To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
From: James F. Jette
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: September 30, 2021
FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT
Today was Milton Glows Gold Day in the Milton Public Schools. Milton Police Officers greeted our students at arrival today (Milton Fire Fighters were not able to attend but were there in spirit!) and Senator Walter Timilty visited MHS in honor of Milton Glows Gold Day. Tonight the town will Glow Gold with gold ribbons on doors and candles in windows. We are celebrating Milton Glows Gold in partnership with the Michael C. McHugh Foundation, and we have helped to raise funds and awareness in support of families impacted by childhood cancer. Milton Glows Gold has been a wonderful initiative that we have been proud to be a part of. You can still be involved by:
Registering to run/walk/ride through the month of October in honor of the 15,690 kids diagnosed with cancer each year. Register here.
Give some liquid GOLD: There are sixteen slots left to donate blood at Pierce (details here) on Saturday, October 16. (The Cunningham Hall blood drive held today was fully booked!) Make an appointment to give at this link and please and use sponsor code: PIERCE.
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.
We are as anxious as many of you are to get our Test and Stay protocol up and running. Test and Stay is a state run program and this DESE Webinar from 9/23/21 explains the delays in this testing program. Unfortunately, the state was delayed in both the delivery of the BinaxNOW test and securing the staffing that the state is supplying to support schools.
There are three different State testing options and we will be participating in the first two (Symptomatic and Test and Stay). Details are below.
- Symptomatic Testing: (for when individuals present symptoms while at school; individuals should not go to school if experiencing symptoms while at home): Shallow nasal swab samples are collected at school using the BinaxNOW rapid antigen test or another approved diagnostic test.
- Test and Stay (close contact testing): Shallow nasal swab samples are collected at school using the BinaxNOW rapid antigen test or another approved diagnostic test. Tests are administered daily from the first day of exposure for at least five (5) days. (Please note, the duration of Test and Stay is seven (7) days with testing occurring on school days). This testing will take place at a central location in MPS, each school day morning and will be starting soon.
- Routine COVID Pooled Testing and School-Based Follow-Up Testing: Shallow nasal swab samples are collected at school and put into a single tube (maximum of 10 samples per tube). If a group tests positive, individual Follow-Up testing with a second sample collection occurs at the school with BinaxNOW and/or individual PCR testing, as necessary.
Our 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.
At this time, MPS is not engaged in pooled testing. We need a minimum of 60% of parents/guardians give consent to make pooled testing effective. We cannot test students without parental/guardian consent. We will need staffing support from the State to implement pooled testing as with approximately 4,400 students, testing them weekly will be a challenge with the current nursing staff we have. An additional challenge all institutions are facing is trying to find the RNs, LPNs and the CNAs to staff these programs. Some are encouraging the State to call in the National Guard to provide the support because of the nursing shortage for this testing initiative.
As we shared last week, the results from the Quality Review can be found at this link. Last week’s Behaving Equitably Newsletter linked here provides some insight on the next steps for the district. We look forward to ongoing community engagement on the Quality Review in the coming months.
Finally, I invite you to join me for a second coffee and conversation in front of Milton High School on Wednesday, October 13 from 9-9:45 am. This will be another informal opportunity for me to connect with MPS parents and guardians. Parking is limited during the school day but there are always free spots in the lower lots. Weather permitting, coffee will be outside and therefore masks are optional. If the weather does not cooperate, we will move inside and masks will be worn inside the building.
The Milton School Committee plans to hold a 30 minute virtual listening session prior to the October 6 Milton School Committee meeting, from 6:30-7pm. The Citizen Speak portion of a regular Milton School Committee meeting is limited to 15 minutes and this listening session is being offered so parents, guardians, and community members have extended time to voice their questions, ideas, concerns, and highlights to members of the Milton School Committee. In accordance with open meeting law, there will be no responses given by School Committee members during the session itself. However, community members sharing specific questions or action items can expect to receive follow up communication from School Committee members after the session. This meeting will be recorded so that all School Committee members, including those unable to attend, may listen to what is shared. The link to attend this listening session can be found here. (Meeting ID: 847 9875 7890, Passcode: 096567). Please note that this is a different link than the one provided to attend regular virtual School Committee meetings.
Whether or not you are able to join this listening session, please share your feedback about how the School Committee can most effectively engage with you and our community.
