October 22, 2020

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”.

If you have a MPS good news story to share, please do so here and we will share it in an upcoming blog. Thank you for taking the time to help us all focus on the good!

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.

SCHOOL COMMITTEE

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

The full MPS calendar can be found here.

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.

FOOD SERVICE 

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

PIERCE PAGES 

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!

COMMUNITY SCHOOLS

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. 

STEM WEEK 

Elementary students were invited to participate in design challenges created for MA STEM week by the Boston Museum of Science.  K-2 students are working on designing a habitat for turtles while grades 3-5 are working on to design a solution to help minimize trash in our waterways.  You can find the MPS 3-5 STEM Week Challenge and the MPS K-2 STEM Week Challenge in the links above.

 


Every week is STEM Week at the Pierce Middle School, but we have some special activities kicking off this week.  Mrs. Magill’s FUSE classes are off to a great start! One class of 7th graders wrote their first code in the Python coding language to make a heart display on a Micro:bit. The other 7th grade class and the 8th graders weren’t left out because they started accessing the FUSE website. The Sculpty Pet challenge was definitely a favorite! In the 6th grade, we are combining STEM Week and Digital Citizenship Week by learning a little about cryptography and how we use cryptography to keep our information safe.  
 

 
Ms. Windwer & Ms. Schramm’s Cunningham 3rd graders enjoyed a fun STEM  challenge of their own this week. Who had the tallest structure, the sturdiest structure, the most creative structure, and the most interesting structure? It was fun to find out! 

MILTON FOUNDATION FOR EDUCATION

Your Monster Dash submission is due TOMORROW! 

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.

SPECIAL EDUCATION

Please see this latest update from Administrator for Pupil Personnel Services, Sue Maselli with opportunities for:

You can also read Ms. Maselli’s October update here. 

TECHNOLOGY 

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

Joanna’s Place knows that this time is particularly triggering and stressful for families experiencing grief and loss in any form and they have been working hard to develop some virtual opportunities. They are excited to offer two virtual trainings for parents and professionals, as well as our Circle-G support group. add links 
 
Parenting through Loss: Helping your child process and understand death Thursday, October 29th at 6:30PM.
 
Facilitated by Maria Trozzi, this webinar will provide a developmentally-informed framework for children’s understanding of death and concrete strategies for how to best approach talking about, and supporting them through their grief.
 
Grief and the Family Experience: Promoting resilience during stressful times  Thursday, November 12th at 6:30PM.
 
Facilitated by Maria Trozzi, this webinar will provide concrete strategies for promoting resilience and strengthening coping skills for families facing grief and loss in any form.
 
Circle-G Family Support Group Mondays 6-7:30 starting November 9th.
 
The Circle support program is a 10 week support group focused on supporting children 8-18, and their caregivers, who have had a sibling/child or parent/spouse die. Priority will be given to those families that have not participated in the Circle in the past. The group will be held virtually and registration/screening is required. Please register here. 
 
If you have any questions or would like to learn more about Joanna’s Place, email us at info@joannasplace.org or call 781-266-6776.
 

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 mmckenna@miltonps.org. All calls and emails are confidential.

All updates on Family Resources – food, heating assistance, health insurance, financial assistance, contacts – can be found at this link.

PTO UPDATES

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!

MSAPC

After a socially distanced walk, walkers gathered for a quick, masked, photo together.

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. 

ATHLETICS

Milton Boosters Fall Pop-up merchandise update. To all who ordered gear, thank you for your support. Almost all of the items are in and you should be receiving an e-mail with pick-up information.

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.

COMMUNITY NEWS 

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. 


 
Join the Eustis Estate for our annual celebration of fall with a special day for families. Our Fall Family Day: Fairies in the Foliage will take place in Saturday, November 7, 11am – 4pm (Rain Date Nov 8) at the Eustis Estate, 1424 Canton Avenue, Milton.
 
This year’s exploration of the landscape will have a magical twist, with a fairy house scavenger hunt, crafts, and activities that will guide you around the property. Special thanks to the Amateur Gardeners of Milton.
 
All activities are designed to maximize social distancing and will take place outdoors. All guests must wear a mask. Advanced tickets required. Note that this ticket does not include the inside of the museum. If you wish to also visit the mansion, please purchase your house tour reservations here. 
Please call 617-994-6600 for more information.
 

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!

SUPERINTENDENT SHOUTOUT 

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.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on October 22, 2020

October 15, 2020

To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
From: James F. Jette
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: October 15, 2020

FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT

As of yesterday, with increasing COVID-19 numbers, the Town of Milton is now at high risk (designated as RED) for COVID-19, according to the state guidelines. Twenty-three additional communities have been added to the high-risk category since last week’s report. We are also aware that there has been a shift throughout the State from confirmed cases in long term care facilities at the beginning of the pandemic to now an increase in cases in individuals 16-39 years of age.

For now, this will not change our hybrid school model and we are currently planning for Pierce Middle School to resume in the hybrid model on Monday, October 19.

I know this shift in Milton’s status will generate some questions. Often I am asked: What is the number of positive cases that will make MPS shift to a full remote model? There is no magic number. On the contrary, it will depend on who the positive cases are, where the positive cases are, and the impact on the schools.

Below are a few examples of why there is not a concrete number that will shift our model.

  • If the town has 10 cases but the cases do not involve MPS students or staff, we do not need to close the schools.
  • If we have 8 positive cases (students) at one school and they do not have siblings in other schools, we may have to close that one specific school but not all of the other schools.
  • If we have 8 positive cases (staff) at one school, we may have to shut down that particular school because we may not have the staffing due to “close contact” (i.e the recent closure of Pierce Middle School) but the other schools can remain open.
  • If we have 6 positive cases (staff or students), which we have had already, spread out across the district and contained, then there was no need to shut down any of the schools.

Current State guidance is that all schools will pivot to a full remote model if the State’s positivity percentage hits or exceeds 5%. The daily rate is found by dividing total tests in a day by positive results. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health then reports out a weighted 7 day average on a daily basis on their website.

Over the last week, the Town of Milton has had between 4 and 7 new cases each day. Although the numbers in Milton are increasing, many of these cases are not MPS students or staff. Additionally, these numbers do not take into account the positive COVID cases of MPS faculty and staff who do not live in the Town of Milton. Therefore, we continue to monitor all cases in and outside of the Town of Milton.

I have communicated that we will use several data points to monitor COVID-19 cases within the Town and the MPS community. For example:

  • Positive cases per 100,000 metric established by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. This data is based on the average daily cases per 100,000 residents, each city or town has been designated as a higher risk (red), moderate risk (yellow), or lower risk (green) community. Communities with fewer than 5 cases are not given a designation. It is important to note that while average daily cases per 100,000 is the metric that determines the color coding for each community, districts/schools should also monitor whether cases are increasing or decreasing vs. the prior period. This is the information that propelled Milton into the red.
  • The State positivity percentage – currently the number is 5% to trigger a move to fully remote for schools.
  • Total positive cases in the MPS community.
  • Age of demographic of the positive cases.
  • How and where people contracted the virus.
  • What is the impact on each of the schools individually and as a district?

We are about to embark upon the Holiday season which is typically a social time for many of us. In addition, many of our students’ siblings will be returning home from colleges out of state. Per MA DPH guidelines, these college students will need to quarantine until they receive a negative COVID test. I am also asking each of you to be mindful of your own social gatherings and the need to adhere to the health and safety guidelines set by the CDC and MA DPH. Small gatherings of family and friends have repeatedly been shown to be  super spreader events.

What can we do to keep our numbers low and our community as healthy as possible? The steps are relatively simple, but it is clear that many of us are not acting as safely as we can. Please, reconsider some of your family’s activities and work with us to keep our MPS students in our buildings!

  • Adhere to the mandatory MPS Daily Pre Screening Checklist
  • Stay home when you are sick and notify your School Nurse for return to school guidance.
  • Maintain at least 6 feet of distance between non-household members
  • Wear a mask when maintaining distance is not possible
  • Do not gather in groups inside and limit groups outside
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer if soap and water is not available.
  • Avoid coughing or sneezing into your hands or in the air.
  • As much as you can, avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.
  • Be alert for Covid-19 symptoms.

Many answers to questions about COVID-19 as it pertains to the Milton Public Schools can be on the COVID-19 page of the MPS website.

If Milton’s numbers continue to increase, at some point, we will be forced into a full remote model. While we are ready for this potential change, I can assure you that the teachers, staff and administrators of the Milton Public Schools want to continue with in person school for as long as safely possible.

Our ability to continue in person school rests with all of us. Please continue to be vigilant and follow best practices to keep our community safe.

As a reminder, all families and staff in the Milton Public Schools are required to perform the MPS Daily Health Screening every school day. If you have not already done so, please click this link asap and complete the sign off to verify that you have received, read through, and understand the requirements of the MPS Daily Health Screening.

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As the election season is fully upon us, I want to share a recent communication I sent to all MPS staff concerning the highly charged political climate in our country that can have a significant impact on our students, our schools, and the educational process. Please read the communication here. 

SCHOOL COMMITTEE

The next School Committee meeting will be on October 21, 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

Oct 15 MHS Virtual Open House
Oct 21 School Committee Meeting
Nov 3 Election Day, No School, Staff PD Day
Nov 11 Veterans Day, No School

The full MPS calendar can be found here.

FOOD SERVICE 

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.

We are grateful for this recent message from an MPS parent: “Kudos to Milton food services for their efforts to send kids home with nutritious, non perishable meals that kids want to eat on a consistent basis And to remove the stigma by making the meals available for all families. It is REALLY hard to accomplish all of that on a budget. Tonight’s meal – burritos and carrots. I’m so impressed.” Thanks for the kind words and we hope they encourage even more families to try our to go meals!

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 

We are lucky to still be hearing our talented MHS musicians in the halls of Milton High School! Pictured below  is one of the cohorts of the MHS Concert Band. As we have had to find creative ways to have all of our band members making music during synchronous, in-person learning time, the band has been rehearsing percussion ensemble music. This allows all students, whether they are in the hybrid or remote model, to participate in the music making process in a safe and socially distant way. Be on the lookout for some performance videos in the coming weeks!

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Our Woodshop students were hard at work this week in class. Woodshop introduces our students to the designing, planning and manufacturing of wood products. Students work on craftsmanship and safe working habits and procedures in the use of industrial-type machinery and power tools.

***

We hope all MHS parents and guardians will join us for the MHS Open House tonight. All details can be found here. 

PIERCE PAGES 

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and many of the Pierce staff and students showed off their pink last week. Some shared their personal reasons for wearing pink and supporting breast cancer awareness.

“I am wearing pink for my amazing mother who courageously battled breast cancer for over 20 years and for all of the beautiful and strong men and women who have fought this battle and continue to fight today.”
“I’m wearing pink in memory of all the courageous men and women who have had to suffer from this disease in hopes that there will soon be a cure.”
“I wear pink in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness.”
“I wear pink for my close friend who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.”
“I’m wearing pink for my aunt and sister-in-law who lost their battle with breast cancer and for my cousin and my mother who continue to fight!”
“I wear it to make my future and the future of all others, healthier.”
“I wear pink to show support to all the brave men and women fighting this disease, and to honor those who lost their battle.”

***

Pierce students in all three grades recently completed some ice breaker activities in their Health classes. Pierce is focused on making connections, building relationships, and bolstering SEL skills as we navigate this school year. Students created and presented All About Me slides that included 3 things they wanted us to know about them, including sharing their pronouns if they wished.

INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

Ms. Lennon’s Cunningham 3rd graders are learning to work together – in person and remotely. Students participated in a group read aloud and reviewed the unit reading skill: Plot. Students were paired up in break out rooms to decide what they would both write for the beginning, middle and end on the plot map. It was terrific to see these responsible and respectful 3rd graders navigating their breakout rooms in small groups.

***

It’s All About Instruments in the Elementary Music Classrooms!

With elementary music being taught virtually currently, the elementary music staff is engaging students with ways in which they can create percussion instruments at home, made from everyday household items. Students are enjoying participating in the process of finding just the right items at home to create the perfect sound for each of their instruments, including drums, shakers and scrapers. The instruments are stored at the students’ home learning spaces and played during the weekly music class to enhance activities in rhythm, tone color, movement and the study of the science of sound. Students in grades 4 and 5 are also learning to identify orchestral instruments by sight and sound and many are beginning and continuing their private instrument lessons through the Applied Lesson Program!

***

During our Fire Prevention Week, our Tucker preschoolers in Miss Nicole’s class participated in a fire truck project. Students followed step by step directions identifying the different shapes to make their own firetrucks! Our youngest students were very proud of their efforts!

***

As a part of the Everyday Math Curriculum, Mrs. Curran’s Collicot 5th graders explored finding the volumes of different cylinders. Using individual materials, students constructed cylinders and made estimates of the volume. Next, students used unifix cubes to find the total volume of the different cylinders, Students also learned they can find the volume of a cylinder by multiplying the length, width and height.

MILTON FOUNDATION FOR EDUCATION

The Milton Foundation for Education has supported the mission of the Milton Public Schools for over twenty years. In these challenging times, they have creatively rethought how to support our staff, students, and families and have several current initiatives that I share with you below. 

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 in 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.

SPECIAL EDUCATION 

Please see this latest update from Administrator for Pupil Personnel Services, Sue Maselli.

SOCIAL EMOTIONAL HEALTH 

I have asked our district wide team of Adjustment Counselors to share mental health resources with you regularly. This installment is from MHS Adjustment Counselor Jennie Beliveau.

I cannot believe that a month of school has elapsed! I continue to be amazed by the resiliency of the students, families, and staff as we all continue to adjust to this school year. One conversation that has continually come up with many of the high school students that I work with is about creating a good schedule and consistent, positive habits. There is much more unstructured time available to them now and some are having a difficult time with time management. Here are a few tips that I have found to be helpful for them.
Create a schedule Write it down and follow it. Add everything to your schedule including wake times, meals, school work, exercise/sports/activities, and breaks.
Set a timer Sometimes sitting down for over an hour to get work done can be too much for students. Set a timer for 30 minutes, so when the timer goes off you allow yourself a 5 minute break and then go back to work for another 30 minutes.
Stack your habits When we are trying to create new healthy habits, it can be helpful to stack the habit on top of one you already do. For example, I brush my teeth every day. I have been wanting to write in my gratitude journal more often but never found the time to do it. So I stacked writing on top of brushing my teeth. Every morning it is now a habit and routine for me to brush my teeth and write in my gratitude journal to start my day.
Do you have any good tips that have helped your family adjust to this new schedule? Reach out to your school adjustment counselor to share!

Our Adjustment Counselors are available as resources for your family. Please reach out to your Principal or Adjustment Counselor for support at any time.

MPS School Adjustment Counselors:  Jennie BeliveauMary Bianca MattocksKenneth Adelmann (Milton High School); Myriam FrancoeurKara SheridanKelly Dearing(Pierce); Heather Kantrowitz (Cunningham) Elizabeth Caruso (Collicot); Lisa Stahl (Tucker) Brian PowersChristine Howley (Glover)

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 mmckenna@miltonps.org. All calls and emails are confidential.

All updates on Family Resources – food, heating assistance, health insurance, financial assistance, contacts – can be found at this link.

ATHLETICS

As we monitor Milton’s COVID numbers, be assured that I am in ongoing conversations with MPS Athletic Director Ryan Madden concerning our athletics program. Our goal is to continue athletics for as long as safely possible.

All athletic schedules and updates can be found on the athletics website linked here.

A great way to support our student-athletes is by playing in the Boosters’ upcoming golf tournament on October 19 at Granite Links. Click here to REGISTER for the 2020 MHS Boosters Swing For Sports!

COMMUNITY NEWS 

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. Drive through, contactless drop off available on Saturday, October 24 from 10am – 2pm.

Rx Drug Take Back Day is sponsored by the Milton Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition and the Milton Police Department.

***

Milton Early Childhood Alliance invites you to a parenting workshop series: Helping Families with Learning at Home (for families with children 2.9 to 10 years old). 

Join us for four virtual parenting workshops to help families with at home learning this school year. Tips to Helps Manage Anxiety & Engage and Motivate Your Child will be held on Tuesday, October 20 at 7:30 PM. Create a Supportive At Home Learning Environment will be held on Tuesday, November 17 at 7:30 PM. Two additional workshops will be held on January 26 and March 16. All four workshops will be held virtually, via Zoom, from the comfort of your home. Registration is required. Please register here  to receive the Zoom link and password. Our program facilitator will be Beth Greenawalt, Parent Coach and founder of www.Parent-Solutions.com. Many thanks to the generous support of the Milton Junior Woman’s Club for their support of this programming.

***

Celebrate Halloween at Forbes House Museum, Saturday, October 24 , 5:30-7:00 pm

Calling all kids in grades K-5: You’re invited to wear your costumes and join the Halloween party at the Forbes House Museum! There will be ghost stories in the backyard and tricks and treats throughout the property.

New this year: Bring a Jack-O-Lantern to enter in our pumpkin carving contest. People’s-choice prizes will be awarded for the scariest, funniest and most creative pumpkins in categories separated by age. All ages are welcome to enter and participating in the contest only is free. Winners need not be present to claim their prize. Jack-O Lanterns may be picked up at the end of the evening or retrieved the next day.

Please visit this link for more information and to register for the event. All visitors to the property must wear masks and socially distance. Attendance is limited and advance registration is required. $10/child; $20/family max

***

Mike’s 5k is going VIRTUAL! So gather your friends and family and get out there to walk or run to crush substance abuse. Run a 5k anywhere you’d like anytime from October 17 to October 25, 2020. Wear your mask and socially distance! After you register, we will send you a link to record your time. Register here and join Team MSAPC!   Bring your own mask and water.  You can also support Mike’s 5K here.   Or register and walk/run any time before Oct. 24th, your own route and distance.  Thank you for your support!

***

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!

SUPERINTENDENT SHOUTOUT 

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!

Thank you to my blog contributors this week: Kim Coughlin, Courtney Lennon, Nicole Davis,  Ellen Lohan, Jackie Morgan, Marti O’Keefe McKenna, Megan Pallai, Jennie Beliveau, April Allegrezza, Colleen Martin, Bernadette McEvoy, Janice Mazzola, Rebecca Damiani, and Erin Jaquette.

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.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on October 15, 2020

October 8, 2020

To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
From: James F. Jette
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: October 8, 2020

FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT

The Milton Foundation for Education has supported the mission of the Milton Public Schools for over twenty years. In these challenging times, they have creatively rethought how to support our staff, students, and families and have several current initiatives that I share with you below. 

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 in 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.

HEALTH AND SAFETY

As the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing in our community, we know that we will also have positive cases in our schools. Our priority is the health and well being of our staff and students and that priority will guide all decisions we make. When a positive case is reported to us, we follow the  Milton Public Schools COVID-19 Positive Case Process.

As you know, Pierce Middle School has shifted to remote learning for a period of two weeks. With six positive cases of COVID-19 at Pierce over the past 5 school days and the subsequent quarantine requirements of close contacts, we do not have the necessary staffing to safely keep the building open and adequately educate students in the hybrid model. If all goes well, Pierce will resume in the hybrid model on Monday, October 19. We will revisit this decision during the week of October 13.

