A message from Superintendent Carlton D. Jenkins, Ph.D.
Dear Board Members,
This week, which marks the first week of our historically recognized Women’s History Month, has certainly been eventful. As we draw near the start of our phased reopening of schools, there is much excitement about our Kindergarten students having the opportunity to enter our buildings for in-person instruction next week for the first time. This excitement is accompanied by continued MMSD focus on addressing the twin pandemics of COVID-19 and racial injustice by hearing the voices of myriad stakeholders, while becoming more intentional in implementing our policies and practices.
During Monday’s Instruction Work Group meeting, board members had the opportunity to model our core value of creativity by engaging in a (largely) face-to-face meeting with a virtual option. Meeting in this concurrent model did not diminish the rich dialogue between board members and district staff around topics such as Opportunity Youth programming, Summer Semester, and ongoing reopening planning. The manner in which we continue to engage these and other topics will help set the bar for how our diverse community engages in a respectful debate of ideas regarding reaching equity and excellence.
Throughout our work this week, MMSD has attempted to model the improvement strategy of “conducting autopsies without blame” as recommended by Collins in Chapter 4 of Good to Great. In our discussions with students, staff, families, and community members, we continued our efforts to create a climate where the truth is heard through the rigorous presentation of questions. Some of these interactions occurred during meetings as varied as parent advisory councils, discussions with legislators, and meetings with community partners. Each question we receive in these dialogues impacts and enhances our refinement of instructional and operational practices as we attempt to ameliorate historical disparities.
Thanks for your continued support and partnership. We look forward to providing you with more updates on our district’s progress next week.
Carlton D. Jenkins, Ph.D.