December 2020

Plan for Boarding and Day Students in 2021

Find important information about our academic and residential life programs, as well as frequently asked questions, in our Milton 2020-2021 plan. Additional details for our boarding students’ return to campus and the continuation of our day students’ hybrid-learning program, including dates and times for COVID-19 testing, will be communicated later this week by the Deans’ Office.

As always, we continue to monitor rising COVID-19 rates in the local area and across Massachusetts. Our program is designed to pivot quickly to fully remote learning if needed for a period of time. As a reminder, we will also continue to offer a fully remote program for any student who wishes to remain off campus.

Thinking Of Others This Holiday Season

Community Engagement Programs and Partnerships (CEPP) is focused on projects aimed at helping others, involving students, staff, and faculty. Although in-person service activities aren’t happening right now, CEPP organizers have found ways to make sure the Milton community can give back. During Hunger Awareness Week in November, for example, student CEPP board members hosted an all-school Zoom session to educate students about food insecurity.

In December, CEPP is managing a gift drive to fulfill the wishes of 50 families supported by the Department of Children and Families, as well as area homeless families through Milton’s partners in the Boston Public Schools. Many student advisory groups together are also purchasing gifts for those in need. In addition, CEPP is collecting money for food baskets, with a goal of raising $1,500 by December 10. The food baskets will provide a turkey dinner for 30 families.

All Milton community members (students, faculty, staff, families) are welcome to donate. Students can contribute via their IA ($10 minimum) on this form. Cash or a check (made out to Milton Academy with a note: CEPP food drive) can be sent to the Community Engagement Office. Please email with any questions.

A Message From the Parents’ Association

We hope that you have continued to enjoy the presentations each month. January meetings will be held at 7 p.m. by Zoom on the following dates (more details to follow):

  • Tuesday, January 12: Lisa Morin, LICSW, Director of Counseling
  • Tuesday, January 19: Monthly update from Rod Skinner, Dean of College Counseling

Please note that all meetings will be recorded and emailed to parents after the meeting for those who are unable to attend. We respectfully request that recordings not be shared beyond the Milton Academy parent community.

Faculty, parent, and student events sponsored by the USPA are made possible by your generous contributions of time, funding, and gifts, as we are a self-sustaining organization led by volunteer parents and supported primarily by parent dues and donations. Thank you!

The Parents’ Association is still in search of parents to volunteer. Please contact Lee Peterson ( to help or learn more.

Enjoy the winter break, stay safe and well, and we look forward to seeing you at our January meetings!

Q&A: Math Department Chair LeeAnn Brash

Q&A: Math Department Chair LeeAnn Brash

New Math Department Chair LeeAnn Brash joined Milton, along with three other new math teachers, just before the start of this school year. Although it’s been an atypical year, she has spent the fall teaching Honors Calculus and Geometry and getting to know students and fellow faculty members.

How have your first few months at Milton been?
Very good. There are a million things happening with the COVID-19 pandemic that normally wouldn’t be part of the picture, but all things considered, it’s been really great. The Math Department has been incredibly welcoming and supportive, and I’ve had really good support so far from the other department chairs that I’ve met. There are four of us new to the department this year (Brash, Akinade Adeboye, Cory Bhomik, and Hubert Hwang) and we’re all people of color, which is really cool.

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Poet Richard Blanco Is This Fall’s Bingham Visiting Writer

Poet Richard Blanco Is This Fall’s Bingham Visiting Writer

“A poem isn’t really done until it’s shared and lives in someone else,” said Bingham Visiting Writer Richard Blanco. Sharing his work that centers on ideas of home, identity, and nationality, Blanco read and discussed his poetry with students on a Zoom webinar.  

“What is home? This idea grew bigger into what is a country? In my poems, I’m asking these questions for all of us,” said Blanco.

Blanco immigrated to Miami as a child with his Cuban-exile parents and said that when he was growing up he wasn’t sure if he was part of the American story. It wasn’t until he was asked to be the poet for President Obama’s second inauguration that he felt his personal story was part of the American narrative. 

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Exploring Mathematics With Both Numbers and Words

Exploring Mathematics With Both Numbers and Words

Writing about math is an approach used by Milton math teachers to get students to dive deep into the material and then articulate it—beyond just numbers, formulas, and graphs. Earlier this semester, Honors Calculus students researched, calculated, and wrote about the Gini Index, a measure of income distribution across a population, for a country of their choice. 

“We wanted to make the study of calculus relevant, and income distribution and income inequality are topics we read about all the time in the news,” said math faculty member Jackie Bonenfant. “This was a way to allow students to explore an important and pressing topic, while also encouraging them to ask questions about their world. What government policies, practices, and laws might impact income distribution? Are we satisfied with current levels of income distribution and, if not, what could we do to change things?”

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Documentary Filmmaker Byron Hurt Speaks To Milton Athletes

Documentary Filmmaker Byron Hurt Speaks To Milton Athletes

Many boys in our society are conditioned from a young age to be tough, to hide their emotions, and to avoid any appearance of behaving “like a girl,” documentary filmmaker and anti-sexist activist Byron Hurt told student-athletes recently. 

This mindset favors aggression, prevents boys from connecting with their emotions, and undervalues girls and women, sometimes leading to toxic masculinity and violence, said Hurt, who visited Milton athletes virtually as part of a series of speakers this fall who promote mental fitness.

