April 29, 2021

To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
From: James F. Jette
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: April 29, 2021


Next week is Teacher Appreciation Week across the country and in the Milton Public Schools we will celebrate all of our staff from May 3-7. Our PTOs have planned some surprises for our MPS staff next week and we appreciate all the families who are assisting with these efforts. This year has been trying for many in our community and I hope that this week of appreciation moves our district forward in a positive way.

One way you can show your appreciation is through the Milton Foundation for Education’s Teacher of the Year 2021! Remote, Hybrid, and In Person…2021 MPS Educators did it ALL!
Please take a moment to nominate a deserving MPS Educator for TOY. The easy nomination form can be found here and more information is on the MFE website. Please help us in recognizing our excellent teachers and staff by nominating an outstanding staff member for Teacher of the Year 2021. 


Ready, Set…Kindergarten! We are welcoming the Class of 2034 to the Milton Public Schools in the coming weeks. Our new kindergarten families should have received their school assignment this week. Please email Marti O’Keefe McKenna at mckenna@miltonps.org if you have not yet received it. 

Now that families have attended Kindergarten Information night, registered their child for kindergarten, and received their school assignment, the next step is to join us at your child’s new school to pick up your Kindergarten  t-shirt. We have times planned at each school to welcome your child to an outside space to stop by, pick up your coveted yellow  “I’m Going to Kindergarten” t-shirt, meet your Principal and take a Welcome to MPS photo. Our principals plan to join us if school business doesn’t call them away. This is a “stop by” event, families are welcome to drop by any time during the hour. All MPS social distancing and safety rules will be followed. Please wear a mask at all times while on school property. All details on Ready, Set…Kindergarten! can be found at this link. Welcome to the Class of 2034! 


The next regular School Committee meeting will be on May 19 , 2021 at 7pm in the Milton Access Studio, Rm 245 Milton High School. All information about upcoming School Committee meetings can be found on the Town of Milton webpage. You can watch School Committee meetings live on Milton Access TV online, live on Milton Access cable channels (Comcast 22, RCN 15) or watch on-demand in the days following the meeting.


  • May 3 Town Meeting Begins
  • May 18 Getting Ready for Kindergarten Cafe (Virtual)
  • May 19 School Committee Meeting

The full MPS calendar can be found here.

TONIGHT: Pierce DEI Committee Workshop extends this invitation to all in the MPS community: Please join us for a series of workshops organized by Pierce’s diversity, equity and inclusion committee for all MPS families. The link here outlines two upcoming offerings – the first is this Thursday (4/29/21) at 7:00 p.m. More information about Thursday’s event is below:

  • Workshop description: The past year has presented challenges to our wellness and well-being. The impact of the pandemic on our lives – school closures, hybrid and remote learning, loss of social connections, illness and loss of loved ones – has weighed on everyone in one way or another. This workshop will be an opportunity to reflect on our experiences and learn strategies for self-care, self-regulation, and stress reduction. Panelists will include Ali Smith, Dahyana Schlosser RN, M.Ed, Marla Murasko, and Jane Spitzer. Information about each panelist can be found here.

  • Please complete this pre-registration link in advance of the workshop. The Zoom link can be found here.  (Passcode: 506475)


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 two week period April 15 – April 28 , MPS reported: 1 staff positive and 5 students positive.

The COVID page on our website continues to be updated with new FAQs added regularly.


Congratulations to the top scorers in this year’s American Mathematics Competition (AMC), a 25-question, 75-minute intensive math exam that challenges problem solving, critical thinking, and reasoning skills!

AMC 10: 1st Place -Pictured L-R:  Daniel Steinberg (9th); 2nd Place – Joshua Ricciardi (9th); 3rd Place – Alexander Tran (10th)

AMC 12: Pictured L-R: 1st Place – Alix Benoit (12th); 2nd Place – John Barron Clancy (11th); 3rd Place – Declan O’Connor (11th)


Principal Cahill sent a recent update about MHS graduation and other senior events. We look forward to celebrating our seniors over the next 6 weeks! You can read the full update here. 

