March 21, 2019

From: Mary C. Gormley
To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: March 21, 2019


There are 3 important speaking events at the Milton Public Schools in the next 3 weeks that I would like to call your attention to. I hope you can find time to attend these valuable presentations.

Tuesday, March 26th: Jessica Lahey and the“The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go so Their Children Can Succeed”.

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.

Save the Date for Organ Donation Info night on April 2nd at Pierce.

Tuesday, April 2nd: Understanding Organ Donation: Its Impact on our Community and Beyond

If you are like me, you may not have known that April is National Donate Life Month. The Milton Public Schools is partnering with MPS parent and pediatric nurse practitioner/nursing director specializing in transplant, Laura O’Melia to help spread the word about organ donation. Laura is organizing a Donate Life Information Night for the entire Milton community at Pierce on April 2nd from 6:30-7:30pm. Will you join us for just 60 minutes to hear compelling stories from:

  • A mom of a Collicot student who received a living donor kidney transplant
  • A man who lives in Milton who had a heart transplant
  • A woman who donated her husband’s organs

Please join us on April 2nd in the Pierce Auditorium to learn how you might be able to help save a life someday. All are invited to attend!

Thursday, April 11th: Dr. Catherine Steiner-Adair and the The Big Disconnect: Protecting Family Relationships in the Digital Age.

Internationally recognized clinical psychologist, school consultant and award winning author Dr. Catherine Steiner-Adair will be speaking about The Big Disconnect: Protecting Family Relationships in the Digital Age on Thursday April 11th at 6:30pm.

This session will resonate with adults with children of ALL AGES who want to learn more about how to navigate the social and emotional impact technology has on families. Here is more information regarding Dr. Catherine Steiner-Adair.

We hope to see everyone on April 11th. As always, the PARENT Speaker Series is FREE and open to the public. This presentation is relatable to parents/guardians of all ages.


Buy your tickets now for the MFE Celebration “Beyond the Books” on April 6th at Lombardos. You will not want to miss this fun and entertaining  evening with your friends and neighbors in support of our schools!

There are just two weeks until the MFE Celebration 2019! Will you join us as we move “Beyond the Books”  and transform all of the MPS libraries into dynamic learning environments? MPS libraries support the learning and growth of every student and staff member in the district as they serve as community spaces that foster curiosity, print and digital literacy, critical thinking skills, creation, and collaboration. Libraries are places where individuals have the opportunity to learn not only about the larger world but themselves and where students can see positive representations of their own identity reflected back through stories and images. Let’s take our MPS Libraries “Beyond the Books”!


The next School Committee meeting is March 27th at Pierce Middle School. Please see this invitation from the Milton School Committee to the Open Public Budget Hearing that will begin at 6:45pm as part of the March 27th meeting at Pierce. More information on past School Committee presentations can be found on the the MPS Website, under School Committee. 


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. Please join us Thursday, March 28th at our Program of Studies/Advanced Placement Information Night. During this evening presentation we will review graduation requirements, course offerings and answer any questions you may have about our program of studies.   The presentation will begin promptly at 6:30 pm in the MHS Auditorium. We are committed to taking comprehensive steps to ensure you have the information to make an informed decision about courses for next year.


Congratulations to our  Future Problem Solving teams and students who are moving on to the regional competition in Worcester on March 30th! FPS provides students with a way to critically think about relevant topics that will impact the future.  Teams of four students learn a six-step problem solving process which they then apply, along with their research on specific topics, to solve social and scientific problems. A “future scene” prompts students to explore challenges as they refine their critical and creative thinking skills, focus on one problem area to solve, produce solution ideas, generate criteria to evaluate their solutions, and develop an action plan.  Students advancing to the State Bowl on March 30th at Worcester State University will be partaking in competition regarding the topic of “Coping with Stress.” Students have been researching the difference between negative stress and good stress (eustress) in order to come up with relevant strategies to cope with stressors given a future scene.

