March 7, 2019

From: Mary C. Gormley
To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: March 7, 2019


There are two Milton High School highlights that I would like to share with you below.

On Thursday, February 28th, the Milton High School Chorus performed at the Massachusetts State House. The Chorus was invited by State Senator Walter Timilty, for a tour and a meeting with Senator Timilty as well as  the opportunity to sing during a Senate Session. Chorus Director Johnny Nichols shares the information below.

Students from both the Mixed and Select Choruses presented a rare a cappella performance on the floor of the Senate during an informal session, impressing the Senators and legislative staff members with what sounded like a “professional ensemble”, according to Senator Timilty. Before the performance, the Senator’s office graciously gave students an hour long tour of the State House, providing the students a first-hand look at both the history of the State House as well as  the dignitaries who served in those same halls. After the performance, students received an additional treat of a Q&A with Senator Timilty. The students asked the Senator insightful questions about his responsibilities and duties as a public servant. Our students performed four pieces and two of them are captured on video below; “The Star-Spangled Banner”, “Hark, I Hear the Harps Eternal” (both Mixed and Select Choruses ), MHS Mixed Chorus: “Carnavalito”  and MHS Select Chorus: “Precious Lord”.

Thank you to Senator Walter Timilty for providing this extraordinary opportunity for our students and congratulations to Mr. Nichols and our talented students on a job well done!

As you may know, Milton High School  will become a Unified Champion School this spring. The Milton High School Athletic Program, governed by the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) in partnership with Special Olympics Massachusetts (SOMA), is focused on the inclusion of all students. This program is a comprehensive model of our Unified Schools’ strategy that combines Unified Sports, Inclusive Youth Leadership and Whole School Engagement to create the greatest impact. These activities aim to help reduce bullying and exclusion, promote healthy activity and interactions, combat stereotypes and stigma, eliminate hurtful language in our school and engage people in social activities that lead to personal growth.

Milton High School will offer  a Unified Track and Field Team starting March 25th. This Track and Field program is open to all students with and without intellectual disabilities to participate alongside one another. There are over 73 schools participating in the state of Massachusetts. Students are not paired, like in Best Buddies, but rather serve as teammates that mentor and coach each other as they train and compete together. If your child might be interested, we encourage getting a new physical as soon as possible.

For more information, please visit the Unified Sports page on the Athletics Website.  Please email Athletic Director, Ryan Madden at to be added to the email list. You can read the entire unified sports letter here and please take just 5 minutes to watch this video about Unified Sports. We are excited for a terrific inaugural Unified Track and Field season!


Over the last 6 weeks, the School Committee has held 5 Public Forums on Space with hundreds of Milton residents in attendance. Thank you to all who attended, asked questions and offered suggestions. There is another forum tonight, March 7th, at 7pm at MHS  and all are invited to attend.  If you were unable to attend a forum, you can stay informed with the help of the links below:

The School Committee submitted a warrant article to the Special Town Meeting on February 25th asking for the formation of a School Building Committee. The article was approved and the Town Moderator will begin to appoint members to the School Building Committee. Residents with technical expertise are invited to apply to serve on the committee by contacting Bob Hiss, the Town Moderator


Tickets are now available for the MFE Celebration “Beyond the Books” on April 6th at Lombardos!  The MFE has exciting plans for our libraries as we bring our libraries into the 21st century! Special early bird pricing ends on March 15th and as always, MPS teachers are offered a special price of $65. 

Celebration is the MFE’s major fundraiser and we need your support to raise funds to fulfill the MFE’s mission to enhance the quality of education and expand educational opportunities within the Milton Public Schools by generating and distributing financial and other resources. What does that look like in practice? The pictures below tell the story! 

Feeling lucky? Well then take a chance on a Jeep and help the MFE continue to support the students and staff of the Milton Public Schools! The MFE is selling raffle tickets (only 500 of them!) for a chance to win a Jeep (or $25,000). Contact Liddie Sutter via email, reach out to any MFE board member or stop into any of our 6 schools during the school day to purchase a raffle ticket.