The regular Milton School Committee meeting on October 6 will then begin at 7pm. 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
Vaccination records: Having records of all vaccinated members of our community as well as understanding the number of students participating in the Optional Testing Program is essential. If your student is fully vaccinated, please submit proof of vaccination as soon as possible using one of the following three methods.
- Email or fax a copy (a photo is fine) to your school nurse (MHS Nurse Andrea deManbey at firstname.lastname@example.org or Pierce Nurse Barbara Perry at email@example.com)
- Mail a copy to the nurses’ office.
- Drop off a copy in the main office, Monday to Friday, during regular school hours.
Earlier this week DESE announced an extension of the mask requirement through November 1, 2021 and more information about vaccination rates and mask wearing after November 1. You can read their full communication here.
For the time period of Thursday, September 23 – Wednesday, September 29, MPS had 11 positive student cases, and 0 positive staff cases. All health and safety information can be found on our Health Services website.
Senior Director of Educational Equity, Somaly Prak-Martins, shares this week’s Behaving Equitably Newsletter linked here. Ms. Prak-Martins shares information about trauma and its impact, Haitian migrants and more in this week’s newsletter.
HIGH SCHOOL HAPPENINGS
The MHS Key Club started their year sharing messages of positivity with MHS. Club members wrote their own positive messages and also chose uplifting quotes by poets, athletes, celebrities and presidents. They made colorful posters and hung them throughout the school and hope that anyone having a challenging day will notice their messages of positivity and it will lift their spirits.
6th grade health class created their version of Pierce Positive Community Member Poster. Students worked in groups to create a list of ten attributes/characteristics they would want to see from their peers that represent a positive community member. Students explained what each attribute/characteristics look like within the building and then individually created a poster using those words.
INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS
On September 17 Mme. Bonner and Mme. Brown’s Glover students celebrated Constitution Day. Mrs. McDavitt visited the class and read the book America Is by Louise Borden about the Constitution and the importance of Freedom and Justice. Students then colored various symbols of the Constitution and did an activity at home.
Ms. Good’s Glover 5th graders were busy exploring their shadows and investigating how and why their shadows change throughout the day. To start their exploration, students traced their shadows in the morning then again in the afternoon. The students compared their tracings/shadows and used this information to determine the position of the Sun as it appears to move throughout the daytime sky. They found that not only does their shadow move, but the size and shape changes as well. Students will go on to continue to investigate the sun’s orientation and its relationship to earth.
Monster Dash Art Contest! Do you want to see your original, Halloween-themed art on over a thousand T-shirts at the Monster Dash? Well, then get out your black sharpies, an 8.5×11 white paper and your creativity! No tracings or printed material, bring your submission and permission form to your school office by October 8th. All details can be found at this link. We can’t wait to see your spooky designs!
Jackie Morgan, Director of Food Services, shares the following.
The Milton Food and Nutrition Department is asking for your patience and support as we navigate new challenges. As you may be aware, we are currently faced with unprecedented shortages of food and packaging materials, massive delays or cancellations of deliveries, and some department labor shortages. Nationwide shortages and delays have affected availability of certain food items, leading to substitutions of menu items we’ve been able to offer regularly in the past. These supply issues are occurring throughout the country and are especially challenging for school systems, due to the quantity of meals we serve and the nutrition standards we follow.
All of this means that we may need to make quick substitutions to our menu(s) based upon what we are able to acquire. We know that this affects students, and we are doing our best to provide updates about menu changes when possible as soon as we identify an issue. Families with students who have food allergies are encouraged to check our online menus daily to make sure you are aware of any substitutions.
Please know that our number one priority continues to be providing healthy, nutritious, and appetizing meals for your children. We love seeing them every day and appreciate your support and patience as we continue to offer meals at no charge for all students. The good news is that free breakfast and lunch will continue throughout the school year, so please stick with us while we face yet another challenge. Your participation helps our program stay strong, and we look forward to serving you!
Quincy Family Resource Center and Joanna’s Place have published their October happenings. At Joanna’s Place, registration for Circle G, a support group specifically tailored to caregivers and their children, ages 8-18, who have experienced the death of a spouse/parent or child/sibling, is underway. Quincy Greater Resource Center offers a variety of groups, some remote and some in person. Their October calendar is jam packed with information about support groups and activities. In an effort to support and foster a strong home-school connection MPS knows that 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. All calls and emails are confidential.
