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Madison Metropolitan School District

April 12, 2022 Meeting Recap

At the fourth meeting of this committee, members were invited to reflect and respond to two of their guiding questions – what is your vision for student safety and wellness, and what would you like MMSD to do differently or more – and then journal for a couple of minutes before sharing to the group. 

Themes that came up in response to the first question included: 

Increase awareness and support for students mental health

- Wellbeing:
- Understand that many students and staff are not ok! Students and educators have been juggling a lot of the past couple of years
- Increase a sense of community and connection among students and with everyone feeling safe and supported at home and at school
-  Increase trust-building opportunities among students and teachers 
- Every student should feel and know they belong in our schools
- Ensure that students are important members of the school community every day, regardless of grades or assessment scores
- Eliminate the narratives that students must  "survive high school” and address the pressures of incoming ninth grade students
- Balanced expectations for students 
- A more holistic understanding of students' overall school experience rather than a focus on GPA or assessments
- Review of BEP regarding harassment towards staff

Mental health Support
- Ensure that every student has someone they can go to with problems and will be listened to and know that action will be taken to help them
- Ensure that staff recognize the extent of mental health impact on students' academic performance
- Students with disabilities and their families know how to access supports

- Increase communication to students on what is going in their schools and in the district
- Increase listening sessions with teachers, student services and frontline staff

- Expand Restorative Justice beyond Circles, integrating as part of school culture
- Increase understanding of Restorative Justice along with financial support and accountability
- Increase mental health spaces lead by diverse staff (i.e. LHS Crib)
- Incorporate mental health conversations in all classes
- Adopt proactive approaches to address school conflicts and harm among students
- Increase support for students with disabilities

 Next, members took turns sharing two or three things MMSD can do differently or more. Themes included: 

- Decisions impacting students must include student voice
- Increasing mental health staff
- Diversifying workforce across all job types or classifications
- Prioritizing student mental health
- Innovation: challenging the ways that things have always been done and being open to new and creative solutions
- Identifying some core strategies or skills that staff can develop or use to create that emotional and psychological safety and making sure that the resources that schools do have (psychologists, counselors, social workers) are freed up to support students
- being proactive versus reactive when dealing with student safety concerns
- partnering with community agencies to expand services 
- being less focused on the grading scale and more focused on relationships and student well-being, recognizing that when a student is doing well mentally and emotionally, they will feel more motivated to do well in school 

At the next meeting, scheduled for May 26, 2022, the committee will return to explore these questions more deeply as they prepare to eventually make formal recommendations.