September 23, 2021

To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
From: James F. Jette
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: September 23, 2021

FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT

Yesterday was the first day of fall and we are enjoying our first full week of school. Each of our schools are busy with academics, athletics, clubs, theatre rehearsals, music lessons, community efforts, social activities, open houses and more. I appreciate the time you take each week to read my weekly blog, as it is an overview of much of what is happening in the Milton Public Schools. Each of our principals also sends a detailed weekly email to their school community. If you are not receiving this weekly email from your principal, please reach out to your school’s administrative assistant.

It is with great pleasure that I inform you that Mrs. Janet Sheehan has graciously agreed to temporarily come out of retirement to fill the position of Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Human Resources on an interim basis for the remainder of the 2021-2022 school year. As many of you know, Mrs. Sheehan held this position for several years prior to her retirement in 2019. Mrs. Sheehan brings years of experience as an educator and administrator, and her familiarity with the district will make this a seamless transition. The Milton School Committee showed its support of this recommendation by unanimously voting this appointment at last night’s meeting. I am sure the entire school community will join me in welcoming Mrs. Sheehan back to the Milton Public Schools. Please see the letter that I sent to all families and staff earlier today linked here. 

Please read on below for highlights from our schools, newsletters from Administrator for Pupil Personnel Services Susan Maselli, Senior Director of Education Equity Somaly Prak-Martins, Family Outreach Liaison Marti O’Keefe McKenna, updates on Milton Glows Gold, my Superintendent Shoutouts and more. 

IMPORTANT UPCOMING DATES

  • Sept 23 Tucker Open House
  • Sept 23 Collicot Open House 
  • Sept 30 Glover Open House
  • Oct 5 Cunningham Open House
  • Oct 6 School Committee Meeting

Please refer to the District-Wide Calendar of Events for times and details. The 21-22 School Year Calendar can be found here (Revised 2/24/21) Note: This calendar is intended as a guide ONLY. It may be necessary to change this schedule to better serve instructional purposes.

 

SCHOOL COMMITTEE 

The next regular Milton School Committee meeting will be on October 6 , 2021 at 7pm. Prior to this meeting, the School Committee plans to hold a brief listening session from 6:30-6:55pm. Details and the link to attend the listening session will be shared in next week’s blog and posted on the MPS website. Please note that this will be a different link than the one provided to attend virtual School Committee meetings.

All information about attending School Committee meetings can be found on the Town of Milton webpage under School Committee. 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.

HEALTH AND SAFETY

As previously mentioned in our MPS Opening Guide 2021-2022, Milton Public Schools has signed up for the state-funded COVID-19 testing program. By offering testing, we expand the potential for students to remain in school even in some cases when they have been identified as a close contact. Superintendent Jette’s September 9, 2021 letter about the Test and Stay Program can be found here.  You must OPT IN to Test and Stay to participate.  The link to opt in can be found here.  The letter is also posted on the MPS Health Services webpage.  If we achieve a 60% opt in rate, we may also be eligible for pooled testing.  As discussed at last night’s school committee meeting,  the implementation of  the Test and Stay program has been on the DESE and CIC timetable. We anticipate being up and running with Test and Stay at the end of next week.

For the time period of Thursday, September 16 – Wednesday, September 22, MPS had 8 positive student cases, and 2 positive staff cases. All health and safety information can be found on our Health Services website

EDUCATIONAL EQUITY

Senior Director of Educational Equity, Somaly Prak-Martins, shares this week’s Behaving Equitably Newsletter linked here. Director Prak-Martins includes the results from the Quality Review and provides some insight on the next steps for the district. 

MILTON GLOWS GOLD

We have had a terrific ten days of Glowing Gold in our schools! The MHS Football game last Saturday, a terrific win for our Wildcats, was a Glow Gold Day. Many of our athletic teams are signed up to run/walk/ride to raise money and show support. Our schools are collecting coins, wearing MGG swag and distributing Glow Bags. How can you get involved? Details are below! 

