December 11th E-Blast

From: Mary C. Gormley
To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
Re: E-blast Update
Date:  Friday, December 11th, 2015


What should families know about PARCC, state testing, and Accountability Levels?

There has been much media coverage about the state’s participation in PARCC, and understandably, some confusion about what the state is planning to do in terms of the statewide assessment. Below are some key points about state testing and how it impacts Milton Public Schools:

  • PARCC is a next-generation assessment designed to measure progress toward meeting grade-level expectations and mastering important skills like critical thinking, problem solving, and analytical writing. In 2010, Massachusetts adopted new learning standards (Common Core), and since then, schools across the state, including Milton, have been introducing them into classrooms. The standards are more rigorous than previous standards and are tied to the skills and knowledge that colleges and employers expect of our high school graduates. PARCC assessments are tied to those new standards.
  • PARCC is a different measuring stick with a different scale than the MCAS. Results from PARCC are different from prior years’ MCAS results, so a direct comparison is not warranted.       Instead of falling in four proficiency levels as on the MCAS – Warning/Failing, Needs Improvement, Proficient, and Advanced, PARCC results fall into five levels – Level 1 (did not yet meet expectations), Level 2 (partially met expectations), Level 3 (approached expectations), Level 4 (met expectations), and Level 5 (exceeded expectations). A “Proficient” score on the MCAS, for example, does not translate directly to a “Level 4” on the PARCC.
  • On November 17, 2015, the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education approved the transition to a next-generation MCAS for ELA and Math that would be given for the first time statewide in spring 2017. This updated MCAS test would use both PARCC and MCAS items, along with items developed specifically for the Massachusetts tests.
  • Milton Public Schools administered the computer-based PARCC assessments in ELA and Math in grades 3 – 8 in school year 2014-15, and we will continue to do so again this school year 2015-16.
  • Students will continue taking MCAS science and technology/engineering tests, and the 10th grade ELA and Math MCAS will continue to be a graduation requirement through at least the class of 2019. The Commissioner is putting together a committee to evaluate the 10th grade graduation requirement beyond 2019.
  • The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) plans to transition the whole state to computer-based testing in 2019. The Milton Public Schools are equipped with the proper technology infrastructure to accommodate computer-based learning and assessment needs, so technology is not a barrier to our students’ progress.
  • Parents can help their children prepare for PARCC by familiarizing themselves with the state’s academic learning standards. The standards are posted online at Common Core State Standards Initiative webpage. Additionally, PARCC practice tests and sample questions are available at

On December 9, 2015, DESE released the 2015 Accountability Levels for all schools and districts based on state testing on MCAS and PARCC. Massachusetts’ system places schools and districts on a five-level scale relative to other schools in their grade span, ranking the highest performing in Level 1 and lowest performing in Level 5. This accountability system takes into consideration performance on the state ELA, Math and science tests, student growth, the achievement gaps in high needs subgroups, and graduation rates and drop-out rates as appropriate. Milton Public Schools received the following Accountability Levels for school year 2014-2015. (In general, a district is classified into the level of its lowest performing school.)

Accountability Level 2013-14 2014-15
Collicot Level 1 Level 1
Cunningham Level 2 Level 2
Glover Level 2 Level 2
Tucker Level 2 Level 2
Pierce Level 2 Level 2
Milton High Level 2 Level 1
District Level 2 Level 2

We will continue to monitor and respond to any changes in the state testing system in the next couple of years. In the meantime, please reach out to your child’s teachers and school leaders to understand how you can help support your child in meeting core learning standards.


There has been one School Committee meetings since my last E-blast, summarized below. The next meeting will be held Wednesday, December 16th at 7 pm in the Milton Access TV studio at Milton High School.

December 2nd: This meeting began with the School Committee recognizing the MHS Girls Cross Country Team, along with Coach Tom Shaw, for an outstanding season. As part of the Superintendent’s Report, the School Committee gave preliminary approval to the Debate Team field trip in January. Ms. Padera encouraged any interested volunteers to attend the upcoming MFE meeting. Ms. Gormley reviewed the upcoming events in the Milton Public Schools. As part of the Health and Wellness Subcommittee Report, Ms. Bagley Jones reported that the subcommittee is working on the Youth Risk Behavior Survey results and has come up with an action plan. She noted that they are working with the high school administration and community groups on some of the areas of concern. As part of the Finance Subcommittee Report, Mr. Walker and Dr. Pavlicek discussed the FY16-17 budget numbers. The committee voted to approve the first budget number of $42,436,500, which reflects the contractual and legal obligations of the district. Mr. Zullas recused himself from the second vote, and Mr. Walker went through the second needs-based budget number of $42,978,200 and the committee approved that figure before adjourning to executive session.


