Superintendent Gormley releases updates for the week of April 13

Superintendent's Weekly Update
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Superintendent Gormley releases updates for the week of April 13

FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT

As we look ahead to week six of the nationwide school closure (and April vacation – April 20-24-  when there is No School/No Remote Learning), I want to acknowledge that this is difficult. It is difficult for staff who are learning a new way of teaching and connecting with students, while they are home managing their own family situations. It is hard for students, who are adapting to their new reality of not only no physical school, but also no in person friends, no sports, no groups or clubs, no real socialization – all taken away in the blink of an eye. It is challenging for our parents and guardians who are managing jobs, finances, illness, their children and more. And all of this is happening under a cloud of uncertainty in our country as we all wonder when life will return to some sense of normalcy.

Today I want to highlight the good in this space, because there is so much good! Our community has rallied to provide for those in need with meals and supplies. We have collectively and individually  thanked our healthcare and essential workers, both with shows of support and practical assistance. We have continued to find joy in learning – in art projects, in creative group projects, in book clubs, in the work of math and science and language and in community projects. These are not small feats, when taken in the context of the current worldwide crisis and I want to thank our staff, students and families who continue to “show up” each day to make these moments of good an everyday reality in Milton.

You will read more about the positive and valuable things happening in the Milton Public Schools below but I want to share a big one right here. On Wednesday of this week, every one of our 231 Milton High School Seniors woke up to a sign in their yard signaling the love and the support that  Milton has for its Senior Class. There are many things to mourn the loss of this spring and as adults, we know that this disruption to the end of senior year is a real loss for our young people. As we search for ways to adequately celebrate their accomplishments, I can not thank the MHS Boosters enough for both the idea and the execution of this wonderful initiative.

Special thanks to these MHS Boosters and MHS volunteers: Jimmy and Annamarie Coyne, Susan and Mike Disandro, Bob and Susannah Ryan, Patti Dobrindt, Rachel Schewe, Patricia Pauris, Ryan Madden and James Jette for this special and heartfelt tribute to our Senior Class. As you drive by these signs, all over town, feel free to give a quick beep in support of the Class of 2020. We hope they feel the love and support of the entire town.

A MEMO FROM MARIA TROZZI

Over the past three weeks, author, professor, and grief and resilience specialist Maria Trozzi has participated in virtual meetings with the staff from each of our schools. We have heard from many MPS employees about the value of the virtual check-ins.

Pierce Principal Bill Fish writes that Maria Trozzi has been an incredible resource to the Milton Public Schools during some of the most challenging times the district has experienced. Her work with each faculty over the past few weeks has provided educators with comfort and direction as they support students and families through this difficult and unsettled period. By focusing on wellness and self-care, Maria’s guidance and wisdom has reminded all of us that we need to take care of ourselves and one another, and to let go of the pressures and expectations that we put on ourselves during otherwise normal circumstances.

Glover Principal Karen McDavitt shares that at the Milton Public Schools, we are exceptionally fortunate to consider Maria Trozzi a member of our extended MPS family. Nationally renowned for her work as a grief counselor and specifically for her work supporting schools in the aftermath of tragedy, our MPS students, families, and staff have benefited greatly from her expertise, her counsel, and her support. Maria continues to help this community in innumerable ways and we are incredibly grateful for the impact she has had on all of our lives.

In her continued work with our district, Ms. Trozzi shares the following advice with the MPS community.

By now, I suspect many of you would acknowledge that the expression ‘cabin fever’ has new meaning for you.  By now, hopefully, you’ve found a familiarity in your days, perhaps even a rhythm that provides some comfort. You have discovered some strategies that help you to get through each day; writing an agenda  (even though it may be quite similar to yesterday’s), limiting news coverage, reaching out to old and new friends in a variety of electronic ways, practicing self-kindness (reminding yourself that you are doing your best), walking outdoors when weather permits, and taking a five minute deep breath. (All while many of you are working from home.)

And by now, (unless you are Mother Teresa), you’ve had at least one major meltdown with another adult and your children have had several.  As you know, it’s a lot…

Good Grief

Some of you know that for nearly thirty years, my work, as co-founder and former director of the Good Grief Program at Boston Medical Center, has focused on helping families, schools, and communities face crises of loss in a way that promotes resilience.  

Hopefully you have not lost a loved one as a result of Covid-19.  Surely, some of you know a relative or a friend who has the virus. This alone makes the pandemic real. What to do? 

We remind ourselves daily that if by doing what science has taught us to do, with any luck, we and our loved ones will escape the tragic loss of life.  And, if you are a numbers person as I am, you get solace in remembering that 98% of those who are positive for the virus recover completely. Whew.

