February 16,2023

To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
From: Interim Superintendent Garth McKinney
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: February 16, 2023


Thank you to all in the MPS community for your cooperation during yesterdays lock down at Milton High School. School lockdowns have become all too familiar to our children and we know these episodes cause real and lasting stress for our young people and all involved. While society as a whole grapples with the larger issues, at MPS we will continue on the path of social and emotional support for all of our students and staff, while working to keep them physically safe in our buildings at all times.

While we now know that yesterday’s lockdown was an instance of the “swatting” phenomenon that is happening both locally and nationally, per our protocol, we immediately implemented our emergency lockdown procedures until any threat was ruled out by the Milton Police Department. There are important lessons to be learned after any emergency incident. Please know that Milton Police, Milton Fire and MPS staff and administrators meet regularly to discuss, adjust and reinforce our safety protocols. 

Thank you to Milton Police for the swift and capable response to yesterday’s “swatting” incident.  We are grateful for the ongoing collaboration as we work as a community to ensure the safety and security of all students and staff.

Throughout February, we have observed Black History Month across the district. Schools have shared morning announcements, classes have worked on research projects, read books, watched videos, listened to read alouds, and more, as students have learned about the achievements and contributions of both famous and lesser known Black Americans through U.S. history. A few highlights are shared below.

Let’s get Mr. Lew into the Basketball Hall of Fame!

Mr. McElhinney’s 8th grade students started a letter writing campaign to get Harry Lew – a Massachusetts citizen – initiated into the Basketball Hall of Fame. Mr. Lew, a native of Lowell who played in the early 1900s1900s, is considered the first Black professional basketball player.  

8th grade students also researched lesser known Black Americans who have had an historical impact on the US or the world. They worked to create posters that feature their subject’s biographical information and explain their historical significance. An important component of the project is to discuss the impact of the person researched and why they may not be as well known. In addition to presenting these posters to their peers,  some students have shared their research with Tucker Principal Cat DesRoche. Ms. DesRoche has been sharing the biographies during her morning announcements at Tucker School, allowing her elementary students to learn from the work of our 8th graders.

As Black History Month is a celebration of all cultures that are influenced by the African diaspora, 6th and 7th graders have multi-week units that celebrate the culture of Africa. 6th graders have been studying artwork and important figures in Egyptian history. They are working on a bulletin board in the 6th grade hallway showing connections between Egyptian society and the Nile River.

7th grade students taught their classmates about important destinations throughout the continent of Africa. Students could choose from a wide variety of locations, including Mount Kilimanjaro, Marrakesh, Table Mountain, Cape Town, Lake Victoria, Nairobi and Timbuktu.

As part of their unit on State Government, 8th graders are taking time to learn about prominent Black leaders within Massachusetts. A variety of articles and videos are being used to share the contributions of these local leaders.  

In the Cunningham and Collicot Art room, 3rd grade students learned about jazz musician Edward “Duke” Ellington and his impact on jazz and the sounds of the Harlem Renaissance. Duke is considered one of the greatest composers in the United States and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In this project, students listened to Ellington’s “Take the A Train” and watched a video clip of him playing with his orchestra. Students created a colorful tissue paper background with musical notes around the border and worked on making overlapping pianos, taking care that they had the right key placement on their keyboards. Finally, students traced their hands to create a musician tickling the ivories. 


Next week is February break, and there is no school in Milton from February 20-24. I wish all MPS staff and families a happy and healthy break and we’ll see all students and staff on Monday, February 27, 2023.  



  • Feb 20-24 February Recess
  • Feb 28 SEPAC Meeting 
  • Feb 28 Pierce DEI Community Event 
  • Mar 1 School Committee Meeting 
  • Mar 2 Early Release Day – PD for Staff
  • Mar 8 Harlem Wizards at MHS 
  • Mar 15 1st Grade Info Night 

The School Committee has approved a draft of the 23-24 SY calendar. This calendar is intended as a guide ONLY. It may be necessary to change this schedule to better serve instructional purposes. 


