December 9, 2021

To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
From: James F. Jette
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: December 9, 2021

FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT

As many of you know, this has been a challenging week in the Milton Public Schools. Yesterday, we implemented a lockdown at Pierce Middle School after it was brought to the attention of the Pierce Administration that a student saw an adult in the building who “may have had a weapon.” Anytime there is suspicion of a weapon in the building, we take it very seriously and must act accordingly. As a result, we initiated a lockdown. Pierce Administration and Milton Police worked quickly to investigate the matter and within approximately 27 minutes the matter was resolved. The student actually saw a staff member, while on break, pull out a cell phone charger which the student thought was a weapon. 

After the tragic events in Oxford, Michigan just 9 days ago, students and staff are understandably on edge. I applaud this student for speaking up when they thought they saw something concerning. The staff member who had the cell phone charger also did nothing wrong and felt terrible that their innocent actions contributed to yesterday’s events. I also am thankful that our students and staff followed the safety procedures that we practice each year and am grateful to the Milton Police Department for their swift and thorough response. 

While we will always work to notify families as quickly as possible in an emergency, our number one priority in that moment is the safety of all students and staff. In the age of cell phones, it is not only possible, but likely probable, that you will hear of events from your children before we can notify you. Going forward, in the case of an emergency, we will also push out a text to all numbers in the MPS system. Because texting has limited capabilities with character limits, this text will alert you to check your email and the MPS website for further details and updates. Not every text will signify an emergency. In the past we have used texts for snow days and occasional important communications and we will continue to use text alerts in that manner. 

On Tuesday night, I was appreciative of the almost 170 Pierce parents and guardians who joined me on a call to discuss two incidents of racially charged graffiti and language, the district’s response, and steps forward for the community as a whole. We had a productive and fruitful conversation. I was also happy to meet with the 6 parents and guardians who joined me for my 3rd informal (1st virtual) coffee this week. While only 30 minutes, it allowed me time to connect one on one with anyone who had a question or concern. Thank you to the parent who suggested that we implement text notifications when we need to send urgent information. That was a good reminder that not everyone checks their email regularly, and as stated above, we will more regularly incorporate texting for time sensitive information. 

Both of these situations sadly represent the times that we are in – in Milton, in Massachusetts and throughout the United States. Hate speech is problematic across the country and school violence is a terrible and unfortunate reality, as we are all aware. As a school district we are constantly and routinely adapting and learning as we work to keep our students and staff safe, learning and hopefully, thriving. Thank you to the entire MPS and Milton community for your ongoing support and partnership on this very important work to benefit of each and every one of our Milton Public Schools students and staff. 

There are other things that represent the times that we are in and I want to be sure to highlight them, as we do each week, in my blog below. This week our students collected gifts for our holiday gift drive, participated in a concert at Milton High School, began practices for the winter athletic season, were inducted into the National Honor Society, visited the Book Fair, created beautiful art and so much more as they enjoyed full and robust days of school in each of our 6 Milton Public Schools. It is too easy to focus only on the difficult and challenging but we must always also acknowledge and celebrate the everyday joy that is present.

SCHOOL COMMITTEE 

The next regular Milton School Committee meeting is on December 15, 2021 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

The Milton Health Department is hosting two more COVID-19 MODERNA Booster Clinics in the Town Hall basement on December 15 and 16. Clinics are held from 1-4pm and you must register – no walk ins allowed.

You are eligible for a booster vaccine if you have completed your Pfizer or Moderna vaccination series and are 6 months from the last vaccine administration or are 2 months out from receiving the J&J vaccine. All information and links to register can be found on the Town of Milton website. 

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The Town of Milton is hosting a free, drive-thru COVID testing days on Sunday, December 19 and Sunday, December 26 from 10am-3pm at the DPW yard at 629 Randolph Avenue.  All are welcome.

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Recently, the federal government gave Pfizer’s pediatric COVID 19 vaccine for ages 5-11 final approval and doses are now available in Massachusetts. The state will be updating the their website as new vaccination sites become available.  The Vaxfinder tool can be used along with links to retail pharmacies  CVS’s scheduling site or Walgreens’ scheduling site to schedule appointments. Manet Community Health Center  is also an option for pediatric patients. 

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For the time period of Thursday, December 2 – Wednesday, December 8, MPS had 17  positive student cases, and 2 positive staff cases. Many of the resulting close contacts from these positives were able to remain in school without interruption due to the Test and Stay program. If you have not yet signed your child up, you can opt in at this link. Superintendent Jette’s September 9, 2021 letter about the Test and Stay Program can be found here.

