To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
From: James F. Jette
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: January 21, 2021
FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT
There are several important items I would like to call your attention to today.
The Town of Milton COVID-19 numbers over the last few days have been lower than numbers seen over the past 5 weeks. Surveillance testing is one element that helps to Protect the Paw as it can identify asymptomatic positive cases before they spread within our community.
MPS and Manet Community Health Center will be holding a COVID-19 testing day at Milton High School on Saturday, January 23 from 10 am – 2 pm behind the building in the Copeland Field House. Manet Community Health Center will administer the PCR test for any MPS student and/or family member who registers for a test. Preregistration is required by 7pm tonight: please complete this registration form and email your completed registration form to email@example.com.
To protect our Milton and MPS community, please continue to follow all COVID safety guidelines. Thank you for your continued efforts to Protect the Paw and keep our students and staff safe.
We invite you to join us tonight at 5pm on our journey for a more equitable Milton. Parents/guardians, community members, staff, and students are invited to participate via Zoom to learn and share ideas about how we can leverage school-based Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committees (formerly known as school-based Diversity Committees) to support critical equity work in the Milton Public Schools. This event is being offered in partnership with the Milton Public Schools and Citizens for a Diverse Milton. All details and the link to attend in English can be found here. Please see additional flyers here:Español; Kreyòl ayisyen; Tiếng Việt
Please also take a moment to read the latest communication – Behaving Equitably! – from Somaly Prak-Martins, MPS Senior Director of Education Equity here.
On Wednesday of this week, I sent an email about DESE’s Student Learning Time expectations. Please join me on Wednesday, January 27 at 6pm for a virtual presentation about model changes in elementary for the Hybrid/Remote Choice model as we look towards the next steps for the district to increase in person learning time for our elementary students in February. Parents/guardians of elementary students are invited to attend and share thoughts. A link to attend will be sent next week. Information about any Middle and High School adjustments will come at a later date.
The next School Committee meeting will be on February 3, 2021, at 7pm. You can watch School Committee meetings live on Milton Access TV online, live on Milton Access cable channels (Comcast 22, RCN 15), attend via Zoom (link to attend found on the Town of Milton SC page), or watch on-demand in the days following the meeting.
IMPORTANT UPCOMING DATES
- Jan 21 DEI Committee Meeting
- Jan 28 Kindergarten Information Night
- Feb 3 School Committee Meeting
- Feb 15-19 February Recess
Kindergarten Information Night will be held on January 28, 2021, at 6:30 pm. We hope many incoming kindergarten parents and guardians will join us to learn about our programs and have an opportunity to ask any questions you might have. This information session will take place virtually, and a link will be posted on our website before the event. As we prepare to welcome our newest kindergarteners next September, the first step for families to take is to complete the pre-registration form found here. Please note that your child must be five years old on or before August 31, 2021, to start kindergarten in September 2021.
Preschool Information Night: Thank you to all who attended the information night. All information presented can be found on our Preschool webpage. The 2021-2022 Preschool Pre-registration Link can be found here. Children attending an MPS Preschool Program must be three years old on or before August 31, 2021.
HEALTH AND SAFETY
COVID REPORTING: Each week, school districts report the number of positive cases in the Hybrid Model only to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education (DESE). For the week of January 14 – January 20, MPS reported: 7 staff positive and 12 students positive.
MASK BREAKS: Beginning last week, MPS has paused group mask breaks for students after reviewing current community prevalence and recent changes to public health guidance that allows for a shortened quarantine period with continued mask wearing. Students who need a mask break will be allowed to do so individually in a setting separate from others with minimal interruption to class time. Students will continue to receive movement breaks and enjoy time outside (weather permitting.) If you have any questions or concerns, please email your school nurse.