On February 28th,  The Young Men’s Group got the opportunity to meet and speak with former Chancellor of UMass-Boston, Dr. J. Keith Motley. Dr. Motley was YMG’s first guest speaker back on April 14, 2011 and has met with the group, either on campus or at UMass, several times.  Dr. Motley always brings a strong message and great energy to the boys and he did not disappoint this time. Dr. Motley spoke about his experiences as a young man in Pittsburgh and how he was often ashamed to show his childhood friends his various talents and often hid his strong desire for the arts and academics from his peers.  He challenged YMG to master the world around them, to be themselves and not to be afraid to stand out for something positive. He challenged the boys to strive to be their best at whatever it is they was to do. 


Coleman and Esme at the Festival

MHS student Coleman Rose shares the following about his and fellow attendee Esme Link’s experience at the Massachusetts All-State Festival: This past weekend I had the privilege of attending the Massachusetts All-State Festival and was part of the concert band. This festival was one of the most fulfilling, exciting, and truly special musical experiences in my life. Playing alongside musicians from all over the state that perform at a very high level leads to the making of powerful, beautiful, and impactful music. As well, I made friends with people that I would have otherwise never met had we not been at the festival together. I am very thankful for the music department faculty and private lesson teachers at the high school for giving me the environment and support to earn my place in this ensemble. I am also grateful to the Milton FAME organization who sponsored my trip to the All-State Festival.  I believe every student deserves an experience like the one that I had this weekend. With the great teachers and program that we have here in the Milton Public Schools, I do think that many students to come will be making exceptional music and will hopefully be able to experience these great festivals.


MHS Students Leaders are hosting a Winter Wellness Week next week and have one event open to the public. Please join them for Zumba in the field house on Wednesday March 13th at 4:30. 


We are pleased to present the 2019-2020 Milton High School Program of Studies. Course selection for next year is an exciting time for students, parents and the MHS staff.  We hope all involved engage in thoughtful conversations about different offerings, possible career paths and post-secondary plans.  It is a time for students to think about topics or areas that inspire them and spark a passion for learning. Our goal is to develop lifelong learners and fully prepare our students for the many opportunities that exist beyond Milton High School. MHS parents and guardians can read the full course selection letter here. 


On Feb. 28th, a group of Pierce Drama students traveled to Boston to see a performance of Spamilton, a parody of the hit Broadway musical, Hamilton.  In the weeks prior to the show, participating students were visited by a teaching artist from the Huntington Theatre and guided through a series of theater exercises to prepare for the production.  After the performance, students were treated to a backstage tour and an enlightening Q & A session with the actors and crew of Spamilton. Our Pierce Drama students thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to see this terrific show.


Last week, Collicot participated in its 1st Annual Spelling Bee. During an exciting, emotional and at times tense morning, 32 students participated in the Spelling Bee, spelling more than 450 words over 2 and ½  hours. Students worked hard over the past few weeks studying and preparing for the Spelling Bee and their effort really showed as did their teamwork, comradery, and competitive spirit.

Congratulations to 4th grader, Rafael Corcoran who placed first and will continue the process to move on in the Scripps Spelling Bee! Congratulations as well to 4th grader Charlotte Hegarty (2nd place) and 4th grader Teddy Hsu (3rd place). Thank you to Mrs. Spitz for coordinating such an exciting event for Collicot and to Mr. Rosner and Ms. Metz for providing support and for treating the entire team to a well deserved extra recess.


Read Across America Day was adopted by the National Education Association in honor of beloved author Dr. Seuss.  Glover students in Mrs. Franklin and Mrs. Collins’ class celebrated this special day by sharing stories written by Dr. Seuss.  After reading, students wrote a book recommendation of their favorite title.


It was a terrific night at the Milton Activities Fair at Tucker last week with a great turnout and 16 organizations present to share their mission and  information with Milton families. Families were able to ask questions, register and even try out some of the equipment related to the activity or team! An exciting next step is an ongoing collaboration with the Milton Parks and Recreation Department.  

Groups in attendance included Milton Youth Wrestling, Wildcats Football, Milton Youth Cheer, Milton Youth Flag Football, Milton National League Baseball, Milton Youth Lacrosse, Milton Girls Softball, Milton Youth Hockey, Milton High School Crew, Applied Lessons Program, Milton Foundation for Education, Girl Power, Milton Youth Soccer, Brookwood Farm, Milton Parks and Recreation, Modern Taekwondo Center, STEAMology and the Milton Arts Center.  If you were unable to attend, you can find updated information on the Milton Public Schools website. This page will continue to be updated with information. Thank you to all who attended and thank you to Tucker Assistant Principal Cat DesRoche for organizing!


