March 3, 2022

To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
From: James F. Jette
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: March 3, 2022

FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT

It is hard to ignore the attacks on Ukraine perpetrated by the Russian military regime. Although the war is taking place on Ukrainian soil, the impact is also felt here in the United States. Many of our students may be exposed to, and traumatized by, the devastating images that are being shared by media outlets and on social media as a result of this horrific attack. My heart goes out to all who may be directly or indirectly impacted by this war. MPS principals have access to resources from the National Child Trauma Stress Network and are sharing with their school communities as needed. 

On Monday, March 7, masks become optional in the Milton Public Schools. As we move to mask optional within MPS, please know that all students and staff will be supported in their decision of whether to mask or not. Our schools have held assemblies and discussions this week and we ask that you do the same at home to prepare your child for this change. Please reach out to your principal or school nurse with any questions. Masks will still be worn in our health offices but are optional in school buildings and on school buses. Masks will still be required for individuals testing COVID-positive and returning to school from isolation on day 6 or later through day 10. While masks will be available if needed in school, I suggest that students and staff bring a mask to school in case they feel more comfortable wearing one (or need to wear one) at times throughout the school day. More on the mask policy update can be found under the Health and Safety header below.

This policy change represents another positive step in a return to pre pandemic norms, and I look forward to seeing many smiling MPS faces on Monday morning. We continue to ask that everyone be respectful of other’s choices and treat each other with kindness as we move into this next phase of our management of COVID.

There are several important events over the next few weeks that I would like to call your attention to. Please take a moment to see if any pertain to you – I hope to see you at many of the events below! 

TONIGHT: The Milton School Building Committee Family and Community Forum will be held twice, on Thursday, March 3, 2022, at 7:30 pm or Thursday, March 10, 2022, at 4 pm. 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. 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.

Starts TONIGHT! 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 this weekend. 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! 

Saturday, March 5: 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.

Tuesday, March 8: MHS Program of Studies Q&A Night will be held virtually on Tuesday, March 8 from 6-7pm. All parents/guardians and students who will be in grades 9-12 next year are invited to join us this evening. We encourage you to watch the MHS Program of Studies Administration and Department Presentations linked here  prior to the evening and come with any questions you may have. There will be MHS Administration and Department Heads available in breakout rooms to answer any questions you have about MHS academic expectations. The Q&A is being held virtually at this link. The MHS Program of Studies website is linked here.

Wednesday, March 9: 1st Grade Information Night on March 9 at 6:30pm.  Parents and guardians of current MPS kindergarten students are invited to learn about our two first grade programs: The English Innovation Pathway (with STEM & Spanish) and French Immersion. We will present information on each program as well as the assignment plan, lottery (if needed), and timeline. This presentation is being held virtually and the link to attend can be found here.

March 10: Second School Building Committee Forum. All details and links to attend can be found here.

March 10, 15 and 23: March is Music in Our Schools Month and we are excited for our concerts this month. Please join us at Milton High School for our MIOSM Strings Concert Grades 6-12 on March 10, Band Concert 5-12 on March 15, and Chorus Concert 6-12 on March 23. All concerts start at 6:30pm. 

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. 

On March 17 we will have P/T Conferences after the regular school day and on March 18 there is no school for a teacher Professional Development Day. 

March 21, 22, 24, 25: Parent/Guardian Forums on Restorative Justice in the Milton Public Schools. Restorative Justice is an approach, mindset, and flexible set of practices that put relationships and connection at the heart of a community. All parents and guardians from our Pre-K to 12 schools are invited to meet MPS’s new district-wide Restorative Justice Coach, Adina Schecter, to learn more about how this approach can create transformational change in our school district. There will be both in-person and virtual options the week of March 21st. Please sign up for the session you will attend so we can plan accordingly. All details and the sign up can be found here.

SCHOOL COMMITTEE 

The next School Committee meeting is on Wednesday, March 16, 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.

IMPORTANT UPCOMING DATES 

  • 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 10 MIOSM Strings Concert Grades 6-12
  • Mar 15 MIOSM Band Concert 5-12
  • Mar 16 Coffee with Superintendent Jette 
  • Mar 17 After School Parent/Teacher Conferences
  • Mar 18 No School Teacher PD Day

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

Kindergarten registration will take place from March 2 through March 18, 2022. Instructions and the link to register can be found here. Kindergarten registration for the first round of school assignments must be completed by March 18, 2022. Please note that registration is ongoing, but school assignments are based on student enrollment and the date of registration. We look forward to welcoming the Class of 2035 to the Milton Public Schools!