To keep students and staff safe when in the building, employ the following preventive measures:

  • Adhere to the mandatory MPS Daily Pre Screening Checklist
  • Stay home when you are sick and notify your School Nurse for return to school guidance.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer if soap and water is not available.
  • Avoid coughing or sneezing into your hands or in the air. Always try to cough or sneeze into a tissue, then throw the tissue away and wash your hands.
  • As much as you can, avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.
  • Maintain at least 6 feet of distance between non-household members and wear a mask in places where maintaining that distance is difficult.
  • Be alert for Covid-19 symptoms.

When should students and staff quarantine?

  • Students and staff will be instructed to stay home and quarantine for 14 days if they have been notified by the Milton Health Department or MPS Director of Nurses Kim Coughlin that they are a close contact of a positive case.
  • Because the Milton Health Department may have a short delay before they are able to reach all contacts, students and staff should also stay home and quarantine if they have been notified by a COVID-19 positive friend or family member with which they have been in close contact.  Please notify your school nurse if you are considered a close contact of a friend or family member.
  • These guidelines remain in place, even if the student’s or staff’s COVID-19 test is negative.
  • Students and staff will be instructed to stay home while household members are waiting for the results of a test. This eliminates additional potential exposures if that household member ends up testing positive.
  • In short, staff and students should stay home if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or someone in your household is waiting for results of a COVID-19 test.

If a student is asked to stay home for any of these reasons, that student will be allowed to live stream into their regularly scheduled in-person classes on the day(s) they would have been in school for those in-person classes.

All families and staff in the Milton Public Schools are required to perform the MPS Daily Health Screening every school day. If you have not already done so, please click this link asap and complete the sign off to verify that you have received, read through, and understand the requirements of the MPS Daily Health Screening.

No school can combat this situation alone. It is mandatory that parents/guardians are equal partners in this fight against Covid-19, and we need your help and unwavering support in reinforcing the CDC safety guidelines, at home and at school.

As we embark upon a three day weekend, it is even more incumbent upon all of us to be vigilant. The need for socialization is real, but the need for safe behaviors is critical. Please wear a mask when you are out in public – even for recreational outdoor activities – and continue to practice social distancing with anyone not in your immediate household.

All of us – educators, support staff, students, and families – want the Milton Public Schools to be a place for young people to learn, thrive, and grow.

Thank you for your understanding, cooperation, and continued support of our efforts to Protect the Paw and keep the Milton community safe and healthy. Each of us has a role in this endeavor. We are grateful for your partnership to ensure the safe continuation of our in person learning.

SCHOOL COMMITTEE

The School Committee’s Strategic Planning Advisory Committee has both crafted a Strategic Plan for the Milton Public Schools and defined a strategic planning process. Since June 2018, when the School Committee approved the 3-5 year Strategic Plan, the Strategic Planning Committee has met quarterly to review progress and revise the objectives and activities as needed. After each meeting, when the Strategic Planning Committee has reviewed updates on goals and approved any proposed changes, the plan is officially updated and the revised plan is posted on the Milton Public Schools website.

At the September 9, 2020 School Committee meeting, the updated Strategic Plan was reviewed and approved. After a challenging summer, the Strategic Plan updates addressed the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and the call for MPS to become an anti-racist school district. The updated Strategic Plan can be found here and a presentation that highlights the most recent changes made can be found here.

***

The next School Committee meeting will be on October 21, 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

School Virtual Open House – Each of our schools has hosted or will host a virtual Open House over the next two weeks. Dates are found below and school specific information will come from your principal. Please plan to listen to or watch the valuable events to stay up to date with information about your child’s school and class.

Oct 12 Columbus Day/Indigenous People Day, No School
Oct 13 Pierce Virtual Open House
Oct 14 Cunningham Virtual Open House
Oct 14 Collicot Virtual Open House
Oct 15 MHS Virtual Open House
Oct 21 School Committee Meeting

The full MPS calendar can be found here.

FOOD SERVICE 

Weekly pick up is now 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.

This week we served 728 student weekly bags which translates to 10,192 meals!

Students can also take a grab and go bag with several breakfasts and lunches as they leave school each day.

Due to an extension by the USDA, all meals will be free to all students through December 2020. We hope you and your student will take advantage of our lunch and breakfast options this fall! All details on pick up can be found in this link.

TECHNOLOGY

Please see below for answers to some of our most frequently asked technology questions.

Computer vs. Laptop: We are encouraging students currently using iPads for Google Meet sessions at home to use the school issued Chromebooks instead.  The iPad apps do not have all of the features that the web-based apps do; so students may not be able to fully participate if they are only using an iPad. For PreK-1 students who are completing assignments on Seesaw, an iPad or Kindle Fire is a great supplement but a computer is preferred.
Computer Tutorials: Here are some computer tutorials that might be helpful:

Google Meet for PreK-1 – All PreK-1 families should access Google Meet sessions through the website meet.google.com and enter the meeting code that the teacher has provided.  This is the safest way for children to meet with their teachers as it only allows students to enter if they are on their school google account and if the teacher is already in the meeting. Here is a video showing you how to join a Google Meet.

Google Meet in Google Classroom (2-5) – All Grades 2-12 should be using the Google Meet link within Google Classroom to hold all of their remote sessions. Here is a video showing you how to join Google Meet in Google Classroom. 

Seesaw Login: Students in PreK – 1 also have Seesaw accounts as their main learning platform.  Classroom and Specialist Teachers will give you the join code to join a class, if they haven’t already had students do it in class. To log into Seesaw and other school apps, your child will use Clever.  Go to Clever.com, and choose Log in as a Student.  Then type in the name of the school and Log in with Google.  Then scroll down to the Seesaw button.  If this is your first time, you will need to sign in with Google.  Then anytime in the future it will automatically log you into Seesaw.

Google Class Assignments: All students grades 2-5 should be turning in their work to their teacher through Google Classroom.  Here’s a short video on how to add materials to a Google Classroom assignment. Don’t forget to click on the Turn In or Mark as Done button once you are finished so that your teacher knows you have completed the assignment.

HIGH SCHOOL HAPPENINGS 

Milton High School is offering an online Driver’s Education course for Junior Operators.  You must be 15 years and 9 months old to register.  The program includes the 15 modules required classroom training, 12 hours of behind the wheel instruction, and 6 observation hours.  More information can be found on the Milton High School Driver’s Education website.  Please email James Moonan at jmoonan@miltonps.org or Richard Guarino at rguarino@miltonps.org if you have any questions.

PIERCE PAGES 

Please see Pierce’s Remote Classroom Expectations linked here to be sure your student is fulfilling their responsibility during their remote sessions. 

INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

As part of the FOSS Sun, Moon and Planets Unit, Collicot 5th grade students began studying shadows. Students traced their shadows in the morning and afternoon. They use this information to monitor the position of the Sun as it moves across the sky. Teachers introduced these concepts in class. Students continued to monitor their shadows at home at different times in the day. In order to share their results with classmates, students uploaded pictures to a Padlet page. Here is a link to our Padlet page so you can see how shadows shift throughout the day.

***

Many of our elementary students walk or bike to school each day but this week some of our elementary students enjoyed two official Walk and Wheel to School days! It’s great to see so many families taking advantage of the beautiful fall weather.

You can check out this bike safety video from Coach Jones, Coach Gauthier and Coach Finnegan here.

***

SPECIAL EDUCATION 

Administrator for Pupil Personnel Services, Sue Maselli shares the following information.

Parent Series: All are invited to participate in a parent series for parents/guardians of students in grades 6-12 that will focus on how parents can support their children as they navigate through their Hybrid/Remote learning schedule. This series will focus on identifying strategies on how parents can set up their home working environment to support at home learning, how to support your child planning and organizing their workload,  behavioral strategies to increase independence with remote learning, and strategies to monitor your child’s social and emotional well being.  Please use this link to register. 

Inclusion Task Force (ITF): The inclusion task force is a group of parents, school staff, and community members who meet to ensure that the Milton Public Schools are a welcoming place for students of all abilities. The purpose of the ITF is to foster authentic relationships in schools and the broader community for our students with disabilities and to promote awareness of inclusive opportunities throughout the school district and community.

The first remote meeting of the 2020-2021 school year will be on October 19 from 4-5pm. Please contact Elementary Inclusion Specialist Maureen Butler if you are interested in joining the task force meeting. All are welcome!

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 mmckenna@miltonps.org. All calls and emails are confidential.

All updates on Family Resources – food, heating assistance, health insurance, financial assistance, contacts – can be found at this link.

TRANSPORTATION

We will be processing refunds owed to families for bus fees for the spring of 2020 when the Milton Public Schools moved to a remote model.  Families who paid the transportation fee are due a $90 refund per rider with a maximum of $180 per family.  These refunds are only available to families who paid to have students ride the bus in the 2019-2020 school year and are NOT currently paid riders for this school year.

Please complete the form below for each rider in your family owed a refund (maximum of two submissions per family) by October 15. All refunds will be by check and mailed from Town Hall.

The Transportation Refund  form 2019-2020 can be found here. Please forward questions to Rachel Schewe at bus@miltonps.org.

 ATHLETICS

Please see this link for a full fall athletics update from Athletic Director Ryan Madden. 

All athletic schedules and updates can be found on the athletics website linked here.

 

A great way to support our student-athletes is by playing in the Booster’s upcoming golf tournament on October 19 at Granite Links. Click here to REGISTER for the 2020 MHS Boosters Swing For Sports!

 

COMMUNITY NEWS 

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. Drive through, contactless drop off available on Saturday, October 24 from 10am – 2pm.

Rx Drug Take Back Day is sponsored by the Milton Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition and the Milton Police Department.

***

Milton Early Childhood Alliance invites you to a parenting workshop series: Helping Families with Learning at Home (for families with children 2.9 to 10 years old). 

Join us for four virtual parenting workshops to help families with at home learning this school year. Tips to Helps Manage Anxiety & Engage and Motivate Your Child will be held on Tuesday, October 20 at 7:30 PM. Create a Supportive At Home Learning Environment will be held on Tuesday, November 17 at 7:30 PM. Two additional workshops will be held on January 26 and March 16. All four workshops will be held virtually, via Zoom, from the comfort of your home. Registration is required. Please register here  to receive the Zoom link and password. Our program facilitator will be Beth Greenawalt, Parent Coach and founder of www.Parent-Solutions.com. Many thanks to the generous support of the Milton Junior Woman’s Club for their support of this programming.

***

It won’t be like the last 3, but the 4th annual Mike’s 5K is still on!  No big gathering this year, but we want to keep the momentum going.  Mike’s 5K to Crush Substance Abuse raises funds to erase stigma, spread awareness, strengthen treatment programs, and demonstrate the power of community and friendship in the battle against substance abuse.  Significant funds support Milton youth prevention programs.  As always, we do this to honor Mike Mulcahy and his family, as well as others who have struggled with addiction or loved someone who has struggled with addiction. 

Team MSAPC will be starting our walk/run as a physically distant- mask wearing group on Saturday, October 17th, at 9am, following the same route that leaves from Cunningham School.  Register here and join Team MSAPC!   Bring your own mask and water.  You can also support Mike’s 5K here.   Or register and walk/run any time before Oct. 24th, your own route and distance.  Thank you for your support!

***

The Milton Public Library offers many children’s programs virtually every week.  See all the fun offerings here.

***

Brookwood Community Farm updates:

  • Last chance this week for SNAP applications for fall farm shares.  The form can be found here.  
  • CSA pickup on Tuesdays and Thursdays is now 1-5:30 and there will be 4 pickups through Nov 2.
  • The Farm Stand is open Tuesdays and Thursdays 1-5:30 pm and Saturdays 9am-1pm until Thanksgiving at 11 Blue Hill River Rd, Canton – found between Houghton’s Pond and 138 in DCR’s Blue Hills Reservation.
  • Thanksgiving Sale details will be on the website soon.
  • 2021 CSA shares will be for sale before the end of 2020.

SUPERINTENDENT SHOUTOUT 

Jack and Jai on the road!

Thank you to Milton High School student athletes Jai Twyman and Jack Haley, captains of the MHS boys crew team, who raised $3,800 to benefit MHS students who want to participate in the sport of rowing and need help with the open water sport’s expenses. Jai and Jack rode their bicycles 145 miles from Concord, New Hampshire, to Newport, Rhode Island, over the Labor Day weekend.

Jai and Jack raised money so members of the community who would not otherwise have access to the crew program can be afforded the opportunity to row. Jack and Jai said, “While crew has been an awesome experience for the both of us, we realize that it is too expensive for the vast majority of students to enjoy.”

This ride was their chance to give back to the sport that has given them so much. A scholarship fund has been set up at Friends of Milton Crew/Neponset Rowing Club with the $3,800 raised to date, which will help ensure that the sport of crew in Milton is more accessible to all.

We are proud of Jai and Jack’s efforts to make the sport of rowing more accessible for their MHS classmates.

Thank you to my blog contributors this week: Kim Coughlin, Jen Van Hill, AJ Melanson, Sara MacNeil, Bernadette Butler, Ellen Lohan, Jackie Morgan, Marti O’Keefe McKenna, Rachel Schewe, Ada Rosmarin, and Liddie Sutter.

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.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on October 8, 2020

October 1, 2020

To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
From: James F. Jette
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: October 1, 2020

FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT

As we settle into the school year, I want to call your attention to several important topics below.

This week we have had three positive Covid -19 cases in the Milton Public Schools. I ask that we all take personal responsibility and remain vigilant in helping to stop the spread of Covid-19 within our schools and community. We all must:

  • Limit social gatherings
  • Wear a mask
  • Practice consistent hand hygiene
  • Social distance from those not in our immediate family
  • Not share materials, food, etc.

We need to remain vigilant to these proven safety practices at all times, including evenings, weekends, and holidays. Your cooperation is absolutely necessary to maintain our current in person school schedule.

Living within the construct of Covid-19, we will likely experience more positive cases in the Milton Public Schools. With the health and safety of our students and staff paramount, we will continue to enforce our many safety protocols already in place  – mask wearing, cohorts and assigned seating for contact tracing, enhanced cleaning, ventilation, health screening, quarantine requirements –  to reduce the risk of spread within our schools. We will follow our Milton Public Schools COVID-19 Positive Case Process with all positive cases. Please contact Kimberly Coughlin, Director of Nursing with any questions.

Our MPS COVID Metrics Advisory Team meets regularly and as needed to review metrics and to address positive cases. Members include James Jette, Kim Coughlin, Dr. Patricia Guglietta, Caroline Kinsella, Dr. Patricia Janulewicz Lloyd, Dr. Jon Pincus, Dr. Maryann Dakkak, Dr. Geoff Walford, Ada Rosmarin, Amy Tom, Dyanne Crowley, and Karen McDavitt. As discussed in my last blog post, the team will continue to review health metrics as the school year progresses.

The identity of any positive cases is not shared with metrics team members. Due to privacy requirements, we do not release the name of the individual or details that may identify them.

If a student is asked to quarantine, they will be able to live stream into their class(es) on days of in school learning only, if they are well enough to do so. If a student is not well enough to attend virtually, that student will work with individual teachers to make up work as appropriate.

All families and staff must complete the MPS Daily Health Screening every school day and all families must submit a signoff agreeing to this. Please see Health and Safety below for more information.

SCHOOL COMMITTEE

The next School Committee meeting will be on October 7, 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.

HEALTH AND SAFETY

A vital element of ensuring the health and well-being of our students and staff this year is the MPS Daily Health Screening.

All families and staff in the Milton Public Schools are required to perform this health screening every school day. Please take a moment now to familiarize yourself with the MPS Pre-Screening Checklist. If your child has any of these symptoms, they must be tested for COVID-19 (SARS CoV-2) and submit a negative test to their school nurse; or have a medical clearance note submitted to the school nurse, or complete the required quarantine before returning to school.  Students should not return to school until cleared by the school nurse.

Please click this link by Monday, October 5, 2020, to verify that you have received, read through, and understand the requirements of the MPS Daily Health Screening. You must verify receipt separately (by completing this link) for each child who attends the Milton Public Schools.  Please continue to work with the MPS community to Protect the Paw.

IMPORTANT UPCOMING DATES

School Virtual Open House – Each of our schools will host a virtual Open House over the next two weeks. Dates are found below under Important Dates and school specific information will come from your principal. Please plan to listen to or watch the valuable events to stay up to date with information about your child’s school and class.

Oct 1 Glover Virtual Open House
Oct 6 Tucker Virtual Open House
Oct 7 School Committee Meeting
Oct 8 Cunningham Virtual Open House
Oct 12 Columbus Day, No School
Oct 13 Pierce Virtual Open House
Oct 14 Collicot Virtual Open House
Oct 15 MHS Virtual Open House
Oct 21 School Committee Meeting

The full MPS calendar can be found here.

FOOD SERVICE 

What’s in a typical MPS take home lunch and breakfast bag? A lot of great food!

All details on pick up can be found in this link. Students and families have two options  – grab and go (several breakfasts and lunches) as they leave school on their in-person days or once a week pick up (at MHS near the field house doors behind the school) of multiple breakfasts and lunches on Wednesday at MHS from 12:30-1:30. So that students and staff can safely exit MHS, please do not arrive for weekly meal pick up before 12:15 on Wednesdays. We appreciate your cooperation, and we hope you and your student will take advantage of our lunch and breakfast options this fall!

Due to an extension by the USDA, all meals will be free to all students through December 2020. Please consider trying a grab and go meal on your students in person days or visiting our drive through on Wednesdays.

TECHNOLOGY

Elementary Tech Night: Wednesday, October 7th at 6 pm. Parents/Guardians will be able to attend three different sessions: Google Classroom, Meet, and Seesaw.   Each session will be offered three times (the same content will be covered in each session) allowing parents/guardians the opportunity to attend all three sessions.  We will also offer IT support.  If you have a question with regard to your student’s Chromebook/connecting to wifi please click the link below to ask an IT question.  Each session will have a 250 participant capacity.

6:00 pm – 6:15 pm – Breakout Session 1

6:20 pm – 6:35 – Breakout Session 2

6:40 pm – 6:55 pm – Breakout Session 3

6:00 pm – 6:55 pm  – IT Support – link to ask an IT question.

We understand that the School Committee has a meeting that will start at 7 pm.  Parents/guardians do not need to attend all three sessions.  However, if you choose to attend all three sessions the final session will end promptly at 6:55 pm allowing participants and presenters five minutes to get ready for the School Committee meeting.  Each session will be recorded and posted for families who have a conflict.

Google Classroom: All teachers in grades two through twelve in the Milton Public Schools use Google Classroom to help manage their class(es).  It is a common misconception that family members can join a Google Classroom.  Only students and staff in the miltonps.org domain have the right to join a Google Classroom.  Teachers can invite family members to receive Guardian Summaries.  Guardian Summaries allow families to see class activities, upcoming work, and missing work.  For more information on Guardian Summaries please click here.

Families have asked how to help their students turn in assignments on Google Classroom. Here are instructions on how a student can turn in an assignment on Google Classroom.

