December 23, 2021

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

FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT

As we prepare to start our winter break tomorrow, I want to thank you for your partnership during the 1st four months of this school year. The year has not been without challenges but I am pleased to say we have overall had a very successful and positive four months! Please read on for some highlights of the last week as well as some important logistical information. 

As you are likely aware, the Covid positivity rate has increased locally, in Massachusetts and throughout the US. We are committed to keeping our buildings open with full in person learning and maintaining all extra curricular activities for our students. To do this we need your support to make sure our students remain masked in school and other public places, as well as follow all Covid safety recommendations. If you and your family have not been vaccinated (or received the booster ) yet, please consider doing so for your own health as well as the safety of our MPS community. We must continue to Protect the Paw to keep our students and staff safely in school. 

Our approach to snow days will be shifting a bit in the coming weeks. At this point, we anticipate that if there is inclement weather and school is cancelled for the day, it will be a traditional snow day: our buildings will be closed, there will be no remote learning and the day will be made up in June. Depending on the number of snow days we have this year, we may revisit this approach and will keep you updated if that happens. In the meantime, if we have a snow day, I hope your children take advantage of the day with extra sleep, catching up on school work, helping around the house, enjoying family time and having fun outside with friends. 

Thank you to all who participated in and attended the Courageous Conversations toward Racial Justice virtual forum last week, Milton Community Conversation: Healing after Racial Incidents. It was a productive and worthwhile ninety minutes for our Milton community. The recording can be found at this link. 

Each day in the week leading up to Winter Break, our MHS musicians and singers entertain us upon arrival with a selection of songs. You can see and hear a bit of the music magic below!

As a reminder, December  24 – January 2 is MPS Winter Break and classes resume on Monday, January 3. There are three major holidays over the next ten days. If you celebrate Christmas, I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and if your family celebrates Kwanzaa, I wish you a Happy Kwanzaa. To all in our MPS community, I wish a relaxing and safe winter break and a happy and healthy New Year! 

SCHOOL COMMITTEE 

The next regular Milton School Committee meeting is on January 6, 2022 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 more Moderna Booster Clinics. The FDA has approved that individuals can mix and match 1st and 2nd doses series with boosters. If you had Pfizer or the J&J vaccine, you can still receive a Moderna booster vaccine. Clinics are BY APPOINTMENT ONLY. 

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. The Moderna vaccine is for 18+. 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 free, drive-thru COVID testing days on Sunday, December 26, Sunday, January 2 and Sunday, January 9 from 10am-3pm at the DPW yard at 629 Randolph Avenue.  All are welcome.

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For the time period of Thursday, December 16 – Wednesday, December 22, MPS had 29 positive student cases, and 7 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 24 – Jan 2 Winter Break
  • Jan 3 Classes Resume 
  • Jan 5 School Committee
  • Jan 6 Preschool Information Night (Virtual) 
  • Jan 17 MLK Jr. Day No School 
  • Jan 19 School Committee
  • Jan 20 Elementary Community Conversation 

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)

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Join the Collicot, Cunningham, Glover and Tucker Communities for One Parent’s Journey: Talking to Young Children about Structural Racism with Dr. Kimberly Cauley-Narain.

On Thursday, January 20 at 7pm, join us virtually  to hear from Dr. Kimberly Cauley-Narain about her journey talking to her own children about structural racism. Finding no books that fit what she was looking for – she wrote a children’s book that explores structural racism in the United States: Cycle of a Dream – A Kid’s’ Introduction to Structural Racism. In the process, she integrated the broad evidence that supports talking to our preschool and elementary-aged children early and often about racism and other systems barriers that impede equitable educational, (mental) health and other experiences. Dr. Cauley-Narain will share her story and answer questions about what she has learned along the way. All details can be found here. 

This evening is conceived and hosted by the Collicot DEI Committee and sponsored by the Collicot, Cunningham, Glover and Tucker PTOs. 

Milton Public Schools families, staff, teachers and the entire Milton community are all welcome! The link to attend will be shared in January and this event will be recorded.

Please see below for important Preschool and Kindergarten dates

  • Preschool Information Night – Thursday, January 6, 2022 (Virtual)
  • 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 is open at this link.

HIGH SCHOOL HAPPENINGS

The MHS Winter Cabaret was a tremendous success! On Tuesday evening, MHS students performed a variety of musical acts to an enthusiastic audience. Performers spent the first months of the school year preparing their acts in student run rehearsals. Students chose their own pieces to perform and many arranged or composed their music to fit their own group or solo act. Bravo to all of our performers pictured below! A big thank you to audience members who donated to our “Sponsor-A-Lesson” Program; the event raised over $700 which will directly benefit students who would like to pursue instrumental lessons. Be on the lookout for announcements regarding our Spring Cabaret! You can watch our talented students here.

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The MHS Key Club would like to thank everyone who donated to their “Coats for Kids and Family” Coat Drive. They collected 90 coats which we donated to the program’s sponsors, Anton’s Cleaners and Jordan’s Furniture. The coats will be cleaned and distributed to social service agencies that work with people in need. Your generosity is greatly appreciated.

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Ms. Lee’s MHS students designed “Personal Patterns” in their Design Studio class by creating motifs made up of a combination of drawings representing different parts of their personalities. Students then repeated their motifs to create a personal pattern, and applied subjective colors to symbolically represent different aspects of themselves or their color preferences. You can see their designs below.