So, where’s the grief? We are grieving the loss of normalcy we have not felt in weeks. We are grieving the uncertainty of future plans- proms, graduations, weddings, baby showers, birthday parties, summer camps for our kids (oh, please…. let there be summer camps!). Our plans for next month, and a new season are written in pencil only…. The answers you and I yearn for aren’t available to us yet. What will virtual graduation look like? How will our children catch up? Will my ‘rainy day’ fund be enough for the months ahead? What if my parents get sick?

We grieve our former, familiar sense of well-being; that all is good enough, and that we have control of our comings and goings.  

I think it’s okay, in fact, it’s helpful to understand that the discomfort and weighty feeling we may feel from day to evening to day again is grief.  I imagine us carrying our ‘grief’ in boulder filled back-backs. It makes our days longer, our moods scratchy, our burden heavier. And it’s always there.

Intellectually we know that we can be grateful for plenty. Lots of people not too far away are suffering, losing loved ones, fighting on the front lines to save lives, losing businesses and losing a paycheck. We know the pandemic had a beginning and it will have an end, however far away. But how about our feelings as we slog through each day? That’s another story. Our sadness? Our anger? Our fear? Our exhaustion?  Is it possible to lighten the load?

I think yes.

All in the Same Boat? We have been told that we are ‘alone-together’. For me, this conjures up being in the same boat. Except, actually some may have a kayak and others a yacht. Again, only you know your situation- and your capacities to cope.  Were you already coping with loss? Depression/ Anxiety? Financial insecurity? A health issue, for you or your loved ones? What are your support systems? 

Grief is idiosyncratic. There is no right way to feel as we go through this. My guess is that how we typically cope with loss of control, cabin fever, financial worries, difficult decisions, is how we will face these feelings now.  As I am known to say, “In a crisis, a giraffe doesn’t become a lion; he gets taller.” Consider what helps us when we feel overwhelmed? anxious? sad?  Who is our ‘go to’ person when we need to ask for help? Our primary care physician? A counselor? A clergy? They are here for us.

Your Glass? Prior losses and other external stressors inform how we cope with this crisis.  Picture a tall glass, over-full with water, right to the very top. Now picture the same glass with only two thirds full with water. The first represents much of my patient load—they are coping with COVID-19 on top of their losses. The latter represents me and several of us… Life was going swell until COVID-19. Many of us (lucky ones) have more bandwith that allows us to cope easier when the cellar floods from a sump pump that overheated from the recent rain storm. 

What can we do?

  • NAME IT. You may be surprised but by writing down all the stuff you are missing during this isolation period and all that you worry about in an uncertain future, it will feel and be more manageable. As Fred Rogers told me and you, “ If it’s unmentionable, it’s unmanageable.” Make a list. Add to it as needed. Say it out loud.
  • Talk with your partner or friend. Tell him/her what you are most troubled by, what you worry about. Sharing our feelings doesn’t change the situation but DOES help us feel less alone. Besides, nothing good comes from those thoughts bouncing around in your head. Let them out.
  • Reach out and (don’t) touch someone. When I facetime with my grandchildren and my family and friends, new and old, I just feel better.
  • Sleep enough (7-8 hours).
  • Move your body. Yes, you can. Every day.
  • Although it’s tempting, stop being the Police for everyone you see or hear who is not ‘social distancing’ as instructed. It’s bringing you down.
  • Find anything that comforts you (and isn’t destructive) and overload when you need to. For me, it’s music, which has an uncanny ability to lift my mood- (As I write I am listening to my Spotify playlists.) For my husband, it’s Ben and Jerry’s coconut almond fudge.
  • Repeat 1-7.

Are we there yet? I so wish I could imagine when I will be able to hug my grandchildren, welcome friends to my home, plan beach time, plan the vacations that were put on hold – basically live the way I want to live, go where I want to go, do what I choose, (get my roots covered).   

Over three decades, I have learned from hundreds of grieving patients that all things are possible. In time. Often with learned acceptance and patience. But, in the ‘repair’ or resolution lies hidden gifts. We just don’t know what they are, or what they will look like, or when they will appear. Something to live for.  

Maria Trozzi, M.Ed.
Author, Talking with Children About Loss, Penguin-Putnam
Co-Founder, Good Grief Program at Boston Medical Center
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Boston University School of Medicine (retired)
Program Director, Joanna’s Place
Psychotherapist/Grief and Resilience Specialist
Responses to: [email protected]

FOOD SERVICE

The MPS Food Service effort continued this week with Wednesday pick up of weekly to-go bags of breakfasts and lunches for any Milton student. Weekly to-go bags with (now) 7 breakfasts and 7 lunches are available for pick up every Wednesday from 8-9am and 5-6pm at MHS and Tucker.

