Superintendent Gormley releases updates for week of June 18, 2020
Updates include annual town meeting, summer program updates, return to school task force, and more.
The Milton Public Schools Recognizes and Celebrates Juneteenth
Even though the Emancipation Proclamation was effective in 1863, many enslaved people were still not free. Freedom finally came when 2,000 Union troops arrived in Galveston Texas on June 19, 1865, and announced by executive decree that 250,000 enslaved black people were free. From that day forward, June 19 was known by those in Texas and more widely as “Juneteenth” day. As the National Museum of African American History and Culture points out, “Juneteenth marks our country’s second independence day. Although it has long been celebrated in the African American community, this monumental event remains largely unknown to most Americans.”
The Milton Public Schools recognizes and celebrates Juneteenth day this day and every day moving forward as a reminder of the work ahead to address and abolish educational disparities for Black and Brown children in the Milton Public Schools. We restate our commitment to be reflective in our work and to prioritizing an anti-racist education for every child.
ANNUAL TOWN MEETING
At Milton’s Annual Town Meeting this week, Town Meeting Members passed the 2020-21 school budget with a 90% yes vote. We thank Town Meeting for their efforts to preserve services in the Town by using some of the Town’s stabilization funds to balance the town 2020-21 budget. As a result, at this time, no layoffs are planned in the Milton Public Schools.
Several Town Meeting Members asked questions about the Milton Public Schools. Thank you to Leroy Walker, Kevin Hardy, Lynda Watson, Matt King, John Keohane, Amanda Serio, and Michael Maholchic for both serving as Town Meeting Members and for your thoughtful comments and questions about our public schools.
Town Meeting is recorded and can be accessed here. The MPS portion of Town Meeting can be found during night two, at 1 hour, and 47 minutes into the program. I encourage you to watch that section. Below you will find more details about several questions posed at Town Meeting.
Have we been able to ensure that each student has the necessary broadband access and a device to allow access to remote learning?
- All MHS students have participated in a Bring Your Own Device program since September 2018 and have continued to use their own device (or school issued device) throughout the closure. As part of a new Pierce One to One device initiative (unrelated to the school closure), every Pierce student was issued a new Chromebook on March 9th. Every elementary family was offered the opportunity to have a device loaned to them and all requests for devices were met. In addition, we offered weekly work packets for elementary students. In the beginning, packets were available to all preschool students but eventually were available to all students Prek-Grade 5 who needed them. We also worked to help connect families without reliable internet to Comcast Internet Essentials.
What are the opportunities for students to discuss race and racism?
- Over the previous 3 years, as part of our Strategic Plan, we have worked to enhance curriculum areas K-12 to facilitate both learning and discussion around race and racism in our classrooms. Please refer to our Strategic Plan for details about work pertaining to our Cultural Competency goals. We are currently working with a group of parents and guardians to begin planning for an equity audit of the Milton Public Schools.
What are the anticipated requirements for return to school and have we been able to model them yet?
- In early May, we formed a Return to School Task Force, chaired by School Committee Member Ada Rosmarin and Glover Principal Karen McDavitt. As we await prescriptive guidelines from the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, I would encourage you to refer to our Return to School Website for regular updates. Please see the core committee and subcommittees here. We are working to source PPE, beginning to configure our schools for social distancing, discussing remote learning and more, while considering equity at every step.
What are the statistics around suspensions/expulsions and staffing in regard to race in the Milton Public Schools?
- As part of the ongoing process of evaluating our work related to ensuring equity among all learners, MPS continues to monitor any potential area of disproportionately in our policies, procedures, and responses. All discipline data is compiled yearly by DESE and can be found here.
- The slides below show the percentage of staff of color in the Milton Public Schools in the 2018-19 school year as well as the percent of new teacher hires who are staff of color. Each fall, the Milton Public Schools reports data to the School Committee in a Strategic Data Dashboard Presentation. The December 4, 2019 presentation is linked on our website and can be found here. For 4 years, we have hosted the South Shore Regional Minority Educator Recruitment Fair at Milton High School each spring in an effort to recruit educators of color. We are also active members of the Massachusetts Partnership for Diversity in Education.