The Pierce Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee will host a community event open to all parents and caregivers on February 28th at 6:30 p.m. in the Pierce auditorium. The event will offer a series of short educational and skill building workshops for parents and caregivers that will focus on promoting and supporting the academic, social and emotional wellbeing of children and teens through the lens of diversity, equity and inclusion. The workshop sessions are as below:

  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion at Pierce & MPS facilitated by Claire Galloway-Jones, MPS Director of DEIB
  • Restorative practices at Pierce Middle School facilitated by Adina Schecter, MPS Restorative Justice Coach
  • LGBTQ+ hate speech lesson facilitated by Oliver Jones, MPS student

More details about the event can be found here. Parents and caregivers are asked to complete the pre-registration link in advance of the event on February 28th.


The MHS Program of Studies Night will be held on Thursday, March 2, at 6:30 pm in the MHS auditorium. All parents/guardians and students who will be in grades 9-12 next year are invited to join us this evening to learn about the MHS Program of Studies for the 23-24 school year. 


On Wednesday, March 15 at 6:30pm, we will be hosting First Grade Information Night in person in the Milton High School Auditorium. 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 year’s Celebration for Education at The Beat on Saturday, May 6, 2023. The Beat is a fun, new event space located just 5 miles from Milton on Morrissey Boulevard, in Boston’s historic former headquarters of the Boston Globe. Save the date to join the fun!


With the winter break around the corner, our school nurses want to remind you that MPS continues to follow several health and wellness policies to ensure a safe and healthy return for our community.

  • The MPS handbook states that students should be fever free without medication for 24 hours and 24 hours from their last episode of nausea/vomiting prior to returning.
  • Students who have tested positive for COVID should isolate for 5 days and may return to school on day 6. (See the full COVID policy here). If you are unsure if your student should return to school after break, please keep them home until you speak to your school nurse on Monday, February 27.

Over the February break our health rooms will be closed from Friday, February 17 at 3pm until Monday, February 27 at 8am. If you have health questions during this time, please contact your pediatrician. Our MPS Nursing Department wishes you a safe, healthy February break.

Boston Children’s Hospital has reached out to MPS with a special opportunity for students to participate in a unique nutrition study on milk consumption and childhood health.

The study is being run by the Children’s Hospital team at the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center. They’re looking for 9 to 12-year-old boys and girls to participate in the trial.  The study will compare the effects of whole milk and nonfat milk on nutrition and health-related outcomes. 

Eligible children whose parents decide to enroll will receive free milk deliveries from Crescent Ridge Dairy in Sharon, MA, for a full year, with the possibility of financial compensation as well. All details and a link to sign up can be found here. 


During the week of February 27, 2023, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s (DESE’s) Office of Language Acquisition (OLA) will review our English Learner Education (ELE) program at Milton Public Schools in a process called a Tiered Focused Monitoring Review. 

The Office of Language Acquisition reviews each school district’s English Language Education program every six years to monitor compliance with federal and state English learner education laws and regulations. Areas of review will include English Learners’ assessments; identification of English learners; what programs English Learners are placed in; parent and community involvement; curriculum and instruction; student support services; licensure requirements for faculty, staff, and administration; and program plans, evaluation and record keeping. Please see this link for information about parent outreach, how to contact DESE for a telephone interview and how to view the report after the Onsite Review. Details can be found here in English, Arabic, Chinese Traditional, Chinese Simplified, French, Haitian Creole, Spanish, Portuguese and Vietnamese. 


Please see below from the Milton SEPAC Board. 

Our February board meeting has been changed to Monday, February 27, 6:30-8:30. Join us on Google meet at this link.  We encourage folks to attend the February 28th DEI Event at Pierce on February 28th!


Sustainable Milton is partnering with the Town of Milton and Milton Public Schools to implement a Food Waste Diversion and Recycling program in the Tucker and Glover Cafeterias. By reducing food waste in the schools, the Town of Milton can help the environment and save money on waste disposal by sending less trash to the landfill.

Can you help us make this initiative a success and a positive learning experience for the students? We need your help to oversee the students as they learn how to sort their waste! Starting Monday, February 27, we will be separating food waste into compost bins, liquid into pour off buckets, recyclable materials into recycling bins, and the remaining waste (hopefully very little) into the trash! All Milton volunteers are welcome – please consider signing up for a volunteer shift here. 


School Meals for All ensures that all students have equal access to the nutrition they need to learn and thrive. Please consider asking your legislators to invest in the future of our children by supporting the Feed Kids MA bill. It’s easy to reach out to your legislators, all details are at this link.   



