Superintendent Jette releases updates for week of February 4, 2021

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Superintendent Jette releases updates for week of February 4, 2021

This week’s highlights include farmers to families food boxes, educational equity update, MHS Paws-Abili-Treats, collicot flipgrid presentations and more.

FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT

As a district, we are excited to shift to our new elementary model starting next week, February 8. Students in our hybrid model will now attend school every day for a half-day, maintaining the rotating schedule in place since September, while students in our full remote model are increasing their teacher facing time as appropriate for their grade level. In order for this model to be successful, we have to afford our staff the one hour in between cohorts in the middle of the day for lunch, planning, and appropriate cleaning of spaces. Please note the start times for each school (Collicot and Cunningham start at 8:15 and 12:15, Glover and Tucker start at 8:35 and 12:35) and plan to arrive no earlier than ten minutes prior to the start of the morning or afternoon session. For Collicot and Cunningham, please drop off no earlier than 8:05 and 12:05; for Tucker and Glover please drop off no earlier than 8:25 and 12:25.

The video presentation of the new model has been posted by Milton Access TV and can be viewed at this linkThe Powerpoint presentation is linked here. The list of FAQs compiled from the Q&A is linked here. 

In the two weeks after February break, I will be scheduling virtual meetings with each elementary school community to gather and share feedback on the new model.

We are continuing to fine tune any possible changes to the Pierce and MHS models and will update as soon as possible.

This week, I visited my new friend Tomas, who is in the 1st grade at Tucker. Despite the challenges this year has brought, Tomas is working very hard to have the very best year he can. Tomas is excited to adopt a cat next week and has promised me that he will soon start a new series of books that his mom recently purchased for him.

SCHOOL COMMITTEE 

The next School Committee meeting will be on February 24, 2021, at 7pm. You can watch School Committee meetings live on Milton Access TV online, live on Milton Access cable channels (Comcast 22, RCN 15), attend via Zoom (link to attend found on the Town of Milton SC page), or watch on-demand in the days following the meeting.

IMPORTANT UPCOMING DATES

  • Feb 15-19 February Recess
  • Feb 24 School Committee Meeting
  • Feb 25 Tucker Talks – All MPS Speaker Event
  • Mar 3 School Committee Meeting
  • Mar 4 Early Release K-12

The full MPS calendar can be found here.

Tucker Talks: All MPS parents/guardians are welcome! We will resume our Tucker Talk sessions with a special presentation from author Soo Hong. Dr. Hong was scheduled to be a PARENT series presenter last year when the school closure occurred. We are excited that she is willing to join us again this year.

Dr. Hong is a Wellesley College professor and author of Natural Allies-Hope and Possibilities in Teacher-Family Partnerships. We are excited to have all interested MPS parents/guardians join Dr. Hong for a discussion on how to create lasting and collaborative relationships between home and school particularly at this pivotal time in education. Please save the date for February 25th for an evening with Dr. Hong!

HEALTH AND SAFETY

COVID REPORTING: Each week, school districts report the number of positive cases in the Hybrid Model only to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education (DESE). For the week of January 25 – February 3 , MPS reported: 0 staff positive and 11 students positive.

COVID TESTING: Recently, the Town of Milton Select Board recently approved two additional COVID test dates: Sunday, February 7 and Sunday, February 21, from 10am to 3pm, at the Department of Public Works (DPW) yard at 629 Randolph Avenue. All updates will be posted on the Town of Milton website.

COVID GUIDELINES: All MPS updated COVID guidelines and policies can be found on our website. This page is current and updated regularly.

TRAVEL REMINDER: If you are considering traveling, please follow Massachusetts Travel orders linked here and adhere to MPS Policy that all students (regardless of age) and staff must provide a negative COVID 19 test taken within 72 hours of arrival back in Massachusetts or quarantine for 10 days after travel before returning to in-person learning. Please see the most updated CDC travel guidelines and restrictions here. Please contact your school nurse with any questions.

EDUCATIONAL EQUITY

Somaly Prak-Martins, Senior Director of Education Equity, shares the following.