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MHS Culinary Students created gingerbread replicas of well known Milton establishments representing East Milton, Milton Lower Mills and all of the MPS buildings. Student recreated Dunkin Donuts, The Nutshell, Playa Bowls, Kumon, Novara, Abby Park, The Fruit Center, the Lower Mills Hardware store, Stevies, The Plate, Bents (Revive), Coffee Break,  Steel  & Rye and all 6 MPS schools. Students sold their creations and the proceeds are being donated to the Milton Residents Fund. Enjoy some of the pictures below!

 

PIERCE PAGES

On December 18th, The Pierce Middle School Debate Team participated in the Lumos December Invitational Tournament. Students debated the effects of social media on democratic values in The United States. Students used the Public Forum Debate format to discuss the benefits and costs of social media. Students Isabella Alba, Tess Carroll, Adam Cheairs, Alex DeGregorio, Nailah Hazelwood, Dobie Illich, John Griffin, Penelope Jain, Sara Khan, Avery Squiciarino, Thinh Tran, and Sadie Wetzner-Crothers competed in this tournament. Nailah Hazelwood, Tess Carroll, and Sadie Wetzner-Crothers received Speaker Awards after earning distinguished scores in debate rounds. Avery Squiciarino and Sara Khan were awarded 2nd place in the tournament for their excellent record after winning multiple successive rounds. The Pierce Debate Team was thrilled to participate in this tournament after several weeks of rigorous practice and preparation, and we look forward to competing again in January.

INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

Check out the fun of Glover Spirit Week with this video made by Glover students Lizzie Crowell, Ava Sullivan and Elle Ryan. Nice work, girls!

Tucker collaborated this month to prepare care packages for their immigration care package drive. The donations went to the Blessing Barn in Quincy and IFSI in Mattapan. 

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Cunningham had their second PAWSitivity Awards to celebrate students who exemplify Cunningham’s core tenets of being Respectful, Responsible and Safe. During the assembly, students from each homeroom were recognized with Cougar Paw certificates in what is a monthly PAWSitivity Awards assembly. Ms. Hunt and Mr Foy were also recognized as the teacher recipients for their ongoing efforts to promote a Respectful, Responsible and Safe environment in her classroom. Congratulations to our winners, who can be found here.

 

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Collicot 5th graders have been busy inventing toys and games for the Annual 5th Grade Toy Fair. Today they showed off their innovation and creativity with displays in the cafeteria and gymnasium. Many of our students in grades K-4 were able to visit the fair and all were impressed with the fun and creative toys our students designed and built.

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For a fun winter STEM Challenge, Mrs. Miles’ Cunningham 3rd graders worked in small groups with the use of just 2 materials: sugar cubes + frosting. The challenge was to use these 2 materials in order to create a sturdy igloo. All groups succeeded and lots of fun was had!

SPECIAL EDUCATION 

Administrator for Pupil Personnel Services, Sue Maselli shares her most recent newsletter at this link.  This newsletter has information about staffing updates, PD opportunities, and the new MPS Restorative Justice Coach. 

FAMILY RESOURCES 

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. 

ATHLETICS

The entire Athletic Department is excited for the first Annual “Derrick Snowden Memorial Boys Basketball Tournament”. Derrick Snowden was the voice of Milton Football and Basketball for over 30 years. A 1989 Graduate of Milton High, Derrick tragically and unexpectedly passed away in March of 2020. He was beloved and is truly missed by the entire Milton Community, especially within our Athletic Department.

  • Tuesday, December 28th: 5:15PM – Norwood v Walpole; 7:00PM – Dedham v Milton
  • Wednesday, December 29th: 5:15PM – Consolation Game; 7:00PM – Championship Game

Tickets are $5 for students and adults. All spectators must be masked at all times.

On New Years Day, join the MHS Girls Varsity Hockey Team for Skate with ‘CATS. 

COMMUNITY NEWS

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 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) is open.  All details can be found here. 

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The Milton Public Library’s calendar of  January programs for kids can be found here.

From January 1 to January 31, Milton Public Library is participating in Beanstack’s Fifth Annual Winter Reading Challenge, sponsored by Lerner Publishing Group. “Read for a Better World” encourages readers of all ages to explore diversity, empathy, and action through literature. We challenge our patrons to read at least 10 books during the month and keep track of their reading on our Beanstack site. All ages are welcome to participate! Pre-register today at miltonlibrary.beanstack.org . Happy reading, Milton!

To learn more and to register for programs for kids, teens and adults, please visit the MPL website. 

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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. All detail

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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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. 

SUPERINTENDENT SHOUTOUT

Joelle Auguste

Eleven years ago the Milton Public Schools partnered with Joelle Auguste to create an interpretation resource for MPS. At that time we were just beginning to provide translators for parent/teacher conferences and a great relationship began. Ms. Auguste also ran The Power of Families Program at Tucker School after the earthquake in Haiti when we received many Haitian families to Milton.

Over the years, Ms. Auguste and her team of interpreters have consistently created a bridge in our schools that has allowed us to create inclusive communication for all families to participate in MPS regardless of language background. Currently,  she is continuing her work for JA Interpretation and also serves in the role of Family Engagement and Comprehensive Service Manager of Universal PreK in BPS. She has been a champion of the Milton schools and her two children have attended MPS. I would like to recognize Ms. Auguste as she has been an unwavering, unsung partner of Milton Public Schools since 2010. She is an outstanding individual and community partner.

Thank you to by blog contributors this week: Taylor Miles, Joyce White, Sean Lopresti, Alyssa Buchanan, Holly Concannon, Leonice Bernard, Bernadette Butler, Kim Coughlin and Colin Faherty. 

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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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