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Welcome to Millis Public Schools


December 12, 2017

Groundbreaking Ceremony Held for New Millis Elementary School Building

A groundbreaking ceremony was held on Friday, December 8 at 9:30am to commemorate the commencement of the new Millis Elementary School project.  The project received final approval by Millis voters at a special town meeting held on November 6th, launching the project into construction phase.

Superintendent of Schools Nancy Gustafson welcomed guests, faculty and students to the ceremony.  “The outcome [of this school project process] truly exceeds my dreams,” she said. “We will have a building that not only brings the fifth grade back into a more developmentally appropriate setting but also alleviates the crowding in the Middle-High school.”  Invited guests to the event included Jack McCarthy, Deputy Chief Executive Officer/Executive Director of the Massachusetts School Building Authority.  Mr. McCarthy took a moment to speak, committing the MSBA’s ongoing support to the project as it unfolds.  Massachusetts State Representative Shawn Dooley offered words of praise for the community of Millis in backing the school project, and he presented a citation from the House of Representatives congratulating the town of Millis.   Erika Jacques from the office of Senator Richard Ross presented a citation of congratulations from the Massachusetts Senate as well.   Kate Kelly, from the office of Representative David Linsky, was in attendance to offer congratulations from Representative Linsky on the occasion of the official start of the building construction process, and his excitement and continued support for the project.

Clyde F. Brown Elementary School principal, Jason Phelps, spoke briefly to thank the voters of Millis, on behalf of the school community, for their support of the project, and introduced the entire student body of Clyde F. Brown Elementary School, in attendance with bright yellow plastic “hardhats”, as they were led by the Grade 4 students in singing “This Land is Your Land” accompanied on the guitar by Music teacher Mark Femino.   Following the song Wayne Klocko, Chair of the Millis Elementary School Building Committee, shared words of thanks to the entire Elementary School Building Committee for their commitment and hard work over the course of the project to date.  Jim McCaffrey, Chair of the Millis Board of Selectmen, spoke at the occasion of the ceremony as well.  McCaffrey stated, “Today’s ceremony [marks] a new investment by this community in our future.  This project says a lot about our town and the willingness of this community, as a whole, to invest in our children”.  Chair of the Millis School Committee, Denise Gibbons, concluded the ceremony remarks, offering heartfelt thanks to the community for their investment in the future of the children of Millis, recognizing members of the community who were instrumental in supporting the project from its inception.  The Millis Marching Band, led by band director Janice Norton, closed out the ceremony with their rendition of “Celebration”.  Following the ceremony, student representatives from each grade level, Kindergarten through Grade 4, were invited to take part in a ceremonial “groundbreaking” using small shovels to mark this historic day.

The original Clyde F. Brown Elementary School was constructed in 1954; additions to the building were constructed in 1990.  The new 90,000 Square foot CHPS (Collaborative for High Performance Schools) energy efficient facility is designed around a forward thinking educational plan with flexibility for the future. A key feature of the design is to deploy the media center out to academic pods to create learning corridors that are expanded and useable for multiple modes of teaching.

“We are delighted that the project has reached this significant milestone,” said Charles Hay, managing principal at Tappé Architects. “The new school will offer a wonderful 21st century learning environment for the students of Millis and helps to create a campus with the Middle/High School that benefits the entire District.”

Click here to view a quick video of the groundbreaking coverage.

https://youtu.be/MW2wCjjssMs

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This year’s recipients of the National School Development Council Award (NESDEC) were Allison Smith and Julia Krauss.

