February 17, 2022

To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
From: James F. Jette
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: February 17, 2022


At last night’s School Committee meeting, the committee voted to end the MPS Face Covering Policy on Friday, March 4, 2022 and make masks optional going forward. The first day of school that masks will be optional is Monday, March 7, 2022. While this date is five school days beyond the DESE recommendation, we ask for your cooperation and assistance to insure that all students properly wear masks during the week of February 28. MPS faculty, staff and administrators appreciate your support. 

As discussed last night, this news will be well received by some and seen as disappointing news by others in our community. It’s vital that we maintain a civil and open discourse about masks and about all issues within the Milton Public Schools. While many hold strong views, there is never room for personal attacks. Everyone – our volunteer elected School Committee, our MPS staff, parents, guardians and the students themselves – is doing what they feel is their very best on behalf of our students and MPS community.

As we move to mask optional within the Milton Public Schools, all students and staff will be supported in their decision of whether to mask or not. If you feel your child is experiencing difficulty in school around their masking decision, please contact your principal or adjustment counselor for support. 

Per federal regulation, masks remain a mandate on school buses and in the health offices. Positive COVID individuals will need to mask for five days after returning to school from the five day quarantine period. Unvaccinated students are encouraged to mask per DESE and DPH guidance. All updated Covid guidelines and documents can be found on our website linked here.

Over the past two years, our greatest success has come when we have worked together as a community through each of these changes. Thank you as always for your ongoing support and partnership. 

As you will read below, there is much to celebrate this week at MPS, including the 100th day of school!  As they always do, our youngest students found creative ways to celebrate. Students enjoyed art projects and classroom celebrations to mark the 100th day.

We will be on February break from February 21-25. I wish you a happy and restful break and I look forward to seeing our students and staff back in our buildings on Monday, February 28.  


Milton School Building Committee Family and Community Forum: Please join members of the Milton School Building Committee, along with Superintendent James Jette, Pierce Middle School Principal Bill Fish, and Collicot School Principal Holly Concannon for a virtual Family and Community Forum on either Thursday, March 3, 2022, at 7:30 pm or Thursday, March 10, 2022, at 4 pm.

The Committee will share current information about the need for a new school building, an overview of our proposed site, consideration of options for grade configuration for a new building, and progress that has been made to date. All details and links to attend can be found here.


The next School Committee meeting is on Wednesday, March 2, 2022. As always, all information about attending School Committee meetings can be found on the Town of Milton webpage under School Committee. You can watch regular 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.


  • Feb 17 Pierce Science Fair 
  • Feb 21-25 February Recess
  • Mar 2 Milton School Committee
  • Mar 2 Milton FAME Meeting 
  • Mar 3 Early Release K-12
  • Mar 3 School Building Community Meeting 
  • Mar 3,4,5 Pierce Players 
  • Mar 8 MHS Program of Studies 
  • Mar 9 1st Grade Info Night 
  • Mar 10 School Building Community Meeting 
  • Mar 16 Coffee with Superintendent Jette 

Pierce Players present The Sound of Music on March 3 at 7pm, March 4 at 7pm  and March 5 at 2pm! Check out some terrific local theater at Pierce just after February break. All details on showtimes and the link to purchase tickets can be found here.  Support our talented students and don’t miss this fantastic production! 

Milton FAME Needs Spirited Volunteers! Milton Friends & Advocates for Music Education is meeting Wednesday, March 2nd at 7pm in the MHS Auditorium. ANYONE interested in supporting music education in the Milton Public Schools, including advocating for our music programs and volunteering for events and fundraisers, is welcome to attend! Please enter through the field house doors at the back of the high school and check in with the security desk as the main front doors will be locked.


On Wednesday, March 16, I invite all parents and guardians to a coffee hour in the MHS auditorium from 8:45-9:30 am. We’ll use the auditorium space as it’s available for that time, but this is not a presentation. I hope to use the time to connect with MPS parents and guardians on a variety of topics and look forward to seeing you there. Please enter through the main entrance at the front of the building. 

Please refer to the District-Wide Calendar of Events for times and details. The 21-22 School Year Calendar can be found here. (Updated February 4 to reflect the February 4 snow day)


Covid Vaccine Information: Vaccine clinics will be held on Saturday, March 5 at Milton High School and Saturday, March 26 at Pierce Middle School. All details and registration information can be found at this link. Other options for vaccine locations can be found here and here.

Covid Testing: Any student can enroll in weekly at home testing. To opt-into or out of this program please email Director of Nursing, Kim Coughlin at kacoughlin@miltonps.org. Read about the testing program here. We will also make available test kits on Saturday, February 26th at Milton High School (main entrance) between 9-11am.