Congratulations to MPS teachers Deanna Magill, Sara Doherty, and Jen Van Hill for being awarded MassCUE Grants!

Pierce Technology teacher Deanna Magill will be purchasing fifteen Sphero Bolts with the funds from the MassCUE grant. With the addition of the Sphero Bolts in her classroom, Mrs. Magill will be able to increase access to real world skills and problems, provide an initial understanding of the varied world of cybersecurity, and give her students the opportunity to create programs that will mimic real world cybersecurity topics. Mrs. Magill’s students have only ever known a digital world and they do not have an appreciation for keeping their information safe. Learning about Cybersecurity with these engaging lessons will bring more awareness to students regarding this important topic so they don’t fall victim to a security breach.  The lessons Mrs. Magill will incorporate into her curriculum include Ethics of Computing, Intro to Cryptography, and Types of Hackers.  

MPS’s Elementary Instructional Technology Specialists Sara Doherty and Jen Van Hill have been awarded two grants, one through the Milton Foundation for Education and the other MassCUE!  With the funds from both grants, they will be purchasing eight Kibo Robots to work with in their Kindergarten and first grade classes.  The goal of their project is to bring STEAM into the classroom in a screen free way that engages students to think critically while coding, practicing sequencing, and promoting early development of working with algorithms.

KIBO is an easy and fun way to bring robotics and coding to your young learners and spark their interest in STEAM. This hands on, screen-free robot kit for kids let 4 to 7-year-olds create, design, decorate and bring their own robot to life!  When children code with KIBO they are learning invaluable skills that will lead them on the path for success in science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM) skills and future careers.

Congratulations Mrs. Magill, Mrs. Doherty, and Mrs. Van Hill! We look forward to hearing about the impact the robots will have on student learning and seeing the student-designed robots in action!


On Wednesday, Cunningham celebrated International Angelman Day in honor of Kindergarten student Teddy Robinson. Teddy has Angelman Syndrome, a rare neurogenetic disorder that affects about 500,000 people worldwide. Cunningham staff and students wore blue and Teddy’s Kindergarten classmates and teachers sported ‘Team Teddy’ t-shirts. Students and staff learned about how Teddy communicates using his body and his augmentative device and the whole school came together to make a donation in Teddy’s name. It was a very special day in honor of a special student. Teddy is a superhero!


The Harlem Wizards are coming back to MPS! Join the fun on Wednesday, March 8 at 7pm at Copeland Field house at Milton High School. This evening of family fun is an easy way to  support the MHS Senior Class activities while enjoying a local night out with your kids. Come see the MPS Staff ‘Cats take on the Wizards!  Tickets are available at this link and watch the MPS Wizards video here.  

The Wizards visited Pierce last week – this very short video shows the fun the kids of all ages will have on Wednesday, March 8 at MHS!


The recording of the webinar for students to learn about the possibility of attending a French University can be found here. A PDF of the presentation can be found here. Listen to hear about Sciences Po Paris, Sorbonne University, Université Paris Sciences et Lettres, and Université Paris Saclay and a discussion about possible paths to attendance. 



Pierce’s Mr. Manning shares these mid-year Art class updates. Our first semester 6th graders have now moved out of the art room but they left behind some amazing work,  including these animated characters. 6th grade artists learned about animation and how animators now use CGI to create characters.

8th graders finished Term 2 learning about “tagging” and graffiti. We looked at graffiti around the Quincy quarries and several other locations. Students used a 4 step process to create a full piece of graffiti and are now working on their final piece for the beginning of Term 3.

8th grade ACE classes took on the unique challenge of creating a model of a food truck. Students were hooked on this project after watching “ The Great Food Truck Race” across America. The challenge was open to more than just food themed truck and students ran with it,  creating trucks that sell music, beach supplies, clothing, and even flowers. These amazing truck designs took weeks to build from start to finish. 8th grade artists used cardboard, hot glue, razors, paint, and more to build their truck.


