Superintendent Jette releases updates for week of March 25, 2021

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Superintendent Jette releases updates for week of March 25, 2021

This week’s highlights include MHS vision award recipients, model change updates, MPS Rock Your Socks 2021 and more.

FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT

Thank you to all who attended the MHS Principal Candidate Forum last night and to all who sent in questions for our finalists. Every question asked last night was sent in by a member of the MPS community – student, staff or family member. We are lucky to have three qualified candidates and grateful to all who have participated in the process thus far. We will be making a final hiring decision in the coming days.

A special thank you to the MHS Principal Screening Committee who dedicated countless hours to this process. Thank you to:

  • Assistant Superintendent Dr. Karen Spaulding
  • Principal Dr. Jonathan Redden
  • Parents/Guardians/Community Members- Jennie Mulqueen, Kristen Brennick, Christine Copeland, Wendy New, Regina Campbell- Malone, Jayne Ogata
  • Students: Barron Clancy, Jayme Lo
  • Teachers: Kassandra Aloe, Brian Borde, Rob Moray, Claire Ritten
  • Curriculum Coordinators/Directors: Amy Tom, Zeina Hamada

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March 21 was World Down Syndrome Day and we celebrated at MPS with our annual Rock Your Socks competition. Students and staff wore their craziest socks to show awareness and acceptance for people with Down Syndrome. Each of these pairs of socks represents a conversation had, a book read, a class discussion, a connection made, and more at MPS in recognition of World Down Syndrome Day. You can see some of the fun and creativity in the short video below.

MODEL CHANGE UPDATES 

I hope you are as excited as we are about our upcoming return to full in person learning. Our teachers are staff are looking forward to the day when all of our students are with us for a full day of school!

I want to highlight a few logistical points below.

  • Collicot, Cunningham, Glover, and Tucker begin full in person model on April 5.
  • Pierce and MHS begin full in person model on April 12.
  • School hours will revert to previous full day hours at each school.
  • MPS will continue to offer a full remote model through the end of the school year.
  • Please see the full Transportation Update below.
  • We hope to offer limited After School Enrichment (ASE) later in the spring. Details will be sent to elementary families. There will be no before school care offered this spring.
  • Due to lunch and space constraints in our full in person model, MPS will be a peanut free district for the duration of this school year. All snacks and lunches that are brought to school must be peanut free.

As many details of this model change are school based, elementary principals will be sending specific logistical information to all families the week of March 29 and Principals Cahill and Fish will send information the week of April 5.  I will continue to update the MPS community in this space and in additional emails as needed. As always, thank you for your support and enthusiasm as we move to a full in person model.

SCHOOL COMMITTEE 

The next regularly scheduled School Committee meeting will be on March 31, 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

  • Mar 30 TRI M Induction Ceremony (virtual)
  • Mar 31 Milton School Committee
  • Apr 1 Early Release Grades K-5 (PD Day)
  • Apr 2 No School – Good Friday
  • Apr 5 K-5 Full In Person Model Change
  • Apr 12 6-12 Full In Person Model Change

The full MPS calendar can be found here.

Glover Principal Karen McDavitt shares that Friday, March 26 is #SELDay. Sponsored by SEL4Us and the Urban Assembly, this is a day to showcase SEL in our communities, promote SEL to our personal and professional networks, advocate SEL with our policymakers, and support SEL in our schools, organizations, and communities.
There are many free trainings offered and you can see them here. A few worth noting are hightlighted here:

  • It’s Not SEL If It’s Not Equitable: Using Teen-Written Stories About Racism to Reflect on Teacher SEL
  • WEBINAR: Children of the Pandemic: The mental health and resilience of children during COVID 19
  • Bringing SEL and Mental Health Back to School: Strengthening Districts Systems of Support Amidst the Impact of the Pandemic

This article about the importance of Trusted Adults in Social Emotional Learning was also helpful and informative.

