April 12th, 2018

From: Mary C. Gormley
To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
Re: Weekly Update
Date: April 12, 2018


We are less than 3 weeks away from the Milton Foundation for Education Celebration 2018  on April 28th and I strongly encourage you to attend this event and show your support for the Milton Public Schools. With your generous support, the MFE has enhanced our student’s experiences in the Milton Public Schools for more than  two decades. Through hundreds of thousands of dollars donated, the MFE has supported large initiatives like the Wildcat Wellness Center, recently awarded a $20,000 grant to our school libraries, and helped to finance our connectivity infrastructure to move our schools forward with best practices around technology. The MFE has also given out hundreds of teacher grants, money that goes directly into your child’s classroom in the form of new books, technology, learning aides, tools to foster inclusivity, music and art enhancements and more.

This year’s Celebration will benefit our Fine Arts programs within all 6 Milton Public Schools. Think ukuleles, convection ovens, darkroom equipment, cellos, hi-tech sewing machines and so much more. Will you please join me on April 28th at 6:30pm at Granite Links as we come together as a town in support of our schools?  

As Holocaust Remembrance Day began at sunset yesterday, I would like to share this short video that I received from Rabbi Alfred H. Benjamin, a personal friend as well as a friend of the Milton Public Schools. Rabbi Benjamin shares that The Talmud teaches “anyone who destroys a life is considered by Scripture to have destroyed an entire world; and anyone who saves a life is as if he saved an entire world.”  In other words, when a person is killed, the possibility of an entire world – any future generations – is also destroyed. At the time of the Holocaust, 6 million represented 1/3 of all Jewish People.  1.5 million of the 6 million were children. In this 4 minute video, 600 Holocaust survivors, their children, grand children and great grandchildren sing together a Hebrew song, “I am Still Alive”. 


Dr. Michael Thompson, who spoke at MHS on April 4th, was very well received by attendees. I am happy to be able to share a link to his talk here and hope you’ll take the time to watch or listen.  I also want to thank the MHS students on the Wildcat tech team for videoing our speakers and preparing them for distribution.  

Our final speaker of the year is Katie Greer, a national expert in Internet/digital safety and technology, who will be speaking to parents/guardians on Wednesday  May 9th at 6:30pm at MHS. Ms Greer will be focusing on elementary and middle school children and their use of technology in our digital world with topics such as cell phones, apps, social media, group chats, interactive gaming, cyberbullying and sexting.  


As part of ongoing drug and alcohol education at MHS, Milton High SADD students collaborated with the Norfolk County  Sheriff’s Department to enable almost 800 of our students to participate in the Sheriff Office’s new initiative focused on dangers behind the wheel. The centerpiece of the program is the simulator “Drive Square,” which utilizes an actual automobile to show the effects of distracted driving such as texting while driving, as well as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  Using virtual reality goggles which simulated alcohol impairment varying in alcohol limits from .8% – .25% over the legal limit, students “drove” the simulator car and SADD students directed MHS students wearing goggles to walk through courses designed to test students ability to navigate “walking the line” and navigating real life obstacles – a pet, furniture, a curb – while impaired. The Sheriff’s program is a hands on approach to educating kids on the realities of driving while impaired. 


Sophie’s fish with green fluorescent protein being expressed in the developing spinal cords. Some of the fish are still in eggs and one has already hatched.

Sophie Chase is a MHS Alumni who graduated in 2014 and is now a senior at Smith College and has been working in the Department of Developmental Biology since her sophomore year in Dr. Michael Barresi’s Lab.  Sophie came to MHS this week to share her lab’s work and her experiences with this year’s Biotechnology students. Her research presentation, entitled “Just a “wnt” of division: The role of Wnt5b in radial glial proliferation and differentiation during zebrafish spinal cord development” captivated our students and showed them what research at the collegiate level looks like. Sophie even brought some of her zebrafish for our students to look at and discussed how helpful taking Biotechnology in high school was to her landing a research position at the next level. Sophie is in the process of applying to dental school after she graduates Smith College in May and we are grateful for her visit.  


Milton High School is implementing Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) for the 2018-19 academic school year!  The Technology Department has submitted a request to purchase three hundred Chromebooks through capital funds for next year.  We anticipate this request will be funded, so that the Chromebooks will be available to students who do not have a device (other than their phone), and to students who have computer issues with their own device during the school day.  Students in grades 9-12 will be asked to bring their fully-charged device from home to use throughout the school day, each and every day. Have questions? We have answers! Frequently Asked Questions


This past weekend 161 Pierce 8th graders enjoyed a whirlwind 3 days in our nation’s capital, Washington DC.  With a 4am bus departure (not easy with 161 teenagers!), they were off on their adventure. Students visited the Jefferson Memorial to spark conversation around limited government & Jeffersonian ideals, the FDR Memorial to explore The New Deal and expanded government responsibility and talked about what  actions are acceptable forms of protest after visiting the MLK Memorial. Early mornings allowed time for a workshop about the characteristics of a good law, a Capitol Hill visit for an inside look at how Congress works including a meeting with Senator Markey’s staff, lunch in the congressional cafeteria, and a visit to either the Library of Congress or Supreme Court.

