Superintendent Jette releases updates for week of January 6, 2022

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Superintendent Jette releases updates for week of January 6, 2022

This week’s highlights include Snow Day – Friday, January 7, Covid Updates and Information, Preschool Information Night – TONIGHT, MPS Event – Talking to Young Children About Racism – January 20, and more.

From the Desk of the Superintendent:

In spite of the current Covid challenges that school districts and communities are facing, we were excited to welcome our students and staff back on Monday, after what I hope was a happy and healthy winter break.

I hope you received my earlier message (via text, phone and email) that the Milton Public Schools will be closed tomorrow, January 7, due to the impending snow storm.  As I shared before Winter Break, our approach to snow days is shifting. If there is inclement weather and school is cancelled for the day, it will be a traditional snow day: our buildings will be closed, there will be no remote learning and the day will be made up in June. Depending on the number of snow days we have this year, we may revisit this approach and will keep you updated if that happens. In the meantime, during tomorrow’s snow day, I hope your children take advantage of the day with extra sleep, catching up on school work, helping around the house, enjoying family time and safely having fun outside with friends.

I am pleased to share that despite record absences of staff and students, winter weather and colder temperatures and anxiety felt by some, we have been able to maintain in person learning.  Our staff has tirelessly worked together to keep students safe and learning, families have partnered with us on health issues and students are adhering to safety guidelines. Below is some updated Covid information as well additional updates from around the district. Thank you for taking the time to read through my weekly update.

Covid Reporting: Starting this week, in addition to sharing district totals, we will report Covid positive cases by school. For the time period of Thursday, December 23, 2021 – Wednesday, January 5, 2022, MPS reported the following information to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education as requested.

  • Glover- 9 staff, 45 students
  • Tucker- 5 staff, 27 students
  • Collicot- 16 staff, 35 students
  • Cunningham- 9 staff, 10 students
  • Pierce- 7 staff, 67 students
  • MHS- 26 staff, 107 students
  • MPS Totals: 72 staff and 231 students.

Vaccination Information

  • As of January 5th, 90% of our faculty and staff are vaccinated.
  • The the 90% vaccination rate includes staff from Applied Lessons, Community Schools, Coaches, After School Clubs/Activities, Central Office, Business Office, etc.
  • Grades 7 and 8 student vaccination rate is above 80%
  • Milton High School student vaccination rate is above 80%
  • Grade 6 students and students at the Elementary Level are NOT close to 80%

Updated Covid Guidelines

DESE/DPH Updated Isolation: MPS will follow updated isolation protocols from DESE/DPH effective immediately. If a staff member or student has tested positive, the student may return to school on day 6 after 5 days of isolation if asymptomatic or symptoms are improving. The student will be required to wear a mask at ALL times and may be given lunch accommodations to ensure proper distancing when eating.

DESE/DPH Quarintine Guidelines were updated on 12/30/21. Details can be found here.

How are we keeping staff and students safe? 

  • Mask Wearing
  • Physical distancing maximized to the greatest extent possible
  • Face seats/desks and students in the same direction whenever possible
  • Air purifiers in all classrooms and offices
  • Classroom/Office windows will remain cracked open during the school day to enhance the number of fresh air exchanges
  • Rooftop units will remain open to enhance the number of fresh air exchanges
  • Strongly encourage routine hand washing by students and staff
  • Daily health screening by staff and students
  • Test and Stay Program and Symptomatic testing for students
  • We will encourage students to wear masks outside and have designated mask break areas outside.
  • We encourage students and staff to speak to their Pediatrician/PCP about getting vaccinated and booster shots
  • We will encourage students to eat first, replace their masks and then resume socializing with their peers during breakfast, lunch and snack breaks.

How can our community prioritize in person learning? 