RETURN TO SCHOOL TASK FORCE
We have launched a Return to School Task Force website at www.returntoschoolmilton.com. Here, you will find the most up-to-date information, guidance, and a “contact us” form so that you can share thoughts with the Task Force. We strongly suggest you bookmark this page and visit it often as developing information coming out of the work of the Return to School Task Force will be regularly posted. The Return to School website can also always be accessed through www.miltonps.org.
SUMMER PROGRAM UPDATES
Special Education: Please see this communication on Milton‘s ESY Programming for Special Education from Susan Maselli, Administrator for Pupil Personnel Services. The current summer school dates of service continue to be July 6th through August 14th.
The information in the letter linked here is based on the guidance provided by the Commissioner on June 6th, and Associative Commissioner on June 9th, and June 18th. Please note that this information is provided in hopes it will allow families to plan for ESY, but that DESE has been clear that their “final guidance” is still pending.
We greatly appreciate those who responded to our parent/guardian survey, attended the coffee and reached out in person. In an effort to support the health of all our staff and students, respond to the current COVID-19 crisis, and ensure all students’ right to FAPE, Milton will be offering some in-person services, and some remote services. Please know DESE has provided guidance that the default program model is Remote, and our hybrid model is designed to enhance student access by offering some in-person services.
We are taking into consideration the DESE guidance related to students who require intensive special education services, have had trouble accessing remote instruction, and have a slower rate of learning, to help find balance between who we can support in person and who we need to support remotely. Please note, we will be monitoring programming to see if we are able to enhance our program model over the summer by offering additional in-person services as the summer progresses.
Please note that while we have ordered our PPE equipment and reviewed all provisions for air conditioning and physical building needs, we will revert to remote learning for the hours listed in the ESY update below should we be unable to meet any of revised standards related to these items.
The last School Committee meeting was on June 10th, 2020, and all School Committee meetings can be watched on Milton Access TV.
The Milton School Committee would like to share two recent press releases that were issued to media outlets.
Please see the June 17, 2020 press release here.
Please see the June 12, 2020 press release here.
The Milton Public Schools Strategic Plan can be found here.
Summer is coming and we are happy to announce that our food service weekly to-go bags and produce boxes will be available throughout the summer!
Weekly to-go bags with 7 breakfasts and 7 lunches are available for pick up every Wednesday from 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. at MHS and Tucker through August 26th. Weekly produce boxes are also available for pick up. Each box contains 22lbs of produce including carrots, onions, potatoes, romaine, peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, apples, oranges, pears and cantaloupe. ANY Milton family is welcome to pick up a weekly to-go bag as the goal is to support any food insecure student.
This week we served 298 students, 4172 meals and distributed 151 produce boxes. 17 additional boxes were donated to Unquity House for distribution to their residents.
Summer is coming and we are happy to announce that our food service weekly to-go bags and produce boxes will be available throughout the summer!
If you have received a P-EBT card in the mail and are having trouble activating the card, this link will help you correctly set up your P-EBT card.
If you have a hardship and are in need of more convenient hours for pick up, please contact Food Service Director Jackie Morgan via email or phone at 617-898-1051. MPS families in need of support during this time are also encouraged to email MPS Family Outreach Liaison Marti O’Keefe McKenna via email at or by phone at 617-980-7343.
HIGH SCHOOL HAPPENINGS
MHS wants to promote life-long healthy habits for our students, staff, visitors, and the community by getting into the habit of drinking water instead of sugary drinks. MHS is fundraising to replace their old water fountains with new hands-free water filtration systems, both to reduce the use of plastic to reduce the number of high-touch surfaces and the spread of germs. This goal is even more important considering our experience with COVID 19.
