February 25, 2021

To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
From: James F. Jette
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: February 25, 2021

FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT

Thank you to the Glover and Tucker PTOs for hosting me for Conversation Hours with their school communities this week. I look forward to meeting with Cunningham and Collicot parents and guardians next week and with Pierce and MHS parents and guardians on March 10. Links to attend can be found on our website. I look forward to learning more about your goals, expectations, and your child’s school experience and hearing your feedback as we look to the future. We’ll allow time for a live Q&A and if you would like to submit questions in advance, please do so here.  I will send further district communication about any upcoming model changes as a stand alone email in the coming days. 

Tonight the Tucker Community invites all of MPS to attend Tucker Talks:  A special presentation from author Soo Hong, TONIGHT, Thursday, February 25 at 7pm.  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. All MPS parents/guardians are welcome! The link to attend can be found here.

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I hope you received and read through my communication this week about our partnership with Cambridge Education to examine the instructional, social emotional and cultural assets across the district. In March, all staff, students and families in grades 6-12 will receive a questionnaire to provide us with important feedback. Thank you for taking the time to complete the questionaire in March and if you have not already,  please read the letter in its entirety here.

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Is there a science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and/or computer science teacher working in grades 7-12 who you feel has been exceptional?  

The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) is the nation’s highest honor for teachers of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM, including computer science) and the window for nominations is open until March 1, 2021.  One math and one science awardee will be selected from each state. Please consider nominating a teacher who you feel has been impactful in your student’s education.  This award recognizes teachers who have both deep content knowledge of the subjects they teach and the ability to motivate and enable students to be successful in those areas. The National Science Foundation administers PAEMST on behalf of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.  Excellence in math and science teaching is plentiful across this district, so please consider nominating an outstanding teacher! All details on the nominating process can be found here. 

SCHOOL COMMITTEE 

The next School Committee meeting will be on March 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

  • Feb 25 Tucker Talks – All MPS Speaker Event
  • Mar 3 School Committee Meeting
  • Mar 4 Early Release K-12
  • Mar 9 1st Grade Information Night

The full MPS calendar can be found here.

1st Grade Information Night: On March 9 at 6:30 PM the Milton Public Schools will hold 1st Grade Information Night. Parents and guardians of current MPS kindergarten students are invited to learn about our two first grade programs: The English Innovation Pathway (with STEM & Spanish) and French Immersion. We will present information on each program as well as the assignment plan, lottery (if needed), and timeline. This presentation is being held virtually. A link will be posted on the MPS website and sent through school based communications prior to that evening.

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 weeks of February 11 – February 24, MPS reported: 1 staff positive and 6 students positive.

TRAVEL REMINDERS: Anyone considering travel should review and abide by Massachusetts travel orders, and people who want to travel to another state that is not a lower-risk state should be aware of the quarantine requirements involved with such travel. All students/ staff will be required to provide a negative PCR test or quarantine for 10 days prior to return to in person learning after out of state travel.

EDUCATIONAL EQUITY

Somaly Prak-Martins, Senior Director of Education Equity, shares the following. Please see the full update on MPS Anti-Racist Work, the 14th Amendment, and Quality Review updates here. 

Quality Review Steering Committee and the Selection Task Force: The implementation for the Quality Review from an Equity Lens has been underway. The amount of interest from the community is promising. However, due to the Massachusetts Commissioner of Education’s recent announcement, the focus of the entire school district has shifted to ensure a safe and equitable return to school for ALL (students and staff). There are a lot of logistics, planning, and negotiating taking place in order to abide by the CDC guidelines as well as meeting learning targets. The Quality Review through an equity lens will continue as planned but we are extending our recruitment timeframe for both the Selection Task Force as well as the Steering Committee. Click here to apply and/or learn more about the Selection Task Force and Steering Committee. The new deadline is: Selection Task Force 2/8/21 – 4/16/21and Steering Committee 2/8/21 – 5/7/21. The full timeline can be found here. 

FOOD SERVICE 

We are currently receiving 300  Farmers to Families boxes to distribute every Wednesday at our weekly food service drive through. This week’s boxes contained a gallon of milk, parmesan cheese, yogurt, chicken hotdogs, carrots, onions, potatoes, apples, and chicken taco meat. We are sharing any leftover boxes with the residents of  Unquity House and Winter Valley.

Our weekly Food Service drive-through is open EVERY Wednesday.

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

Eveyone loves swag and we have some for our MHS seniors!
 
Seniors – Stop by the back of Milton High School and pick up your swag bags from your class officers – Thursday (today!) 5-7pm or Friday 3-5pm.

 

 
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Please see below from the MHS Key Club.

