December 6, 2018

From: Mary C. Gormley
To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: December 6,  2018


This week we celebrated Inclusive Schools Week in the Milton Public Schools. This year’s theme is Kaleidoscope of Friends because “education takes on a beautiful shape when all children belong and are valued as contributing members of the school community”. 

The students across the Milton Public Schools have celebrated this week with many fun activities and events. Thank you to MPS Inclusion Specialist Maureen Butler for sharing these district wide highlights. 

Jersey speaks to Tucker 4th graders.

In a wonderful example of school to school collaboration, Tucker is thrilled to be including the Celebrating our Differences program for 4th graders this year following the successful Cunningham COD model. Over 5 sessions throughout the year, students celebrate differences in our community. Students have multiple opportunities to walk in the shoes of individuals who experience different learning styles, physical limitations, visual impairment, and hearing loss. This year a new unit on autism will be introduced at both Tucker and Cunningham. Community volunteers work alongside parent coordinators, classroom and special education teachers to present hands on experiences for the 4th grade students. Tucker 4th graders recently had the opportunity to experience navigating obstacles and playing basketball in wheelchairs thanks to a visit from the amazing and generous group Paralyzed Veterans of America, New England Chapter. As part of the physical limitations session, Inclusion Specialist  Mrs. Maureen Butler spoke to students about cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries and limb differences. Students then had the opportunity to meet Cunningham 3rd grader Jersey Baxley, who spoke to the students about his experience living with cerebral palsy. It was a wonderful experience for everyone involved! 

The Milton Parks & Recreation Gym Buddies program enjoyed a trip to Plaster Fun Time this week. We’ve had a great fall with art nights, bowling, music classes, and more! Gym Buddies is an inclusive recreational program that pairs individuals with disabilities with typically developing high schoolers for for unique activities and events throughout the year. Our goal is to provide a safe space where individuals from Milton of all ages and abilities come to socialize and make new and lasting friendships.

Glover’s Compassion Promise

Cunningham will complete the week with an assembly on kindness and inclusion on Friday. Cunningham students share what inclusion means to them in this short video.  

Glover students read the Compassion Promise this week – watch them here – nice job! 

Collicot students participated in many different lessons around varied abilities.  Each day, Mrs.Hodgkins’ grade four students educated the school through morning announcements.  They presented five disabilities and highlighted the many wonderful accomplishments of people with disabilities, including Rick Hoyt, Frida Kahlo, Sudha Chandran and more.  Collicot students learned about communication disorders, autism, physical disabilities, as well as hearing and visual impairments. Mme Esra’s 1st graders enjoyed the Robert Munsch book below about how a girl in a wheelchair saved her brother by getting him to the emergency room on time on her wheelchair. The students related to the challenge the young girl faced in saving her brother.

We need your help choosing a new logo for the Inclusion Task Force. Please vote here for your favorite logo!  The Inclusion Task Force works to increase awareness of and opportunities for inclusion of students with disabilities in general education settings throughout the district and in community settings. We welcome parents, educators, and community members to join the task force. Please email Inclusion Specialist Maureen Butler with any questions. 

It is wonderful to see the Milton Public Schools celebrating an inclusive culture this week but more importantly embracing inclusion practices throughout the year!


The Milton School Committee Facilities Advisory Committee has created a document to share the current and future space and enrollment challenges we face as a district. We urge you to please take a moment and read through these two pages. Our space and enrollment issue is one that we must solve both as a district and as a town in order to continue to maintain the excellence of the Milton Public Schools. Please reach out to School Committee member Ada Rosmarin, Chair of the Facilities Advisory Committee with comments or questions. 


Join us TONIGHT for an MHS guidance event, College Information/Post Secondary Planning night at Milton High on Thursday, Dec 6th  at 6pm. The following topics will be presented in order to help you and your child successfully navigate the college application process: Financial Aid, Standardized Testing, Supporting your senior throughout the year, NCAA Requirements, Overview of the College Application Process, and Naviance. We look forward to seeing you Wednesday, Dec 6th at 6pm. This workshop is open to all parents/guardians & students in any grade level.    


