From Gretchen Larkin, Assistant Principal for Lower School
As I write, I am sitting in my new office in the Junior Building eagerly anticipating the arrival of your children and amazed, once again, at how quickly the summer flew by. While Milton Academy is a source of energy any month of the year, the energy in September is unique. Fostering relationships and learning new routines brings an enthusiastic and palpable energy at the start of a school year. Our K–5 faculty will bring with them scholarly and cultural experiences from a variety of summer professional development opportunities; these fresh experiences will contribute to our already rich curriculum and support our continued work of curricular sequencing. Because summer is a time of renewal and restoration for a school community, adults and children are ready to come together and partake in the joy of learning.
Our robust online calendar provides you with all of the important dates you need to know, but I want to bring your attention to a few specific events:
- Friday, September 9: Kindergarten Parent Coffee, 8:15–10 a.m. in the Junior Building
- Tuesday, September 13: Greenleaf Parent Coffee, 8:30–10 a.m. in Thacher
- Thursday, September 22: Lower School Curriculum Night, 6 p.m. (Curriculum night has been combined into one evening this year. Details will follow in a separate note.)
- Friday, September 23: Junior Building Coffee, 8:30–10 a.m. in the Junior Building
- Tuesday, October 4: K–5 Pictures
- Friday, October 7: K–5 Parent Teacher Conferences
If you have any questions, please call me at 617-898-2338 or email me at gretchen_larkin@ milton.edu. My door is always open should you wish to stop by.
I look forward to welcoming you and your children on Friday, September 9. I hope the last few weeks of summer are filled with relaxing days and cool nights with your family.
From Will Crissman, Assistant Principal for Middle School
I am happy to be writing you with the start of school just a few weeks away. As assistant principal for Middle School, I will oversee the ongoing development of our program, our students and our teachers. Middle school is a time of constant intellectual, emotional and physical growth, and I'm sure that our students have experienced dynamic change over the summer months. Seeing students return to school with renewed energy, focus and commitment to their studies and their community is exciting. Faculty, too, have engaged in professional development and curricular development over the summer to continue our tradition of innovative, rigorous instruction. Welcoming new and familiar faces will be the start to another great year.
Please be aware of some important dates as we move into the school year:
- Friday, September 9: Middle School Orientation
- Monday, September 12: First day of classes (September 12)
- Friday, September 16: Middle School Parent Coffee
- Tuesday, September 20: Grade Six Curriculum Night
- Friday, October 21: Grades 7 and 8 Parents' Day
- Tuesday, October 25: Grade Six Parent Conferences
Please check the online calendar for more details about these events throughout the fall.
Finally, on Monday, September 19, the entire Middle School will go to Camp Wing in Duxbury for a day of community building, team challenges and outdoor fun. Students will need a signed permission form, which they will receive in the August mailing. Please submit your permission form to Jacqui Pennini in the Middle School office as soon as possible.
If you have any questions about the start of the year or your student's Middle School experience, please feel free to contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 617-898-2322.
I wish you all a happy end of summer.
Welcome to Our New K–8 Faculty
Gretchen Allinson will be our Middle School counselor through January, covering for Nicci King who is on maternity leave. Gretchen has a master's in clinical mental health counseling from Lesley University, and a B.S. in counseling, also from Lesley. She joins us from the Hillside School in Marlborough, Massachusetts.
Sonya Conway will teach Grade 6 math this fall while Carrie Ferrin is on maternity leave. Sonya has taught at Derby Academy and Duxbury Middle School. She's a familiar face at Milton, as an often called-upon, long-term substitute. Sonya has a B.S. in biology and elementary education from Bridgewater State University.
Brenda Fuller will fill in as our Lower School librarian while Joan Eisenberg is on sabbatical this fall. In the spring, Brenda will stay with us as our K–5 art teacher, while Sandy Butler is on sabbatical. Brenda knows our school well, having worked in the Greenleaf office and taught Lower School technology. She studied art at R.I.S.D. and Oral Roberts University.
Tamara Nikuradse will teach Grade 3, covering Susan Wheelwright's sabbatical. Tamara made a mid-career change to teaching, earning her masters from Lesley College. She has taught grade 5 at O'Donnell Elementary in East Boston and grade 3 at Shady Hill. She earned her M.B.A. from Harvard and her B.A. from Bowdoin College.
