June 3, 2021

To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
From: James F. Jette
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: June 3, 2021

FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT

This Sunday, June 6, our Milton High School Senior Class will graduate under sunny skies on Brooks Field. This class has been perhaps the most impacted by the last 15 months as they missed the last 3 months of their junior year and their entire senior year has been impacted by the Covid 19 pandemic. Despite this, the class of 2021 has rallied and shown great academic, athletic and artistic success. They have made post high school plans which include attendance at a broad range of colleges and universities, travel, the military, and meaningful work. Most importantly, they are engaged, passionate, empathetic young people with exciting days ahead as they begin the next chapter of their lives.

Principal Karen Cahill, the MHS administrative team, and MHS parents and guardians planned a spring of celebration for our seniors, culminating in an MHS Class of 2021 Car Parade on Sunday, June 6 at 5pm. This week our seniors enjoyed their Senior Picnic and tomorrow morning they will pick up their yearbooks and enjoy a grab and go breakfast from Steel and Rye.  As you have all year with initiatives like Sponsor a Senior, I know the entire Milton Community will join me in wishing them well and I hope many of you will join us for the 2nd Annual Car Parade on Sunday. 

Senior Awards Night: Our Senior Awards night was held in-person this week and Milton Access TV has posted it on their website. You can watch the festivities at this link.  Our Music Awards Night was held on May 27 and the list of those recognized can be found at this link: Music Awards.  

Thank you to all who sent well wishes to our MHS Seniors!

MHS Class of 2021 Congratulatory Video: Thank you to Milton Access TV for compiling this special video for our seniors. It is worth the watch! Thank you as well to the many in the Milton community who secured these special shoutouts to the Class of 2021. 

Milton Times Senior Class Tribute: In today’s issue of the Milton Times, you will find the spread of our MHS Senior Class pictures. You can pick up a copy locally or subscribe digitally here. 

MHS Graduation: Milton Access TV will be streaming the event here and on Facebook on the Milton Access page. Sunday’s forecast calls for 90 degree weather, on the turf field, it will feel even warmer. Please plan to dress for the weather and wear sunscreen, hats, etc. 

Car Parade Route:  Starting at 5 pm (Leaving Gile Road):1. Meet at MHS; 2. Right on Blue Hills Parkway; 3. Right on Brook Rd; 4. Brook Rd straight to Adams St; 5. Right on Adams St; 6. Right on Bryant Ave; 7. Right on Edge Hill Rd; 8. Straight onto Pleasant St to Reedsdale Rd; 9. Follow to Reedsdale Rd; 10. Reedsdale Rd to Canton Ave; 11. Right on Canton Ave to Adams St; 12. Left on Adams St; 13. Left on Eliot St; 14. Right on Blue Hills Parkway; 15. Up Blue Hill Ave to Robbins St; 16. Left on Robbins St; 17. Left on Canton Ave’ 18. Straight Back to Gile Rd. Wear your red and white, wave your Milton flag and join your neighbors on Sunday to send our seniors off in style!

Congratulations to the Milton High School Class of 2021! We cannot wait to see where your future takes you. Thank you to all in the Milton Community for coming together to celebrate the MHS Class of 2021.

SCHOOL COMMITTEE 

The next regular School Committee meeting will be on June 16, 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.

MPS SUMMER

Milton Summer Enrichment: MSE Co-Directors Caroline Morton and Ellen Lohan share the following. We are excited about Milton Summer Enrichment 2021 and hope that you will consider joining us this year! A few details:

  • MSE runs July 6-July 30 at Milton High School.
  • MSE runs Mon-Fri 8:30 am-12:30 pm.
  • MSE is for PreK- 8th grade students.
  • Kids make their own schedule when they sign up – choose 2-4 classes, you decide what and when! 
  • There are dozens of classes to choose from – fun, sports, arts, academics, etc.
  • No masks during outdoor classes, and we will offer as many outdoor classes as possible. At this time, students and staff will wear masks indoors, and we will continue to follow any updated guidance for Massachusetts schools and camps for indoor programs.