I am very happy to share news that Pierce Math Investigations teacher Mr. Kevin Boguski has been chosen as a finalist for the Khan Academy LearnStorm Keep Going, Keep Growing program. Mr. Boguski’s students have learned so much, celebrated enthusiastically and reflected deeply through the growth mindset activities. This program is rooted in growth mindset- an important Social Emotional Learning competency.  Congratulations to Mr. Boguski and his talented and hard working students!


Glover students in grades K-2nd welcomed a visual artist and letter designer Jessica Hische, who wrote her first children’s book “Tomorrow I’ll Be Brave”, which is now a New York Times best seller.  During the presentation, Jessica shared her story and encouraged Glover students to promise that tomorrow, they will try new things, do their best, and be brave. 

Collicot 5th graders have multiple opportunities to participate in service projects in their own school throughout the year.  Students help during kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade recess and lunch, assist in the library, and work with classroom teachers organizing supplies and recycling. Students also organize our lost and found and work with students in the younger grades during reading groups. Our 5th graders lead by example in giving back to their community. Below are 5th graders who recently volunteered in Mrs Giffune’s kindergarten class.


Tucker and Collicot 3rd graders have been busy learning about owls in class as part of the FOSS Structures of Life unit. This week, two educators from the Trailside Museum in Milton visited Tucker and brought two live owls to the classrooms. Students explored the adaptations owls have that make them unique nocturnal birds of prey. Students handled touchable nature artifacts and met the two live owls which are native to the Commonwealth. Students were shocked to learn that the Owls brought to Tucker were each between 1 and 1 1/2 pounds as they have hollow bones! 

Above you can see 3rd graders dissecting owl pellets this week. By dissecting owl pellets students were able to identify bones and learn about the predator/prey relationship of owls and smaller animals.

The Trailside Museum will come to Collicot later in December and to Glover and Cunningham in the Spring. Visits were funded by the MFE’s Monster Dash-Sam’s Fund which supports science enrichment in all six public schools.


Mark your calendars and join us for a preschool information evening on January 10, 2019 at 6:30pm. This is guaranteed to be an informative evening as preschool staff and administrators outline the similarities and differences in the programs offered as well as answer any questions families may have. Milton Public Schools has a variety of programs for those children who will turn three or four on or before August 31, 2019.

Then on January 24th, 2019 at 6:30 pm, we hope to see many kindergarten parents and guardians at Kindergarten Information Night.  As we prepare to welcome our new kindergarteners next September, the first step for families is to pre-register your new student. Pre-registration is  live on our website. Please note that your child must be five years old on or before August 31, 2019 to start kindergarten in September 2019.

The information sessions will take place in the Charles Winchester Auditorium located at Milton High School, 25 Gile Rd. Please email Marti O’Keefe McKenna, Family Outreach Liaison, or call Ms. McKenna at 617- 980- 7343 if you have questions about preschool. Please email Laurie Dunn with questions about kindergarten. We look forward to seeing you in January! 


As we begin the winter season, below is a reminder about how we approach inclement weather at the Milton Public Schools. Snow days are a necessary part of life in the northeast and the better we manage them as partners, the more successful our winter will be.

The safety of students and staff is paramount and we do not want to have students, parents and staff on the roads when the conditions are unsafe. In addition, we need to be sure our sidewalks, crosswalks and buildings are ready for our students and staff to have a safe and successful school day.  Before and during inclement weather, I consult with the relevant town departments, MPS administration and superintendents from neighboring districts. I also monitor weather forecasts, including those provided by the Town of Milton. At times, the decision is clear and we are able to call a snow day the evening before school. Often, however, the forecast is difficult to predict with any certainty for Milton and those decisions are best made in the early morning (by 5:00am). When we experience inclement weather, there are three options that I consider: a full school day; a 2 hour delay; complete cancellation of school.

If we have a full school day, the day will proceed as a regular day with breakfast, Before School, after school activities, etc. all taking place. Please be aware that even with a full school day, there can be traffic delays due to weather.