Milton is a participating community in the Massachusetts Partnership for Diversity  in Education (MPDE) upcoming Virtual Recruitment Fair. MPDE is committed to recruiting and assisting in producing career opportunities for educators and administrators from diverse backgrounds and forming collaborative relationships that will enhance staff diversity within our school districts. This event takes place on March 31 and all details can be found here.

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 weeks of March 18 – March 24, MPS reported: 0 staff positive and 14 students positive.

What is the MPS travel policy for students/ staff who travel out of state?  Has the travel order change impacted current school policies?  As of Monday, March 22, the Massachusetts Travel Order is replaced with a Travel Advisory. This new travel advisory urges all persons entering Massachusetts, including returning residents, to quarantine for 10 days upon their arrival if they have been out of the state for 24 hours or more.  The Travel Advisory is the minimum requirement that MPS has to follow. Our MPS policy remains as a negative PCR test within 72 hours of returning OR a ten day quarantine for any out of state travel. An exception is made for travelers who are fully vaccinated (who have received two doses of either the Moderna or Pfizer COVID 19 vaccines OR who have received a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, 14 or more days ago) AND who do not have symptoms.  MPS does not allow for any other exemptions that the state allows.

Medication Drop off; Curbside, minimal contact medication drop off can be arranged with your school nurse. Please email your school nurse directly with your student’s name, the medication that will be dropped off, and the accompanying MD order.  MPS forms can be found here: MPS Over the Counter Medication FormMPS Prescription Medication 

After receipt of the required forms, the nurse will arrange drop off of the epipens, inhalers, seizure and over the counter medication.  Controlled substances, such as stimulant medication, must be handed directly to the nurse and proper pill count must be signed for.

MPS Visitor Guidelines: As a means of keeping students and staff healthy and safe, visitors – including parents or caregivers – will not be allowed to enter MPS school buildings for any purpose other than to drop off or pick up their student(s), all of which will be limited to the school’s administrative space. This prohibition does not apply to MPS staff with a business purpose to be at a school site or vendors necessary for providing school services.

Please continue to follow all CDC and MA Department of Public Health guidance on mask wearing, distance, hand hygiene, and social gatherings so we can all Protect the Paw and keep our students and staff safe in school. Please refer to our COVID-19 page for all health and safety policies and updates.

CELEBRATING OUR SENIORS

We have well over 200 seniors sponsored and just need a few more sponsors to help us celebrate each one of our 274 MHS seniors!  Sponsor a Senior is an effort to recognize every MHS Senior with a gift (suggestions include an inspirational note or card, a gift card, a small gift, a sweet treat – anything to let our seniors know how proud the community is of their accomplishments, adaptability, and resilience during a year long pandemic) from the Milton community as they prepare to graduate.

Parent organizers are seeking volunteers from the Milton community to Sponsor a Senior and make this effort successful! All details on Sponsoring a Senior can be found here, and you can sign up to Sponsor a Senior here. There are 274 MHS seniors, and the goal is for every senior to have a sponsor. Please sign up now, so we can celebrate all of our seniors!

EDUCATIONAL EQUITY

Somaly Prak-Martins, Senior Director of Education Equity, shares the following. Please see her full newsletter with more information about the topics below at this link. 

This year, from sundown March 27 thru sundown April 4, many Jewish families will observe the Festival of Passover.  Passover is a celebration of freedom.  “The holiday is observed for eight days (seven in Israel), and incorporates themes of springtime, a Jewish homeland, family, remembrance of Jewish history, social justice and most of all, freedom-  including recognizing those who are still oppressed today (History.com).” You can read more about Passover in the newsletter here.

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Last week the district responded to the murders that occurred in Atlanta Georgia where one gunman entered three Asian owned businesses and opened fire killing eight people.  Six out of the eight victims were women of Asian descent.  All three businesses that were targeted by this murderer are Asian owned.  He skipped over multiple other businesses that provided similar services and products as he drove from one location to another.  The authorities have not declared this as a hate crime and stated that the murderer is mentally ill and “was having a bad day”.  Many in the API community are outraged with how authorities are responding to this case.   Being mentally ill does not immune anyone from being a racist and/or sexist.  People can have intersections within their identity.  There has been a long-standing history of racism and the fight for social justice in America.  

