Superintendent Gormley releases updates for the week of January 20, 2019
FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT
It was wonderful to see so many of our Milton Public Schools students participating in MICA’s Annual Martin Luther King, Jr Day of Service and Celebration this past Monday. If you were unable to attend, I encourage you to consider attending this wonderful community event next year. You will be impressed by our young people and moved by the spirit of community throughout the event honoring Dr. King.
Thank you to Milton Interfaith Clergy Association for including our students in so many meaningful ways. Milton High School students Caroline Gannon, Lok Ye Young, Lydia Geering and Kiera Glazer were honored for their work celebrating Dr. King and our MHS singers (Sadie Leggett, Bridget Green, Newly Henry, Anika Williamson, Anthia Davis, Maeve Bentley, Roisin Queally, Luke Palmer, Brian Soto and Logan Do) contributed beautiful music. Along with Select Board Chair Mike Zullas, MPS students Sadie Leggett, Daniel Thomas, Alyssa Zullas and Luke Palmer, proclaimed the No Place for Hate message to all and our elementary singers (Chandler Sumpter, Farrah LeRay, Gianna Bradford, Milan Cenafils, Adelaide Chalmers, Ime Ebong, Justin James, Kloee Puhala, Gabriella Robinson, Graison Saba, Zoe Sullivan, and Chisom Unamka) lent their young voices to the program. Thank you to our music teachers for preparing our students so well.
Kindergarteners in Ms. Smith’s class have been learning about Martin Luther King Jr.’s dreams for inclusion and acceptance. They spent the last two weeks learning about MLK and relating his dreams to their own dreams. The students then wrote about their dreams for our world and Ms. Smith created a display outside of her classroom.
UPCOMING MPS DATES
- Jan 23,24,25 Pierce Players
- Jan 23 Kindergarten Information Night
- Jan 28 Budget Meeting 6:30pm, Tucker School Library
- Jan 29 Budget Meeting 6:30pm, Collicot/Cunningham Library
- Jan 30, 31 Feb 1 MHS Winter Production – One Act Plays
- Feb 4 Parent Speaker Series, Jon Mattleman – Secret Lives of Teens & Tweens
- Feb 5 Early Release Day for Students
- Feb 5 Milton School Committee
- Feb 6 Milton Activities Fair – Tucker Gym
- Feb 12 Budget Meeting 6:30pm, MHS Auditorium
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat: Come see our Pierce Players in action on Thursday, Jan. 23 at 7pm, Friday, Jan. 24 at 7pm and Saturday, Jan. 25 at 2pm in the Pierce Auditorium. Admission is $10 and all details and ticket link can be found on the Pierce Players website.
MHS Theatre invites you to An Evening of One Act Plays: Love. Resilience. Freedom. The Milton High School Theatre Department presents two powerful, thought-provoking one-act plays next week that explore these themes through historical events.
“An Evening of One-Act Plays” takes place at 7 p.m. Thursday, January 30; Friday, January 31; and Saturday, February 1 at the Milton High School auditorium. Tickets are $7 for students and $10 for adults, and are available at the MHS Theatre website.
Are you looking for activities for your elementary school age children? Please join the Milton Public Schools on February 6th, 2020 in the gymnasium of the Tucker School, 187 Blue Hills Parkway from 5:30-7:00pm. Representatives from a variety of athletic programs, after school activities, musical instrument lessons, theater, acting and future engineers opportunities, and Milton Summer Enrichment will be on hand to answer questions. In addition, a representative from the Milton Public Library will be on hand to register students for a library card and outline all the amazing MPL programs offered.
If you have any questions or need additional information please email Marti O’Keefe McKenna, MPS Family Outreach Liaison.
The MPS Wait Until 8th Team is excited to host an incredibly important parent/guardian discussion led by Karin Roethke-Khan, (Cunningham parent, Milton Academy faculty member, and dorm parent for over 20 years) for the parent/guardian community of all of our elementary schools. She will share her insights about the effects tech has had on her students and strategies for managing it at the early stages of your child’s education and social development. Parents/guardians from ALL schools are invited to join us in the Cunningham faculty lounge on Friday, January 31st at 8:30 am. We look forward to seeing you there for this important discussion.