Help students and staff stay hydrated with good-tasting, filtered water throughout the school day by contributing or sharing this donation campaign to your family, friends, professional colleagues, or social media page so we can reach our goal! Every little bit helps us get to our goal! To make a donation, please go to https://tapwaterwatch.com/campaigns/milton-high-school/. On behalf of the Milton High School community, thank you in advance for your consideration!
Pierce has developed a website to serve as a centralized location for accessing weekly content and assignments for students. Please click here to access the site.
Students in the Pierce Middle School GSA recently worked with advisors Erin Jaquette and Kelli Horton Prodanas to come up with a project to honor Pride Month. The group decided to make a video to celebrate pride, inclusion, and diversity with the help of Pierce teacher Deanna Magill and her impressive technical skills. Students and staff shown in the video are holding anonymous responses that were gathered from a survey sent out to the Pierce Community.
Thank you to all of the Pierce students and staff who contributed to this video by responding to survey questions, volunteering to be in the video, and for being supportive of this exciting project. You can watch the entire video here. Happy Pride!
Congratulations to the Pierce Middle School Future Problem Solving Team, Tucker Korman, Jasmine Bethea, and Ella Cantor, who competed at Internationals on the topic of terraforming. You can watch their presentation here.
Pierce staff surprised 8th graders this week with special deliveries of completion certificates, awards, and some special Pierce 8th grade swag! It was wonderful to actually see each other in person from a distance rather than on the screen. We all enjoyed the smiling faces around Milton on delivery day!
INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS
The MPS At Home Learning website will continue to be available to students and families all summer long. All weekly plans will be archived and available.
Let the summer reading begin! Milton’s elementary schools are once again partnering with the Milton Public Library for our Summer Reading Challenge. This year’s theme is “Imagine Your Story!” To learn more, read this flyer and watch this video featuring MPL Assistant Director Sara Truog and children’s librarian Jen Struzziero, with cameos from our elementary principals.
Registration begins this week for all students entering Grades K-6. Students can sign in to their old summer reading account or create a new one at https://miltonlibrary.beanstack.org. Register your child for the 2020 Challenge with one click, then submit this short Google Form to let their teacher know they’re registered.
The Challenge will run from June 18-September 2. By logging the minutes they read, students will receive virtual badges, win prizes, and earn virtual tickets that they can put into drawings for a host of other prizes, like gift cards, mystery book boxes, and swag bags. Readers can also earn rewards for writing book reviews, attending virtual library programs, and completing fun activities.
Join us online for the Summer Reading Kickoff Event, featuring Sciencetellers, on Thursday, June 18, 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. To register, contact the MPL Children’s Department at 617-698-5757 or [email protected]. Happy reading!
Mrs. d’Entremont’s Cunningham 5th graders recently completed a year long Autobiography Book project. Students wrote narratives, opinions, informational essays, and poems about themselves or from their point of view. A favorite of many students was the interview of a family member from a past generation to learn about what life was like at that time. During remote learning, students completed their writing, gathered photos and pictures, and decorated their books. This week, students were able to share their books during class meetings.
The Forbes House Museum is pleased to announce that the Lincoln Contest Awards Ceremony will be broadcast on Milton Access TV Mondays at 7:00 pm. It can also be viewed online via this link.
Our appreciation goes out to Milton Access TV for their help in filming and editing the program, to the Milton Junior Woman’s Club for their generous support, and to the Ice Cream Smith for contributing to the awards this year.
Each year we work closely with the schools to make this effort possible, and of course, this year presented some unique challenges. Thank you to the staff and teachers for your continued support!
A NOTE FROM THE NURSE
Prior to the start of the 2020-2021 school year, school nurses will need to obtain current physical exams for incoming 4th, 7th, and 11th-grade students. This should include up to date immunization records for the meningococcal conjugate vaccine for students entering the 7th and 11th grade unless a religious or medical exemption applies. All other immunization requirements for school entry will remain the same. All students must have an updated physical exam to enter grades 4, 7, and 11. Per the new requirements, the immunization record will need to demonstrate: School Immunization Requirements. Anyone with questions or concerns should contact Kim Coughlin, Director of Nursing Milton Public Schools at [email protected].