HEALTH AND SAFETY 

On February 16, Milton’s School Committee voted to amend the policy on Masks and Face Coverings so that masks will no longer be universally required indoors in school settings based on DESE lifting the statewide mask mandate. Late Friday, the CDC announced that, effective February 25, 2022, it is no longer requiring that masks be worn on school buses or vans for students and children in childcare programs.

The following language will be in effect for indoor settings in Milton Public Schools and on school transportation starting Monday, March 7, 2022 as the current DESE mask mandate has not been extended and the CDC lifted its requirements on school transportation.

  • It is strongly recommended that unvaccinated or otherwise immunocompromised individuals wear masks in school buildings, and on school grounds, even when social distancing is observed.
  • Individuals who are fully vaccinated are not required to wear a mask, but may do so if desired.

We will continue to provide a weekly summary of COVID cases affecting our schools as reported to DESE in the Superintendent’s blog.  This week’s report was from 2/17-3/2 due to the vacation week and MPS reported 2 staff and 7 students as COVID positive.  For families or faculty/staff who wish to opt-in for rapid antigen testing kits, please submit this  Opt-In Form for each student to your school nurse. 

HIGH SCHOOL HAPPENINGS

The Grade 10 ELA & Mathematics MCAS Exams are quickly approaching.  Please take a few minutes with your student to review the Grade 10 MCAS Notification Letter prior to the exams.  We appreciate everyone’s attention to this important information. It’s important that students are well rested, and have a good breakfast prior to MCAS testing. Breakfast is available in the cafeteria starting at 7:15AM every morning. 

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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.

PIERCE PAGES 

On February 12, the Pierce Middle School Debate Team participated in the Lumos Invitational Debate Tournament. Students debated about the Republic of Turkey and the nation’s role in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and used the Public Forum Debate format to discuss the positive and negative consequences of Turkey’s membership in NATO.  

Tess Carroll, Saibh Chaplin, Sam Epstein, Dobie Illich, Sara Khan, Ben Neugebauer, Avery Squiciarino, and Sadie Wetzner-Crothers competed in this tournament and Sam Epstein and Ben Neugebauer received Speaker Awards after earning distinguished scores in debate rounds. Avery Squiciarino and Sara Khan were awarded 5th 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 March. Congratulations to the Pierce Debate Team on a successful tournament!

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Pierce MCAS Testing: MCAS testing will take place later in the spring. The dates are below. All students take the English language arts and math tests and grade 8 students also take the science, technology and engineering (STE) test.

  • English language arts (all students): April 11 & April 12
  • Math (all students): May 16 & May 17
  • Science, technology and engineering (grade 8 only): May 19 & May 20

Grade 8 Families: Barbara Meyer, grade 6-12 director of guidance, shares the information linked here with grade 8 families regarding the course selection process at Milton High School.

INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS 

Led by MHS student Rose Gillooly for her National Honor Society community project, the Tucker Mindfulness Club worked together to create a mindful art project. Students practiced mindful listening and tried to paint what they heard while listening to a variety of music. The club, run by Tucker teachers Marybeth Callahan and Jess Gillooly, focuses on a variety of mindful practices and strategies. You can see their mural in the Tucker hallway below.

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Tucker and Collicot students celebrated Read Across America Day earlier today with Literary Character Day. Students and staff were invited to come to school dressed as a favorite literary character and had the opportunity to show off their costumes to their classmates.

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Collicot also hosted the annual Grade 5 Wax Museum with 5th grade students working independently or in small groups to create presentations of their favorite books. Students dressed up as their favorite character and created a background to depict a scene from the book using a trifold poster and props. Families were invited to a VIP showing of the museum and later students in Kindergarten through grade 4 came to admire the work of our oldest Collicot Cardinals!

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Just before break, Cunningham students enjoyed an assembly and showcase of the work done school wide for “Be Like Ruby” Month (Ruby Bridges) at Cunningham. You can see some of their work and reflections on the month at this link.

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In recognition of National Angelman Syndrome Day and in honor of our Kindergarten friend, Teddy, each Glover Kid personalized and designed a set of wings. Together, we rise!

 

MPS SUMMER

Camp Cunningham is back again with a variety of fun activities that will keep campers engaged, happy and safe! Registration begins March 16 at noon. All details and links can be found here. 

Believe it or not, it is time to start thinking about Milton Summer Enrichment (MSE) 2022!  MSE will run from July 5-July 29, five mornings a week, M-F. More information will follow in the coming weeks with registration in April. We are looking forward to a fun-filled MSE summer! 

