To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
From: James F. Jette
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: October 22, 2020
FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT
These are challenging times for all of us. After eight months of our new – temporary – normal, we can all elaborate on the many challenges, as we are all too familiar with them.
In spite of this, there is so much good to celebrate in the Milton Public Schools. Your children, our students, are intrinsically kind, positive, and hardworking. Our MPS staff are dedicated and passionate professionals. Our families are involved and supportive. With this in mind, I invite you to “Share the Good” with the MPS community. If you have a MPS good news story to share, I invite you to do so here. These do not need to be detailed or amazing stories – just the everyday good that takes place, each day, in every school, all year long. Below is an example that caught my eye recently, shared by a community member (and former MPS parent) as well as a comment sent to me by an MPS parent.
“I’m a Milton resident who works for Hayward Photography. I have been photographing Milton High seniors for their senior portraits for the past 12 weeks. I need to tell you something…
These seniors, every one of them, are polite, engaging, and fun to be with. They are uniquely kind, thoughtful, and happy. I am humbled to have the chance to share this tiny bit of time with them.
Congratulations, parents, and guardians! Our whole “village” can be proud of the wonderful adults we are launching into the world. I just thought you should know”.
“Following what I’m sure has been another trying week, and weekend, I just wanted to send thanks on behalf of my family, including our 2 MPS students, for the way you continue to manage the challenges we face. I’m sure you tend to hear from parents, including me, when there are concerns to raise but I want you to know that I, and I’m sure many others, fail to reach out to share our thanks for the many things you are doing so well“.
“The Hybrid Plan – I can’t imagine how difficult this plan was to create, implement, and manage. You are doing a wonderful job with all aspects of this plan. The difficult decision to shut down Pierce in accordance with the plan is the right one and was communicated well. For our first and fifth grade sons , the hybrid plan has been excellent and the ability to have some in person instruction for our youngest has been invaluable. Also, and I’m sure this doesn’t get much attention given all of the other priorities, but the remote portion of the hybrid plan is so well organized and planned. Thank you for your continued support of this plan”.
In the last ten days, I have enjoyed visiting our schools and speaking with faculty, students, and staff. I experienced some classroom lessons and was able to speak with students of all ages. I plan to do the same with some of our full remote students and staff in the coming weeks to learn from them and to discuss their experience. It’s a priority that all of our students and staff feel connected to and supported by the Milton Public Schools.
I encourage you to regularly watch Milton School Committee meetings. Now that so much of our world takes place virtually, there are even more ways to watch. You can watch live on Milton Access TV online, live on Milton Access cable channels (Comcast 22, RCN 15), via Zoom (link to attend found on the Town of Milton SC page), or on-demand in the days following the meeting. add links
The business of the Milton Public Schools is conducted transparently and much of it takes place or is reported on in these meetings. Last night the School Committee discussed an upcoming equity audit, COVID metrics, budget issues, and so much more. Put your headphones in and listen on-demand this weekend on a walk or while you multitask. The 10/21/20 meeting will be available soon at this link. We welcome your attendance and input at every meeting.
The next School Committee meeting will be on November 4, 2020, at 7pm, and all School Committee meetings can be watched live and later on-demand on Milton Access TV. In the days leading up to each meeting, call in/login information is available on the Town of Milton website.
IMPORTANT UPCOMING DATES
- Nov 3 Election Day, No School, Staff PD Day
- Nov 11 Veterans Day, No School
- Nov 12 Parent/Teacher Conferences, Grades 6-12
HEALTH AND SAFETY
Many answers to questions about COVID-19 as it pertains to the Milton Public Schools can be found on the COVID-19 page of the MPS website. Please visit the site, linked on our homepage for all current information.
CDC guidelines about close contacts have recently changed. The Milton Public Schools has been following these updated guidelines for several weeks.
Our Milton Public Schools COVID-19 Positive Case Process, MPS Prescreening Checklist, and MPS Face Covering Policy are among the items that all MPS families should be familiar with. In last week’s blog post, I gave a long update on metrics, MPS cases, and more. I invite you to read it here.