Students also visited the Smithsonian Air & Space,  American History, or Natural History Museum, depending on which interested them most.  Another choice was the Holocaust Memorial Museum to examine issues of responsibility in the face of mass atrocities or the National Museum of African American History and Culture with the central question – how do we tell the American Story? So much to see, there were no easy choices for students. And of course, the group stopped for the requisite White House photo, enjoyed bunking up with classmates, using the hotel room phones (a novelty for our cell phone kids!) and sharing meals together all over DC. Before departure on Sunday, a visit to Arlington National Cemetery to witness the Changing of the Guard was a moving end to the trip.


  Well over 100 Pierce students attended Clean Energy Day this week at Pierce. These students are invested in learning about clean energy as this was a 4 hour after school session. The first speaker was Bill White, Mass CEC Senior Director of Offshore Wind who shared the focus for the day’s events, followed by Michael Murphy, Director of Water Innovation at MassCEC who explained what clean energy is and Katie MacDonald, Director of Strategic Partnerships at Greentown Labs in Somerville who talked about her role in the industry and her educational path to achieve her success in the clean energy field. Students then attended  hands on sessions run by Pierce science teachers and supported by volunteers from the MassCEC. Students worked in small groups and used Snap Circuits to model alternative energy while other groups built a waterwheel. All students who attended received a reusable gift bag with information on local STEM activities, a water bottle and Green Science STEM kit. After wrapping up Clean Energy Day, students were told that all attendees will be taking a field trip to tour Mass Maritime and see clean energy initiatives on campus on June 5th.


Thank you to the Milton Foundation for Education! Elementary Librarian Josh Coben shares that the 2016-17 $20,000 MFE library grant was transformative, providing an infusion of hundreds of English and French books that revitalized the collections of all four elementary schools. Many of our newest, brightest, most sought-after titles were purchased thanks to the grant. Day after day, as he checks out books to students or searches for the best materials for lessons, he finds an MFE grant bookplate on the inside front cover and is  grateful all over again for the generosity of the MFE.  At left are just a few of our fantastic new books.

TONIGHT! 5th grade parents/guardians – MPS is hosting the 5th grade Growth and Development program on Thursday, April 12th at 6:30pm at Glover. This program is for parents/guardians only and is in advance of the Growth and Development curriculum your children will have at school this spring. ​ You’ll have an opportunity to preview the video and ask questions to MPS staff. The video is different than what has been shown in the past.  Through extensive research, a review of best practices, consultation with site council parents/guardians, teachers, principals, Head Nurse Margaret Gibbons, school nurses and Dr. Guglietta, we’ve updated our curriculum to include a new video and a blended learning environment.
Contact Health and Wellness Director Noel Vigue with any questions. 


Please join us for our Parent Cafés – “Getting Ready for Kindergarten!” on Tuesday, May 1st and Wednesday, May 2nd. The Milton Public Schools, in partnership with the Milton Early Childhood Alliance (MECA) , will offer a free Parent Café to parents/guardians of children entering kindergarten in the fall 2018.  We are offering two sessions; Tuesday, May 1st, 9-10am at Cunningham Hall, 75 Edgehill Rd. or Wednesday, May 2nd from 5-6pm at Tucker Elementary School, 187 Blue Hills Parkway.

Kindergarten can be a big step for your child and we would like to share some tips to help you get them ready.  In addition to a roundtable discussion, participants will receive helpful hints, a list of children’s book titles about kindergarten, and activities to help with language, fine motor, gross motor, kindergarten readiness and self-help skills.  Panel members will include Beth Greenawalt, Parent Coach  Susan L. Dolan, Director of MECA  and Marti O’Keefe McKenna, Family Outreach Liaison for MPS.

These workshops are open to all Milton families; your child does not need to be attending MPS in the fall. Registration is recommended. To register,  please email MECA or call Susan Dolan at 617- 696- 2262 and leave your name, the session you plan to attend and a phone number.  We will confirm your registration with an email or phone call. The parent sessions are for parents/guardians and child care is not available for these sessions.   


Join Mr. Redden, Mrs. Butler and your Cunningham friends (all at MPS are welcome!)  on Saturday, April 21st at 6:30am (yes AM!) as they gather at Logan Airport (terminal A) to honor a group of older Veterans as they take an Honor Flight to Washington, DC.  More info on Honor Flights can be found here. Email Mr Redden if you would like to join the group. We hope to see you at Logan as we honor our country’s heroes.   