The district has partnered with Cambridge Education, community partners, parents/guardians, educators, and students to develop an equitable process to recruit, select, and onboard committee members for the MPS Quality Review Steering Committee.

The MPS Quality Review Steering Committee is a volunteer, community-based WORKING committee whose purpose is to support the MPS process to work purposefully towards living our mission in the aspiration of achieving our vision. The Steering Committee will work to ensure that the process meaningfully involves diverse stakeholders and the MPS strategic plan reflects community values, mission, and priorities.

Steering Committee members should be community-minded, represent the diversity of the community we are serving, and bring a variety of knowledge, approaches, skills, and life experiences to the process. Please see the Steering Committee selection criteria for more information. Applicants will be considered based on the information provided with this application, interview, and the need to balance a diversity of perspectives. All details on applying, the timeline, multiple language applications, and more can be found here. 

FOOD SERVICE 

Farmers to Families Boxes are back! We are receiving 252 Farmers to Families boxes to distribute every Wednesday at our weekly food service drive through.

In an effort to best support our food insecure families, we will offer these boxes to those who indicate need at the drive through to ensure that all food insecure families can receive this box of food. We appreciate your support and ask that you email Jackie Morgan with any questions.

Our weekly Food Service drive-through is open EVERY Wednesday, including during February vacation week.

Weekly Pick Up: Weekly pick up is available at two different times on Wednesdays. Come to MHS 9:30-10:30 or 12:30-1:30 (please don’t arrive before 12:15 to allow for MHS pick up) to pick up 7 days of breakfast and lunches and a fresh produce box.

Grab and Go: Available each day as your student leaves school. Multiple breakfasts, lunches, and snacks are included in each bag. Students can take a grab and go bag with several breakfasts and lunches as they leave school each day.

HIGH SCHOOL HAPPENINGS

Do your furry friends need a treat? Our MHS students in LAUNCH! will soon have you covered. Our students have started their own dog treat business, Paws-Abili-Treats and they are gearing up to serve their customers.

Paws-Abili-Treats provides an opportunity for our students to engage in meaningful work training experiences during COVID. Students are excited to practice their finance, culinary arts, and marketing skills.

A bag of 6 treats is $2.00 and the Paws-Abili-Treats team is busy fulfilling their initial orders. A link to order will be shared with the MPS community in the next few weeks. Questions? Email the team at [email protected]. Thank you for your support as our students look for ways to stay PAWSitive during this challenging time!

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I am pleased to share the Milton High School Term 1 Honor Roll with the MPS community. These students have shown academic tenacity during these difficult months of COVID.  There are two Honor Roll categories: High Honors is reserved for students receiving all A’s (all subjects counted) and Honors is reserved for students receiving all A’s and B’s (all subjects counted). Students receiving one C+ grade will be honorably mentioned. Congratulations to our Honor Roll students!

PIERCE PAGES

This year, Pierce students have started a Culture Club consisting of about 20 students 6th-8th grade students, from both the full remote and the hybrid models. Students meet weekly to discuss ways to bring good vibes to Pierce and plan opportunities to acknowledge different holidays and events. The club’s overall mission is to give students a voice in their community, celebrate differences, continue to promote a strong sense of community, and just simply spread positivity.

Students recently designed a school-wide activity honoring and reflecting upon the words from Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I have a dream” speech. In this activity, students wrote their own dreams for herself/himself/themselves, the country, or even the world. To start the morning off on a positive note, the Culture Club also created a Google Form for their peers to request songs to play in the morning on the loudspeaker before the start of school. Students have also added positive notes to the auditorium chairs for students who have a class there. The Culture Club is also rolling out a door decoration contest to celebrate Black History Month in February.

These students truly embody what it means to be a positive community member, and all of Pierce is benefiting from their creativity and enthusiasm.

INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

Inspired by contemporary artist Tyree Guyton, Collicot 4th grade students made monoprints using foil and markers for the outline of their people.  After each print dried, students then added oil pastels and recycled papers, and foil to their art in the spirit of Guyton’s style.