Thank you to our parent volunteers who organized and helped with our recent Ice Cream Day for seniors. Seniors who are remote students received a gift card in the mail to Dairy Freeze. Our seniors enjoyed the treat and are looking forward to the weeks ahead!


MHS students in the Launch Program are now accepting dog treat orders from the Milton community. To order your Paws Treats, please click here.   Questions? Please email the team at pawsabilitreats@miltonps.org. Thank you for supporting our team!


Mr. Manning’s 7th and 8th grade artists created a classroom sneaker war with their final sneaker designs for quarter 3. Students were introduced to the top ten most iconic sneakers and the top ten most expensive sneakers ever sold. Artists from both 7th and 8th grade argued about what sneakers are the best and understood how sneaker collectors make a living from buying, selling, and trading custom sneakers. Sneakers are a huge part of middle school culture and students love to show off their “kicks”.

The goal in the lesson was for students to create their very own pair of custom sneakers that featured their own unique logo and color palette. They could take inspiration from other designers but had to create their own footprint, heel design, logo, and a profile design. Some artists took it upon themselves to create their very own theme around the entire sneaker. Students from both grades loved how each and every student’s design was unique.


Pierce Gear for Sale: The Pierce PTO will host a “Swag Sale” at dismissal this Friday (4/30/21) and Monday (5/3/21). Pierce t-shirts will be available for $10 and Pierce flannel pajama bottoms will be available for $20. Check out our  t-shirts and flannel bottoms! 


Since November,  Mme Vendette’s remote 3rd graders have been drying 4 Swan neck gourds (donated by the Milton Public Library) and this spring students emptied the gourds of their dried up seeds, and a few students took part in painting them. Each of the 4 elementary schools received one of the gourd birdhouses to put in their garden or green space, just in time for nesting season.


Students in the Tucker PreK class have been studying the concept of  Reduce, Reuse, Recycle with an inspirational focus on artists and environmental activists who believe that earth day is every day. One activist who inspired the class is Isatou Ceesay, subject of the book  One Plastic Bag,  who is often referred to as the Queen of Recycling. Isatou Ceesay is from Gambia. Check out the book by Miranda Paul and Isatou Ceesay’s amazing work! Recyclable materials were collected, plans were discussed to create a piece of art work and through this process, our students became ARTIVISTS!


We have two highlights from budding 5th grade journalists this week!

Mentored by Ms. Renehan, our 5th grade journalists Trey Kovacs, Sophie Middleton, and Nico Mann, have published the latest edition of the Glover Gazette and I encourage you to take a peek at it here

Trey, Sophie, and Nico share the following: The Glover Gazette is our school newspaper to share what’s happening all around Glover School. We want students to know about what’s going on, and to read things that are written by other kids. Our paper shows that you don’t have to be an adult to share news and information! If you are a student, staff member, or family that has anything newsworthy to share in the Gazette, please send details and photos to brenehan@miltonps.org

Ms. Watrous’s 5th Grade remote class is proud to present their first ever Taipan Times Newspaper! Named after their class mascot, the cunning Taipan, this newspaper features articles developed by students for students covering a wide array of topics. Students worked independently on articles of their choice and also engaged in peer-editing in order to publish this final product. The class enjoyed making this for readers and hope that our weekly issues put a smile on your face!


Before vacation, Glover hosted a virtual presentation of Ms. Money & the Coins. This program, sponsored by Rockland Trust, is a nationally recognized educational, interactive, musical presentation that teaches elementary-aged students about saving, sharing and spending money. This fun and engaging show uses music, magic and interactive theater games to bring basic personal finance concepts to life on stage and leaves students and teachers cheering about saving money. In the past this presentation has been live and in person, but this year, like other things, we found a way to bring this exciting performance to our students!


