December 13, 2018

From: Mary C. Gormley
To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: December 13,  2018


In this time of thanksgiving and reflection, each of our principals recently shared with me a volunteer in their community who has positively impacted both students and staff. Please join me in recognizing the following individuals, all of whom no longer have  (or never had) children in the Milton Public Schools but continue to volunteer their considerable talents. They are true volunteers sharing their passions, time, talents and skills to improve every aspect of the Milton Public Schools.

Pierce Middle School Principal Dr. Karen Spaulding recognizes Beth Neville for her years of work creating Pierce’s Outdoor Classroom and working with Pierce’s students and staff.

MHS Principal James Jette thanks Jeannie Graham for her years of service working in Milton High School’s Guidance Office.

Glover Principal Karen McDavitt acknowledges Peggy Rusnock for sharing her gardening skills and talents with the Glover Community over the years and taking responsibility for seasonally making the front of the Glover come alive.

Tucker Principal  Dr. Elaine McNeil-Girmai recognizes Senior Citizen volunteer, Olimbia (Bee) Filipski, for her unbelievable volunteer work in the Tucker Library.

Cunningham Principal Jonathan Redden thanks Marie Mignosa who takes responsibility for coordinating Cunningham Elementary School’s wonderful Annual Veteran Day Remembrance.

Collicot Principal Holly Concannon is grateful to Margo Tansey for serving for over five years on Collicot’s School Site Council and offering a unique perspective to the Collicot School Improvement Plan.

Milton’s  entire Leadership Team gives thanks to  former School Committee Member Leroy Walker and Milton Police Sergeant Jack Richman for sharing their expertise, time, dedication and commitment in leading the district’s Safety and Security Committee over the past six years.


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.


Six Milton High School students attended the Women in Science Competition last weekend at Bedford High School.  Thirty-eight teams competed across twenty-one districts. Juniors Catherine Le, Clarissa Waldmann, and Onn Ye Young  and seniors Sarah Hancock, Karisa Lasoff, and Claire Mandel made up the two teams representing Milton High School. The competition was made up of four rounds where students had to test their knowledge across various science disciplines, trivia regarding female scientists and their work in astronomy, and two building events.  Congratulations to our junior team who placed 4th and our senior team who placed 5th!


There is a place for every skill and talent set in the health and medical fields and Schools to Careers works to prove that to our high school students.  The health care and medical fields continue to grow, offering unlimited opportunity for every type of student.

Many of our students attended an in house field trip this week and met with a wide variety of health care professionals from area hospitals, including BID – Milton Hospital, South Shore Hospital, Steward Norwood Hospital, MCPHS (MASS College of Pharmacy & Health Services) and others. Presenters included nurses, pharmacy techs, laboratory techs, therapists (PT/OT/Respiratory), radiologists,  EMTs, CNAs, and PAs and our students experienced hands on demos and informative exhibits.

We are grateful to Schools to Careers and the professionals who attended and thank them for sharing their time and expertise with our students who are beginning to explore career paths.


On Saturday, PMS teachers Melissa Augustyn and Lauren Hoyt accompanied Pierce students to the December Invitational Model United Nations Conference.  They share highlights from the day here.

The December Invitational Model United Nations Conference is only open to award winners from November’s Middle School Model UN, plus an additional two delegates from each school. These elite delegates have the opportunity to work together once again in a crisis simulation. At DIMUN 2018, students represented members of the European Council navigating a dispute with Russia. Pierce  sent 6 delegates: Hoku Panerio-Langer (8th Grade) Kiera Glazer (8th Grade) Iris Trafton (8th Grade) Ava Regan (7th Grade) Sam Boucher (7th Grade) and Colin Glazer (6th Grade). Hoku Panerio-Langer, once again, received the highest honor / top prize of “Best Delegate.” Iris Trafton won “Best Public Speaker.” Overall it was a fun and wonderful day full of diplomacy, negotiation, and learning.


The Starlab (shown here in the Cunningham gym) is used in all of our schools.

The Starlab, an inflatable planetarium, returned to Pierce Middle School this week as 7th graders spent time viewing the night sky and learning more about the chemical makeup of stars. Thanks to our knowledgeable 7th grade science teachers , Ms. Meleedy, Ms. Clancy and Mr. O’Rourke, students learned more about some of the constellations that can be seen when we look up in the sky in Milton and some strategies to help find them in the night sky.  The 7th grade recently finished a unit on Planetary Science and they are just beginning their second unit of the year on Chemical Interactions. As we kick off the new unit, students begin by learning about elements. With this trip to the Starlab, students are learning about the elements that make up stars and the chemical reactions that are taking place as we look up in the night sky.  The Starlab was purchased for the district by the Milton Foundation for Education and is used across the grades to support a wide range of curriculum. 