GRADE SPECIFIC INFORMATION NIGHTS
TONIGHT – January 23rd, 2020 at 6:30 pm, we hope to see many kindergarten parents and guardians at Kindergarten Information Night in the Charles Winchester Auditorium located at Milton High School, 25 Gile Rd. As we prepare to welcome our new kindergarteners next September, the first step for families is to pre-register your new student. Pre-registration can be found online here. Please note that your child must be five years old on or before August 31, 2020 to start kindergarten in September 2020. All details on registering for Kindergarten can be found here.
On Tuesday, February 25th, in the MHS Auditorium, parents and guardians of current kindergarten students are invited to 1st Grade Information Night to learn about our two first grade programs: the English Innovation Pathway (with STEM & Spanish) and French Immersion. We will also explain the Assignment Plan, Lottery (if needed) and the Timeline. The night will end with a Q&A session. We will also hold a STEM Information Night on March 2nd, in the Collicot/Cunningham library, for current kindergarten families to preview an overview of the STEM Program in the English Innovation Pathway and participate in a hands-on engineering activity.
Recent School Committee meetings can always be watched on Milton Access TV. The next School Committee meeting is on February 5th , 2020 at 7pm. School Committee agendas and documents can be found in the School Committee tab on the front page of our website.
The School Committee recently updated the Milton Public Schools Strategic Plan. The updated document can be found here.
MPS Budget Meetings: We are holding three School Budget Presentations in the coming weeks. Each of these presentations is open to all Milton residents, please consider attending the meeting that best fits your schedule. Please join us on one of the following dates to discuss the projected MPS budget for the 2020-21 school year.
January 28, 2020 @ 6:30pm, Tucker School Library
January 29, 2020 @ 6:30pm, Collicot/Cunningham Library
February 12, 2020 @ 6:30pm, Milton High School Auditorium
PARENT SPEAKER SERIES
On Tuesday, February 4th, we will welcome Jon Mattleman presenting “The Secret Lives of Teens/Tweens” at the MHS auditorium, starting at 6:30pm. Jon will help provide new ways of understanding and engaging with teens/tweens, effective strategies you can implement immediately and leave you with more confidence, courage, and patience in your parenting skills. Jon is a mental health counselor and trainer with 30 years of experience working with children, teens, young adults, parents and families. His dynamic presentations have been well received by thousands of parents throughout New England. We welcome his return to Milton after presenting “Minding Your Mind” at Pierce Middle School in 2017.
HIGH SCHOOL HAPPENINGS
The MHS Pre-Med Club hosted a certified EMT from Fallon Ambulance to train students about controlling blood loss. Students learned how to put on a tourniquet and in which situations to use one.It was a wonderful opportunity for those venturing into the medical field or outside adventures like rock climbing and downhill mountain biking. Thank you to advisor Vanessa Bettencourt & MHS Librarian JT Troy for facilitating.
The Young Men’s Group of Milton High School had the pleasure of having former U.S. Senator William “Mo” Cowan talk with the group as a guest speaker on January 10th. Senior Rejeila Sami Firmin shares more here.
Senator Cowan began by telling the young men how happy he was to “be here at the start of the new decade” for them all. Cowan was very personable as he described just how much he wanted to get to know each young man in the room. He was a welcoming and humble presence as he began to tell his inspiring, true story.
He first wanted the members to know that the job titles he has held do not define him. He emphasized to the young men that he has gone through his fair share of difficulties, and that he wouldn’t have been able to succeed without the guidance and support of others. You can read the rest of Rejeila’s article here.
Introducing the Milton High Backstage Boosters! The MHS Backstage Boosters is a new 501(c)3 parent-led organization that supports the growing Milton High School Theatre Program – which has doubled this year to include two musicals and two dramatic productions. The next MHS Theatre Production is An Evening of One Act Plays: The Women of Lockerbie/These Shining Lives on Thursday, January 30; Friday, January 31; and Saturday, February 1 – all at 7pm. Tickets are available at the MHS Theatre website.
