December 20, 2018

From: Mary C. Gormley
To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: December 20,  2018


On Wednesday of this week the Milton Public Schools celebrated our retired educators with a holiday luncheon in the MHS library. I am always happy to see so many people who have helped to shape  generations of MPS students and to have a chance to honor them. Thank you to Jackie Morgan and our food service department for a wonderful meal and to those in our greater Milton community who help me with this event. Thank you to the Milton Boosters, Mackie’s Barber Shop and Dunkin’ Donuts for their donations and a special thank you to The Tsanotelis Family and Eagle Farms for their very thoughtful donation of forty holiday arrangements and to The Resnick Family and ProForma Printing for their generous donation of many gifts for the attendees.

As we all begin a well deserved winter break, I want to wish all who celebrate Christmas a very Merry Christmas and all of our Milton Public Schools students, families and staff a Happy and Healthy New Year. We look forward to seeing staff on Wednesday, January 2nd for a day of Professional Development and all students on Thursday, January 3rd for the 1st school day of 2019. 


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.


Students in Mr. Tart’s Senior Honors English class recently entered works into the Anglo-Saxon Art Contest which took place in conjunction with their study of Anglo Saxon literature. Class captain Julie Simeone shares the 4 winning entries here. Congratulations to these talented artists!  

L-R Sebastian Wright, Melissa LaBelle, Campbell Cathcart, and Nkechinyere Onyiriuka

Sebastian Wright, a student in Mrs. White’s Culinary Arts Class, treated his classmates to a look into  his non-profit business “Milton’s Billion Backyard Bee Project” this week. Sebastian’s mom, Michelle Urbano, had the class spellbound as she described the many businesses the bees tend, as well as the type of honey and the many products procured during honey making and harvesting season. You can read more about the project in South Shore Living’s Article “The Buzz: South Shore Beekeepers spread the word about honeybees”

Curious as to how honey is made? Bees use the very flowers in your backyard to produce their honey. Worker bees carry sweet nectar in their honey stomachs back to the hive to be put in the comb. During this time, enzymes in the bee’s stomach are transforming nectar into honey. Once in the hive, the honey is dehydrated to about 17% water and is then capped with pure beeswax to be later used as food.


There was fun at Pierce this week as  staff donned the most “interesting” sweater they could find  in a show of holiday spirit! 


Collicot 4th graders enjoyed a Museum of Science assembly on Electromagnetism this past week. Students were able to participate and had a very interactive session with the presenter. They learned about how electricity and magnetism as both forces and and forms of energy. Collicot 1st graders also had a visit from the MOS. Their interactive and interesting  presentation was about Magnets, Forces and Fields.


Cunningham 5th graders recently had the opportunity to video chat with scientist Heidi Dewar. Dr. Dewar is a marine biologist who works for NOAA (National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration) in San Diego, and she is featured in the fifth grade Reach for Reading text book. Cunningham 5th grade teacher Rina Chen has a personal connection with her. Mrs. Chen shares how surprised she was last year to open the textbook in Unit 3 and see Heidi’s photo! The Chens have known Dr. Dewar for many years and have long been fascinated by her research. Dr. Dewar enthusiastically agreed to answer questions students had about her research, the Reach for Reading article she was featured in, oceanography, and more.  Students learned about what it was really like to tag a mola (sunfish) and a whale shark, how technology has changed the way research is done today, what to do if you are interested in becoming a scientist, and heard many fun and fascinating stories about being an oceanographer.


Mrs. Spitz’ Collicot 4th graders were inspired by their recent Reach for Reading unit about Amazing Places. Students did research on an amazing place in the world and then presented to their classmates. Did you know the Taj Mahal is a building with a love story? Or that the Great Wall of China is one of the seven wonders of the world? How about the fact that the White House was once called the President’s palace? And who knew that the Sahara Desert was once a green oasis? Well these 4th graders know all of that and more after their research and presentations. The big question now? What amazing place would you want to visit?

Tucker was visited by storyteller Tony Toledo on Thursday, December 13th!  Mr. Toledo shared stories with students and families about his life and his adventure while traveling.  Tony used humor to help students imagine the things he has seen and involved students by having them join in with his stories! The Tucker PTO generously sponsored dinner for all in attendance.  Tony Toledo also visited Tucker during the school day hosting two assemblies, one for grades PreK-2 and one with grades 3-5. Anyone who had the opportunity to see Tony Toledo was entertained and inspired to tell their own stories!


Ms. Hammond’s Glover 3rd graders  just finished a Reach for Reading unit centered around identifying theme.  Students learned about traditional foods while identifying book themes including kindness, compassion and generosity.  One text in particular, The Runaway Rice Cake, highlighted these themes while introducing students to a traditional rice cake enjoyed during Chinese New Year.  With the help of reading specialist Ms. Cassler, the students baked and tried a traditional rice cake from the recipe found at the back of the text.  


Glover 5th graders shared their musical talents in Music Share during music with Ms. Martin this week. Students delight in sharing music with their classmates, using instruments or their own voices singing a favorite song. You can listen to their performances here! 


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, 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.


