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Madison Metropolitan School District

Weekly Update to the Board of Education 12-16-2021

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

Dear Board Members,

This week, which marks the last week before a much needed Winter Break, has certainly been eventful. Our community, state, and nation continue to grapple with the constantly changing COVID-19 global health pandemic, while the longstanding pandemic of racial and social injustice continues to present persistent challenges. Despite the issues we face, our students, staff, families, and community members in our district continue to demonstrate resiliency, while leaning forward together with humanity.

As a highly diverse district which is on a journey to become anti-racist, MMSD has an opportunity to model and uplift human decency. While we must address episodes of intolerance and incivility, we must never waver from taking the opportunity to interrogate our actions, words, and mindsets. This will involve avoiding the tendency to just call out injustice, but rather embrace the opportunity to call people in for gaining clarity, cocreating new ways of working, and collaborating on ways to incorporate restoration as well as accountability. Operating in this fashion will continue to stretch all of us in new, and sometimes uncomfortable directions. However, we will move closer to the elusive goal of liberation as we engage in this process with a mindset focused on elevating human decency.

In order to work towards true liberation, with the twin aims of addressing disparities and accelerating learning for all students, it is helpful to utilize the collective intelligence within our community. Thus, we continue to develop relationships with organic scholars and community partners. Also, we are enlisting the experience of our former State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Carolyn Stanford Taylor, to help us refine district efforts related to engagement, diversity, equity, and inclusion.

While we highlight the hard work and resilience of our students, staff, and families in the midst of unprecedented and uncertain times, we also recognize the need for all of us to incorporate wellness principles into our routines. As such, we look forward to the opportunity for each of us to take time for rest, reflection, and rejuvenation during our upcoming winter break. Our district will only be able to ensure our learning spaces are places where every student, staff member, and family can thrive if we utilize opportunities to recharge our batteries and reconnect with the people in our networks we hold dear.

As we continue our co-creative and collaborative work to uplift our students, staff, families, and community members, I would like to thank you for your ongoing support and partnership. We look forward to providing you with more updates on our district’s progress when we return from a restful winter break.

Carlton D. Jenkins, Ph.D.


Weekly Update, December 16, 2021