These FREE 7  day to-go bags contain low sugar cereal, shelf stable milk, sunbutter and jelly sandwiches, grilled cheese sandwiches, fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, and snack bags. ANY Milton family is welcome to pick up a weekly to-go bag as the goal is to support any food insecure student. Thank you to the Fruit Center for their continued donation of shopping bags towards this effort.

This past Wednesday, Jackie Morgan and our Food Service team gave out 250  weekly bags containing 14 meals each for a total of 3500 meals distributed to our students this week. This FREE service will be available throughout the school closure, including during school vacation week on Wednesday April 22nd.

If you would like to apply for Free and Reduced meals, for once school is back in session please see this link for the application and more information. These weekly to-go bags of breakfasts and lunches are available to ALL Milton students during the school closing.

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 at [email protected] 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 at [email protected] or by phone at 617-980-7343.

HIGH SCHOOL HAPPENINGS

The Milton High School staff has thrown down the gauntlet to MHS clubs, groups, teams and any group who wishes to take them on! Can you lip sync as well as our MHS staff? You can check out the fun here.

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MHS Theatre has put together a beautiful rendition of Thank You for the Music and you can view it here. We miss hearing our talented students in the halls of Milton High School! MHS Theatre Thank you for the Music – YouTube

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MHS students Olivia Ketler and Michael Swanton share the following about their recent physics project. You can view Olivia and Michael’s project here. 

In Physics, we have been studying energy and the Law of Conservation of Energy – specifically kinetic energy, potential energy, work and thermal energy in the form of work done by friction.  As an extension, students were asked to overview all the types of energy, explain what they were, and describe how they change forms (Law of Conservation of Energy) in a creative way. Options were left wide open, from writing a song or a rap, to making a poem, building a sculpture, making a comic – whatever suits student’s interests and talents.

PIERCE PAGES  

Our Pierce staff miss their students and wanted them to know!  You can see their video message to students here. 

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Ms. McEvoy’s 6th grade students completed assignments last week above to demonstrate the ways they are continuing to lead a healthy life during the school closing.

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8th grade science students have been working on an energy & forces scavenger hunt group project. You can see some creative examples from Team Orion below.

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Pierce 8th grader Paige Warren writes the following about Pierce Pals.

I am writing on behalf of the Pierce Pals Community. My friends and I are meeting on a video platform, which allows us to see each other and talk to one another, ask questions, tell each other what we have been up to and keep in touch! I know that I look forward to seeing everyone during the week to either do our handshake or high-five in the hallway and of course in our amazing meeting, those things are definitely my favorite part of the week/day.

I think it is very important to keep in touch with Pierce Pals because I know many of us, including me are missing our meeting after school – from going bowling at Cunningham Hall, decorating rocks with my favorite group of people, to having lunches on Friday and telling each other jokes, talking about our favorite superheroes, movies we are going to watch, and walks that we’re going to take with our families.The Pierce Pals have a very strong connection with each other and it  has been amazing that we have an opportunity to still keep in touch during this hard time in our lives which has affected each of us and our families’ physical and mental health. I can’t wait until this is all over and we can get together again as a community!

INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

All elementary district wide learning opportunities can be found on the Elementary At-Home Learning Opportunities website, which is linked on each school website as well as the MPS website.

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Cunningham students enjoyed a terrific Q & A this week with Laura Brazier. Ms. Brazier is a seabird biologist who received her masters in wildlife conservation and management from University College Dublin. She recently returned from a field season in Antarctica, where she studied two species of penguin (chinstrap penguins and gentoo penguins). Along with a team of researchers, she monitored the penguins to find out where they find food, what they eat, and how that affects their overall survival. In addition, she has spent time working with albatross in Midway Island, and puffins in Maine.  Students had so much fun learning about Antarctica, seabird biology, and all of the different species Ms. Brazier has studied.

On a personal note, my sister and mother, Anne Gormley and Helen Gormley, participated in the session and loved it!  93 year old Mrs. Gormley even asked a follow up question. Thank you to Principal Redden, Ms. Morton and Ms. Cadigan for organizing and facilitating.

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This week’s Art Challenge uses the element of LINE. Zentangle is a meditative way to create designs within sections of the paper. The purpose is to take your time, be mindful and creative, which are habits we work on in school all year. Students are encouraged to use pen, because there are no mistakes in Zentangle; we just go with the flow! Check out these student Zentangle!

