Superintendent Jette releases updates for week of April 15, 2021

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Superintendent Jette releases updates for week of April 15, 2021

This week’s highlights include MHS and Pierce full day return, update – MPS early release day, thank you to Mrs. Sheila Varela and Dr. Kevin Donahue, Pierce DEI  committee invitation and more.

FROM THE DESK OF THE SUPERINTENDENT

This week our Pierce and MHS students began full days of school, both in person and in the remote model. Our schools continue to make adjustments day to day as needed. I have visited each of our schools in the past 2 weeks and have seen happy engaged students and our dedicated staff at work in every classroom I have dropped into. After April break, I will visit with our students and staff in the remote model and a link will be sent directly to students after the April break.

We are grateful that Covid metrics allowed for this model change in our schools in a safe and responsible way. However, we must remember that Covid is still very much with us and could disrupt our model at any time. In our schools, Covid precautions are ever present in our daily routines and we ask that it remain so at home. While we all have Covid fatigue, this is not the time to let our guard down. Very few of our students are vaccinated, and many adults in our Milton community are still not fully vaccinated. Covid continues to spread and the illness itself and the resulting quarantines per CDC guidelines continue to impact Milton and the Milton Public Schools. Please continue to follow all CDC and MA Department of Public Health guidance on mask wearing, social distancing, hand hygiene, and social gatherings to help us to Protect the Paw and keep our students and staff safe in school.

With the upcoming April break, I want to remind all in the MPS community about the MPS travel policy. On Monday, March 22, the Massachusetts Travel Order was 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.

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As many of you know, the Town of Milton 2021 Annual Town Election will take place on Tuesday, April 27, 2021, from 7 am until 8 pm. Because three of our schools are used for the election (Cunningham, Tucker, and MHS), we will have to make a slight change in our schedule.

On Tuesday, April 27, we will pivot from a full day of school to a half day for students.  All faculty and staff will remain for a full school day and utilize the afternoon time for collaboration and planning. The safety of our students and staff remains our top priority and is the reason behind the change to an early release day on April 27. As a result, the location of the election process in each of these three locations (Cunningham, Tucker and MHS) will be off limits for students during that day. We will employ the “Grab & Go” lunch distribution we have used all year long. The early release dismissal schedule will be similar to your school’s normal early release time: Collicot and Cunningham – 12:00pm; Tucker and Glover – 12:30pm; Pierce Middle School – 11:21am; Milton High School – 11:16am

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At last night’s School Committee meeting, we took the time to acknowledge and celebrate the contributions made by Sheila Varela and Dr. Kevin Donahue over the past 6 years as members of the Milton School Committee. Both Mrs. Varela and Dr. Donahue joined the Milton School Committee in April of 2015 and have spent the last 6 years working diligently on behalf of the students and staff of the Milton Public Schools as well as for the taxpayers of Milton.

Mrs. Varela began her involvement in Milton government and the Milton Public Schools even before her tenure with the Milton School Committee. She is an active Town Meeting member, past member of the PTOs at both Collicot and Pierce Middle School, prior member of the Milton Foundation for Education and known around town for her involvement in two successful overrides.

Mrs. Varela enthusiastically took on her role as a School Committee member. In addition to chairing the School Committee, Sheila has participated on most, if not all, subcommittees of the School Committee which include Finance Subcommittee, Policy Subcommittee, Facilities Advisory Committee, and Health and Wellness Advisory to name a few. Mrs. Varela was instrumental in the development and implementation of the Transportation and Traffic Safety Advisory Committee.

Dr. Donahue has been invaluable to the Milton School Committee over his six-year term. During that time, he has served as chair, vice chair, and a supportive member whose quiet, calm and reassuring manner has helped all of us. If you were to ask his fellow School Committee members, I believe they would agree that we all count on Dr. Donahue’s level-headedness and always value his opinion.

Being a School Committee member is so much more than attending meetings twice a month. Like Ms. Varela, Dr. Donahue has sat on almost all of the Milton School Committee subcommittees. He has worked with his co-members on the Finance Subcommittee, Policy Subcommittee and Facilities Advisory Committee and was an integral member of the Negotiation Subcommittee.

