A message from Superintendent Carlton D. Jenkins, Ph.D.
Dear Board Members,
This week marks the fifth week of our second quarter. Recent news has reinforced our need to stay vigilant in the fight against multiple pandemics: COVID-19 and racial/social injustice. The increase in local and national COVID-19 cases, accompanied by the identification of the Omicron variant, has illustrated the persistence and uncertainty of the global health pandemic. Also, recent legal verdicts and senseless tragedies in Waukesha and the state of Michigan have reminded us about the need to fight for social justice and human decency. Against this backdrop, our students, staff, families, and community members continue to demonstrate resilience during a time of unprecedented social-emotional trauma. During these times, our district can be an important source of support by leaning forward together with excellence, equity, humanity, and intentionality.
As we strive to lean forward with excellence and equity, we must continue to highlight MMSD’s unique story as a highly diverse district pursuing excellence with an equity and anti-racist lens. In this context, we celebrate our twenty-six National Merit Semifinalists alongside stories about Lake View’s Hmong New Year celebration and East’s Thursday morning jazz. The students, staff, families, and community members represented in these stories represent just a small slice of the high academic performance, cultural awareness, and creative expression which is occurring each day in our district.
Leaning forward with humanity and intentionality requires us to recognize the value in each person we encounter, while being willing to take appropriate action to address their needs. As such, we find inspiration in our visits to schools where, for example, we found the Gompers leadership team interrogating student data and refining individual plans for growth, while also finding time to give encouraging elbow bumps and critical attention to students’ social-emotional needs. We also find inspiration in yesterday’s meeting between district and MTI leaders where they jointly analyzed and discussed achievement and financial data in the effort to co-create new paths towards accelerating the learning of all students. When we embrace human decency and increase our intentionality around fine-tuning policies and practices, our leaning spaces can truly be places where all students, staff, and families thrive.
Thank you for your ongoing support and partnership. We look forward to providing you with more updates on our district’s progress next week.
Carlton D. Jenkins, Ph.D.