Here are some more resources to help families better understand Google Classroom: Common Sense Media’s Ultimate Guide to Google Classroom; Google Classroom Cheat Sheet for Students

Google Accounts: Need your child’s school Google username and password? Please email your child’s classroom teacher if they are in elementary school.  Please contact Jess Royster if your child is in middle school and JT if your child is in high school.

Technology Troubleshooting: Can’t hear the speaker on Google Meet? Camera isn’t working? Before you email for help with your school issued Chromebook, please check out the Troubleshooting Guide on the Family Tech Support website.  If you still can’t solve the issue, please email helpdesk@miltonps.org.

Password not working? All school issued passwords are 8-digits long. If the password you were given by your classroom teacher is not 8-digits, please add zeros in front of it to make it 8-digits.  If it is still not working, please contact the following people to reset your child’s password. Elementary – Jen Van Hill; Pierce – Jess Royster; MHS – JT

Please include all of the following when requesting a password reset to make for a faster process: child’s full name, homeroom teacher, and school.  

HIGH SCHOOL HAPPENINGS 

Some of the Debate Team practices earlier this year.

Congratulations to the MHS Debate Team on an excellent showing at last weekend’s Massachusetts Debate League tournament. With over 130 contestants, Ralph Destin and Bradan O’Loughlin took third place in the Varsity tournament. Ralph and Kiera Glazer, competing at the junior varsity level, earned a speaker award.

In addition, Anderson Korman, Jonathan Waldmann, Bradan O’Louhglin, and Ralph Destin all competed and won enough debates to earn bids for the Massachusetts State Tournament at the end of the year. What a way to start the season!

This month’s debate team topic was Resolved: The United States federal government should enact the Medicare-For-All Act of 2019. The team is debating the same topic this weekend in the Yale Tournament, a tournament they would not have been able to attend if not remote.

Kevin Rasch, VP of Government Affairs at Harvard Pilgrim Health, spent some time with members of the team this week. He shared the following  ” It really was a great experience for me. Renews my faith in humanity and this country when I see kids of that caliber and know they are the future. Thanks for letting me have that experience.”

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Milton High School is offering an online Driver’s Education course for Junior Operators.  You must be 15 years and 9 months old to register.  The program includes the 15 modules required classroom training, 12 hours of behind the wheel instruction, and 6 observation hours.  More information can be found on the Milton High School Driver’s Education website.  Please email James Moonan at jmoonan@miltonps.org or Richard Guarino at rguarino@miltonps.org if you have any questions.

PIERCE PAGES 

Please see this most recent communication dated 9/29/20 to the Pierce community from Principal Fish to stay up to date on all things Pierce.

INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

During the summer break, Glover staff created DonorsChoose projects to acquire a series of books that focus on promoting social and emotional wellbeing, diversity and inclusion. The collection is available to all Glover teachers who might be interested in using any of the stories in their SEL lessons. The books can be used individually with our students in counseling sessions or more broadly in classrooms if teachers find that a particular story might be helpful for a lesson that they are teaching. The hope is that students will see some of their personal experiences reflected in these books and the stories will also help them to consider the experiences of others.

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Kindergarten Days are here! During the week of October 4,  the sponsors listed here will offer free gifts or discounts to children who are entering kindergarten this fall when they visit wearing their bright yellow “I’m Going To Kindergarten!” t-shirt. Participating businesses will display a special sign in their window to remind you to visit them. You don’t need to turn anything in to take advantage of the offers – but your child must be present, entering kindergarten in September, and wearing his or her yellow Kindergarten t-shirt. As you visit our sponsors, please join us in thanking each of them for their support of Milton’s young school children!

COMMUNITY SCHOOLS 

ASE Virtual Enrichment Fun! Our students are having a great time learning and creating in our online classes. Harry Potter Art Class, Yoga, Drawing Class, Seasonal Art, Cooking class, and more are all on the ASE calendar this year. We’ve got Harry Potter’s Golden Snitch, english muffin pizzas, votive candles, and more. Take a look below to see what they’ve been up to!

SPECIAL EDUCATION 

Administrator for Pupil Personnel Services, Sue Maselli shares the following information.

Parent Series: All are invited to participate in a parent series for parents/guardians of students in grades 6-12 that will focus on how parents can support their children as they navigate through their Hybrid/Remote learning schedule. This series will focus on identifying strategies on how parents can set up their home working environment to support at home learning, how to support your child planning and organizing their workload,  behavioral strategies to increase independence with remote learning, and strategies to monitor your child’s social and emotional well being.  Please use this link to register. 

Please click here for a Financial Planning Toolkit for parents of children with Autism.

MassMATCH  is the Commonwealth’s Initiative to Maximize Assistive Technology in Consumer’s Hands. MassMATCH assists individuals with disabilities, family members, and disability-related providers, agencies, and organizations across the state with getting AT through the following programs: device demonstration program, device short term loan program, device re-utilization program, and state financing activities. The MassMATCH website provides a wealth of information on AT services for people of all ages with disabilities. You can also call the Mass Assistive Technology Helpline: 877-508-3974; Voice: 617-204-3851; TDD: 617-204-3815 or reach them via email at info@massmatch.org.

SEPAC News: The SEPAC will be meeting its first meeting of the school year via Zoom on Wednesday, October 7th from 7-9pm. We will be discussing information about the SEPAC board election, including a description of each board position. Following that, we will have an open forum during which parents can ask questions about the SEPAC, as well as ask questions or share comments about Special Education in Milton. We look forward to seeing many new faces at the meeting. Zoom information on joining the meeting can be found here.

Inclusion Task Force (ITF): The inclusion task force is a group of parents, school staff, and community members who meet to ensure that the Milton Public Schools are a welcoming place for students of all abilities. The purpose of the ITF is to foster authentic relationships in schools and the broader community for our students with disabilities and to promote awareness of inclusive opportunities throughout the school district and community.

The first remote meeting of the 2020-2021 school year will be on October 19 from 4-5pm. Please contact Elementary Inclusion Specialist Maureen Butler if you are interested in joining the task force meeting. All are welcome!

SOCIAL EMOTIONAL HEALTH

I have asked our district wide team of Adjustment Counselors to share mental health resources with you each week. This installment is from MHS  Adjustment  Counselor Kenny Adelman.

As parents/guardians of students in the Milton Public Schools, it can be easy to overlook your own personal needs for those of the child you are caring for. Caring for yourself is one of the most important aspects of being a caregiver. When you are able to effectively care for yourself, your child benefits too. Here are a handful of strategies to help recognize and manage caregiver burnout.

Setting Realistic Goals And Focus On What You Can Provide: With remote learning in effect at every Milton Public School, there is an emphasis now more than ever on caregivers to be involved in their students’ learning. There can be pressure to feel like you have to know everything that your student knows. It’s important to recognize that this isn’t realistic. Focus on your students’ learning process, rather than the content itself. When you are able to alleviate some of the pressure on yourself, your students will feel that too.

Get Connected: An increasing number of caregivers I’ve connected with share the same concern during the pandemic – Is my child too isolated? I share that same concern with the caregivers who are worried themselves. Now more than ever, it’s difficult to feel connected. Take some time to reflect on when you feel connected, and how you can continue to prioritize those situations.

Lean On Your Support System: Asking for help never feels easy. So often my meetings at the High School include working with students on identifying, growing, and utilizing their support systems when they need additional help. As caregivers, there can be the tendency to disregard the need for additional support for yourself when your children may need it too. Prioritize your needs, as well as those of your child, and lean on those who care about you too. Nobody is exempt from needing additional support at times.

Self Care: Self care is essential, but not always easy. We work with our students to balance work and play, and we should adhere to that as well. Remember, self care shouldn’t be something you “earn”. It should be something in both you and your child’s day, even if it feels like just a moment of time. Self care should be flexible as so often life gets in the way, but that doesn’t mean you can’t consistently make it a priority.

Take a minute to reflect on the incredible and selfless work you do with those you care about, not only over the last six months. So often we teach children about self-compassion, but we too have that responsibility for ourselves.

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Our Adjustment Counselors are available as resources for your family. Please reach out to your Principal or Adjustment Counselor for support at any time.

MPS School Adjustment Counselors:  Jennie BeliveauMary Bianca MattocksKenneth Adelmann (Milton High School); Myriam FrancoeurKara Sheridan, Kelly Dearing(Pierce); Heather Kantrowitz (Cunningham) Elizabeth Caruso (Collicot); Lisa Stahl (Tucker) Brian Powers, Christine Howley (Glover)

In addition to our adjustment counselors please feel free to reach out to our district Family Outreach Liaison, Marti O’Keefe McKenna at mmckenna@miltonps.org or 617 980 7343 for family resources.   All updates on Family Resources – food, heating assistance, health insurance, financial assistance, contacts – can be found at this link.

TRANSPORTATION UPDATE 

Thank you to all the MPS families for your patience with the challenges and delays in transporting your students to and from school. All bus passes for students who have been assigned seats have been distributed to schools and students. A reminder that no student will be allowed on the bus without a physical pass in their possession, must wear a mask, must sit in their assigned seat, and may only ride on their assigned route.

If you are in possession of a bus pass for your student and no longer plan to utilize it, please email bus@miltonps.org to notify us and return the pass to school. We have families on waiting lists for the limited seats on buses.

We will begin billing for transportation this week and next. Fees to ride are $275 per student with a family maximum of $550 except for students in grades K to 6 who live two miles or more from school who ride free. Credits to these fees will be applied where applicable. Students who qualify for free or reduced lunch do not pay transportation fees.

We will begin processing refunds from the spring of 2020 for families who did not ride this fall in mid October. Please watch for communications from the Transportation Department.

MILTON FOUNDATION FOR EDUCATION 

The Milton Foundation for Education recognizes that 2020-2021 is unlike any other school year in its more than 20 year history. In response, 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 30th at 5PM. Please find more information including the grant guidelines and application here.

ATHLETICS

Please see this link for a full fall athletics update from Athletic Director Ryan Madden. 

All athletic schedules and updates can be found on the athletics website linked here.

The Milton Boosters Fall Pop-Up store is open and can be found at this link. Be sure to support our student athletes and get your Milton swag at the same time. Act quickly – the pop-up store closes Friday night.

Another great way to support our student-athletes is by playing in the Booster’s upcoming golf tournament on October 19 at Granite Links. Click here to REGISTER for the 2020 MHS Boosters Swing For Sports!

 

COMMUNITY NEWS 

It won’t be like the last 3, but the 4th annual Mike’s 5K is still on!  No big gathering this year, but we want to keep the momentum going.  Mike’s 5K to Crush Substance Abuse raises funds to erase stigma, spread awareness, strengthen treatment programs, and demonstrate the power of community and friendship in the battle against substance abuse.  Significant funds support Milton youth prevention programs.  As always, we do this to honor Mike Mulcahy and his family, as well as others who have struggled with addiction or loved someone who has struggled with addiction. 

Team MSAPC will be starting our walk/run as a physically distant- mask wearing group on Saturday, October 17th, at 9am, following the same route that leaves from Cunningham School.  Register here and join Team MSAPC!   Bring your own mask and water.  You can also support Mike’s 5K here.   Or register and walk/run any time before Oct. 24th, your own route and distance.  Thank you for your support!

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Join the Milton Art Center  for a wonderful nature-inspired virtual open house filled with artwork, activities, and fun for all ages on Saturday, October 3 from 10-11am

Teacher Camille DeMarco will walk students through how to create an environmental art piece inspired by artist Andy Goldsworthy’s work. This is the perfect activity to get outside and enjoy this beautiful fall weather and create art! Drop into Zoom for an exciting free virtual experience filled with creative family fun!

The event is free. Please register here by – TODAY –  October 1 for the zoom link.

The Milton Art Center is offering in person classes through the end of October and Zoom online art classes, to view: Milton Art Center children’s classes.

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The Milton Public Library offers many children’s programs virtually every week.  See all the fun offerings here.

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Brookwood Community Farm updates:

  • Last chance this week for SNAP applications for fall farm shares.  The form can be found here.  
  • CSA pickup on Tuesdays and Thursdays is now 1-5:30 and there will be 4 pickups through Nov 2.
  • The Farm Stand is open Tuesdays and Thursdays 1-5:30 pm and Saturdays 9am-1pm until Thanksgiving at 11 Blue Hill River Rd, Canton – found between Houghton’s Pond and 138 in DCR’s Blue Hills Reservation.
  • Thanksgiving Sale details will be on the website soon.  
  • 2021 CSA shares will be for sale before the end of 2020.

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Thank you to my blog contributors this week: Kim Coughlin, Susan Maselli, AJ Melanson, Kathleen Kelley, Jackie Morgan, Jen Van Hill, Marti O’Keefe McKenna, Javana Samuels, and Brian Powers.

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.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on October 1, 2020

September 24, 2020

To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
From: James F. Jette
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: September 24, 2020

FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT

Today was the sixth day of school for Milton Public Schools students and I am happy to say that, overall, they have been a successful six days. Our staff and students continue to make connections, all are getting acclimated to the new routine, and are perfecting health and safety expectations. They have begun the work of teaching and learning, as they do every September. Teachers, administrators, students, and families have been flexible and creative and have made adjustments as needed.  I want to give a heartfelt thank you to our teachers and staff, parents, guardians, and students for their patience and understanding as we all get accustomed to the routines of this new and different school year.

At last night’s School Committee meeting, I addressed several issues.

Some families have requested a switch from full remote to hybrid. When our Return to School plan was finalized, Former Superintendent Gormley and the School Committee made a commitment of social distancing using a calculus of 6 ft between students in a class. Each Principal and his/her team worked out schedules and routines with that calculus in mind. We have made the necessary accommodations and some of our classrooms are filled to capacity. As we stated in August, if a student is currently in the remote model and wishes to switch to hybrid, it will take at least 2-4 weeks to implement any changes. As previously stated, no model changes will be considered prior to October 1. Whether or not we can accommodate a request to switch from remote to hybrid will depend on the space in a particular class, grade, and school.

I also addressed any possible shifts in our model in the future.  The Milton Public Schools submitted three plans (Full In-Person, Hybrid and Full Remote) to the school committee in August. We presented these plans to the public multiple times and the entire 92 page document was submitted to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) as well. That document was also sent to all families via email and remains on the MPS Return to School website. Due to our high enrollment (prior to COVID 19) and challenges with space, we are not able to provide full in-person at this time. At the end of June, we had 4400 students enrolled in the Milton Public Schools. Our enrollment remains steady at 4420 students. We decided on and remain committed to a half-day model due to concerns about the distance needed between students during lunches. Students could not eat in the classrooms as the social distancing requirement exceeded the 6 ft when the masks were off to eat and socialize. This half-day model allows for remote live, synchronous teaching for all students for a part of every school day which is an important factor in our Hybrid Model.

Many people compare other schools and districts when discussing models. Each school and district has individual challenges. Enrollment, space availability, budget, staffing, and more are all considered when developing models.

Milton Public Schools will use several data points to monitor COVID-19 cases within our community. The first data point is cases per 100,000 metric established by DESE and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MA DPH). This data is based on the average daily cases per 100,000 residents. Each city or town has been designated as a higher risk (red), moderate risk (yellow), or lower risk (green) community. Communities with fewer than 5 cases are not given a designation. It is important to note that while average daily cases per 100,000 is the metric that determines the color coding for each community, we will monitor this over a period of 2-3 weeks prior to making any recommendations about pivoting to other models. We may have a spike one week and the second and third week, those numbers could be on a decline.

The second data point is the State Positivity Percentage. The guidance calls for schools to go fully remote when the State Positivity Rate hits 5%. The daily rate is found by dividing total tests in a day by positive results. The MA DPH then reports out a weighted 7 day average on a daily basis on their website. The Commissioner has told schools to use a 2-3 week window to monitor these results.

The Milton Public Schools has a COVID Metrics Advisory Team that will be meeting regularly. Tonight is the second official meeting of the team. Members have agreed to look at additional data points which include, but are not limited to:

  • Total positive cases in the community
  • Age of demographic of the positive cases
  • How and where people contracted the virus (for example, were all cases reported at Curry College or Milton Academy, etc.)
  • Hot spots/color code of communities for our faculty and staff
  • Additional information recommended by Caroline Kinsella and our local Board of Health.

There is not a single staff member, myself included, who does not want to see our students in person more. The current reality of Covid 19 prevents this right now and our current model, developed over several months, allows for the best combination of in-person and remote learning for our MPS students and staff. I will continue to update the MPS community at bi-weekly School Committee meetings, in this weekly blog, and via email.

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On behalf of the Milton Public Schools, I want to express my sincerest condolences to the Nohmy family on the tragic murder of Cameron (Cam) Nohmy. Cam, a 2015 MHS graduate, was a personable young man and a valued member of our school community. I am saddened to see another life lost so young. Donations may be made in his memory to the Cameron Nohmy Memorial Scholarship Fund.

Please keep Cam’s family and friends in your thoughts and prayers.

SCHOOL COMMITTEE

The next School Committee meeting will be on October 7, 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.

HEALTH AND SAFETY

Please see the following health and safety items  – some Covid -19 related  – posted on the MPS Health Services website. Please email Director of Nursing Kim Coughlin with any questions.

Next week, all families will receive an email asking them to confirm receipt of and affirm their commitment to using the MPS Symptom Pre Screening Checklist each day. Please review the email and submit your confirmation of receipt next week.

IMPORTANT UPCOMING DATES

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement in the Jewish religion, will begin in the evening (sunset) of Sunday, September 27, and ends the evening of Monday, September 28. There will be no school on Monday, September 28 in observance of Yom Kippur.

It is the policy of the Milton Public Schools NOT to assign homework, tests, quizzes, major presentations, Google hangouts or hold events or athletic practice/games during the Jewish Holidays.

Sept 28 Yom Kippur, No School
Oct 1 Glover Open House
Oct 7 School Committee Meeting
Oct 12 Columbus Day, No School
Oct 14 Collicot Open House

The full MPS calendar can be found here.

FOOD SERVICE 

We hope you and your student will take advantage of our lunch and breakfast options this fall!

All details can be found in this link.

Students will have two options  – grab and go (several breakfasts and lunches) as they leave school on their in-person days or once a week pick up (at MHS near the field house doors behind the school) of multiple breakfasts and lunches on Wednesday.

Due to an extension by the USDA, all meals will be free to all students through December 2020. Please consider trying a grab and go meal on your students in person days or visiting our drive through on Wednesdays. 

TECHNOLOGY 

All elementary, Pierce, and families of students who loan out an MHS Chromebook have the option of purchasing insurance for their student’s Chromebook for the 2020-21 school year.  The optional insurance is thirty dollars and will cover any accidental damages to your student’s Chromebook.  Here is a link with instructions on how to purchase Optional Chromebook Insurance.

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Check out this quick Google meet tip from Glover’s Mrs. MacNeil. Want to see your teacher as the big picture on the screen? Learn how here.

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If I want to purchase my own device, what should I buy? Recommended specs and details can be found here. 

Family Technology Support Help Center website:  This site was created after hearing the feedback MPS families provided.  The site provides information on PlusPortal, Google: Clever: Guardian Monitoring, and Who to Contact.