The Backstage Boosters need your help and input. Please come to a general membership meeting on Monday, January 27 at 7pm in the MHS auditorium to learn more about upcoming shows, scholarships for seniors, and newly formed committees. You can also share fundraising ideas and volunteer to help behind the scenes or serve on next year’s board.
To make a monetary donation to support the theatre program, please write a check to MHS Theatre Backstage Boosters and either drop it in the Main Office at MHS or mail it to MHS Theatre Backstage Boosters, Milton High, 5 Gile Road, Milton, MA 02186. There are also sponsorship opportunities available for upcoming productions, which provide great publicity for community organizations and we welcome all inquiries.
Thank you for your support! For questions, contact any member of the MHS Theatre Backstage Boosters Board as follows: President Tommy McCarthy ; Vice President Bernadette Bentley ; Treasurer Dave Leggett ; Secretary Joanna Weiss; Student Technical Representative Mikey McCarthy; Student Actor Representative Maeve Bentley; MHS Theatre Director and Backstage Boosters Advisor Kevin Black ; MHS Technical Director and Backstage Booster Advisor Preston Pero.
MSE Red Shirt Opportunity for MHS Students: All Milton High School students are invited to apply for volunteer and paid Red Shirt positions this summer at Milton Summer Enrichment. Details can be found in the application link here. The application deadline is February 13, 2020.
Want to check out what your middle school student has been buzzing about? Milton Parks and Rec & The Youth Task Force invite you to a Community Open House of the Wildcat Den Teen Program! Join them on Saturday, February 1st from 1-3pm at the Lower Level of the First Congregational Church, 495 Canton Avenue. Questions? Email [email protected]mail.com. For a sneak peek, watch this quick MATV video. Hope to see you there!
INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS
Cunningham 5th graders recently had the opportunity to video chat with oceanographer Heidi Dewar. Dr. Dewar is a marine biologist who works for NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) in San Diego, and she is featured in the 5th grade Reach for Reading text book. Cunningham 5th grade teacher Mrs Chen and her husband have known Dr. Dewar for many years and have had the opportunity to see her research first hand as she took them kayaking with leopard sharks off the coast of San Diego. For the 2nd year in a row, Dr. Dewar enthusiastically agreed to answer questions students had about her research, the Reach for Reading article she was featured in, oceanography and more. Students spent time learning about Dr. Dewar and her research interests, and they formulated questions based on what they learned about her. Students learned about Dr. Dewar’s favorite fish (the opah because it can regulate its body temperature and the manta ray because it is so peaceful), how difficult it can be to tag mola (sunfish), the places in the world she has visited for research (Micronesia was her favorite), how much she loves the process of asking a question, forming a hypothesis, making instruments, and carrying out research, how lucky she feels to be able to do what she does and more. Our students enjoyed and appreciated this special experience.
Last week, Tucker participated in their second annual service day as part of the ongoing Tucker Cares program. Every student, grades Pre-K through 5th, participated in activities that provided them the opportunity to perform acts of kindness and give back to the community in various ways.
Preschool students welcomed visitors from the Milton Police and Fire Departments, thanked them for their hard work, provided homemade treat bags for the departments, and handed out handmade ‘Thank You’ cards.
Kindergarteners made fleece blankets and braided toys for the Milton Animal League and thanked Nancy Bersani, animal control officer, for her hard work and dedication.
1st graders created care packages and handmade cards for patients at BID-Milton Hospital. Representatives from the hospital visited the students to thank them and talk about the different types of care the hospital provides.
Second graders welcomed a Navy veteran, Kevin Cook, who spoke to the students about his service for our country, the responsibilities of being a service member, and the role he plays currently in supporting other Veterans. Students made cards and created a care package for a Tucker dad who is currently stationed overseas.
The 3rd grade came together in the cafeteria to make sandwiches and bagged lunches to be delivered to Father Bills.
4th grade students worked together to support an orphanage in Cambodia. Students wrote cards to other students studying hard to learn English, sorted clothes and books donated to the orphanage and welcomed a family member of a Tucker student who will be visiting the orphanage and spoke to the students about the children there.
