January 28, 2021

To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
From: James F. Jette
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: January 28, 2021

FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT

Thank you to all who attended our Elementary Model Update presentation last night. We are grateful to the MPS staff and families for their positivity as we look to double the in person learning time for our Kindergarten through 5th grade students beginning February 8. This change would not be possible without the partnership of our entire community.

The video presentation from last night has been posted by Milton Access TV and can be viewed at this link. The Powerpoint presentation is linked here. We are compiling the Q&A from last night and many of the questions asked are addressed in the PowerPoint and video linked above. Additional questions will be organized and an FAQ will be included in your Principal’s weekly email.  Finally, thank you to those who left positive comments in the Q&A. We have shared those with our teachers and we know your words will have an impact.

We will update the community on any potential changes to our Middle and High School model as soon as those details become available.

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A reminder that Kindergarten Information Night is tonight, January 28, 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 the link to attend can be found here. The passcode is 414475.  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.

We look forward to welcoming the Class of 2034 to the Milton Public Schools in September 2021!

SCHOOL COMMITTEE 

The next School Committee meeting will be on February 3, 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 28 Kindergarten Information Night
  • Feb 3 School Committee Meeting
  • Feb 15-19 February Recess
  • Feb 25 Tucker Talks – All MPS Speaker Event

The full MPS calendar can be found here.

Tucker Talks: All MPS parents/guardians are welcome! We will resume our Tucker Talk sessions with a special presentation from author Soo Hong. Dr. Hong was scheduled to be a PARENT series presenter last year when the school closure occurred. We are excited that she is willing to join us again this year.

Dr. Hong is a Wellesley College professor and author of Natural Allies-Hope and Possibilities in Teacher-Family Partnerships. We are excited to have all interested MPS parents/guardians join Dr. Hong for a discussion on how to create lasting and collaborative relationships between home and school particularly at this pivotal time in education. Please save the date for February 25th for an evening with Dr. Hong!

HEALTH AND SAFETY

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 January 21 – January 27, MPS reported: 4 staff positive and 16 students positive.

COVID TESTING: There is Covid testing available in Randolph on Thursday 1/28 and Saturday 1/30. All details can be found at this Randolph testing link.

On Sunday, January 17 Milton hosted their eighth free COVID testing day. To date, nearly five thousand tests have been administered to help stop the spread. Recently, the Town of Milton Select Board unanimously approved two additional test dates: Sunday, February 7 and Sunday, February 21, from 10am to 3pm, at the Department of Public Works (DPW) yard at 629 Randolph Avenue.

COVID GUIDELINES: All MPS updated COVID guidelines and policies can be found on our website. This page is current and updated regularly.

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 10 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.

EDUCATIONAL EQUITY

Somaly Prak-Martins, Senior Director of Education Equity, shares the following. 

Please see this link to read our February issue of the Behaving Equitably newsletter. Inside, you will find updates and information on the upcoming Quality Review from an Equity Lens, Black History Month, Curriculum, Community Partnerships, and more. 

FOOD SERVICE 

Farm to Family Boxes are back!

Farm to Family Boxes are back! Starting next Wednesday, February 3rd, we will again have Farm to Family Boxes to distribute at our weekly food service drive through. Boxes will contain a variety of: 12 lbs of fruits and vegetables; 1 gallon of milk; 5 lbs of cheese and other dairy items; 5.5 lbs of fully cooked meat;  2 lbs of liquid eggs.

Our weekly Food Service drive-through continues to be open EVERY  Wednesday, including during February vacation week.  

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

Thank you to the Class of 2023 Student Government Officers for submitting the following. 