MPS SEL Facilitator Laurie Stillman shares that the The Grayken Center for Addiction at Boston Medical Center and the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids has launched a hotline specifically for the parents of youth and young adults in New England. This is not a referral service, but rather a resource for parents who would like support and guidance and have children struggling with drugs. They offer:

  • A dedicated phone and text Helpline for Massachusetts families (call 844-319-5999 or text HOPEMA to 55753), where parents can connect with master’s level specialists and be referred to parent coaches, who will listen to their challenges and help them develop an action plan toward their child’s recovery
  • A Partnership and Grayken Center website which highlights details on resources and tools Massachusetts families can access
  • Facebook messaging with parents who need it on the Partnership page


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 CDC/Surgeon General Tip Sheet for Parents as a resource for parents/guardians. 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. 


Beautiful music has greeted us each day at MHS this week. Thank you to our talented students. Wonderful way to end 2018!  Please enjoy the  Christmas Carolers, White Winter Hymnal, Absoflutely (Flute Choir), Up on the Housetop, and Jamie Merkel, Coleman Rose & Lemuel Marc, Christmas Time is Here.


Please join us at Milton High School on Monday, January 7th, 2019 – 6:30pm for a showing of Race to Nowhere.

Race to Nowhere is a call to action for families, educators, and policy makers to challenge current assumptions on how to best prepare the youth of America to become healthy, bright, contributing and leading citizens. Tickets are FREE and like every PARENT Speaker Series event, this event is open to the public.  


For over 20 years the Milton Foundation for Education (MFE) has been funding initiatives that have positively altered the educational landscape of our community. As we look ahead to the next 20 years, we ask ourselves: Where will it take the children of Milton? With your continued help, the possibilities are endless.

Ask Kindergarteners what they want to be when they grow up, and the responses are adorably familiar. Ask students on the cusp of graduation that same question, and the answers get more complex. The career opportunities of the future are changing rapidly. What the world will demand from our children, even faster. What exciting possibilities await!

We owe it to them to keep pace: to offer opportunities which inspire curiosities and engage minds; to help our children prepare for whatever tomorrow brings; to support Milton’s incredible teachers as they suggest meaningful, forward-thinking programs and initiatives. Please make a gift today.

Together we have distributed over 3 million dollars to the Milton Public Schools, impacting 3,400 students every year. Please consider a tax-deductible gift this year. Every dollar changes lives!


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 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.  


In addition to regular hours Thursday-Sunday, the Eustis Estate will be open for a special holiday Monday December 24, 10:00-4:00. As always, Milton residents are free.

Also happening  at the Eustis Estate is Holiday Crafts and Storytime on  Saturday, December 22, 10am-2pm. Enjoy extra holiday cheer with special child-friendly activities while your family tours the Eustis Estate, which is decorated for Victorian Christmas. Join Historic New England educators 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.


The Milton Historical Society is hosting its Fireside Chat program on Saturday, January 12th at 10am at the Suffolk Resolves House, 1370 Canton Ave., Milton, MA. Local historian Dennis “Mike” Doyle will discuss the importance of primary and secondary sources when researching history. To illustrate its importance, he will share interesting vignettes on Milton history and some of its past residents that demonstrate both the importance and problems faced when reviewing source materials. Coffee and light refreshments will be available. Reservations are limited to 20 people. Please email  or call  617-698-0870 to reserve.


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

Victorian Christmas at the Eustis Estate runs on Thursday – Sunday from November 29th through January 6th. Explore the 1878 mansion while it’s lavishly decorated for Victorian Christmas, thanks to the help of local garden clubs. Visit during regular hours, between 10am. and 4pm. Regular admission prices apply. Plan your visit or call 617-994-6600.

The Department of Public Works would like to remind residents that last 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.  


The Girls Cross Country Team  was recently honored at the State House  for their win at the Eastern Massachusetts Division 3 Cross Country Championships.

The team enjoyed a tour of the state house, had lunch in Senator Timilty’s office, and received citations from Senator Timilty.

Wrestling beat Catholic Memorial for Coach Carroll’s first win over the Knights last Saturday! Wins by Seniors Ramsey Julmice, Austin Wright, and Elias Deaibes help the Wildcats beat CM 42-31 to open up their season! They tied a very good Walpole team in their next match and will play Boston Latin tomorrow!

Indoor Track: The boys defeated Braintree in their first meet of the season, winning 8 out of 12 events. The full results can be found here! The boys and girls travel to the Reggie Lewis Center tonight to take on Needham.

Girls Hockey: It was a Saturday night for the Graces. Grace Long and DeBenedictis bag their first Varsity goals. Long adds two more for a hat trick as the Cats pick up their first win of the young season against Framingham.

Boys Basketball: The boys went down early in the first quarter against a good Framingham side on Friday, December 14th. After picking up their defense, Earl Tucker drained a 3-pointer with 6 seconds on the clock to give the ‘Cats a 1-point victory on the road. On Tuesday, the Milton boys’ varsity basketball team improved to 2-0 on the season with a 53-52 overtime victory against Bay State Conference rival Braintree in the Wildcats’ home opener at Copeland Field House on Tuesday Dec. 18.

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:

Volunteers:   At their December meeting, the Milton Foundation for Education voted in seven new trustees. Please join the MFE in welcoming Winston Daley, Kate Dobin, Scott Farrell, Thuy Le, Lanita McCormick, Valerie Neville, and Erin Wright to the Board. The MFE Board and the Milton Public Schools thank these seven Milton parents for their dedication and willingness to help enrich the experience of students in all six outstanding schools here in town.

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, Zeina Hamada, Noel Vigue, Ryan Madden, Dawn Sykes, Laurie Dunn, Marti O’Keefe McKenna, Will Korman, Laurie Stillman 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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