Superintendent Gormley releases updates for the week Of March 9
FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT
As a district, we continue to closely monitor the spread of the Coronavirus COVID-19 and the Milton Public Schools’ response to it. We understand that it is difficult not to feel shaken by the rapidly changing coronavirus situation.
Today, Thursday, March 12th the MPS District Planning and Response Team met throughout the day to determine next steps (as we have daily for the past week) and met with all district leaders after the school day to collaborate on next steps for the district.
The Superintendent’s Office participated in a conference call with officials from the Governor’s Office and the MA Department of Health. Our Director of Nursing, Kim Coughlin, is in direct contact with Milton Health Director Caroline Kinsella.
Tomorrow, we will participate in a call with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
At this time, the Milton Public Schools remain open.
As of tomorrow, Friday, March 13, 2020, here are the deliberate, proactive steps we are taking to slow the spread of Coronavirus COVID 19 in our district and community.
We have continued to increase the frequency of our cleaning of “high touch” areas in our schools – cafe tables, door knobs, faucets, devices, desks and more. See the March 10th district communication for more details on our cleaning plans.
We continue to model and encourage best health practices; hand washing, cough etiquette, social distancing practices, curriculum changes when warranted and more. See the March 10th district communication for more details on best practices.
We have cancelled all MPS events and outside rental events that would bring unfamiliar adults and students into our buildings through the updated date of March 30th. We will update this date as needed, as events continue to unfold.
Our in-school community is together every day and we are working to stay healthy as a community. We have cancelled all in-school events and activities that would bring additional people into our school, though March 30th. In addition, our students and staff are not leaving the grounds of the school for any reason.
We are informing ALL volunteers that given the current situation, we are no longer having volunteers in schools (includes ALL parent volunteers, outside volunteers, etc.) This includes all student teachers and interns.
The only exceptions to parent visitors are IEP and 504 meetings. Other parent meetings/business should be conducted via phone or video conference.
Parent-Teacher Conferences for March 19th have been canceled. In order to ensure the best use of time to allow staff to prepare for potential remote learning, we will not be holding phone conferences. Please reach out to your teacher with questions and concerns about your student.
Under the leadership of Educational Technology Director, AJ Melanson, we are exploring options for remote learning if needed. Districts across the Commonwealth are awaiting guidance from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).
We have developed a plan, if needed, for supporting our food insecure students and you can read it under Food Services below.
Our Director of Pupil Personnel Services is exploring all options for our Special Education students.
The MIAA has delayed the start of spring tryouts until March 30th.
We recommend that you follow the Town of Milton webpage here for Milton specific information. We also suggest that you follow both the MA Department of Health and the Center for Disease Control websites for updated accurate information on this rapidly changing situation.
We know this situation can be stressful for students as well. We share the following resources in the hopes that you will find them valuable resources as you discuss the Coronavirus with your children. How to Talk to Children about the Coronavirus; Talking to Teen/Tweens about Coronavirus; A Comic created from NPR based on interviews with experts; The NASP released a resource for parents you may find helpful.
We will continue to update the MPS community every Monday or more frequently, as this situation continues to evolve. We thank you for your continued partnership as we navigate this community challenge together.
We continue to educate our students every day, and to a casual observer, our school day looks much like it always does – engaged, happy learners, doing what they do best. You can see some of the learning that has gone on in ours schools below!
Recent School Committee meetings can always be watched on Milton Access TV. The next School Committee meeting is on March 18 , 2020 at 7pm. School Committee agendas and documents can be found in the School Committee tab on the front page of our website.
HIGH SCHOOL HAPPENINGS
Nathan Andrews of Bio-Rad Laboratories spoke to the Culinary Arts 1 class last week about his job, and what is being done to protect the world’s food supply. Mr. Andrews supplied the class with a poster guide to “RAPID’Chromogenic Media” a method/machine which counts the levels of bacteria growth in our food supply.
Culinary students study the effects of food borne illness as they relate to microorganisms and Mr. Andrews showed how Bio-Rads laboratories detect these pathogens quickly and report to the suppliers of any potential health risks.
Playing a game to determine if certain foods are “Gross – Unsafe – or Dangerous”, along with a video of how hot dogs are made; the students were both fascinated and engaged. Students were asking a variety of questions from what is Mad Cow disease, or what the best time to test food would be, to what is a puffer fish? Mr. Andrews was brought to the classroom by his daughter Hanna Andrews, a 9th grade student who takes Culinary Arts. Thank you to Mr. Andrews for a terrific afternoon!
Milton was proud to host the successful 4th Annual South Shore Regional Minority Recruitment Event this past Saturday.