The following item was submitted by MHS Fine Arts & Family/Consumer Studies director Dr. Noreen Diamond Burdett:

We have some wonderful results from our Music Department! The Milton High School Music Department hosted the auditions for the Eastern District Senior Festival on Saturday. Over 1100 students from schools in the Eastern District of Massachusetts competed. Sixteen MHS students were selected to participate in the Eastern Senior Festival (which is in January) based on their high scores at the audition.  They are: Band – Kyle Dempsey, Ben Scott, Maddy Scott, Simon Eder, Sawyer Flanagan Chorus – Samanatha Antoniewicz, Julia Butler, Hope Huban, Dominik Hyppolite, Harry Kong, Will Macmillan, Katie Steele, Stephen Tan, Grace Varela Strings – Ryan Au,  Nethania Marc

Nine of these 16 students had such high scores that they have received a recommendation to audition for the Massachusetts All State Festival. They are: Band – Ben Scott, Simon Eder, Sawyer Flanagan Chorus – Samanatha Antoniewicz, Hope Huban, Harry Kong, Katie Steele,  Stephen Tan Strings – Nethania Marc

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The following item was submitted by MPS K-12 Science Coordinator Bernadette Moonan:

We live in a world surrounded by technology.  We know that whatever field our students choose to pursue as adults, their ability to succeed will increasingly hinge on understanding how technology works.  That is why all four of our elementary schools are joining in on the largest learning event in history:  The Hour of Code!  Last year, over 100 million students worldwide tried computer science through computer programming!  This year, we’re joining students worldwide to reach 200 million students!  Students will work on self-guided tutorials on computers, Chromebooks, and iPads to engage in the world of computer programming!  During the month of December, be sure to ask your child about the coding experience he/she has participated in.  Feel free to continue the learning at home by visiting to explore free self-guided coding tutorials. This might be a fun activity over the Winter Break!  Here is a link to an inspiring short video that gives you a glimpse into the Hour of Code:

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The following item was submitted by MHS History Teacher and Debate Coach Kacy Dotoli:

The Milton High Debate Team began in 2009 with then-English teacher Dr. Nick Fitzgerald co-coaching with Attorney Phil Tedesco. They had four students at the time and collaborated with the Milton Academy Speech Team. Nancy Warn joined as co-coach in 2010 and the team grew over the next few years, with many students making it to quarter and semi-finals. Kacy Dotoli took over as the debate coach in the fall of 2014. The team meets after school, scrimmages at night, and competes on Saturdays. The students’ hard work paid off as the team did very well throughout the year, placing at multiple tournaments and winning speaker awards. The team traveled to Fairfax, Virginia in January 2015 to compete in the George Mason University National tournament, where two students made it to the octo-finals. At the state tournament in the spring, the team placed 6th overall. This year, the team has new and returning debate members for a total of 26 students. So far this year, the team has competed in three tournaments and students are continuing to place as well as winning speaker awards. During the November debate in Lexington, the following students attended: Seniors: Lydia Horan, Matt Murphy; Juniors: Aislinn O’Brien, Jessy Iwuala, Emily Possi, Declan Foley; Sophomores: Domenic Jancaterino, Gigi Jiang, Alyssa Foster, Ornella Ebongue, Jack Cullen, John Daly, Al Lenz, Tanvir Islam, Hue Ninh Ngyuen, Shoilee Banerjee, Arielle Solomon, Hope Bell; Freshmen: Amanda Kwong, Carl Williams and Ayla Alsebai.  Each team competed in five Rounds of competition and there was a novice circuit as well as a Varsity circuit. Teams who win five or more rounds qualify for the state tournament in April. The teams from Milton who won three or more rounds and qualified for the state tournament were: Domenic Jancaterino and Lydia Horan; Tanvir Islam and Matt Murphy; Jessy Iwuala and Emily Possi; Declan Foley and Amanda Kwong; Ornella Ebongue and Jack Cullen; and Shoilee Banerjee and Ayla Alsebai. All of the above students received medals for winning the majority of their rounds. The big win of the night went to Jack Cullen and Ornella Ebongue. Jack and Ornella are a novice team who are students in my debate class and have previously competed in one other tournament before tonight. This team won four out of their five rounds and came in 5th place out of 66 teams! Varsity: Out of a pool of 100 students Domenic Jancaterino received 8th place and Lydia Horan received 4th place. Novice: Out of a pool of 122 Ornella Ebongue received 7th place and Jack Cullen received 2nd place.