  • Work Collaboratively (Students, Staff, Families, Community Programs, BOH) to enforce mitigating strategies in and outside of school
  • Consider Getting Vaccinated/Booster Shot – Talk to your Pediatrician or Primary Care Physician (PCP)
  • When in Doubt, Stay Out: If your student has COVID-19 symptoms, do not send them to school and please follow the two steps below:
    a. Call your school before 8:30 a.m. to report your student’s absence
    b. Contact your school nurse for further guidance
  • Masks will continue to be required until further notice for all at Milton Public Schools.
  • Test and Stay Program: This program often allows students to remain in school when COVID-19 exposure in the classroom would otherwise require quarantining at home. I urge you to consider registering for this program if you have not already done so. Simply stated, this program has helped us keep our students in school, rather than at home. Test and Stay Sign up Quick Link

Substitute Teaching: Several members of our community have reached out about being a Substitute teacher during this school year. On call daily substitute teachers are needed for all levels and the rate is $90 per day.We welcome all qualified applicants and encourage you to apply at the Apply for a Job at MPS link found on the front of the MPS website.  Substitute teachers must have experience and enjoy working with children, the minimum requirement is a Bachelors degree for Substitute Teacher and an Associates degree for a Substitute Paraprofessional. Citizenship, residency or work VISA in United States is required. If you have any questions about the requirements, and how they pertain to you, please email MPS Human Resources Specialist Laurie Dunn at [email protected].

Covid Testing: The Town of Milton is hosting a free, drive-thru COVID testing day on  Sunday, January 9 from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at the DPW yard at 629 Randolph Avenue. All are welcome.

School Committee

The next regular Milton School Committee meeting is on January 19, 2022 at 7:00 p.m.  All information about attending School Committee meetings can be found on the Town of Milton webpage under School Committee. 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

  • Jan 6 Preschool Information Night (Virtual)
  • Jan 17 MLK Jr. Day No School
  • Jan 19 School Committee
  • Jan 20 Talking to Young Children About Racism
  • Jan 27 Kindergarten Information Night

Please refer to the District-Wide Calendar of Events for times and details. The 21-22 School Year Calendar can be found here (Revised 10/27/21 to reflect updated last day of school)

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TONIGHT: Virtual Preschool Information Night, January 6, 2022 at 6:30 p.m. Join Milton Public Schools administrators and staff to learn about the similarities and differences of the five preschool options offered by the district including curriculum, classroom design, lottery criteria, cost, payment scheduling, tuition assistance and registration process.  If you are unable to attend the session the presentation will be posted to the MPS website following the event.

Children attending an MPS Preschool Program must be three years old on or before August 31, 2022. For more information, please call Marti O’Keefe McKenna, MPS Family Outreach Liaison, at 617 980 7343 or email Mrs. McKenna at [email protected]

Please see below for important Preschool and Kindergarten dates

  • Preschool Information Night – Thursday, January 6, 2022 (Virtual)
  • Preschool Pre-registration – Thursday, January 6, 2022 – Thursday, January 27, 2022
  • Preschool Lottery if necessary – Friday, January 28, 2022
  • Kindergarten Information Night – Thursday, January 27, 2022
  • Kindergarten Pre-registration is open at this link.

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Join the Collicot, Cunningham, Glover and Tucker Communities for One Parent’s Journey: Talking to Young Children about Structural Racism with Dr. Kimberly Cauley-Narain.

On Thursday, January 20 at 7:00 p.m., join us virtually  to hear from Dr. Kimberly Cauley-Narain about her journey talking to her own children about structural racism. Finding no books that fit what she was looking for – she wrote a children’s book that explores structural racism in the United States: Cycle of a Dream – A Kid’s’ Introduction to Structural Racism. In the process, she integrated the broad evidence that supports talking to our preschool and elementary-aged children early and often about racism and other systems barriers that impede equitable educational, (mental) health and other experiences. Dr. Cauley-Narain will share her story and answer questions about what she has learned along the way. All details can be found here.

This evening is conceived and hosted by the Collicot DEI Committee and sponsored by the Collicot, Cunningham, Glover and Tucker PTOs.

Milton Public Schools families, staff, teachers and the entire Milton community are all welcome! The link to attend will be shared closer to the event and this event will be recorded.

High School Happenings

For the fourth consecutive year the MHS Key Club organized a holiday card drive for troops and this year was extra special as the cards were sent to MHS graduate Colin McSweeney,  whose platoon is deployed overseas. Thanks to the efforts of many students and staff the Key Club was able to mail over 370 cards and the cards arrived just before Christmas. A special thank you to Mr. Mack and Mrs. White for their help in distributing and encouraging students to participate. The Key Club is very appreciative of the time and effort that was put into this very meaningful project.