Last weekend, the Pierce Debate Team participated in the February Lumos Invitational Debate Tournament. Students debated the benefits and harms of Right to Work Laws in The United States, using the Public Forum Debate format to discuss the positive and negative consequences of labor unions. Alicia Chan, Natalie Gallagher, John Griffin, Jonathan Hsu, Teddy Hsu, Artemis Jain, Ellis Lim, Ben Neugebauer, Kendra Oppong, Michaela Oppong, Sofia Serpa, Zara Tahir, Alisa Villar, and Ace Wetzner-Crothers competed in this tournament.

Sofia Serpa and Ace Wetzner-Crothers received Speaker Awards for delivering speeches in a clear and eloquent manner and Ellis Lim, Jonathan Hsu, and Teddy Hsu all won team awards in the novice division of the tournament. John Griffin and Ben Neugebauer won a team award in the veteran division of the tournament. The Pierce Debate Team was thrilled to participate in our third tournament of the school year. We look forward to competing again in March!


On Monday, February 13, the Tri-M Music Honor Society hosted their first ever Coffeehouse at Cunningham Hall! The evening included performances from various MHS Music Ensembles including the R&B Ensemble, A Cappella, Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Choir, DoReMigoes and Pretty Sharp. Tri-M students helped throughout the evening serving audience members their choice of refreshments all to raise money for the organization to continue to provide musical opportunities for MPS students. We are looking forward to making this an annual event for the department!

On Wednesday, February 15, over 130 students from the MHS Music Department visited the Pierce Middle School and performed a concert for the eighth graders, showcasing all of the ensembles offered at MHS. The eighth graders were treated to performances by the Wildcat Marching Band, Mixed Chorus, Chamber Ensemble, A Cappella, String Orchestra, DoReMigoes, Concert Band, Pretty Sharp, R&B Ensemble, Jazz Choir, Jazz Ensemble and Treble Chorus. We look forward to welcoming the incoming 9th grade to the Music Department in the Fall!


Cunningham 5th grade Student Council invites you to “Read All About It” in this month’s edition of the Cougar Chronicle!  5th graders and Ms. Watrous brainstorm ideas, write content, edit, and design the layout of their monthly school newspaper. 


Tucker ASE students teamed up with Ms. Mary Beth to show their “hearts” to everyone. ASE students filled the walls with hearts and wrote inspiring messages to share with the Tucker Community.


A great time was had by all on this week’s Adaptive/Unified PE class trip to Cunningham Hall. Students had a great time bowling at the Cunningham lanes. Thank you to Cunningham Hall for hosting our students!


MPS Athletic Director Ryan Madden shares the following recent winter sports highlights. Read his full newsletter here, with schedules, coaching news, parent feed back forms and more. 

The Girls Hockey Team are Bay State Conference Champions! They beat Weymouth 3-0 last night to earn the program’s first league title in over 12 years! Their lone loss this season (1-0 to Braintree) seems a very long time ago. They have two games remaining over February Vacation before they enter the MIAA Tournament, currently sitting at 16-1-3.

Five Wrestlers qualified for States this weekend, which we are very lucky to host in the beautiful Copeland Field House! Mason Pellegri, Conor Walsh, Isaac Remy, Alex Alexis and Kenny Heraldo all qualified by finishing in the Top 5 at Sectionals last weekend. Mason Pellegri  took home the Division II Central Sectional Championship at the 182lb weight class for the second straight year! He will look to defend his State Title this weekend!

The Cheer Team qualified for Regionals with their performance in the Bay State Conference Competition last Thursday! Congratulations on a second place finish. 

The Dance Team had their first ever competition last week in Weymouth. They turn their focus to the State Competition in March.

The Track Team had some excellent performances at the Bay State Competition last Wednesday. Highlights include:  2nd place in the 4×400 meter relay (Katie O’Toole, Marilyn Roche, Gretel Schewe, Margaret Glenn); 4th place in the 4×400 meter relay (Shane Olsen, Aidan Crummey, Luka Juric, Luka and Fabrice Hippolyte-Midy); Haydn Pierre 4th place in the High Jump; Moses Mann 5th place in the 600 meter; Gretel Schewe 5th place in the 600 meter; Katie O’Toole 5th place in the 1000 meter.

The Ski Team only has one week left in the regular season. A big congratulations to ALL Milton Racers who successfully finished last Thursday’s Slalom race at Blue Hill. In addition, Bowie Garvin (27th & 32nd) and Ben Catudal (10th & 12th) earned high quality points in both races. Let’s all keep cheering for Ben as he continues to climb towards a top-10 seeding in this years State Alpine Championship Race on Feb. 28 at Berkshire East!