We want our community to know that the Milton Public School District stands against ALL historical and current anti-Asian hate, racist, and violent acts against the API community.

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If you would like to receive MPS communications in a language other than English, please use this link to take a short survey regarding language, translation &  interpreting. If English is your preferred language, please skip this survey. The link to take the survey in multiple languages is at the top right of the survey.

HIGH SCHOOL HAPPENINGS

Please join us in recognizing our Term 2 Milton High School Vision Award recipients who not only have excelled academically but demonstrate respect and citizenship both inside and outside of our school.  Please take a few minutes to view the announcement of the Term 2 recipients. Congratulations to all of the recipients!

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Our students in Intro to Biology have been working hard this year and have recently begun a unit on the Human Body. Students have been able to utilize the courtyard for a heart rate lab, and this week completed their first dissection of the unit to help review the skeletal and muscular systems.

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MHS is happy to announce the April Vacation Driver’s Education course. Get all your Driver’s Education Hours done over April Vacation!

Who? Any Milton High School student who is at least 15 and 9 months on or before 4/19.  Since this is an online course, you must have a miltonps email account to access the course materials. This is why it is open to Milton High School students onlyAll details on Driver’s Education at MHS can be found here.

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Please see the MCAS Testing Notification letter sent to grade 10 and 11 families this week. MCAS Testing will be Next-Gen ELA and Mathematics computer-based tests, taking place May 3- 13 at MHS.

Please also see this AP Exam Administration Notification sent to all AP Students & Families on Tuesday of this week. AP Testing will take place in the school building from May 12- 26.

PIERCE PAGES

In 7th and 8th grade FUSE classes, students learn many 21st century skills without even realizing it. Click HERE to watch a video to see how a group of 7th graders worked together to create a roller coaster that a marble could travel through. They worked collaboratively by communicating with each other to creatively solve the problems they ran into during each iteration of their design.

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The Pierce Model United Nations club participated in a crisis conference designed and run by Kiera Glazer, a former Pierce Model UN alum, now Milton High School student and member of the Milton High’s Model UN club. Kiera has been working with the Pierce Model UN students for the past few weeks on developing and delivering opening speeches, parliamentary procedures, etc.

In this simulation, Pierce students from grades six to eight represented various countries throughout the world and debated as well as responded to a crisis caused by a dangerous earthquake in Peru.

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Mr. Manning’s art students have started a sneaker design lesson. Students used their own feet to develop a footprint design and will then develop a logo design and a fully customized sneaker of their own. Sneakers are such a part of middle school culture, and students are learning about artists that buy, sell, and trade sneakers for a living.

INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

This year, Tucker students were thrilled to have the annual science fair both virtual using PowerPoint presentations and Padlet as well as in person, outside and socially distanced. Over 125 students signed on to create rigorous projects after a kickoff with MPS K-8 Science Coordinator Mrs. Chiapetta and Scientist Adam from Super Science. Students presented to their classmates during class visits and virtual sessions. The entire school was able to participate in this annual tradition and it was a wonderful experience! You can check out some of the amazing projects in the pictures here as well as on the project padlet.

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Mrs. Walsh’s remote 2nd graders recently completed their Magical March STEM Challenge. Students designed towers, using no more than 12 cups and 12 plates to reach the maximum height. After making adjustments and tweaking their finished product, students used measuring tapes and recorded the height. Some towers reached over 30 inches!

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Glover 5th graders have been working on a Figure-Drawing Unit in Art. The culminating project is entitled “Dream Self-Portrait”, and the goal is for students to draw themselves in an active pose, doing something they dream of. Some students chose future goals, and some chose fantasy activities. Artists chose their background style of realistic, word collage or abstract. Many students are still in-process, but below are a few examples of their great work.

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Collicot 5th grade students are currently focusing on the Reach for Reading big question, “Why is water so important?” In addition to the works from the Reach curriculum, the 5th graders completed a grade wide read of the book A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park. In response to this work, 5th grade students started a school wide community service initiative to raise money to build wells in South Sudan. Collicot is decorated with posters promoting the project and explaining the importance of clean water. 5th graders participated in virtual meetings with Kindergarten students to explain the project.