Rescue, Jessica and Patrick.

All MPS K-5 classes were invited to watch a live national webcast this week featuring the authors of Rescue and Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship. This excellent new picture book about a girl with disabilities and her service animal is based on the experiences of one of the authors, a double amputee. The webcast  featured the authors, accompanied by their real-life service dog Rescue, and the illustrator discussing the book and answering questions at an elementary school in Westwood. They spoke about “the role of service dogs, overcoming adversity, accepting differences, and demystifying life with a physical disability.”

As not all classes were able to watch the live webcast, we would like to share the link to watch with your children, either as a follow up or as a first watch.  


Science abounds in first grade! Mrs. Gale’s Collicot 1st graders measured with non-standard units in math, created diagrams about steps in a process in writing, explored during tech time and using syringes to study how air can be used to move something in science.  These budding scientists were bubbling with curiosity and excitement! 


The Glover staff was sporting their new Kindness t-shirts last week – In a world where you can be anything, BE KIND. What a great message to spread to our students and beyond!



As part of the ongoing effort to connect each child and family with athletics and activities, the Tucker Basketball League completed its second season on December 6th! 4th and 5th  grade girls and boys make up the four teams that play each other each Thursday evening at the Tucker School. Thirty two students play each week with instruction, guidance and encouragement from family and friends.  Tucker parent, Winston Daley takes the lead in this effort with assistant coach, Jason Greene, by offering his expertise in basketball and fostering a love and knowledge for the sport. Acting as the official for each game, Coach Daley’s leadership has inspired an energy that lasts long after each game has ended.   The Tucker Tigers demonstrated sportsmanship and commitment during their season this fall!


Mrs. Walsh’s Cunningham 2nd graders completed an Animal Research project in conjunction with the Reach for Reading animal unit. Students paraded through the school as their animal and shared an animal fact with peers in a short presentation. 


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! 


Director of Instructional Technology AJ Melanson shares 12 Screen-less Gift Ideas from Delaney Ruston, MD. With every passing year finding presents for your children that don’t involve some sort of attention-demanding tech becomes more and more difficult.

A new phone. A new video game. There’s always something else that, if you buy it, can ultimately create friction between you and your child when you are trying to support less screen time. Then, there’s the problem of making this screen – less gift, which can be seen as a compromise for some kids,  fun. After all, what good is a screenless present, if your child isn’t going to use it?

So to make this holiday a little easier on  parents, Dr. Ruston created a list of more than a dozen great gifts that can really help you make this holiday season a win for both you and your child! Click here to read about the 12 screen-less gifts.  


As we begin the winter season, we want to share links to two important documents that were sent last week. Please review our Winter Weather/Snow Day communication and Bus Text App for Major Delays. Inclement weather is a part of life in the northeast and the better we manage these challenges as partners, the more successful our winter will be.


Adults who report having or feeling a purpose in life tend to be happier and more fulfilled.  Purpose also helps to foster self-confidence, positivity, good relationships, and satisfaction with life and work.  The same is true for children. When children find purpose, or a meaningful goal in life, they can better weather the tough times.  Yet a Stanford psychologist found that only 20% of youth have found something meaningful to dedicate themselves to.

There are ways that we, as parents, can help our kids find their purpose.  Modeling purposeful behavior is a place to start. They might not have the same interest, but kids will notice that their parents are motivated by something that has meaning to them. MPS SEL Facilitator Laurie Stillman shares advice for parents here. 


We will continue to share resources about vaping as this is an ongoing challenge among teens and schools in our community. Noel Vigue, MPS Director of Health and Physical Education shares Vaping: What You Need to Know and How to Talk to Your Kid as a resource for parents/guardians who want to talk to their children about vaping. 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. 


Last week our PTOs, Pierce Student Council and MHS Key Club wrapped up the MPS Giving drive with an impressive collection of  books, toys and gift cards. Thank you for your generosity in helping Milton families in need! We have heard from some families who would still like to participate so with that in mind, we wanted to share that you can drop off Target gift cards, up to $25 in value, at any elementary school until Friday, December 14th. These cards will be given to MHS teens in need this holiday season.


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.


Audition results are in!  Congratulations to these six Pierce singers selected for the 2019 All-State Treble Chorus: Lillian Heaton; Christopher Mancini; Madison Mercier; Mairead Brien; Ava Butler and Rebecca Raider.

