One reward of working in education is the excitement in the schools each August as we get ready to welcome students. New families bring their children in to register. Staff members reunite after the summer break. The schools get a thorough cleaning. Teachers prepare their classrooms, and administrators build schedules. I have never seen as much activity as I’ve seen in Milton schools this summer. The buildings are busy with summer learning programs for students, graduate courses for educators and community programs such as town band practice and the recreation department’s art camp. The maintenance and custodial crew scrubbed every classroom, stripped and waxed floors, dusted light fixtures and replaced bulbs. Milton’s Food Service Department prepared more than 20,000 summer feeding program meals and delivered them to eight locations.
We have been hiring since early spring to ensure our schools are staffed with the best candidates. To provide special education and early education services, two added teaching positions and three new support staff positions were included in the budget for the 2016-2017 school year. Thirty new staff members were hired to fill vacancies across all employee groups.
This summer the district welcomed three new principals and a new manager of buildings and grounds. Mary Fitzgerald is the preK-2 principal. Mary holds a bachelor of arts from St. Michael’s College and a master of arts in teaching from the University of Vermont. Before coming to Milton, Mary worked as a math specialist and classroom teacher at Bellows Free Academy in Fairfax for 28 years. Interim principal for grades 3-5 Bridget Gagne graduated from Keene State College with a bachelor of science and from American Public University in West Virginia with a master of education. Bridget’s experience in education was primarily in New Hampshire and includes serving as an assistant principal, teaching principal and teacher. Becky Day is the new middle school principal. Her background includes five years as an assistant principal in St. Albans and five years as a health and family consumer science teacher at Middlebury Union Middle School. Becky has a bachelor of science from the University of Vermont and a master of education from Springfield College in Massachusetts.
Please thank the custodial and maintenance crew for paving the MHS parking lot and refreshing the MEMS entrances. Newly hired manager of buildings and grounds Bruce Cheeseman has overseen many improvements since starting July 1. With an extensive background in facilities management and construction, Bruce has worked in both the private sector and on federal projects.
Several staff members moved into new positions. Lynne Manley is now director of curriculum, instruction and technology. Angela Filion is the MES assistant principal.
Summer is a time for concentrated professional development. The Responsive Classroom is an evidence-based approach promoting academic, social and emotional growth for all students by building a strong school community. Many Milton teachers have taken RC, and a new group of educators participated this summer to provide consistency. Milton again sent a team to the Building Effective Support for Teaching Students Institute, held each summer to help schools build capacity for working with students with behavioral and emotional challenges.
Milton educators attended courses and workshops for Advanced Placement institutes for Spanish and physics, math, literacy, world languages and using technology for learning and for information management. Educators worked on curriculum, too, writing units that include new proficiency based graduation requirements. MMS educators attended the Middle Grades Summer Institute, studying topics geared to students in grades 6-8 such as flexible pathways, personalized learning, math and technology.
The district’s leadership team includes principals and central office administrators. For a week, they deliberated on items of district-wide importance such as consistent approaches for improving student achievement.
All of this attention to learning and to the learning environment points to an organization committed to continuous improvement of our service to Milton students and their families.
Please save the date! Community dinner, Tuesday, Sept. 6, 4:30-7 p.m., MEMS cafeteria.