Superintendent Gormley releases updates for week of September 5, 2019
Updates include back to school information, school committee, health and wellness, and more
On Wednesday of this week, we welcomed our 1st-12th grade students for the 1st day of school. These two days of school (following two days of preparation and Professional Development for our staff – capped off with a terrific performance by the MHS Marching Band) provide students and teachers an opportunity to work together to learn new routines and schedules, establish classroom and school expectations and begin partnerships that will last throughout the school year and beyond. The excitement of seeing old friends, meeting new teachers, making new friends and experiencing new adventures is evident on the faces of our many students and staff on these opening days.
Tucker students and staff were excited to start the morning with their annual visit from Senator Walter Timilty who led the Pledge of Allegiance and welcomed all to a new school year. Tucker ended the day with a surprise visit from Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley who wanted to wish our Tucker students a wonderful year! As you can see in this short video, Congresswoman Pressley took the time to greet many Tucker students on their way home and had a message for them – I work for you everyday in Washington, DC. Following dismissal she visited the Tucker after-school program briefly and shared with them a wonderful message about reaching their career aspirations. The students repeated back for her to hear “If it is to be…. it is up to me”. Thank you to Senator Timilty and Congresswoman Pressley for taking the time to visit Tucker this week.
We are pleased to announce that Cat DesRoche has been appointed as our new K-8 Literacy Director. Ms. DesRoche, who has been the Assistant Principal and Curriculum Coordinator at Tucker since August 2016 (and prior to that served as the MPS Title One Director for 3 years) is a wonderful addition to our district wide leadership team. The K-8 Literacy Director is not a new position, rather a renaming and combining of existing roles within MPS. Tucker Principal Dr. Elaine McNeil-Girmai shares that Cat is a wealth of knowledge and has proven herself to be an exemplary educator at Tucker elementary school over the last eight years. As a classroom teacher, reading specialist and both Curriculum Coordinator and Assistant Principal she always brought creativity, high expectations and hard work to the role. We are excited for Cat to continue to support literacy further at Tucker and throughout the district in her new role. Her love of literacy is contagious and she will do great things in this new role.
On Friday, August 30th and Monday, September 2nd, the Milton Public Schools will be 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.
Please enjoy the long Labor Day weekend and we look forward to seeing all students, including our kindergarten and preschool students, on Tuesday, September 3rd.
SCHOOL SPECIFIC INFORMATION
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
Homeroom assignments mailed out in August, schedules 1st day of school
MHS Open House – September 12th
Principal Mr. William Fish and Assistant Principals Dr. Nick Fitzgerald and Ms. Janice Mazzola
Administrative Assistants Mrs. Sandy Wyse and Mrs. Susan Higgins
Team Assignment Letters mailed the week of August 19th
Schedules to be distributed on the first day of school
Picture Day – August 29th
Pierce Open House – September 11th 6:30 p.m.
Pierce School Supply lists
Pierce PTO School Supply Order Program
Pierce PTO email contact
Pierce PTO Facebook page
Principal Karen McDavitt and Assistant Principal Sara MacNeil
Administrative Assistant Ms. Deb Woods
Homeroom assignments – week of August 19
Kindergarten Orientation Thursday, August 29 9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. (families will receive orientation time with homeroom assignment letter)
BooHoo/Yahoo Gathering (Kindergarten families) Tuesday, September 3 after drop off
Glover Open House- September 26
Glover Twitter account
Glover PTO FB Page
Glover PTO email contact
Principal Mrs. Holly Concannon and Assistant Principal Mrs. Zeina Hamada
Administrative Assistant Mrs. Joanne Barker
Kindergarten Orientation – Thursday, August 29th
Boohoo/Yahoo Coffee, K parents – cafeteria – Tuesday September 3rd, after drop off
School Picture Day – Monday September 9th
Back to School Picnic at Cunningham Park – Friday night, September 13th
Collicot Open House – Wednesday, September 25th
Collicot PTO email
Collicot PTO Facebook page
Principal Mr. Jon Redden and Assistant Principal Mrs. Bernadette Butler
Administrative Assistant Ms. Erica Cadigan
PreK/K Orientation and Picnic – Thursday August 29th, 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Boohoo/Yahoo Coffee, K and PreK parents – Tuesday September 3rd, after drop off
Cunningham Open House – September 19th
Cunningham PTO email
Cunningham School Twitter
Cunningham School Instagram
Principal Elaine McNeil – Girmai and Assistant Principal Maggie Dillier
Administrative Assistant Mrs. Eileen Keaney
Picture Day-September 6th
Open House-September 26th
Tucker School Supply lists
Tucker PTO email contact
Tucker PTO Facebook page
UPCOMING ALL MPS DATES
August 30 No School
September 2 No School
September 3 First Day for Preschool and K
September 4 Milton School Committee
September 10 Instrument Registration Night
September 11 Pierce Middle School Open House
September 12 MHS Open House
September 18 Milton School Committee
September 19 Cunningham Open House
September 24 PARENT Speaker Series Inclusion Specialist Maureen Blazejewski
September 25 Collicot Open House
September 26 Glover Open House
September 26 Tucker Open House
September 27 No School-Professional Development Day
The July and August School Committee meetings can be watched on Milton Access TV. The next School Committee meeting is on Wednesday, September 4th at 7pm.
INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS
Cunningham 5th graders Caroline Melanson and Sara Callahan held their 2nd annual “Getting Ready for Kindergarten” camp this summer. The girls had 4-6 K campers each week who practiced kindergarten readiness skills through fun craft projects, read alouds and outside play. Cunningham teacher Ms. Windwer visited the group on the last day for an exciting finish!
Thanks to a very generous Collicot Class of 2019 gift and a successful partnership with Sustainable Milton, the Collicot PTO and the town of Milton, Collicot has new water bottle filling station. This gift reflects the great respect and responsibility Collicot students model. Morgan refilled her bottle this week and so far we have already helped eliminate the waste from 187 water bottles!
The past few weeks have been busy with popsicle playdates, kindergarten meet ups and fun story times. We hope all of our young students had fun and feel comfortable starting school this week and next.
HEALTH AND WELLNESS
We are excited to announce that Grade 5 Health classes will continue for the 2019-20 school year. Thanks to a generous grant from the Beth-Israel Deaconess Lahey Hospital – Milton, all 5th grade students in the Milton Public Schools will participate in health education lessons using the Botvin LifeSkills curriculum. The grant provides funding for a health educator and curriculum materials. This evidence-based curriculum addresses all of the most important factors leading adolescents to use one or more drugs by teaching a combination of health content, general life skills and drug resistance skills. There’s years of documented evidence of the curriculum’s effectiveness through extensive evaluation and has been proven to prevent or reduce tobacco, alcohol and other drug use. Part of the curriculum will be supplemented with vaping prevention strategies from the Stanford University School of Medicine – Anti-Vaping Toolkit.
The Botvin LifeSkills Training Elementary School program is a comprehensive, dynamic, and developmentally appropriate substance abuse and violence prevention program designed for upper elementary school students. This highly effective curriculum has been proven to help increase self-esteem, develop healthy attitudes, and improve a students’ knowledge of essential life skills – all of which promote healthy and positive personal development. The program learning objectives are as follows:
Personal Self-Management Skills: Students develop skills that enhance self-esteem, develop problem-solving skills, help them reduce stress and anxiety, and manage anger.
General Social Skills: Students gain skills to meet personal challenges such as overcoming shyness, communicating clearly, building relationships, and avoiding violence.
Drug Resistance Skills: Students build effective defenses against pressures to use tobacco (including e-cigs), alcohol, and other drugs (including marijuana and opioids).
The lessons include the following topics: Self-Esteem, Responsible Decision-Making, Tobacco/Vaping Prevention (supplemented with Stanford’s Anti-Vaping Toolkit), Media Influences and Advertising, Coping with Stress, Communication Skills, Social Skills/Peer Pressure and Assertiveness.
PARENT SPEAKER SERIES
Save the date for our first event in the 2019/20 PARENT Speaker Series. Inclusion Specialist Maureen Blazejewski will discuss Supporting All Learners on September 24th at Milton High School.
Coming together with your child’s team each year can be both exciting and stressful, as you reflect upon your child’s progress and plan the new areas of focus. This workshop will offer parents information, insight and tips that will lead to more effective communication and advocacy as you come together with your district team to plan for your child’s educational needs.
FREE and open to the public. This presentation is relatable to parents/guardians of ALL AGES.
This link contains information from SEPAC, Special Education Parent Advisory Counsel regarding multiple upcoming opportunities to meet SEPAC representatives and learn about this vital role they play in our community.
MPS GOES GOLD
Join us as the Milton Public Schools GOES GOLD this September to raise awareness and show support for children who are battling cancer! From September 16-30th, MPS GOES GOLD for Childhood Cancer Awareness and there will be several ways for families to participate. We will share all details next week.
As part of MPS GOES GOLD, we are holding TWO blood drives in September. Saturday 9/21 9am-4pm (75 slots)and Thursday 9/26 8am -3pm (75 slots). Please support this valuable effort and sign up in the links above.