Comprised of students from across Massachusetts, the Treble Chorus will rehearse and perform at the MMEA All-State Festival in March.  They will work under the direction of Marianna Parnas-Simpson, a prestigious music educator known for her expertise working with children’s choirs.  Click this link to learn more about the festival and mission of the organization: MMEA All-State Treble Chorus 2019. Again, congratulations to these Pierce singers, and to their Director, Ms. Julia Hanna!


Our final concert of 2018 is tonight at 7 pm at MHS. Come relax and enjoy the  MHS Small Ensemble Concert. You will enjoy this respite from the holiday hustle and bustle!

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.


Thank you to all who voted for the new Inclusion Task Force logo. With 126 votes, option 1 (at left) was the clear winner with 43.7% of the votes! Thanks to Cunningham teacher Lindsay Shanahan for drawing all of our logo options and to everyone who voted. 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 Elementary Inclusion Specialist Maureen Butler with any questions. 


The Forbes House Museum would like to recognize the Milton High School music department for helping us fill the house with festive holiday music this past weekend! Specifically, thank you to string ensemble members Sam Higgins, Barron Clancy , Grace Dwyer and Milan Smith, pictured at right, for the elegant chamber music they played as a backdrop to Merry Historic Milton. Thank you also to Emma Bears, Penelope Holland, Owen Murphy, Mary Kate Mylod, Jianna O’Brien and Roisin Queally who sang Christmas carols during our Open House, even singing a couple tunes accompanied by our 19th-century melodeon. What a treat!


Thank you to Milton resident and friend of the Milton Public Schools Beth Neville who recently donated two important pieces of equipment to our fine arts department. Ms. Neville donated a custom made light box that was custom designed to do stained glass, and can be used for designing mosaic glass pressed into cement or clay.  It has many other uses as it is great for tracing designs, or any time you need a transparency drawing. The department also received a book press, a heavy but small item, which will assist students with book binding projects. 


Despite gloomy skies and the constant threat of rain, well over 700 runners took part in this year’s Monster Dash. This year the race celebrated its 20th anniversary in style with special guests from the Trailside Museum, bouncy houses, and science activities galore! Most importantly, the event raised over $20,000 that went directly to fund science activities and materials in all six Milton public schools. The Milton Foundation for Education thanks everyone for participating and an extra thank you to the student and staff volunteers who helped make this year’s race one to remember! Please keep an eye out for our annual appeal letter that should be arriving in your mailbox soon. 


Please note that Wednesday, January 2nd is a Professional Development Day for staff and there is no school for students. School will resume on Thursday, January 3rd.

Dec 13  Milton High School Small Ensemble Concert
Dec 24 – Jan 2 Winter Break
Jan 9   Milton School Committee Meeting
Jan 10  Preschool Information Night
Jan 16   Milton High/Pierce Jazz Concert
Jan 17, 18,19  Pierce Players
Jan 21 MLK Jr. Holiday No School
Jan 23 Milton School Committee Meeting
Jan 24 Kindergarten Information Night

The full calendar can be found here.  


The Eustis Estate has holiday events all month long. Please visit their events page for all of the details on these terrific events!

The Department of Public Works would like to remind residents that this week, December 12-13, was the last pickup week for yard waste until the spring. Christmas tree and wreath pickup will be on January 9 and 10, on your trash day. Only trees and wreaths will be collected – no leaves or yard clippings. To view the full yard waste schedule through June 2019, click here.


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 would like to take this opportunity to thank Kim O’Leary and Dr. Maureen Butler for covering the Assistant Principal/Curriculum Coordinator positions this fall at Tucker and Cunningham, respectively. Ms. O’Leary and Dr. Butler  stepped in to fill these important roles and contributed their energy, creativity and knowledge to our schools, while also continuing their important work in the district as Tucker’s Reading Specialist and MPS’s Elementary Inclusion Specialist. It is great to have committed, dedicated educators who are ready and willing to step in when needed.  Their familiarity with the school and community helped make it a seamless transition. As we welcome Cat DesRoche back to Tucker and Bernadette Butler back to Cunningham, we owe Ms. O’Leary and Dr. Butler our heartfelt appreciation.

Thank you to my blog contributors this week:  Jon Redden, Holly Concannon, Karen Spaulding, Elaine McNeil- Girmai, Cat DesRoche, Bernadette Butler, Karen McDavitt, Sara MacNeil, Maureen Butler, James Jette, AJ Melanson, Zeina Hamada, Noel Vigue, Ryan Madden, Dawn Sykes, Laurie Dunn, Marti O’Keefe McKenna, Laurie Stillman, Marie Brown, Christie Chiappetta and Jen Meunier.

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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