The Neponset River Watershed Association has a clean up day planned on Saturday, April 28th 9-12pm to clean up areas around Milton as well as the waters and banks of the Neponset River, one of Milton’s most precious natural resources. The Pierce Student Council and the Cunningham staff both have groups assembled to help with this important work around Milton and we are hoping you will join them in this effort.  Gloves, tools and necessary cleaning items will be supplied. All we need is you! Please email Joe Dolan to join the Pierce group and Bernadette Butler to join the Cunningham crew. 


Tonight – Don’t miss a free night of JAZZ courtesy of our incredibly talented Pierce and Milton High School students! All the cool cats will be at Milton High School at 7pm for the Jazz Concert.

Save the date for the first ever Faculty Student Cabaret on April 26th at 7pm at Milton High School. Tickets are just  $5 and you’ll see your favorite Pierce and MHS teachers perform alongside our talented students! Tickets will be available in advance at the Pierce and MHS offices beginning Monday, April 23rd, and at the door until sold out. All proceeds will go towards the MPS Music Department.


The MHS LifeSmarts team teaches a lesson to our elementary students

The  2018 Massachusetts State Champion MHS LifeSmarts Team, is raising money to travel to San Diego on April 20th  to compete for the LifeSmarts National Championship.  LifeSmarts is a rigorous consumer literacy program that is open to high-school students nationwide. Sponsored by the National Consumers League the focus of LifeSmarts is on real-world topics relevant to all teens: personal finance, consumer rights, health and safety, technology and the environment.  At the Nationals, the winning teams have the opportunity to meet other students from across the country, win individual and team awards and scholarships, and demonstrate leadership, teamwork, and their consumer smarts. Details on how to  support these talented students can be found here.  


Please consider registering for our upcoming golf tournament, in support of athletics at Pierce. Join us at Granite Links on April 30th and enjoy a great day with friends and family, while raising much needed funds to expand athletics at Pierce Middle School.  Register as an individual or with 3 of your friends or colleagues. We hope to see you there!   


Summer is coming! The MSE 2018 Brochure with At a Glance Course Offerings is available to view and it will automatically update with and edits or changes to the schedule. Pre-registration is April 13-24 and registration opens April 24th at noon.  


There is a terrific opportunity for part time jobs in our food services department. We are hiring immediately for substitute positions at all schools. You’ll be serving healthy food to kids and be home when your kids are home due to the school schedule –  what’s better than that?! This can be a great opportunity for parents and retirees and food service experience is a plus, but not required. The food service substitute position pays $12.95 per hour. Please email or call (617-696-5040 X 5514)  Jackie Morgan  for more information. ​  


Along with  purchasing your tickets to Celebration 2018, The Milton Foundation for Education invites you to nominate that special teacher for our Outstanding Teacher Award Program,  also known as Teacher of the Year. Our teachers are second to none, which is what makes this event so special to us. We are currently seeking nominations for teachers who promote achievement in our children and garner the respect of colleagues, students and parents alike.  We look forward to hearing from you, and learning more about the amazing teachers who inspire Milton students every day. Nominate that special teacher today. Check out the Nomination guidelines and past winners. We look forward to seeing you at the big TOY celebration on May 23. 


Looking for a fun and educational family activity during April break? Visit the Forbes House Museum on Friday, April 20th for a guided tour(available at 10am and 2pm) and craft activity specially suited for children in grades 2-6, but all ages are welcome. We’ll be focusing on animal imagery and symbolism in Asian and American art and artifacts. Bring a picnic blanket and lunch to enjoy the grounds before or after your tour at 10am or 2pm. Please call in advance to reserve your spot, 617-696-1815. Special pricing: $5 pp,  $15 family cap, and members are always free.

The Forbes House is also hosting an upcoming author talk on Wednesday, April 25th at 7pm at the Milton Public Library. Ellen Alden will be speaking about her book, “Yours Faithfully, Florence Burke.”  

The Eustis Estate has some fun upcoming programs. Join them for Future Retro Film Series: American Graffiti on Wednesday, April 18 at 7pm and Italian Job (1969) on Wednesday, May 2 at 7pm. They also have Future Retro Family Programs on April 20/21 and May 5 from 10am-2pm.

If it’s spring it’s time for Challenger Baseball. The Challenger Division of Little League is back for a sixth season and enables boys and girls with physical and mental challenges, ages 5-18, or up to age 22 (if still enrolled in high school) to enjoy the game of baseball along with the millions of other children who participate in this sport worldwide. Interested in signing up to play or help out? All the details are here. Play ball!  