Please see our brochure at this link and register here. Registration closes on Friday, June 4. Please email us at mse@miltonps.org with any questions. Check out our short MSE video here – we hope your child will join the MSE fun this summer!

Camp Cunningham:  Camp Cunningham is headquartered at the Cunningham School, with swimming at Cunningham Park. Camp hours are from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm. There are currently openings in Sessions 3 –  July 26- Aug 6. 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. Registration for Camp Cunningham 2021 is open at this link.  

IMPORTANT UPCOMING DATES

  • June 3 MHS/Pierce Conversation Hour
  • June 6 MHS Graduation
  • June 7 Elementary Conversation Hour
  • June 15 PARENT Speaker Series
  • June 18 Last Day of School – Early Release

The full MPS calendar can be found here.

Conversation Hours with Superintendent Jette: Please submit questions at this link and we also plan to leave time for live questions.

PARENT Speaker Series: On Tuesday, June 15 at  7pm, we will welcome Julie Cullen for the next PARENT Speaker Series. This presentation is appropriate for parents/caregivers of children in K – 8th grade. Register at this link.

Over the last year, we have been engaged in “survival parenting” as the coronavirus has largely shut down our communities. Social interaction for us and our children has been minimal, and the message has been stay home to stay safe. Children have engaged in hybrid or fully remote learning since March of 2020, as a result. Now, as schools begin to transition back to full in person learning, parents need to be ready to address their children’s fears, questions, and concerns, while still navigating their own! Join us for a discussion of how best to prepare yourself and your children for a “return to normal” both in and out of the school environment.

After spending several years as a clinician and clinical director in the residential treatment setting, Julie spent time in a therapeutic public school environment before opening her private practice in 2012. She hopes to bring humor, knowledge, and empathy into each experience, to bring out clients’ resiliency, and to provide families with a sense of hope for the future.

HEALTH AND SAFETY

If your student has medication in the nurse’s office, please make arrangements for pick-up no later than June 18. All medications still found in the nurse’s office after June 18 will be discarded.

We would like to remind parents that up to date Physical Exams are required for initial entrance to MPS (any grade), as well as for all Kindergarten, 4th grade, 7th grade and 11th grade students.  Up to date immunizations are required for entry to MPS and to participate in all after school activities. Please forward this to your student’s school nurse. You can find Immunization requirements for School Entry at this link..

COVID REPORTING: Each week, school districts report the number of positive cases to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education (DESE). For the period May 27 – June 2 MPS reported 0 staff positive and 0 students positive.

HIGH SCHOOL HAPPENINGS

Students from the MHS Music Department participated in the annual Memorial Day Ceremony at Milton Cemetery. Chorus junior Anna Radley performed the “National Anthem”, members of the Wildcat Marching Band and Colorguard performed “God Bless America” and “Armed Forces Salute” and Senior Drum Major Aislinn Mershon conducted. Junior trumpeter Brian Fay played a beautiful rendition of Taps (linked here) to honor the fallen.

PIERCE PAGES

Throughout the 2020-2021 school year, Pierce engaged in a review of its grade 7 and grade 8 English language arts (ELA) and math classes. This review provided an opportunity to look more closely at student achievement and growth data over the past few years, collect insights from educators, and examine practices around challenging students, supporting students when they struggle, and delivering curriculum in ways that meet each student where they are.

Prior to the 2020-21 school year, Pierce offered “leveled” (titled “accelerated” and “standard”) classes in ELA and math in 7th and 8th grade. Students in 6th grade attended ELA and math as one combined cohort in “unleveled” classes. The school administration, faculty, and Site Council engaged in a review of the accelerated level classes that included three prongs: an analysis of quantitative student assessment data, an analysis of qualitative data collected from teacher focus groups, and an exploration of research studies and articles.

Pierce will move forward without reinstating the accelerated level classes. To augment students’ learning experiences, and attend to the special and specific interests that students may have, Pierce will refine its ELA and math intensive study exploratory classes to offer additional enrichment opportunities in these content areas.

There were a number of the key takeaways from our review of the ELA and math classes.