Over the last 5 weeks,  the Class of 2023 Student Government Officers organized a “Giving Tree” community service to benefit the homeless at Father Bill’s shelter in Quincy, MA. A small tree with gift tags was placed in the foyer of  Milton High School, and students were asked to choose a tag and to donate much needed new winter items in order to support the homeless during the cold winter months. Thanks to the generosity of Sophomore families, we were able to collect over 40  items, including new winter coats, fleece tops, sweatpants, mittens, hats, sweatshirts, socks, soap, and sanitizer. The Class of 2023 Class Officers would like to send out heartfelt thanks to all the Sophomore families for their benevolence, giving to those in need during such trying times.

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Amy Tom, MHS Science Department Head,  shares an exciting opportunity for February Vacation from the McAullife Center at Framingham State University.

Spend your vacation week with the stars! Join us for a weeklong exploration of the life cycle of stars. Each day, we will host one session of this 5-part series, which will take you on a journey from the birth of new stars to their spectacular (and sometimes explosive!) deaths. Each session consists of a 1-hour live, interactive virtual program hosted by an experienced McAuliffe Center educator. Each session features original video content, interactive features, exploration of NASA resources, and opportunities for further exploration. All details can be found here.

PIERCE PAGES

Mrs. Magill’s 8th Grade Advanced FUSE class finished up an egg drop design challenge by testing their designs with a real egg this week.  Over the course of 3 weeks students used  an engineering design process as they designed a device to keep a raw egg from breaking when dropped from a balcony. They used a Micro:bit to simulate the egg in their practice drops and made changes to their design based on that information. There were a variety of devices from gliders to 3D designed and printed boxes with lots of padding to shoeboxes with multiple parachutes. In all, 14 students participated in the drop, and only 3 eggs broke!

INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

Mr. Jette gives a big thank you to Zoe for this special note. She didn’t know he would be at Glover this week but had this ready to mail to him!

This week, Glover students joined 15 million youth in 115 countries to create a kinder world. The world can use some extra kindness right now and Glover is going to deliver! The Great Kindness Challenge, presented by the global nonprofit Kids for Peace, was launched with three Carlsbad, California schools in 2012 to address bullying and to foster connection, inclusion and compassion. The annual program has multiplied in enrollment each year, having grown to over 15 million students in 30,000 schools, reaching across all 50 states and 115 countries. The Great Kindness Challenge provides students the tools, opportunity and encouragement to actively create a positive, happy and inclusive culture for all. Schools and students are drawn to the program for its positive and proactive approach to creating kinder school climates through a simple checklist of intentional acts of kindness. While the excitement of The Great Kindness Challenge is enormous, it is the simple acts of kindness that prove to be the biggest hit. Some of the items on the checklist include: wave at 25 people, help your teacher with a needed task, and give 10 genuine compliments today. Big or small, every act of kindness makes a difference. Let’s all help make a positive difference and join together, lift each other up, cheer each other on and do our part to create a kinder Milton and a more compassionate world.

Glover 2nd graders in Ms. Jungels’ class spent some time learning how to say “Hi” in different languages as part of Kindness Week. In the fall, students interviewed family members and learned more about where their family came from. This week, students explored how to say “Hi” in the languages that they previously discussed with their families, or in a language of their choice.

Glover 2nd graders practiced their Google Docs text formatting skills by writing lists of 5 ways they can show kindness. Then they were asked to change the way the text looked to make their lists fun and exciting! Check out the great ways Glover 2nd Graders can show kindness!

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Collicot 4th grade French Immersion students in Madame Theobald’s classes have started their culminating research project on Canada. Students in each cohort selected a province or territory to research and are able to collaborate across cohorts with their classmates. Their final project will be a narrated Google Slide presentation of their project using the Google extension Record to Slides.

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Cunningham students enjoyed a terrific assembly this week, funded by the MTO and the Milton Cultural Council. Students enjoyed “Brazilian Beats” by Grooversity, from the Young Audiences of Massachusetts.

SPECIAL EDUCATION

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

Thank you to the parents and guardians who attended the K-5 presentation with Superintendent Jette last night regarding the elementary school model. For parents who have students with special education, we will continue to provide all the services in your student’s IEP. As we have done since the school closure in March 2020, all services will be outlined in your student’s Remote Learning Plan. We anticipate minimal changes to service schedules in this model. Please check out the Q&A and presentation linked at the top of the blog for additional information and please be in touch with any questions.

