Superintendent Jette releases updates for week of September 10, 2020

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Superintendent Jette releases updates for week of September 10, 2020

This week’s highlights include daily health screening, welcome back to school videos, school specific updates, technology support and more.

FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT

I am pleased to share that last night, the School Committee finalized the appointment of Karen Cahill as Interim Principal of Milton High School. Mrs. Cahill has served as the Guidance Counselor Department Head since 2013 and has been a valuable member of the leadership team in those seven years. Prior to that she was a Guidance Counselor at MHS and a math teacher at Pierce.

Karen is extremely intelligent, hard working and a consummate professional. She is revered by all students, staff and parents/guardians. She possesses all of the necessary skills to be a successful Principal. I have complete confidence in Karen Cahill to lead Milton High School during these challenging times.

Mrs. Cahill will be surrounded by our outstanding Vice Principals, Mr. Kelly and Mr. Mackinaw, and a very knowledgeable and supportive Leadership Team that includes the Department Heads at Milton High School. Finally, and equally as important, Mrs. Cahill will be supported by an incredibly skilled administrative team in Maureen Kennedy, Brad Spindle and Meghan Connors. Mrs. Cahill knows every aspect of the Milton High School routine and schedule  (she has been the mastermind behind the very complicated MHS daily schedule for the past seven years) and I am thrilled she has accepted this appointment. Milton High School is in excellent hands with Karen Cahill and the rest of MHS Leadership Team.

***

September is always a busy month in our schools, never more so than this year. Since Monday, August 31, the 1st day of school of all teachers and staff, we have been engaged in multiple days of Professional Development, collaboration and planning, in anticipation of welcoming students back on Wednesday, September 16.

There are comprehensive updates being sent from each school this week. If you are not receiving emails from your child’s school, please email the administrative assistant to make any necessary changes to contact information. Contact information for school personnel and recent updates sent are linked below in each school section of the blog.

We are so grateful to Michael Lynch and the team at Milton Access TV for their assistance throughout the year and especially with our Return to School videos linked below. We are lucky to have the wonderful local resource in Milton!

Wondering what your child’s school looks like? The good news is that it looks much the same as it did last year, with happy teachers, student displays and colorful walls. The differences are important though, allowing for safe social distancing, mask wearing and  increased cleaning and hygiene protocols to ensure the safest possible back to school experience for our staff and students. Please take a moment to watch the videos below with your child.

Welcome back to school!

RETURN TO SCHOOL UPDATES 

The Milton community is making a great effort to Protect the Paw!

Protect the Paw is our MPS effort to energize the Milton community around making decisions that will allow our students and staff to begin the school year in the safest possible environment. Small decisions that we all make every day can have a big impact on the health and safety metrics in the Town of Milton.

A key component of a safe return to school is a daily health screening, every day, for all students and staff.

Each day, families and staff will be asked to attest to a series of questions about health symptoms. Once you answer the questions, there is a protocol to follow if any questions are answered in the affirmative.

The Milton Public Schools Commitment to Care holds each of us responsible to help keep our students, staff and community safe. Please read through the MPS Pre Screening Checklist here and contact Director of Nursing Kim Coughlin with any questions.

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#MPSanywhere: Have you begun setting up a space in your home for at home and remote learning? We would love to see it! Send us a picture of your #MPSanywhere work space and we will share it with the MPS community. Email your picture to [email protected] or drop it into this folder.

#MaskupMilton: We want to see your mask style! Send us your mask selfie and we’ll share it with the MPS community. Email your picture to [email protected] or drop it into this folder. Can you tell who’s behind the masks below?

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Our MHS and Pierce History teachers have a message for our students! Check it out here and see their smiling faces below.

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The Return to School Milton website continues to be the hub for all Return to School information. Our FAQs are updated regularly and you can often find answers to your questions here.

SCHOOL COMMITTEE

The next School Committee meeting will be on September 23, 2020 at 7pm and all School Committee meetings can be watched on Milton Access TV.  In the days leading up to each meeting, call in/log in information is available on the Town of Milton website.

The Milton School Committee last night presented a quarterly update to the MPS Strategic Plan. You can view the presentation here. We will share the updated Strategic Plan in an upcoming blog post.

***

On August 26, the Milton School Committee voted to approve four policies. You can read the details below. Each of these policies is important and I encourage you to take the time to read through them.