This year all 1st grade students participated in the program “The Day the Water Stopped” presented by Meg Tabacsko of the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority. The program sparked the curiosity and awareness of the importance of water in daily lives of our students. 1st graders imagined what life would be like if the water stopped  and developed an awareness of the importance of water in their daily lives. Tucker 3rd graders also learned about the water delivery system and made maps to create a map connecting pipes to buildings in the community. Thank you to the MWRA for presenting to our students.


Cunningham students in Mrs. Chen’s fifth grade class recently learned a new method for measuring the volume of objects called the displacement method.  After thinking about Mrs. Chen’s lunch contents of a banana and an apple, students discovered that not all objects easily lend themselves to the volume formulas that they had already learned.  After discussing ways to estimate the volume of irregular objects, several students remembered an assembly that the Cunningham PTO sponsored last year, where they learned that you could find the volume of any object by measuring the amount of water that the object displaced, or moved aside, when you submerged it.  Students then worked with a partner to find the volume of several irregularly shaped classroom objects by making sure they understood the units they were using (milliliters), measuring the initial water level by looking at the beaker at eye level and checking each other’s work, submerging the object, taking a new water level measurement, and finally finding the water displacement which gave them the volume of the object.  Students then were asked to make a connection between millimeter and cubic centimeter units for measuring volume. 


Join the fun at the Family Night Out!

Tucker is hosting a Laser Quest Family Fun Night  on Monday, March 11th and all are invited to attend.  Tickets are a great deal at $10 per person and include multiple games of Laser Tag and pizza. You can purchase tickets online here and you can email the Tucker PTO team to pay by check or with any questions. 


The snow outside may say otherwise but summer will be here soon! The Milton Public Schools and Community schools have options for your student throughout the summer. All Camp Cunningham information can be found here and you can read the opening letter from Milton Summer Enrichment here


There are two opportunities for parents and guardians of current kindergarteners to learn about 1st grade in the Milton Public Schools.  Due to the recent snow day please note the NEW DATES for both nights, as well as the new location of the Pierce Auditorium for 1st Grade Information Night.

On March 12th, in the Pierce  Auditorium at 6:30, please join us for  1st Grade Information Night. Parents of current kindergarten students will learn about our two first grade programs: the English Innovation Pathway (with STEM & Spanish) and French Immersion.  We will also explain the Assignment Plan, Lottery (if needed) and the Timeline. The night will end with a Q/A session.

Then on Monday, March 18th, the Milton Public Schools will hold a STEM Information Night. Kindergarten students and their parents are welcome to attend. During STEM Information Night, attendees will be given an overview of the STEM Program in the English Innovation Pathway and participate in a hands-on engineering activity. STEM Information Night will take place in the Cunningham/Collicot cafeteria and will run from 6:30-7:30 PM. You may enter through the back doors of the building beginning at 6:30 PM. Due to limited space during this event, we ask that you make efforts to leave siblings of current kindergarteners at home. We hope to see you there! Please contact Elementary Science Coordinator Ellen Lohan ( with any questions.

5th grade families

We would like to welcome both you and your child to the Pierce Middle School community. As your 5th grader prepares to transition to Pierce, we have two upcoming events to help smooth the way.

On Thursday March 28th, join Dr Spaulding for 5th Grade Information Night at Pierce Middle School. We would like to invite you (students are welcome too!) to come to the Pierce to learn all about the enriching learning opportunities your child will experience as a middle school student next year.  Please join us on Thursday, March 28th at 6:30 PM in the Pierce auditorium for 5th Grade Information Night so we can tell you all about the opportunities your student will have next year! Please email Pierce Principal Dr. Karen  Spaulding  if you have any questions.

Sign up soon for Welcome to Middle School, a 3 day program designed to help acclimate all students to Pierce. Middle school is quite different from the elementary setting, and the transition can sometimes be intimidating (but shouldn’t be)! Our program allows students to experience “a day in the life of a grade six student.” Students will familiarize themselves with the building, administrators, agenda books, lockers and Pierce faculty – as our teachers assume the role of Camp Counselors. Your child’s camp experience will be fun, enriching, and academically motivating! They will meet new friends, begin to build relationships with Pierce faculty, and find comfort as the “unknown” becomes “the known”. We encourage all families to enroll your current 5th grader in our camp. Details can be found here.