All health and safety information can be found on our Health Services website

IMPORTANT UPCOMING DATES 

  • Dec 9 MHS Post Secondary Planning Night – TONIGHT
  • Dec 9 Early Release Date K-12 (PT Conf Gr K-5 only)
  • Dec 14 Pierce Winter Concert
  • Dec 16 MHS Information Night 
  • Dec 21 MHS Cabaret 
  • Dec 24 – Jan 2 Winter Break
  • Jan 3 Classes Resume 

Please refer to the District-Wide Calendar of Events for times and details. The 21-22 School Year Calendar can be found here (Revised 10/27/21 to reflect updated last day of school)

Throughout the school year, members of our MPS community celebrate and observe various religious holidays. We adjust homework expectations as needed as you can see in the document linked here. If there is a religious holiday that we have missed, please email Superintendent James Jette or Senior Director of Education Equity Somaly Prak-Martins

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TONIGHT: Please join the Milton High School Guidance Counselors  for their annual Post Secondary Planning night, at Milton High on  Thursday, December 9 at 6:15 pm in the MHS Auditorium. The following topics will be presented in order to help you and your child successfully navigate their post secondary decisions:

  • Financial Aid –  How to pay for College
  • Standardized Testing –  Standardized Tests: The SAT vs The ACT
  • College Admissions – An Insider View
  • College Athletics – From Intramural to Division I Sports
  • Overview of the College Application Process – Milton High Procedures
  • Naviance 101

Representatives from Emmanuel College Admissions, Bridgewater State University, Summit Educational Group, “Strategies for College” and Milton High School staff will be running these 6 sessions. After a brief introduction in the auditorium, each session will run four times, in 25 minute intervals. Students & Parents/Guardians are invited to attend up to four sessions between 6:30 and 8:30 pm. This workshop is open to all parents/guardians & students in grades 8 through 12.  Masks are required in the building.   

While this night is geared towards students exploring college as a post MHS option, if your child is interested in learning a trade or interested in the military after graduation, I encourage you to have them connect with their guidance counselor for additional resources. 

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Milton High School Grade 8 Information Night: Please join us on Thursday, December 16 at 6:30pm in the Milton High School Auditorium (25 Gile Rd) for an opportunity to learn about Milton High School course offerings, academic and extracurricular programs, athletics and activities that prepare students for college and life beyond high school. Current 8th grade students, parents and guardians are invited to attend this informational session and tour of Milton High School. If unable to attend, the presentation and a virtual tour of the building will be provided.

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Please see below for important Preschool and Kindergarten dates. 

  • Preschool Information Night – Thursday, January 6, 2022
  • Preschool Pre-registration – Thursday, January 6, 2022 – Thursday, January 27, 2022
  • Preschool Lottery if necessary – Friday, January 28, 2022
  • Kindergarten Information Night – Thursday, January 27, 2022
  • Kindergarten Pre-registration – Begins Monday, December 13, 2021. This link to pre-register will be live on December 13. 

MPS GIVES BACK 

The MPS 2021 Holiday Giving Drive organized by our PTOs will run from December 6th-9th in our schools. For the holiday season, the Milton Public Schools has partnered with My Brother’s Keeper and the Milton Residents Fund to ensure all Milton families in need have a wonderful holiday season.

Support and shop with a local business while supporting the toy drive! Shop in-person, online, or over the phone with The Toy Chest in East Milton Square or The Toy Box (owned by an MPS family) in Hanover. 

Bring your new, unwrapped item(s) to one of the collection boxes in the lobby of any of the elementary schools between Monday, December 6 – Thursday, December 9. Thank you for helping us make the Holiday Season a little bright for our neighbors!

Pierce Families Helping Families Holiday Program: Each year our guidance counselors identify Pierce families in need and collect gift cards to be distributed to them for the holidays. This program, Families Helping Families, provides an opportunity for your family to bring a little bit of holiday spirit to another family at Pierce Middle School in an anonymous and quiet way.

If you are interested in supporting this effort, please bring your gift card donation to the main office at Pierce Middle School by December 12th and deposit it in the sealed box. We recommend gift cards to Star Market, Shaws, Stop and Shop, Target and Old Navy but will, of course, accept and pass on gift cards from all stores. Our guidance staff will make sure that these gift cards find their way to Pierce families in need this holiday season.

 

HIGH SCHOOL HAPPENINGS

Congratulations to our MHS students who were inducted into the National Honor Society this week! NHS students must uphold the four pillars of NHS: leadership, scholarship, service and character. Members of the National Honor Society are expected to act as leaders and role models in the Milton High School community, both academically and through their personal responsibilities. Please join me in congratulating these outstanding students!