Next Thursday, September 30,  is Milton Glows Gold day.  Wear your gold (or yellow) to school and look for special visits from our friends at the Milton Police Department. Let’s have fun and show support at the same time! 

Milton Glows Gold at MHS football!

Sign up to Run/Walk/Ride: The GOAL: Together we will run, walk and ride 1 mile for each of the 15,690 kids diagnosed with cancer every year. 

  • Run, walk or ride alone or with friends to raise awareness and funds to support families whose lives were permanently impacted by cancer. Mileage goals are based on totals for the month. Track September 30 through October 31, 2021 track on your own or through the Strava App.
  • Join your school’s team when you register 
  • Set a fundraising goal and ask your friends and family for support 
  • Money should not be a barrier to participation  – please email mcmstrong@gmail.com for a code to register for free if needed. 
  • HAVE FUN! 

Please consider signing up for the blood drive at Pierce (details here) on Saturday, October 16. (The Cunningham blood drive is fully booked!) Appointments must be made due to Covid restrictions. Make an appointment at this link and please and use sponsor code: PIERCE. 

Help spread the Milton Glows Gold message to friends and neighbors  by dropping off a Glow Bag. Glow Bags are like Halloween Boo Bags and all details are here.  

Bring your Gold to school! Each of our schools has a coin collection bucket in the front office. Let’s fill them in support of families impacted by childhood cancer. 

HIGH SCHOOL HAPPENINGS

Our new Food Service nutrition intern, Walchris Nicolas, has been making falafels conducting taste tests with our MHS students. While working on a balance of spice and texture, our students have been excited to see more plant based food being offered. This week we will be serving the falafels  with a tzatziki sauce on the side.

Falafels are a popular middle eastern street food that are balls made of chickpeas, herbs, and spices. When baked they can be a great source of fiber and B vitamins, all while using herbs and spices, as opposed to excessive amounts of salt, to provide flavor. This plant-based meal is a great meat substitute. Their umami or meaty flavor, coupled with the fact that they’re packed with protein, makes them a great way to satisfy meat cravings. It breaks up the norm of what food should be and instead introduces new elements to many of our students. Hopefully this inspiration can be used to create new recipes at home. 

PIERCE PAGES

A month after September 11, recovery workers found a pear tree under the rubble that still showed signs of life despite being burned and badly damaged. The tree was moved to a nearby park where it once again began to flourish. Eventually, it was moved back to Ground Zero where it became known as the Tree of Hope. Phoenix Team created their own Tree of Hope to honor those who lost their lives on 9/11 and those who risked everything to save others.

 

FUSE and Advanced FUSE students practiced persistence and teamwork to build bridges using only straws and tape or towers with just newspaper and 12 inches of tape. Students had certain constraints that they had to follow which made the project more challenging. When the building was done, we tested the bridges by adding up to 120 pennies into a small cup. There were some that were so strong that we could add a second cup of 120 pennies! We tested the newspaper towers with a fan blowing on it to see if it would stay standing. Even if the original design didn’t work, students learned valuable lessons about how engineers do their jobs. Our students had some very creative designs.

 

Meet & Greet with Pierce Administrators:In August, Pierce welcomed Ms. Kaitlin Gass as our new assistant principal. Parents and guardians are invited to attend a virtual meeting on Tuesday, September 28th, from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m to meet Ms. Gass and learn more about her background and experiences, as well as about her work to date at Pierce.

In addition to introducing Ms. Gass to the Pierce community, this meeting will be an opportunity to meet with assistant principal Janice Mazzola and principal William Fish. The meeting link is available here.

Clubs & PASS Classes: We are pleased to get our Pierce Clubs and PASS Classes up and running!  Click here for descriptions of our clubs and  PASS classes currently being offered.

CLUBS are year-long experiences that take place after school. Some clubs are already underway, and all others will begin the week of September 27, 2021. A fee of $37.50 gains students access to all clubs.  To register for one or more clubs, please follow the instructions below by Monday, September 27, 2021:

  • Make your payment; To pay online, click HERE; to pay by check, make your check payable to the Town of Milton and drop it in the bin outside the main office.To request financial assistance, click the appropriate box on the registration form.
  • Click HERE to complete the registration form.