MPS Family Tech Support Group: A technology minded group of MPS parents and guardians invite you to join the private MPS Family Tech Support Group Facebook group.

HIGH SCHOOL HAPPENINGS 

Welcome to Milton High School!

Thank you to MHS Student Leader Lindsey Dunn for sharing the following information about last week’s MHS Freshman and New Student Orientation.

On Wednesday, September 14th Milton High School’s Student Leaders hosted Freshmen Orientation on Brooks Field, to welcome all incoming freshmen and new students. Due to COVID-19, the Orientation had to be run a bit differently than in years past. The students were split into two groups by last name, the beginning of the alphabet came from 1:30- 2:30pm, and the end of the alphabet came from 3-4pm

Our new students were welcomed onto the field by the Student Leaders. Students found their assigned group on their assigned yard line and were seated 6 feet away from each other. Each student received a welcome bag, filled with a Wildcat sticker, Milton mask, a schedule, and other supplies they needed for the icebreakers.

Once all the freshmen arrived,  Vice Principal Mackinaw and Principal Cahill said a few words to welcome the new students and to get them excited about their high school career.

After the welcome, we split into two smaller groups, one that started with a socially distanced tour of the building and the other that did socially distanced icebreakers on the field. Halfway through the orientation, the groups switched.

The tour followed a strict route through the building, each student walking 6 feet apart from one another. Socially distanced icebreakers such as Cross the Line, Wa, Inside Circle Outside Circle, and a Q&A were all conducted on the field.

Although this Orientation was different from all previous ones, students were welcomed, well informed, and got a taste of the Wildcat Spirit. We are excited to welcome all incoming freshmen and new students to Milton High School!

PIERCE PAGES 

This week the 7th grade science team kicked off the Astronomy unit on the Pierce Middle School patio. Ms. Mitchell hosted science outside this week as students traced their shadows to track the movement of the sun over time.

Students took a break from drawing in their science notebooks to model rotation vs. revolution. What happens to your shadow as we get closer to noon? Why does the sun appear to move across the sky? How does the movement of the sun change with the seasons? These are all questions our 7th graders are investigating as we start the school year.

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Please see this most recent communication to the Pierce community from Principal Fish to stay up to date on all things Pierce. 

INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

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Kindergarten Days are here! During the week of October 4,  the sponsors listed here will offer free gifts or discounts to children who are entering kindergarten this fall when they visit wearing their bright yellow “I’m Going To Kindergarten!” t-shirt. Participating businesses will display a special sign in their window to remind you to visit them. You don’t need to turn anything in to take advantage of the offers – but your child must be present, entering kindergarten in September, and wearing his or her yellow Kindergarten t-shirt. As you visit our sponsors, please join us in thanking each of them for their support of Milton’s young school children!

 

SPECIAL EDUCATION 

Administrator for Pupil Personnel Services, Sue Maselli shares the following information.

Parent Series: All are invited to participate in a parent series for parents/guardians of students in grades 6-12 that will focus on how parents can support their children as they navigate through their Hybrid/Remote learning schedule. This series will focus on identifying strategies on how parents can set up their home working environment to support at home learning, how to support your child planning and organizing their workload,  behavioral strategies to increase independence with remote learning, and strategies to monitor your child’s social and emotional well being.  Please use this link to register. 

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Do you know someone going through an Initial Evaluation? Is your child going through an Initial Evaluation?

If so, please refer them to our parent Outreach Series on Preparing for My Child’s First Team Meeting.

This one hour remote session is designed to help parents and guardians:

  • Understand the Eligibility Process
  • Understand how to interpret Evaluation Reports
  • Prepare to share their ideas at a Team Meeting
  • Learn about programs and services in the district.

To join, please email Susan Maselli, Administrator for Pupil Personnel Services at smaselli@miltonps.org

SEPAC News: Welcome to the 2020-21 school year! Our first Milton SEPAC meeting will be held virtually on Wednesday, October 7 at 7pm.

Our Elections for board positions will take place this fall. There are many anticipated openings and we need your support and your voice to ensure that every child and family voice is heard and supported!

Please mark the monthly meetings on your calendar and plan to attend. Why? There is strength in numbers! Your ideas are needed to help us ensure your children receive the best possible education in Milton. Parents/guardians of children who receive services on an  IEP or  504, and others interested in special education, have first-hand knowledge of what their children need in school. You will be able to make connections with and get support from others who have similar circumstances. SEPAC meetings are the perfect place to talk about the issues and learn what you can do to help your child be successful

Inclusion Task Force (ITF): The inclusion task force is a group of parents, school staff, and community members who meet to ensure that the Milton Public Schools are a welcoming place for students of all abilities. The purpose of the ITF is to foster authentic relationships in schools and the broader community for our students with disabilities and to promote awareness of inclusive opportunities throughout the school district and community.

We will have our first remote meeting of the 2020-2021 school year on October 19 from 4-5pm and we would love to have additional members join us! A link for the meeting will be forthcoming.

SOCIAL EMOTIONAL HEALTH

As I shared last week, the social-emotional health of our students will be paramount as we reopen our schools. I have asked our district wide team of Adjustment Counselors to share resources with you in the coming weeks. This installment is from Pierce Adjustment  Counselor Kara Sheridan.

“The moment you realize you are not present, you are present. Whenever you are able to observe your mind, you are no longer trapped in it. Another factor has come in, something that is not of the mind: the witnessing presence.” ― Eckhart Tolle

The Milton Public School District has made it a priority this school year to focus on Social Emotional Learning, as well as overall wellness for the students, faculty, and staff.  With everything going on in the world, now more than ever we can easily become overwhelmed and distracted. Especially, when we are out of our typical routines and norms.  An important component of social and emotional learning that we’re teaching our students is Mindfulness.  Mindfulness means being present and focusing on the now. Taking a step back and looking at the world around you. When our students are present and not worrying about the past or future, they are more able to focus and therefore, learn.  What better way to encourage mindfulness than to practice and model this mindset ourselves.

Here are some quick Mindfulness exercises to try throughout your day, and hopefully incorporate into your family and lifestyle.

Mindfulness Activity #1, Mindful Breathing 7/11

  • Breathe in through your nose while you count to 7; breathe out through your mouth while you count to eleven.  While breathing in and out, notice the movements of your body; notice your chest and stomach rising up and down. Notice the air in your nostrils when you breathe in. The counting helps you concentrate on your breath, and in turn, refocuses your attention and makes you feel calm.

Mindfulness Activity #2, Tune into your senses

  • Choose one of the 5 senses (touch, taste, smell, sight, hearing) and become aware of what it brings to you.  Really focus on the sense you chose, observe it, and identify in your mind what you notice. Example: if you chose sight, take a moment and look where you are, focus in on one thing you see, and notice the colors, textures, shapes, and shadows.
  • If you have more time and energy, try to focus on each one of your senses!

Mindfulness Activity #3, Awareness of Posture

  • Instead of awareness of breathing, some people prefer mindfulness of posture- in other words, an awareness of the fact that you are sitting, slouching, standing, walking, running,or lying down. Try awareness of your posture next time you’re in your living room, bedroom, office,  kitchen table, etc, and you will find your concentration improves. Awareness of your posture can also give you a mental space when you’re trying to get some work done. Bringing awareness to your posture takes you out of your racing thoughts, especially in stressful situations.

***

Our Adjustment Counselors are available as resources for your family. Please reach out to your principal or Adjustment Counselor for support at any time.

MPS School Adjustment Counselors:  Jennie BeliveauMary Bianca MattocksKenneth Adelmann (Milton High School); Myriam FrancoeurKara Sheridan, Kelly Dearing(Pierce); Heather Kantrowitz (Cunningham) Elizabeth Caruso (Collicot); Ramsay Cadet (Tucker) Brian Powers, Christine Howley (Glover)

***

All updates on Family Resources – food, health insurance, financial assistance, contacts – can be found at this link.

ART AND MUSIC 

Last call for Music Lesson Sign Ups!

The Milton Applied Instrumental Lesson Program is currently registering new students! If your student is in 4th grade or above and would like to begin learning an instrument, please fill out the form found here: Beginner Registration Form The deadline for filling out the form has been extended to Friday,  September 25th. Once you fill out the form, a lesson teacher will be in touch with you.

Continuing students should contact their lesson teacher directly to set up your lesson time.

Not sure which instrument to play? Take a look at these instrument demonstration videos provided by one of our vendors, Needham Music: Instrumental Demos- Needham Music

More information about the lesson program  including rates and instrument rentals can be found here: ALP Beginner Information

If you have any questions, please email Rebecca Damiani at rdamiani@miltonps.org.

ATHLETICS 

The Milton Boosters is offering something new this year. In addition to our year-round online merchandise store and in-person concessions, we are offering 3 seasonal pop-up online stores with limited edition merchandise. Currently, our Fall Pop-Up store is open and can be found at this link. 

This Pop-Up store close October 2nd! Orders typically take 10-14 days to come in and we will e-mail you with a pick-up date, likely mid-October. Let’s support our student athletes. Go Cats!

COMMUNITY NEWS 

It won’t be like the last 3, but the 4th annual Mike’s 5K is still on!  No big gathering this year, but we want to keep the momentum going.  Mike’s 5K to Crush Substance Abuse raises funds to erase stigma, spread awareness, strengthen treatment programs, and demonstrate the power of community and friendship in the battle against substance abuse.  Significant funds support Milton youth prevention programs.  As always, we do this to honor Mike Mulcahy and his family, as well as others who have struggled with addiction or loved someone who has struggled with addiction. 

Team MSAPC will be starting our walk/run as a physically distant- mask wearing group on Saturday, October 17th, at 9am, following the same route that leaves from Cunningham School.  Register here and join Team MSAPC!   Bring your own mask and water.  You can also support Mike’s 5K here.   Or register and walk/run any time before Oct. 24th, your own route and distance.  Thank you for your support!

***

International Chess Master David Vigorito has been teaching chess in Milton for over 10 years. He teaches at all 4 elementary schools as well as Milton Academy and St. Agatha’s. Virtual classes begin on September 28th.

There are four different levels to choose from and classes available Mondays through Thursdays. All details and registration info can be found here. Register soon, as some classes are almost full!

***

Join the Milton Art Center  for a wonderful nature-inspired virtual open house filled with artwork, activities, and fun for all ages on Saturday, October 3 from 10-11am

Teacher Camille DeMarco will walk students through how to create an environmental art piece inspired by artist Andy Goldsworthy’s work. This is the perfect activity to get outside and enjoy this beautiful fall weather and create art! Drop into Zoom for an exciting free virtual experience filled with creative family fun!

The event is free. Please register here by Oct. 1 for the zoom link.

The Milton Art Center is offering in person classes through the end of October and Zoom online art classes, to view: Milton Art Center children’s classes.

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The Milton Public Library offers many children’s programs virtually every week.  See all the fun offerings here.

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Brookwood Community Farm is continuing to accept folks joining our 2020 CSA using SNAP benefits at a rate of $40/month.  This $40 is added back to their account immediately through HIP.  If forms are filed quickly, the member will receive a share every other week from now through the week before Thanksgiving.  Pick up at the farm is preferred but if transportation is a barrier, Brookwood will find a partner to deliver the share. Please print out the form and call or email to alert us that it is coming.  Farm phone 339-502-0826.  Email president@brookwoodcommunityfarm.org.  The form can be found at the bottom of this page.

***

Thank you to my blog contributors this week: Christie Chiappetta, Lindsey Dunn, Liz Spitz, Kim Coughlin, Rebecca Damiani, Susan Maselli, AJ Melanson, Madeline Murphy, Jackie Morgan, Erica Cadigan, Sheri Paquette, Karen McDavitt, Anne Marie Quinn, Sarah Slater, Elaine McNeil-Girmai, Marti O’Keefe McKenna, Jess Gillooly, Eileen Keaney, and Kara Sheridan.

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: Asst. Superintendent for Curriculum & Human Resources, Dr. Karen Spaulding, (617) 696-5040 ext. 5582.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on September 24, 2020

September 17, 2020

To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
From: James F. Jette
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: September 17, 2020

FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT

This week we welcomed our Milton Public Schools students back in our buildings and to our virtual classrooms for the start of the 2020-21 school year. How best to describe these first two days? Successful, to start. But also exciting, stressful, fun, exhausting, frustrating, joyful – the list of possible adjectives is endless. What I do know, is that all of our Milton Public Schools students and staff engaged in making connections and setting the stage for a year of learning together in the months to come.

I would ask that we all take a breath right now and have confidence that the glitches  – in schedules, communication, technology – will be worked out in the coming days. Remember that the beginning of the school year can be stressful in a normal year, and this year is far from normal. Our administrators, teachers, and staff are working feverishly to make adjustments, both for your individual student and to our practices as a whole if we see room for improvement. This school year, and really all school years, are a marathon, not a sprint.  If we can give each other grace, now and throughout the year, we will all be setting a positive example for your children, our students, in this tumultuous time.

I would also like to thank the Milton Community for their outpouring of support after my communication to you last Friday. Rest assured that this situation is behind me and I am ready and excited to move forward with a focus on an outstanding year for the Milton Public Schools.

We captured many happy faces and moments this week and I invite you to take a minute to relish the joy of being back to school in the video below.

RETURN TO SCHOOL –  HEALTH AND SAFETY 

As we continue to Protect the Paw, I want to call your attention to the following important safety items.

Milton Public Schools COVID-19 Positive Case Process

As living in a Covid-19 world is our current reality, we recognize that our schools do not exist in sealed bubbles, and we will likely experience positive cases in the Milton Public Schools. Our active safety protocols – mandated mask wearing for anyone who enters our schools, social distancing throughout all buildings, daily at home prescreening for all students and staff, increased cleaning and sanitizing, increased ventilation, half of the school population for in-person learning, vigilant hand hygiene and more – are designed specifically to decrease the chance of the spread of the virus inside our schools.

When there is a positive case in MPS, communication will be a key component. We have developed a Milton Public Schools COVID-19 Positive Case Process and I invite you to read it here.  Knowing when and why you will be contacted, and by whom, will be important as we safely navigate this school year together.

A key component of a safe return to school is a daily health screening, every day, for all students and staff.

Everyone in the Milton Public Schools will wear a mask. 

  • Please see the Face Covering Policy for all details. We encourage every student to wear one mask to school and to also pack a back up if at all possible. Each classroom will have a box of 3-ply disposable masks to be used when needed.

In order to continue to #protectthepaw, we all must adhere to CDC guidance outside of school as well. Students should be wearing masks and maintaining some distance as they walk home with friends and as they safely socialize outside of school.

SCHOOL COMMITTEE

The next School Committee meeting will be on September 23, 2020, at 7pm and all School Committee meetings can be watched on Milton Access TV.  In the days leading up to each meeting, call in/login information is available on the Town of Milton website.

The Milton School Committee last week presented a quarterly update to the MPS Strategic Plan. You can view the presentation here. The updated Strategic Plan Can be found here. We will write more about the updated Strategic Plan in the coming weeks.

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On August 26, the Milton School Committee voted to approve four policies. Each of these policies is important and I encourage you to take the time to read through them.Face Covering PolicyRemote Learning Policy; Immunization Policy; Covid Policy

IMPORTANT UPCOMING DATES

September 17/18: Kindergarten and Preschool Orientations
September 21: 1st Day of School for Kindergarten and Preschool
September 28: No School, Yom Kippur

The full MPS calendar can be found here.

FOOD SERVICE 

We hope you and your student will take advantage of our food service options this fall!

All details can be found in this link.

Students will have two options  – grab and go (several breakfasts and lunches) as they leave school on their in-person days or once a week pick up (at MHS near the field house doors behind the school) of multiple breakfasts and lunches on Wednesday.

Due to an extension by the USDA, all meals will be free to all students through December 2020. If a USDA waiver is not extended in December students’ accounts will then be charged accordingly. Meals will remain free for our free and reduced students. All meals will be eaten at home.

Additional food resources can be found here. MPS families in need of support at any time are encouraged to email MPS Family Outreach Liaison Marti O’Keefe McKenna via email at or by phone at 617-980-7343.

TECHNOLOGY 

There are many Technology resources available to families and students. Please see below for support.

Family Technology Support Help Center website:  This site was created after hearing the feedback MPS families provided.  The site provides information on PlusPortal, Google: Clever: Guardian Monitoring, and Who to Contact.

Student Technology Boot Camp: This student boot camp was created to help prepare students for remote learning. Students should go through all of the modules to become more comfortable with all of the platforms/applications that will be used throughout the 2020-21 school year. Each module will include important topics your student will be expected to use.

MPS Family Tech Support Group: A technology minded group of MPS parents and guardians invite you to join the private MPS Family Tech Support Group Facebook group. See their note below:

  • We’ve created this group as an unofficial resource for families looking for answers to technology questions during this school year.
  • We encourage you to visit the Family Technology Support site provided by the district as a first step. We hope that families can be a resource for other families as we all endure this most unprecedented of school years.
  • Let’s all be nice to each other. This group will be moderated and there will be no second chances. This is a place to help solve problems, not create new ones. This should be a place to find answers, not lob criticism at each other or the Milton public schools in general.
  • We will not tolerate any posts that are contrary to the spirit of this group.

TRANSPORTATION 

Please see below for an update from our Transportation Department. All updates can be found on the Milton Public Schools Transportation webpage.

No student will be allowed to board a bus in the morning or at dismissal without a hard copy of their bus pass in their possession.  Students MUST wear a mask at all times on the bus, may ONLY ride on their assigned bus, and MUST sit in their assigned seat as printed on their pass. Students should not share or use each other’s personal items on the bus.

Bus routes and schedules are posted on the Milton Public Schools website, but are rough estimates at this time due to the significantly changed ridership and changing of school schedules.  Please plan to be 15 minutes early to the stop in the morning until the schedule settles in, at which time we will work to update the website.  In the afternoons, please plan to be at your child’s stop approximately 5 minutes after school dismisses until we establish afternoon timing.

All remaining bus passes for registered elementary students were delivered to school on Wednesday morning for distribution in backpacks.  If your child received a pass and you no longer wish to have your child ride the bus, please email bus@miltonps.org to withdraw from the bus.  It is critical that we know how many seats are open this year.

Bus passes for 6th graders living more than two miles from school who registered for the bus were delivered to Pierce for distribution as well, please email bus@miltonps.org of you received a pass and do not plan to have your student ride.

We have begun processing registrations for students in grades 6-12 who are not guaranteed ridership and will be assigned seats until they reach the capacity set by the state and DESE for Covid safety, prioritizing students who live more than 2 miles from school.  We will be unable to accommodate all registered riders. Notifications will go out by early next week if your registered student has a seat on the bus.

Please forward transportation questions to Rachel Schewe at bus@miltonps.org.

SCHOOL SPECIFIC INFORMATION 

A great way to stay abreast of what is happening at your child’s school is through the school’s webpage. These sites are linked on the MPS homepage and can be found at these links.

Social media is also a good way to stay in the loop while getting a peek into your child’s day. Be sure to follow your school’s accounts.