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The sheer joy of having our MHS music students on the stage since 2019 was immense yesterday. It was a fantastic performance by our students and some moments truly exceeded practice runs. We applaud our ensembles for their hard work and a big shout out to Rebecca Damiani (Band and Jazz Director), Julia Hanna (Choral Director) and Debra Miller(District Orchestra Director) for guiding our students to this excellent performance. It was great to see our community to be able to come together to celebrate our talented youth. Thanks to Milton Access TV, you can watch a recording of the concert here. We are so proud of our student musicians – well done! Thank you to our student photographers for the pictures below.

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This week, MHS Computer Science students organized events for CS Ed Week.  Students hosted a CS Ed Week day at the library and Pierce students were able to visit 7 different stations and learn about binary, decoding, computer hardware, matrices, and algorithms.  Teams of MHS students visited 5th graders and presented on Computer Science principles, gave them a chance to code and then answered lots of questions about CS. At MHS,  students participated in a scavenger hunt, typing contests, viewed posters around the building and had  presentations on CS in art classes. Check out the CS Ed Week @ Milton website to see more details.

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A Note from MHS Guidance: MassEdCO is hosting several virtual FAFSA Pop-Up Saturdays to help students and families complete their applications. Financial Aid experts will be available to provide one-on-one assistance on any of the dates available, and bilingual assistance will be offered in Spanish, Mandarin, Nepali, and Hindi. Register at this link.  All details can be found here. 

 

PIERCE PAGES

The Milton Historical Society generously hosted students from Ms. Hartgering’s classes recently. Students read a book where the main character uses a Historical Society for research, and the students learned a great deal from our visit to the Suffolk Resolves House. They got an in-depth explanation of Milton’s amazing history and were able to examine objects and archives such as maps and newspapers. We’re so grateful to the Historical Society and to the Milton Police Department for providing transportation.

Come hear us next Tuesday at MHS!

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Pierce Winter Concert: The Pierce Middle School Music Department is excited to present our first live performance since December 2019! Please join us in the MHS auditorium on Tuesday, December 14th at 6:30 p.m. for an evening of music by our school performing ensembles. We are excited to be back on stage and you don’t want to miss it! 

INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

Mrs. Bernini’s Collicot and Cunningham 5th grade art students are wrapping up a Native American Tunic project inspired by the story Ancient Thunder by Leo Yerxa. Students learned how Native Americans used animal hide to create clothing. Students used brown butcher paper to create their tunics and crumbled the paper to add texture. Using symmetry, students designed their own tunic shape and applied chalk pastel for their initial background colors. They used the book for inspiration and brainstormed a scene for their tunics. Students then drew their design onto the tunic and painted their scene with tempera paints. The final step was cutting yarn to add tassels to the bottom and sleeves of their tunics. Well done!

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Glover kindergarten scientists were busy this week in Mrs. Kates’ class! In celebration of Computer Science Education Week, kindergartners participated in a partner activity with one student taking on the role of computer programmer while the other was the robot. In addition to this “unplugged” activity, students enjoyed games like Code-a pillar on the classroom ipads. CSEdWeek is an annual call to action to inspire K-12 students to learn computer science, advocate for equity in computer science education, and celebrate the contributions of students, teachers, and partners to the field. Visit www.code.org for more information about this annual campaign.

Our kindergarteners were also busy observing and recording the weather. By monitoring local weather, students experience the patterns and variations in weather and come to understand the importance of weather forecasts to prepare for severe weather. Scientists made their own windsocks and then went outside to investigate wind speed and direction. The Full Option Science System™ (FOSS) philosophy is to engage students in science through active learning. Every FOSS investigation involves active investigation, including outdoor experiences and recording in science notebooks to answer focus questions.

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New books for the win!

The Scholastic Book Fair has arrived at Tucker Elementary! Students visited the fair this week, created wish lists and practiced their math skills at the cash register. Students were so excited for the return of the book fair: one 4th grader said, “This is beautiful! I could barely sleep last night!” and a pre-k student said, “I feel like I’ve been waiting my whole life to get this book.”

A sincere thank you to all the families who supported the fair and to all of the Tucker staff who helped with logistics, including Mrs. Keaney, Mr. Bacon, Mr. Barbosa, Mrs. Mallory, Mr. Coben and Dr. McNeil-Girmai. A very special thank you to the volunteers who made the fair possible: Leslie McCarthy, Dorothy Greene, Sarah Myrie, John Flakes, Rebekah Louis, Meena Tondravi, Kaley Patterson, Lori Goode, Amy McLaughlin, Andrea Robert, Jason Arenburg, Liz Tisei and Kim Carlozzi.