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Cunningham 2nd graders in Mlle. Morton’s class wrapped up Unit 4 of their Everyday Math curriculum by venturing outside and measuring last week’s snowfall. In this unit, students learned all about different units of measurement and how to estimate length. They were then able to apply what they learned in the classroom to measure the snow outside to the nearest centimeter and the nearest inch.

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Collicot students in Mrs. Spitz’s class used flipgrid last week to prepare and present news reports.  Students researched and described an amazing place and then midway through their presentation,  they reported on a natural disaster that impacted their location. They shared emergency information about taking shelter and what to do to be safe and shared donation information to help those in need after the natural disaster. These reports were informative and entertaining as students used their research, technology, and presentation skills.

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At Glover, everyone is all in for PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports), including our remote students and families! One important part of our initiative is that we try to catch kids being “good” and recognize them. At Glover, we hand out Duck Feet and place them on our Duck Pond Bulletin Board. This year, remote teachers have also been handing out Duck Feet and sending names to the school so their students can be recognized. Each week, twelve Duck Feet are pulled and announced as the Glover Kids of the week. To make them feel extra special, Glover Kids get their names,, and their accomplishment read on the morning announcements. This week a 1st grade student in the full remote model was named one of our Glover Kids. To support our initiative this family has created a duck pond at home for their student to hang the Duck Feet she earns. She was thrilled to place the Glover Duck Foot on her pond at home and so excited to share her pond with us. Keep up the GREAT work Glover Kids!

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As part of our Black History Month celebration at Glover, we will be honoring two students each week for the Frederick Douglass Duckfoot award.  This award will recognize those students who emulate Frederick Douglass’ concern for human dignity, who make a difference in our school community, and represent what it truly means to be a Glover Kid.  To kick off our celebration, students watched an introduction to Frederick Douglass video created by Glover resident historian Debbie Greene-Muse. During this introduction, students learned about his life and contributions to history. Mrs. Muse even shared how Frederick Douglass was invited to Milton to make a speech! This week two students were nominated whose kindness is inspiring and who are great role models for their peers. We look forward to learning more about Frederick Douglass and continuing to encourage students to mirror his compassion for others.

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On Wednesday of this week,  Tucker School celebrated its first World Read Aloud Day.  It was a special opportunity for the whole school to come together virtually by grade level across models and cohorts. Each grade had 3-4 special visits planned during which they were able to listen to published authors read aloud and then ask questions about the writing process and career of an author.

Mrs. McGrory led the Kindergarten event and shared that the event was “Absolutely amazing.”, Mrs. Kennedy, who led the 5th graders,  shared that the  “5th grade WRAD was a total success!”. As students learned and shared their ideas the authors were also receptive of their talents. As one parent shared after the event, “It’s moments like this that the kiddos will remember about this school year, a real author told them that they could be one, too!”

In advance of the events, we were also fortunate enough to receive a few signed copies from our authors that we are excited to add to our growing libraries. This will definitely be a new annual event at Tucker!

SPECIAL EDUCATION

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

We will welcome Pierce Middle School parents of students in special education to our next coffee. We will meet virtually on February 25 at 9am. The link to join can be found here. 

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Please see this letter from SEPAC, which contains information on the next SEPAC meeting on February 25 at 7pm; dates for upcoming SEPAC meetings; and information on how to get involved with this vital parent group that supports our work in Special Education. SEPAC is seeking membership and building based representatives, and you can find details on that role here.

TRANSPORTATION

Please visit the Transportation Page on the MPS website for all current transportation information. Schedules for the new afternoon elementary sessions have been posted on the Transportation Page. Please plan to be 10-15 minutes early to your bus stop for both the morning and afternoon sessions as there have been changes made to some routes and additional stops added, and the times may shift slightly.

With the addition of the afternoon routes, there will be NEW drivers bringing your children to school in the afternoon. You will see your familiar driver for the morning session (to and from school) as well as home from school in the afternoon session. The buses bringing children to school for the afternoon session will NOT say Milton Public Schools on the side.

New requests for bus passes take 5-7 days to process, and the earliest that new students can ride the bus at this time is February 22nd.  Please email Rachel Schewe at [email protected] with any questions.

FAMILY RESOURCES

The Milton Public Schools is committed to being a resource for you. Whether you are unsure 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.