We have a terrific FREE opportunity for all MPS Pierce and MHS students! Join Ivy Watts to help you cope with the loss you might be feeling and provide you with tools and tips to practice mental wellness, self-care, and self-love during this tough time, and beyond.
Has your world been turned upside down because of COVID-19? Are you missing your friends or feeling sad that you are missing out on experiences you would have been having? Are you feeling angry, confused, or even numb? Are some days just too overwhelming? You are not alone.
Several of us may have lost meaning, connection, motivation, or sense of purpose. Several of us are struggling with the uncertainty of what the future will look like for the activities and friendships that we cherish. To help promote self-care during this time, Ivy Watts, Mental Health Empowerment Speaker & former DII athlete & All-American, has created a course called, Mental Health Support For Students During COVID-19 And Beyond. The videos, audio, and written content that fill these modules aim to help you cope with the loss you might be feeling and provide you with tools and tips to practice mental wellness, self-care, and self-love during this tough time, and beyond. Despite what is happening in the world with COVID-19, your mental health and your story still matter!
Want to dive in? Head to this link to get started! At the bottom of this page, choose “Subscription For One” and create a username and password unique to you, to gain your free, lifetime access to the modules! You can use your login information to access the modules whenever and wherever on your phone or laptop! If you lose the direct link, you can use coupon code “Milton” to access the course for free. If you ever have any issues accessing the course, reach out to Ivy Watts directly at [email protected].
And another opportunity for parents/guardians!
On June 24th at 7:30 p.m., MSAPC presents Kristin Wason, who will lead a discussion on current treatments of alcohol and opioid disorders. The primary message is hope; recovery is possible. Kristin Wason is a Milton resident and an addiction treatment practitioner with years of experience as a clinician and as a consultant to community health centers. She will provide an overview of the risk factors and brain changes that contribute to developing a substance use disorder. She will also share local resources and best practices when it comes to treatment.
This is the final webinar in the series. Each webinar in the Milton Learns Together: Webinar Wednesdays series is approximately 30 minutes long with a question and answer period to follow. They are free and no registration is required. All of the webinars can be accessed by entering this address into your computer’s or phone’s browser: zoom.us/j/92433263470 and entering your name and email.
For more information, please go to the Milton Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition website.
Food Resources: MPS Food Service To-Go Program is a valuable resource to assist families in providing nutritious breakfast and lunches to their children. Pick up times are Wednesday from 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. 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 7 days worth of breakfasts and lunches in a To-Go bag and a 22lb box of produce every Wednesday through August 26th.
The Milton Community Food Pantry located in the Parkway Methodist Church, 158 Blue Hills Parkway will NOT be open this Saturday, June, 20th. The pantry has shifted to an every other Saturday schedule.
Interfaith Social Services Pantry Shelf If you are in need of additional food the Interfaith Social Services Food Pantry, located at 105 Adams St., Quincy is open Monday – Friday, 10:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. and Wednesdays 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. for families in need during this difficult time.
Project Bread shares information and links to food assistance programs in Massachusetts here.
Brookwood Community Farm is accepting applications for SNAP farm shares. This produce would be picked up at the farm every other week July through Sept and/or Oct and Nov. The on-site pickup not only allows for a visit to the farm but also allows for more choice and some weeks there is pick-your-own (PYO) included. If transportation is not possible, the farm will work out delivery through a farm member. The application can be found here.
Health Insurance: If you do not have health insurance, MassHealth open enrollment has been extended. Visit their website for details on how to apply.
Financial Support: Milton Residents Fund MRF Any Milton residents 18 or older facing a financial crisis can reach out to the MRF for help with things like rental or mortgage assistance, utility assistance, winter heating oil, small car repair fees, educational or professional development fees, or medical expenses.
Support Services: The BRYT (Bridge For Resilient Youth in Transition) Family Engagement Team is offering support to families to help manage these difficult times during the state school suspension. Parent Support Group; Parent Support Webinar; COVID-19; Community Resources; Facebook – BRYT offers a closed Facebook group for peer to peer support. Come talk with parents who are going through similar situations. Just search “BRYT Family Support” and ask to join.