Derek Palmore will teach Grade 7 and 8 English. Coming from the Rectory School in Connecticut, Derek previously taught at Punahou School in Hawaii and Campbell Hall in Los Angeles. He has a bachelor's degree from Boston University.
Randy Schmidt will be a Grade 4 homeroom teacher. Randy joins us from The School at Columbia. He has a B.A. in art history from Marlboro College and master's degrees from Columbia University and the City College of New York.
Liz West will be our learning specialist for Grades 4–8. Liz previously taught at the Lab School of Washington, D.C., and has conducted research with students at the Carroll School. She has just completed an Ed.M. from Harvard in mind, brain and education. She earned her bachelor's degree from American University, where she also earned a master's in special education and learning disabilities.
This fall, we will resume our search for a director of K–8 curriculum and multicultural programming. The search this spring turned up excellent candidates from across the country, but the ideal match was elusive. In the meantime, Director of K–12 Multicultural Programming Heather Flewelling will hold weekly office hours on the K–8 campus. In collaboration with K–8 faculty, Will Crissman, Gretchen Larkin and Marshall Carter will continue our progress of strengthening and evolving our K–8 curriculum.
Does Your Middle Schooler Ride the Bus to School?
If so, please make sure that you and your child are familiar with the policies and safety rules associated with traveling to and from school on the bus. Sign-up forms for bus travel to and from school were included in the summer forms in your myMilton account. If you have questions regarding the bus routes or policies, please contact Denise Costello in Milton's business office at 617-898-2285.
[Bus Route Details 2011–2012]
[View School Bus Regulations]
Private Music Lessons
Milton Academy can arrange instrumental or vocal lessons for students who wish to take them. Music department members maintain contact with the private teachers, help further students' progress whenever possible, and encourage participation in recitals, larger ensembles and chamber groups. Exceptional instruction is given in all of the orchestral and band instruments, voice, piano, guitar and bass guitar. The department will gladly assist students wishing to have instruction in instruments not listed; the department will also assist in finding a suitable teacher from outside the Academy.
[Sign up for private music lessons]
Lower School Pick-up and Drop-off
For the safety of all our students, we ask that you adhere to the established pick-up and drop-off practices described in the Lower School Parent Handbook that you received this summer. For a quick tutorial or reminder, please take a look at our pick-up and drop-off map.
After School Information and Registration
Sign-up forms for the After School Program were included among the summer forms in your myMilton account. If you're interested in registering your child for the After School Program, please submit those completed forms as soon as possible to Diane Hutchison, director of the After School Program. If you have questions about the program, please contact Diane at 617-898-2513.
On Friday, September 9, there will be no After School for Middle School students. After School for K–5 students is available from 12–5 p.m. Please send your child with lunch.
The regular After School schedule begins on Monday, September 12:
Monday–Thursday, 3–5:45 p.m.
Friday, 12–5 p.m.
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 4 p.m.–5:45 p.m.
Wednesday, 3–5:45 p.m.
Shoes and Attire for Lower School Physical Education
Scott Green, K–5 physical education teacher, asks that children in Kindergarten through Grade 5 keep a pair of sneakers—with laces or Velcro closings—at School for physical education classes only. For safety reasons, slip-on sneakers are not appropriate. Children without proper footwear may not participate in class. Students may not rely on wearing sneakers they have worn to School, as they travel outside to get to the gym. Dirty or wet sneakers can cause a hazard on gym floors. In order to increase instructional time in physical education class, children do not change their clothes. For freedom of movement, students should wear pants or shorts to School on days they have physical education class. Children in Grades 3 through 5 will need ice skates during the month of January.
Middle School Supplies
This list includes the school supplies that students will need for the first day of classes on Monday, September 12. If a teacher needs to add an item, he or she will notify the student at the beginning of school. Students will receive a Milton Academy assignment book during orientation, as well as books for class. Be sure to bring the summer reading book to the first day of school, along with any summer work packets.