Milton Public Schools and The Milton Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition are  proud to welcome New York Times best selling author Jessica Lahey, J.D. to speak on “The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go so Their Children Can Succeed”.

Jessica offers practical advice for fostering deep, meaningful learning by offering kids more autonomy at home and in school, helping them feel more competent, and strengthening parent-child and teacher-student relationships. Over her 20 years as a middle and high school teacher, Lahey began to suspect that the way we parent children has a direct impact on their motivation, learning, resilience, and the development of obsessive perfectionism and performance anxiety. A deep dive into research bore this hypothesis out and resulted in the New York Times bestselling book, The Gift of Failure. Jessica Lahey is a teacher, writer, and mom. Join us on Tuesday March 26th at 6:30 in the MHS Auditorium for this informative evening. 


All week we have celebrated National School Breakfast Week in the Milton Public Schools to encourage students to eat a healthy breakfast. We know that when students start the day with a nutritious breakfast, they start the day ready to learn and when parents rely on the School Breakfast Program, they can be assured that their child will receive a healthy breakfast every day. We will have a full wrap up of the events next week but wanted to share a few pictures of the festivities so far! 


Lil Cronin, LICSW from the Milton Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition shares the following information about students and stress.

Children and young adults confront many of the usual stressors as they transition into adult life: Adjustment in school and work situations; interactions with peers as well as peer pressure; ever changing family dynamics; day to day life experiences, etc.  However, some youths encounter extreme adverse, or traumatic, life experiences that may impede their healthy functioning as adults.

Adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs, have been found to be a significant risk factor for substance abuse disorder. The federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration describes ACEs as traumatic events during childhood, which may include abuse and neglect or even a difficult family event such as divorce or illness. They may also include dysfunction within the household, such as witnessing domestic violence, or growing up with family members experiencing substance-abuse disorders. Trauma can be experienced both physically or emotionally, or both. Please continue reading for more information and resources.


Mar 7  School Committee Public Forum (Space/Enrollment) at MHS
Mar 9  Minority Recruitment Fair
Mar 12  1st Grade Information Night at Pierce
Mar 12  Grades 6-12 Concert
Mar 13  Glover Science Fair
Mar 13  Grades 7-12 Concert
Mar 14  Glover Science Fair
Mar 18  Stem Information Night
Mar 19  Grades 5-12 Strings Concert
Mar 20  After School/Evening PT Conferences
Mar 21 Grades 5-12 Band Concert at MHS
Mar 26 PARENT  Speaker Series, Jessica Lahey, “The Gift of Failure” at MHS
Mar 27 Milton School Committee Meeting
Apr 2 Organ Donation Presentation at PMS
Apr 3 MHS/PMS Jazz Concert at MHS
Apr 6 MFE Celebration for Education

The 2018-19 calendar has been adjusted due to the recent snow day and can be found here.   
The 2019-20 calendar has been amended and can be found here.


March is Music In Our Schools Month and among the events this month are concerts and festivals taking place in Milton schools and with affiliated organizations.  All are welcome to attend! Please look to the Milton Music Department Calendar for further details.

March 8: Cunningham K-2 General Music Showcase
March 8-9: Eastern District Junior Festival
March 12: MIOSM Chorus Concert, Grades 6 & 9-12
March 13: MIOSM Chorus Concert, Grades 7-12
March 19: MIOSM Strings Concert, Grades 5-12
March 21: MIOSM Band Concert, Grades 5-12
March 22: Glover K-2 General Music Showcase
March 22-23: SEMSBA Senior Festival
March 22: Eastern District General Music Chorus Festival
March 29: Boston Youth Symphony Field Trip for all Grade Four Students


Spring sports start on Monday, March 18th and the deadline to register is this Friday, March 8th. All of this information and more can be found on the Athletics Website

The MHS Girls and Boys Cross Country Teams will be hosting a “Cans for Cats” can/bottle drive on Saturday, March 16th from 9am – 12pm at Milton High School.  To arrange pick-up of a can/bottle donation at your home, please send the team an email.


Milton National Little League is open for registration. New this year is a 13 year old baseball division for children born between 9/1/2005 and 8/31/2006. All details on all divisions of MNLL, including the Challenger Division can be found here.