Pierce Pages

Saturnalia is a Roman holiday where social order was inverted and to celebrate it in Magistra Crowley’s 8th grade Latin class, students presented their own lesson to the class. This year there were lessons on military formations, gladiator fights, Roman mythology, Greek mythology, reviewing Latin sentences, and a few games.

Technology 

Four of the main components to becoming a successful digital citizen include understanding digital footprints, what to share and not to share online, knowing copyright laws, and understanding how to identify fake news. This link to a Path to Raising a Digital Citizen will help families better understand what it takes to become a responsible digital citizen.

In addition, we were pleased to host our first ever MPS Digital Citizenship roundtable discussion.  Special thanks go out to: Malachi Buchanan, Kevin Carberry, John Gillooly, Rose Gillooly, Ronan O’Connor, Nkechinyere Onyiriuka, and Stella Yuan for their time and participation in the roundtable discussion.

Milton Community Schools

Milton Community Schools hosted its annual vacation camp December 27-30. Students took part in a variety of fun and engaging activities including dance routines, bowling, arts and crafts with igloos, crowns, creating a maze, and much more. Both students and staff enjoyed the special New Years celebration! You can watch some of the Vacation Camp fun here!  Thanks to our terrific Vacation Camp staff for creating such a safe and enjoyable experience for our students.

Family Resources

With the days short, temperatures dropping and the cost of heat rising we want to remind families who may need assistance of a valuable resource.  If you or someone you know is in need of heating assistance this winter the Quincy Community Action Program, serving Milton families, has begun their Winter Fuel Assistance Application process. For applications and more details please visit QCAP Fuel Assistance Program.

In addition, it’s time to start thinking about filing your 2021 taxes. The United Way and Quincy Community Action Program offers free tax preparation for qualifying families. Details about both  programs and more can be found in our Family Resource Newsletter.

MPS knows that families may sometimes need resources for their children and family beyond the classroom.  In addition to the Family Resource Newsletter  please visit Milton Public School Resource Guide.  If you need additional assistance 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.

SEPAC

The next SEPAC board meeting will be held on January 12, 2022, from 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.  This is a community forum meeting, and SEPAC welcomes parents, families and interested community members to share stories, questions and advice.  The Zoom Link can be found here.

SEPAC is looking for a representative for Out of District students and their families!  The Out of District rep serves on the SEPAC board and is a liaison between the out of district coordinator (and other staff) and out of district students and families.  The commitment is approximately 3-4 hours per month and involves attending a monthly board meeting, as well as meeting with the out of district coordinator monthly to review standardized questions. If interested, please email one of our chairs: Jennie Mulqueen or Jenny Sheehan.

Food Service

Please see our latest Food Service update here with menu information, employment opportunities, and more.

Athletics

MHS Boys Soccer will be hosting Cans for ‘Cats on Saturday, January 8, from 9am to noon at Milton High School.

Community News

Forbes House Museum welcomes the Year of the Tiger on Sunday, January 23, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Registration: $30/members, $35/nonmembers; Art kits: $8

This interactive program begins with a tour highlighting the Chinese artifacts in the collection and discussing the meanings behind the various Chinese symbols found throughout the house. Then create your own lucky red and gold envelopes for gift-giving in a workshop led by Taiwanese-American artist Rayna Lo. The afternoon will conclude with a sampling of delicious Chinese dumplings!

Appropriate for adults and children ages 10 and up. No art/drawing experience necessary. Attendance is limited and advance registration is required. Art kits include red cardstock and gold paint pens. Visit our website to register or learn more.

Participants will be required to wear masks except when eating or drinking. We will continue to monitor developing COVID guidelines and adjust our program as necessary for the safety and wellbeing of everyone. 

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Milton Parks and Rec  – Intro to Recreational Irish Step!

This is a non-competitive program open to Milton elementary school students in grades K-3. The program will be held on Thursday nights at Cunningham Hall (located at 75 Edge Hill Rd.) There is limited space in the Gr 2-3 session.
Registration (linked here) is open.  All details can be found here. 