  • Face Covering Policy – All students and staff will wear a face covering
  • Remote Learning Policy – Sets guidelines and best practices for Remote Learning
  • Immunization Policy – Seasonal influenza vaccine for the current flu season (July-June) must be received annually for anyone 6 months of age or older by December 31st.
  • Covid Policy– Pursuant to this policy, the Superintendent is generally empowered to deviate from MPS policy to maintain the health and safety of the MPS community, while maintaining academic standards of the highest level possible.

IMPORTANT UPCOMING DATES

September 16: 1st Day of School for Grade 1-12 Students
September 17/18: School Based Kindergarten and Preschool Orientations
September 21: 1st Day of School for Kindergarten and Preschool

The full MPS calendar can be found here.

TECHNOLOGY 

Family Technology Support Help Center website:  This site was created after hearing the feedback MPS families provided.  The site provides information on PlusPortal, Google: Clever: Guardian Monitoring, and Who to Contact.

Student Technology Boot Camp: This student boot camp was created to help prepare students for remote learning. Students should go through all of the modules to become more comfortable with all of the platforms/applications that will be used throughout the 2020-21 school year. Each module will include important topics your student will be expected to use.

Milton High School BYODWhat is BYOD? Milton High School’s 1:1 device initiative titled Bring Your Own Device. Students will be encouraged to bring their own device, other than a smartphone, to school on a daily basis. Students who do not have a device can loan a Chromebook from Milton Public Schools at no cost. All details on BYOD can be found here. 

Can we borrow a Chromebook? Yes. All MPS families will be afforded the opportunity to borrow a Chromebook from MPS.  Families borrowing a device will be able to pick up their device during set dates and times  before school starts.

Do I need earbuds?  We have purchased dedicated earbuds with a microphone for each student and they will be distributed by your school during the 1st days of school. Students are welcome to use their own headphones if they prefer.

If I want to purchase a device is there something specific I should get? If you would like to purchase a device for your MPS student to use at home (elementary) or all the time (MHS)  we have recommended minimum tech specs.  Please note that Pierce students will be assigned a device as part of a Pierce 1:1 device initiative started last year. This link is to the MHS Bring Your Own Device flyer. The bottom left corner of the flyer is a link to these minimum tech specs.

MPS Family Tech Support Group: A technology minded group of MPS parents and guardians invite you to join the private MPS Family Tech Support Group Facebook group. See their note below:

  • We’ve created this group as an unofficial resource for families looking for answers to technology questions during this school year.
  • We encourage you to visit the the Family Technology Support site provided by the district as a first step. We hope that families can be a resource for other families as we all endure this most unprecedented of school years.
  • Let’s all be nice to each other. This group will be moderated and there will be no second chances. This is a place to help solve problems, not create new ones. This should be a place to find answers, not lob criticism at each other or the Milton public schools in general.
  • We will not tolerate any posts that are contrary to the spirit of this group.

SPECIAL EDUCATION 

Administrator for Pupil Personnel Services, Sue Maselli shares the following information.

Please see the recently published letter from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education as well as our first official Special Education newsletter of the year.

The COVID-19 Compensatory Services and Recovery Support for Students with IEPsdocument can be found here.page3image3447573248

We are looking forward to a great year!

TRANSPORTATION 

Due to restrictions on the capacity of buses, some changes were required to our bus procedures.  We are still transporting all students in Grades K-6 who live more than two miles from their school and we will be filling other available seats (up to the limited capacity) with those who signed up last spring for transportation, are in the hybrid model,  and are still interested in taking the bus.

All Riders:

  • Masks are mandatory for all riders.
  • Students may only sit one person to a seat.  The only exception to this is that two siblings will share a seat.  In order to provide maximum ridership, siblings MUST sit together, to a maximum of two to a seat.
  • Bus seats will be marked indicating on which end of the bench students may sit (we will be alternating aisle and window seats).  Seats will also be numbered, odd numbers behind the driver, even numbers on the door side.
  • Bus passes will indicate not only the route and stop, but also the student’s cohort and the seat number to which they are assigned.
  • Buses will follow similar routes to those used last year but, owing to reduced ridership, some stops may be skipped depending on the cohort day as no students from those stops may be riding every day.   Final schedules will be posted on the website. add link

Elementary Students: All students who live two miles or more from school have been placed on buses.   We are contacting others who indicated that they wish to have their children ride to confirm they are still interested.   At this point, it appears we will be able to accommodate all elementary students who wish to ride the bus.  We hope to have these passes in the mail by the end of this week.