The Pierce team and some individuals will participate in a two hour problem solving process.  The Pierce team will then take the action plan they developed during the two hour team process and create a skit to illustrate their final solution to the problem. Good luck to all of those competing in Worcester! Not pictured are Ida Zoll and Mudia Odion-Ukpebor who will also be competing. 


On Monday, March 18th, STEM Night took place in the Collicot/Cunningham cafeteria. During STEM night, Kindergarten students and families had the opportunity to hear about both the Spanish Language and STEM components of the English Innovation Pathway Program. Families had a great time participating in a STEM Challenge as they were tasked with building a tall tower out of 2 sheets of newspaper and 12 inches of tape. Families had some very creative designs to create free-standing towers! The night ended with concluding statements from Collicot Grade 5 English Innovation Pathways students Elizabeth Maye and Lauren Cooper about their favorite STEM experiences.  

If you missed the 2019 Grade One Information Night Presentation you can view it here. The Q&A from information night 2019 is also available here. 


Thank you to the almost 40 Cunningham and Collicot students who volunteered to entertain their peers and showcase their talents during lunch last week. A  fun time was had by all who enjoyed their Irish Step Dancing peers.


Certified Therapy Dog Marley and owner Meena Tondravi visited a small group of Glover 1st graders to promote literacy and build confidence in reading.  There were many smiles among the group, including Marley!


Way to go. Vincent!


The winner of the final Boomwriter chapter is Tucker student Vincent Fahy who won the last chapter with his 900 word submission! Congratulations to all our 4th and 5th graders who wrote amazing chapters. We are all excited to see the final book!


Justice Maldonado and her son Ben.

The Honorable Diana Maldonado, Justice of the Massachusetts Appeals Court and Glover parent, visited Glover 5th grade students this week.  Justice Maldonado was impressed by the background knowledge, participation, and questions asked by the students in their discussion about the branches of government. This presentation was a perfect wrap up of the Reach for Reading Unit on Justice and helped to bring the curriculum to life.  


The Tucker science fair is often running! Guest judges arrived early this morning to work with students in small groups across all grade levels to give feedback and review testable questions. Guest judges included Elementary Science Coordinator Ellen Lohan, Emily Speck, Brian Flaherty, Joanna Weiss, La’Lena Etheart, Cynthia Price-Glynn, Solomon Mensa, Ian Harding,  Jim Dunphy, Libby Dunphy, Stacey Solomon, Ron Mitra and Dr. Eno Ebong. Thank you to all student scientists and volunteers for making this another successful science fair!



The Girl Power Running Program  begins Monday, April 22. Girl Power provides a low pressure, confidence and self esteem building activity that encourages girls to work towards a goal, push themselves at a healthy pace and comfort level while supporting one another and participating in an outdoor, good for your body and soul activity. This is a FREE parent run program and you can read further details here. Email Heather Bergin with any questions.


Today is World Down Syndrome Day and MPS celebrated in style! MPS Inclusion Specialist Maureen Butler shares that March 21st is World Down Syndrome Day. 3-21 represents trisomy 21, the medical term for Down Syndrome, which is the third replication of the 21st chromosome. This day provides the opportunity to celebrate people with Down syndrome and all the wonderful contributions they make to society. With Rock Your Socks, the point of wearing the silly socks is as a conversation starter for people to ask questions and to remind them that while things may be different they are still wonderful. MPS was full of crazy socks today as well as books, visitors, crazy sock sales, Pierce Pals lunch dates, videos and more. Celebrating inclusion is essential to to the students and staff of MPS!

If you can’t get enough Rock Your Socks, check out our all MPS Rock Your Socks video and our MHS Achieve classroom celebrating Rock Your Socks below!


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 6:30 pm 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 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.” We encourage all families to enroll your current 5th grader in our camp. Details can be found here.


Spring is here which means summer is coming! 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.