Welcome to Middle School is a must for your rising 6th grader! Welcome to Middle School will run in two sessions from June 27-29 and August 22-24 and students can attend either session. More information and registration details will be sent to 5th grade families this spring. 

FOOD SERVICE

Spring is coming and we are beginning to serve our school grown arugula and watermelon salad at the elementary schools.  This refreshing sweet and savory salad is sure to get students to eat their fruits and vegetables. 

Join us March 7-11 for National School Breakfast Week and enjoy a nutritious breakfast before starting the day! There are plenty of opportunities to win some fun prizes at all schools while satisfying your belly and preparing your brain for class. Check out all the benefits to eating school breakfast here

SEPAC

Please see below for an update from the Special Education Parent Advisory Committee. 

PARTICIPATE: We are very happy to say that we have a new SEPAC secretary.  Meredith McGrory is a teacher at Tucker Elementary and is an MPS parent, with her youngest in preschool.  Welcome Meredith!  

ADVOCATE: Please reach out to your school rep with concerns and questions, and consider attending our next ZOOM board meeting on March 23.

EDUCATE:  College Admissions for Complex Students: Monday, March 21, 7-8pm.  The college admissions process can seem like a black box. Especially for neurodiverse students, navigating key elements of this process – from academic performance, to testing, to identifying colleges that meet a student’s needs and preferences, to just how much to disclose and how – can be challenging. Join us to learn more about how applications are evaluated, changes in the admissions landscape due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and how an intentional approach to the college process can reduce stress and improve outcomes for the whole family.  Register Here  for this free webinar. 

 

ATHLETICS

Boys Hockey Tourney: After finishing their season 14-7, Boys Hockey drew BC High in the fifth round of the MIAA Division I State Tournament. They will travel to the Edward T. Barry Ice Rink at UMass Boston on Thursday at 6:30pm.

Girls Track Relay qualifies for New Englands! Congratulations to the girls 4x800meter relay team on their strong performance at the MIAA All-State Championship on Saturday. The relay quartet of Katie O’Toole, Christina Sullivan, Norah Affanato and Mia Jilani improved their overall time by over 16 seconds and can now call themselves the 5th fastest team in the state of Massachusetts. The girls earned a chance to compete at the New England Championships on Saturday, March 5 and are just one second away from qualifying for the national championship the following weekend.

Cheer qualify for Regionals at Bellingham High School on Saturday, March 5th!

Ben Catudal and Lillian Wong qualify for the MIAA Alpine Ski State Championship at Wachusett Mountain on Tuesday, March 1st!

Congratulations to wrestler Mason Pellegri on his accomplishments. Please read more about Mason under Superintendent Shoutout at the end of today’s blog post.  

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.

COMMUNITY NEWS

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).

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Registration is now open for our Grade 9-12 Milton Soccer Travel Spring 2022 season.  Games will be played on Sundays.  The season will begin on April 24th and will end on June 12th.  NO games on Memorial Day weekend (5/29).  Please go to www.miltonmasoccer.org for more information and to register.  Feel free to contact Heather Montgomery at hjmontgomery@me.com.

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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. Join MPL in two very special upcoming events below! 

On Saturday, March 5th at 2:30pm, join Signing Basics for the Signing Rocks! Ages 5-adult ASL event filled with games and activities that will get you giggling and excited to learn about American Sign Language. This program will be conducted via Zoom; registrants will receive a Zoom link on the day of the program.

Then, on Wednesday March 16th at 4:30pm graphic novel fans will unite for our brand-new Graphic Novel Book Club for grades 3-5! This month we are reading El Deafo by Cece Bell. Pick up a reserved copy in the MPL Children’s Room, and join us for our first meeting .

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.

SUPERINTENDENT SHOUTOUT

A huge congratulations to MHS sophomore Mason Pellegri who won the 170lbs weight class at the Division 2 State Wrestling championship tournament in Fitchburg on Saturday February 19. He defeated William Conniff from King Philip in the state finals, 4-2. With that victory, Mason became the first Milton High School State Wrestling Champion since the year 2000. Alex Paxhia placed 6th in the Division 2 tournament at 126 pounds.

Last week, Mason took third at the All-States Tournament, pinning Jake Adelmann from Natick in the third place match. With that win, he reached 40 wins on his season. A third place finish ties him for the highest in school history at the All-State Tournament. He has now qualified for the New England Championship tournament, which starts Friday, March 4. Good luck to Mason! 

Thank you to my blog contributors this week:  Kim Coughlin, Marti O’Keefe McKenna Ellen Lohan, Bill Fish, Elaine McNeil-Girmai, Kirsten Driscoll, Karen Cahill, Jess Gillooly 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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