5th graders created chemotherapy care packages for cancer patients at Dana Farber including blankets and water bottles,. They were visited by representatives from Dana Farber who spoke to the students about cancer research and answered questions the students had. Everyone left the day feeling inspired and hopeful that their participation could have helped brighten someone’s day.
Learning from a classmate’s family member can be so impactful for our students. Thank you to Cunningham parent Baoying Qui for teaching Mrs. O’Leary’s 1st grade class about Chinese New Year. Students read books about Chinese New Year, learned how to write Chinese numbers to 20, and enjoyed a few crafts, including making lanterns and Chinese letters with origami paper.
Cunningham fourth-graders in Ms. Hyde and Ms. DeFilippis, Ms. McKay and Ms. Staker and Ms. Caswell’s classes recently participated in their second Readers’ Cafe of the year. Family members were invited to join the cafe groups as students discussed books they read as part of our Amazing Places unit in Reach for Reading. Students enjoyed sharing their books and learning about their classmates’ books in our classroom cafe setting. It was a great way to end our unit, learn how to talk about books, and celebrate reading!
Our Collicot 5th grade Student Representatives (chosen to represent their peers) meet with their advisor, Mrs. McGrath, each Friday, to discuss ways to make Collicot School the best school it can be. Last week, the team focused on planning for Kindness Week at the end of January. They brainstormed advertising strategies and are decorating posters to hang around the school as reminders of how kindness can impact someone’s day. They are organizing the “Great Kindness Challenge” to promote activities and actions toward others that spread kindness.
Throughout the year, they will focus on the Collicot code and undertake new projects including cleaning the garden, town based community service projects and researching ways to make the Collicot cafeteria more green. We are grateful to our Collicot Student Representatives!
Milton Community Schools is holding February Vacation Camp from February 18-21 (4 days) at two sites: Cunningham & Tucker Schools.
Join the fun during February vacation week. Arts & Crafts, Cooking, Gym Games, Survivor Challenges, Sports, Special Projects, STEM, Drama workshop, Special guests, Science Show and more! Students from all MPS elementary schools are welcome to attend either site. Register before Wednesday February 12 online at Cunningham Camp Registration or Tucker Camp Registration. Questions? Please email Jackie Marr or call 617-696-5040 ext. 5544
Preschool pre-registration is open and will close TONIGHT , January 23rd. Children attending a MPS Preschool Program must be three years old on or before August 31, 2020.The link to pre-register for Preschool can be found here. The following links will bring you to important information regarding our preschool programs. Preschool Presentation 2020-21; Preschool Overview 2020-21; Preschool Fact Sheet 2020-21; Preschool Important Dates 2020-21; Preschool Tuition and Financial Aid 2020-21
I have asked MPS Director of Health and Physical Education, Noel Vigue, to share information about the MPS elementary health curriculum below.
As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention can go a long way. In the Milton Public Schools, we know that to be true when applied to comprehensive school health education. At the elementary level, the health curriculum focuses on building students’ skills and content knowledge to lay the foundation to be a health literate individual. We are building a student’s capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and to help them develop essential skills to make responsible decisions regarding their overall well-being. The elementary health curriculum includes, Pre-K – 5 “Second Step” lessons regarding social-emotional skills taught by their classroom teacher, 5th grade growth and development lessons taught by their school nurse and 5th grade LifeSkills lesson taught by their health educator.
The “Second Step” curriculum focuses on helping students develop the skills for learning, develop empathy for others, emotional management and problem solving skills. These lessons are held approximately once a week. The growth and development curriculum is “The Puberty Workshop” and it helps students with self-management skills, self-awareness, social awareness, and relationship skills. Thanks to grant funding support from BID-Milton Hospital, all 5th grade students are able to go through the “Botvin LifeSkills” substance use prevention curriculum. This evidence-based curriculum has been proven effective through years of research. Part of the curriculum has been supplemented with vaping prevention strategies from the Stanford University School of Medicine – Anti-Vaping Toolkit. The 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. Research shows that it can help increase self-esteem, develop healthy attitudes, and improve their 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).
For more information regarding any of these programs please feel free to contact your school principal or the Director of Health and Physical Education, Noel Vigue.