Tutoring: Free Tutoring Resource for Military-Connected Students can be found on Tutor.com/military.
MPS Family Liaison: 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.
The Milton Educators Association joined with Courageous Conversations Toward Racial Justice and Milton for Social Justice to sponsor a rally on Friday, June 19th. The message of this Rally was to provide a Pro-Justice and Pro- Anti-Racist curriculum for the Milton Public Schools.
Forbes House Museum will host a Virtual Voyage on June 28th!
The museum’s traditional spring fundraiser has been refashioned as an online event with music, trivia, highlights from the collection, and an auction. The theme connects the event to the Milton Reads book selection “Voyage of Mercy,” by Stephen Puleo, about Captain Forbes’s humanitarian relief mission to Ireland at the height of the Great Famine. In keeping with the purpose of that 1847 voyage, and in recognition of the increased community needs in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Virtual Voyage is giving 10% of all ticket sales to the Milton Food Pantry. The event will include guest appearances by both Captain Forbes and Father Mathew, the two main heroes in the remarkable true story of America overcoming social, religious, and political differences to send 800 tons of provisions to Ireland.
Forbes House Museum has partnered with Lower Mills Tavern, local artists and musicians to create a very special community experience. Tickets and more information can be found on our website. You can also go directly to the online auction site to bid on original artwork, themed baskets, and fund-a-need opportunities. Thank you for your support!
The Milton Art Center has added in-person art classes this summer, in addition to the online summer art classes for children ages 5-12. Classes featuring illustration, clay, painting, printmaking, fairy camps, mixed media, needle felting, macramé, identifying and drawing birds and trees, journaling, and an art installation class based on a Ugandan folk tale, How the Crane got its Crown! Check out our website for a class that your child would enjoy!
Many Milton elementary students have been taking virtual chess lessons with Mr. Vigorito through his June session and he is also offering a virtual summer session in place of MSE. Summer Chess information is here.
International Chess Master David Vigorito has been teaching chess in Milton for over 10 years. He teaches at all 4 elementary schools as well as Milton Academy and St. Agatha’s.
Mr, Vigorito has made complimentary beginner/instructional videos specifically for Milton students. Call it Chess 101 and ALL students in Milton have the opportunity for free to learn the basics of chess through these videos. Families can tune is as well!
The videos can be found here. Access Password: 4Milton! (with the exclamation point)
The Milton Public Library has many virtual programs for children all month long. Details can be found here.
IMPORTANT MPS CONTACTS
- Mary Gormley, Superintendent of Schools, [email protected]
- Glenn Pavlicek, Assistant Superintendent for Business Affairs, [email protected]
- Dr. Karen Spaulding, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Human Resources, [email protected]
- MHS Principal James Jette, [email protected]
- PMS Principal Bill Fish, [email protected]
- Glover Principal Karen McDavitt, [email protected]
- Cunningham Principal Jon Redden, [email protected]
- Tucker Principal Dr. Elaine McNeil-Girmai, [email protected]
- Collicot Principal Holly Concannon, [email protected]
- Director of Pupil Personnel Services, Special Education, Susan Maselli [email protected]
- Director of Food Service Jackie Morgan, [email protected]
- Family Outreach Liaison Marti O’Keefe McKenna, [email protected]
- Milton Health Department Caroline Kinsella, [email protected]
MPS school Adjustment Counselors: Jennie Beliveau, Kenneth Adelmann (Milton High School); Myriam Francoeur, Kara Sheridan, Kelly Dearing (Pierce), Jaclyn Germano (Cunningham); Elizabeth Caruso (Collicot) ; Ramsay Cadet (Tucker) Brian Powers, Christine Howley (Glover)
We have compiled a comprehensive and ever-changing list of Frequently Asked Questions linked here.
If you do not receive the Superintendent’s Weekly Update and would like to, please enter your email here to subscribe to this one weekly email.