The Milton Art Center has a new community art program for teens. Teen Clay Studio Night (on Friday April 20th and Friday May 11th) will offer a  safe, fun, supportive space and an opportunity to create a clay work of art. And – you get pizza! There is space for 20 teens, and thanks to these generous sponsors  costs only $10 – for BOTH sessions! Register now.     

The Milton Early Childhood Alliance has some wonderful programs for our youngest residents

The Milton Public library has many interesting and fun programs planned for kids.


Last weekend, students and faculty attended the annual Music Department Cultural Trip.  The itinerary took 78 Milton High School students to Philadelphia where they attended performances by the Philadelphia Orchestra and Philly Pops, as well toured Lancaster County aboard an authentic steam locomotive on the Strasburg Railroad.  Students also had an opportunity to see the workings of Riehl’s Dairy Farm, and stop at Eli’s Roadside Stand to browse handmade, Amish quilts, and sample homemade pretzels. Students concluded the trip with a performance of the musical, Show Boat, and a guided tour of the historic sites of Philadelphia. Student Paula Hogan put together a terrific video to share the fun of  the trip!   


On Friday, April 6th, Pierce Middle School hosted Grooversity, a high-energy drumming and dancing ensemble that surveys the Afro-Brazilian musical genre. Students in 7th and 8th grades participated in the engaging performance and joined in the fun with call-and-response chants and funky dance moves.  This program is provided through Young Audiences of Massachusetts and was made possible through MPACE funding and the generosity of Milton excise tax payers.  


Isabelle signs her letter with her parents and Mr. Jette looking on.

It’s an exciting time for Milton High School student-athlete Isabelle Neville who this week signed a letter of intent to enroll at Robert Morris University in Illinois. Isabelle has been a standout rower as well as an excellent student at MHS and we wish her well in her college career. Fewer than 1% of high school students continue to play athletics at the D1 level and we are thrilled that Isabelle, along with 5 additional students this year, is joining this elite group of students. Congratulations to her Isabelle and her family!  

Sports schedules and updates for all MHS teams

The MHS Baseball Team will be hosting a car wash in the Collicot/Cunningham driveway this Saturday , April 14
th  from 9-12pm. 


As part of our E-blast, we highlight students, teachers and members of the community whose hard work deserves recognition.  Please read about some of their outstanding accomplishments below:

Students: I am always happy to receive notice of the Student of the Quarter ceremony at Milton High School. These students are making a contribution to our community, and are nominated by their teachers. Students may have shown marked improvement, may have done a significant project or may have shown outstanding effort.Because of these individuals, Milton High School continues to be an outstanding school and it is a pleasure to recognize these students.  Our students are pictured at the top of this week’s blog. (Not pictured –  Meghan Farley, Dilruba Manavoglu, Nicole Dragon)

Staff: I am pleased to recognize the working group of Tucker staff (Principal Elaine McNeil-Girmai, Asst Principal Cat DesRoche, Tucker teachers Kelly Griffin, Robert Johnson and Harvard graduate student Laura Abernathy) . The group collaborated through the year in order to identify and implement additional activities to collaborate with non-English speaking and immigrant families as well as strengthen the participation and collaboration between parent/guardian groups (PTO, Site Council and Diversity Committee).  This group, accompanied by faculty members Nathania Onyeagoro and Jessica Donovan, attended a conference last weekend that brought together two year long graduate classes at Harvard under the umbrella of their RIDES program: Re-imagining Integration: Diverse and Equitable Schools. The Tucker team presented during the  two rounds of sessions from school teams which were followed by opportunities for great discussion by topic and affinity groupings. Dr. McNeil-Girmai shared that it was a energizing day and many connections were made with school partners for future collaborative site visits. Thank you to these innovative educators who continue to help move our district forward.

Volunteers: As we wrap up our science fair season, I would like to thank the volunteers who make such nights possible for our students. Thank you to Maggie and Mike Hale (Glover), Emily Lanza and Abigail Callahan (Cunningham), Sara Ahearn and MaryClaire Cantor (Collicot), and the team from  Tucker – Erin Hardy, Emily Speck, Chris Doyle, Libby Fundling & Joanna Weiss. These nights are special for our young scientists and their families and we appreciate the volunteers who make them possible.

Thank you to my blog contributors this week: James Jette, Ben Kelly, AJ Melanson,Bob Pattison, Elaine McNeil-Girmai, Bernadette Butler, Karen Spaulding, Karen McDavitt, Holly Concannon, Jon Redden, Marti O’Keefe McKenna, Dawn Sykes, Will Korman, Jackie Morgan, Christie Chiappetta, Karen Hughes, Robin Lee, Josh Coben, Noel Vigue, Amy Tom, Joe Dolan, Mike Goodless, Nora Vernazza and Ryan Madden.

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 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 & Human Resources, 617-696-4812.

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