MILTON FOUNDATION FOR EDUCATION
CELEBRATION 2020 is coming soon! Save the date for April 4th, 2020 at Granite Links. Details and tickets in the coming weeks. In the meantime…
It’s time to buy your jeep raffle ticket! Only 500 tickets will be sold and you’ll have a 1/500 chance of winning a 2020 Jeep Wrangler or $20,000 cash.
How to buy a ticket?
- Email [email protected] to purchase a ticket or with any questions
- Look for ticket sales at many MPS events in the coming weeks
- Stop in at your school main office – all schools have tickets!
The winner will be drawn 4/4/20 at Celebration. The Milton Foundation for Education’s Celebration and Jeep Raffle raises money in support of all six Milton Public Schools.
During the week of February 3, 2020 the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Office of Public School Monitoring (PSM) will conduct a Tiered Focused Monitoring Review of Milton Public Schools. The Office of Public School Monitoring visits each district and charter school every three years to monitor compliance with federal and state special education and civil rights regulations. Areas of review related to special education include student assessments, determination of eligibility, the Individualized Education Program (IEP) Team process, and IEP development and implementation. Areas of review related to civil rights include bullying, student discipline, physical restraint, and equal access to school programs for all students.
In addition to the onsite visit, parent outreach is an important part of the review process. The review chairperson from the Office of Public School Monitoring will send all parents of students with disabilities an online survey that focuses on key areas of their child’s special education program. Survey results will contribute to the development of a report. During the onsite review, the Office of Public School Monitoring will interview the chairperson(s) of the district’s Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC). Other onsite activities may include interviews of district staff and administrators, reviews of student records, and onsite observations.
Parents and other individuals may call Doryce Smith, Public School Monitoring Chairperson, at (781) 338- 3718 to request a telephone interview. If an individual requires an accommodation, such as translation, to participate in an interview, the Department will make the necessary arrangements.
Within approximately 60 business days after the onsite visit, the review chairperson will provide the (district or charter school) with a report with information about areas in which the (district or charter school) meets or exceeds regulatory requirements and areas in which the (district or charter school) requires assistance to correct or improve practices. The public will be able to access the report at this website.
The Office of Pupil Personnel Services is conducting a comprehensive program review of the Special Education programs in Milton. A component of this review is input from various community stakeholders. We are seeking interested community members who would like to participate in a 1 hour focus group. The goal of the group is to hear from community members about their experiences in special education. Information gathered will be integrated into our Program Review and will help guide future planning for Special Education.
The focus group for community members is Tuesday, February 4, 2020 from 4-5pm and the group will meet in Milton High School room 209. Please reach out to let us know if you are able to come, so we plan for appropriate space. if you have already RSVPed, you are all set. Please confirm your attendance by emailing Susan Maselli.
The Milton Public Schools is looking for ways to support those in our community who have deployed members of the military in their family. If you feel you could help us discern the best ways to provide support, we welcome your involvement (staff, parent/guardian, community member) as we consider a path forward. Please email Superintendent Gormley to join this informal group.
If your family needs support at any time, for any reason, please email our Family Outreach Liaison, Marti O’Keefe McKenna.
Quincy Family Resource Center (QFRC ), provides community-based, multi-cultural programs, support groups, early childhood services, information and referral resources, and education for families whose children range in age from birth to 18. For a list of groups offered in February along with a description and time line, please click here.
FOOD AND NUTRITION
Research supports what educators and school officials see every day in our nation’s schools: a well-nourished child who starts the day with breakfast is more likely to be at school, a better learner, and willing to participate in the classroom. Jackie Morgan, shares the following link with valuable information about the many benefits of school breakfast.
Due to changes at the MIAA (Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association), fall sport tryouts for fall of 2020 will start earlier than usual. Football tryouts will begin on Friday, August 21st and all other sports tryouts will now begin on the following Monday, August 24th. There will be a mandatory “Fall Sports Night” in the Copeland Field House on Monday, 8/24/20 for all students intending to play sports at the high school in any season.
Please familiarize yourself with our student-athlete handbook, found on the front page of the athletics website and linked here. It includes many important items for parents and guardians to be aware of, including; governing bodies, list of sports offered, registration checklist, eligibility, fundraising and sources of funding.