The MHS  Key Club would like to thank everyone who donated to our Coat Drive on Saturday, February 13 at MHS and Cunningham Hall. We collected approximately 100 coats and jackets and delivered them to Anton’s Cleaners to be cleaned. Through their partnership with Jordan’s Furniture, the coats and jackets will be donated to charities in Massachusetts to help people in need. We appreciate everyone who came out to support this cause on an exceptionally cold day.

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The MHS Debate Team has had a busy February!  The February Debate Topic for Massachusetts Public Forum Debate is: Resolved: On balance, the benefits of urbanization in West Africa outweigh the harms.

MHS Debate Team Captain Thank you to Professor Galvan. Anderson Korman researched experts in the field of West African studies and set up a Zoom meeting with Professor Dennis Galvan, Dean and Vice Provost, Division of Global Engagement and professor of International Studies and Political Science, at the University of Oregon. 

Professor Galvan has written a host of books on the subject and spent over an hour with the MHS Debate Team discussing his expertise on West Africa. Professor Galvan has spent on and off time in West Africa since 1980 and has headed up research projects in Senegal, Mali, and Gabon. At present, he has an ongoing research program in a rural area outside of Dakar, the capital of Senegal.

MHS Debate Captains put a list of questions together prior to the Zoom meeting to ensure they received valuable information they could use in their debate preparation. Students were engaged and asked thoughtful questions. Professor Galvan shared that he was impressed with the questions and professionalism of our MHS students!

In January,  the Debate Team participated in a national tournament that included competition from students in multiple states. Although the team participates in this tournament every year, this experience was different and involved much more preparation as they had to participate virtually. Students spent time preparing for this tournament through research, scrimmaging, and collaboration. They faced some of the best debaters in the country and after two days of fierce debate came out with multiple rounds won and an invaluable experience for the future. Congratulations to our participants Senior Captain Ralph Destin, Junior Captains Jonathan Waldman and Anderson Korman, Kiera Glazer, Lok Ye Young, and Maggie Sun on their excellent debate performances. 

This week Debate Team Captains Ralph Destin, Anderson Korman and Jonathan Waldmann organized an ‘In-House Scrimmage Week’ to help the novice teamwork on their debate skills. The Varsity Team members posed as judges for the Novice Team as each novice team debated four rounds throughout the week. The varsity members judge and give feedback to the teams. At the end of the week, there will be an award ceremony to announce the winners.

The MHS Debate team will be competing in two Massachusetts Debate and Speech League tournaments in the coming weeks, on February 27 and March 13. These two tournaments serve as opportunities for team members to earn bids to the State tournament, held on April 10-11.  Good luck to our MHS Debate Team!

PIERCE PAGES

Ms. Mitchell’s 7th grade scientists are studying how particles differ between states of matter. To help students understand more about liquid particles, the properties of water and wax paper were used to explore particle bonds and cohesion. Students used a popsicle stick to watch water glide across the wax paper and they were able to see the water “stick together” and come apart. The students were also given a penny and water dropper to explore the surface tension of water and how the particles bonds allow the water to “stick” together and creates a bubble on top of the penny.

INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

During Black History Month, Miss Nicole’s Tucker preschool class focused on Black Inventors and Firsts. Our youngest students learned about Garrett Morgan and how he was responsible for adding yellow to what is now the modern day traffic light, greatly increasing our safety. Red means stop, green means go, yellow means drive very, very, very slow.

The class also learned about Black Astronaut Mae Jemison, reading Mae Among the Stars and learned, “If you dream it, believe in it, and work hard for it, anything is possible.” In honor of Dr. Jemison, students made their own rockets. This task involved identifying the correct shapes and colors, as well as drawing self portraits inside the rocket window.

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The rich and varied musical contributions of Black Americans are much too numerous to celebrate only during Black History Month so are featured throughout the entire school year in the elementary music classes at Collicot, Cunningham, Glover, and Tucker.

Using picture books, videos, demonstrating authentic African instruments, and singing and playing inclusive songs (including spirituals, call and response patterns, and blues) exposes and immerses our youngest students to these contributions in the elementary setting. A recent grant funded by Celebrate Milton has provided the music rooms with an even wider variety of books that are inclusive of many cultures. Pictured in the bookshelf above are some of the resources and activities used during Black History Month and throughout the school year in the elementary music classes. Visit our interactive music bookshelf here. 

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Cunningham and Collicot 2nd graders in Mrs. Walsh’s class have been working on a “Spread the Love Campaign” this month. Students aboard the “Walship II” have written positive messages for the community of Milton in the shape of hearts and are displaying them in windows and doors around Milton.