We have good news to share. Free student meals have been extended through the school year!
Encourage your student to check out our to go lunch and breakfast bags. They (and you!) will not be disappointed. 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.
Also, consider trying 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 for your child.
We hope you and your student will take advantage of our lunch and breakfast options this fall! All details on pick up options can be found in this link.
HIGH SCHOOL HAPPENINGS
Milton High School AP and Advanced Art students got outside this week to participate in an “Oblique Strategies” activity where students explore letting go of creating representational images and instead see where their hand takes them.
In partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (read the full statement from DESE), GBH, and NEPM are providing a daily block of broadcast educational programming on the WORLD Channel to serve students at home with no or limited internet access, or to augment online learning. The broadcasts are for students in grades 6-12 and feature award-winning shows in science, engineering, social studies, ELA, and math. View the full schedule of broadcasts for this fall here.
The WORLD channel can be found on: Comcast 956 | FiOS 473 | RCN 94 | Cox 807 | Charter 181
The Pierce Mosaic Club is an affinity group for students of color who identify as African American/Black, Latinx/Hispanic American, Native American, Middle Eastern American, Asian/Asian American, or Multiracial. The purpose of the affinity group is to provide students of color with a safe space to build connections, provide academic, social, and cultural affirmation, foster healthy identity development, and develop leadership and self-advocacy skills. Student participation in this group is voluntary. The common themes for this group will focus on affirming and celebrating identity, building community, and cultivating leadership. The meetings will be held virtually every Thursday after school from 2:50- 3:20 pm. Student participation in this group is voluntary and there is no cost for participation. The Mosaic Club is an open-ended group where students can join at any time. This group will start on Thursday, October, 22nd. Please click here for a letter from Mrs. Myriam Francoeur, the program coordinator. Please complete this form to sign your child up for the Mosaic Club.
School pictures were postponed for all Pierce remote students, 6th grade hybrid students, and 7th grade hybrid students. Below please find the new dates that photos will be taken. October 26th – Grade 7 (Hybrid Cohort 1); October 27th – Grade 7 (Hybrid Cohort 2); October 28th – All Remote Students (3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.); October 30th – Grade 6 (Hybrid Cohort 1); November 2nd – Grade 6 (Hybrid Cohort 2)
INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS
Mr. Young’s Cunningham 3rd grade class practiced measuring the mass of various classroom objects this week. Students worked in partnerships (maintaining social distance) using pan balances, standard weights, and paperclips to measure the mass of their objects in grams. As a class, they then compared the masses of objects and designed a table to help them better conceptualize what 1g, 10g, 50g, 100g, and 1 kg feels like.
Ms. Vanacore and Ms. Craven’s Glover 2nd graders are beginning their first science unit on Solids and Liquids. During this unit, students will have experiences that heighten students’ awareness of the physical world around them. Students began by exploring and investigating solid outdoor objects. During this remote lesson, Ms. Vanacore used the Elmo (document camera) to clearly demonstrate how she would observe, describe, and sort the solid objects she found outside according to their properties. Thank you to the Glover PTO for our 26 Elmos!
As part of the FOSS Science unit, Air and Weather, Mrs. Gale’s Collicot 1st grade class visited the Collicot/Cunningham Green Space for a science lesson. Students made observations about their outdoor surroundings using their five senses and discussed the changes in trees and weather we notice in the fall. After the outdoor lesson, students completed a science journal assignment and wrote about what they could see, hear, smell, and feel outside. Students safely socially distanced while outside and came together briefly for a photo in the beautiful new C&C Greenspace!
Tucker students have been busy making art! We have been making literacy connections, studying different artists, and practicing creating space in fall landscapes.
The Cunningham and Collicot virtual Art room is impressive to view! 4th grade students have completed their first assignment which was a self-portrait based on the book, The Day You Begin by, Jacqueline Woodsen. Students worked on creating proportional portraits and then filled their composition with character traits that best describe them.