TRAVEL REMINDER: If you are considering traveling, please follow Massachusetts Travel orders linked here and adhere to MPS Policy that all students (regardless of age) and staff must provide a negative COVID 19 test taken upon 72 hours of arrival back in Massachusetts or quarantine for 10 days after travel before returning to in-person learning. Please see the most updated CDC travel guidelines and restrictions here. Please contact your school nurse with any questions.
Weekly Pick Up: Weekly pick up is available at two different times on Wednesdays. Come to MHS 9:30-10:30 or 12:30-1:30 (please don’t arrive before 12:15 to allow for MHS pick up) to pick up 7 days of breakfast and lunches and a fresh produce box.
Grab and Go: Available each day as your student leaves school. Multiple breakfasts, lunches, and snacks are included in each bag. Students can take a grab and go bag with several breakfasts and lunches as they leave school each day.
HIGH SCHOOL HAPPENINGS
In keeping with the Milton High School Mission and our Vision for Milton High graduates, MHS Principal Karen Cahill and Asst. Principals Kelley and Mackinaw have given MHS students, faculty, and staff the opportunity to nominate students who have not solely had academic success in the classroom but have embodied one or more of the tenants of our Vision of the Graduate.
We believe that our students demonstrate respect, achievement, and citizenship both inside and outside of school, and we aim to develop Milton High School graduates who will:
- Effectively apply critical thinking skills to make connections and solve problems.
- Utilize technology to engage, explore and evaluate our community, nation and world.
- Be original and innovative in individual and collaborative work.
- Practice good citizenship, personal responsibility, and character through individual and collective actions.
- Demonstrate understanding and respect for themselves and the diversity of ideas, cultures, abilities, and lifestyles in school and beyond.
We are so pleased to announce our Term 1 Honorees. Please take a moment to watch Principal Cahill’s Video Message to these students and their families. Congratulations to these outstanding students!
The Milton High School theatre department is excited to offer An Evening of One-Act Plays as our winter production for this upcoming school year! Any student auditioning will be considered for either play. We will be holding virtual auditions for our Winter One Acts on Monday, January 25th at 4:30. Find all the details at our website.
This week, students from the Culture Club at Pierce Middle School designed and rolled out an activity that allowed their peers to honor and reflect upon the legacy and wise words of Martin Luther King Jr. In this activity students not only discussed the impressive accomplishments of Dr. King, but also they connected to the wise words from King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech. Sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students wrote their dreams for themselves, the community, society, the nation, or even the world.
INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS
At last night’s School Committee meeting, Sarah Whitten and Melissa Craven from Glover presented about our elementary school’s work about Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports. This is important work and I invite you to view their informative presentation here.
On January 15, Tucker students participated in their 3rd Annual Day of Service. Tucker students began this special community afternoon together by participating in a school-wide storytelling presentation from Valerie Tutson focused on Tales from African Traditions. Ms. Tutson geared these stories towards the understanding that through history there have been people and examples of acts done for others not just ourselves–and how amazing these acts are especially when it impacts those we don’t know personally. From this whole school activity, we then met in grade level groups led by Coach Jones, Mrs. Van Hill, Mrs. Driscoll, and Dr. McNeil-Girmai to discuss MLK Jr. in more detail, service in our community and frame the service activity for students as a way they could give back within our community.
As we are not able to provide donations or cards/supplies to most groups given COVID 19 restrictions, all students worked on an art display that will be up in the Tucker windows soon dedicated to essential workers. You will note that many of these images also incorporate quotes from Dr. King around service such as “Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.” and “Only when it is dark enough can you see the stars.”. We continue to honor Dr. King and our essential workers for their service and we invite essential workers in our community to view our display in the first floor windows the week of January 25.
After reading and talking about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. over the last week, Ms. Brandi’s Glover Kindergarteners used their art skills to draw pictures of Dr. King.
Mrs. Walsh’s Cunningham and Collicot 2nd graders have created Gratitude Jars this month. For the month of January, they are placing notes of what they are grateful for inside the jar. We are proud of our young students for taking this active step towards gratitude.