Children need healthy meals to learn. Milton Public Schools offers healthy meals every school day. Breakfast costs $1.25; lunch costs $2.00/$2.25/$2.50 (Elementary, Pierce, MHS) Your children may qualify for free meals or for reduced price meals. Reduced price is $.00 for breakfast and $.40 for lunch. The packet linked here includes an application for free or reduced price meal benefits, and a set of detailed instructions. Below are some common questions and answers to help you with the application process.
Who can get free or reduced price meals?
- All children in households receiving benefits from MA SNAP, MA TAFDC, FDPIR, or specific categories of Medicaid are eligible for free meals.
- Foster children that are under the legal responsibility of a foster care agency or court are eligible for free meals.
- Children participating in their school’s Head Start program are eligible for free meals.
- Children who meet the definition of homeless, runaway, or migrant are eligible for free meals.
- Children may receive free or reduced price meals if your household’s income is within the limits on the Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines. Your children may qualify for free or reduced price meals if your household income falls at or below the limits on this chart.
All information on free and reduced school meals can be found here. More information on our Nutrition Services program can be found here.
There is a terrific opportunity for part time jobs or substitutes in our food services department. We are hiring for substitute positions at all schools. You’ll be serving healthy food to kids and be home when your kids are home due to the school schedule – what’s better than that?! This can be a great opportunity for parents and retirees and food service experience is a plus, but not required. The starting pay for the food service substitute position is $15.05 per hour. Please email Jackie Morgan or call (617-696-5040 X 5514) for more information.
SOCIAL EMOTIONAL LEARNING
Laurie Stillman, MPS SEL Facilitator shares the following.
Did you know that children perform better in school when they learn how to manage their emotions, constructively handle challenging situations, establish positive relationships with peers and adults, develop caring and concern for others, and make responsible decisions?
These qualities not only help students to achieve academically, but they also build character, self esteem and engagement in learning. These social emotional skills can be learned and practiced, and are the underpinnings of having successful careers in a 21st Century economy. They are characteristics that employers value most, and are associated with higher wages. Here are some tips for raising caring, confident and capable children, recommended by the state of Illinois:
Set fair and thoughtful consequences for misbehavior, and then stick to them
Ask your children how they feel, and show them that their emotions are important to you
Find ways to stay calm when you’re frustrated and angry. Don’t lose control. It sends the wrong message.
Give your children room to make mistakes when learning new skills.
Give children choices, so they can learn to solve problems
Ask questions that help children solve problems on their own
Encourage sharing and helping
Fostering these skills will help support children’s resilience in dealing with life’s pressures.
Bus passes for all assigned students have been mailed home and routes and schedules for the 2019-2020 school year are posted on the MPS website under the transportation page. All riders are REQUIRED to present their bus pass to ride the bus every day. Students will not be allowed to board without their pass.
Please note that in the first week or two of school buses can run early or late based on traffic and new route patterns, please plan to have your student at their assigned stop at least 10 minutes early as we ask for patience as the routes settle into regular patterns for the school year.
The MPS Athletics Dept is busy preparing for fall. Please see MHS Athletics website with all you need to know about fall athletics. Roll ‘Cats!
The MHS Field Hockey team will be hosting a car wash on September 7th, 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. at the Cunningham School. $10/car.
The MHS Boys Basketball team will be hosting a “Cans for Cats” bottle and can drive on September 7th, 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. at Milton High School.
NEWS AROUND TOWN
A Reason to Ride is an annual family-friendly event where participants can choose between a 5K walk or a bike-a-thon with the option of 10-, 25-, or 50-mile rides through the scenic north shore towns of Danvers, Beverly, Wenham, Essex, and Gloucester to benefit cancer care and research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
This event started out as a labor of love for brain cancer survivor and BIDMC grateful patient Tom DesFosses. Tom and his wife, Judy, their close friend, Bob Barry, and numerous grateful patients, friends, and family members, launched A Reason to Ride in 2008 to raise funds for Eric Wong, M.D., and the Brain Tumor Fund at BIDMC. In 2011, recognizing that cancer touches everyone’s lives in different ways, Tom and Dr. Wong expanded the ride to support care and research for other types of cancer at the medical center. We hope you will join us on September 8 as we continue our efforts to support critical research, better treatment options for patients, and someday, a cure.
Milton’s Household Hazardous Waste drop-off day will be on September 7th at the DPW Yard. As this is the first Saturday of September, and the recycling center’s typical first-Saturday opening will be moved to September 14th.
The Milton Public Library has terrific children’s programs all through September.
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Thank you to my blog contributors this week: Noel Vigue, Elaine McNeil-Girmai, Liz Spitz, Jackie Morgan, Marti McKenna, Karen McDavitt, Holly Concannon, Sara MacNeil, Bernadette Butler, Jon Redden, Susan Maselli and Laurie Stillman.