Collicot students in Ms. Perrault’s kindergarten class enjoyed learning outside in the Green Space this week. The class read Bear At Work from Reach for Reading and discussed the different jobs that were described in the story. Next the students were asked to pick a job discussed in the story that they would want to have in the future and give a detail about it and add an illustration. Working outside on a beautiful day made this lesson even better for our young students.


Glover’s Gotta Have Sole Student Leadership Team is taking action to make a difference in the lives of homeless youth! 5th grade student leaders, Maya Wong, Owen Burnes, Seamus Farley, Riley Kovacs, Peyton Naigles and Lorraine Anesi, are partnering with Gotta Have Sole, a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide homeless youth with new shoes to help them feel confident, comfortable and valued.  For homeless youth, walking in worn-out shoes or shoes that don’t fit is all too common. This can injure feet, hurt self-esteem and make kids feel like they don’t fit in at school.  How can you help? All details including collection jars, sock donations , donating online, and making personalized cards can be found here. Watch this Glover Morning Announcement to learn more about this special project.


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

  • MPS is proud to offer a new parent resource,  our new Assistive Technology Website. Here you will find a lot of information on instructional tech tools students can use to enhance their learning.  Please email  Inclusion Specialists, Maureen Butler or Caroline Mannion,  with any questions. 
  • ESY update from Mark Harrison: The Milton Public Schools’ Extended School Year program will begin on July 6, 2021 and end on August 13, 2021. Program information can be found on the ESY website: MPS Extended School Year 2021. To assist with scheduling and planning, we are hoping to have all eligible students registered by May 7, 2021. You can access the registration form here: ESY Registration Form. If you have questions regarding your student’s eligibility for ESY services please contact your school’s Team Chair. 
  • If you are a family that currently has a student who is in an Out of District Special Education Placement and have not yet had a chance to respond to our Information Survey, please do so by accessing the survey at this link.


Milton Summer Enrichment: Does Sensational Scientists, Greek Mythology, Fiber Art Explorations, Tennis, Irish Step Dancing or Milton Summer Olympics sound like something your children would enjoy?  Then consider MSE for some summer fun and learning! 

Please see the MSE At a Glance document here to review classes, policies, and more about MSE 2021. Registration for MSE will open on May 3 at noon at this link. Questions? Email us at  mse@miltonps.org. We hope your child will join the MSE fun this summer!  

An application for high school students serving as a volunteer or paid Red Shirt will be shared by the MHS Guidance Department.

Camp Cunningham: Camp Cunningham is looking forward to a great summer! The CC team is working to implement a series of adjustments that will ensure a safe and fun environment for our campers. We are able to accommodate 72 campers and participants must be currently enrolled as MPS students entering grades 1- 6 in the fall of 2021.

All details on Camp Cunningham can be found here and please read the Camp Cunningham welcome letter here. Registration for Camp Cunningham 2021 is open at this link.

Extended School Year: Please see this ESY update from Mark Harrison. The Milton Public Schools’ Extended School Year program will begin on July 6, 2021 and end on August 13, 2021. Program information can be found on the ESY website: MPS Extended School Year 2021. To assist with scheduling and planning, we are hoping to have all eligible students registered by May 7, 2021. You can access the registration form here: ESY Registration Form. If you have questions regarding your student’s eligibility for ESY services please contact your school’s Team Chair.


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 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.


Tucker teacher Mary Beth Callahan shares the following and hopes that all will join her for Magnificently Mindful Month of May in Milton. 

May is another beautiful month to practice slowing down, while noticing the beauty that exists right in front of us. Awareness April seemed to fly by, I hope you had a chance to sharpen your mindful awareness skills.  These simple daily practices can be done anytime. The benefits of mindfulness for children and adults starts with being present along with noticing and accepting what’s happening in those moments. Try noting the good as well as the more uncomfortable moments with a kind and curious attitude. Mindfulness is not all about trying to be calm. In fact, when you are feeling stress or anxiety and when you notice this in your body and are able to come into your breath as a practice of calming the senses, that is a moment of mindfulness.  We will finish the year with Joyful June! 