Middle and High School Students: 

Grade 6 (more than 2 miles away): Students in grade 6 who live more than two miles away and are registered to ride the bus may start riding immediately. These passes will be mailed home at the end of this week.

Grade 6 (less than 2 miles away) and all Grade 7-12: In order to assure students get home in time for afternoon remote sessions, we will be prioritizing those students who live more than two miles from their school for any Pierce and MHS available seats.

It will take a few more days to survey those who signed up last spring to determine their continuing interest and place them on routes.  It is not clear that everyone who requested a seat on these buses will get one.  Parents and guardians in this group should make other arrangements for Wednesday through Friday of next week. We will update on additional bus seats available going forward for this group next week.

Please refer to the Milton Public Schools Transportation webpage for all updates.

HIGH SCHOOL HAPPENINGS  

Please see the most recent communication from the MHS Leadership Team, highlighting important upcoming dates, new student orientation, building protocols and more.

Milton High School Contacts: 
Principal Karen Cahill, Vice Principals Mr. Ben Kelly and Mr. Brian Mackinaw.
Administrative Assistants Mrs. Maureen Kennedy and Mr. Brad Spindle and Ms. Meghan Connors
MHS School Nurse Christine Walsh
MHS Athletic Website
MHS Website

PIERCE PAGES 

Pierce Principal Bill Fish sent two important updates to families this week and last. Please see the links below for cohort information, weekly schedule updates, building protocols and more.

Pierce Middle School Contacts:
Principal Mr. William Fish and Assistant Principals Dr. Nick Fitzgerald and Ms. Janice Mazzola
Administrative Assistants Mrs. Sandy Wyse and Mrs. Susan Higgins
6th grade welcome activities will take place during the school day during the 1st weeks of school
Pierce School Nurse Barbara Perry
Pierce Webpage
Pierce PTO email contact
Pierce PTO Facebook page

INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS 

Glover Elementary School Contacts
Principal Mrs. Karen McDavitt and Assistant Principal Mrs. Sara MacNeil
Administrative Assistant Ms. Deb Woods
Glover Nurse Maureen LeBlanc
Glover Webpage 
Glover Twitter account
Glover PTO FB Page
Glover PTO email contact 
Glover Supply List
Glover September 7 Communication 

Collicot Elementary School Contacts
Principal Mrs. Holly Concannon and Assistant Principal Ms. Ellen Lohan
Administrative Assistant Ms. Joanne Barker
Collicot Nurse Jeanne Sgroi
Collicot September 8 Communication
Collicot August 19 Communication
Collicot Webpage
Collicot PTO email 
Collicot PTO Facebook page
Collicot School Supply List 

Cunningham Elementary School Contacts
Principal Dr. Jon Redden and Assistant Principal Mrs. Bernadette Butler 
Administrative Assistant Ms. Erica Cadigan 
Cunningham Nurse Alison Joyce
Preschool Updates
Cunningham Webpage 
Cunningham PTO email 
Facebook Page
Cunningham School Twitter 
Cunningham School Instagram
Cunningham School Supply List 
Cunningham September 10 Communication

Tucker Elementary School Contacts 
Principal  Dr. Elaine McNeil-Girmai and Assistant Principal Ms. Kristen Driscoll
Administrative Assistant Mrs. Eileen Keaney
Tucker Nurse Kerry Joyce
Tucker Webpage 
Tucker  PTO email contact
Tucker  PTO Facebook page
Tucker School Supply List

Community Schools Updates 

Please see these important updates from Community Schools about virtual after school enrichment options.

ANTI-RACISM ACTION TEAM 

The Milton Public Schools invites parents, guardians and staff  to apply for positions on the new Anti-Racism Action Team. This group will be charged with drafting an Anti-Racism Action Plan to guide the district’s work moving forward in diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, with a particular focus on anti-racism. After the Action Plan is reviewed by our staff and community, the Action Team will present to the School Committee. The Action Team will continue to play an important role in supporting implementation, as well as monitoring and reporting quarterly to the School Committee.

The staff application for the Action Team can be found here and the parent/guardian application is found here.

FOOD SERVICE 

We are excited to share the fall Food Service plan with you today! All details can be found in this link.