Laurie Stillman, District SEL Facilitator shares the following; “Coming Out: Resources for Parents whose Children may be Questioning Their Sexual Identity”.

Thinking that a child might be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) can raise many questions for a parent. Often a parent is unsure whether they should talk to their child about this. Communicating is almost always a good thing. If you feel that your child might be LGBT, first think about what feelings this brings up for you. If this isn’t something you are comfortable with, it might help to know that just about all mainstream mental health experts now believe that someone’s sexual orientation, regardless of whether they are gay, lesbian, straight or bisexual, is something that forms in each person either before we are born, or within the very first few years of each person’s life. You can read more here and also refer to these excellent resources:  PFLAG, The Trevor Project , GLBT National Help Center and  Trans Lifeline.


The Milton SEPAC invites you to join us, in partnership with the Federation for Children with Special Needs, for our first workshop of the 2018-2019 school year. This Basic Rights Workshop  on March 27 at 7pm in the library at Glover will help you better participate in the team process, collaborate with the team, and advocate for your child. All are welcome to attend.


Mar 21  Grades 5-12 Band Concert
Mar 26  Parent Speaker Series, Jessica Lahey, “The Gift of Failure”
Mar 27  Milton School Committee Meeting
Mar 28  Grade 5 Pierce Information Night
Mar 28 MHS Course of Studies
Apr 2  Organ Donation Presentation
Apr 3  MHS/PMS Jazz Concert
Apr 6  MFE Celebration for Education
Apr 10  Milton School Committee Meeting
Apr 11  Parent Speaker Series-Dr. Catherine Steiner-Adair, “The Big Disconnect-Protecting Family Relationships in the Digital Age”
Apr 15–19  April Recess

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.

Come join the fun on Saturday, March 30th at the March Madness Cornhole Social at Steel & Rye from 12-3pm.  This will be a fun “adults only” event to raise funds to sponsor  5th grade activities at Tucker. There will be something for everyone: March Madness Hoops playing on the TV, silent auction items, a door prize, music, refreshments and a Cornhole tournament.  Can’t go but want to donate? Donations are being accepted online.


March is Youth Art Month, a celebration of the visual arts! Youth Art Month encourages support for quality school art programs, and promotes art material safety. The Council for Art Education (CFAE) administers the program at the national level. The program provides a medium for recognizing skills developed through visual arts experiences unlike any other curriculum subjects, including: Problem solving; Creativity; Observation and Communication.

Art shows, special exhibits, fundraisers, and school and community activities take place annually  to celebrate visual art education for grades K – 12. We are excited to showcase our students art at our school based art shows in May. Our Tucker artists are busy preparing their work in the pictures below.


Members of the Milton High School Orchestra, Chamber Ensemble and Cello Ensemble will present “Music In The Afternoon”, a Concert for Senior Citizens on Wed., March 27 at 1:30 pm  in the Charles C. Winchester Auditorium at MHS. The concert is being held in an effort to share the joy of music with members of the Milton community. The performance will be directed by Debra Miller, MPS District Orchestra Director.


On Sunday, April 28th , Milton FAME is pleased to host a unique fundraising event, our fifth annual mattress sale! Our goal is to sell over 100 mattresses, with proceeds going directly to benefit music in the Milton Public Schools. If you, or anyone you know might be in need of a mattress, please save the date and visit our mobile showroom at the Pierce Middle School Gym. This is the time to buy and save up to 50% off retail, all while supporting our students. There will be 29 sets on display and a team of experts on hand to answer any questions you may have.  More details to follow as the date gets closer.

MHS Marching Band camp will be held at Milton High School, August 12th-16th from 8 AM- 3 PM. Please remember that band camp is mandatory for all of those who wish to participate in marching the show. This is the only week the band has to learn the entire show. If you know you’re going to have a conflict, please speak with Rebecca Damiani and Gary Good.

