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Welcome to Millis Public Schools

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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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.” 


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:

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