Students will have two options  – grab and go (several breakfasts and lunches) as they leave school on their in-person days or once a week pick up (at MHS near the field house doors behind the school)  of multiple breakfasts and lunches on Wednesday.

Due to an extension by the USDA, all meals will be free to all students through December 2020. If a USDA waiver is not extended in December students accounts will  then be charged accordingly. Meals will remain free for our free and reduced students. All meals will be eaten at home.

Additional food resources can be found here. MPS families in need of support at anytime are encouraged to email MPS Family Outreach Liaison Marti O’Keefe McKenna via email at or by phone at 617-980-7343.

SOCIAL EMOTIONAL HEALTH

As I shared last week, the social emotional health of our students will be paramount as we reopen our schools. I have asked our district wide team of Adjustment Counselors to share resources  with you in the coming weeks. This 1st installment is an update from MHS Adjustment Counselor Jennie Beliveau, who also served as Co-Chair of Return to School Wellness Subcommittee.

This summer, the Wellness Subcommittee of the Return to School Task Force met weekly and was made up of MPS staff members as well as community members. The community volunteers ranged in all areas of expertise including mental health, social emotional learning, advocacy, and social injustice work. The goal of this subcommittee was to make recommendations to the larger task force on how to best support both staff members and students social emotional wellness with the transition of returning to school. One thing was made very clear through all of our conversations – the social emotional well being of our students and our staff is most important. If staff and students are not feeling safe and supported, it will be impossible for us to reach our full potential as educators and students. With this in mind, recommendations were made and plans put in place. During the professional development week, there were several presentations and training to provide both education and support to staff. This included tele-health training for counselors, trauma informed care training for all staff, and a whole day of collaborative work around social emotional learning. Staff have also been encouraged to participate in yoga and mindfulness sessions that were scheduled into our professional development to make sure that we are engaging in our own self-care. Staff are prepared to make the students as safe, confident, and eager to learn when they return to school next week. Whether students are engaged in hybrid or remote learning, we are all part of this amazing Milton community and will make this year a great year together!

***

Our school based Adjustment Counselors are available as resources for your family. Please reach out to your principal or Adjustment Counselor for support at anytime.

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

***

The William James College INTERFACE Referral Service is a confidential outpatient mental health and wellness referral Helpline available Monday through Friday, 9 am-5 pm, at 888-244-6843. This is a free, confidential referral service for Milton residents and public school students. Callers are matched with licensed outpatient mental health providers from their extensive database, on average, within 2 weeks of their call to INTERFACE. Each referral best meets the specialty needs, insurance or fee requirement, location and availability needs of the caller.  For more information, visit their Facebook page @InterfaceReferralService or list the website at this link. 

This free service has been made possible to Milton residents thanks to the generous support of the Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Milton, Town of Milton Police, Public Schools and Public Health Department, Mike’s 5K, and Milton Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition.

All updates on Family Resources – food, health insurance, financial assistance, contacts – can be found at this link.

MILTON PUBLIC LIBRARY 

The Milton Public Library is a valuable partner to the Milton Public Schools and we are happy to share this communication from them below.

As you prepare to start a new school year, please remember that the Milton Public Library can be a partner in your student’s learning. However, library use in the COVID-19 world looks a little different than it has in the past. We are ready to welcome you to the MPL, with the following caveats:

  • Masks are required while inside the Library
  • Visits are limited to 30 minutes
  • No more than 20 patrons can be inside the building at a time
  • Public computers are not available for use

For these reasons, we cannot host tutoring sessions inside the Library for the foreseeable future, and kids will not be able to spend an entire afternoon with us as they have in the past.

What we can do is support your student as they work on projects, conduct research, and read for fun:

  • Books, audiobooks, and DVDs may be checked out and returned Monday – Saturday
  • Our online resources can be accessed 24 hours a day at www.miltonlibrary.org
  • Discover a wealth of virtual programming for kids and adults at www.miltonlibrary.org/events/upcoming-events/
  • Print services are available by emailing [email protected]
  • Our wi-fi works both inside and outside our building
  • Wi-fi hotspots and Chromebooks are available for checkout via our Library of Things: call 617-898-4964 to reserve

As your community hub, we are working hard to adapt in this constantly changing environment. Come and find out how we can help by visiting the Library in person, or arrange for curbside delivery by calling 617-898-4954. We are ready to serve you!

