A message from Superintendent Carlton D. Jenkins, Ph.D.
Dear Board Members,
This week, which marks our first week of the 3rd Quarter and 2nd Semester, has certainly been eventful. Recently, President Biden issued executive orders affirming the values of racial equity and diversity as well as reinforcing critical protections for LGBTQ and DACA students. Although these orders align with many of MMSD’s core values, they also compel us to actively address policies and practices which place limitations on the ability of our students, staff and families to fully participate in our democracy.
This week, district and building leaders have continued to engage in planning and preparation for returning to in-person instruction when conditions permit us to do so safely. During this week’s Senior Leadership Team meeting, our elementary chiefs of schools shared an update on how they have worked collaboratively with principals to continue refining instructional plans for in-person and virtual instruction. In addition, conversations with our public health advisors during our advisory committee meeting on reopening involved vigorous discussions on topics such as athletics, potential vaccination schedules, and the transmissibility of new COVID-19 variants. In order to keep the Board members apprised of planning for the reopening, please follow these links to the recordings of our two most recent weekly District Ops Meetings:
As we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, while continuing on our journey towards equity and excellence, we must involve the voices of our students, whose education is directly impacted by our policy and practice decisions. As such, I was encouraged by the insights shared at yesterday’s Student Senate meeting where student leaders discussed ways to better engage their peers and center student voices in our planning for an eventual return to in-person instruction. I look forward to sharing their emerging plans as they take shape in the coming weeks. Please note that we have a meeting scheduled with students for March 3, 2021 via Instagram!
Finally, I want to thank board members Gomez-Schmidt and Muldrow for their participation in last night’s listening session with the East High School families. As we address challenging situations where our district has not yet lived up to the ideals of our Strategic Framework and Core Values, our students, staff and families are encouraged by the support provided by all of our board members. As we experience some growing pains in our transformation, I am reminded of the caterpillar’s process in becoming a
butterfly, and remain convinced that, if it can happen anywhere, it can happen in Madison!
Thanks for your continued partnership. We look forward to providing you with more updates on our district’s progress next week.
Carlton D. Jenkins, Ph.D.