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Madison Metropolitan School District

Weekly Update to the Board of Education 10-21-2021

A message from Superintendent Carlton D. Jenkins, Ph.D.

Dear Board Members,

This week marks the next to last week of our first quarter. As we continue our journey of wrestling with a global health pandemic (19 months-long) and social justice pandemic (decades-long), we acknowledge the associated emotional and mental trauma faced by our students, staff, and families. As such, we look forward to the October 22, 2021 and March 18, 2022 mental health days recently added to our calendar based on discussion between school board members, district leadership, MTI, and APP. As we lean forward together with excellence, equity, humanity, and intentionality, it is critical to incorporate respites for our social-emotional and mental health in order to ensure all our learning spaces are places where our students, staff, and families can thrive.

Leaning forward together with intentionality requires the type of humility which comes from lifting up the voices of our students, staff, families, and community members to gain critical insights as we refine our policies and practices. Our ongoing conversations with student leaders, committed staff members, parental advocates, and community leaders are yielding nuggets of wisdom which shape our work to accelerate learning and address disparities, while paying close attention to social-emotional and mental health needs. These conversations are occurring in myriad spaces such as our school buildings; community gatherings; responses to phone, email, and Let’s Talk inquiries; and informal conversations in the course of our professional duties and personal errands.

Humility also involves acknowledging the need to interrogate emerging data, frameworks, and concepts from scholars, practitioners, and thought leaders. This interrogation process involves connecting with experts in leadership summits, professional and leadership development spaces, strategic conversations, and other formal and informal “think tanks.” As our district embraces being a learning organism, we cultivate the insights needed to develop, critically examine, and refine strategic alternatives as discussed by Peter Schwartz in The Art of the Long View.

Thanks for your continued support and partnership. We look forward to providing you with more updates on our district’s progress and planning next week.

Carlton D. Jenkins, Ph.D.


Weekly Update, October 21, 2021