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 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 27: Music in the Afternoon at MHS
March 29: Boston Youth Symphony Field Trip for all Grade Four Students

Thank you to the Wildcat News Team and Sean Lopresti for filming many of our concerts. Please enjoy the 6th-12 grade Chorus Concert ,  the 7th-12th grade Chorus Concert and the MPS Strings Concert.

We were treated to more music this morning at MHS for MIOSM. Coleman Rose, Henry MacKay, Caleb Smith & Rowan Leggett performed Libetango.


Spring Sports has started with tryouts beginning this past Monday.  Unified Track will start this coming Monday. The game schedules can be found on our new MHS Athletics website!   

Student athletes all over Milton have these great calendars for sale. Calendars are  $10 each with 30 chances to win some great prizes throughout April. Red Sox tickets, Golf, restaurant certificates, cash and the evert popular chance to win a DARE Camp entry. All proceeds go to the Athletic and Scholarship funds. You can buy online this year or purchase from any student athlete.  Thank you for your support!


Town spring sports will be starting soon! Register for Softball, Field Hockey, Baseball (Nat League) , Baseball (Amer League) and Lacrosse before it’s too late.

Save the date for the 42nd Annual Milton Road Race hosted by the volunteer members of the Milton Junior Woman’s Club. The race kicks off at 6:30pm, rain or shine, on Tuesday, June 11th. Proceeds from this race are channeled right back into the Milton community in the form of scholarships for high school students living in Milton. Grants are also awarded to nonprofit entities that help Milton residents.

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

The Milton Young Musicians Festival is now accepting applications! 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.

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 Forbes House Museum hosts two March events that offer modern perspectives on traditional practices. On Saturday, March 23, at 3 pm, Professor CJ Allen of the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences will present on holistic medicine and answer your questions about Chinese herbology and acupuncture. The program is $10/person, free for members. On Saturday, March 30, from 10 – 11:30 am, explore your creative side at our Sip & Script Modern Calligraphy Workshop. Tickets are limited and must be purchased in advance.

Milton Historical Society’s upcoming Patriots Day open house to be held at the Suffolk Resolves House, 1370 Canton Ave., Milton MA 02186. This free event will take place on April 14th  from 1-3pm. Colonial reenactor Michael LePage will portray patriot Dr. Joseph Warren.


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:

Elizabeth and Lauren present to families.

Students: Collicot 5th graders Lauren Cooper and Elizabeth Maye represented the English Innovation Pathway on Monday night at STEM Night. Both Lauren and Elizabeth eloquently shared their favorite STEM memories in front of a group of kindergarten students and families from across the district. Lauren began by sharing her favorite memories of the car seat belt project which is a part of the 4th grade “Project Lead the Way” curriculum. She mentioned that she was challenged to design a car with a seat belt system that would protect a real egg in a crash! Elizabeth shared her experience with Lego WeDo in 2nd grade. She enjoyed building Lego animals that she coded to make noises and move just like real animals. Both girls give up their recess weekly to assist 1st graders with STEM lessons and hope to continue STEM courses next year at Pierce. Thank you to Lauren and Elizabeth for sharing their experience with our young students. Thank you also to Ellen Lohan for coordinating STEM night and to the many MPS teachers who attended and helped out. 


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: Jess Gillooly, Cat DesRoche, Kelly Herbert, Meaghan Ohrenberger, Ryan Madden, Sara MacNeil, AJ Melanson, Noel Vigue,  Ellen Lohan, Maureen Butler, Jon Redden, Holly Concannon, Amy Gale, Laura O’Melia, Dawn Sykes, Debra Miller, Erin Power, Sean Lopresti, Karen Cahill, Karen McDavitt, Noel Vigue, Karen Cahill, Justine Novak, Nicole Lauria, Heather Bergin, Lindsay Shanahan, Melissa Craven, Elaine McNeil-Girmai and Laurie Stillman.

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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