At the Lincoln-Sudbury debate on December 5th, the team also performed well.

In recent years, we have only had one team make it on to the quarter finals, and that was last year in Washington DC. At the December tournament, Matthew Murphy grade 12, debated alone, doing the work of two people and made it to the quarter finals, placing in the top 8 out of 102 teams. Lydia Horan placed 14th.Other teams that did well were Lydia Horan & Jessy Iwuala coming in 21st and Tanvir Islam & Alyssa Foster coming in 25th out of 102 teams.

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Milton High School students were given a lesson in financial literacy on Wednesday, thanks to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Division of Banks and the State Treasurer’s Office. The program was funded by the Financial Education Innovation Fund, which provides an opportunity for high schools to develop or expand a financial education fair. The event was designed to be a fun and effective way for students to learn about making real world financial decisions when it comes to saving, spending, and budgeting based on career choices and lifestyle decisions. Many thanks to the following volunteers who came to assist students with this Financial Education event: Mark Gibbons of William Raveis Real Estate, Jim Potter of Hanscom Federal Credit Union, Rick Dumais, Akwasi Agyemang and Andrea Cipolla of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Division of Banks, Rich Rogers of Abbey Capital and Mark Sullivan of Sullivan Insurance.


The Pierce Middle School is proud to announce that this year’s Winter Arts Fest will be held Wednesday, December 16th from 5:30-7pm in Art Rooms 101 and 104. Please join the Pierce art teachers with prizes, crafts and art to view.

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Milton Youth Soccer Uniform Program. Pass us your soccer uniforms….and we’ll pass them on to children all over the world. Drop off your used soccer uniforms (and equipment) in collection bins located in the lobbies of Collicot/Cunningham, Glover, Tucker and Pierce schools and at 34 Cliff Road. Any donations of CLEAN T-Shirts, shorts, socks, shin guards, cleats, and deflated balls and pumps will be gratefully accepted. Note that uniforms from other sports will also be gratefully accepted. (Collection dates are now through December 18th) Thank you for your support!  For more information, call Madame Brown @ 617-696-8125. This project is supported by the Milton Public Schools and Milton Soccer.

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The Milton High School Key Club is collecting donations for Toys for Tots until December 15th. Please donate new, unwrapped toys to help families in need this holiday season. Toys can be dropped off in the Milton High Schoo Main Office and the Guidance Office. We appreciate your support.

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It’s Kindergarten Pre-Registration Time! Please note your child must be five years old on or before August 31, 2016. The following are three easy steps in the pre-registration & registration process for the 2016-2017 school year:

  1. Go to the link below to pre-register your child for Kindergarten before January 15, 2016.
  2. Attend the Kindergarten Information Night on Thursday, January 21, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. in the Milton High School Charles C. Winchester Auditorium, 25 Gile Rd.
  3. Registration will take place by appointment only on February 23rd, 24th & 25th.

Those who pre-register by January 15th will receive their registration appointment and packet at the Kindergarten Information Night.


This article was submitted by Marti O’Keefe McKenna, MPS Family Outreach Liaison:

Preschool Information Night for The 2016-2017 School Year: Are you or someone you know looking for a preschool program for your three or four year old? Milton Public Schools has a variety of programs for those children who will turn three or four on or before August 31, 2016.

Mark your calendars and join us for an information evening on January 14, 2016 at 6:30pm. The information session will take place in the Milton High School Charles C. Winchester Auditorium, 25 Gile Rd.  This is guaranteed to be an informative evening as preschool staff and administrators outline the similarities and differences in the programs offered as well as answer any questions families may have.

Please feel free to contact Marti O’Keefe McKenna, Family Outreach Liaison, at 617-980-7343 if you have additional questions. We look forward to seeing you there.


The next SEPAC meeting will be held Monday, December 14th at the Glover Elementary School library from 7-9pm.