On behalf of the Milton Public Schools, I would like to thank both Sheila Varela and Dr. Donahue, for their time, expertise and dedication to the Milton Public Schools. Although last night was their last meeting serving as School Committee members, their legacy and imprint on the Milton Public Schools will live on!

I wish you and your family a happy and restful April break (April 19-23) and I look forward to seeing all of our students and staff on Monday, April 26.

SCHOOL COMMITTEE 

The next regular School Committee meeting will be on April 28, 2021, at 7pm in the Milton Access Studio, Rm 245 Milton High School. All information about upcoming School Committee meetings can be found on the Town of Milton webpage. You can watch School Committee meetings live on Milton Access TV online, live on Milton Access cable channels (Comcast 22, RCN 15) or watch on-demand in the days following the meeting.

IMPORTANT UPCOMING DATES

  • Apr 19-23 April Break
  • Apr 27 Annual Town Election
  • Apr 27 Early Release Day
  • Apr 28 School Committee Meeting
  • May 3 Town Meeting Begins
  • May 5 School Committee Meeting

The full MPS calendar can be found here.

Pierce DEI Committee Invitation: Early in the winter, the Pierce Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee held several “family forums” as opportunities to bring parents and guardians together around their children’s experiences with school up to that point in the school year. In response to the ideas and opportunities that emerged from the family forums, we are pleased to invite all MPS parents, guardians and caregivers to attend several virtual workshops on a variety of topics. Each workshop will be facilitated by a panel of professionals with a broad range of experience and expertise in supporting families, children, and educators. Please click here for details about each workshop as well as registration information.

  • Workshop #1 – Parenting During a Pandemic: Where do we go from here? (4/29/21)
  • Workshop #2 – Healing Racial Trauma: Self-Care for Mind, Body and Spirit (5/12/21)

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 April 8 – April 14, MPS reported: 0 staff positive and 3 students positive.

The COVID page on our website continues to be updated with new FAQs added regularly.

INSIDE OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS 

Since the beginning of April, remote students in Mrs. Walsh’s 2nd grade have written a poem every day. Our 2nd graders have written acrostic, cinquain, bio poem using similes, color poem using senses, fractured nursery rhymes, alliteration, and concrete poems. We are proud of our young poets!

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Collicot students in Mme Kramer’s 2nd grade classroom had a special virtual guest this week.  Mme Muhsin, MPS parent and French Immersion teacher, streamed into the classroom to teach students about Ramadan. Mme Muhsin began by reading the book “It’s Ramadan Curious George” and then allowed students to ask questions about Ramadan. Students learned that some Muslims fast during Ramadan which helps them think of the many people who are hungry everyday. Students also learned that it is customary to perform generous acts during Ramadan. After listening to the story and talking with Mme Muhsin, students drew and wrote about generous acts they could complete this month. Additionally, there have been videos created and resources gathered by Collicot students and families to teach the community more about Ramadan. Please enjoy these videos and links to read alouds about Ramadan if you are interested in learning more: A Ramadan Message from Laya, Grade 3; What is Ramadan video?, Noor Hakim, Grade 1 Student , &  Rayhana & Yaseen Kassim, grade 2; Link to Ramadan read alouds and resources.

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Glover gives “Duck Feet” to students who are following expectations as part of our PBIS initiative and two students from each grade read aloud on our weekly morning announcement video as part of this initiative. As a special thank you to our teachers and staff Glover students made duck feet at home to nominate teachers and others who have made a difference in their lives this year. On Wednesday, students surprised staff during the weekly morning announcement and awarded Glover staff duck feet instead of students to recognize the hard work that they have done to transition to this new model. Thank you Glover teachers and staff for your hard work!

Mrs. d’Entrement’s Cunningham 5th graders got creative this week with their STEM project Using only paper, tape, and one wire for the handle, students created a pencil case with a lid. Students got creative with their designs and some students are using their creations daily in their classroom to hold items.

MPS music teacher Emily Plunkett shares that the Elementary String Ensemble musicians, comprised of in-person and remote students, are so happy to be making music together! Students had their first in-person rehearsals last week. Although students have had Google Meets all year, this is the first time we have made music together in the same room. You can listen to the beautiful music our students make here.