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How exciting to see some Tucker faces on the GettyMuseum Facebook page, recreating some classic art!  Nice job, Sofia and Jack!

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Inspired by last week’s Art Color Wheel project, the 5th grade French teachers across the district  incorporated the color wheel into their French lessons on the 5 senses this week. 5th grade French students across the district contributed to this colorful display while they did their French work this week.

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DId you know that each week in addition to the science assignments there are weekly STEM challenges selected for students in K-2 and 3-5 on the MPS At Home Learning  website? Last week students in K-2 were busy building towers and this week students in 3-5 enjoyed building marshmallow blasters! These at home challenges use materials you likely have in your home, or allow for easy substitution of materials. Remember, if your first design doesn’t work, it’s okay to redesign. We hope families enjoy completing these challenges. The weekly challenges are listed under the Monday activities each week but can be completed at any time. These students sent in videos:  Stem Challenge 1Stem Challenge 2.

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The Glover Community has created the Glover Field of Love at the entrance to Glover. All Glover students are invited to make hearts and plant them in the ground around an art installation by Glover parent Jane Bonus and her student helpers. See Principal McDavitt’s communications for details on planting your heart. Thank you to Ms. Bonus and students Ella Williams, Caleb Doherty, Bailey Bonus, Coby Williams, Aidan Reardon, Nolan Hunt, Deacon & Olivia Lamoureux, Mila & Theo Clark, Nico Lazar and Greta Mcgee for this beautiful way to spread some Glover Love!

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The Tucker Cares initiative rolls on, even as students are not in school. This week, students took time to thank healthcare and essential workers in our community as you can see in this video. 

The Collicot Community  is staying active throughout this school closure. You can check out their adventures here.

CURRICULUM CHALLENGE

Brian Selig, MPS K-12 Math Director has a Math Challenge that is appropriate for students at all grade levels.

Each week, I will display the first three steps in a pattern and then pose questions related to that pattern that increase in difficulty. My hope is that all students regardless of grade level can find enjoyment and success in investigating these patterns even if they are unable to formally describe how the pattern grows over time. You can find last week’s answers and this week’s full challenge at this link.  Good luck!

MSAPC

The Milton Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition is proud to host a community Webinar Series entitled, “Milton Learns Together: Webinar Wednesdays”.  The coalition recognizes that many residents are at home, searching for ways to use their time wisely and productively, and to connect with others. This series will be a great opportunity to learn more about emotional self-care and the proper caring of our loved ones, especially during these stressful times.

“Most of us are attending to our physical well-being during this public health crisis, but our mental health is just as important!  MSAPC has lined up some terrific speakers, on a variety of topics, to help support the emotional well-being of our residents”, said Laurie Stillman, Director of the Coalition.

Webinar Wednesdays are free for Milton residents and will be offered through the online Zoom platform, which is very easy to use.  So be sure to look for upcoming announcements and join us as we discover new ways to support one another. We hope to launch the program on Wednesday evenings at 7pm in late April or early May.  To receive email announcements, sign up on MSAPC’s homepage.

VIDEO CONFERENCING 

Understanding that the impact of COVID-19 is constantly evolving, we have consistently sought up to date information and reflected on our work in light of it.  Further, we continue to greatly appreciate your partnership with us and the risk-taking and innovation of our teachers. In particular, it is inspiring to see how many teachers are offering students live remote learning opportunities, and we thank you for your patience as we smooth out the wrinkles that can happen in such virtual environments.  As you know, many of these learning opportunities have been done through Zoom. You may have noticed in recent news that security concerns have been raised about the use of Zoom as a video conferencing tool with students. Given these concerns and after consultation with other districts and the attorneys with whom we work, we have decided that as a district we will transition away from using Zoom with students and instead use Google Hangout Meet exclusively.  Unlike Zoom, the Milton Public Schools has full control over settings in Google Hangout Meet. Teachers will be transitioning away from Zoom and moving to Google Hangout Meet this week. Please know that our technology team is here to support them and you in this transition.

For those who are new to Google Hangout Meet, here are support links to Google’s Join a Google Hangout Meet support,  Troubleshooting Google Hangout Meet, Requirements for Google Hangout Meet.  If you cannot access Google Hangout Meet from your computer (i.e. it is blocked on a work computer) you can use your phone or iPad or any phone to call into the session without video.