Collicot 5th graders have been working on graffiti style art. Students used a mono-print style for the background with foil and markers and experimented with bubble letters to write their names with impressive results.
Administrator for Pupil Personnel Services, Sue Maselli shares these tips about Getting Organized: How to organize your child’s special education documents.
The MPS Inclusion Task Force invites you to this month’s meeting on Monday, Jan 25 at 4pm. Join us at this link. We hope to see you there!
Community Schools invites you to their 2nd Family Virtual Event.
Join us for a FREE evening of fun, family art. Grab your duct tape and card making supplies to create wallets, tote bags, and pop-up Valentine’s cards…see you there! Sign up for the free event here.
Join us in watching this award-winning documentary about three families inadvertently impacted by opioid addiction that began with a prescription to manage pain after surgery. The film provides an intimate look into the struggles that can be caused by legal opioid prescriptions when the dangers of these medications are not properly understood. After this powerful 40 minute film, we will have a discussion moderated by Laurie Stillman, Director of the Milton Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition. Everyone experiences pain at some point in their lives. Learn about the many alternatives to opioids that don’t have the same risk of addiction but are still effective. The registration link can be found here.
The Milton Public Schools is committed to being a resource for you. Whether you are unsure how to connect with school staff or directly need a referral for services or supplies, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Marti O’Keefe McKenna, MPS Family Outreach Liaison, at 617-980-7343 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. All calls and emails are confidential.
Milton is a participating community in The William James INTERFACE Referral Service. Interface is a mental health and wellness referral Helpline available Monday through Friday, 9 am-5 pm, at 888-244-6843. This is a free, confidential referral service for residents of Milton and other participating communities. Callers from these participating communities are matched with licensed mental health providers from our extensive database, on average, within 2 weeks of their call to INTERFACE. Each referral best meets the location, insurance, and specialty needs of the caller.
What is SNAP Food Assistance? SNAP, The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as food stamps), gives individuals and families money to buy food at grocery stores, convenience stores, and certain farmers’ markets. You have the right to apply for SNAP any time you need help.
If you have lost hours or your job due to COVID-19, if you were laid off or lost income and need help putting food on the table, SNAP food Assistance is here to help. All details can be found at this link. Visit our MPS Food Service webpage for details on SNAP and other programs.
MILTON FOUNDATION FOR EDUCATION
Over the past month and a half all MPS educators have attended technology training facilitated by nationally known company, EdTech. Staff at all six schools will complete three hours of technology training by February 3rd. This amazing training was funded by the Milton Foundation for Education. This training was beyond the scope of our Professional Development budget and we are grateful to the MFE for the $21,600 grant. The focus of the sessions has included redesigning lessons with Google Slides, creating engaging live remote sessions, and formative assessments. Thank you to the MFE for supporting our teachers with this training!
ART AND MUSIC
The Milton Instrumental Applied Lesson Program has openings for beginning students for Session 2 starting the end of this month! The program has spots available on the following instruments: Violin, Viola, Clarinet, Saxophone, Trumpet, Trombone, Baritone and Tuba. If you have a student who would like to start taking lessons on one of these instruments, please contact Rebecca Damiani – email@example.com. Information for Session 2 can be found here: ALP Session 2 Registration All information for beginning students can be found here: ALP Beginner Registration
As there are no spectators allowed at any events this season, we are offering a free live stream for each game.
Please search YouTube for Milton Access TV and the game will start streaming roughly 2-3 minutes prior to the scheduled start.
There will be a few games that are not streamed over YouTube and instead will be streamed live on our Twitter Account (@MHS_Wildcats_). Please check this Athletics link for schedules to see which games are streamed via YouTube or Twitter.
We recommend checking with the local organizations below for any changes to the following events.
Please see the communication below from the Board of Park Commissioners.