Maybe one of the Top 10 most sought after feelings in sport is a hole-in-one. Well, Caroline Gannon hit a hole-in-one on the first hole against Natick on Monday! Take a look at the Milton High Golf Twitter Account (@MiltonHSGolf) to see the video!
The Swim Team won every event against Newton North and won diving for the first time in its history! Many students qualified for Sectionals and States. They travel to Natick today hoping to continue their unbeaten start to the season!
The Volleyball Team recovered from an early scare against Braintree on Tuesday to rally back and win 3-1, improving to 5-3 on the season.
Football has ripped off two straight wins by a combined 71-19 scoreline. They will travel to Walpole tomorrow in their first Bay State Conference Game of the season!
The Girls Soccer Team battled to a 0-0 draw against Braintree on Tuesday, with GK Sarah McGillivray earning her first clean sheet of the season. They will host Sharon on Saturday at 2pm in a rematch of their 3-3 tie back in mid-September.
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.
The Boosters will not have a POP-UP store online this fall due to significant delays on production and inventory shortages everywhere. They will be introducing new limited edition items starting at the October 8 football game at Brooks Field and then introducing more items throughout the fall and holiday season.
These new items will be available this fall! Sweatshirts $40 – $45; Short-sleeve tee $20; Beanie hat $25; Sweatshirt blanket $35; Women’s tee $30; Water bottle $15; Phone accessory $5
These will be limited edition items, so when you see them for sale – don’t wait! All proceeds support our student athletes.
The turn of the calendar to October means its time for Sophia’s Annual Sock Drive! Even with Covid, Sophia was able to collect 3,175 pairs last year and has donated 9,369 pairs of socks to date to the homeless at St. Francis House in Boston. The Cunningham School and the MPS community have been an instrumental part in helping Sophia donate so many socks. All details on donating new socks can be found here. Let’s help Sophia get to 10,000 socks donated!
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!
The Milton Public Library offers fun and free programs for kids almost every day of the week! Their October calendar can be found here. To learn more and to register for programs, please visit the MPL website.
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.
The Milton Early Childhood Alliance Fall Newsletter is bursting at the seams with four pages of free fun for families with children! You can read all of the details here and read about a few upcoming events below.
Story Walk at The Trailside Museum – enjoy a children’s story with your family, daily 8:00-4:00, about an elephant who’s sneezes are so big they could cause a catastrophe with his animal friends. It’s a silly book that’s loads of fun to read with children! And, look for our new trilingual Story Walk at this location, coming in the next few weeks, welcoming the river otter back to its home! The Trailside Museum is located at 1904 Canton Avenue in Milton.
Story Walk at Brookwood Community Farm – enjoy a trilingual children’s story with your family, daily from dawn to dusk, about children working together growing, weeding, and nurturing a community garden and enjoying a great feast after the harvest. A very appropriate story for this location on a working community farm! Brookwood Community Farm is located a 11 Blue Hill River Road on the Milton/Canton line.
Story Walk at Milton Cemetery – enjoy a children’s story with your family, daily 8:00 AM to dusk, about a shy skunk who’s ashamed of his smell until his woodland friends teach him that he is special and unique. This is a beautiful, peaceful location to enjoy a great story with your family while taking in its special location around the pond. Milton Cemetery is located at 211 Centre Street in Milton.
Many thanks to our translators: French translation by Marianne LeBigot, French Reading Specialist, Milton Public Schools, and Spanish translation by Yalennys Velazquez, owner of Little Spanish Garden Bilingual Childcare in Milton!
Stories and Friends Meet Up and Scavenger Hunt – Are you a family new to town? Do you have a new child? Do you want to meet and connect with other families with young children? Do you care for your grandchildren and want to meet others? 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 next two sessions will be held on: Wednesday, October 6th at 4:00 PM at the Pond at Milton Cemetery; Thursday, October 14th at 10:30 AM at The Trailside Museum. Rain dates will be October 20th and/or 21st with specific information announced if needed.
Healing Through Writing Workshop for Teens, Saturday, 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.
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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: Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Human Resources Janet Sheehan, (617) 696- 4808/4809.