  • Advancements in Pierce’s ELA and math curricula have positioned the school to meet the needs of a broad range of learners in mixed-level classes.
  • Pierce has recently adopted research-based curricula in both ELA and math that incorporate strategies to accommodate learners ready for more in-depth study as well as those in need of support. We have been and will continue to provide teachers with the professional learning experiences to incorporate these strategies as a regular part of their practice.
  • The practice of leveling at Pierce has not impacted students’ achievement or growth in a material way. Grouping students by achievement level has not led to improved outcomes for students.

A summary of this review can be found here. The recent presentation to Pierce parents and guardians can be found here. Additionally, last night’s presentation at School Committee about this review and plans moving forward will be available on the Milton Access TV website in the coming days. 

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Pierce remote learners are continuing to have fun with their team project.  Recent projects are artistic letters to a senior living community from Aasya Tahir, letters to graduating seniors, and donations to Little Free Libraries. 

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Pierce Spanish teacher Jeny Gonzalez received a special gift – a book –  from a student recently. She noted that this book is one of the most beautiful surprises and a precious gift she has ever received from students. Every page written in this book is the essence of what really makes learning another language so special. She shares that she is proud of this class not only because of the work they have done throughout their years studying Spanish in her classes but for who they have become. You can see the full book at this link.

 

INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

Last week, Ms. Lennon’s Cunningham 3rd graders enjoyed hearing from guest reader Rie Lennon( Ms. Lennon’s sister in-law)  to celebrate the Asian American and Pacific Islanders Heritage month. Rie is from Japan and now lives and works in Massachusetts. She read the book “Grandfather’s Journey” by Japanese author Allen Say. Rie then shared slides about Japanese culture. The class learned that the students in Japan are responsible for cleaning the classrooms at the end of each school day and serving lunch to their peers! The fans at sporting events also all pitch in to help clean the stadiums after any games. Japanese culture believes cleanliness and teamwork are very important.  We also learned that people in Japan speak differently to different people. With friends, they use informal language but if they talk to elderly people or teachers, they use more advanced formal language. There were also many similarities between the U.S. and Japan as well. For example, baseball is a big sport in Japanese culture as it is here. Thank you to Ms. Lennon for visiting with our 3rd graders.

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Tucker Preschool teacher Mary Beth Callahan shares her Joyful June calendar with all in MPS below and hopes that many will follow along with the activities.

What a year this has been for all of the amazing MPS staff, families, and of course the students. The range of emotions this year has run the gamut! Many of us were on that emotional rollercoaster that may have brought on anxiousness, uncertainty, and plain old stress. However many of us are now feeling hope, relief and maybe a bit more energized! One thing that I know is that mindfulness has room for all of these emotions. Mindfulness reminds us that we are ok even when things are not ok and that it is ok to not always feel ok. Gravitate towards the joyful and the simple moments when you can and as often as you can. Dr. Rick Hanson author of, “Hardwiring Happiness” as well as many amazing books, tells us that the brain is like velcro for negative experiences, but teflon for positive ones. Here is another month of opportunities to fire up the positive neurons.  I wish you a Joyful and Mindful June! 

EDUCATIONAL EQUITY

Somaly Prak-Martins, Senior Director of Education Equity, shares the following. Please see her full newsletter here.  This newsletter has information about Memorial Day and its origins, Israel and Palestine, PRIDE Month , the MPS Quality Review and empathy. 

COMMUNITY SCHOOLS

After School Enrichment (ASE) has available spots! June 7- 17. Tuition fee for 2 weeks: $1o0. Register today to start Monday, June 7. For more information, please see our ASE HANDBOOK. To register: FAMILY ID-ASE SPRING 2021

ASE and Early School Arrival Program (ESAP) 2021-2022: Information to sign up for before and after school programs for fall 2021 will be sent out at the end of June. 

TECHNOLOGY

Please see below for all details on the collection and distribution of Chromebooks. 