The Student-Faculty Directory
A lean print edition; a robust online resource
The 2011–2012 Student-Faculty Directory is online, ready to serve you at https://my.milton.edu/parents. Milton Academy families can also choose to purchase a print Directory. When School opens, the Directory will be available at the bookstore (in person or by phone, 617-898-2110) at a cost of $15. We have printed a limited number; each Milton family may purchase one Directory. You or your student may purchase a Directory in person. Alternatively, simply call the bookstore and the staff will mail the directory to you ($15 plus shipping charges).
Since the online Directory offers information and options beyond that contained in the print edition, please bookmark Milton's online directory on your browser. Use the link above, or use the link in the Parents' section of the Web site. Enter your username and password (help available online or by phone). Choose the format you would like and then choose a group from the choices provided. The information will pop up in a new window.
You can expect the online directory to give you the full extent of contact information. Photographs are aligned with contact information. Important School numbers are easy-to-find. You can search the data; organize or narrow the data; and view different formats.
Come Together at Parent Coffees and a Fireside Chat
Hosted by the K–8 Parents' Association, parent coffees are a great chance to meet or re-connect with fellow parents and chat informally with K–8 administrators. Please join us.
Tuesday, September 13
Greenleaf (Grades 3–5)
with Assistant Principal for Lower School Gretchen Larkin
8:30 a.m. in Thacher
Friday, September 16
Middle School (Grades 6–8)
with Assistant Principal for Middle School Will Crissman,
8:30 a.m. in Thacher
Friday, September 23
Junior Building (Grades K–2)
with Assistant Principal for Lower School Gretchen Larkin
8:30 a.m. in the Junior Building Multipurpose Room
Tuesday, November 1
K–8 Fireside Chat
with Head of School Todd Bland and K–8 Principal Marshall Carter
7 p.m. in Straus Library
Please check the online School calendar frequently for detailed information about future events.
K–8 Parents' Association Officers, 2011–2012
The K–8 Parents' Association is a vital link between our parents and K–8. The Association hosts regular parent coffees and, this year, will revive the practice of open meetings for K–8 parents. The K–8 Parents' Association recruits and coordinates class parent representatives and K–8 event chairs. Officers are a great resource; please contact them with questions and ideas.
Co-Presidents: Monica Connolly and Jeanne Peters
Treasurer: Claire Walton
Communications Liaison: Marlena Alex
Doreen McLaughlin, Junior Building
Lindy Crawford, Greenleaf Hall
Lynne Taylor, Ware Hall
Executive Liaisons: Shannon Ollerhead and Rhianne Crowley
Once the school year begins, you'll receive a link to class representatives, event chairs, and upcoming Swap-It information.
Swap-It Funds Help Build K–8
Through the generosity of Swap-It funds, our School's resources and programs are renewed each year. With Swap-It funds from last year, K–8 has acquired new SMART Boards and classroom furniture. We will have new shelving in the Junior Building Loiseaux Reading Room. Also thanks to Swap-It funds, Thacher is under renovation, benefiting all members of the K–8 community. This fall you'll see new window treatments, a bright and welcoming paint scheme, and refinished floors and risers.
Swap-It also helps to fund the professional growth of our teachers. This summer, faculty received curriculum grants to:
• purchase new books for Kindergarten classroom libraries;
• enhance the Grade 1 unit on desert and swamp ecology and add a study of homelessness to the homes unit; • develop new materials and plans for teaching about Japan as part of the Grade 2 study of Asia;
• build cross-grade math curricula between the Grade 3 city building unit and the Grade 6 house project, including new opportunities to use educational technology;
• deepen curricular integration and technology use in Grade 5, merging previously distinct Civil Rights Movement units from music and literature
• beautify the Greenleaf lobby, including displays of student work, and a mural illustrating Lower School values;
• prepare to teach a new, contemporary, multicultural piece of literature for Grade 7 girls' English. Faculty will also begin a new approach to teaching skills in Grade 7 and 8 English.
• Finally, Jennifer Katsoulis received a Swap-It Travel Grant for summer study in Trinidad. Jenn's study of sea turtles with Earthwatch Institute will deepen the Grade 5 endangered species unit. Jenn's work with Grade 5 students includes links to sustainability, literature and writing, and multicultural connections in local communities.