There was a great “buzz” in the Copeland Family Field House with over 26 school districts represented, a strong number of candidates, gracious student greeters, and MHS Principal James Jette greeting all candidates (with a an elbow bump!). The above sent a powerful message about the Milton Public Schools commitment to diversifying our staff. Milton Public Schools hosting this Recruitment Fair for over 26 other districts reinforces a powerful message that diversity is important and a priority for our district.
MEFA is hosting an After the College Acceptance (ACA) event, a free seminar on understanding financial aid offers, making the college decision, and creating a college payment strategy. This seminar is offered with MEFA, the Commonwealth’s authority on planning, saving, and paying for college. If you are interested, please visit MEFA’s website for more information.
We were pleased to welcome some of the MFE board members to Pierce on Monday to show them our FUSE class in action in the Pierce Makerspace.
The FUSE class is an interest-driven STEAM exploration where students have the freedom to explore different challenges which involve Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math concepts.
The task that students were given involved showing motion or movement in some way using the wonderful supplies that were purchased by the MFE for the Makerspace. Students were coding the Spheros to drive around the Library or along an obstacle course; some students drew a course and others built one using some plastic tubes that link together. A second group of students experimented with the LittleBits and were trying to make something that could move a marble around. The last group of students were using the Green Screen and iPads to create stop motion animation videos. The students who chose to do the videos have a new appreciation for animation now. Their videos were less than a minute long and were made up of 100+ individual photos!
Thank you to the MFE for their ongoing support of our students and schools!
The 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. The common themes for this group will focus on affirming and celebrating identity, building community and cultivating leadership.
Student participation in this group is voluntary. This group will start on Monday, March 23, 2020 at 2:25pm in room 104. If you have any questions or concerns, please email the program coordinator, Myriam Francoeur, LICSW, School Adjustment Counselor.
INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS
Last week, Collicot held its annual 5th grade Wax Museum and the Collicot all school Literary Character Dress up day. 5th graders celebrated their reading by dressing up as characters from their favorite books or biographies and created a setting to represent a scene from their books. Collicot students and teachers grades K-4 also dressed up as their favorite literary character and in the afternoon walked the red carpet in the cafeteria to represent the characters in their favorite series, books, or personalities. Down the red carpet walked Abraham Lincoln, Pocahontas, Cleopatra, Thing one and Thing Two, Alexander Hamilton and many more Historical figures, book characters and athletes. It was a great day enjoyed by all!
Cunningham students in Mme Muhsin and Mr. Young’s 3rd and 4th grade classes have journeyed to Alaska this week to study the Iditarod. Called “The Last Great Race,” it is a 1,150 mile dog sled race from Anchorage, Alaska to Nome, Alaska. This year’s race begin on March 7th and it typically takes anywhere from 9-12 days for the winner to complete the race. While learning about the origins and history of the race, students have expanded their knowledge about geography, written compare-and-contrast essays about sled dogs and developed stronger map skills while incorporating technology skills across subjects. We have also integrated the Iditarod into science and social studies lessons, and used it to strengthen mathematical concepts and literacy skills.
Additionally, each child was randomly assigned a musher, whom they will track during the race, providing invaluable practice in reading expository texts (websites and newspaper accounts) and using real-time data available online. During this 4 week unit, children will complete a research project about the Iditarod in which they will present information about an aspect of the race, Alaska, or about their musher and their dog team. Students even will become sled dogs! Who knew learning could be such an adventure?
Siabh Chaplin, grade 4 and Lauren Connolly, Grade 5 are the chapter 3 winners of the Boomwriter Bee at the Collicot School! Siabh and Lauren continued writing the story of “The Talent Show” and their entries were voted to win by their peers. Our four Collicot students winners of the Ch2 and Ch 3 entries Siabh Chaplin, Lauren Connolly, Frankie Jilani and John Griffin have qualified to compete in theWriting Bee finals for a chance to be the 2020 Writing Bee Champion which will start in April 2020.
The Milton School Food Service Department would like to reassure you that we have a plan, in the event of a prolonged school closing, to make breakfast and lunch available for all of our food insecure students.
If school is closed for three days or more we will have meals available for pick up at the Tucker School and Milton High School.
Families will have the opportunity to come to either of these schools between 7- 8am and 5-6pm to pick up a to-go meal (a breakfast and a lunch) for their children. We will have meals available on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. If you have a hardship and are in need of more convenient hours for pick up, please call Food Service Director Jackie Morgan via email or phone at 617-898-1051.
DESE Tiered Focus Monitoring: During the week of February 3, 2020 the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Office of Public School Monitoring (PSM) conducted 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. We have received preliminary results on this program review and were identified as “fully implemented” for all areas related to special education.
