balls, playing cards, positive affirmation wristbands, and other small items are included to put a smile on the student’s face and to build connection through seeing the student in person. Thank you to the MFE for funding this important initiative. We are all in this together!
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. We are also accepting transfers from other driving schools for driving hours. More information can be found on the Milton High School Driver’s Education website.
INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS
Glover students in Mrs. Dow’s 4th and 5th grade remote class have spent the week reflecting on the past year, and instead of making a resolution, they decided to pick one word that they will focus on for the year 2021. This word will help them focus on the kind of person they want to be in 2021 and fits in all aspects of their life. To help them choose a word that would fit them best and last all year, they thought about the type of person they want to be, how they want others to describe them, and what their short term goals are. Each student then completed an online activity that displayed their word, what their word means to them, two ways they will apply this word to their lives, and a picture that represents this word to them. Mrs. Dow and her students are on their way to a positive 2021!
Cunningham remote 5th grade teacher Miranda Watrous has been using PearDeck to turn Everyday Math lessons (that were once projected on a SmartBoard) into editable slides that students can look at and annotate live together. Every student has their own copy of the slides open and students use the drawing tool on PearDeck to show their math work. Ms. Watrous projects the main slide with the question and students do their solving work on their own devices. The teacher can view all student work live, as they are responding, in the Teacher Dashboard view and can then project to the rest of the class examples of student work that they want to share out. The class occasionally uses breakout rooms during this time as well, sending students to solve problems in small groups. One student typically shares their screen to the small group and they discuss their solving strategies and answers as they go. Then, all students come back together and talk through the examples of a student solving work that helps them to best understand the correct methods for solving. Ms. Watrous shares, “I love PearDeck as a way to facilitate and proctor math learning remotely, as well as for just about any other subject!”
Tucker Kindergarten students are proud to share their snowy rainbow collages. Students looked at the book The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats, learned the correct color order of a rainbow, and practiced making a collage for a snowy landscape.
1st and 2nd grade students at Tucker recently created self portraits of themselves as superheroes! Students had fun thinking about what their superpower would be and if they would have a sidekick. Students learned about space in art by overlapping and looked at Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” painting for inspiration for the sky of their cityscapes.
Cunningham 5th grade students extended their study of astronomy by using air to power rockets they built and launched as part of the STEM curriculum. MPS students learn all about air as a part of their 1st grade science curriculum and were able to synthesize the knowledge about air and astronomy to complete this project. Check out this Cunningham 5th and his balloon rocket is this short and fun video!
For many, the holidays are the best time of the year, filled with family get-togethers, fun traditions, and lots of treats. Yet, the holiday season can be hard for our senior citizens, in that they could not see loved ones, decorate, and shop like they used to. Covid -19 made it even harder for older people to celebrate this year, as many senior citizens have to be home in order to stay safe and healthy. In response, Collicot Grade 5 students created holiday cards that were distributed to senior citizens at Milton Residences for the Elderly. Collicot 5th graders look forward to more community service opportunities later this year as part of the Collicot Cares initiative.
AFTER SCHOOL ENRICHMENT
The Winter 2021 ASE session of our virtual program is open for registration. From Soccer to Fun Science, we have classes for everyone. Check out our Brochure here to find a fun after school class for your student.
Please see the update below from Administrator for Pupil Personnel Services, Sue Maselli.
Welcome back! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season. I would like to welcome Ms. Erica Vazquez to the Milton Special Education at Pierce Middle School in the role of School Psychologist. Erica writes:
I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Erica Vazquez and I recently joined the Pierce community as the School Psychologist. I can be reached at email@example.com or 617-696-4568 ext 3334.
My credentials include a Bachelor’s in Psychology and a Master’s/C.A.G.S. in School Psychology. I’ve worked with students and families for the past seven years in various capacities – psycho-educational evaluations, group and individual counseling, crisis intervention, instructional and behavioral consultation, and mental health education and prevention.
As the School Psychologist at Pierce, my primary responsibility will be completing assessments, observing students, writing comprehensive reports, and consulting with staff and parents as needed. If at any time during the year you have questions or concerns please feel free to contact me. I can be reached for appointments or consultations by contacting the school office, my direct phone line, or email. I wish you and your family a healthy and happy school year!
MILTON FOUNDATION FOR EDUCATION
The Milton Foundation for Education has been funding initiatives for the Milton Public Schools for decades. This year, the MFE has found themselves unable to fundraise in their traditional way, yet the need for our schools and student communities has never been greater. Thank you to the MFE for funding the safety banners above for each of our schools!
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.
Winter Sports officially start today, and our first home game is tomorrow as our Girls Freshman Basketball Team take on Walpole High School!
As a reminder, there are no spectators allowed at any events this season. We are offering a free live stream for each game.
Please search YouTube for Milton Access TV and the game will start streaming roughly 2-3 minutes prior to the scheduled start.
There will be a few games that are not streamed over YouTube and instead will be streamed live on our Twitter Account (@MHS_Wildcats_). Please check this Athletics link for schedules to see which games are streamed via YouTube or Twitter.
Can for Cats is back! Boys Soccer will be hosting Cans for Cats this Saturday, January 9, from 9am to noon at Milton High School. Please bring your bottles and cans to MHS this weekend to support our student-athletes!
We recommend checking with the local organizations below for any changes to the following events.
The Milton Early Childhood Alliance has a series of programming for young children and families that I hope you will explore. All details on the following events can be found here.
MECA is pleased to offer StoryWalk® at the Trailside Museum; Preschool Playgroup Series; Nature Tales Series; Help Your Child Learn at Home workshops and Family Story Time with Children’s Book Author Michelle Chalmers. All details can be found here.
Congratulations to Pierce teacher Deanna Magill, who has been selected as MassCUE’s Featured Educator for January 2021! Each month, MassCUE highlights the great work of inspirational educators like Mrs. Magill. You can read about Mrs. Magill and the exciting work she does with her students on the MassCUE website.
AJ Melanson, MPS Director of Educational Technology, states “Deanna is a true tech leader and a tremendous asset to our district. She empowers her students and allows them to share their voice, showcase their creativity, and follow their passion!” We are lucky to have passionate and talented educators like Ms. Magill at MPS!
Thank you to my blog contributors this week: Kim Coughlin, Susan Maselli, Jackie Morgan, Ellen Lohan, Ryan Madden, Bernadette Butler, Miranda Watrous, Jennie Beliveau, Marti O’Keefe McKenna, Sara MacNeil, Jess Gillooly, and AJ Melanson.
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.