Also, I would like to share the following comments, which were made by SEPAC chair Michelle Connolly at the most recent School Committee meeting in honor of Special Education Day:

“Today marks a very special day – a day that is celebrated nationally and every year since 2005 in honor of legislation that celebrates its 40-year anniversary. Happy Special Education Day! This day was created to celebrate progress made since the Federal Government enacted its first special education law – known in 1975 as the Education of Handicapped Children Act … or as we know it now the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or IDEA. For those not familiar with IDEA, it essentially ensures that students with disabilities have the right to a free and appropriate education just like all other children. Not only that, it requires that their education be provided in the least restrictive environment—meaning schools must teach students with disabilities in general education classrooms whenever possible.  In adopting this landmark civil rights measure, Congress opened public school doors for millions of children with disabilities and laid the foundation of the country’s commitment to ensuring that children with disabilities have opportunities to develop their talents, share their gifts, and contribute to their communities.

In the last 40 years, we have advanced our expectations for all students, including students with disabilities. Classrooms have become more inclusive and the future of children with disabilities brighter. Significant progress has been made toward protecting the rights of, meeting the individual needs of, and improving education results for infants, toddlers, children and youths with disabilities.  In 2015, we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the passage of Public Law 94-142. While tremendous progress has been made over the years, we must continue the hard work and address the challenges that still exist. Although we are able to help many individual students to achieve their goals, we must strive to ensure that all children have the support they need and to find ways to meet each student needs within the context of each school.  At a local school level, we celebrate that MPS is continuing to make progress, especially in the past couple of years and on the following issues: a social/emotional curriculum, transparency in the district, written guidelines that meet federal and state criteria, an inclusion task force, and collaboration with MPS in educating all-parents, teachers, community on disabilities and inclusive practices.


This past month, we said goodbye to our Tucker School manager, Patricia McIsaac. She has worked for the Milton School Food Service Program for over 21 years. She came to work when her youngest child, Lauren, entered elementary school.  She is retiring to spend more time with her husband Frank and her two children.  Pat, or “Ms. Pat” as the Tucker School students call her, was very emotional on her last day, as Principal Dr. Elaine McNeil-Girmai celebrated her retirement with quite a send off.  The day before the Thanksgiving holiday, after the food service staff went home, the students and teachers decorated the cafeteria, the kitchen and even Ms. Pat’s office with posters and cards of thanks. The walls in the cafeteria were covered with signatures of each Tucker student and their kind thoughts of thanks.  Tucker’s adjustment counselor, Mr. Cadet, made quite a speech to Mrs. McIsaac reflecting on how many students depend on the meals she prepares for them each day and how much that helps these students succeed in school.  The reflection of “Hungry Children Cannot Learn” became the theme of this special send off. We thank Patricia McIsaac for her many years of service.  Her dedication shows each and every day in the smile of all of her students.  They really made her know how special she is to each and every one of them.  HAPPY RETIREMENT!!!


The following item was submitted by Sara Truog, MPL Children’s Librarian:

Winter is on its way – and so are fun things for kids to do at the Milton Public Library! Come visit us anytime during the month of December and enter to win our Winter Solstice Contest, help us decorate for the holidays, and participate in fun and free youth programming. In addition to our regular storytimes on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, we have these exciting programs for the young people in your life happening during the week of December 13 – 19:

Friday, December 18, 2015 from 4:00 – 5:00 pm
Lego Club, Ages 6-12

Come build with the library’s Lego collection!  Each month we’ll build on a different theme.  At the end of the hour, your creations will go on display for all library visitors to enjoy.  Ages 6-12 welcome. Registration is required.

Saturday, December 19, 2015 from 10:00 – 10:30 am
Tech Tots Storytime, All Ages

Join Miss Sara for a storytime that incorporates iPad apps along with books and songs to show families how to appreciate stories in new ways! For ages 0-5 with caregiver; no registration required.

Saturday, December 19, 2015 from 2:00 – 4:00 pm
Life-Size Candyland, All Ages

Join us for a sweet adventure: families are invited to visit the Keys Room and play a life-size version of the classic board game Candyland! 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 so we know how many players we’ll have, but you can drop in anytime between 2-4pm (play should take approximately a half hour). Sponsored by the Friends of the Milton Public Library.

Don’t forget to check the library web calendar for a listing of the many programs we offer year-round. Information about and registration for all of our programs can always be found on our online calendar at, or by calling the Children’s Room at 617-898-4957 during business hours. Also, like the Milton Public Library on Facebook and get updates right in your news feed! Please contact the Children’s Room if you have questions about any of our programs or services.