Covid Guidelines: February 16, 2022 FAQs are linked here. 

Covid Reporting: For the time period of Thursday, February 10 – Wednesday, February 16, 2022, MPS reported the following information Covid positive numbers to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education as requested. 

  • MHS – 1; PMS – 0; Collicot – 1; Cunningham – 3; Tucker – 0; Glover – 0
  • MPS – Staff – 1; Students – 5


In acknowledgment of Black History Month, MHS students are using advisory periods to make artwork to display throughout the school.  Students have also contributed to the “I have a dream” board outside the main office where students complete the statement “My dream is….”.  Our English students and staff have updated the “hallway bookshelf” with student recommendations to celebrate Black History Month. We encourage everyone to take a look and take a book!

While our teachers do have several lessons dedicated to Black History Month, as part of the Social Studies curriculum, we also spend time throughout the year studying the Haitian Revolution; Nelson Mandela and the abolishment of Apartheid in South Africa; methods of resistance and control during the era of American slavery; abolitionists and supporters of abolition such as Elizabeth Freeman, Solomon Northrup, Oney Judge, William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, supporters of the underground railroad, John Brown, etc; the Civil War, including the Emancipation Proclamation, the Massachusetts 54th regiment, John Smalls and Juneteenth; Reconstruction era movements and policies such as the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments, sharecropping contracts, the Freedmen’s Bureau, Black politicians and businessmen, the establishment of Jim Crow laws and the establishment of HBCUs; migration and change during the expansion of America, including Seneca Village, Oklahoma’s Black Wall Street, the Harlem Renaissance, migration to urban cities, and the heroic actions of Black soldiers in World War I as well as the conditions to which they returned and the leaders and actions of those who have brought about change in America, including Thurgood Marshall, Dr. King, Malcolm X, W.E.B. DuBois, Shirley Chisholm, Ida B. Wells, Barack Obama and countless others.


Milton High School’s chapter of the Tri-M Music Honor Society inducted fifteen new members at a formal induction ceremony led by student officers Tracy Le, Michael Howard, Roisin Queally, and Stella Yuan on the morning of Thursday, February 17th. Tri-M® is an international honor society for high school students sponsored by the National Association for Music Education (NAfME). This program recognizes students for their academic and musical achievements, rewards them for their accomplishments and service activities, and inspires other students to excel at music and leadership.

Congratulations to new members Carle Bleau, Emily Bohlin, Shanti Bosque-Hamilton, Ella Cantor, Alex Files, Bella Fiske, Nora Hegarty, Lucy Hollingsworth-Hays, Lily Lane, Angel Leggett, Julia Mangum, Sam McLaughlin, Ha-Yen Nguyen, Nina Truog, and Adriana Villar! These students were selected for membership based on their musical and academic achievements, music advocacy, and leadership with the MHS Music Department.


The MHS Debate Team would like to thank the following Milton residents  for their generous donations to the MHS Debate Team! Grand Crossfire Donation: Michael D. Rucciutti Atty.; Impact Donation: Highland Surgical Associates, LLC, Gregory Kechejian, MD; Traverse Insurance Agency, Inc, Michael Traverse; Keating Brokerage, LLC.


Mr. Jarrett’s 8th grade Orion students worked with partners to research an unsung Black American hero for Black History Month. The project will culminate with a discussion of why there are only a select few Black people routinely taught in school, and the implications of separating Black History (and Black historical figures) from the rest of American History.


Each month, Pierce recognizes students who demonstrate the values of safety, responsibility, respect, and kindness. Teachers nominate students and students from each grade are selected by Pierce’s culture and behavior committee. Please join us in congratulating Ava Brown, Talia Cecere, Charles Hellmuth and Emma Sutphin who were honored for the month of January as Positive Community Members!


Cunningham celebrated Black History Month this month and K-5 students discussed what it meant to “Be Like Ruby”.  Students read books, worked on collaborative projects and writing assignments and held discussions around their theme prior to an all school assembly where work was shared with everyone.

Cunningham 5th graders researched famous Black Americans and selected one to complete a mini research project about.  Students read books and watched videos, took notes and then created a Google Slide presentation by adding important facts and images. They present to their peers at the completion of the project.


Ms. McDermott’s Collicot 3rd graders recently read the book The Doctor With An Eye for Eyes: The Story Of Dr. Patricia Bath. Dr. Bath was the first African American to complete a residency in ophthalmology and the first female doctor to receive a medical patent. She invented the Laserphaco Probe for cataract treatment in 1986.

After reading the book and learning about Dr. Bath and her achievements, our students wrote a text to self connection to this prompt: Think of our world today. Is there anything that you want to change or a problem that you think needs solving? What is the problem? Why is it a problem? What do you think you can do to help solve the problem? They wrote about this problem and their ideas for a possible solution.