Special Education Program Review: Every few years, each department, in both general and special education, undergoes a program review. This process is concluding. If you have not participated in the parent focus group or online survey, and want to connect regarding your experiences in special education, please email reach out Susan Maselli at [email protected]
News Update: On March 4, 2020 the Office of Pupil Personnel Services conducted its annual presentation to the School Committee. This presentation is posted on our website. Special Thanks to Ms. Martinelli and Ms. Truax on the preparation of this introduction video!
Summer Services: Plan your summer! Please note MPS summer ESY special education supports and services will be offered the weeks of July 6, 2020-Aug. 14, 2020. Bridget Renehan will be returning for a second year as Program Director. Please be on the lookout for her email containing essential information about registration.
MILTON FOUNDATION FOR EDUCATION
This is the last week to get an MFE Jeep raffle ticket at the school offices! You can also visit us at Starbucks this weekend or contact [email protected] for a ticket! Only one lucky winner will be chosen!
Beginning in the fall of 2017, Milton Public Schools adopted and implemented National Geographic’s Reach for Reading ELA curriculum in grades K-5. This core curriculum provides a comprehensive research-based approach for literacy success for the students attending the Milton Public Schools.
This core curriculum provides the opportunity for students to develop important foundational skills while at the same time developing a love for reading, stamina and fluency through the accompanying authentic literature. The original National Geographic content helps students to engage in meaningful reading and writing experiences that build vocabulary and language, allows for the rich analysis of texts and the opportunity to employ higher order thinking skills in questioning and responding. The curriculum is fully aligned with the Common Core standards and will allow for us to continually monitor the progress our students are making and provide the necessary interventions to support and challenge their learning. Teachers regularly assess student skills and competencies with curriculum embedded assessments and other formative measures to monitor student progress.
In addition to the variety of text resources, the student online component of Reach for Reading (MyNGConnect) is used in K-5 classrooms as well. Be on the lookout for a detailed post in next week’s blog for specific ways families can access student content on MyNGConnect.
MILTON GIVES BACK
Last summer, Dr. Martine Fisher donated boxes of books not in use anymore in MPS to Jou Nouvo/New Day, Inc., a non-profit which supports education for the extreme poor in Bon Repos, Haiti. Through child sponsorships, Jou Nouvo is now helping to send 70 young students to school. They currently have 82 adults enrolled in adult literacy classes, varied levels, and vocational programs who are enjoying our previously loved books!
Registration to ride the bus for the 2020-2021 school year will open online on May 15, 2020. Information on policy, procedures and cost to ride will be shared via email, website updates and in the Superintendent’s Blog in April.
Feeling ready for summer? Camp Cunningham is ready for you!
Camp Cunningham (CC), is a licensed, full day camp offering swimming, sports, arts and crafts, special events and field trips. Registration opens on Monday, March 9th at 12pm on Family ID. Sessions are as follows: Session 1: June 29 – July 10 (No camp 7/03); Session 2: July 13 – July 24; Session 3: July 27 – Aug. 7; Session 4: Aug. 10- Aug. 14.
ART AND MUSIC
Even amid the strings and band concert cancellations, in school rehearsals for Music in Our Schools Month continue. The Music Department is currently brainstorming ways to provide alternate performance opportunities so please stay tuned. In the meantime, the MHS Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Rebecca Damiani, will have an open rehearsal in the MHS lobby tomorrow during arrival time, and the MHS Chamber Ensemble, under the direction of Debra Miller, will perform on Wednesday.
On Wednesday, March 4th, our MHS jazz students welcomed the honors jazz combo from the New England Conservatory for an inspiring performance and workshop. This initiative was made possible by the NEC community partnership program where ensembles travel to schools and work with students on a variety of topics. The NEC trio, comprised of undergrad and graduate students, started the night with a performance and a question and answer session. The workshop then focused on the MHS jazz students with two groups performing for feedback. This experience has been invaluable for our Jazz students over the years.
IN THE COMMUNITY
Brookwood Community Farm is starting seeds and looking forward to a great Seedling Sale and CSA season. Community input is needed regarding CSA share pickup in a survey HERE. Details can be found on the Brookwood Farm website. Come grow with us!
As part of our E-blast, we highlight students, teachers or members of the community whose hard work deserves recognition. Please read about some of their accomplishments below:
VOLUNTEERS: The Milton Rotary Club recently honored the impressive work of the award winning Milton Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition.
Celebrating five years of impactful service to help reduce alcohol and drug dependence in our community-especially with our youth, the coalition was recently given the “Chairman’s Award” for serving as an outstanding coalition at the national Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) leadership conference in Washington DC.
Their efforts in pulling together adults and youth across Milton to address the community factors that contribute to substance abuse has made a noticeable difference, reducing youth binge drinking and marijuana rates by about 12 percentage points in just three years of concerted effort. Thank you to the MSPAC for the good work you do in our community!