Blue Hills Bank invites the community to their Milton branch to help ring in the New Year!  Join the staff for face painting, balloon animals, a photo booth, crafts, snacks and the official countdown to 2016 at 12 noon!  Come join us for this free, fun, family event.


Holiday Floral Arranging at the MAC: Master flower arranger Lucinda Larson will help attendees create a beautiful arrangement for their holiday table at the Milton Art Center on December 18th from 6:30-8 p.m.  Participants will use fresh seasonal flowers and simple design techniques to create a floral masterpiece to delight their family and friends.   The artist will supply all materials and no prior experience is required.  Cost of the workshop is $45.  Please see for more information or to register.


Congratulations the Student Athletes listed below who have been selected for recognition:

Bay State Conference All Stars:

Courtney Scarborough – Cheer
Colette O’Leary – Girls Cross Country
Bridget Mitchell – Girls Cross Country
Elise O’Leary – Girls Cross Country
Kate Driscoll – Field Hockey
Derek Perkins – Football
David Perkins – Football
Jack Clifford – Football
Mack Feeney – Football
Devon Nzepuome – Football
Omar Fraser – Football
Akeem Smith – Football
Kendall Van Allen – Football
Mike Fallon – Football * Selected as BSC Herget League – Player of the Year.
Walker Stroud – Golf
Jared Carr – Golf
Alden Rosa – Boys Soccer
Stefan Richardson – Boys Soccer
Liam Donelan – Boys Soccer
Chae Diani – Girls Soccer
Sophie Cousineau – Girls Soccer *Selected as BSC Herget League Most Valuable Player.
Kate McAuliffe – Volleyball
Joanna Needham – Volleyball

Bay State Conference Honorable Mention

MacKenzie Caputo – Cheer
Tim Lynch – Boys Cross Country
Meaghan McDougall – Field Hockey
Maddy Brown- Volleyball

Boston Herald All Scholastics

Bridget Mitchell – Girls Cross Country
Colette O’Leary- Girls Cross Country
Walker Stroud – Golf
Mike Fallon – Football

Boston Globe All Scholastics

Bridget Mitchell – Girls Cross Country
Colette O’Leary – Girls Cross Country
Mike Fallon – Football
Tom Shaw – Cross Country Coach of the Year Division2
Steve Dembowski – Football Coach of the Year Division 3

Patriot Ledger All Scholastic

Walker Stroud – Golf
Alexis Belash – Girls Cross Country
Bridget Mitchell – Girls Cross Country
Naomi Negassi – Girls Cross Country
Colette O’Leary – Girls Cross Country
Elise O’Leary – Girls Cross Country
Joanna Needham – Volleyball
Alden Rosa – Boys Soccer
Sophie Cousineau – Girls soccer
Mike Fallon – Football
David Perkins – Football
Derek Perkins – Football
Akeem Smith – Football

For sports schedules for all MHS teams, please click here:


Students: I would like to congratulate the following Pierce students, who are attending an invitation-only Model UN conference at Northeastern University today. Please join me in recognizing Dominique Thomas, Zoe Malouf, Wyatt Troy, Ralph Destin, Amalia Halpin, Abigail Files, Eliot Hiss, Lila Slymon, and Sarah Palmer. Best of luck!

Staff:   I would like to recognize Renee Mendoza, a math teacher at Pierce Middle School, who also serves as an officer in the Air Defense Artillery branch of the Massachusetts U.S. Army National Guard. She was recently promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, and is assigned as the Massachusetts Army National Guard Safety Officer.  Lt. Col. Mendoza is a combat veteran, having served in Iraq. I would like to thank Lt. Col. Mendoza for her service.

Volunteers: Many thanks to the following volunteers came to assist students with our recent Financial Education event: Mark Gibbons of William Raveis Real Estate, Jim Potter of Hanscom Federal Credit Union, Rick Dumais, Akwasi Agyemang and Andrea Cipolla of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Division of Banks, Rich Rogers of Abbey Capital and Mark Sullivan of Sullivan Insurance. This event would not have been such a success without their generosity and expertise. Thank you.

The Milton Public School system is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to the provision of quality educational programs for all students.  The Milton Public School system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability, genetic information, age or sexual orientation.


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