A Note from the Milton PTOs

The 6 Milton PTOs have asked me to share this with you. I hesitated to share this but I do want to acknowledge and thank them for their support.

It is our pleasure to congratulate James Jette on his appointment as interim Superintendent of Milton Public Schools. His choice to step into this role during such a stressful and unprecedented time, speaks to his dedication and commitment to our community. In addition to his many accomplishments and various roles within the Milton Public Schools, it is his positive attitude, thoughtful approach to situations, and tireless work ethic that gives us complete confidence in his ability to lead our district. We support Superintendent Jette and look forward to working with him this year and hopefully for many years to come.

***

Our MPS staff was welcomed back by the PTOs and families last week with coffee, treats, and kind messages.

COMMUNITY SCHOOLS

The Covid-19 pandemic has prompted us to rethink how we can deliver the engaging programming, new learning opportunities, and supportive relationships that our families count on. To that end, MCS is launching a virtual enrichment program that will be offered to students K- 5th grades, with a variety of fun and interactive 45 minute sessions taught by our After School Enrichment (ASE) Specialists.

We are excited to share these offerings with you and encourage you to read through these exciting course offerings! 

SPECIAL EDUCATION 

Administrator for Pupil Personnel Services, Sue Maselli shares the following information.

Welcome back! All families with a student in Special Education should have received the following information from The Office of Pupil Personnel Services. If you have not, please email me at smaselli@miltonps.org.

  • Courier mail copy of Parent Safeguards.
  • This recently published letter from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
  • Our first official Special Education newsletter of the year. Please note information regarding the reopening of school, what to expect for IEP services and who is your building contact. Chairs and Liaisons are reaching out to parents directly to talk about individual student needs. We ask for patience while they contact each family. This process has been dependent on building schedules, staffing, and individual building needs based on student and staff selections, and has taken longer than anticipated, so we appreciate your patience.

A Parent Outreach Opportunity:  You are invited to participate in a parent series that will focus on how parents can support their children as they navigate through their Hybrid/Remote learning schedule. This series will focus on identifying strategies on how parents can set up their home working environment to support at home learning, how to support your child planning and organizing their workload, behavioral strategies to increase independence with remote learning, and strategies to monitor your child’s social and emotional well being. Tuesday, Oct 15th at 630 with BCBA, Caroline  Mannion. Please register at this link. 

We are looking forward to a great year!

ANTI-RACISM ACTION TEAM 

The Milton Public Schools invites parents, guardians, and staff to apply for positions on the new Anti-Racism Action Team. This group will be charged with drafting an Anti-Racism Action Plan to guide the district’s work moving forward in diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, with a particular focus on anti-racism. After the Action Plan is reviewed by our staff and community, the Action Team will present to the School Committee. The Action Team will continue to play an important role in supporting implementation, as well as monitoring and reporting quarterly to the School Committee.

The staff application for the Action Team can be found here and the parent/guardian application is found here. The deadline to apply is September 21, 2020.

 SOCIAL EMOTIONAL HEALTH

As I shared last week, the social-emotional health of our students will be paramount as we reopen our schools. I have asked our district wide team of Adjustment Counselors to share resources with you in the coming weeks. This installment is from Pierce Adjustment  Counselor Kelly Dearing.

The start of this unconventional school year brings with it the need to develop new routines and establish effective coping strategies that will give your student the emotional support they need to be healthy, happy, and engaged in learning.

  • As parents and guardians, communicate clear expectations and keep firm boundaries. This is an essential step to establishing a positive school routine and giving children the structure they need to be successful.
  • Collaborate with your student to develop a daily time management plan. What works for us as adults is not always what works best for children and adolescents. Encourage them to talk to you about how you can best support them with their learning.
  • Schedule plenty of self-care activities along with the academic part of the day. Fresh air, physical activity, safely maintaining social relationships and a regular sleep schedule will go a long way toward emotional well-being and engagement in school work.
  • Practice mindfulness. It really works! Long, slow deep breaths send messages to our brain that allow us to feel more relaxed. Reminding ourselves throughout the day of the things in our lives that we are grateful for helps us shift and reframe our negative thoughts into manageable, positive ones.

Ask for help if you need it. You are not in this alone! Please remember that we are here and excited to support you and your student in the year ahead.

***

Our Adjustment Counselors are available as resources for your family. Please reach out to your principal or Adjustment Counselor for support at any time.

MPS School Adjustment Counselors:  Jennie BeliveauMary Bianca MattocksKenneth Adelmann (Milton High School); Myriam FrancoeurKara Sheridan, Kelly Dearing(Pierce); Heather Kantrowitz (Cunningham) Elizabeth Caruso (Collicot) ; Ramsay Cadet (Tucker) Brian Powers, Christine Howley (Glover)

***

All updates on Family Resources – food, health insurance, financial assistance, contacts – can be found at this link.

ART AND MUSIC 

The Milton Applied Instrumental Lesson Program is currently registering new students! If your student is in 4th grade or above and would like to begin learning an instrument, please fill out the form found here: Beginner Registration Form The deadline for filling out the form has been extended to Friday,  September 25th. Once you fill out the form, a lesson teacher will be in touch with you.

Continuing students should contact their lesson teacher directly to set up your lesson time.

Not sure which instrument to play? Take a look at these instrument demonstration videos provided by one of our vendors, Needham Music: Instrumental Demos- Needham Music

More information about the lesson program  including rates and instrument rentals can be found here: ALP Beginner Information

If you have any questions, please email Rebecca Damiani at rdamiani@miltonps.org.

ATHLETICS 

Please see the following from MPS Athletic Director Ryan Madden.

New Athletic Seasonal Structure: The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) worked with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and the Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) to develop a new athletic structure, with some changes to Fall sports, as well as to include a new 4th/floating season, for the 2020-21 academic year, which can be found here.

Football, (Fall) Cheer, and Volleyball have been moved to the new floating season, detailed in the link found here. All other fall sports (B/G Soccer, B/G Cross Country, Field Hockey, Swim and Golf) will start tryouts on Monday, September 21st.  Tryout schedules will be available on the MHS Athletics Website at a later date.

High School Registration: Registration is OPEN! Please visit the Athletics Website for information on how to register for fall sports, or click here.  All student-athletes must pass in a hard-copy of a current valid physical (completed within the last 13 months, no exceptions) during the registration period to the Athletic Director. Emailed and scanned copies sent over the summer will not be accepted.  Physicals should be dropped in the Athletic Director’s mailbox in the MHS front office by the student, or mailed to the school at 25 Gile Road, Milton, MA 02186, Attn: Athletic Director.  *No student-athlete may participate in tryouts without a valid physical handed into the Athletic Director, per MA State Law.*

4-Season Student-Athletes: The MIAA voted to allow student-athletes to participate in all four sport seasons during the 2020-2021 academic year.** Students who intended to sign up for Football, Volleyball, or Cheer may also play a different fall sport, with Athletic Director’s approval, without losing eligibility for Football, Volleyball or Cheer in the floating season. In other words, students may play 4 sports this academic year.

**Students who intend to play 4 sports must have a conversation with the Athletic Director prior to the start of tryouts. Approval will be granted on a case-by-case basis. The intention of this rule is to allow students an opportunity to play another sport if they choose, without displacing students on current teams. Depending on numbers, this opportunity may only be available for non-cut sports.

Schedules: Schedules will not be released until the end of the week. The Bay State Conference is working to create schedules within a smaller geographical regionagainst fewer opponentsto limit exposure across school districts.

Middle School: There will be no interscholastic competitions at the Middle School this year. There may be pass classes, and intramural sports depending on how the start of the academic year goes and gym space and availability. Information will follow when plans are confirmed.

Google Form FAQ: There were several great questions asked on the Google Form back in June regarding High School Athletics. Please visit the FAQ, linked here, for many questions and answers.

Please do not hesitate to reach out with any further questions by contacting Ryan Madden, Director of Athletics, at rmadden@miltonps.org.

COMMUNITY NEWS 

Thank you to MPS parent Andrew Russell for sharing this resource with the MPS community.

The Museum of Science is partnering with WGBH and Representative Marjorie Decker of Cambridge to host a town hall on Children’s Mental Health in the time of COVID. The event is free and open to the public and timed well with the start of school. Representative Decker is the House Chair on Mental Health and Substance Use and she has compiled an excellent panel for this event.

Details are in this flyer and the registration link can be found here. 

***

Join the Milton Art Center  for a wonderful nature-inspired virtual open house filled with artwork, activities, and fun for all ages on Saturday, October 3 from 10-11am

Teacher Camille DeMarco will walk students through how to create an environmental art piece inspired by artist Andy Goldsworthy’s work. This is the perfect activity to get outside and enjoy this beautiful fall weather and create art! Drop into Zoom for an exciting free virtual experience filled with creative family fun!

The event is free. Please register here by Oct. 1 for the zoom link.

The Milton Art Center is offering in person classes through the end of October and Zoom online art classes, to view: Milton Art Center children’s classes.

***

Please see below from Kevin J Cook, USN (Ret.), Director of Veterans Services for Milton and Randolph.

The Veterans Services offices in Randolph & Milton announces Operation CarePax. We will be organizing an effort to send care packages to our troops in Afghanistan.  I have been provided the mailing addresses of two units deployed to Afghanistan until FEB 2021 and we would like to make sure they get support during their deployment. We would like to ask the residents of our communities to assist with donations.    There are 80 soldiers (60 males and 20 females)  combined in the two units.

We will have collection dates for each community at the Veterans Services offices at the end of the month. Our goal is to send one group of care packages each month (SEPT, OCT & NOV) with the NOV packages arriving just in time for the Holidays. I will be outside our offices on the scheduled collection dates & times to accept donations. Please follow all appropriate COVID-19 guidelines when dropping off donations for the troops.

We are asking for donations of new, sealed items to keep our troops safe.  Please no homemade treats as troops can only accept items that we can be sure are safe.  Donations to help with the cost of postage are requested also as each USPS military box costs $19.60 to ship (flat rate for boxes going overseas)

Homemade cards and notes are great and we want to include them in all boxes. The troops appreciate cards and personal notes. All details can be found here.

***

The Milton Public Library offers many children’s programs virtually every week.  See all the fun offerings here.

***

Brookwood Community Farm is continuing to accept folks joining our 2020 CSA using SNAP benefits at a rate of $40/month.  This $40 is added back to their account immediately through HIP.  If forms are filed quickly, the member will receive a share every other week from now through the week before Thanksgiving.  Pick up at the farm is preferred but if transportation is a barrier, Brookwood will find a partner to deliver the share. Please print out the form and call or email to alert us that it is coming.  Farm phone 339-502-0826.  Email president@brookwoodcommunityfarm.org.  The form can be found at the bottom of this page.

AMBASSADORS

As part of our blog, we highlight students, teachers, or members of the community whose hard work deserves recognition.  Please read about some of their accomplishments below. 

I want to take this space to say thank you to all stakeholders in the Milton Public Schools. 

The partnership of MPS staff, the Milton School Committee, many Town of Milton departments, parents/guardians, students, and the Milton community as a whole has been crucial in reopening our schools. If any one of these stakeholder groups had not been “all in” in this endeavor, we would not be in the position we are now. With all hands on deck, we have begun the school year poised for a safe and enriching school year for all of our Milton Public Schools students. On behalf of our students, thank you for all of your efforts on their behalf.

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: Asst. Superintendent for Curriculum & Human Resources, Dr. Karen Spaulding, (617) 696-5040 ext. 5582.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on September 17, 2020

September 10, 2020

To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
From: James F. Jette
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: September 10, 2020

FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT

I am pleased to share that last night, the School Committee finalized the appointment of Karen Cahill as Interim Principal of Milton High School. Mrs. Cahill has served as the Guidance Counselor Department Head since 2013 and has been a valuable member of the leadership team in those seven years. Prior to that she was a Guidance Counselor at MHS and a math teacher at Pierce.

Karen is extremely intelligent, hard working and a consummate professional. She is revered by all students, staff and parents/guardians. She possesses all of the necessary skills to be a successful Principal. I have complete confidence in Karen Cahill to lead Milton High School during these challenging times.

Mrs. Cahill will be surrounded by our outstanding Vice Principals, Mr. Kelly and Mr. Mackinaw, and a very knowledgeable and supportive Leadership Team that includes the Department Heads at Milton High School. Finally, and equally as important, Mrs. Cahill will be supported by an incredibly skilled administrative team in Maureen Kennedy, Brad Spindle and Meghan Connors. Mrs. Cahill knows every aspect of the Milton High School routine and schedule  (she has been the mastermind behind the very complicated MHS daily schedule for the past seven years) and I am thrilled she has accepted this appointment. Milton High School is in excellent hands with Karen Cahill and the rest of MHS Leadership Team.

***

September is always a busy month in our schools, never more so than this year. Since Monday, August 31, the 1st day of school of all teachers and staff, we have been engaged in multiple days of Professional Development, collaboration and planning, in anticipation of welcoming students back on Wednesday, September 16.

There are comprehensive updates being sent from each school this week. If you are not receiving emails from your child’s school, please email the administrative assistant to make any necessary changes to contact information. Contact information for school personnel and recent updates sent are linked below in each school section of the blog.

We are so grateful to Michael Lynch and the team at Milton Access TV for their assistance throughout the year and especially with our Return to School videos linked below. We are lucky to have the wonderful local resource in Milton!

Wondering what your child’s school looks like? The good news is that it looks much the same as it did last year, with happy teachers, student displays and colorful walls. The differences are important though, allowing for safe social distancing, mask wearing and  increased cleaning and hygiene protocols to ensure the safest possible back to school experience for our staff and students. Please take a moment to watch the videos below with your child.

Welcome back to school!

RETURN TO SCHOOL UPDATES 

The Milton community is making a great effort to Protect the Paw!

Protect the Paw is our MPS effort to energize the Milton community around making decisions that will allow our students and staff to begin the school year in the safest possible environment. Small decisions that we all make every day can have a big impact on the health and safety metrics in the Town of Milton.

A key component of a safe return to school is a daily health screening, every day, for all students and staff.

Each day, families and staff will be asked to attest to a series of questions about health symptoms. Once you answer the questions, there is a protocol to follow if any questions are answered in the affirmative.

The Milton Public Schools Commitment to Care holds each of us responsible to help keep our students, staff and community safe. Please read through the MPS Pre Screening Checklist here and contact Director of Nursing Kim Coughlin with any questions.

***

#MPSanywhere: Have you begun setting up a space in your home for at home and remote learning? We would love to see it! Send us a picture of your #MPSanywhere work space and we will share it with the MPS community. Email your picture to sokeefe@miltonps.org or drop it into this folder.

#MaskupMilton: We want to see your mask style! Send us your mask selfie and we’ll share it with the MPS community. Email your picture to sokeefe@miltonps.org or drop it into this folder. Can you tell who’s behind the masks below?

***

Our MHS and Pierce History teachers have a message for our students! Check it out here and see their smiling faces below.

***

The Return to School Milton website continues to be the hub for all Return to School information. Our FAQs are updated regularly and you can often find answers to your questions here.

SCHOOL COMMITTEE

The next School Committee meeting will be on September 23 , 2020 at 7pm and all School Committee meetings can be watched on Milton Access TV.  In the days leading up to each meeting, call in/log in information is available on the Town of Milton website.

The Milton School Committee last night presented a quarterly update to the MPS Strategic Plan. You can view the presentation here. We will share the updated Strategic Plan in an upcoming blog post.

***

On August 26, the Milton School Committee voted to approve four policies. You can read the details below. Each of these policies is important and I encourage you to take the time to read through them.

  • Face Covering Policy – All students and staff will wear a face covering
  • Remote Learning Policy – Sets guidelines and best practices for Remote Learning
  • Immunization Policy – Seasonal influenza vaccine for the current flu season (July-June) must be received annually for anyone 6 months of age or older by December 31st.
  • Covid Policy– Pursuant to this policy, the Superintendent is generally empowered to deviate from MPS policy to maintain the health and safety of the MPS community, while maintaining academic standards of the highest level possible.

IMPORTANT UPCOMING DATES

September 16: 1st Day of School for Grade 1-12 Students
September 17/18: School Based Kindergarten and Preschool Orientations
September 21: 1st Day of School for Kindergarten and Preschool

The full MPS calendar can be found here.

TECHNOLOGY 

Family Technology Support Help Center website:  This site was created after hearing the feedback MPS families provided.  The site provides information on PlusPortal, Google: Clever: Guardian Monitoring, and Who to Contact.

Student Technology Boot Camp: This student boot camp was created to help prepare students for remote learning. Students should go through all of the modules to become more comfortable with all of the platforms/applications that will be used throughout the 2020-21 school year. Each module will include important topics your student will be expected to use.

Milton High School BYODWhat is BYOD? Milton High School’s 1:1 device initiative titled Bring Your Own Device. Students will be encouraged to bring their own device, other than a smartphone, to school on a daily basis. Students who do not have a device can loan a Chromebook from Milton Public Schools at no cost. All details on BYOD can be found here. 

Can we borrow a Chromebook? Yes. All MPS families will be afforded the opportunity to borrow a Chromebook from MPS.  Families borrowing a device will be able to pick up their device during set dates and times  before school starts.

Do I need earbuds?  We have purchased dedicated earbuds with a microphone for each student and they will be distributed by your school during the 1st days of school. Students are welcome to use their own headphones if they prefer.

If I want to purchase a device is there something specific I should get? If you would like to purchase a device for your MPS student to use at home (elementary) or all the time (MHS)  we have recommended minimum tech specs.  Please note that Pierce students will be assigned a device as part of a Pierce 1:1 device initiative started last year. This link is to the MHS Bring Your Own Device flyer. The bottom left corner of the flyer is a link to these minimum tech specs.

MPS Family Tech Support Group: A technology minded group of MPS parents and guardians invite you to join the private MPS Family Tech Support Group Facebook group. See their note below:

  • We’ve created this group as an unofficial resource for families looking for answers to technology questions during this school year.
  • We encourage you to visit the the Family Technology Support site provided by the district as a first step. We hope that families can be a resource for other families as we all endure this most unprecedented of school years.
  • Let’s all be nice to each other. This group will be moderated and there will be no second chances. This is a place to help solve problems, not create new ones. This should be a place to find answers, not lob criticism at each other or the Milton public schools in general.
  • We will not tolerate any posts that are contrary to the spirit of this group.

SPECIAL EDUCATION 

Administrator for Pupil Personnel Services, Sue Maselli shares the following information.

Please see the recently published letter from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education as well as our first official Special Education newsletter of the year.

The COVID-19 Compensatory Services and Recovery Support for Students with IEPsdocument can be found here.page3image3447573248

We are looking forward to a great year!

TRANSPORTATION 

Due to restrictions on the capacity of buses, some changes were required to our bus procedures.  We are still transporting all students in Grades K-6 who live more than two miles from their school and we will be filling other available seats (up to the limited capacity) with those who signed up last spring for transportation, are in the hybrid model,  and are still interested in taking the bus.