PASS CLASSES are an opportunity for Pierce teachers to identify an interest, talent, or a hobby and create an eight week after school experience for students. PASS classes will begin the week of September 27, 2021 and run for eight sessions.  Each PASS class costs $50. 

To register your child for a PASS class, please follow the instructions below by Monday, September 27, 2021:

  • Make your payment: To pay online, click HERE; to pay by check, make your check payable to the Town of Milton and drop it in the bin outside the main office.To request financial assistance, click the appropriate box on the registration form.
  • Click HERE to complete the registration form.
 

INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

Students in Mrs. Novak’s  fifth grade class at Tucker are hard at work learning how to use tiles with fractional side lengths to find the area. In doing so, students were designing a bathroom by not only finding how many tiles that were needed but were also asked to choose paint colors and the type of tile their bathroom would have. Students enjoyed creating their own designs!

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Every week at Glover School, 12 students are recognized on the morning announcements as our Glover Kids of the week. Glover Kids have been showing the many different ways that they are safe, respectful, responsible, and kind here at school. Our “pond” is filling up fast with tons of “duck feet” that our Glover Kids are earning. Keep up the great work, Glover Kids!

SPECIAL EDUCATION

Administrator for Pupil Personnel Services, Sue Maselli shares her most recent newsletter at this link. This newsletter has information about  Suicide Awareness Month, local resources for children with Autism, and opportunity to volunteer on hiring committees.

FAMILY RESOURCES 

The Milton Public Schools values a strong home-school connection.  In an effort to support and foster that connection we know families may sometimes need resources for their children and family beyond the classroom.  In addition to the Milton Public School Resource Guide we will be highlighting local community resources families may find beneficial in our Family Resource Newsletter.  If you need additional assistance 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.

ATHLETICS

Fall Sports are underway! Check out all athletic schedules here.

Boys Soccer is off to an impressive start, beating former Bay State Conference rival Norwood 3-1 and Foxboro 2-0. They also managed to tie Weymouth 1-1. After a loss to Wellesley, they are 2-1-1.

There is no surprise that the Swim Team is 2-0 after beating Brookline and Walpole by a combined score of 212-160!

The Girls Cross Country Team is 3-1 with their only loss coming last night to Needham by one point. They’ll look to keep it rolling when they race against Brookline and Natick in two weeks.

The Volleyball Team started off 3-0, impressively beating Scituate, Ursuline and Weymouth, before dropping their next two matches to NDA and Wellesley. They’ll look to bounce back tonight against a very good Needham side.

The Football Team bounced back from their opening loss with a resounding win over Framingham by a margin of 34-6. It was a great all-around day, as it was the Milton Glows Gold Game. Both funds and awareness were raised for the fight against Pediatric Cancer. It was very nice to have our Cheerleaders and Marching Band back out there! Thank you to Roy Chambers for the pictures of MHS football. 

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Registration for Swing 4 Sports is now open!  Foursomes are filling up fast so reserve your tee time today. Join us October 18 at Granite Links in support of Milton Boosters and its plans to build a safer, ADA compliant Press Box. Register at this link.  

COMMUNITY NEWS

 

The Monster Dash 5k, Fun Run & community event falls on Halloween this year! Join us on Sunday, October 31, at Cunningham Hall. Register now! 

The MFE has been organizing the Monster Dash for over 20 years. It is a beloved community event that memorializes Sam Cichello, a Tucker Student who died in a tragic playground accident. Sam loved science so the Monster Dash funds raised go toward science in all 6 Milton public schools. Save the date and start planning your costumes! 

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The Milton Public Library offers fun and free programs for kids almost every day of the week! Check out their September offerings for ages 0-11 here.  Their October calendar can be found here. To learn more and to register for programs, please visit the MPL website. 