Come join Chef Jenny Devivo in THE KITCHEN at The Boston Public Market on Sunday March 31st at 10am for Teens Cook: A Hands on Seasonal Cooking Class. Teens & tweens ages 12-18 will learn about local food and the journey it makes from the farm to the table. In these hands-on classes, young adults will explore and taste the seasonal bounty of the region through the local vendors of the Boston Public Market. Each class will feature different cooking skills and two hands-on cooking experiences. Attendees will be able to eat what they’ve made.

The Forbes House Museum 2019 Lincoln Essay & Drawing Contest is open for students in grades K-8. The deadline for submissions is Friday, April 12 and the awards ceremony will be held on Sunday, May 19 at the museum. All details on this year’s drawing and writing topics can be found here.

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

The Milton Young Musicians Festival is now accepting applications! For over 30 years, the Milton Young Musicians Festival has encouraged young people with an interest in music and fostered their developing performance skills.  All participants receive feedback from trained adjudicators, and a medal at the end of the day. Recipients of the Gold Medal are invited to perform in a concert the next weekend. The Festival will be held on March 31st, from noon to 5 pm at East Congregational Church, 610 Adams St, Milton.  The Gold Medal concert will be held the following Saturday, April 6th.

On Saturday March 23rd from 9:30am-1:00 pm at the Milton Public Library, The Friends of the Milton Public Library and Vigorito Chess present the 8th annual Chess-a-Palooza! Open to all Milton residents, Milton school students, and returning Chess-a-Palooza players. Please join us for a fun and friendly chess tournament with International Master David Vigorito. Four round Swiss-style tournament – every player plays all four rounds and players of all abilities are welcome. Limited to first 50 entrants with trophies for top 3 players in each section: K-1, Grades 2-3, and Grades 4-5. Registration information can be found here.

On Saturday, March 16th at 7pm Milton Community Concerts presents the fifth annual “Sing For Their Supper” free benefit concert at First Parish of Milton, 535 Canton Avenue. Ten local opera singers will be performing a variety of songs, arias, and musical theater selections to raise money for the Milton Food Pantry and the Milton Residents Fund. Admission is free; an offering will be taken.

Milton’s annual Sweetheart Dance for girls in grades K-5 and their special adult will be held on Friday, April 5th from 6:30 – 8:30pm at Cunningham Hall.  The dance is hosted by Girl Scout Troop 76176, who will be donating a portion of the proceeds to help create a Youth Center in Milton. Tickets are $20 per couple (plus $5 for additional siblings) and can be purchased at the door.  Get ready for a fun night of dancing, games, and photo ops to support a great cause for our community!

The Milton Historical Society presents Written in Light: Photographs from the Milton Historical Society featuring photographs by Margaret Sutermeister (1875-1950). The event opens March 15 and runs through September 29 at Historic New England’s Eustis Estate located at 1424 Canton Ave., Milton, MA 02186. The exhibit is free with admission to the Eustis Estate. Admission is free for Milton residents.


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:

L-R Ms. Miller, Ms. Sykes. Ms. Damiani, Mr. Good. Ms.Hanna and Ms. Martin

Staff: Last weekend, Rebecca Damiani and Gary Good were recognized for their outstanding and hard work in music education.  Both were recipients of the Lowell Mason Award during the Massachusetts Music Educator Association (MMEA) conference. This award is given to music teachers who have had an impact on music education in their respective district and also at the state organization level. They were 2 of the 5 teachers chosen from all music teachers in the state who received this impressive award. Congratulations to Ms. Damiani and Mr. Good! 

Students: It looks like many of our MPS families enjoyed the 1st snow day of the 2018-19 school year. With the snow day, the last day of school is now a half day on Monday, June 17th. The updated calendar can be found here.  You can see the fun MPS students and staff had in the video below. Nice job playing in the snow, reading, getting ready for the science fair, playing games, building some impressive snow people and generally having a great time!


If you do not receive the Superintendent’s Weekly Update and would like to, please enter your email here to subscribe to this one weekly email.

Thank you to my blog contributors this week: Cat DesRoche, Lil Cronin, Ryan Madden,  Sara MacNeil, Larry Jordan, FAME, Dawn Sykes, Noel Vigue, Laurie Stillman, Rina Chen, Johnny Nichols, Coleman Rose, Will Deschenes, Liz Spitz, Ellen Lohan, Erin Power, Martha Sandoval and Jackie Morgan. 

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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