It was recently announced that students will be offered free meals  – breakfast and lunch – through June 2022. Each of our schools has multiple meal options every day. Please encourage your child to try our school meals!  

Remote students have the option to pick up meals to go at the school of their choice. Please email Kim Golden if you are not connected to this option.

Looking for a part time job while your kids are in school? Join our Food Service team – this year or next! Please email Jackie Morgan to explore opportunities to join this terrific team. 


The Milton Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition shares that prevention starts early and it starts at home. Tip #7 is at right. For lots of tips and resources for parents and guardians about steps to take to help prevent teen use of drugs and alcohol, please visit our website and follow us on Facebook.

The MSAPC also has a variety of social-emotional learning webinars available on its website. Listen and watch on your own timeframe to these recorded webinars. 


Please see the following from AD Ryan Madden.

Spring Tryouts are underway! Please remember that any student with expiring physicals during the season immediately becomes ineligible, so make sure the next appointment is booked. Any physical on or after May 30, 2020 will remain valid through the rest of the school year.

Unified Track will begin on Monday, May 3. Coach Ashley Assarian has been reaching out to families regarding the Unified Track Season. Any questions can be sent to Coach Assarian at  aassarian@miltonps.org.

Unfortunately, Cheer will not have a season this spring. Any questions regarding Cheering opportunities outside of Milton High School can be sent to Ryan Shannon, vfallcheer@miltonps.org.

Wrestling will begin on Monday, May 3.Wrestling has been approved by the EEA and MIAA for level 3 play (wrestling an opponent, not just conditioning or skill work). See below for the statement on April 16th from the EEA/MIAA Joint Guidance on Youth Activities: 

  • Today, the MA Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) amended their March 22, 2021 EEA guidelines to include an update to the high risk sports/level of play section. Effective, April 16, 2021, the sport of Wrestling has reached Level 3 status allowing for competitions. Specifically stated in the EEA guidelines (pages 3-4): If feasible, conduct Level 2 and 3 wrestling activities outdoors, but wrestling may be conducted indoors.

Milton High School Wrestling details are below: 

  • Starting Monday, May 3, the Wrestling Team will practice from 4-5:30pm Monday-Thursday.
  • The season will end Tuesday, June 15.
  • Students will be separated into cohorts and be required to wrestle with the same students for the duration of that week. The Fri/Sat/Sun will be a “buffer” in case there are any positive cases.
  • Wrestling will take place inside, while conditioning may take place outside if the weather permits.
  • Students will be required to wear masks at all times – gaiters are allowed as long as they aren’t a choking hazard.
  • Coaches must be extra cautious as to make sure students are using clean, dry masks and that masks stay on during wrestling.
  • While we await actual sport-specific modifications, we will not be competing against any other schools.
  • Once we receive further guidance on how to safely and effectively conduct a wrestling meet, we may offer 3-4 dual meets with schools in our conference.

Registration for both Unified Track and Wrestling can be found here. Stay tuned for Spectator Guidance, which will be released on Monday, May 3. 


The MHS Class of 2021 is having a Car Wash Fundraiser on Saturday, May 1 from 9-12 at Cunningham School.

MHS Boosters is excited to offer our Spring Pop Up store! By request, they have shorts, red sweatshirts and much more,  The site closes on May 7 and orders will be delivered to the Boosters and we will hold a pick-up day locally expected late May or early June.

MHS Boosters is pleased to offer our Spring Pop Up store!   All details in this link. 


We are happy to provide Community News on behalf of local organizations. We recommend checking with the organizations below for any changes to the following events. 

Congregation Beth Shalom of the Blue Hills invites the wider Milton community to join us via Livestream as Milton Police Chief John King shares with us his thoughts, perspective and vision on what good policing looks like. April 30, Friday Night Shabbat Services at 7:45pm. Chief King at 8:15ish. Please use this Livestream link to attend:  https://venue.streamspot.com/56d42993. 