All Riders:

  • Masks are mandatory for all riders.
  • Students may only sit one person to a seat.  The only exception to this is that two siblings will share a seat.  In order to provide maximum ridership, siblings MUST sit together, to a maximum of two to a seat.
  • Bus seats will be marked indicating on which end of the bench students may sit (we will be alternating aisle and window seats).  Seats will also be numbered, odd numbers behind the driver, even numbers on the door side.
  • Bus passes will indicate not only the route and stop, but also the student’s cohort and the seat number to which they are assigned.
  • Buses will follow similar routes to those used last year but, owing to reduced ridership, some stops may be skipped depending on the cohort day as no students from those stops may be riding every day.   Final schedules will be posted on the website. add link

Elementary Students: All students who live two miles or more from school have been placed on buses.   We are contacting others who indicated that they wish to have their children ride to confirm they are still interested.   At this point, it appears we will be able to accommodate all elementary students who wish to ride the bus.  We hope to have these passes in the mail by the end of this week.

Middle and High School Students: 

Grade 6 (more than 2 miles away): Students in grade 6 who live more than two miles away and are registered to ride the bus may start riding immediately. These passes will be mailed home at the end of this week.

Grade 6 (less than 2 miles away) and all Grade 7-12: In order to assure students get home in time for afternoon remote sessions, we will be prioritizing those students who live more than two miles from their school for any Pierce and MHS available seats.

It will take a few more days to survey those who signed up last spring to determine their continuing interest and place them on routes.  It is not clear that everyone who requested a seat on these buses will get one.  Parents and guardians in this group should make other arrangements for Wednesday through Friday of next week. We will update on additional bus seats available going forward for this group next week.

Please refer to the Milton Public Schools Transportation webpage for all updates.

HIGH SCHOOL HAPPENINGS  

Please see the most recent communication from the MHS Leadership Team, highlighting important upcoming dates, new student orientation, building protocols and more.

Milton High School Contacts: 
Principal Karen Cahill, Vice Principals Mr. Ben Kelly and Mr. Brian Mackinaw.
Administrative Assistants Mrs. Maureen Kennedy and Mr. Brad Spindle and Ms. Meghan Connors
MHS School Nurse Christine Walsh
MHS Athletic Website
MHS Website

PIERCE PAGES 

Pierce Principal Bill Fish sent two important updates to families this week and last. Please see the links below for cohort information, weekly schedule updates, building protocols and more.

Pierce Middle School Contacts:
Principal Mr. William Fish and Assistant Principals Dr. Nick Fitzgerald and Ms. Janice Mazzola
Administrative Assistants Mrs. Sandy Wyse and Mrs. Susan Higgins
6th grade welcome activities will take place during the school day during the 1st weeks of school
Pierce School Nurse Barbara Perry
Pierce Webpage
Pierce PTO email contact
Pierce PTO Facebook page

INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS 

Glover Elementary School Contacts
Principal Mrs. Karen McDavitt and Assistant Principal Mrs. Sara MacNeil
Administrative Assistant Ms. Deb Woods
Glover Nurse Maureen LeBlanc
Glover Webpage 
Glover Twitter account
Glover PTO FB Page
Glover PTO email contact 
Glover Supply List
Glover September 7 Communication 

Collicot Elementary School Contacts
Principal Mrs. Holly Concannon and Assistant Principal Ms. Ellen Lohan
Administrative Assistant Ms. Joanne Barker
Collicot Nurse Jeanne Sgroi
Collicot September 8 Communication
Collicot August 19 Communication
Collicot Webpage
Collicot PTO email 
Collicot PTO Facebook page
Collicot School Supply List 

Cunningham Elementary School Contacts
Principal Dr. Jon Redden and Assistant Principal Mrs. Bernadette Butler 
Administrative Assistant Ms. Erica Cadigan 
Cunningham Nurse Alison Joyce
Preschool Updates
Cunningham Webpage 
Cunningham PTO email 
Facebook Page
Cunningham School Twitter 
Cunningham School Instagram
Cunningham School Supply List 
Cunningham September 10 Communication

Tucker Elementary School Contacts 
Principal  Dr. Elaine McNeil-Girmai and Assistant Principal Ms. Kristen Driscoll
Administrative Assistant Mrs. Eileen Keaney
Tucker Nurse Kerry Joyce
Tucker Webpage 
Tucker  PTO email contact
Tucker  PTO Facebook page
Tucker School Supply List

Community Schools Updates 

Please see these important updates from Community Schools about virtual after school enrichment options.

ANTI-RACISM ACTION TEAM 

The Milton Public Schools invites parents, guardians and staff  to apply for positions on the new Anti-Racism Action Team. This group will be charged with drafting an Anti-Racism Action Plan to guide the district’s work moving forward in diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, with a particular focus on anti-racism. After the Action Plan is reviewed by our staff and community, the Action Team will present to the School Committee. The Action Team will continue to play an important role in supporting implementation, as well as monitoring and reporting quarterly to the School Committee.

The staff application for the Action Team can be found here and the parent/guardian application is found here.

FOOD SERVICE 

We are excited to share the fall Food Service plan with you today! All details can be found in this link.

Students will have two options  – grab and go (several breakfasts and lunches) as they leave school on their in-person days or once a week pick up (at MHS near the field house doors behind the school)  of multiple breakfasts and lunches on Wednesday.

Due to an extension by the USDA, all meals will be free to all students through December 2020. If a USDA waiver is not extended in December students accounts will  then be charged accordingly. Meals will remain free for our free and reduced students. All meals will be eaten at home.

Additional food resources can be found here. MPS families in need of support at anytime are encouraged to email MPS Family Outreach Liaison Marti O’Keefe McKenna via email at or by phone at 617-980-7343.

SOCIAL EMOTIONAL HEALTH

As I shared last week, the social emotional health of our students will be paramount as we reopen our schools. I have asked our district wide team of Adjustment Counselors to share resources  with you in the coming weeks. This 1st installment is an update from MHS Adjustment Counselor Jennie Beliveau, who also served as Co-Chair of Return to School Wellness Subcommittee.

This summer, the Wellness Subcommittee of the Return to School Task Force met weekly and was made up of MPS staff members as well as community members. The community volunteers ranged in all areas of expertise including mental health, social emotional learning, advocacy, and social injustice work. The goal of this subcommittee was to make recommendations to the larger task force on how to best support both staff members and students social emotional wellness with the transition of returning to school. One thing was made very clear through all of our conversations – the social emotional well being of our students and our staff is most important. If staff and students are not feeling safe and supported, it will be impossible for us to reach our full potential as educators and students. With this in mind, recommendations were made and plans put in place. During the professional development week, there were several presentations and training to provide both education and support to staff. This included tele-health training for counselors, trauma informed care training for all staff, and a whole day of collaborative work around social emotional learning. Staff have also been encouraged to participate in yoga and mindfulness sessions that were scheduled into our professional development to make sure that we are engaging in our own self-care. Staff are prepared to make the students as safe, confident, and eager to learn when they return to school next week. Whether students are engaged in hybrid or remote learning, we are all part of this amazing Milton community and will make this year a great year together!

***

Our school based Adjustment Counselors are available as resources for your family. Please reach out to your principal or Adjustment Counselor for support at anytime.

MPS school Adjustment Counselors:  Jennie BeliveauMary Bianca MattocksKenneth Adelmann (Milton High School); Myriam FrancoeurKara Sheridan, Kelly Dearing(Pierce); Elizabeth Caruso (Collicot) ; Ramsay Cadet (Tucker) Brian Powers, Christine Howley (Glover)

***

The William James College INTERFACE Referral Service is a confidential outpatient 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 Milton residents and public school students. Callers are matched with licensed outpatient mental health providers from their extensive database, on average, within 2 weeks of their call to INTERFACE. Each referral best meets the specialty needs, insurance or fee requirement, location and availability needs of the caller.  For more information, visit their Facebook page @InterfaceReferralService or list the website at this link. 

This free service has been made possible to Milton residents thanks to the generous support of the Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Milton, Town of Milton Police, Public Schools and Public Health Department, Mike’s 5K, and Milton Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition.

All updates on Family Resources – food, health insurance, financial assistance, contacts – can be found at this link.

MILTON PUBLIC LIBRARY 

The Milton Public Library is a valuable partner to the Milton Public Schools and we are happy to share this communication from them below.

As you prepare to start a new school year, please remember that the Milton Public Library can be a partner in your student’s learning. However, library use in the COVID-19 world looks a little different than it has in the past. We are ready to welcome you to the MPL, with the following caveats:

  • Masks are required while inside the Library
  • Visits are limited to 30 minutes
  • No more than 20 patrons can be inside the building at a time
  • Public computers are not available for use

For these reasons, we cannot host tutoring sessions inside the Library for the foreseeable future, and kids will not be able to spend an entire afternoon with us as they have in the past.

What we can do is support your student as they work on projects, conduct research, and read for fun:

  • Books, audiobooks, and DVDs may be checked out and returned Monday – Saturday
  • Our online resources can be accessed 24 hours a day at www.miltonlibrary.org
  • Discover a wealth of virtual programming for kids and adults at www.miltonlibrary.org/events/upcoming-events/
  • Print services are available by emailing miprint@ocln.org
  • Our wi-fi works both inside and outside our building
  • Wi-fi hotspots and Chromebooks are available for checkout via our Library of Things: call 617-898-4964 to reserve

As your community hub, we are working hard to adapt in this constantly changing environment. Come and find out how we can help by visiting the Library in person, or arrange for curbside delivery by calling 617-898-4954. We are ready to serve you!

The Milton Public Library

ART AND MUSIC 

Although it will look different this year, we are  running the Applied Lesson Program remotely for the foreseeable future.

The Milton Applied Instrumental Program is now registering new students in grades 4 and above. Information for beginning students can be found here: ALP September 2020  If you are interested in registering your student for lessons please fill out this form by September 24th:  ALP Beginner Form 2020 Once you have filled out the form, the program directors or a lesson teacher will be in touch with you to set up a lesson time. Please contact Rebecca Damiani with any questions at rdamiani@miltonps.org.

ATHLETICS 

Please see the following from MPS Athletic Director Ryan Madden.

Tryouts for the Fall Sports Season will start on Monday, September 21. Registration will open the week of September 14. Please check the Athletics Website for more information. All sports except Volleyball, Football and Fall Cheer are currently on for this fall. Volleyball, Football and Cheer have been moved to the “floating season” as described by the MIAA in the latest release, in conjunction with DESE/EEA guidelines. Please see the Milton HS Athletics Twitter for information as it is released (@MHS_Wildcats_).

While we await more guidelines, we advise all student-athletes to get their paperwork in order for when registration opens. Registration information can be found on the Athletics Website, or linked here. Please make sure your student-athlete has a valid physical (within 13 months) for registration. Physicals expire immediately after 13 months.

This is still a very fluid situation. More information will follow in the next week with schedules and tryout information.

COMMUNITY NEWS 

More news from the Milton Public Library:

With the start of school in Milton being pushed back, we at the Milton Public Library are pleased to report that the 2020 Summer Reading Challenge has been EXTENDED until September 16! More time to log your minutes, write reviews of the books you read, and complete activities.

This also means that we are going to push back the drawings, to give all of our readers time to earn as many tickets as possible. Drawings for all of our cool summer reading prizes will take place on September 12.

The MPL offers fun and FREE virtual programs for kids almost every day of the week – and we’re adding a few extra to keep kids busy in the first half of September while you’re waiting for school to start. Keep an eye on our program calendar for information about how to register for crafts, STEM activities, story times, book club, and more!

In addition, there are many children’s programs being offered at the library virtually between September 20 -26. See all the fun offerings here.

***

The Forbes House Museum invites you to the Autumn Illumination Festival on Friday, September 11 from 6-8pm.

Join us on the front lawn of the Forbes House Museum for a concert by Boston-based Kings of Ghost Town, featuring original acoustic music that blends bluegrass and contemporary composition by Danny Erker and Evan Murphy. Enjoy original poetry by Dorchester-based Anna V.Q. Ross, inspired by her family and current events. These artists have been turning to their work to find hope, purpose, and connection; this event is a way to share those positive feelings with the rest of us. Audience members will receive battery-operated candles to help illuminate their space as night falls.

This event is free and advance registration required. Limited seats available per COVID-19 restrictions. For more information visit our website. For those unable to attend in person, the event will be streamed live on Facebook.

Thank you to the Mass Cultural Council for funding this event through its Festivals Program.

***

Brookwood Community Farm is continuing to accept folks joining our 2020 CSA using SNAP benefits at a rate of $40/month.  This $40 is added back to their account immediately through HIP.  If forms are filed quickly, the member will receive a share every other week from now through the week before Thanksgiving.  Pick up at the farm is preferred but if transportation is a barrier, Brookwood will find a partner to deliver the share. Please print out the form and call or email to alert us that it is coming.  Farm phone 339-502-0826.  Email president@brookwoodcommunityfarm.org.  The form can be found at the bottom of this page.

AMBASSADORS

As part of our blog, we highlight students, teachers or members of the community whose hard work deserves recognition.  Please read about some of their accomplishments below. 

Students: At long last, Milton High School student Sam Higgins’ performance on “From the Top” will be broadcast this week!  You can find a local station that broadcasts the show (#385) at this link. 

If the broadcast schedule is not convenient, you can listen to the show online. It can be found  at this link. 

Congratulations to Sam!

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: Asst. Superintendent for Curriculum & Human Resources, Dr. Karen Spaulding, (617) 696-5040 ext. 5582.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on September 10, 2020

September 3, 2020

To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
From: James F. Jette
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: September 3, 2020

FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT

I write to you today in the midst of my eighth day as your Superintendent. To say they have been a busy eight days is an understatement. If you did not have a chance to read my email to Milton Public Schools parents and guardians this week, I invite you to read it here.

I have received hundreds of emails this week and I have not been able to respond individually in all cases. To all who have written with words of encouragement and congratulations, thank you. It means a lot to me to have heard from you. To all who have written with suggestions and comments, please know that they have been read and shared with the appropriate people.

Superintendent James Jette

Some of you have emailed me this week to ask if the district will now switch to a remote model. The short answer is no. Superintendent Gormley, with the full support of the MPS Leadership Team (of which I was a part of as the Principal of Milton High School) put forward a Hybrid/Remote Choice Model to the Milton School Committee on August 13. At their meeting on August 13, the School Committee voted 5-1 to begin the year in the Hybrid/Remote Choice Model. Unless health experts and metrics dictate a change , or Governor Baker mandates a model change for Milton or the State, the Milton Public Schools will begin the school year in the Hybrid/Remote Choice Model.

On Monday of this week, the teachers and staff of the Milton Public Schools began the 20-21 school year. All week, teachers and staff have been engaged in meaningful Professional Development, team building, planning and collaboration. They will continue this work next week, in a hybrid model, with some time spent working remotely and some spent in our school buildings.

On September 16, we will welcome our first students into our buildings. While we will work this fall to address content gaps that exist due to our time out of school, our primary focus in these early days will be on your child’s well being. Tending to their social emotional health while focusing on building strong interpersonal relationships will be paramount. We know that children learn more when they feel safe and protected and we will work with you to help all of our students feel comfortable and ready to learn.

We are actively planning and preparing for a successful and joyful Return to School! I wish you and your family a restful and relaxing Labor Day weekend and I look forward to partnering with you in the weeks and months ahead.

RETURN TO SCHOOL UPDATES 

We are ready to Protect the Paw!

Protect the Paw is our MPS effort to energize the Milton community around making decisions that will allow our students and staff to begin the school year in the safest possible environment. Small decisions that we all make every day can have a big impact on the health and safety metrics in the Town of Milton.

A key component of a safe return to school is mask wearing for all MPS students and staff. Last week, the School Committee finalized the MPS face covering  policy. All students and staff will be wearing a mask and the details on the newly approved mask policy can be found here. Please see our Masks 101 guide here.

***

 Cohort information has been or will be emailed:

  • Elementary: Week of August 31
  • Pierce: Week of August 31
  • MHS: Schedules and cohort by September 15

All students have been confirmed as either in the Hybrid or Remote model. At this time, in order to make final plans for the opening of school, there will be a pause on changes to model choices. If a parent/guardian needs to move from Hybrid to Remote due to a medical issue, they should contact their child’s principal. All other change inquiries will be considered after September 30.

In person start and end times for each school under the hybrid choice are as follows:

  • ​Pierce and MHS: 7:50-12:00
  • Cunningham and Collicot: 8:15-11:15
  • Glover and Tucker: 8:35 – 11:35

Leaving time for dismissal, travel home and lunch, remote learning will take place each afternoon for all students:

  • Pierce and MHS: 1:10 -2:45pm
  • Cunningham and Collicot: 1:00-3:00 pm
  • Glover and Tucker: 1:20-3:20pm

The school day for all remote students is generally the same

***

The Milton School Committee voted to approve four policies last week. You can read the details below. Each of these policies is important and I encourage you to take the time to read through them.

#maskupmilton

  • Face Covering Policy – All students and staff will wear a face covering
  • Remote Learning Policy – Sets guidelines and best practices for Remote Learning 
  • Immunization Policy – Seasonal influenza vaccine for the current flu season (July-June) must be received annually for anyone 6 months of age or older by December 31st.
  • Covid Policy– Pursuant to this policy, the Superintendent is generally empowered to deviate from MPS policy to maintain the health and safety of the MPS community, while maintaining academic standards of the highest level possible.

***

#MPSanywhere: Have you begun setting up a space in your home for at home and remote learning? We would love to see it! Send us a picture of your #MPSanywhere work space and we will share it with the MPS community. Email your picture to sokeefe@miltonps.org or drop it into this folder.

#MaskupMilton: We want to see your mask style! Send us your mask selfie and we’ll share it with the MPS community. Email your picture to sokeefe@miltonps.org or drop it into this folder. Can you tell who’s behind the masks below?

The Return to School Milton website continues to be the hub for all Return to School information. Our FAQs are updated regularly and you can often find answers to your questions here.

SCHOOL COMMITTEE

The next School Committee meeting will be on September 9 , 2020 at 7pm and all School Committee meetings can be watched on Milton Access TV.  In the days leading up to each meeting, call in/log in information is available on the Town of Milton website.

TECHNOLOGY 

Milton High School BYODWhat is BYOD? Milton High School’s 1:1 device initiative titled Bring Your Own Device. Students will be encouraged to bring their own device, other than a smartphone, to school on a daily basis. Students who do not have a device can loan a Chromebook from Milton Public Schools at no cost. All details on BYOD can be found here. 

Can we borrow a Chromebook? Yes. All MPS families will be afforded the opportunity to borrow a Chromebook from MPS.  Families borrowing a device will be able to pick up their device during set dates and times  before school starts.

If I want to purchase a device is there something specific I should get? If you would like to purchase a device for your MPS student (Pierce students will be assigned a device as part of a Pierce 1:1 device initiative started last year) we have recommended minimum tech specs.  This link is to the MHS Bring Your Own Device flyer. The bottom left corner of the flyer is a link to these minimum tech specs.

Family Technology Support Help Center website:  This site was created after hearing the feedback MPS families provided.  The site provides information on PlusPortal, Google: Clever: Guardian Monitoring, and Who to Contact.