Collection

  • Elementary in-person: All in-person learning students will return their MPS issued Chromebook and charger to their Homeroom teacher before they leave on June 18th. Families who did not purchase the optional Chromebook insurance will be charged for lost Chromebooks, lost chargers, and damage to the Chromebook outside of normal wear and tear.
  • Elementary Remote: All remote students will return their MPS issued Chromebook and charger to their home school during the following date and times: Collicot – Monday, June 21st from 8 am – 12 pm & 1 – 3 pm; Cunningham – Tuesday, June 22nd from 8 am – 12 pm & 1 – 3 pm; Glover – Monday, June 21st from 8 am – 12 pm & 1 – 3 pm; Tucker – Tuesday, June 22nd from 8 am – 12 pm & 1 – 3 pm. Please reach out to your home school if you have a conflict with the drop off date and times provided. Families who did not purchase the optional Chromebook insurance will be charged for lost Chromebooks, lost chargers, and damage to the Chromebook outside of normal wear and tear.
  • Current 6th & 7th Graders: All current sixth and seventh grade students will keep their MPS issued device for the duration of their time at Pierce. Students who are not returning to Pierce should bring their device to Ms. Royster in the library before they leave Pierce on June 18th.
  • Current 8th Graders: All 8th grade students will return their MPS issued Chromebook and charger to their designated team teacher before they leave Pierce on June 18th. 8th grade remote students should return their MPS issued Chromebook and charger to the Pierce main office on Monday, June 21st from 8 am- 12 pm and 1 – 3 pm. Families who did not purchase the optional Chromebook insurance will be invoiced for lost Chromebooks, lost chargers, and damage to the Chromebook outside of normal wear and tear.
  • Current 9th-11th Graders: All current ninth, tenth, and eleventh grade students who have been issued an MPS Chromebook will keep the device over the summer.

Distribution

  • Rising 6th Graders: Rising sixth graders will receive their Chromebook during the first week of school.
  • Rising 9th Graders: All rising 9th graders will receive their MPS Chromebook and charger during new student orientation at Milton High School on Monday, August 30th at 2 pm. If a student is unable to attend new student orientation, the student will be provided their Chromebook the first day of school.

TRANSPORTATION

Bus registration for the 21-22 School Year will open on Monday, June 7, and close on June 18. A few important details:

  • All families wishing to have students ride the bus in the 2021-2022 school year  MUST register to ride regardless of ridership in the 2020-2021 school year and regardless of distance from school.
  • Completing registration prior to June 18th DOES NOT guarantee a seat on the bus for students in Grades K to 6 living less than 2 miles from school or any student in Grades 7 to 12 as spots will be filled based on distance from school with priority given to students living farthest from their assigned school on each route
  • All applicable bus fees must be paid at the time of registration in June 2021. If payment is an obstacle, please register your child and then email bus@miltonps.org to arrange later payment. Do not delay registration due to a later payment plan.
  • In the 21-22 school year, we will follow any safety protocols as directed by DESE. 

The full transportation letter with links to register can be found here, is posted on the MPS website and will be sent via email. 

MPS GIVES BACK

Project 351 Ambassador and Pierce 8th grader Reilly Bergin shares the following: The Cradles to Crayons clothing drive was an enormous success! I want to throw a huge shout out and thank you to the Milton Community. Together as a Milton community, we collected and donated eighty one, very large bags of clothing to children in need! Some students made and sold bracelets to raise money, others went through their closets, some people went to the store to buy new clothes, helped make and hang signs, helped monitor the collection bins, and helped to spread the word. I am bursting with gratitude for everyone who participated in this drive in any way, shape, or form – this was a real TEAM effort. We helped countless children in need get quality clothing that they will feel proud of and excited to wear. The donations will help restore their dignity. We are stronger together and again our Milton community was beyond generous. Thank you! 

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Milton High’s chapter of the Tri-M Music Honor Society is currently fundraising to support the “Sponsor a Lesson” program for current and aspiring musicians throughout Milton. Merchandise is for sale in their online pop-up store from now until Sunday, June 13th. There are dozens of options to choose from, including a “Milton Music” design by Tri-M secretary, Aislinn Mershon, as well as non-music specific products with the Milton paw print logo — there really is something for everyone! 