The Milton Public Library

ART AND MUSIC 

Although it will look different this year, we are  running the Applied Lesson Program remotely for the foreseeable future.

The Milton Applied Instrumental Program is now registering new students in grades 4 and above. Information for beginning students can be found here: ALP September 2020  If you are interested in registering your student for lessons please fill out this form by September 24th:  ALP Beginner Form 2020 Once you have filled out the form, the program directors or a lesson teacher will be in touch with you to set up a lesson time. Please contact Rebecca Damiani with any questions at [email protected]

ATHLETICS 

Please see the following from MPS Athletic Director Ryan Madden.

Tryouts for the Fall Sports Season will start on Monday, September 21. Registration will open the week of September 14. Please check the Athletics Website for more information. All sports except Volleyball, Football and Fall Cheer are currently on for this fall. Volleyball, Football and Cheer have been moved to the “floating season” as described by the MIAA in the latest release, in conjunction with DESE/EEA guidelines. Please see the Milton HS Athletics Twitter for information as it is released (@MHS_Wildcats_).

While we await more guidelines, we advise all student-athletes to get their paperwork in order for when registration opens. Registration information can be found on the Athletics Website, or linked here. Please make sure your student-athlete has a valid physical (within 13 months) for registration. Physicals expire immediately after 13 months.

This is still a very fluid situation. More information will follow in the next week with schedules and tryout information.

COMMUNITY NEWS 

More news from the Milton Public Library:

With the start of school in Milton being pushed back, we at the Milton Public Library are pleased to report that the 2020 Summer Reading Challenge has been EXTENDED until September 16! More time to log your minutes, write reviews of the books you read, and complete activities.

This also means that we are going to push back the drawings, to give all of our readers time to earn as many tickets as possible. Drawings for all of our cool summer reading prizes will take place on September 12.

The MPL offers fun and FREE virtual programs for kids almost every day of the week – and we’re adding a few extra to keep kids busy in the first half of September while you’re waiting for school to start. Keep an eye on our program calendar for information about how to register for crafts, STEM activities, story times, book club, and more!

In addition, there are many children’s programs being offered at the library virtually between September 20 -26. See all the fun offerings here.

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The Forbes House Museum invites you to the Autumn Illumination Festival on Friday, September 11 from 6-8pm.

Join us on the front lawn of the Forbes House Museum for a concert by Boston-based Kings of Ghost Town, featuring original acoustic music that blends bluegrass and contemporary composition by Danny Erker and Evan Murphy. Enjoy original poetry by Dorchester-based Anna V.Q. Ross, inspired by her family and current events. These artists have been turning to their work to find hope, purpose, and connection; this event is a way to share those positive feelings with the rest of us. Audience members will receive battery-operated candles to help illuminate their space as night falls.

This event is free and advance registration required. Limited seats available per COVID-19 restrictions. For more information visit our website. For those unable to attend in person, the event will be streamed live on Facebook.

Thank you to the Mass Cultural Council for funding this event through its Festivals Program.

***

Brookwood Community Farm is continuing to accept folks joining our 2020 CSA using SNAP benefits at a rate of $40/month.  This $40 is added back to their account immediately through HIP.  If forms are filed quickly, the member will receive a share every other week from now through the week before Thanksgiving.  Pick up at the farm is preferred but if transportation is a barrier, Brookwood will find a partner to deliver the share. Please print out the form and call or email to alert us that it is coming.  Farm phone 339-502-0826.  Email [email protected]brookwoodcommunityfarm.org.  The form can be found at the bottom of this page.

AMBASSADORS

As part of our blog, we highlight students, teachers or members of the community whose hard work deserves recognition.  Please read about some of their accomplishments below. 

Students: At long last, Milton High School student Sam Higgins’ performance on “From the Top” will be broadcast this week!  You can find a local station that broadcasts the show (#385) at this link. 

If the broadcast schedule is not convenient, you can listen to the show online. It can be found  at this link. 

Congratulations to Sam!

The Milton Public School system does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, gender identity, transgender status, gender transitioning, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its programs, activities or operations. These include, but are not limited to, admissions, equal access to programs and activities, employment, provision of and access to programs and services, as well as selection of volunteers, vendors and employers recruiting at the Milton Public Schools.  We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our staff, students, volunteers, subcontractors, and vendors. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Asst. Superintendent for Curriculum & Human Resources, Dr. Karen Spaulding, (617) 696-5040 ext. 5582.

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