Student Technology Boot Camp: This student boot camp was created to help prepare students for remote learning. Students should go through all of the modules to become more comfortable with all of the platforms/applications that will be used throughout the 2020-21 school year. Each module will include important topics your student will be expected to use.

Screentime and Blue Light: Well before the pandemic put everyone in front of a screen for hours on end, it was debated whether blue light being emitted from devices causes eye issues.  Here are some resources to help educate families on blue light.
Harvard Medical; WebMD; Research Progress; Blue Light & Sleep – Forget What You Know; Best Blue LIght Glasses for Kids

SPECIAL EDUCATION 

Please see below from Administrator for Pupil Personnel Services, Sue Maselli.

Welcome back to our families in Special Education!

Once you hear from your child’s Principal regarding their cohort assignment you can expect to hear from your Team Chairperson to discuss how your child’s special education services will look in your selected model of school attendance (hybrid or remote). Following that discussion you will receive a comprehensive document summarizing the discussion and outlining how services will be provided of your child.

Please note that as school reopens, we anticipate lots of questions and concerns regarding students and learning and missed instruction/services as a result of COVIID-19 both in general and special education.

With DESE guidance, the considerations we are using to guide these discussions include:

  • General Education Recovery Support: May be made available to students with disabilities and students without disabilities who need it to address educational and social-emotional needs and reorient them to learning.
  • COVID-19 Compensatory Services: For students with IEPs to remedy skill or knowledge loss or lack of effective progress due to delayed, interrupted, suspended, or inaccessible
  • IEP services because of the emergency suspension of in-person education related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • New IEP Services: To address new areas of disability-related need for students with IEPs.
  • At this link,  you will find Special Education FAQ that is driving our practice during this time.

Finally, your child’s team chair will address compensatory services with you within the Team Process and we encourage you to reach out with any concerns. Thank you for your patience during this unprecedented time.

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Notification of Student/Child Find: In accordance with Federal and State regulations, the Milton Public Schools provides special education programs for eligible students designed to meet the needs of children attending not only public schools, but also those attending private school at private expense as a Milton resident.

Milton provides all residents with an opportunity to participate in the public schools program using a continuous and systematic effort to identify children in need of special education services. Please continue to read the 9/1/20 Notification of Child Find here. 

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What is the McKinney-Vento Act? The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (“Act”), 42 U.S.C. 11431 et seq., is a federal law that is designed to ensure that homeless children and youth have the same access as other children to public education, including public preschool programs. Please see the full McKinney-Vento Public Notice on the 2nd page here.’

ANTI-RACISM ACTION TEAM 

The Milton Public Schools invites parents, guardians and staff  to apply for positions on the new Anti-Racism Action Team. This group will be charged with drafting an Anti-Racism Action Plan to guide the district’s work moving forward in diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, with a particular focus on anti-racism. After the Action Plan is reviewed by our staff and community, the Action Team will present to the School Committee. The Action Team will continue to play an important role in supporting implementation, as well as monitoring and reporting quarterly to the School Committee.

The staff application for the Action Team can be found here and the parent/guardian application is found here.

TRANSPORTATION 

Given the significant restrictions placed on the number of students who can ride a bus at any given time (33% of normal capacity), we are recommending that parents/guardians of students who do not qualify for transportation under state law should plan to make other transportation arrangements as the number of available seats beyond those required by law will likely be very small, if available at all. State law requires that transportation be provided for students in grades K to 6 who live 2 miles or more from school.

The Milton Public Schools will run three bus runs in the morning and afternoon as it has done in the past- Middle/High School; Collicot/Cunningham; Glover/Tucker.

MPS will follow the guidance set forth in MA DESE’s Fall Reopening Transportation Guidance (July 22, 2020). Measures include:

  • Masks- All staff and students on the bus, regardless of age, are required to wear masks at all times.
  • Distance- Students should be seated no more than one student per bench, alternating sides for each row, which allows students to maintain approximately 3 feet of physical distance. Children from the same household may sit together and in closer proximity (e.g., two students per bench).
  • Ventilation- Keep windows open at all times during operation, unless not possible due to extreme weather conditions.
  • Seat assignments- Students should be assigned to a single bus and a particular seat.

Please email bus@miltonps.org with questions.

PIERCE PAGES 

Pierce Principal Bill Fish sent two important updates to families this week. Please see the links below to stay up to date.

FOOD SERVICE 

Thank you to the MPS family who left this special note of thanks for our food service staff. We appreciate it!

We have so enjoyed seeing many of our families at our weekly meals to-go pick up every Wednesday at Tucker and MHS from 8-9am and 5-6pm.  Our Wednesday summer pick ups will continue through September 9.

When school resumes, all students will have the opportunity to pick up grab and go meals as they leave school each day and we will also continue a weekly pick up option on Wednesdays beginning on September 16. All weekly meal pick ups will continue to be free through December 2020.

Additional food resources can be found here. MPS families in need of support at anytime are encouraged to email MPS Family Outreach Liaison Marti O’Keefe McKenna via email at or by phone at 617-980-7343.

FAMILY RESOURCES 

The William James College INTERFACE Referral Service is a confidential outpatient 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 Milton residents and public school students. Callers are matched with licensed outpatient mental health providers from their extensive database, on average, within 2 weeks of their call to INTERFACE. Each referral best meets the specialty needs, insurance or fee requirement, location and availability needs of the caller.  For more information, visit their Facebook page @InterfaceReferralService or list the website at this link. 

This free service has been made possible to Milton residents thanks to the generous support of the Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Milton, Town of Milton Police, Public Schools and Public Health Department, Mike’s 5K, and Milton Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition.

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Our school based Adjustment Counselors are available as resources for your family. Please reach out to your principal or Adjustment Counselor for support at anytime.

MPS school Adjustment Counselors:  Jennie BeliveauMary Bianca MattocksKenneth Adelmann (Milton High School); Myriam FrancoeurKara Sheridan, Kelly Dearing(Pierce) Jaclyn Germano (Cunningham); Elizabeth Caruso (Collicot) ; Ramsay Cadet (Tucker) Brian Powers, Christine Howley (Glover)

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All updates on Family Resources – food, health insurance, financial assistance, contacts – can be found at this link.

NEW MPS STAFF

Every August we welcome new staff to the Milton Public Schools. This year is no different and we are grateful to our MPS Mentor Team who has welcomed our new staff and will work to support them throughout the year. To our new MPS teachers and staff, welcome to  the Milton Public Schools!

Some of our new MPS staff are pictured below and we will share more new faces with you in the coming weeks.

ART AND MUSIC 

Although it will look different this year, we are  running the Applied Lesson Program remotely for the foreseeable future.

The Milton Applied Instrumental Program is now registering new students in grades 4 and above. Information for beginning students can be found here: ALP September 2020  If you are interested in registering your student for lessons please fill out this form by September 24th:  ALP Beginner Form 2020 Once you have filled out the form, the program directors or a lesson teacher will be in touch with you to set up a lesson time. Please contact Rebecca Damiani with any questions at rdamiani@miltonps.org.

SCHOOL SPECIFIC INFORMATION

The 20/21 school year started on Monday, August 31 for staff, and will begin on Wednesday, September 16 for grade 1-12 students and on Monday, September 21 for our kindergarten and preschool students. On Friday, September 4 and Monday, September 7, the Milton Public Schools is closed for Labor Day weekend.  Follow our MPS Facebook page and MPS Twitter account for news and information throughout the year. The full MPS calendar can be found here.

MILTON HIGH SCHOOL
Assistant Principals Mr. Ben Kelly and Mr. Brian Mackinaw.  An Interim Leadership Team for the 20-21 will be announced soon.
Administrative Assistants Mrs. Maureen Kennedy and Mr. Brad Spindle and Ms. Meghan Connors
MHS Athletic Website
MHS Website

PIERCE
Principal Mr. William Fish and Assistant Principals Dr. Nick Fitzgerald and Ms. Janice Mazzola
Administrative Assistants Mrs. Sandy Wyse and Mrs. Susan Higgins
6th grade welcome activities will take place during the school day during the 1st weeks of school
Pierce Webpage
Pierce PTO email contact
Pierce PTO Facebook page

GLOVER
Principal Mrs. Karen McDavitt and Assistant Principal Mrs. Sara MacNeil
Administrative Assistant Ms. Deb Woods
Glover Webpage 
Glover Twitter account
Glover PTO FB Page
Glover PTO email contact 

COLLICOT
Principal Mrs. Holly Concannon and Assistant Principal Ms. Ellen Lohan
Administrative Assistant Ms. Joanne Barker
Collicot Webpage
Collicot PTO email 
Collicot PTO Facebook page

CUNNINGHAM
Principal Dr. Jon Redden and Assistant Principal Mrs. Bernadette Butler 
Administrative Assistant Ms. Erica Cadigan 
Preschool Updates
Cunningham Webpage 
Cunningham PTO email 
Facebook Page
Cunningham School Twitter 
Cunningham School Instagram

TUCKER
Principal  Dr. Elaine McNeil-Girmai and Assistant Principal Ms. Kristen Driscoll
Administrative Assistant Mrs. Eileen Keaney
Tucker School Supply lists
Tucker Webpage 
Tucker  PTO email contact
Tucker  PTO Facebook page

COMMUNITY NEWS 

Sign up to give blood at Milton’s Boston Childrens Hospital Blood Drive!

Last September MPS held its first Milton Goes Gold month in support of Childhood Cancer Awareness. We raised funds and awareness in support of our young friends impacted by childhood cancer.

This year, we are unable to have a full Milton Goes Gold month but we invite you to sign up to give “liquid gold” – lifesaving blood – at one of two community blood drives. Due to Covid safety precautions, walk-ins are not allowed but you can sign up to give on September 19 here and September 24 here. Thanks for helping to support Childhood Cancer Awareness Month!

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Great news from the Milton Public Library!

With the start of school in Milton being pushed back, we at the Milton Public Library are pleased to report that the 2020 Summer Reading Challenge has been EXTENDED until September 16! More time to log your minutes, write reviews of the books you read, and complete activities.

This also means that we are going to push back the drawings, to give all of our readers time to earn as many tickets as possible. Drawings for all of our cool summer reading prizes will take place on September 12

The MPL offers fun and FREE virtual programs for kids almost every day of the week – and we’re adding a few extra to keep kids busy in the first half of September while you’re waiting for school to start. Keep an eye on our program calendar for information about how to register for crafts, STEM activities, story times, book club, and more!

In addition, there are many children’s programs being offered at the library virtually between September 13 -19. See all the fun offerings here.

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The Forbes House Museum invites you to the Autumn Illumination Festival on Friday, September 11 from 6-8pm.

Join us on the front lawn of the Forbes House Museum for a concert by Boston-based Kings of Ghost Town, featuring original acoustic music that blends bluegrass and contemporary composition by Danny Erker and Evan Murphy. Enjoy original poetry by Dorchester-based Anna V.Q. Ross, inspired by her family and current events. These artists have been turning to their work to find hope, purpose, and connection; this event is a way to share those positive feelings with the rest of us. Audience members will receive battery-operated candles to help illuminate their space as night falls. 

This event is free and advance registration required. Limited seats available per COVID-19 restrictions. For more information visit our website. For those unable to attend in person, the event will be streamed live on Facebook.

Thank you to the Mass Cultural Council for funding this event through its Festivals Program. 

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Brookwood Community Farm is continuing to accept folks joining our 2020 CSA using SNAP benefits at a rate of $40/month.  This $40 is added back to their account immediately through HIP.  If forms are filed quickly, the member will receive a share every other week from now through the week before Thanksgiving.  Pick up at the farm is preferred but if transportation is a barrier, Brookwood will find a partner to deliver the share. Please print out the form and call or email to alert us that it is coming.  Farm phone 339-502-0826.  Email president@brookwoodcommunityfarm.org.  The form can be found at the bottom of this page.

AMBASSADORS

As part of our blog, we highlight students, teachers or members of the community whose hard work deserves recognition.  Please read about some of their accomplishments below.

The six Milton PTOs asked me to include the following statement and I am happy to do so here:

We wanted to take a moment to express our sincere appreciation for Superintendent Mary Gormley’s years of service to our children. We are not sure anyone has worked harder to make the Milton Public Schools the top-notch school system that it is today – 46 years of passion, dedication, empathy, kindness, and tenacity. Sometimes we wonder if she actually ever slept – responding to parent emails at all hours, attending every event she could where an MPS student had a chance to shine whether inside the classroom or out – a sporting event, a Pierce Players show, an end of year award ceremony, one of our amazing band concerts, and even most recently – reading Charlotte’s Web virtually to a group of elementary students every week during the pandemic. It is not easy to be a public figure in this town – especially when you oversee the education and well-being of thousands of students.

It is your time now Mary – we wish you the absolute best in your well-deserved retirement and thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your hard work and pure, unabashed dedication to providing the best for our children!

The MHS PTSFO, The Pierce, Tucker, Glover, Cunningham, and Collicot PTOs

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: Asst. Superintendent for Curriculum & Human Resources, Dr. Karen Spaulding, (617) 696-5040 ext. 5582.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on September 3, 2020

August 20,2020

From: Mary C. Gormley
To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: August 20, 2020

FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT

This week’s post is the first of my weekly Thursday blog posts for the 2020-21 school year. If you are new to the Milton Public Schools, I welcome you to what I hope will be a multi-year partnership as we work together toward the common goal of providing an excellent and equitable education for each one of our 4497 current Milton Public Schools students.

In a typical year, I would be reminding families and staff of important upcoming dates, as well as sharing interesting summer program updates, fun summer reading pictures and logistical details. While the beginning of this school year is vastly different, much of the logistics of opening our schools remains the same.

There will be Principal emails and welcoming activities, the much anticipated classroom and cohort assignments, new school supplies to purchase, and 1st days of school for all of our students and staff. Each of these will look and feel differently than they have in the past and it is our job – parents/guardians, administrators, teachers and staff – to work together to make our new (and temporary) normal feel welcoming and safe for our students.

In the coming days, you will hear more about Protect the Paw, our MPS effort to energize the Milton community around making decisions that will allow our students and staff to begin the school year in the safest possible environment. Small decisions that we all make every day can have a big impact on the health and safety metrics in the Town of Milton.

In addition, we’ll share education and resources about masks, hand hygiene, technology support, social emotional well being, MPS building safety measures and more as we prepare for our students and staff to return to school.

I know that by working together we can achieve the goal of a safe return to school and I look forward to partnering with you in the weeks and months ahead.

RETURN TO SCHOOL UPDATES 

The Return to School Milton website continues to be the hub for all Return to School information. You can read details on our Hybrid/Remote Choice model, which is how we will begin the school year. If you have not chosen Hybrid or Remote for your child, please email your child’s principal ASAP to make this choice. Cohorts and schedules are being developed now.

Transportation: Given the significant restrictions placed on the number of students who can ride a bus at any given time (33% of normal capacity), we are recommending that parents/guardians of students who do not qualify for transportation under state law should plan to make other transportation arrangements as the number of available seats beyond those required by law will likely be very small, if available at all.

State law requires that transportation be provided for students in grades K to 6 who live 2 miles or more from school.Please email bus@miltonps.org with questions.

Our FAQs are updated regularly and you can often find answers to your questions here.
What is the 1st day of school? Can I make a cohort request for my child? Can we borrow a Chromebook? These answers and many more can be found in the FAQs.

SCHOOL COMMITTEE

The next School Committee meeting will be on August 26, 2020 at 7pm and all School Committee meetings can be watched on Milton Access TV.  In the days leading up to each meeting, call in/log in information is available on the Town of Milton website.

SCHOOL SPECIFIC INFORMATION

The 20/21 school year starts on Monday, August 31 for staff, on Wednesday, September 16 for grade 1-12 students and on Monday, September 21 for our kindergarten and preschool students. On Friday, September 4 and Monday, September 7, the Milton Public Schools is closed for Labor Day weekend.  Follow our MPS Facebook page and MPS Twitter account for news and information throughout the year. The full MPS calendar can be found here.

You will find school specific contact information below. School based welcoming activities will be shared by each Principal in the coming weeks.

MILTON HIGH SCHOOL 
Principal Mr. James Jette and Assistant Principals Mr. Ben Kelly and Mr. Brian Mackinaw
Administrative Assistants Mrs. Maureen Kennedy and Mr. Brad Spindle and Ms. Meghan Connors
MHS Athletic Website
MHS Website

PIERCE
Principal Mr. William Fish and Assistant Principals Dr. Nick Fitzgerald and Ms. Janice Mazzola
Administrative Assistants Mrs. Sandy Wyse and Mrs. Susan Higgins
6th grade welcome activities will take place during the school day during the 1st weeks of school
Pierce Webpage
Pierce PTO email contact
Pierce PTO Facebook page

GLOVER
Principal Mrs. Karen McDavitt and Assistant Principal Mrs. Sara MacNeil
Administrative Assistant Ms. Deb Woods
Glover Webpage 
Glover Twitter account
Glover PTO FB Page
Glover PTO email contact 

COLLICOT
Principal Mrs. Holly Concannon and Assistant Principal Ms. Ellen Lohan
Administrative Assistant Ms. Joanne Barker
Collicot Webpage
Collicot PTO email 
Collicot PTO Facebook page

CUNNINGHAM
Principal Dr. Jon Redden and Assistant Principal Mrs. Bernadette Butler 
Administrative Assistant Ms. Erica Cadigan 
Preschool Updates
Cunningham Webpage 
Cunningham PTO email 
Facebook Page
Cunningham School Twitter 
Cunningham School Instagram

TUCKER
Principal  Dr. Elaine McNeil-Girmai and Assistant Principal Ms. Kristen Driscoll
Administrative Assistant Mrs. Eileen Keaney
Tucker School Supply lists
Tucker Webpage 
Tucker  PTO email contact
Tucker  PTO Facebook page

UPDATE ON MPS ANTI-RACISM WORK

The Milton Public Schools invites parents, guardians and staff  to apply for positions on the new Anti-Racism Action Team. This group will be charged with drafting an Anti-Racism Action Plan to guide the district’s work moving forward in diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, with a particular focus on anti-racism. After the Action Plan is reviewed by our staff and community, the Action Team will present to the School Committee. The Action Team will continue to play an important role in supporting implementation, as well as monitoring and reporting quarterly to the School Committee.

The staff application for the Action Team can be found here and the parent/guardian application is found here.

The job description on the new senior leadership position, Director of Educational Equity,  as well as dates for community conversations among parents, staff, and community members about diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and anti-racism in MPS will be included in an upcoming blog.

We have created a new section on the MPS website, highlighting recent, ongoing, and upcoming work related to building an anti-racism school district. The pages will continue to be updated as our work in diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging expands and accelerates in the months ahead.

SPECIAL EDUCATION 

Please see below from Administrator for Pupil Personnel Services, Sue Maselli.

Many thanks to the staff and families who made our ESY program such a success. I appreciate the positive feedback and will continue to address any issues that arose.

By now you have indicated your preference for your student’s return to school. A few notes: Students with a level of need 3 or 4 will attend school daily until the all school dismissal time (before lunch, time varies by school). Students with a level of need 1 or 2 will attend a hybrid schedule in an assigned cohort. Long term planning includes consideration for level 4 students to attend school in person for a longer day.