Glover has been celebrating Black History Month all month! Each day, morning announcements have featured Black individuals who have made valuable contributions to this world, to our country, and to our communities. This year, the goal was to learn about people that we didn’t know a lot about and students challenged ourselves to look beyond Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and learn more about important Black individuals they might not know. Each morning, the announcements introduced a new person and told his/her story. Among others, students learned about: 

  • Marcelite Harris: first African-American female general officer of the United States Air Force
  • Garrett Morgan: African-American inventor, businessman, and community leader. His most notable inventions were a three-position traffic signal and a smoke hood notably used in a 1916 tunnel construction disaster rescue
  • Madam CJ Walker: African American entrepreneur, philanthropist, and political and social activist. She is recorded as the first female self-made millionaire in America in the Guinness Book of World Records
  • Claudette Colvin: Before there was Rosa Parks, there was Claudette Colvin: On March 2, 1955, she was arrested at the age of 15 in Montgomery, Alabama, for refusing to give up her seat to a white woman on a crowded, segregated bus
  • Miles Davis: American trumpeter, bandleader, and composer. He is among the most influential and acclaimed figures in the history of jazz and 20th-century music

Students have also been enjoying Friday read alouds, we read aloud that highlight moments in Black history. Parker Looks Up by Parker Curry, read by the O’Connell brothers and The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Kadir Nelsonwere two recent selections.


On Tuesday, February 15, Glover celebrated International Angelman Day in honor of Kindergartner Teddy Robinson. Teddy has Angelman Syndrome which is a rare neurogenetic disorder that affects about 500,000 people worldwide. Teddy’s mom made a video to show his journey, all Glover Kids and staff wore blue, and each student created a special set of wings that will be combined to create one giant set of Angelman wings as a symbol of our unity and our commitment to ensuring that every child at Glover feels seen, valued, heard, and included. Students learned about how Teddy communicates through his augmentative communication device and his classmates all sported Team Teddy t-shirts. Families in Mrs. Brink’s classroom gathered together and made a donation to the Angelman Syndrome Foundation in Teddy’s name. It was a special day in honor of a very special student!

Congratulations, Nadia!


Congratulations to our Collicot Spelling Bee Champion, Nadia Serpa! Earlier today, grades 3,4, and 5 competitors came together to compete for the title of Collicot School Spelling Bee Champion. All of the Collicot spellers did an amazing job with the Bee lasting over 20 rounds and 90 minutes. All details on the Bee, including participants, can be found here. 


This month the Milton Public Schools held their second annual elementary school Digital Citizenship Day.  All Milton Public School elementary students took part in two engaging digital citizenship lessons. The lesson topics included digital footprints, internet privacy, copyright, cyberbullying, and creating passwords and lessons were facilitated by family volunteers and staff.  The engaging lessons were developed by Common Sense Media, modified by MPS Elementary Instructional Technology Specialists Jen Van Hill  and Sara Doherty, and are intended to help our students better understand how to interact with digital technology and their peers in a healthy, respectful way. Each lesson takes on real challenges and digital dilemmas that students face today, giving them the skills they need to succeed as learners, leaders, and citizens.  For more specific information about the lessons taught during Digital Citizenship Day please visit our Digital Citizenship Day Volunteer Site.

Each lesson included an at-home exercise to help families continue the conversation and reinforce the guidance provided during Digital Citizenship Day. Please visit your student’s Technology Google Class page or visit the Digital Citizenship Day Volunteer Site for access to the at-home activities.

Thank you to all of the family volunteers for supporting this important initiative. Without their support, this day would not have been possible. Volunteers shared that: “The kids loved it, the lessons were great!”; “I learned just as much as the kids, this was great!” and “The kids were so engaged, this was very well done.” 


This week, Collicot 5th graders assembled birthday boxes to donate to the Southwest Community Food Center in Quincy. Each box contained a combination of items such as cake mix, frosting, sprinkles, decorative plates/napkins, etc. The students decorated and assembled 47 boxes –  that’s 47 children in the area that will have a better birthday thanks to the kindness and generosity of the 5th graders and their families. A special thank you to the 5th graders, parent volunteers and the 5th grade staff who helped organize and encourage the students. And an extra special thank you to the members of the 5th Grade Service Committee: Audra Devine, Laura O’Melia, Heather McDonough and Anne Marie Griffin who made this service project possible!


Administrator for Pupil Personnel Services, Sue Maselli shares her  latest newsletter at this link. This newsletter has information about important school contacts, updates from the Restorative Justice Coach Adina Schecter, Early Learning Coach Lauren Vanacore, DESE Feedback on Special Education in Milton and more. 