Through the fundraiser, the “Iron Giraffe Challenge,” students will be collecting loose change in water jugs and then donating the money to help build wells (the “iron giraffe”) and to support other initiatives needed so badly in South Sudan. More information on this foundation can be found here. We are so proud of the 5th grade students for their work raising awareness and funds for this very important cause!

SPECIAL EDUCATION

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

Please see this document with tips on how to organize your child’s  special education documents.

We will welcome Cunningham parents of students in special education to our next coffee. We will meet virtually on April 13 at 7pm. The link to join can be found here or join by phone at 1 336-914-1213 (PIN: 317159998)

We will continue to provide team meetings virtually for the remainder of this year. If you would prefer an in person meeting, please reach out to your Team Chairperson or building principal.

We would like to encourage families to sign and return IEPs as soon as you receive them.  Your student’s team has worked with you diligently on the creation of the new IEP and we would like to be able to implement it as soon as possible. If you have trouble accessing the online portal, please let us know and we will send you a paper copy. If you need an additional copy to sign, please contact your Team Chairperson. Procedurally, we are required to report the IEP as unsigned after 30 calendar days has elapsed since it was sent for your review and consideration.

SUMMER OPPORTUNITIES 

Please see this overview of each of our elementary summer programs. More details will be sent on each program, we hope this allows families to begin to plan their summer activities.

There are four programs available to elementary families this summer:

  • MPS Elementary Universal Summer Program (sign up here) 
  • Milton Summer Enrichment
  • Extended School Year
  • Camp Cunningham

Please see this document or enlarge the photos below for details on each program.

COMMUNITY SCHOOLS 

Community Schools is excited to announce the offering of our April Vacation Camp. This limited capacity program will be in–person at the Collicot/Cunningham schools from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm 

At this time, we are able to accommodate a limited number of campers in grades K-5 and have capped our enrollment for this pilot program at 48 students. We will adhere to all Milton Public Schools and CDC COVID-19 guidelines. Families must agree to all MCS terms and policies in our information handbook to attend camp. Please read through this information before registering your child.

Registration for April Vacation Camp is open at this link (FAMILY ID- MCS PROGRAMS) and you can also find all this information on the MCS new website. We are thrilled to be offering this full-day in-person camp – we miss our MCS students and can’t wait to see them. We thank you for your patience and understanding while we work to return at a larger capacity. Please carefully read the April Vacation Camp information and do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.

TRANSPORTATION UPDATE

All current and newly registered elementary riders have been accommodated on the bus. MHS and Pierce registrations will be processed next week with updates in the Superintendent’s blog post on Thursday, April 1. Available seating on the MHS and Pierce routes is limited. There is no guarantee that all new registrations for MHS and Pierce routes can be accommodated.

All riders will receive new blue bus passes in the mail (during the week of March 29 for elementary students and the week of April 5 for Pierce and MHS).  Please discard the old red passes prior to the start of the new full day learning shift in April; students will not be allowed on buses with the red passes in the full in person learning model.

The new blue bus passes are not valid until 4/5 for elementary students and 4/12 for MHS and Pierce students. All seat assignments have been redone as the cohorts from hybrid learning were merged. All student(s) have new seats on the bus and students are required to sit in their new assigned seat.

Please note that DESE has lifted capacity and social distancing guidelines for buses. There will be 2 children in every seat at the middle and high school level and 3 students per bench at the elementary level. Some buses will have every seat filled; siblings will be placed together when possible, but we can not guarantee this will always happen due to ridership numbers. Masks will continue to be mandatory on the bus and no eating or drinking will be allowed.

New schedules for all bus routes will be posted on the Transportation page of the  MPS website on March 31. Please familiarize yourself with these schedules as they are different from the current posted ones. Arrival and drop off times have shifted on all routes due to increased ridership every day.  As we do at the beginning of the school year, we ask that families be 10-15 min earlier than the posted times as buses may arrive earlier or later than posted until the actual schedules are established.  Please email [email protected] with any questions.