IN THE COMMUNITY
The Milton Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition recently took a deep look at youth and drugs, alcohol and mental health issues in Milton in 2019. This included surveys of hundreds of teens and preteens, a survey of over 500 parents, interviews with key stakeholders, focus groups, and data from BID Hospital Milton and our ambulance service. Milton youth demonstrate a lot of strengths and use of illegal substances has decreased generally since MSAPC last examined this issue. However, we still face challenges. Come and hear the results of this community assessment ( on January 30th at 6:30pm at Milton Hospital) and what we can do as a community in order to continue to move misuse rates in a positive direction. The 2016 release of the last community assessment led to amazing collaboration across town departments focused on decreasing youth alcohol and marijuana use and increasing the focus on behavioral health.
There is much fun to be had this season in the Children’s Room at the Milton Public Library! Cool family activities including books, programs, coloring, games, puppets and more are available every day for you to check out. In addition to our regular story times on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, we have these exciting programs for the young people in your life happening this week.
Celebrate winter and dance with friends at the Family Snowball Party! This new Milton tradition will be held Saturday, February 1st from 5-8pm at Cunningham Hall in Milton (77 Edge Hill Road). This year’s party theme is Disney’s “Frozen”, and costumes are encouraged.
“Elsa” and “Olaf” will be there, ready to meet and greet with lots of photo opportunities! There will also be a DJ, karaoke, “Just Dance”, face painting, movie corner, raffles, games, crafts, and other fun activities for kids. Pizza, treats and drinks will also be available for sale.
Tickets are $15 per person, and can be purchased online. Tickets will also be available at the door, space permitting. Raffle tickets and refreshments will be sold separately at the event.
The Family Snowball Party is hosted by Milton Girl Scout Troop 65352 to raise funds for an upcoming cultural exchange program with the Bermuda Girl Guides. A portion of event proceeds will be donated to the World Wildlife Fund, to help the arctic wildlife threatened by climate change. More information available on the event’s Facebook page.
It’s only January but many spring sports registration sites are up and running – or will be soon! If you are considering a town spring sport for your child, now is the time to explore options and register. Milton has many sports options for your child, including: Milton Youth Lacrosse;Milton Girls Softball ;Milton American Baseball ;Milton National Little League, Parks and Rec Spring Basketball.
STUDENTS: Our Girls and Boys Cross Country teams visited the State House last week and were honored with Senate citations for having secured the 2019 Eastern Mass Division 3 Championship Title. Thank you to Senator Timilty, Representative Driscoll and Select Board Chair Mike Zullas for honoring our students. Congratulations to both teams!
VOLUNTEERS: Two weeks ago, over 70 neighbors came out to enjoy conversation, food and drinks to celebrate the Milton Neighbors Facebook Page reaching 11,000 members, and donate to a very worthy local cause at the Milton Neighbors 11k Celebration Social. Thank you to Mellissa Fassel Dunn for sharing the information below.
Though the goal of the social, hosted by The Milton Scene, was to foster community, the event also raised $1800 for the Milton Public Schools pilot music program for children who wish to take a musical instrument, and need financial assistance to participate. This will allow 6 children to take music lessons for a year, a gift they would not otherwise have been able to receive.
Coleman Rose, Darby McCullough, Lemuel Marc and Henry Link of the Milton High School music program entertained the group with a number of jazz pieces. (They were absolutely wonderful and we are hoping to see more of them at a Novara brunch in the future!)
Many thanks to those who attended, many of whom who donated extra, as well as key sponsors, Gervasi & Co., Chinman Law, The Hanley Group, the Leguia Family, and The Accelerato Group, as well as all of the businesses who donated to the swag bags. The Milton Scene donated special advertising packages to each business sponsor. Special thanks to Novara for hosting the event.
We are grateful to these Milton Neighbors for supporting our MPS music programs and bringing the gift of music to more of our students!
Do you have an instrument collecting dust in your attic? Did you know that you can donate it to Milton Public Schools for tax-deductible donation? Email [email protected] for more details.