 

Allison Smith (below) has been a leader in the classroom, on the athletic field and in the community at Millis High School.  A three-sport athlete, Allison will graduate with an impressive total of 12 varsity letters combined in ice hockey, volleyball and tennis.  She has been an active member of our school community, as a class representative, the Vice President of the National Honor Society, a leader in the Leo's organization, was chosen to represent the school sophomore year at the Hugh O'Brian Youth Conference, has been part of our Peer Leaders and SADD organizations, and participated in the Metrowest Youth in Philanthropy Program freshman year.  Allison has volunteered in the community through a variety of endeavors, including Meals on Wheels for the Council on Aging, the St. Jude's Walk/Christmas in the City and the Special Olympics.

smith1

 

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 Julia Krauss (below) never misses an opportunity to go above and beyond. She has an impressive work ethic and she approaches every activity with enthusiasm. Julia has been an athlete throughout high school and this year, she was selected by her teammates to be the Captain of both the Varsity Girls Soccer team and the Varsity Winter Track team. Julia is also Vice President of the Millis chapter of the National Honor Society, a board member on the Chemistry Club, Vice President of the Students Against Destructive Decisions, and she served as Co-President of the Class of 2018 student council for three years. She is also a member of the Peer Leaders Club, the Common Ground Club, the Junior Leos Club, the Amnesty International Club, the Art Club, and the Youth in Government. Julia was chosen to participate in the HOBY Youth Leadership Seminar during her sophomore year, and has continued to volunteer at HOBY events. Through her active participation in all of these clubs, Julia has organized and contributed to dozens of community service projects throughout high school.

krauss1



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Katherine Govoni (below) was this years recipient of the Certificate of Academic Excellence Award presented by the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents (MASS).

 

Kat has been a leader in our building since the day she started at Millis High School. Kat is an impressive athlete and has been a valued member of the varsity tennis team, varsity soccer team, and the varsity gymnastics team throughout high school. She served as co-president of student council for the class of 2018 for three years and as treasurer of the Leo’s club for her sophomore, junior, and will continue for her senior year. Kat has participated in many individual volunteer activities and she has helped to organize several community service projects. She was selected as a student ambassador to attend the Hugh O'Brien Youth Leadership Conference her sophomore year. Kat is also a leader in the Amnesty International Club and Students Against Destructive Decisions, and she served on the prom committee during her junior year. Kat tutors students in the high school, middle school and the Clyde Brown Elementary School.  Last year, Kat was awarded the Bowdoin College Book Award in recognition for her outstanding service and her passion for inquiry. She has won several other academic awards throughout her freshman, sophomore, and junior year, including the excellence in Spanish Award, the Phys. Ed Award, and an Excellence in Math and Science Award.

 


govoni2

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 On December 5th, the Millis School Committee honored the 2017 Girls’ Soccer team who were State Champions this year! Well done!

 

soccer
 

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Virtual Reality in Spanish Class

 

Students in Ms. Ames Spanish class were immersed in virtual visits to sites around the world as part of their study of world challenges, global population, and climate change. Students downloaded the Google Cardboard app to their smartphone, and Mrs. Ames gave students places to “visit” using the Street View app, which provides 360 video and imagery. With the phone placed in a virtual reality headset, students visited Perito Moreno Glacier in Argentina; Machu Picchu, Peru; Crater Lake, Oregon; Great Barrier Reef, Australia; and Pyramids of Giza.

 

Speaking in Spanish, students described what they were seeing today in 2017 and answered questions about the changes that would occur in 50 years as a result of climate change (e.g., greenhouse effect, use of fossil fuels) and what type of changes would occur in each of these places with a population growth of two billion people on the planet. Some examples of student responses: “In 50 years the Perito Moreno Glacier will be much smaller or even gone.”  “The Great Barrier Reef will be dead and more polluted.”  

 

More about using virtual reality (VR) in the classroom may be found in this blog post written by Millis Director of Digital Learning, Jennifer Starr: Teaching Today’s Learner

 

 

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This September the Millis Public Schools had the honor of being asked to assist the coaches and mentors for the Massachusetts New Superintendents' Induction Program (NSIP) in learning how a district can utilize technology to personalize learning. Millis is a Catalyst District in MAPLE (Massachusetts personalized Learning EdTEch) and assists other districts by providing information about how we have moved forward in personalizing learning. 