Per the January 11th Board of Park Commissioners meeting we have voted to re-open the Milton Parks and Playgrounds. However, Street Hockey, Basketball courts and Tennis courts will remain closed until further notice. Please note that the initial closure took place due to lack of mask wearing, most commonly at the Kelly Field Street Hockey Rink and all basketball courts. Please remember there is a statewide mask mandate that requires face coverings when in public places. We hope to see mask wearing in all our parks and playgrounds per the mandatory state guidelines which can hopefully lead us to approving the re-opening of the courts/rinks.
In addition, we have had several recent reports of loitering at the Street Hockey Rink at Kelly Field. The police were called 3 times just on Sunday, January 10. The Rink is closed and when open, the rink is not to be used after dusk (clear signage indicates this). We are asking the community to please talk to your children about this issue, the importance of following rules, and being respectful of our neighbors. We appreciate your support.
Board of Park Commissioners, Ted Carroll, Scott Mackay, Regina Malley
MHS Sophmore Lily McLaughlin is partnering with a non-profit organization called Her Drive to conduct donations of personal hygiene items for people in need. Lily is collecting on three upcoming dates – January 22 and 29 from 3-4:40pm and February 5 from 3:15-4pm at Kelly Field. Please consider supporting Lily’s important collection drive.
The Forbes House Museum presents Chinese Calligraphy and Illustration Workshop with Artist Rayna Lo on Sunday, February 7 from 10am-12pm.
In anticipation of Chinese New Year, which begins on February 12, learn the fundamentals of Chinese calligraphy and discover your personal calligraphy style. The cost is $30 per household, supplies not included. For more information and to sign up, please visit this link.
The Milton Early Childhood Alliance has three, free, programs for families with young children being held within the next two weeks:
Nature Tales – Animal Habitats: for children 2.9 to 7 years old. A fun, interactive, early literacy and STEM program this Saturday morning, a day and time requested of many families. Details can be found here
Learning At Home – Understanding Your Child’s Learning Style and Development: for parents with children 2.9 to 10 years old. This parent education workshop next Tuesday will help you identify how your child learns best and help you better understand their ability to learn based on their development. Details can be found here.
Story Time – Listen and have a conversation with children’s book author, Michelle Chalmers, who wrote Vitamin D and Me (which she will read) and The Skin on My Knee. This story time on February 2nd is designed for children and families to listen to together about how and why human beings have different color skin tones. Details can be found here.
Milton National Little League Registration: Registration is now open for Milton National Little League’s Spring 2021 season. Please register here Milton National Registration. Milton National Little League prioritizes safety and complies with all Massachusetts Youth Sports COVID Guidelines and will follow the most current safety and best practice recommendations. Financial assistance is also available. Please email league president Mike Carthas at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
In December I shared with you that our own MHS Senior Sam Higgins was
named a 2021 National YoungArts Foundation (YoungArts) Finalist in Classical Voice, the organization’s highest honor. Sam was recognized for his caliber of artistic achievement and joined 659 of the nation’s most accomplished artists in the visual, literary, and performing arts. YoungArts award winners gain access to one of the most comprehensive programs for artists in the United States in which they will have opportunities for financial, creative, and professional development support throughout their entire careers.
As a Finalist, Sam participated in National YoungArts Week+ this month featuring virtual classes, workshops, and mentorship from leading artists in their fields as well as virtual performances and an exhibition for the public. On January 25 at 8PM, audiences can tune in to see Sam perform during National YoungArts Week+ Celebration and Voice Performances.
I know you join me in congratulating Sam on this impressive honor and I hope you will watch Sam’s performance online on Monday January 25 at 8pm. All details can be found here.
Thank you to my blog contributors this week: Kim Coughlin, Susan Maselli, Jackie Morgan, Ellen Lohan, Tanya Walsh, Elaine McNeil-Girmai, Bill Fish, Karen Cahill, Somaly Prak-Martin, Magen Slesinger, and Karen McDavitt.
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 a 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: Asst. Superintendent for Curriculum & Human Resources, Dr. Karen Spaulding, (617) 696-5040 ext. 5582.