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The students and staff of Glover want to share some Glover Love with the MPS community. These messages of encouragement, positivity, kindness, and empathy line the Glover hallways – enjoy seeing some Glover smiling faces and knowing what it means to be a Glover Kid! Thanks to Ms. Craven for the video and to the Glover PTO for the hearts!

 

SPECIAL EDUCATION

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

We will welcome Tucker School parents of students in special education to our next coffee. We will meet virtually on March 10 at 7pm. The link to join can be found here. 

It’s hard to believe summer 2021 is around the corner.  This year, the ESY program will be run by Mr. Mark Harrison. MPS will be offering Extended School Year services this summer, beginning on July 6, 2021. All programs will once again be held at the Collicot and Cunningham elementary schools. The program will run for six weeks, with a scheduled end date of August 13, 2021. It is anticipated that registration information for Extended School Year services will be sent to families in early May. Plans for how instruction will be delivered will also be communicated at this time. Any questions regarding your student’s eligibility for Extended School Year services may be directed to your Team Chairperson. Our staff looks forward to another great summer of instruction.

SEPAC, the Special Education Parent Advisory Council, has updated its website. Use this link to find out about meeting dates, SEPAC news and to access remote meetings. Their next meeting is tonight, February 25 at 6:30pm.

SOCIAL EMOTIONAL LEARNING

Ms. Marybeth from Tucker welcomes all in the MPS community to Mindful March! She shares the following and invites you to let her know how it goes at mcallahan@miltonps.org.

Mindfulness is a practice that offers everyone the amazing opportunity to enjoy the present moment, which honestly slips right by. Finding mindful moments takes a certain way of being in relationship with your life every day with kindness and curiosity. It takes remembering to be mindful and that takes practice. I was developing my own Mindful March practice and I came across this Action Calendar above created by Action For Happiness. I invite everyone to set an intention to practice with your class, with your family and with yourself. Let these simple little moments be the invaluable moments to slow down and take in the good. Perhaps after 31 days of awareness, you will notice a shift? International Day of Happiness is March 20th, CELEBRATE with love!  Mary Beth Callahan 

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.

Free Tax Filing Assistance: United Way helps people to easily and accurately file their federal and state taxes and helps families maximize their returns. The site is available in Spanish and English with access to coaches by phone and referral to VITA sites, for those who prefer local assistance. For more information click here

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. 

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

MILTON COMMUNITY SCHOOLS

Thank you to all who attended February Vacation Camp. Our students created interesting crafts, tested their trivia knowledge, created delicious treats to take home, and even had a soccer lesson from Super Soccer Stars! Thank you also to the Collicot and Cunningham custodial team for their help in making our Vacation Camp a big success. We will send out information on our April Vacation Camp opportunities soon. 

ART AND MUSIC

The Milton Music Department had great success with SEMSBA auditions this year with 28 students accepted to participate in virtual festivals and masterclasses during the Spring! Students accepted to the Senior SEMSBA Festival include: Shanti Bosque-Hamilton, Sophie Boucher, Lindsey Dunn, Lucia Dwyer, Keira Earner, Timothy Fay, Isabelle Feloney, Bridgeitte Greene, Max Hollingsworth Hays, Tracy Le, Madison Maddad, Jackson Matejka, Isabel Murley, Claudia O’Neill, Sydney O’Toole, Osamudia Odion-Upkebor, Franklin Ollivierre III, Mahina Panerio-Langer, Philip Phan, Roisin Queally, Aoife Ruth, Dominique Thomas, Claire Walkso and Stella Yuan. Students accepted to the Junior Festival include: Emily Bohlin, Lucille Hollingsworth-Hays, Fedor Myshkin and Layla Raymond. Congratulations to these hard working and talented musicians!

ATHLETICS

The MHS Girls Ice Hockey Team will be hosting Cans for Cats on Saturday, March 6 from 9am to noon at Milton High School. Thank you for supporting our student athletes and recycling your cans and bottles at MHS on Saturday. MHS Girls Ice Hockey shares their thoughts on the season below. 

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COMMUNITY NEWS 

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

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

BLOG SUBSCRIPTION: If you do not receive the Superintendent’s Weekly Update and would like to, please enter your email here to subscribe to this one weekly email.

Thank you to my blog contributors this week: Kim Coughlin, Susan Maselli, Jackie Morgan, Rachel Mitchell, Janice Mazzolla, Karen McDavitt, April Allegrezza, Marti O’Keefe McKenna, Colleen Martin, Somaly Prak-Martins, Kathleen Kelley, Rebecca Damiani, Nicole Tucker, Melissa Craven, Marybeth Callahan, Kristin Driscoll, Martha Sandoval, and Elaine McNeil-Girmai.

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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