Spring Registration is OPEN! Be sure to register for sports this spring as we are just over one month from tryouts! If you have already registered for a sport this year, all you need to do is update your registration and add the spring sport. You do not need to register again. Please find instructions and links here.

MHS BOOSTERS NEWS It’s time for the Booster’s General Membership drive! Become a Boosters member to support our student athletes. Last year we committed $40k to our sports teams and we’re looking to do even more with your support! Memberships start at just $25. All details are here. 


Please use the links below or visit the MPS Community News & Events page for information on these terrific community events and opportunities! 

Neponset Rowing Club Spring 2023 Registration for the Competitive Juniors (HS) program is now open. Registration for the spring high school rowing season is open to MPS and all local high schools.  Please sign up here: 2023 Spring – Neponset Rowing Club: Competitive Juniors (HS) Registration.

Summer Art Camp at the Milton Art Center is open for registration. The camps will run for nine weeks from June 26-August 24. Each session has a different theme and children can sign up for half day or full day sessions. Visit the website to find out more and register.

Riverside Theatre Works is performing “Matilda” from March 3-19. Many of our MPS students are involved and there are nine show dates including matinees on Sundays. The show is appropriate for ages 6+. All details are here.

Milton Sports for All is expanding its popular candle-pin bowling program to offer a high school session. Bowling will take place at Cunningham Hall on Wednesdays from 4:30-5:30 starting on March 1 .and running through April 5th. This program is open to Milton residents in grades 9-12. No experience (or bowling shoes) necessary! The fee is $20 registration is open now at this link. 

There is a maximum of 24 spots available, should the program be oversubscribed, participants will be selected by lottery and refunds will be given if not selected.  If you are interested in joining, please contact miltonsportsforall@gmail.com.

Milton Sports for All is an inclusive recreational program that provides the opportunity for children of all abilities, experience, and backgrounds to participate in sporting activities in a fun, accessible way. 

Milton Field Hockey is open for registration for the Winter (K-8)  and Spring (K-8) 2023 season and summer camp (up to age 18)! All details can be found here. 

Milton American Baseball registration is now open for players ages 4-12. With T-ball through the Majors Division, there is an opportunity for everyone to play and develop with friends. Please visit miltonamericanbaseball.org for more information. 

Milton Girls Softball encourages children in Kindergarten through Grade 8 to register for the 2023 Spring Season. All details can be found at www.miltonsoftball.com.

Milton Youth Lacrosse registration is open! All details at www.miltonlacrosse.org.

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

Check out the events you can enjoy during your February Vacation! Learn more and register for these programs through the MPL Events Calendar

  • Tuesday, February 21 at 2:30PM: African and African-American Folktales with Eshu Bumpus, All Ages – join Eshu Bumpus, an award-winning storyteller and accomplished jazz vocalist, as he welcomes families for an entertaining hour of storytelling. Take a journey across Africa through a variety of  African and African-American folktales full of humor, music, and mystery.
  • Wednesday, February 22 at 2:30PM: Dial-A-Story Recording Party, Ages 8-12 – We want to hear your voice on our Dial-A-Story for the month of March! Ms. Tory invites you to record a partial reading of a pre-selected children’s book alongside other Children’s Room Friends. When it uploads on March 1, call our Dial-A-Story at 617-915-1915 to hear your recording!
  • Saturday, February 25 at 2:30PM: Historic New England: All About Herbs, Ages 5-12 – Join Historic New England in the Story Hour Room to learn how the land has changed through the centuries. Explore the way herbs were used by colonial families to make their food taste better, for medicinal purposes and for household uses. Kids will have the opportunity to decorate a pot, plant an herb seed and make an herbal sachet to take home.

Brookwood Community Farm, located at the base of the Blue Hills on the Milton/Canton border, has CSA shares available for purchase online. Check out the wide variety of choices under Our CSA. For anyone that might need assistance affording a share or want to use EBT (SNAP/HIP) please email president@brookwoodcommunityfarm.org.

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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 Dr. Garth McKinney, (617) 696- 4808/4809.

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