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The 1st Annual  Youth Sexual Health Conference is being held on Saturday, October 2, 2021 from 10 am-4 pm at the Epiphany School, 154 Centre Street, Boston. One of the youth ambassadors is a MPS student and they are excited to have Dominique Jackson (“Elektra” from FX’s POSE) as our keynote speaker and Khymani James (Boston-based advocate for racial justice and inclusion) as our moderator. All details can be found here. 

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MECA Stories and Friends Meet Up – Are you a family new to town?  Do you want to meet and connect with other families with young children? Then, join us for our Stories and Friends Meet Ups. We’ll be holding four sessions in the great outdoors where you will have the opportunity to meet other families, enjoy reading a children’s story, participate in a scavenger hunt, and enter our free raffle to win a nice gift! Registration is not required; however, you will need to sign in to be entered into our free raffle. The four sessions will be held on:
Wednesday, September 29th at 4:00 PM at Brookwood Community Farm, 11 Blue Hill River Rd,; Thursday, September 30th at 10:30 AM at The Trailside Museum, 1904 Canton Ave.; Wednesday, October 6th at 4:00 PM at the Pond at Milton Cemetery, 211 Centre St.; Thursday, October 14th at 10:30 AM at The Trailside Museum, 1904 Canton Ave. Rain dates will be October 20th and/or 21st with specific information announced if needed.

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Healing Through Writing Workshop for TeensSaturday, October 2 10am – noon. Eustis Estate, 1424 Canton Avenue, Milton, MA 02186

This writing workshop for teens is a chance to reflect on and make sense of the challenges 2020 presented. Whatever your level of writing experience, this a low-pressure, fun way to explore your creativity. We all have our own unique experiences and your stories matter. Writing and poetry can be a powerful way to connect to yourself and the world around you.
This thoughtful and interactive writing workshop is led by Dr. Denise Patmon, director of the Boston Writing Project, and her son Luke Patmon, who guides you through the process of finding your voice. Appropriate for ages 13-18. Advance registration is required. Please call 617-994-6600 for more information.  Historic New England member $10; non-member $15

 Community Family Day: Exploring Art at the Eustis Estate, Saturday, October 2 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Eustis Estate, 1424 Canton Avenue, Milton, MA 02186

Come to the Eustis Estate for a special day for families to explore the grounds and the outdoor sculpture exhibition, Looking Back with 2020 Vision, representing artist reactions to many of the issues that were on our minds in 2020. Art is a powerful way to process and heal. The day’s activities help families engage with the content and creatively express themselves.

  • Create social justice-based art led by local artists
  • Follow a Story Walk through the property
  • Practice mindfulness with family yoga and meditation
  • Engage with the landscape through nature-based activities
  • Join in a teen writing workshop (sign up separately here)
  • Bring a picnic and spend some time exploring the exhibition and the museum

The event is done in collaboration with Quincy for Transformative Change, Celebrate Milton, and Courageous Conversations Towards Racial Justice-Milton/Mattapan. Best for ages 5-12 years old. All children must be accompanied by an adult. Admission to the house is included, but most activities will be outdoors unless there is rain. Note: some of the artworks in the exhibition are of a sensitive nature.Supported by a community grant from the Milton Junior Woman’s Club. Please call 617-994-6600 for more information.Family Day is free though donations are encouraged.

SUPERINTENDENT SHOUTOUT

Well done,  Sam, Rachel and Jonathan! 

Well done,  Sam, Rachel and Jonathan!

Congratulations to Sam DiSandro, Rachel Steinberg and Jonathan Waldmann on being recognized as finalists for the National Merit Program. They have the opportunity to continue in the scholarship competition for some 75,000 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $30 million. 

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I am pleased to share that retired Pierce teacher Joe Dolan was inducted into the Boston Rugby Hall of Fame last week. Tim O’Connor, PMS teacher and former MHS graduate and rugby player, was his inductor. Tim shared that, “It is an honor to induct my former high school coach, mentor, and now friend.” Congratulations, Mr. Dolan!

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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: Superintendent James Jette (617) 696- 4808/4809.

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