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Sign up now for MCS December Vacation Camp! Camp runs December 27-30 from 8:30 am-3:30 pm at Collicot/Cunningham Schools. Tuition is $250.00 4 days (Daily registrations are not accepted). Camp is for students in grades K-5. Registration at this link by December 17. 

SPECIAL EDUCATION 

Administrator for Pupil Personnel Services, Sue Maselli shares her  latest newsletter at this link. This newsletter has information about preschool music therapy, Literacy Coach updates, the return of Celebrating our Differences and a Milton Youth Bowling program.

FOOD SERVICE

Try at zucchini fry at MHS or Pierce.

Food Service’s Dietetic Intern Michaela created a new menu item and offered samples to students. After rave reviews, coming soon to the MHS  and Pierce lunch menu this December… baked zucchini fries! A twist on the traditional French fry, zucchini fries are zucchini sticks that are baked in a parmesan bread crumb coating. If you want to try this recipe, check it out on our blog linked here. For more recipes and updates, follow us on Instagram at @miltonfoodservice or on Facebook at Milton School Food Service. All lunch menus can be found here.

FAMILY RESOURCES 

For grandparents who are raising their grandchildren, the Commission on the Status of Grandparents raising Grandchildren has added a new virtual workshop.  Wellness and Self-Care for the Caregiver will meet via zoom on 12/13 at 7:30pm and 12/14 at 9:00am. Details on how to join can be found  here.  The Quincy Family Resource Center has also published their December group calendar. Details can be found here.

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 mmckenna@miltonps.org.  All calls and emails are confidential. 

SEPAC

The Milton Special Education Parent Advisory Council (Milton SEPAC) shares the following information. 

ParticipateWe installed our new board on November 16 and got right to work. We now have 14 members of our board, with many schools having at least two reps representing all the schools across the district. 

Advocate: The next SEPAC board meeting will be held on Thursday, December 16, 6:30 -8:30 Zoom Link at which we will be finalizing vision and goals for 2022. Please reach out to your school reps with issues and concerns you would like to see addressed this year, and, of course, attend the meeting as well to join discussions and have your voice heard. 

Educate: Check out the newly-updated Resources page on our SEPAC website.  We hope it has a lot of good information, resources, and tools for parents and families. Please reach out to us at miltonsepac@gmail.com if you have any feedback.   

ART AND MUSIC

Looking for an easy and healthy holiday gift idea? Support the Milton Music Department by ordering from our online fruit fundraiser anytime between now and December 12th! Gift boxes or crates of fresh fruit are guaranteed to ship directly to the recipient in time for Christmas! Whether you’re shopping for yourself, your family, colleagues, neighbors, or friends, these delicious gift boxes are sure to be a hit! Use the QR code below or visit this link to order through our website. The sale closes on December 12th, so don’t delay in ordering. 

MILTON FOUNDATION FOR EDUCATION

It’s the MFE’s 25th Anniversary! Help us celebrate our anniversary by joining our Annual Appeal Campaign to give $25 for 25 years.

An education from the Milton public schools is the foundation for excellence and the Milton Foundation for Education (MFE) has been helping lay those foundations for 25 years with well over 50, 000 students. Help us celebrate the MFE’s 25th year by taking part in the annual giving campaign. Donations from generous supporters like you have helped fund initiatives in all six Milton schools and every dollar donated to the MFE helps spark innovation and energizes the learning experience for students and educators in Milton. Your gift, in any amount, is welcomed and appreciated! All details and the link to donate can be found here.

 

ATHLETICS

Congratulations to Sophia!

Sophia Manning signed her Division I Letter of Intent  to Temple University for Women’s Rowing on Monday! Congratulations to all four students who signed their Letters of Intent.

  • Norah Affanato, Loyola University Maryland, Cross Country & Track
  • Charlie Walker, Northeastern University, Baseball
  • Brian Foley, UMass Lowell, Baseball
  • Sophia Manning, Temple University, Crew

Winter sports are underway and we are excited to have a full complement of games this Winter Season! There are no capacity limits or social distancing requirements but ALL students, coaches and spectators MUST be masked when in the school building. Spectators must follow posted site policies for Ulin Rink or opposing venues, including rinks and gymnasiums.

COMMUNITY NEWS

On Saturday, December 11, join the fun for the Milton Holiday Stroll! The MHS Boosters and the Pierce, Tucker and Cunningham PTOs will be at Steel and Rye to help with all of your MPS swag needs!