If we have a 2 hour delay:

  • Your child’s school day will start 2 hours later than a regular day.
  • MHS – 9:50 start and dismissal at 2:19. MHS will be open for arrivals starting at 9:35.
  • Pierce – 9:57 start and dismissal at 2:26. Pierce will be open for arrivals at 9:40.
  • Cunningham/Collicot – school will start at 10:20 and end at 2:49. School will be open for arrivals at 10:05 am.
  • Glover/Tucker – school will start at 10:50 and end at 3:19. School will be open for arrivals at 10:35.
  • Busses will run on a 2 hour delay, please be aware that some busses could be running behind as they navigate the snow.
  • There will be no Before School program or before school activities at any school.
  • After School Enrichment, after school activities and evening school based activities will proceed as planned.
  • There will be no breakfast served at any school.
  • Lunch will be served at every school.

If school is cancelled due to inclement weather:

  • All afterschool and evening activities will also be cancelled.

When possible, we will communicate the decision to cancel or delay the evening before school. When the forecast dictates waiting until morning, we will communicate the decision to cancel or delay by 5:15 am.  Please refer to our website, as well as check your email and voicemail as we will communicate this news via email, phone and website.

Please have plans ready for your children in the event of either a delay or cancellation in the case of inclement weather. I appreciate your patience and understanding this winter as we work to make the most informed decisions on behalf of MPS students, families and staff.


The MPS Transportation Department is pleased to share that we will begin using Remind to utilize text messages to notify subscribed families and students to last minute significant delays or interruptions in bus service. This system will be used for major mechanical issues, weather related delays, road closures or other unavoidable last minute major interruptions, not minor delays.  You do NOT need to have a smartphone to receive the text messages.

Families will need to OPT IN and SUBSCRIBE to this service. You will NOT automatically begin receiving updates by having a bus pass.  We would encourage Pierce Middle School and Milton High School students to subscribe as well.

To subscribe to the MPS Transportation text update system please follow these steps:

  • In the phone number box of your text message app, type in the phone number 81010
  • In the message box, type the following code @mpsbusinfo and send
  • You will receive a text confirming that you have subscribed
  • You can stop receiving updates at any time by texting back @leave

Please note that the system cannot receive texts back nor are the emails monitored from the Remind App.  The best way to communicate with the transportation department is through email at


There are a lot of expectations that the holiday season is an occasion filled with joy and fun, as well as beloved family and friends.  However, for many, the season can also be filled with sadness and stress. Indeed, it may be a time spent grieving a loved one, being around people with whom you may have complicated relationships, struggling with financial concerns, or feeling lonely.  If you are feeling this way, you are not alone. The holiday blues are not so uncommon because life is not always easy, and these special times often force us to confront or reflect on these challenges in new or more intense ways.

Laurie Stillman, MPS Social Emotional Learning Facilitator, shares these tips offered by Ken Duckworth, MD who is the medical director of the National Alliance for Mental Health.


In our efforts to keep your children safe and to keep you informed, I want to bring to your attention the use of E-Cigarettes, Vape Pens or Juul Pods. As many of you may know already, the popularity of these devices are creating many challenges for schools throughout the country in addition to compromising the health and safety of our students. Principal Jette recently sent a letter to the MHS community and I share it with you here. 

In addition, Noel Vigue, MPS Director of Health and Physical Education shares Teen Vaping: What You Need to Know as a resource for parents/guardians to learn the facts and figures about vaping. As you speak with your child about vaping, the document at left and found in this link contains valuable information and talking points. Please reach out to your child’s principal, school nurse or Mr. Vigue with any questions as we navigate together this relatively new challenge our children face. 


Our district wide MPS Holiday Giving Drive ends this week and the deadline for dropping gifts and gift cards to any school is 9am on Friday.  This year, we are partnering with the Milton Residents Fund, My Brother’s Keeper and Pierce’s Families Helping Families in a district wide Holiday Giving Drive with the goal of supporting our Milton neighbors and friends who may need some assistance this holiday season. All details on what is being collected and where it can be dropped can be found on the Sign Up Genius.    Our PTOs and student organizations at the middle and high school level are supporting and coordinating this effort and we thank you for your generosity!