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We welcome Pierce Middle School parents of students in special education to our next coffee. We will meet virtually on February 25 at 9am. The link to join can bew found here. 

In addition, the next SEPAC Meeting is February 25 at  7pm. A link to attend will be shared closer to the meeting. 

COMMUNITY SCHOOLS

Community Schools invites you to their 2nd Family Virtual Event.

Join us for a FREE evening of fun, family art. Grab your duct tape and card making supplies to create wallets, tote bags, and pop-up Valentine’s cards…see you there! Sign up for the free event here. 

MSAPC

Join us in watching this award-winning documentary about three families inadvertently impacted by opioid addiction that began with a prescription to manage pain after surgery. The film provides an intimate look into the struggles that can be caused by legal opioid prescriptions when the dangers of these medications are not properly understood. After this powerful 40 minute film, we will have a discussion moderated by Laurie Stillman, Director of the Milton Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition. Everyone experiences pain at some point in their lives. Learn about the many alternatives to opioids that don’t have the same risk of addiction but are still effective.  The registration link can be found here.  

TRANSPORTATION 

Second notices regarding outstanding bus fees were emailed at the beginning of this week.  All payments are due in full by February 1st.  Please note that unpaid bus fees will result in bus passes being invalidated and students being removed from the bus.  Please email bus@miltonps.org with any questions or if you have a financial hardship.

To request bus transportation due to the elementary model change, please email bus@miltonps.org. Upon receipt of this email the transportation department will email a link for bus registration and will accommodate requests based upon seat availability. MPS guarantees transportation to students in grades K to 6 who live 2 miles or more from school and sells the remaining seats on a first come first served basis. MPS will continue to follow the current social distancing and safety measures in place.

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.

Milton is a participating community in The William James INTERFACE Referral Service. Interface is a mental health and wellness referral Helpline available Monday through Friday, 9 am-5 pm, at 888-244-6843. This is a free, confidential referral service for residents of Milton and other participating communities. Callers from these participating communities are matched with licensed mental health providers from our extensive database, on average, within 2 weeks of their call to INTERFACE. Each referral best meets the location, insurance, and specialty needs of the caller. 

What is SNAP Food Assistance? SNAP, The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as food stamps), gives individuals and families money to buy food at grocery stores, convenience stores, and certain farmers’ markets. You have the right to apply for SNAP any time you need help.

If you have lost hours or your job due to COVID-19, if you were laid off or lost income and need help putting food on the table, SNAP food Assistance is here to help. All details can be found at this link. Visit our MPS Food Service webpage for details on SNAP and other programs.

All updates on Family Resources – food, heating assistance, health insurance, financial assistance, contacts – can be found at this link.

ART AND MUSIC

Cunningham and Collicot 3rd graders learned about American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat and the art of graffiti recently. Students admired Basquiat’s work and discussed his use of symbols in his painting. Students then created their version of Basquait’s painting, Pez Dispenser, by drawing a dinosaur, using oil pastels to suggest an outline of bones. Students continued to add details to the background by adding expressive lines, color and their own symbols.

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5th grade ACE students created these amazing oversized pencil sculptures using recycled paper towel tubes, plaster, and acrylic paints. They had so much fun making and creating these 3-D works of art!

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Students in grades 3, 4, and 5 will be participating in a unit on learning how to play the recorder. The experience of learning to play an instrument can be exciting, fun, and challenging for students. Playing an instrument such as the recorder will not only prepare your child for future experiences with musical instruments but also allow improvement in fine motor and listening skills, discipline, and individual responsibility. It provides a space for creativity and musical independence. This letter shares why we
introduce the Recorder to our students, helpful suggestions, and a link
to our evolving recorder content.