As we move into fall, your team chair will be in touch regarding inclusion schedules for students who attend daily to address how those inclusion services will be provided, given that we are trying to minimize cross exposure. There are several options to discuss, and this will be a work in progress as we return to the classroom.

Our next special education parent coffee will be on Friday, August  28 at 9:30. Join the Zoom Meeting here: ID: 77697687517; Password: r4l6LDl26s

We would also like to welcome two Team Chairs to our department.

  • Gabriela Diller will be the new Team Chair at Milton High School. She begins this fall and you can reach her at gdiller@miltonps.org
  • Holly St. Peter joins us at Pierce Middle School as the 6th grade Team Chair. She can be reached at hstpeter@miltonps.org. Tracy Grandeau will continue to chair all of grades 7 and 8 and the specialized programs for grade 6

PIERCE PAGES 

Pierce Principal Bill Fish recently sent an update to all Pierce families which you can read below.

After several months of uncertainty and questions around what the district’s plans for reopening school would look like, we now have a decision. I realize that families have weighed a variety of factors to inform the decision to have their children return to school in person or remotely. I respect every family’s choice.

We all desperately want to get back to normal. However, the reality is that this school year will be quite different than any other year. We will have teachers and students working and learning both in school and remotely. When we are in school, we will be wearing masks and maintaining physical distancing between one another. School days, bell schedules, and class periods will be altered significantly from what we once knew. There will be new sets of procedures and protocols to facilitate the day. There will be challenges, but a commitment to safety, well being, and learning will remain at the center of our work.

A great deal of information has been shared with families regarding the district’s school reopening plan. The district’s full reopening plan can be found here. I will remain in contact with families in the coming weeks to provide you with ongoing updates relative to the opening of the new school year. I hope you find the general information below helpful.

You can read Principal Fish’s full update here.

INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS 

I hope you were able to visit the recent Sensory Sidewalk at Tucker. The pictures below do not do it justice – it was a creative and fun way to get our students moving.  Thank you to Inclusion Specialist Maureen Butler for adding this to the Tucker summer calendar and thank you to our student chalk artists, Max Mitchell and Rose Gillooly as well as to Tucker art teacher Jess Gillooly for their contributions to the Sensory Sidewalk.

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Great news from the Milton Public Library!

With the start of school in Milton being pushed back, we at the Milton Public Library are pleased to report that the 2020 Summer Reading Challenge has been EXTENDED until September 16! More time to log your minutes, write reviews of the books you read, and complete activities.

This also means that we are going to push back the drawings, to give all of our readers time to earn as many tickets as possible. Drawings for all of our cool summer reading prizes will take place on September 12

The MPL offers fun and FREE virtual programs for kids almost every day of the week – and we’re adding a few extra to keep kids busy in the first half of September while you’re waiting for school to start. Keep an eye on our program calendar for information about how to register for crafts, STEM activities, storytimes, book club, and more!

FOOD SERVICE

We have so enjoyed seeing many of our families at our weekly meals to-go pick up every Wednesday at Tucker and MHS from 8-9am and 5-6pm. Thanks to a just received waiver from the USDA, we are able to continue our grab and go meals on  Wednesdays through the beginning of school.

When school resumes, all students will have the opportunity to pick up grab and go meals as they leave school each day. Students who apply and qualify for free and reduced meals will receive to go meals for free or at the reduced price. The Free and Reduced meal application can be found here.

Additional food resources can be found here. MPS families in need of support at anytime are encouraged to email MPS Family Outreach Liaison Marti O’Keefe McKenna via email at or by phone at 617-980-7343.

FAMILY RESOURCES 

All updates on Family Resources – food, health insurance, financial assistance, contacts – can be found at this link. 

TECHNOLOGY 

Elementary Families: If you have not had a chance to take the technology survey emailed to all elementary families on Wednesday, the MPS Return to School Technology Subcommittee asks that you and your student(s) complete this Elementary Technology Survey.  Please complete the first five questions and then ask your student to complete the remainder of the questions.  Younger students may need help completing the survey.   Thank you for your help and support.

Secondary Families: In an effort to improve students’ remote learning experience, we ask that you have your student(s) check their MPS Gmail account to take a short technology survey that was emailed to them on Wednesday.  Thank you for your help and support.

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We invite you to visit the Milton Public Schools new Family Technology Support Help Center website.  This site was created after hearing the feedback MPS families provided.  The site provides information on PlusPortal, Google: Clever: Guardian Monitoring, and Who to Contact. 

ATHLETICS

Please see below from MPS Athletic Director Ryan Madden.

As many of you may have heard, DESE and the MIAA have released their guidelines and recommendations for returning to Athletics. Just like the EEA and DESE guidelines for return to school, they are guidelines, not official plans. There is still work to do in our Athletic District 7, Bay State Conference, and Milton Public Schools to finalize a plan for returning to athletics.

I would ask for patience while we make these decisions. We will be receiving input from our Athletics Return-to-School Task Force, and making a recommendation to the Superintendent in the next two-three weeks. If you have any questions/comments/concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to Ryan Madden, Director of Athletics, at rmadden@miltonps.org. Registration information will be sent to families ASAP. You have not missed registration.

In the meantime, I would urge you all to have your son/daughter get a physical. The State has not waived the requirement for a valid physical to play sports, meaning students will not be able to play without a valid physical within 13 months.

Also, be sure to check out our Twitter (@MHS_Wildcats_) for our summer-long countdown of our #MHSTop32 Moments in MHS History. Number one will be revealed today!

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: Asst. Superintendent for Curriculum & Human Resources, Dr. Karen Spaulding, (617) 696-5040 ext. 5582.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on August 20,2020

August 4, 2020

From: Mary C. Gormley
To: Parents/Guardians and Staff
Re: Superintendent’s Weekly Update
Date: August 4, 2020

FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT

Thank you to all who watched both our Return to School presentation to School Committee and the Family Q&A session last week. These events were recorded by Milton Access TV and can be watched at the links above. Your questions, comments and suggestions continue to inform the work of our Return to School Task Force and MPS Administrators. All updates on a safe return to school can be found at www.returntoschoolmilton.com.

As this situation rapidly evolves, we continue to revise our plans. Yesterday, we were advised by medical professionals that eating in classrooms is not advisable as students will be unmasked while eating and should be more than six feet apart. As this poses a significant challenge in terms of space, we have decided to rethink our hybrid model (at the elementary and middle school level, the high school plan remains the same) to allow for students to eat at home rather than in school. You can find the details on these adjusted hybrid models below.

We recognize that this is a stressful and disconcerting time for MPS families, students and staff. Please know that all decisions made in this constantly changing landscape are carefully considered and made with the overall health and best interest of our students and staff at the forefront of all conversations. There are no easy decisions here as we work together toward a safe return to school for the students and staff of the Milton Public Schools.

On Wednesday, August 5th at 7pm, we will present our In-Person, Hybrid and Remote plans to the Milton School Commitee for them to vote on an anticipated plan to begin the school year.  At this meeting the Milton School Committee will also vote on a revised school year calendar based on DESE’s recent reduction of school days to 170. We anticipate that the first day of school for students will be September 16th and the first day of school for staff will be August 31st. These dates are not final until the School Committee vote tomorrow night.

The link to attend the School Committee meeting on August 5th can be found here  and you can watch the meeting on Milton Access TV,  Comcast channel 22 or RCN channel 15.

On Monday, August 10th, we will submit the plan approved by the Milton School Committee to DESE for final review.

We will continue to update you. Please contact the Return to School Task Force anytime at this link. 

RETURN TO SCHOOL UPDATES 

Revised Elementary Hybrid Plan

  • Students will be divided into two cohorts (groups A and B). We are still working to ensure equitable access to instructional time for students in our High Needs groups.
  • Groups A or B attend for 3 hours in person daily. Each day, the cohort is dismissed at 11:30 (Collicot/Cunningham) or 12:00 p.m. (Glover/Tucker).
  • In-person instruction in the morning will be core-content focused: prioritization of math and language arts (English and French). Live remote instruction in the afternoon with the classroom teacher(s) will also be core-content focused.
  • Students who attend in-person in the AM participate in specialists and independent work time in the PM.
  • Students who attend remotely in the AM participate in remote instructional blocks with classroom teacher(s) in the PM.
  • In this model, every student who opts for the Hybrid model will receive daily instruction from their classroom teacher(s) either in-person or remotely.
  • Lunch will be “Grab and Go” for students.

In this model, all specialists (PE, Art, Music, Instructional Technology, Spanish) will be conducted remotely on a set schedule.

Revised Pierce Hybrid Plan 

The current draft of the revised hybrid model at Pierce is as follows:

  • Students will be divided into two cohorts (groups 1 and 2). We are still working to ensure equitable access to instructional time for students in our High Needs groups. 
  • Each group will attend school in person for approximately four hours a day on alternating days.
  • The in-person school day will end at noon each day. Grab and go lunch will still be available for students.
  • The hybrid model includes in-person sessions every other day; “at home” work will be assigned during the at-home learning days.
  • Learning at home will consist of practice, extensions, and application working from well-coordinated extended assignments and student-directed activities assigned by teachers.  Work will be a blend of independent and collaborative learning activities.
  • Afternoon sessions will be remote, live and include the full class roster.

The schedule above represents our current thinking on how each day school will be organized. Pierce staff will continue to work to refine the details of the schedule to ensure that we optimize time on learning and ensure student support structures.

The Milton High School Hybrid Plan remains the same at this time and can be viewed here. The In-Person and Remote models at all levels remain unchanged and can be viewed here. 

Return to School Survey Updates

In our last update we shared the results of our Family Survey. These results were primarily quantitative and, therefore, easier to share quickly. In case you missed the results of the Family Survey, they can be found here.  MPS  currently has 4493 registered students and 2876 families. 2360 families completed the survey. These results are being used by our subcommittees to inform their recommendations to the Superintendent and our Return to School Task Force.   Importantly, we asked a question about mental health supports and all families who indicated a possible need and provided a contact, will be contacted by their principal or adjustment counselor. If you feel your child is in need of mental health support, please contact your child’s principal to connect with resources. You can view the results  of the Family Survey here.

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We issued a Student Survey at the end of June, asking three open ended questions about students’ experiences with remote learning. These results took much longer to synthesize and interpret as almost 1500 students gave 4400 individual written answers. Student’s thoughts about remote learning have been summarized and the entire summary can be found here. A synopsis is below.

All qualitative responses were broken down by age group and summarized to highlight key themes. Responses ranged across many topic areas. Many commented on specific school subjects, assignments, online application and games. Others described the process and organization of classes, keeping track of assignments, grades, platforms, and the use of technology. Many noted their interactions with classmates and teachers, while others mentioned their home environment, their own motivation, and the overall workload. This summary document also features relevant quotes from students and families that expressed key ideas.  Overall:

  • Students (and families) struggled to organize the various lessons, meetings, platforms, communications, websites, and all other manner of communications from the schools. Especially in the middle and high school grades there were requests for more structured scheduling and consistent communication channels across the curriculum.
  • Students wanted and needed more one-on-one and small group contact with their teachers, especially for explaining assignments and providing timely feedback.
  • There was no consensus on large on-line sessions – some liked them others found them overwhelming.
  • Across all the grades students appreciated group projects and assignments that were not screen-based.
  • Students wanted to be able to interact with their peers remotely. They wanted some fun activities.
  • Finding motivation and keeping focus was challenging for many. When asked what would make learning from home better, there were many suggestions made by students across all the age groups.
  • Across all grades students often reported feeling that they were doing busy-work and they sought more interactive assignments, assignments tied to current events, and for high school students many wanted to be graded.
  • Remote learning was especially difficult for the PreK-2 age group and required much more parent involvement in the learning process.

More detailed summaries of the responses to each question, as well as quotes from our respondents are included here. 

SCHOOL COMMITTEE

The next School Committee meeting will be on August 5, 2020 at 7pm and all School Committee meetings can be watched on Milton Access TV.  In the days leading up to each meeting, call in/log in information is available on the Town of Milton website.

UPDATE ON MPS ANTI-RACISM WORK

We have created a new section on the MPS website, highlighting recent, ongoing, and upcoming work related to building an anti-racism school district. The pages will continue to be updated as our work in diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging expands and accelerates in the months ahead.

Here are a few other updates on our anti-racism work:

  • At its July 29 meeting, the Milton School Committee unanimously approved the Superintendent’s recommendation to create a new senior leadership position, Director of Educational Equity. For details about the position, read the press release.
  • We are finalizing the Request for Quotes for an external organization to conduct a district-wide Equity Audit. We will hire a consultant with deep experience conducting audits for public sector organizations, in order to assess equity and inequity in policies, programs, practices, resources, curriculum, and other aspects of the school district.
  • Later this week, MPS central office leaders, principals, and assistant principals will participate in a virtual workshop hosted by the Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color (COSEBOC). The session will focus on family and community engagement in the context of Covid-19, led by Dr. Karen Mapp, Senior Lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Faculty Director of the Education Policy and Management Master’s Program.
  • We will host a series of Community Conversations with families, educators, and community members to discuss issues related to race and racism, as well as the broader work of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. Our goal is to foster meaningful discussions with diverse groups of participants, in order to inform our anti-racism work moving forward. Additional details and a schedule of Community Conversations will be announced shortly.
  • MPS will invite parents, educators, and community members to apply for positions on the new MPS Anti-Racism Action Team. The team will drive the development of a comprehensive Action Plan to guide the district’s anti-racism work, building on the MPS Reform Platform presented by the Milton Anti-Racist Coalition (MARC). Details about the application process and timeline will be announced shortly.

SUMMER LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES 

All MHS  summer assignments can be found at this link. In addition, the link for the summer reading challenge that all high school students will complete can be found here.

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Pierce Summer Reading: This year’s approach to summer reading will focus on a school-wide read of Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson. Our goal is to provide a common book for students, staff and faculty to read over the summer with the intention of holding small group conversations in the fall.  The conversations will focus on the themes of equity, access, belonging, and community.  By ensuring that all students and staff access the text, the focus will be less on accountability and more on rich conversation in relevant topics. Please see this  link to learn more about Harbor Me.

Pierce Summer Math Enrichment: All rising or current Pierce Middle School students, as well as their parents, are encouraged to enroll this summer in the free online self-paced course titled How to Learn Math: For Students offered through the math education department at Stanford University. You can find a description and enrollment link for this course, which will address math myths, growth mindset thinking, the valuable role that mistakes play in mathematical development, and much more, here. Please also see this link for additional resources, enrichment activities, games, and puzzles.

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The MPS At Home Learning website is available to students and families all summer long. All weekly plans will be archived and available throughout the summer!

We hope you are enjoying your summer reading! 

Milton’s elementary schools are once again partnering with the Milton Public Library for our Summer Reading Challenge. This year’s theme is “Imagine Your Story!” All details can be found here.

Registration is open for all students entering Grades K-6. Students can sign in to their old summer reading account or create a new one here. For more help, view this slideshow or contact Sara Truog at struog@ocln.org.

The Challenge will run through September 2. By logging the minutes they read, students will receive virtual badges, win prizes, and earn virtual tickets that they can put into drawings for a host of other prizes, like gift cards, mystery book boxes, and swag bags. Readers can also earn rewards for writing book reviews, attending virtual library programs, and completing fun activities. Happy reading!

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Be sure to tune in to the Today Show on Wednesday, August 5th  between 10-11am to see rising 5th graders Daniel and Max talk about their dog treat business and their donations to the Milton Food Pantry. These two charitable entrepreneurs have been busy! You can read their story in this Patriot Ledger article.

TRANSPORTATION

Families with students registered for transportation for the 2020-2021 school year received ridership surveys last week.  Please complete the applicable surveys as soon as possible as the Transportation Department moves forward with state guidelines for the fall.  Please email questions to bus@miltonps.org.

A NOTE FROM THE NURSE

We want to clarify our position on masks, as we realize guidance has been shifting: Will everyone in school need to wear a mask?

Yes. Milton Public Schools will require teachers and all students, in grades pre-K to 12, to wear 3-ply surgical (not cloth) masks at all times, with the exception of outdoor “mask breaks” during recess and at points in the day when students can socially distance. These guidelines are more stringent than those set by the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Exceptions will be made for those who cannot wear masks due to medical conditions, disabilities, and other health and safety factors.

Please note the change in the guidelines to 3-ply surgical (lightweight blue/white masks) from either surgical or cloth masks. MPS will have surgical masks on hand as needed.

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Recently leaders from the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and AASA, The School Superintendents Association met to discuss school reopening and this joint statement was released July 10th AAP News- Back to School .   While emphasizing the importance of returning to school, they also stressed the need for safety while recommending physical distancing, face coverings, hand hygiene and classroom disinfection.  Milton Public Schools has made safety a priority and incorporated these principles in our back to school plans.  Information for parents can be found here: Return to School during COVID 19 or by visiting MPS COVID19 Information and Return to School Milton.

We would like to remind parents that up to date Physical Exams are required for entrance to MPS (any grade), Kindergarten, 4th grade, 7th grade and 11th grade.  Up to date immunizations are required for entry to MPS.  Immunization requirements for School Entry.

FOOD SERVICE

Weekly to-go bags with  7 breakfasts and 7 lunches are available for pick up every Wednesday from 8-9am and 5-6pm at MHS and Tucker through August 26. Weekly produce boxes are also available for pick up. Each box contains 22lbs of produce including carrots, onions, potatoes, romaine, peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, apples, oranges, pears and cantaloupe. ANY Milton family is welcome to pick up a weekly to-go bag as the goal is to support any food insecure student.

If you have a hardship and are in need of more convenient hours for pick up, please contact Food Service Director Jackie Morgan via email or phone at 617-898-1051. MPS families in need of support during this time are also encouraged to email MPS Family Outreach Liaison Marti O’Keefe McKenna via email at or by phone at 617-980-7343.

We have openings in our Food Service Department. If you are interested in flexible hours and working at MPS food service this school year, please email Jackie Morgan at jmorgan@miltonps.org.

FAMILY RESOURCES 

All updates on Family Resources – food, health insurance, financial assistance, contacts – can be found at this link. 

TECHNOLOGY 

We invite you to visit the Milton Public Schools new Family Technology Support Help Center website.  This site was created after hearing the feedback MPS families provided.  The site provides information on PlusPortal, Google: Clever: Guardian Monitoring, and Who to Contact. 

IMPORTANT MPS CONTACTS

MPS school Adjustment Counselors:  Jennie BeliveauMary Bianca MattocksKenneth Adelman (Milton High School); Myriam FrancoeurKara Sheridan, Kelly Dearing (Pierce) Jaclyn Germano (Cunningham); Elizabeth Caruso (Collicot) ; Ramsay Cadet (Tucker) Brian Powers, Christine Howley (Glover)

Central Office is staffed every day and you can reach the Superintendent’s office any time via phone at 617-696-4808 or via email.

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: Asst. Superintendent for Curriculum & Human Resources, Dr. Karen Spaulding, (617) 696-5040 ext. 5582.

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