Pass us your soccer uniforms and we’ll pass them on to children all over the world! Drop off your used soccer uniforms (and equipment) in collection bins located in the lobbies of Collicot, Cunningham, Glover, Tucker and Pierce schools and at 34 Cliff road. Any donations of CLEAN T-Shirts, shorts, socks, shin guards, cleats, and deflated balls and pumps will be gratefully accepted. Note that uniforms from other sports will also be gratefully accepted. Collection dates are November 26- December 21  and we thank you for your support! For more information, please call Madame Brown at 617-696-8125. This project is supported by the Milton Public Schools and Milton Soccer.


In their Troop to Troop project, MHS students Katharine and Grace Baker are working to coordinate local Girl Scout troops in the annual collection and delivery of supplies requested by US military service men and women serving overseas.  Items such as hats, socks, blankets, insect repellent, sunblock and more are requested by our overseas troops. Grace and Katherine are currently working with a 22-year-old Navy gunner’s mate from Quincy named John Ross McEvilly who is currently deployed on the USS Rushmore, stationed in Bahrain.  The Girl Scout troops have donation boxes at Ulin Rink, Pierce Middle School, the Starbucks in East Milton Square, Milton Public Library and Ginger Betty’s and they welcome your support and donations through December 7th. You can read more details of their initiative here.

Sophia gets a big donation from the Fruit Center!

Cunningham 2nd grader Sophia started doing a sock drive for the homeless when she was just 4.  This is her 4th year and she hopes to be able to deliver over 1000 pairs of warm socks to Boston’s homeless men and women. It’s easy to donate – drop your socks into the donation bin in the lobby of Cunningham or the front porches of  3 Phyllis Lane or 178 Lyman Road by Wednesday, December 12th. Tune in to Fox25 tonight to see Sophia and her Sock Drive spotlighted. 


Our winter concert series is in full swing! Over the past few weeks we have enjoyed the MHS Cabaret, the MHS Winter Concert and two Pierce concerts. Still to come is the MHS Small Ensemble Concert on December 13th at Milton High School. Thanks to Wildcat News, you can watch and listen to the MHS concert in its entirety here.  We are also happy to be able to share these recordings of the two Pierce concerts.

Our student musicians are performing at many events around Milton during this holiday season. Be sure to see them at one of these holiday events


SEPAC will be holding its next board meeting on December 12th from 7 to 9 in the library at Tucker Elementary. The meeting will begin with a Parent Speak in which parents are welcome to provide feedback regarding their experience of special education services in Milton Public Schools.


Dec 6  College Information Night
Dec 12  Milton School Committee Meeting
Dec 13  Milton High School Small Ensemble Concert
Dec 24 – Jan 1  Holiday Break
Jan 9 2019  Milton School Committee Meeting
Jan 10 2019 Preschool Information Night
The full calendar can be found here.  


This weekend:

Enjoy extra holiday cheer on Saturdays (December 8 and 22) with special child-friendly activities while your family tours the Eustis Estate, which is decorated for Victorian Christmas. Join Historic New England educators from 10am-2pm  in the kitchen for drop-in craft workshops to make top hats and stockings in connection with the special exhibition Head to Toe. Head upstairs to the library for holiday storytime at 12:30 p.m. This is included with museum admission which is free to Milton residents

Enjoy some Christmas Cheers at the Eustis Estate on Sundays (December 9and 16) from  5:30 – 7:30pm. Enjoy a magical evening of music and holiday cheer at the Eustis Estate. Explore the 1878 mansion, which has been lavishly decorated for Christmas, while live holiday music fills the halls. Light refreshments, including wine and cider, will be served. All holiday events at the Eustis Estate can be found here.

Join us for this great family event.

Caroling on the Common, Sunday December 8th 4-6pm. There is something for everyone at the fun family event! 


On Friday, December 7th, Merry Historic Milton, co-sponsored with Fiduciary Trust, is an exclusive progressive tasting event through three historic mansions in town: the Forbes House, the Eustis Estate and the Wakefield Estate, with transportation provided between sites. Join your neighbors for a jolly evening of local sightseeing, live music, and festive food and drink. Last year, the event sold out! To learn more or to purchase tickets, visit our website. 