“I grew up in a culture where you had to perform a certain kind of manhood and masculinity in order to be accepted by other guys and be seen as a ‘real man’” said Hurt. When boys and men feel like they can’t be vulnerable with their emotions, those emotions can be redirected in unhealthy ways: abuse, depression, violence, failed relationships, and out-of-control actions.

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Keeping Connections at Robbins House

Keeping Connections at Robbins House

House heads and faculty are engaging their dorm communities in both synchronous and asynchronous ways as boarding students learn remotely during this phase of hybrid learning. In Robbins House, dorm faculty hold weekly drop-in sessions at various times to accommodate time zones. They are also hosting events such as Zoom Jeopardy! games or Netflix watch parties.

In September, each new student was paired with a returning student in their grade or the grade above. Then these pairs meet others over Zoom to increase their network of support in the dorm community.

“It has gone so well in Robbins that almost all of the mentors and mentees have made it a weekly occurrence to have a get-together and hang out virtually over the weekend,” said house head Nicole Hall.

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Cox Library Reimagined

Cox Library Reimagined

Typically a busy hub for study and research, Cox Library needed a plan to serve the community through this year’s remote and hybrid learning plans. Milton’s librarians went to work finding creative ways to operate.

When Milton first went remote last spring, it “coincided with the start of the history department’s ‘research season,’” said Laura Pearle, director of the library. “We created a portal that included a chat box so students looking for library assistance could talk with a librarian from 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Students from all over the U.S., China, and Europe contacted us for help with citations, using the databases, and general help on various topics.”

The library purchased access to a database of more than 200,000 ebooks to help students do their research since the print collection was unavailable. They also extended outreach to the community via quizzes and social media postings.

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Spanish Classes Maximize Tech Tools For Learning

Spanish Classes Maximize Tech Tools For Learning

Mastering another language requires careful listening, consistent practice of  conversational speaking, close reading of texts, and writing. While some of these fit seamlessly into remote/hybrid learning, Modern Languages faculty need to think creatively about class time and assignments.

“Where we’ve had the most success is leveraging universal tools like Google Slides, Schoology, and Jamboard,” said Mark Connolly, Spanish teacher and Upper School instructional technologist. “Instead of using, say, a prefab language app, teachers are making their own materials using those tools.”

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Supporting Milton This Year

Our community has an unparalleled opportunity to strengthen Milton’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts thanks to an anonymous donor. Milton Fund gifts directed to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) will be matched dollar-for-dollar, up to $100,000, and if 250 donors direct their Milton Fund gift to DEI by December 31, our challenger will contribute an additional $250,000 to establish an endowment for diversity, equity, and inclusion. Visit to make your gift today.

Thinking of other ways to support Milton at the end of the year? When you make a gift of appreciated assets (those you have held for over one year and that have grown in value) you receive a double tax benefit. First, you can claim a tax deduction for the current value of the asset, and you are not taxed on your capital gain in the asset. For more information on tax-wise giving, please contact our gift planning staff at 617-898-2376 or at

Just Released: The Final Episode of Macbeth

The sixth—and final—episode of Milton’s fall play, Macbeth, is now available online for your viewing pleasure.
Watch all six episodes here.

Milton Orchestra Plays “Foag el-Nakhal”

This year’s Melissa Dilworth Gold ’61 visiting artist, Layth Sidiq, Zoomed in from Spain to work with Milton orchestra students. Sidiq, an Iraqi-Jordanian violinist, composer, and music educator, held workshops with students where he shared the history and compositional techniques of Arabic music.

In this video, harpist Jana Amin ’21, introduces a performance of the famous Arabic song, “Foag el Nakhal.” Sidiq’s virtual workshops were made available to and attended by students from the University of Toronto Schools and Play on Philly, a K–12 music school in Philadelphia.

Health and safety protocols in response to the pandemic have moved Milton’s musical performances online. Students record their parts from home, which are later edited into videos with their full groups. There are no live concerts this winter, but Music Department faculty will continue to share videos of student performances with the community.

Featured Videos

Boarding Family Forum
On November 19, school leaders led a Boarding Family Forum discussion over Zoom. In case you missed it, here is a recording of the event.
Milton vs. Nobles Video

Although Milton and Nobles were unable to face one another on the fields this fall, our two schools still managed to collaborate on this fun video project.

Hidden Blossom

Devin Hill produced this short animation, Hidden Blossom, in Shane Fuller’s Advanced Portfolio Filmmaking class.

Links to more video projects are below.

Less Than by Lily Zavolas

Manifest by Jace Fuller

Small Town by Henry Keohan

Honoring Our Veterans
At the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month, Milton honored our veterans during the annual flagpole ceremony.

Featured Photos

Visual Arts Virtual Exhibition

This fall, Milton’s Visual Arts students exhibited their work virtually. Below are samples of their projects. Click here to view a slideshow of more pieces on display in the Advanced Student Virtual Exhibition.

Skates by Richie Fearey ’21

Sunset by Ally Morse ’21

I was born by Tori Choo ’21

Project Adventure

Matthew Petherick’s Class IV Project Adventure class works on a team-building exercise to get their message across.
Read their message.

Centre Connection

Centre Connection, Milton's online newsletter for parents, is published five times each year through the efforts of the Milton Academy Communication Office and Parents' Association volunteers.

Communication Office

Greg White
Marisa Donelan
Esten Perez
Sarah Abrams