FOOD SERVICE 

Our current food service model with Wednesday’s weekly drive through will continue for March 31 and April 7.

With the return to a full in person model throughout MPS, we will be ending our weekly drive through pick up.  Our last weekly drive thru with the Farmers to Families boxes will be April 7. We will be emailing a  survey to our fully remote families to schedule weekly pick ups.

Once we begin the full in person model (April 5 for elementary, April 12 for MHS and Pierce) students who are in school for a full day will have the option to receive a school lunch each school day.

MSAPC

The Milton Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition shares that prevention starts early and it starts at home. Tip #4 is a right. For lots of tips and resources for parents and guardians about steps to take to help prevent teen use of drugs and alcohol, please visit our website and follow us on Facebook.

The MSAPC also has a variety of social-emotional learning webinars available on its website. Listen and watch on your own timeframe to these recorded webinars.

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.

ATHLETICS

Please see the following from AD Ryan Madden.

Spring Sports to start early: The Bay State Conference voted to start Spring Sports two weeks early, on April 12th. While the MIAA has set a date of April 26th, the Bay State Conference Athletic Director’s recognize how much our Spring Student-Athletes have lost and are set to give them as much of a “normal” season as possible.

While there will be no games over April Vacation, student-athletes should make every effort to attend all practices. Families are still required to follow MPS Travel Guidelines when returning from out-of-State travel.

Students unable to attend pre-season beginning April 12th will be afforded a tryout on April 26th, with Athletic Director approval.

Registration information can be found here. A PowerPoint with information can be found here.

Spring Sports Presentation: On Thursday, April 1 at 6:30pm, there will be a Spring Sports Presentation over Zoom to explain the Spring Sports season, specifically regarding the “pre-season” and tryout period, as well as MIAA/EEA Guidance. Join Zoom the Meeting at this link; Meeting ID: 874 4175 6006; Passcode: DhWtHySpx9

COMMUNITY NEWS 

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

The Milton Public Library has some terrific programs for students of all ages. Check out their upcoming events here. The main MPL website can be found here.

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Milton Youth Advocates For Change is recruiting high school youth for leadership positions in Milton Minds Matter. Milton Minds Matter is a club promoting positive mental health for high school teens in Milton led by high school teens! All details can be found here. 

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Brookwood Community Farm, located in the Blue Hills, offers CSA (community supported agriculture) shares now with pickup starting in late May and running through just before Thanksgiving. This can be split into Spring, Summer, and or Fall shares and can also be picked up each week or alternate weeks. The choices for payment are all listed on the website and include options for SNAP and discounted shares. Please find all the details on our website. Get to it before they are all gone!

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Animal Movements – Saturday, March 27, 2021 at 11 am. Join MECA for a free, fun, literacy, and STEM series with animals and staff from the Trailside Museum! Programs are designed for children ages 2.9 to 7 years old and their parent or guardian and will include a story, movement, 2 live animal encounters, and time for questions and answers.
Registration is required. Sessions will be held live via Zoom. Please register here to receive the link and password to this Zoom session. Many thanks to our kindergarten t-shirt sponsors as their generosity has made this programming possible.

SUPERINTENDENT SHOUTOUT 

Crossing Guards help our students cross busy streets all year long, in all types of weather. This week Massachusetts acknowledged Crossing Guard Appreciation Day. Please join us in recognizing the hard work of all of our Milton Crossing Guards! Thank you to all our dedicated crossing guards for keeping MPS students safe. Pictured below are just some of our dedicated Crossing Guards.

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: Jackie Morgan, Tanya Walsh, Star Baylon, Ellen Lohan, Jon Redden, Elaine McNeil-Girmai, Ryan Madden, Somaly Prak-Martins, Karen McDavitt, Maureen Butler, Karen Cahill, Amy Tom, Patrick Manning, Janice Mazzola, Susan Maselli, Martha Sandoval, Mark Harrison and Kim Coughlin.

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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