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Although it is still a few weeks away Tucker students are getting ready for their annual Unity Night. This past week students reflected on what being a Tucker student means to them and over the April break students will make submissions for a poster contest with an image that represents how Tucker has remained united tied to our Unity Night theme of “Be the Light”.

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The Collicot Grade 5 Community Service Project Results are in from the Iron Giraffe Challenge! With many thanks to our friends at the Bank of Canton, who generously donated the use of their coin-counter machine, grade 5 students were able to count the spare change collected in the water jugs in each Collicot classroom. We raised a grand total of $3,590 for Water for South Sudan.

SPECIAL EDUCATION

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

Parents and guardians of students with current ESY services will receive an email regarding ESY tomorrow.  We look forward to welcoming our students to ESY this summer!

BICO Collaborative has sponsored a free professional development opportunity for families. Check out this youtube video on Understanding the Mental Health Implications of COVID for Students Returning to School presented by Dr. Craig Murphy.

April is Autism Awareness Month! This year, the theme is Inclusion in the Workplace: Challenges and Opportunities in a Post-Pandemic World.  Check out this article to learn about the history of Autism Awareness Month. 

Unified Sports are starting in the spring season. Unified Track Team is an inclusive sports team consisting of students with and without disabilities. These student athletes will be competing together as teammates.  If you are interested in learning more, please email Coach Ashley Assarian at [email protected].

EDUCATIONAL EQUITY

The latest edition of Behaving Equitably by Somaly Prak-Martins, Senior Director of Education Equity, contains some powerful information and resources. It also has an informative piece about Ramadan which I encourage you to read. Please see her full Behaving Equitably newsletter with more information about Black Lives Matter, Ramadan and ongoing equity work in the Milton Public Schools at this link.

MPS SUMMER

Milton Summer Enrichment: We are excited to share that MSE is on for summer 2021! The program will run from July 6-30th from 8:30-12:30, Monday through Friday. As in past years, activities will include Art, music, STEM, athletic skill clinics, STEAM and more. We will also offer recreational activities including sports and board games! With the exception of classes held in the field house or outside, all classes will be capped at 12 students to allow for adequate social distancing. Please keep this in mind, classes will fill quickly. The cost of the program is 2 courses $450, 4 Courses $800, Pre–K $824 and a family max of $1,875.

The MSE 2021 brochure will be available the week of April 25. It will be shared in Superintendent Jette’s blog, principal communications and on the MPS website. Registration will begin the week of May 3. More details on registration will follow.

An application for high school students serving as a volunteer or paid Red Shirt will be shared by MHS Guidance after April break.

Camp Cunningham: Camp Cunningham is looking forward to a great summer! The CC team is working to implement a series of adjustments that will ensure a safe and fun environment for our campers. We are able to accommodate 72 campers and participants must be currently enrolled as MPS students entering grades 1- 6 in the fall of 2021.

All details on Camp Cunningham can be found here and please read the Camp Cunningham welcome letter here. Registration for Camp Cunningham 2021 is open at this link.

TRANSPORTATION UPDATE

Families wishing to register their child to ride the bus in the full return to school model may do so now until Wednesday, April 21.  Passes will be processed and mailed the week of April 26 for ridership beginning the week of May 3.  The fee to ride for the remainder of the school year is $90 for all students.  There are multiple routes with waiting lists and registration is not a guarantee of a seat on the bus. Seats will be assigned prioritizing students living furthest from their assigned school.  Please use this link to register students for the bus: Bus Registration 2020-2021. Please email [email protected] with any questions.

FOOD SERVICE 

With the return to a full in person model throughout MPS, we have ended our weekly drive through pick up.  We have emailed a survey to our fully remote families to schedule weekly pick ups of 5 days of breakfasts and lunches each week.

Students who are in school for a full day will have the option to receive a school lunch each day.  All school lunch continues to be offered free of charge to all students. All menus and details can be found at this link. 

There are additional resources available to our community, including Project Breads Food Source Hotline. If you need food assistance, please call 800-645-8333 to learn about resources available to help you. Additional local resources are listed at this link.

The Milton Public Schools is committed to being a resource for you. At any time, please 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.