 

Nancy Gustafson, Superintendent

Millis Public Schools

245 Plain St.

Millis, MA 02054

In the photo below 5th grade students explain their Genius Project.

 5th grade student explain genius project

In the photo below an 8th grade science class shows visitors how they use technology.

8th grade science-technology

In the photo below 8th grade science students are developing presentations regarding density.
8th grade & density

In the photo below grade 8 students chat with Dr. David Dockterman.
dr Dockterman

The link below will take you to the graphic that gives an overview of MAPLE

http://www.millisps.org/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=10028134

Please click on the link below to read the article that was just in the Millis Medway news regarding this learning tour

http://www.millis.k12.ma.us/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=10028136

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link to ClearGov transparency Center


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world photo

Millis High School Recognized Among America’s Most Challenging High Schools

 A week after receiving recognition from US News and World Report as one of America’s Best High Schools, Millis High School has been recognized by The Washington Post as one of America’s Most Challenging High Schools.  The Post created a “Challenge Index” and evaluated over 22,000 public high schools in the nation.  This metric was based on the number of students enrolled in college-level classes (in the case of Millis High School, Advanced Placement classes).  Schools that had a Challenge Index of 1.0 or greater were included on the list.  Only about 12% of the schools assessed by the Post earned the distinction.  Millis was ranked 1,704 nationally with a Challenge Index of 1.637.  Principal Bob Mullaney said, “Inclusion on the Washington Post’s list demonstrates our core values of academic excellence and pursuing a challenging program of experiences in high school.  I am proud that our students are well-prepared and confident to take on the demands of college level work.” 


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Millis High School Ranked in US News and World Reports 2017 Best High Schools in America.

 

Millis High School has earned a Silver Medal in the latest rankings of America’s Best High Schools by US News and World Report.  For its 2017 rankings, the magazine evaluated almost 22,000 high schools throughout the nation.  To determine rankings researchers from US News first analyzed schools to identify those that outperformed statistical expectations in their state’s English and math proficiency exams (in Massachusetts, MCAS exams).  Those identified schools were then assigned a “College Readiness Index” (CRI) based on the schools’ AP participation rates and how well students who took AP classes performed on the AP exams.  Millis High School had a CRI of 51.3, was ranked 31st in Massachusetts and was ranked 664th nationally (top 15%).   According to Millis High School principal Bob Mullaney, “We are proud to be recognized by US News and World Report.  We encourage our students to challenge themselves academically to be college- and future-ready, and inclusion on this list is a testament to their efforts. It also acknowledges the hard work of their teachers, the importance placed on education by our parents and community, and the foundation of excellence fostered at Millis Middle School and Clyde Brown Elementary School.”  For more information on US News and World Report’s rankings, please visit:  https://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/articles/us-news-ranks-best-high-schools

kids by window

kids in library
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August 29, 2017                                             

Dear Millis Families, Caregivers and Community,

We have had two busy, highly productive and exciting days with our teachers and staff this week and cannot wait to welcome your children back tomorrow!   Summer is actually a very busy time in the school buildings with deep cleaning, hiring, staff trainings, and maintenance and deployment of technology. Our staff members have worked hard to make the 2017-2018 year successful for our students and families. It has been great to have sports teams, band members and other students around this week and last. School buildings need kids in them to feel vibrant and alive!

We welcome Jen Starr as our new Director of Digital Learning and Innovative Educational Technology and also wish Kay Tessier well in her retirement! Ms. Starr comes to us from the Northborough-Southborough school district and has over 20 years experience in Technology Integration and leadership initiatives. She has also presented regionally and nationally on utilizing technology to personalize and improve learning and student engagement.

