Millis Public Schools Highlights for 2012
Due to the efforts of staff, the Millis Public Schools have been fortunate to receive several grants this year that have provided resources during this time of recession and reduced funding.
The Target and Ellen DeGeneres Grant provided $100,000 to Millis Middle School for technology and resources that will enable teachers to address the competencies students will need for success in their futures.
The Glee Give a Note Foundation provided $10,000 to the Millis High School Chorus and Music program by garnering votes from the public for a video produced by sophomores Victoria Robbins and Kristina O’Connell.
Millis Middle School Science teachers wrote and won a grant for $3,000 in the Shell Science Lab Challenge sponsored by the National Science Teachers Association.
Also, through the efforts of former School Committee member Maria Melchionda and music instructors Janice Norton and Mark Femino, the Ernie Boch Jr. Music Drives Us grant provided $5,000 for instruments, music and Pep band uniform jackets.
Our partnership with Lexia Corporation provides free reading software for students in grades PK-8 for use in school and at home as well as professional development for teaching staff.
The Millis Public Schools continue to offer a very high quality educational experience to students despite having the lowest per pupil expenditure in the region, $2840 lower than the state average. Other recent important awards and initiatives are:
- This May Millis High School was named one of the top 1000 public high schools in the United States by Newsweek Magazine. Only 21 high schools in Massachusetts were included on the list. Newsweek compiled the list using a formula that included the following factors: four-year on-time graduation rate for the Class of 2011; percentage of 2011 graduates accepted to college; AP tests taken per student; average SAT and AP exam scores; and the number of AP courses offered per student. More details can be found at: http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/05/20/america-s-best-high-schools.html
- Kindergarten students are learning at higher levels with more creativity in the Tools of the Mind program with free training provided due to the application submitted by former Principal Wolff
- One hundred percent of our students participate in community service.
- Our one-to-one personalized learning initiative using iPads in Gr. 8 is a model in the state and will expand to Gr. 9 next year. Students have access to instructional resources 24/7 in a learning environment that utilizes on-line resources to enable a more active and engaging classroom experience.
- At Clyde Brown the staff has developed and implemented a comprehensive “positive behavioral intervention and support” (PBIS) system to establish consistent expectations for students at all times during the school day. Students earn “Bear Paws” by following the three school-wide rules: Respect Yourself, Respect Others and Respect the Environment. This has decreased incidents of disrespectful behavior.
- All Kindergarten and Grade 1 students receive Spanish instruction through a FLES model (Foreign Language in the Elementary School) at no cost to the district through the collaborative efforts of our staff. By starting early, children learn easily and naturally while developing cultural awareness and respect. There are also cognitive gains associated with early foreign language instruction.
- The high school has implemented an advisor/advisee program to ensure that all students are connected to adults and peer mentors who will help guide and support them through their four years at MHS.
- Through a National Science Foundation grant the Millis Public Schools partnered with Tufts University to provide training to elementary teachers to enhance their ability to integrate engineering and creative problem solving into the elementary curriculum.
- Millis Middle School was chosen as “School of the Year” among ISA schools in the US and Canada in 2011. Millis High school was a semi-finalist and Millis was the only district in the entire US or Canada to have two schools selected as finalists. In 2012 the Clyde Brown Elementary School received fourth place among 15 finalists selected from over 100 entrants in this prestigious competition.
- The Center for American Progress, a public policy research organization, recognizes Millis as a district that provides “a very strong return on investment. In other words, the amount of money spent per pupil in your district after adjusting for student needs yielded impressive results on state achievement measures.” The report was issued in Jan. of 2011.
- Several programs such as our ALARM Robotics and Destination Imagination teams augment students’ educations by developing problem solving and creativity as well as technical skills. The Millis Public School district has been featured in articles nationally in School Administrator (April 2010) and locally (MASC Perspectives) for the visionary approach and innovative uses of technology to enhance learning.
- The Washington Post designated Millis High School as one of the top 6% in the nation in 2011.
- Boston Magazine, in 2011, designated Millis High School as “Most likely to Win a Pulitzer Prize” and “Most Improved from Gr. 8-10” based on the high MCAS scores (99% of students scored Adv. Or Prof. on ELA in Gr. 10 and 95% scored in those categories in Gr. 10 Math).
- Newsweek ranked Millis High School among the top 5% of high schools in the entire country in 2010 and four other recent years due to the high percentage of students who take the most rigorous Advanced Placement courses and exams while in high school. We ranked 21st out of all Massachusetts high schools in 2010.
- 81% of our high school students are engaged in extra curricular activities and 75% participated in school-sponsored athletics last year.
- We combat bullying via a peer leadership program that is a model for other districts across the nation.
- U.S. News and World Report awarded Millis High School a silver medal for being one of America’s Best High Schools in 2008 and 2009, one of only 21 in Massachusetts.
- Clyde Brown’s Early childhood programming is considered one of the best in Massachusetts and was featured in the national magazine, Education Week in November of 2008.
- Our Middle School Fitness and Wellness program is a highly recognized model, having been featured in the August 2008 edition of Commonwealth Magazine.
- 98% of our students go on to higher education, most to four-year colleges, many of which are the most competitive in the nation.
- All three of our schools received, in 2008, official designations as International Spanish Academies, the only Middle and High Schools and one of only 3 elementary schools in Massachusetts, for the quality of our Spanish and Spanish Immersion programs.
- Millis High School was selected by the United States Department of Education as a Blue Ribbon School in the fall of 2007, one of only 11 high schools in the U.S.
- In 2002 Clyde Brown Elementary School earned a Commonwealth Compass Schools award for academic excellence.
- On average, Gr. 3-10, 78% of Millis students score in the top two categories on MCAS (Advanced and Proficient) compared with 69% statewide.
- In 2011, Millis High School Gr. 10 students ranked as one of the highest in the state once again on the English Language Arts MCAS test with 99% of our students scoring Proficient or Advanced.
- Several grades increased MCAS scores over the previous year and scored well above the state averages. In ELA, grades 4, 5, 6 and 10 all scored between 11-19% above the state average. In mathematics, grades 4,5,6 and 10 scored between 11-16% above the state average. In Science Gr. 5 scored 19% above the state with 69% in the top two categories, Gr. 8 scored 13% above the state, and in Gr. 10 83% of students scored in the Adv. and Prof. categories which is 16% higher than the state average.
- All in-district students, including those with significant disabilities, have passed the MCAS exam since its inception and have gone on to graduate.
Other Outstanding Programs
Our student have earned several awards for video/television excellence this year:
- 1st Place Winner: Community/ Public Service Announcement for "School Breakfast" The group of students in Millis received a $1,000 Gift Card, but their video will also be featured as part of community programming aired on WHDH-TV.
- Honorable Mention at the: Fiction/Non-Fiction Long Format for "Battle at Richardson's Tavern" produced by Josh Lambert & Brendan Burke
- 1st Place Winner for "Catch The Heat" produced by Andrew Errico, Brian Walsh, Colin Walsh, Thomas McCauliffe, Ethan Vera in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Dept. of Fire Services Burn Awareness Video Contest
- 2011 Boston Globe Division 4 Football Coach of the Year, Dale Olmsted, and his team had an outstanding season as Tri-Valley League Small School Division Champions and Division 4 state semi-finalists.
Our Girls’ Volleyball team won the Central Division Championship and were also state semi-finalists.