PTO UPDATES 

The Glover School PTO shares the following about the Glover School – 2021 Brick Fundraiser!
Calling all Glover Families – PAST and PRESENT! Reserve a prominent place in The Glover Elementary School history for yourself or a loved one by purchasing a commemorative brick with a personalized message to be installed at Glover. This is the perfect way to recognize a birthday, graduation, commemorate the years your family has been at Glover, or to show sympathy or appreciation. Please place your order by April 17. 

Your contribution will go towards the creation of a brick pathway by the main entrance and additional proceeds will benefit the 2021 Glover School 5th Grade Class to celebrate their last year and class gift. All details can be found here.

MSAPC

The Milton Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition shares that prevention starts early and it starts at home. Tip #6 is at 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.

ATHLETICS

Please see the following from AD Ryan Madden.

Thank you to all who attended the MHS Spring Sports information meeting this week.  The PowerPoint with information about the spring season is linked here.

The pre-season and tryout schedule for Spring Sports  is posted here and you can register your student at this link. Registration for Spring Sports will close on Wednesday, April 21 at noon. 

Students must be registered on Family ID and have turned in a valid physical to the Main Office. Please confirm that your student is cleared here.

The MHS Baseball Team is hosting a car wash on Saturday, April 17th from 9 am  to noon at Cunningham School.

COMMUNITY NEWS 

We are happy to provide Community News on behalf of local organizations. We recommend checking with the organizations below for any changes to the following events.

The Milton Interfaith Clergy Association invites the community to join together for the following event. Commemorating our Journey through Covid-19: A Community Gathering of Consolation, Healing and Hope. Presented by the Milton Interfaith Clergy Association on Sunday, May 16 from 3:00pm-4:00pm at the Milton Town Gazebo

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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 Early Childhood Alliance shares their spring programming below.  All MECA programs are free! Please see this link for information about:

  • Preschool Playgroup Series
  • Nature Tales – Animal Movements
  • Getting Ready for Kindergarten
  • Nature Tales – Animal Five Senses
  • Children’s Concert
  • StoryWalks® Around Town – Part of Milton Moves! Found at the Trailside Museum, Milton Cemetery,  Houghton’s Pond

Nature TalesJoin us 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.

  • Animal Movements – Saturday, April 24, 2021 at 11:00 AM
    (re-scheduled from March 27th)
  • Sessions will be held live, via Zoom. Please register here to receive the link and password to this Zoom session.

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Milton Art Center: Empower your young artist, ages 4-12 this summer with nine weeks of outdoor art programming starting June 28 to August 26 at the Milton Art Center. Weekly themed programs in clay, painting, fairy camp, mixed media, 3D sculpture and more run Monday-Thursday, AM and PM sessions. Sign up for one session or several on our website. 

New England Base Camp—An outdoor adventure park located in the Blue Hills of Milton, NE Base camp offers a premier destination for parents who are looking to keep their kids engaged during April break. This hidden jewel offers top notch outdoor education and a fantastic opportunity for kids to get a full outdoor experience, something they may not have had much of a chance to do during the pandemic. The camp offers fun filled activities such as fire-building, outdoor cooking, archery, S.T.E.M programs, pioneering, environmental studies, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, arts and crafts, and creative arts such as animation, theatre, music and even ax throwing! The Camp, now open to the public, is owned and operated by the Boy Scouts Spirit of Adventure Council and follows all Covid-19 Protocols. Visit the NE Base Camp visit the website here. 

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Brookwood Community Farm is holding their annual Seedling Sale in early May.  To be compliant with state guidelines for outdoor gatherings due to COVID and to manage within our parking limits, everyone must sign up to visit our sale. Start dreaming and planning what you will grow this season and then make it happen. Please read our FAQs before going to our sale signup link here. Thank you in advance for trusting us to provide a great start to your gardening efforts in 2021! Some CSA shares are still available. Please see this link for details.

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, Ellen Lohan, Jon Redden Karen McDavitt, Sara MacNeil, Elaine McNeil-Girmai, Somaly Prak-Martins, Ryan Madden, Emily Plunkett, Susan Maselli, Tanya Walsh and Martha Sandoval.

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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