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Milton Access TV will air the Memorial Tree Program live on their public channel (Comcast 9/RCN 13) on local cable in Milton at 7pm on Friday, December 10. The lights on the Memorial Tree will be turned on and the names of all remembered will be read at the gazebo in front of the Town Hall and MPS students will be singing during the ceremony. You  can also access a live stream at this link or watch on the MATV Facebook page.

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Milton Parks and Rec  – Intro to Recreational Irish Step!

This is a non-competitive program open to Milton elementary school students in grades K-3. The program will be held on Thursday nights at Cunningham Hall (located at 75 Edge Hill Rd.)
Registration (linked here) will be available on December 15th at noon.  All details can be found here. 

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The Milton Public Library’s  December calendar can be found here. 

Please join us on Saturday, December 11 between 10am and 4pm for a holiday favorite: the MPL’s annual Life-Size Candyland game! Kids, see if you can beat your parents to the Candy Castle to rescue King Kandy, while at the same time practicing counting and color recognition. For all ages; children must be accompanied by an adult in order to play. Registration is required and timed entry is available. Sign up at this link today!

To learn more and to register for programs, please visit the MPL website. Please see below for details on two upcoming book sales. 

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Youth Recreational Bowling:  January 13th – March 31st

Milton Sports for All, a recreational, inclusive sports program, is offering candle-pin bowling this winter at Cunningham Hall.  

The program is open to kids in grades 4 – 8 who reside in Milton.  Bowling will happen on Thursdays from January 13th through March 31st— from 4:30 – 5:15 for grades 4 and 5 and from 5:30 – 6:15 for grades, 6, 7, and 8.  No experience (or bowling shoes!) is necessary.  Candle-pin bowling uses smaller balls which are easier for kids to bowl. 

The registration fee is $20 and registration will be open from Dec. 13th – Dec. 31st.  There will be a maximum of 24 kids in each time slot.  Should the program be oversubscribed, participants will be selected by lottery and refunds will be given if not selected.  (Please note that bowling is loud!  If your child has any sensory issues, you’re welcome to send them with noise-cancelling head-phones or any other resource they might need.)  

Beginning Dec. 13th, you can register on-line here for grades 4 and 5 and here for grades 6 – 8.  You will be notified the week of Jan. 3rd whether your child can participate in the program.  Thank you and see you in the lanes!

Milton Sports for All is a volunteer group of parents and community members who believe that sports should be fun and accessible to all kids regardless of background, experience, or ability.  We welcome new volunteers!  Our goal is for kids across Milton to have fun playing sports together in a supportive environment where they can meet new friends.

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11th Hour Calling invites all to a  Stand Out & Stand Up for Climate Action, Saturday, December 11, 6-6:30 pm (Rain-date Sunday, December 12, 6-6:30 pm). Meet on the First Parish Church lawn ~ Gather round the spotlight.

Join several local organizations this weekend to demonstrate to our community that we care about the climate emergency, environmental justice, and Milton’s municipal response planning. We will ring bells, beat drums, and wave DIY posters and signs with gusto. For safety, bring flashlights or headlamps and wear light-colored or reflective clothing. For calling the alarm: bring drums, gongs, cymbals, vuvuzelas, pots, pans, 5-gal. buckets, etc. 

Spread the word: bring friends and neighbors. We welcome all ages and organizations because standing up together promotes change and purposefulness. Next stand out: Tuesday, January 11, same time and place.

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Merry Historic Milton FamilyFest: This Saturday, December 11, from 11am -4pm, enjoy a day of festive family fun at three historic estates in Milton, Mass. 🎄

Join us for “Merry Historic Milton FamilyFest,” starting at the Eustis Estate followed by visits to Forbes House Museum and Mary May Binney Wakefield Arboretum. Each site offers a unique experience with holiday-themed activities and refreshments.For more information and to get your tickets, please visit the website.

 
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Chess with Mr. Vigorito is back in person at the Milton Library and Milton High School!

International Chess Master David Vigorito has been teaching chess in Milton for over 10 years. He has taught at all 4 elementary schools as well as Milton Academy and St. Agatha’s. Classes begin January 10th! All details and registration info can be found here. 

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Milton Soccer: Registration is now open for our spring 2022 soccer programs.  Please visit our Milton Soccer website for more information or use this link to register.  The deadline to register is January 7 (on January 8 waitlist and late fees apply).

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Registration is now open for Milton Youth Lacrosse Spring ’22 Travel Programs for boys and girls in grades 3-8.  Register now at this link.  Winter practices start on January 8th and the season starts in April. All details are at this link. 

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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.

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