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The Milton Instrumental Applied Lesson Program has openings for beginning students for Session 2 starting the end of this month! The program has spots available on the following instruments: Violin, Viola, Clarinet, Saxophone, Trumpet,  Trombone, Baritone and Tuba. If you have a student who would like to start taking lessons on one of these instruments, please contact Rebecca Damiani – rdamiani@miltonps.org. Information for Session 2 can be found here: ALP Session 2 Registration All information for beginning students can be found here: ALP Beginner Registration

ATHLETICS

Thank you to all student-athletes and coaches for continuing to follow protocols this season. Our Winter Season is going well so far! Boys Basketball have won back-to-back games, while our Girls Hockey Team beat Braintree for the first time in over 7 years!  The Ski Team is set to race next Thursday. As of now, there are no fans allowed but look for that to change in the future.

Floating Season Registration will open soon, with the season starting no earlier than February 23rd. Football, Volleyball, Cheer and Indoor Track are set to be played in the Floating Season but plans will be finalized in the next two weeks. Once information becomes available, it will be communicated. 

As there are no spectators currently 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. Thank you to Milton Access TV for providing this service!

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.

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The MHS Volleyball Team will host Cans for Cats on Saturday, February 6th from 9 AM- 12 PM at Milton High School.

COMMUNITY NEWS 

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

MHS Sophomore Lily McLaughlin is partnering with a non-profit organization called Her Drive to conduct donations of personal hygiene items for people in need. Lily is collecting on two upcoming dates – January 29 from 3-4:40pm and February 5 from 3:15-4pm at Kelly Field. Please consider supporting Lily’s important collection drive.  

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

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Milton Girls Softball Registration: Registration is now open for Milton Girls Softball’s Spring 2021 season. Please register at this link. We have over 300 girls in our program from K-8, with professional instruction for the Kindergarteners to learn the game without being intimidated or overwhelmed.  Financial assistance is also available. Please email wecare@miltonsoftball.com with any questions.

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The Forbes House Museum presents Chinese Calligraphy and Illustration Workshop with Artist Rayna Lo on Sunday, February 7 from 10am-12pm.

In anticipation of Chinese New Year, which begins on February 12, learn the fundamentals of Chinese calligraphy and discover your personal calligraphy style. The cost is $30 per household, supplies not included. For more information and to sign up, please visit this link.

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The Milton Early Childhood Alliance has a free program for families with young children being held on February 2: 

Family Story Time – Listen and have a conversation with children’s book author, Michelle Chalmers, who wrote Vitamin D and Me (which she will read) and The Skin on My Knee. This story time on February 2 is designed for children and families to listen to together about how and why human beings have different color skin tones. Details can be found here.

SUPERINTENDENT SHOUTOUT

Congratulations to Philip!

Congratulations to MHS Senior Jazz Ensemble member Philip Phan for being selected to the 2021 All Eastern Division Jazz Ensemble. Eastern Division is comprised of the finest high school musicians from Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington D.C and Europe. Philip went through three rounds of auditions and an application process which started in the Fall of 2019 when Philip was selected as a member of the Massachusetts Eastern District Jazz Ensemble. He was then selected to participate in the Massachusetts All- State Jazz Ensemble in March of 2020, paving the way for his eligibility to apply for All Eastern.

Philip will represent Milton High School as the vibraphonist in the All Eastern Jazz Ensemble. He is one of 18 students who were selected to be in the Jazz Ensemble and will be participating in a “Virtual Weekend” experience March 4-6, 2021 that will include keynote speakers, masterclasses with professional musicians, rehearsals with a world class conductor, as well as opportunities to learn and network with colleges and universities of various types and participate in mock auditions. This experience will culminate in a virtual concert which will be premiered on April 23rd at 8:30pm.

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Thank you to my blog contributors this week: Kim Coughlin, Susan Maselli, Jackie Morgan, Ellen Lohan, Bill Fish, Karen Cahill, Ryan Madden, Bernadette Butler 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.

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