Please visit our website or use the QR code in the attached flyer to see the online store. If you’d like to support Tri-M financially but aren’t interested in purchasing merchandise, Tri-M members will also be collecting donations in the MHS lobby before and after school on June 3rd and 4th. 

Keep an eye out for the final virtual cabaret of the year, which will be released soon! Thanks for your support! 

FAMILY RESOURCES

Massachusetts has been approved to provide P-EBT for families through summer 2021.  The Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) estimates this will provide continued financial assistance for the families of more than 600,000 school-age children and 88,000 children under six in households that get SNAP benefits to buy food as Massachusetts families recover from the economic impact of the pandemic.  To learn more about the program or to see if you qualify click here.

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.

FOOD SERVICE – SUMMER 2021

Food Service will be open every Wednesday, all through the summer, for meal pick up. Our bags will include 7 days of breakfasts and lunches as well as a box of fresh produce (fruit/vegetables) for each family. Stay tuned for details! 

MSAPC

Graduations give us a lot to celebrate! Set your child up for success by talking to them about your expectations around drugs and alcohol, and what they should do if they are at a party or gathering where there is underage use.
Being informed about substance use and underage drinking can empower you to help your child make good decisions in the future. Learn more and find tips about how to start the conversation at Rethinkthedrinks.com. Learn more about youth alcohol use in Milton at www.milton-coalition.org #RethinkTheDrinks #TalkTheyHearYou

ATHLETICS

Thank you to everyone who supported our student athletes with a recent merchandise purchase from the Boosters Spring Pop-up store. All orders are in and we will be having a local pick-up on Monday, June 7th from 4pm-8pm. Please check the e-mail you provided for the address for picking up your merchandise. Again, thank you from the MHS Boosters merchandise committee! 

COMMUNITY NEWS 

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.

We Are Milton is thrilled to share that Music and Fireworks is planned for Saturday June 26 at Hutchinson Field with Celtic Sunday on Sunday June 27.  Details to follow and will be shared here as well as at www.WeAreMilton.org.

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Power of Murals: A virtual panel discussion hosted by the Forbes House Museum

Tuesday, June 15, 7:00 pm, Free – sponsored by the Milton Cultural Council, a local agency, which is supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency.

Join us as for an uplifting discussion about the Power of Murals with three artists who have made significant contributions to the public art scene in and around Boston and beyond: Silvia López Chavez, Franklin Marval and Nora Valdez. The discussion will be moderated by Sarah Rodrigo, Public Art Project Manager for the Mayor’s Office of Arts + Culture, City of Boston.

The program complements this year’s Lincoln Drawing Contest, which asked students in grades K-8 to create a mural that celebrates diversity and promotes unity as a step toward building a stronger and more inclusive community. 

To learn more and to register, go to: https://www.forbeshousemuseum.org/events/power-of-murals/ 

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The Milton Early Childhood Alliance would like to remind families that our annual “Yodel for A Fish” Children’s Concert, originally scheduled for Thursday, June 10th, has been postponed until Thursday, August 12th. The full schedule of Parks and Recs concerts can be found here. We hope to see you then, especially Milton’s newest kindergarteners in their yellow t-shirts! 

SUPERINTENDENT SHOUTOUT

I want to acknowledge the great majority of MPS parents and guardians for their ongoing support this year. I know you have made sacrifices to assist your children throughout the year and we appreciate your commitment to working toward a successful school year for all. As we approach the end of this school year, I thank you for the calls, emails, and comments that all of our teachers and administrators have received that have kept us going throughout this unprecedented school year. 

We are all looking forward to a positive and productive 21-22 school year with full in person learning (5 days a week), no social distancing, all sports, clubs, and activities running at full strength throughout the district  – a return to normalcy. As a district, we remain grateful for the 20-21 school year and we are ecstatic for the upcoming 21-22 school year. 

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, Bill Fish, Marti O’Keefe McKenna, AJ Melanson, Courtney Lennon, Ellen Lohan, Jon Redden, Julia Hanna, Rachel Schewe, Somaly Prak-Martins, Mary Beth Callahan, Rebecca Damiani 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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