PARTICIPATE: We currently have an opening for the role of secretary on our SEPAC board. The secretary’s role involves 5 hours a month max, including board meetings. This is a great opportunity to join and participate in a community of parents who share your special education concerns and experiences. If interested, please email miltonsepac@gmail.com

ADVOCATE: Please reach out to your school rep as a first step of advocacy, and consider attending our next ZOOM board meeting TONIGHT, Feb 17. We welcome new voices and ideas. 

EDUCATE: Fifty Best Books On Special Education



MPS Athletic Director Ryan Madden shares the updates below as the winter season winds down. 

Wrestling: Mason Pellegri won his weight class, finishing first in the 170lb group at the Division II Central Championships this past Saturday. He, along with Alex Paxhia, Jackson Matejka, Ethan Dobrindt, and Conor Walsh have qualified for the Division II State Championships. They start tomorrow in Fitchburg. Good luck ‘Cats!

The Boys Hockey Team has won 3 straight games, scoring 18 goals along the way. With a win over Weymouth tomorrow, they would punch their ticket to the State Tournament!

The Girls Hockey Team has bounced back in great fashion after a slow start. They are now 5-4-1 over their 10 games.

The following students qualified for the Division III Divisional Championships last night at the Reggie Lewis Center; Congratulations to Katie O’Toole, Christina Sullivan, Norah Affanato, and Mia Jiliani for qualifying for the All-State Championships on February 26. The two mile relay quartet placed second at the Divisional Championships on Wednesday night running a season’s best time of 9:57. Christina, Norah, and Katie also placed 5th, 6th, and 7th respectively in the girls mile. Sophomore Mia Jiliani also qualified in an open event by placing third in the 1000 meter run. The girls 4×400 meter relay team of Kai Quinoess, Marilyn Roche, Zoe Panucci, and Gretel Schewe placed 5th, Freshman Gretel Schewe also placed 5th in the 600 meter run. Congratulations to all of our runners and field event athletes who performed well at Wednesday’s championship meet. On to the All-States!

A very special thank you to long-time Baseball Coach, Mike Collins for his years of service to the Milton High School Baseball Program. Coach Collins has coached in the program for over 20 years and has spent countless hours working on and at Cunningham Park. We wish him the best of luck in his retirement.

Spring Registration is open! Make sure you register here. If you have already registered for a Fall or Winter Sport, please just add a Spring Sport to your existing registration. Payment must be made before tryouts start on Monday, March 21. Registration information can be found here.


Forbes House Museum presents John Halpern, M.D., author of Opium: How an Ancient Flower Shaped and Poisoned Our World on Thursday, March 3, at 7 pm at the Milton Art Center.

In conjunction with its exhibiton “Opium: The Business of Addiction,” the Forbes House Museum is hosting a series of programs beginning with John Halpern, M.D., speaking about his book Opium: How an Ancient Flower Shaped and Poisoned Our World. Dr. Halpern places opium in an historical context and provides an overview of the root causes of the current opioid epidemic. With opium inextricably linked to our modern trade networks, drug enforcement policies and medical treatments, he presents a need for a compassionate, multifaceted approach to battling the epidemic of opioid overdoses and substance use disorders. In Halpern’s view, there is hope.

Following the presentation, there will be time for Q&A and book signings. Advance ticket purchase encouraged. Tickets: $15/person, or $12/member. To learn more, please visit the Forbes House website. 

Thank you to our exhibition partners the Milton Coalition and the Milton Public Library. This program series was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).


The Milton Public Library’s calendar of February programs for kids can be found here. Plan ahead and take a look at the March calendar here.

Need help finding books to read over February Vacation? Try our BookMatch for Kids! This reader’s advisory service helps anyone in grades K-6 find their next favorite read. Fill out our form to tell us a little more about you, and we’ll email you a list of 8-10 books we think you’ll really like. Find the form here.

The Milton Public Library Teen Program meets each day after school in the Young Adult Room on the second floor of the library. Join us for weekly Dungeons & Dragons, biweekly Anime Club, drop-in Friday Afternoon Magic: the Gathering games, and more! Our programs are planned and coordinated by the Teen Advisory Board, which is always looking for enthusiastic new members. Check out our website for dates, email teen librarian Tyler Vachon at tvachon@ocln.org, or come by the library after school to jump in! Virtual participation options are available.    

Sign up today for these programs on the library website.  To learn more and to register for all programs for kids, teens, and adults, please visit the MPL website.

Thank you to my blog contributors this week: Marti O’Keefe McKenna, Kim Coughlin,  Holly Concannon, Bill Fish, Kirsten Driscoll, Karen Cahill, Shawna Stueterman, Laura McDermott, Sarah Slater, Nicole Grant-Heal and Ryan Madden. 

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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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