The Milton Public Library has some terrific programs for students of all ages. Check out their upcoming events here. The main MPL website can be found here.

Please join the Milton Public Library and the Friends of the Library for a virtual visit with author Holly McGhee and illustrator Pascal Lemaitre. All details can be found here. They will be sharing their new picture book, What the World Could Make. We’ll have time to hear the story, and then can ask all of our questions about what it’s like to make books. Best of all, Holly speaks English and Pascal speaks French, so this will be a bilingual event.


The Milton Interfaith Clergy Association invites the community to join together for the following event. Commemorating our Journey through Covid-19: A Community Gathering of Consolation, Healing and Hope. Presented by the Milton Interfaith Clergy Association on Sunday, May 16 from 3:00pm-4:00pm at the Milton Town Gazebo.


Milton Art Center: Empower your young artist, ages 4-12 this summer with nine weeks of outdoor art programming starting June 28 to August 26 at the Milton Art Center. Weekly themed programs in clay, painting, fairy camp, mixed media, 3D sculpture and more run Monday-Thursday, AM and PM sessions. Sign up for one session or several on our website. 


New England Base Camp—An outdoor adventure park located in the Blue Hills of Milton, NE Base camp offers a premier destination for parents who are looking to keep their kids engaged during April break. This hidden jewel offers top notch outdoor education and a fantastic opportunity for kids to get a full outdoor experience, something they may not have had much of a chance to do during the pandemic. The camp offers fun filled activities such as fire-building, outdoor cooking, archery, S.T.E.M programs, pioneering, environmental studies, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, arts and crafts, and creative arts such as animation, theatre, music and even ax throwing! The Camp, now open to the public, is owned and operated by the Boy Scouts Spirit of Adventure Council and follows all Covid-19 Protocols. Visit the NE Base Camp visit the website here.


Brookwood Community Farm, 11 Blue Hill River Road, Canton, at DCR’s Brookwood Farm, is hosting the annual Seedling Sale in early May.  For those interested in seedlings there is an online signup for a time to park and shop in person. (Find sale FAQ’s here.) For those looking to help before or at the sale, there are also volunteer signups.  We need various help, including  “checkers” who count the plants purchased before someone goes to the cashier, and parking lot attendants at either Brookwood or Trinity Church.  To manage COVID restrictions,  the sale is spread out over a longer time.  The non profit farm depends on volunteers for events like this and for semi regular tasks on the farm along with opportunities like delivering food donations to one of our 7 partners or SNAP shares to Dorchester pickup locations.   


Squantum Yacht Club offers sailing programs for youth. Call or text Jill Kourafas at 508 – 498- 9851 or visit their website for more information. 


Please join me in recognizing MHS teacher Jeny Gonzalez. Ms. Gonzalez has been nominated for the 2021 Commonwealth Heroine Award for the 6th Bristol District. State Representative Carole Fiola shares that Jeny has been an incredibly valuable resource in assisting the City with outreach and education for the vaccine. Thank you Jeny for your volunteerism!


Some more good news! Sam Higgins, a graduating MHS senior, has been selected as a semifinalist for the prestigious U.S. Presidential Scholars Program!

The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was established in 1964, by executive order of the President, to recognize and honor some of our nation’s most distinguished graduating high school seniors. In 1979, the program was extended to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, creative and performing arts. In 2015, the program was again extended to recognize students who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical education fields. Each year, up to 161 students are named as Presidential Scholars, one of the nation’s highest honors for high school students.

Sam will be attending the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia this fall to pursue a career in opera. Congratulations on your achievement, Sam!

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: Jackie Morgan, Marti O’Keefe McKenna, Ellen Lohan, Jon Redden, Karen McDavitt, Sara MacNeil, Elaine McNeil-Girmai, Ryan Madden, Susan Maselli, Veronique Vendette, Bill Fish, Brian Selig, Karen Cahill, Patrick Manning, Mary Beth Callahan and Martha Sandoval.

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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