As always, the safety of our students and staff is our priority.  We hope you understand our need to shift our approach in response to this recent information regarding Zoom.  If you have additional questions or technology needs, please reach out to AJ Melanson, Director of Educational Technology at [email protected]

MCAS

Late last week, Governor Baker signed legislation that addresses many concerns municipalities and school districts might have because of the state of emergency related to COVID-19, including this year’s MCAS testing.

The MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education previously requested and received a waiver from the federal requirement for annual statewide student assessment. Now, with the state legislation enacted, the MCAS testing requirement is waived for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year.

As a result of these federal and state actions and in light of the on-going health crisis,  Commissioner of Education Jeff Riley is cancelling this spring’s regular administration of grade-level MCAS tests for students in grades 3-10.

In addition, the legislation allows the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, upon Mr. Riley’s recommendation, to modify or waive the requirements of the competency determination for high school graduation in order to address disruptions caused by the outbreak of COVID-19 or the state of emergency. Further guidance to districts will be forthcoming.

SPECIAL EDUCATION 

Administrator for Pupil Personnel Services, Susan Maselli, shares the following. She can be reached anytime via email.

I hope this message continues to find you all well. As you know, your student has received his or her Remote Learning Plan document this week from his/her liaison or team chairperson. This document outlines the supports available during the coming weeks. As I have mentioned before, this document is fluid, and updates are to be expected as we try different kinds of supports for students.

We are still interested in hosting additional Parent Coffees. We have had modest interest, so I would like to offer again now in case someone missed the message last week. Please contact Patty Lesenechal at [email protected] to be added to the email list for inclusion in the Google Meet. We hope this platform is a helpful way to continue to connect parents and guardians on issues related to special education during school closure.

This week we have begun scheduling Remote IEP meetings for students. We are focusing our roll out of meetings for students Annual Reviews and Transition Meetings as the first priority, and will do our best to conduct Initial or Re-Evaluation Meetings on students for whom all the testing has been completed. Please know that if you are not comfortable participating in a remote meeting, we can work with you on a plan to meet when school reopens. We appreciate everyone’s patience in this area.

I know many are wondering about ESY and summer services for special education. Please know we are working on this issue. As the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and the State provide guidance, we will be ready to support students over summer who require services in their IEPS. Last year, Bridget Renehan was our summer program director and we are excited she will be returning to us as director again this summer.  As we learn more about school reopening dates, we will keep you up to date on the impact of this on ESY services. We continue to anticipate summer dates to include the weeks of July 6 – August 14, 2020.

As always, please be in touch with any issues! Thank you.

HEALTH AND WELLNESS 

In an advisory sent to medical professionals, educators, and parent and advocacy groups, Attorney General Maura Healey and Massachusetts General Hospital warn that smoking or vaping may put people into a higher-risk category, could make COVID-19 infections worse, and may increase the spread of the virus. As Attorney General Healey emphasized, “Combatting the youth vaping crisis has never been more important, and we want the public to understand the heightened risks associated with smoking and vaping during this pandemic.”

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Director of Health and Physical Education, Noel Vigue, shares the following.

Jon Mattleman has presented several times for the MPS community and he is conducting a free webinar for parents and caregivers called “Teens, Tweens & Quarantines.” It is a presentation for parents and caregivers, focusing on the impact of COVID-19 on our children. In a dynamic fashion, this talk will address: the teen/tween brain; explain why this pandemic and the response is so difficult for this age group; survey the process of loss; discuss issues related to independence, autonomy, and privacy; and offer perspectives and suggestions that parents and caregivers can implement immediately. In addition, participants will have the opportunity to ask questions and get concrete answers for practical steps they can take in real time. This webinar is live on Tuesday, April 21, 7 – 8 p.m. Registering for this webinar ahead of time will allow you to view it at your convenience. The recording will be emailed to you after the event is over. Please click here for more information. 

PHYSICAL EDUCATION 

Looking for some ways to get moving? Ms. Finnegan as an active way of playing Rock Paper Scissors and Mrs. Fahey will get you moving with some Tic Tok Toe.

In addition, if you are out for a walk down Pleasant St., Mr. Muir’s daughter Grace has added some special touches to the sidewalk to add some excitement to your walk. You can see them here and find them around the Badger Circle part of Pleasant St.  Stay active on Pleasant St!

TECHNOLOGY 

You can find all technology  resources about Google Classroom, Plus Portals, Study Island and Chromebooks in this document. 

LIBRARY RESOURCES 

Pierce Librarian Jess Royster shares the following.

Missing the library while school is out? Yeah, me too. However, there is an easy solution! Use your library card to access ebooks, audiobooks, and other Milton Public Library resources. Graphic novels are hugely popular with the students at Pierce, and are available in ebook format through the Milton or Boston Public Libraries.