I’d like to introduce some of our other talented new hires:

  • Liz Shea returns from maternity leave to share the Gr. 1 partnership classroom with Amy Ball.
  • Tim Corcoran joins the Middle School in Special Education.
  • Paula Desmarais will be the district-wide BCBA (Board Certified Behavioral Analyst). 
  • Susan Manzon comes to us to fill the .5 Teacher of the Visually Impaired position.
  • Elise Molloy is our new Elementary School Adjustment Counselor as April Leman moves into the Middle School position. 
  • Julie Muldoon joins us in Gr. 5. 
  • Erin Sullivan will be the High School Adjustment Counselor.
  • Officer Dale Bickford will have an almost daily presence in the schools due to the support of the Millis Police Department and Chief Soffayer. We look forward to this expanded partnership!

These new hires, and a few new paraprofessionals, food service staff, and Extended Day staff are joining one of the finest faculties in the state. All staff work together to create a culture that is caring, collaborative and always focused on improving the educational experiences of our students.

Some other highlights: 

  • The new elementary building project is proceeding on schedule with shovels scheduled to hit the ground in November! 
  • Our custodial staff has worked hard to have the buildings looking great! The Middle/High School has a deeply stripped gym floor and repainted logo and lines. 
  • The repair and sprucing up of the first floor bathrooms in the High school has started with new floor tiles.
  • Likewise, the technology staff has worked hard all summer to make sure the network, labs and devices are all ready for use on day 1! The telephone system has been upgraded as well. 
  • There are several new courses in the High School and this year we will launch Global Scholars and STEAM Scholars programs. 
  • A multi-age personalized learning classroom at Clyde Brown will provide an environment to go deeply into personalization and 21st century skills. 
  • Through the STEAM/Maker Space at Clyde Brown and an Engineering Design elective at the Middle School students will engage in exploration, creative design, higher level problem solving. 
  • A 21st Century Careers Coordinator will focus on developing partnerships with businesses to provide more opportunities for Millis students to explore and experience careers through job shadowing, mini-internships and site visits. We are still looking for the right person so if you know someone in the community, let me know!
  • A Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) action plan has been developed as part of our Tiers of Student Support and we will focus our efforts on this SEL for the upcoming year to maximize student well-being and readiness to learn. 
  • The BAPLL (Blended and Personalized Learning Leadership Team) has been busy over the summer to develop ways that the district can provide more learner-centered approaches and support teachers in further personalizing learning by partnering with students so that they actively share responsibility for their learning. 

The school year begins for students on Wednesday, August 30th and you have received information from the schools. You will also be able to check our updated website. Improved communication with parents and the community is important to us.  Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns.

Please sign up for the listserves on our website as we endeavor to go paperless for environmental reasons. Also, follow us on Twitter @nlgustafson, @millismiddle, @ millishigh and @cfbprincipal! 

The safety of our students is of the utmost importance, both physically and emotionally. We hold fire, bus evacuation, stay-in-place, lockdown and active shooter/intruder drills every year in partnership with our fabulous Fire and Police Departments. Millis is at the forefront of collaborative interagency preparedness for emergencies. We address student safety in various areas: internet safety, cyber and general bullying and preparedness for emergencies. We have trained all staff in these areas and discuss these topics with students in age appropriate ways.

Teachers began their school year on Monday and Tuesday with professional development focused on personalizing learning to adjust to and utilize the varied ways in which students learn best. We are planning ways for students to take more ownership of their learning and have more choice in how they learn and how they show what they know. Project-based learning that integrates the Arts and utilizes the Engineering Design Process is a strength of the Millis Public Schools, as are our Tools of the Mind, Foreign Language (FLES) and Spanish Immersion Programs.

Parents, guardians, and caregivers, you play a crucial role in your children’s successful educational experience. We could not accomplish nearly as much without your involvement and support. Thank you for all you do to help make the Millis Public Schools a “Small School, Big Family” and one of the best in Massachusetts and the U.S.! 

Respectfully yours,

Nancy L. Gustafson, Superintendent


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