Milton is a participating community in The William James INTERFACE Referral Service. Interface is a 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 residents of Milton and other participating communities. Callers from these participating communities are matched with licensed mental health providers from our extensive database, on average, within 2 weeks of their call to INTERFACE. Each referral best meets the location, insurance, and specialty needs of the caller.

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

ART AND MUSIC

Congratulations to three of our MPS Music students for being accepted to the MMEA Eastern Junior District Festival.

Congratulations to MHS 9th grader Lucille Hollingsworth-Hays in Chorus, Pierce 7th grader Jordan Munsey in Band and Pierce 7th grader Fedor Myshkin in Orchestra. These students will be participating in a virtual festival in the month of March which will include rehearsals and masterclasses with professional conductors. Their work will culminate in a virtual concert performance. We are proud of these talented student musicians!

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The Milton Instrumental Applied Lesson Program has openings for beginning students for Session 2 starting the end of this month! The program has spots available on the following instruments: Violin, Viola, Clarinet, Saxophone, Trumpet,  Trombone, Baritone and Tuba. If you have a student who would like to start taking lessons on one of these instruments, please contact Rebecca Damiani – [email protected]. Information for Session 2 can be found here: ALP Session 2 Registration All information for beginning students can be found here: ALP Beginner Registration

ATHLETICS

We are pleased to share this Fall 2 Floating Season Information!

Sports Offered: Sports that were not able to be played in the regular Fall Season 

  • Boys and Girls Indoor Track (outside); Girls Volleyball; Cheerleading (sideline only); Football

Logistics

  • Registration is open!
  • Practices expected to begin on February 22nd
  • Games beginning approx. two weeks later, running through April 25th.
  • Competition within the league is expected to be similar to the fall and winter.
  • No out-of-league competition / No MIAA Tournament

Registration

  • Linked here.
  • Closes on Wednesday, February 17th at noon. This is a hard deadline as coaches will need time to plan tryouts and practice sessions. Students not registered by Wednesday, February 17th will not be able to try out.
  • Students who played a sport in the normal fall season are eligible to play a sport this season, with AD’s approval.

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The MHS Volleyball Team will host Cans for Cats on Saturday, February 6th from 9 AM- 12 PM at Milton High School.

COMMUNITY NEWS 

We recommend checking with the local organizations below for any changes to the following events.

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Virtual Chess with Mr. Vigorito starts soon. 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. The 8 week winter-spring session begins February 22.

There are four levels to choose from and classes available Monday through Thursday. All details and registration info can be found here.

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MHS Sophomore Lily McLaughlin is partnering with a non-profit organization called Her Drive to conduct donations of personal hygiene items for people in need. Lily is collecting on one more date –  February 5 from 3:15-4pm at Kelly Field. Please consider supporting Lily’s important collection drive.

 

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The indoor season of Trinity Milton – Milton’s Gaelic Football and Hurling  Club – starts this Friday night February 5 at  Union Point Sports Complex in Weymouth. All details can be found here. Come join the fun!

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The Milton Public Library has some terrific programs for students of all ages. Check out next week’s activities here

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Milton Girls Softball Registration: Registration is now open for Milton Girls Softball’s Spring 2021 season. Please register at this link. We have over 300 girls in our program from K-8, with professional instruction for the Kindergarteners to learn the game without being intimidated or overwhelmed.  Financial assistance is also available. Please email [email protected] with any questions.

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The Forbes House Museum presents Chinese Calligraphy and Illustration Workshop with Artist Rayna Lo on Sunday, February 7 from 10am-12pm.

In anticipation of Chinese New Year, which begins on February 12, learn the fundamentals of Chinese calligraphy and discover your personal calligraphy style. The cost is $30 per household, supplies not included. For more information and to sign up, please visit this link.

BLOG SUBSCRIPTION: 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.

Thank you to my blog contributors this week: Kim Coughlin, Laurel Bernini, Susan Maselli, Jackie Morgan, Ellen Lohan, Bill Fish, Caroline Morton, Sara MacNeil, Ryan Madden, Bernadette Butler, and Elaine McNeil-Girmai.

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 a 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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