I’m a librarian and I have had a hard time focusing on reading, so don’t stress if your student would rather listen to an audiobook or flip through a magazine. I have started and put down multiple new books before finally settling on rereading old favorites. Rereading a personal favorite novel or a classic picture book is a great way to ease back into reading.

If your student would like personalized book recommendations, please have them reach out to me. In addition to book recommendations, I am also available for research help and technology troubleshooting. If you or your student is having trouble accessing PlusPortals, feel free to send me an email and we can reset passwords and/or virtually troubleshoot.

FAMILY OUTREACH LIAISON 

The Commission on the Status of Grandparents raising Grandchildren is offering a webinar that will provide information and resources for grandparents and relative caregivers about how to address children’s anxiety during COVID-19.  Eileen Sandberg from the Federation for Children with Special Needs is hosting a webinar “Coping with Children’s Anxiety (and Ours!) on Friday, April 17, 2020 at 10:00am.  To register please email Colleen Pritoni at [email protected]

MPS Food Service To-Go Program will continue to be in operation, including Wednesday, April 22, during the April break. Families can pick up 7 days of breakfasts and lunches. Pick up times are 8-9am and 5-6pm at both the Tucker School (behind the school) and Milton High School (on the Canton Ave side of the building). ANY Milton family is welcome to pick up a weekly to-go bag as the goal is to support any food insecure students.

The Milton Food Pantry will be open this Saturday, April 18th from 9:15 – 11:15am with pre-bagged food ready to go for anyone that is in need. The pantry has shifted to an every other Saturday schedule including this Saturday and May 2nd, 16th, 30th. Social distancing will be practiced throughout the process. If you are in need of food outside of those hours please call the Food Pantry line at (617) 696-0221 and leave your name, address, and how many people are in your family and that you are requesting a donation of food. Volunteers are ready to pick up the food and deliver.

The Interfaith Social Services Food Pantry, located at 105 Adams St., Quincy is open Monday – Friday, 10-11:45am and Wednesdays 5-7pm for families in need during this difficult time. The food pantry asks those families arriving by car to please remain in your vehicle and you will be directed by a volunteer. Those who walk to the pantry are also welcome and should enter through the pantry lobby. New clients are welcome.

Milton Public Schools is committed to being a resource for you. Whether you are unsure of how to connect with school staff or directly need a referral for services or supplies please don’t hesitate to reach out to Marti O’Keefe McKenna, MPS Family Outreach Liaison at 617-980-7343 or by email at [email protected] All calls and emails are confidential.

STUDENT REGISTRATION

During the School Closure, Registrar Sarina Burke will be registering students online when applicable. Effective immediately, the Milton Public Schools will be accepting online registrations for students enrolling for:

  • The remainder of the 2019-20 school year
  • Kindergarten for the 2020 – 21 school year
  • Students enrolled in private Kindergarten and wish to enroll their child in Grade 1 in the Milton Public schools for the 2020-2021 school year.

All other registrations for the school year 2020-2021 will be conducted in July and August 2020. 

Please visit our registration page for all details on student registration and to register your student who falls into the above categories.

COUNSELING CORNER 

Each week, one of our MPS Adjustment Counselors will share information or resources. Last week, Collicot’s Ms. Caruso wrote to the MPS community. This week, Mr Powers from Glover checks in below.

Self-care for parents: We have often heard the saying that you must put on your own oxygen mask first, before helping others with theirs. This is not based on selfish ideals, but on the belief that your ability to care for your loved ones depends on how well you attend to your own needs. When we care for ourselves, we ensure that we are in good physical and emotional shape to take care of others. This is especially important during a time of crisis, so I want to share a few ways that I try to practice self-care right now in hopes that you will also find them helpful.

Turn off the news: There is no question that we are living in a stressful time and wanting answers and information is something that we naturally seek out to make sense of what is happening around us. However, spending too much time fixating on things that are out of our control can lead to significant stress and may cause us to feel more anxious or depressed. You have no control over the scary things happening in the larger world today, so try to limit your consumption of news and social media information. Instead, focus on the things that you have some level of control over. Choose a fun activity with your family, make your favorite meal, exercise or do yoga, practice good daily hygiene and follow safety protocols when you are out in public. This leads to my second point.