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The Milton Public Library’s calendar of  January programs for kids can be found here.

From January 1 to January 31, Milton Public Library is participating in Beanstack’s Fifth Annual Winter Reading Challenge, sponsored by Lerner Publishing Group. “Read for a Better World” encourages readers of all ages to explore diversity, empathy, and action through literature. We challenge our patrons to read at least 10 books during the month and keep track of their reading on our Beanstack site. All ages are welcome to participate! Pre-register today at miltonlibrary.beanstack.org . Happy reading, Milton!

To learn more and to register for programs for kids, teens and adults, please visit the MPL website.

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The Milton Early Childhood Alliance Winter Newsletter can be found here. The newsletter has information about playgroups and resources for families with young children.

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11th Hour Calling, Monthly Stand Out for Climate Action; Tuesday, January 11, 6:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
First Parish Church lawn ~ Gather round the spotlight; 535 Canton Avenue (next to Town Hall)

Showing up shows that we care about the climate emergency, environmental justice, elimination of fossil fuels from our lives, and Milton’s municipal response planning. We welcome all — coming together has been energizing and community-building. Bring friends, classmates, and neighbors — and share this information with your activity groups (thank you if you have already done so). This will be the first weeknight 11th Hour event, with greater commuter volume to notice us: HONK FOR CLIMATE ACTION!! [Rain/Snow date Wed. 1/12]

For safety: flashlights / headlamps / light-colored or reflective clothing
For impact: signage / posters and noise makers (a saucepan and spoon work fine!)

Next month’s 11th Hour event date is Friday, February 11 [rain/snow: Saturday, February 12]

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Youth Recreational Bowling, January 13th – March 31st

Milton Sports for All, a recreational, inclusive sports program, is offering candle-pin bowling this winter at Cunningham Hall.

The program is open to kids in grades 4 – 8 who reside in Milton. Bowling will happen on Thursdays from January 13 through March 31 from 4:30 p.m. – 5:15 p.m. for grades 4 and 5 and from 5:30 p.m. –  6:15 p.m. for grades, 6, 7, and 8. No experience (or bowling shoes!) is necessary. Candle-pin bowling uses smaller balls which are easier for kids to bowl.

The registration fee is $20 and registration will be open until December 31.There will be a maximum of 24 kids in each time slot.Should the program be oversubscribed, participants will be selected by lottery and refunds will be given if not selected.(Please note that bowling is loud! If your child has any sensory issues, you’re welcome to send them with noise-cancelling head-phones or any other resource they might need.)

You can register on-line here for grades 4 and 5 and here for grades 6 – 8. You will be notified the week of Jan. 3 whether your child can participate in the program. Thank you and see you in the lanes!

Milton Sports for All is a volunteer group of parents and community members who believe that sports should be fun and accessible to all kids regardless of background, experience, or ability.We welcome new volunteers! Our goal is for kids across Milton to have fun playing sports together in a supportive environment where they can meet new friends.

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Superintendent Shoutout

Congratulations to Elaine Moore, Milton High School’s Kitchen Manager, who recently won the MHS Staff Vision Award!

A Vision Award is given to students and staff who embody one or more of the following criteria:

  • Applies critical thinking
  • Utilizes technology to engage, explore, evaluate the community, nation, and world
  • Be original and innovative individually and collaboratively
  • Good citizenship, personal responsibility, and character individually and collaboratively
  • Demonstrate understanding and respect for themselves and diversity of ideas, cultures, abilities, and lifestyles in school and beyond

Mrs. Moore is more than deserving of this recognition. Many of the students have a connection with her, and she is always there for them when a student comes to talk to her even while managing a kitchen. We are very lucky to have her working in Food Service at the Milton Public Schools. Congratulations to Elaine and thank you for your work on behalf of our students and staff!

Thank you to my blog contributors this week: Leonice Bernard, Kim Coughlin, Marti O’Keefe McKenna and Holly Concannon.

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.

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: Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Human Resources Janet Sheehan, (617) 696- 4808/4809.

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