Sunday, December 9th is the “Home for the Holidays” Open House at the Forbes House from  1-4pm Take a break from shopping and enjoy some family time with carols led by Milton High School students and a short melodeon concert (a melodeon is a 19th-century reed organ), re-enactors sharing holiday traditions from the Civil War era, a working model train traveling through a Charles Dickens village, a make-your-own hot chocolate bar, a visit by a Victorian Santa and a scavenger hunt – a whole new way to explore the house.  Admission is $5/person, $20 max/family, and FREE for members.


The Milton Historical Society is hosting its annual holiday open house on Sunday, Dec 9th from 1-3 pm at the Suffolk Resolves House, 1370 Canton Ave., Milton, MA. Emma Green will provide entertainment with seasonal musical selections. Light refreshments available. For more information about the Milton Historical Society, or to become a corporate sponsor or a member, please visit our website.

Next Weekend:

Join us on Saturday December 15th from 5-7pm  for an enchanting family-friendly holiday lantern stroll and joyous Christmas carols at the Eustis Estate. Decorate a lantern with your own designs, then join a parade around the property. The Milton High School choir leads a sing-along of festive winter songs. Warm up with hot chocolate, coffee, and treats, and explore the decorated museum.  Admission is $5-$10 add link


The Milton Public Library has great programs for children all month long.  

Join the Teen Cook Book Club!


Congratulations to our November Athletes of the Month! 

Ava Duggan, Junior, Cross Country

This was Ava’s first season of cross country and she helped lead the team to many victories all season long. She started as the 2nd runner on the team in all dual and tri-meets. By the end of the season, Ava was the 1st runner at big meets like Eastern Mass, All-States, and Regional’s.

Season highlights include;

  • 2nd runner for the team at dual and tri-meets
  • 4th place at the Bay State Invitational
  • 7th place at the Bay State Conference Meet
  • 2nd place at the Eastern Mass D3 Championships – Personal best of 18:52 in the 5K
  • 23rd place at All-States Meet
  • 48th place at Regional’s

Emily Dobrindt, Junior, Swim

Emily was a member of the first team to go to States three years ago. Emily was a strong leader throughout this season (record of 6-3). This year at States, the swim team placed 4th out of 18 teams that participated.  

State Meet highlights include;

  • Member of the 7th placed 200 Medley Relay
  • Member of the 4th placed 400 Freestyle Relay
  • 5th on the 100 Butterfly with a lifetime best of a 59.61
  • 2nd on the 500 Freestyle with another lifetime best of 5:13.61

Please see the Milton Wildcats website for schedules, rosters, and updates!


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

Staff: I received a note last week acknowledging MHS teachers and SADD advisors Karen Hughes and Robin Lee and MHS Head of Guidance Karen Cahill who did an excellent job collaborating with the organizers of Mike’s 5K to Crush Substance Abuse to get so many Milton students involved. Approximately 12 students volunteered their time and many more students ran and walked. The organizers shared that our MHS staff  were a pleasure to work with and how impactful it is to get young people involved given the prevalence of the opioid crisis in Massachusetts.

They also sent a very special thank you to Cunningham/Collicot Senior Custodian John Muir,  who was an invaluable team member with his working knowledge of the Cunningham/Collicot grounds, was a pleasure to work with, and one of the reasons that everything went so smoothly on race day. 

I know how hardworking, enthusiastic, knowledgeable and creative our MPS staff is and I am always happy to share when it is recognized in the community. Thank you to Karen, Robin, Karen and John and thank you to John Mulcahy and Brenda McDonough for taking the time to acknowledge them.

Thank you to my blog contributors this week:  Jon Redden, Holly Concannon, Karen Spaulding, Elaine McNeil- Girmai, Karen McDavitt, Sara MacNeil, Maureen Butler, James Jette, AJ Melanson, Bridget Renehan, Zeina Hamada, Ada Rosmarin, Noel Vigue, Ryan Madden, Karen Cahill, Dawn Sykes, Laurie Dunn, Marti O’Keefe McKenna, Laurie Stillman, Marie Brown, Ellen Lohan and Rachel Schewe.

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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