Go for a walk: While we are being responsible about social distancing from others, that does not mean you have to be trapped inside your home. There are countless studies on the health benefits of being outdoors, so in my family we have built daily walks into our schedule. If the weather is poor, you can definitely exercise indoors, but there is no replacement for the sensory experience of being outside, feeling a breeze, smelling the trees and flowers and hearing and seeing the birds and other animals around you. The nearby Blue Hills is one of my favorite places for our family to take a walk and avoid crowds, but if you can’t make it to the woods, a simple walk around your neighborhood is a good alternative.

Try to avoid conflicts over school work: This is a struggle for many of us, including educators. In my conversations with parents, there is a feeling of pressure to assume the role of teacher for our children and the truth is that it is impossible to recreate the classroom experience at home. When your child can’t look to the left and right and see others sharing in their experience, if can feel very stressful to have the magnifying glass focused only on them. Our primary concern should be on health and safety right now, so don’t put so much pressure on yourselves that it affects your emotional well-being. Set realistic expectations for supporting your children and know that it is okay to take a break from the work or focus your time on less stressful activities.

Practicing self-care may not come easily to all of us, but it is worth the investment for you and your family. Be safe and have a peaceful week!

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

ART AND MUSIC 

Pierce teachers Debra Miller (MHS and PMS Orchestra), Julie Hanna (PMS Chorus)  and Guillermo Ortiz (PMS Band) collaborated on this beautiful piece of music. You can watch them here. 

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MHS students Luke Palmer, Vanessa Lorden and Alisa Lorden (center and right) are members of the Riverside Theatre Works performance troupe Sweet Harmony. Here they are performing a short excerpt of “Whatcha Say” with fellow members Ambar Cassidy (Newton South High School) and Payton Allen (Boston Latin Academy).

ATHLETICS

Senior Student-Athlete Spotlight
Each day we will spotlight our senior student-athletes from the spring season. Our student-athletes have worked for years towards their senior year. Some are captains, some are playing their last competitive season, others were looking for a 3rd straight State Title. Social Distancing will without a doubt save lives, but for our student-athletes, right now, it still hurts to miss out on their final season. Let’s give them the recognition they deserve! Here are this week’s highlights.

Bryce Stovell – Co-Captain at the Flanker position  this year, and league leading scorer on our 2019 MIAA D2 State Championship team, Bryce dominates the field in front of him.  Not known for his passing skills….he really doesn’t have to because he scores pretty much every time he touches the ball. Classic tackler…low and hard…will attend AIC and play rugby for the YellowJackets in Division 1 College rugby in the Fall. Also a Football Captain, who finished his career never having lost a regular season home game.  One of the biggest smiles in the school!

Ben Ryan– Ben is the 1st baseman and also pitches for the Baseball Team.  Had a huge pinch hit double last year to help lead the team to a win. One of the most mature and respectful young men on the team.  In addition he competes hard and is a terrific teammate. Great golfer as well, Ben is a model student-athlete.

Natalia Vega – Natalia us a very mature young lady who is very coachable. She would be a senior on the Lacrosse Team this spring. She manages the Football Team, as well as plays basketball.  As very hard worker who has had to battle through injuries at times in her career but she still pushes herself during practice, as well as in the off-season.

Fritz Lalley – Lalley ran every race with guts and determination. The most memorable race of Fritz’s indoor season occurred during the MSTCA Division III State Relay Meet.  Fritz ran anchor leg and faced a serious challenge from a strong Billerica team. Their anchor leg seemed determined not to lose and passed Fritz on the final turn as they both came sprinting to the finish.  As he passed Fritz there was a moment of contact, almost knocking Fritz to the track. In an amazing display of determination, Fritz was able to regain his balance and muscled past the Billerica athlete just as they passed the finish line. The Milton boys were the MSTCA Division III 4x800m relay champions!

John Barros – Senior Captain for the Football Team and Lacrosse Team. Loves lacrosse, hates running, midfielder.  Tough-nose running back who is tough to tackle. Bay State Conference All-Star. Double major in football and lacrosse.  Semi Lax bro-Lorizio’s Best Bud. Favorite quote- “He doesn’t have a left” –Every team we play

Avery Blasdale – There are not many players who want to see the team succeed more than Avery. Her grit, determination and team first attitude made her a great leader and captain during her senior hockey season. She earned the respect of her teammates and coaches due to that commitment. Avery cared about the team, and its future, and was instrumental to what we trying to accomplish as a program. She is just as dedicated to the Girls Lacrosse Team and was doing an excellent job getting the girls excited for the new season.

Jake McArdle – Coming off a leg injury, Jake is dedicated, ready to go, and all rugby. Lots of rugby miles and years left in Jake’s tank.  A wide eyed flanker, Jake loves to tackle. He is a great kid with an awesome personality and very coachable.

