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Madison Metropolitan School District

Weekly Update to the Board of Education 12-9-2021

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

Dear Board Members,

This week marks the sixth week of our second quarter. Throughout our district, we are witnessing evidence of students, staff, families, and community members leaning forward together in the midst of dealing with the COVID-19 global health pandemic as well as an ongoing pandemic of injustice. Our nation is currently grappling with an elevated level of COVID-19 cases due to the Delta variant, while scrambling to formulate a better understanding of a new variant of interest (Omicron). Also, recent incidents (and threats) of violence have reinforced the need to remain vigilant in the fight for human decency. As we address the social-emotional and mental health implications of these unprecedented times, our district is striving to be an important source of support for all our students, staff, and families.

MMSD is a highly diverse district which is pursuing excellence, while employing an equity and anti-racist lens in all our efforts. Therefore, we are working diligently to cocreate and refine our policies and practices to support our aims of addressing disparities and accelerating learning for all students. One example of ongoing co-creation is our collaborative work with the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Education (UW SOE) on the Early Literacy and Beyond Task Force. This week, we received the task force’s report, which detailed many recommendations for consideration in our effort to ensure all our students have a high level of literacy proficiency. Our combined work in this area is vital and important because literacy is the foundation for unlocking greater academic, employment, and social outcomes.

As we focus on accelerating learning in the midst of uncertain times, we continue to uplift the efforts of our community to assist us in addressing the needs of our students, staff, and families. As such, we continue to celebrate examples of the supportive efforts of individuals throughout our community. We are proud of the work of Moms on a Mission, which is striving to positively impact the climate at East High School, as well as our parents in other schools who are extending themselves in support of our students and staff. We are also appreciative of the efforts of our nurses and nursing assistants who are working diligently to help us all mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Moreover, we acknowledge the work of our staff who engage our students in co-curricular activities, which inspire resiliency, leadership, and creative expression. Finally, we illuminate the day-to-day work of our teachers, support staff, and administrators who make learning targets and educational standards come alive in our learning spaces.

As we strive to uplift our students, staff, families, and community members, I would like to thank you for your ongoing support and partnership in this transformative work. We look forward to providing you with more updates on our district’s progress next week.

Carlton D. Jenkins, Ph.D.

Weekly Update, December 9, 2021