3rd grade artists read the story, Maybe Something Beautiful by Isabel Campoy and then learned about organic and geometric shapes. Students then drew organic shapes to fill their background and then added self-portraits to their work. Notice how the colors are blending off the paint brush in their drawings. They did that by using Q-Tips and markers and “painted” over the colors to make the ink from the markers blend together!
5th grade students worked on geometric shapes and line designs inspired by the artist Joseph Amedokpo. Students learned about this Nigerian artist and then created these stunning artworks!
We’re excited to announce the Fall/Winter session of our After School Enrichment virtual program! From Star Wars Art to Fun Science we have classes for everyone! Register here and view the entire brochure here.
MILTON FOUNDATION FOR EDUCATION
The MFE’s Monster Dash, held in loving memory of Sam Cichello, is a staple of fall fun in the Town of Milton. Unfortunately, this year, we can’t hold the actual Monster Dash but the MFE has some fun planned for our students. This year, there will be two Monster Dash contests to celebrate the spirit of the Monster Dash.
- The MFE is pleased to announce a Monster Dash Costume Contest! They want to see you in your most creative, scary, or kooky costume ever.
- The annual Artwork Contest is on as usual! Students can submit their drawings to be on our official Monster Dash T-shirts.
All information on both contests can be found in this link. Join us as we celebrate the spirit of the Monster Dash!
In addition, the MFE has created a new innovative grant process to help relieve the impact of the pandemic on MPS students and families. This year, grant ideas may be submitted not only by MPS teachers and programs, but also by students, parents, and other community members. The MFE is committed to helping Milton families through these unprecedented challenges in new and unique ways.
Applications are due October 30 at 5PM. Please find more information including the grant guidelines and application here.
Please see this latest update from Administrator for Pupil Personnel Services, Sue Maselli with opportunities for:
- ADHD seminars– October is ADHD and ADD Awareness Month
- Suicide prevention training– Held virtually on November 4
You can also read Ms. Maselli’s October update here.
We are aware of intermittent brief internet outages in the Milton Public Schools over the last several days. These outages are not specific to MPS but are coordinated efforts to disrupt the internet globally. Our Information Technology Director and IT staff are working around the clock to resolve all issues as they arise. Our internet service provider is doing further mitigation and escalating the case as our firewall is stopping the attacks, but the volume is overwhelming to our system. These types of attacks have skyrocketed across the world in the last few months.
Elementary Virtual Tech Q&A Coffee Talks: In an effort to support families through these challenging times, MPS Educational Technology Director, AJ Melanson, will be available for technology Q&A sessions at the following dates and times. Attend the session that works best for your schedule. Sessions will be held on Monday, October 26th, 7-8 pm – Meet join link and Tuesday, October 27th, 7:30-8:30 am – Meet join link.
Please remember the MPS Family Tech Help Center website has an abundance of support materials.
MPS FAMILY LIAISON
The Milton Public Schools is committed to being a resource for you. Whether you are unsure of 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 email@example.com. All calls and emails are confidential.
The Pierce, Collicot, Cunningham, Glover and Tucker PTOs and the MHS PTSFO work continuously on behalf of our students and staff throughout every school year. We are so grateful for their ongoing efforts to enhance the school experience for the MPS community.
This year our 6 PTOs are collaborating on the MPS Apple Project & Protect the Paw Project in support of our students, teachers and staff.
Funds raised from the sale of these Rustic Marlin signs will be divided equally among the PTOs of ALL SIX schools, to enhance and elevate the opportunities and experiences of the MPS community during this unprecedented school year.
All are invited to purchase a sign (or two!) at this link and display it to show your support of our MPS community. These signs would be an excellent gift for friends and family, a nice remembrance for a special teacher or staff member, and are an easy way to show support for our schools and our MPS community. Thank you to our PTOs for spearheading this project!