Phil NgPack –  Phil, Tennis, is a single’s specialist who has been a varsity starter for three years.  Phil maintains solid strokes from both sides, but his greatest asset is his ability to “out think” his opponents on the court.  Phil begins analyzing his opponent’s strengths and weaknesses during warm-up and once the match begins, he tries to exploit those weaknesses to gain the upper hand.

Maeve Skillin – Maeve brought every characteristic you would want from a senior leader (and assistant captain) for the Hockey Team. She worked hard, she was respected and she kept the bench loose when it needed to be (dancing to the music). Anyone who watched the team play could tell how much Maeve cared, and wanted what was best for her team. She brings that same energy to the Lacrosse Team and the Soccer Team. A true “team” player, Maeve would often play out of position in goal, if her team needed her. Whatever nursing program she attends at a College next fall is lucky to have her.

Visit our Twitter Page, @MHS_Wildcats_ or search the hashtag #MHSSpotlight for all our student-athlete spotlights! 

COMMUNITY NEWS

There are only a few more days until the Forbes House Museum’s Lincoln Contest deadline. All submissions are due by Friday, April  17. The contest prompts and guidelines can be found here. 

Students in grades K-5 are encouraged to submit their drawings in one of three ways:

  • Mail to the Forbes House Museum, 215 Adams Street
  • Drop off in the red plastic bin by the side entrance at the museum
  • Take a photo of your artwork and send it to  [email protected] (Note-This is a change from the original  instructions which said drawings could not be submitted electronically; we WILL accept them via email this year.) Use the subject line “Lincoln Drawing Contest.”

Students in grades 6-8 should submit their essays to the same email address: [email protected], with the subject line “Lincoln Essay Contest.” If you have any questions, please send them to that email as well, and someone from the museum will reply shortly.

First, second and third place winners will be selected at each grade level. At this point, the museum is planning to recognize the winners at a virtual awards ceremony on Sunday, May 17th and the annual Lincoln Day Celebration is being postponed until the fall, exact date TBD.

We hope that carrying on this tradition can provide some comfort and continuity, despite the very uncertain and challenging times that we’re all facing. Many thanks to the schools for their support. Good luck!

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Milton participates in #ClapBecauseWeCare!

Every Friday at  7pm open up a window, or stand in front of your house, and clap and whoop, ring a bell, or bang some pots and pans together, for five minutes as if J.D. Martinez just hit a home run in Fenway Park.

Organizers are hoping residents will cheer for the doctors, nurses, and first responders; the pharmacists and grocery workers, delivery drivers and postal employees, restaurateurs who have stayed open, and other essential personnel who are risking exposure to COVID-19 so everyone else can stay home and stay healthy.

The plan is to keep this up EVERY Friday at 7:00pm until we emerge on the other side of this pandemic.  Post a video of your celebration on social media with the #ClapBecauseWeCareMilton and make sure that the video is set to ‘public.’

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Brookwood Community Farm is producing garden seedlings for early May sales and will be harvesting their produce from late May through late November for CSA shares, farm stand sales, and the Roslindale Farmers Market along with their regular weekly fresh food donations to multiple local food pantries.  Please consider joining as a member or donating to support the farm, buying CSA shares (full, half, plus eggs and fruit), and later on stopping by the farm stand or Roslindale Farmers Market to purchase their organically grown produce and flowers.  Definitely check out their website, www.brookwoodcommunityfarm.org for updates and like/follow them on Facebook and Instagram for inspiration, education and of course, updates on how the staff are managing to produce seedlings and food for you under the restrictions and limitations due to COVID-19.

Do you have some time to help at Brookwood this spring? Family or housemates are great volunteers at the farm because they do not need to worry so much about social distancing when working together!   Any group as described or an individual willing to work on a project 1 time or repeatedly, please contact Cathy Smith at [email protected]

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There is much fun to be had virtually this season in the Children’s Room at the Milton Public Library!

Cool family activities including electronic and audio books, live programs, virtual storytimes and more are available every day from ​www.miltonlibrary.org​ and the Library’s Facebook pages. We have these exciting online programs happening for the young people in your life during the week of April 19 – April 25, 2020.

IMPORTANT MPS CONTACTS

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

Central Office is staffed every day (we are practicing safe social distancing) and you can reach the Superintendent’s office any time via phone at 617-686-4808 or via email.

We have compiled a comprehensive and ever changing list of Frequently Asked Questions linked here. It will be linked on the front of our website and shared in each blog post. Please refer back to it often.

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