The Milton Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition supported Mike’s 5K to Crush Substance Abuse this weekend and walked the 5K route with a team made up of members of MSAPC’s Milton Youth Advocates for Change, staff, and family and friends of Julianne Scott. We walked in memory of Julianne, a former Milton Public Schools student who recently died after a long battle with addiction. The Scott family is dedicated to reducing the stigma of addiction so that people can speak up and get help before it is too late. MSAPC is grateful for their openness and bravery. It is not too late to support Mike’s 5K. To accept the challenge, register here or make a donation here.
The winter Booster online pop-up store is coming in early November with delivery before the holidays. Thank you for supporting our athletes!
Thank you to the Milton Boosters for coordinating the most successful Swing for Sports to date, with 100 plus golfers in attendance! All money goes to support our MPS student-athletes. Thanks as well to all of the golfers and volunteers who made this beautiful fall day a wildly successful one in support of our students.
All athletic schedules and updates can be found on the athletics website linked here.
Rx Drug Take Back Day is October 24 from 10am-2pm. Misuse of drugs often starts with medication taken from homes. Keep your families and friends safe. Bring your unused or out-of-date prescription medications to the Milton Police Station to disposed of safely. Contactless drop off available on Saturday, October 24 from 10am – 2pm.
Calling pumpkin-carvers of all ages! Enter the Forbes House Museum’s contest for your chance to win a gift card from The Ice Creamsmith, Flat Black Coffee, Sweet Frog, or other local businesses, plus recognition on our social media outlets. Prizes will be awarded in two age groups: 13 and over, 12 and under; and three categories: Scariest, Funniest, Most Creative.
To enter, simply drop off your pumpkin at the museum between 4:30 and 5:30 pm this Saturday, Oct. 24th. If you are unable to make that time slot, please call 617-696-1815 for alternate arrangements. Winners will be announced at 7:00 pm and need not be present to claim their prize. Pumpkins may be retrieved at 7:00 pm or the next day.
The pumpkin carving contest is part of the Forbes House Museum’s Halloween event, which is at capacity. However, there are no restrictions on how many can enter the contest and we encourage anyone interested to show off their skills and creativity!
Thank you to Elliott Physical Therapy and Vargas & Vargas Insurance for generously sponsoring the event.
The Milton Early Childhood Alliance has installed a Story Walk at Milton Public Library. This Story Walk video will provide a quick overview of this fun activity for families with children through grade 5.
The Milton Public Library has some terrific programs for students of all ages. Check out next week’s activities here.
The Cardinal Cushing 5K RUN/WALK (formerly the Best Buddies 5k) has gone virtual!
- The where and what are up to you!
- Complete your miles from November 18-21 then upload your results.
- Create a personal or team page then train and ask your friends and family to donate.
- Share photos and videos on our Facebook event page.
- Register here.
Thanks for participating and supporting our very important cause!
We are pleased to share the news that nine exceptional Milton High School students are being recognized by the College Board this year as Commended Students in the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program or have been selected for the College Board African American and Hispanic Recognition Programs. We are so proud of these outstanding students!
Commended students placed among the top 50,000 scorers of more than 1.5 million students who entered the 2021 competition by taking the 2019 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). All recognized students show a commitment to learning and great academic potential. These Milton High School students were notified this week by Mrs. Cahill of this recognition of their outstanding academic promise.
Please join us in congratulating Abigail Tran, Jared Robinson, Ilisa Risal, William Milliken, Daniel Truog, Clare Walko, Demi Davis, Laura Braithwaite, and Yeager Ferreira. The future is bright for these talented students!
Thank you to my blog contributors this week: Kim Coughlin, Jess Gillooly,
Magen Slesinger, Bill Fish, Karen Spaulding, Karen Cahill, Ellen Lohan, Karen Cahill, Jackie Morgan, Marti O’Keefe McKenna, Jennie Beliveau, Christie Chiappetta, Andy Young, Laurel Bernini, and Sara MacNeil.
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.